More Fun Things About Owning a Dog

That's a strange ball in the middle of the living room . . . I don't remember the kids playing with that . . .  it's kind of oblong and fleshy-looking . . . and it smells really good in here . . . I think I'll take a closer look . . . hmm, that's not a ball . . . it's a chicken carcass, stripped to the bones . . . I suppose the lesson here is that if you own a dog, you can't leave the house for more than ten minutes if you've left a rotisserie chicken on the counter (and I won't go into detailed consequences of this feast, but I will say this: the next day, when I arrived home from work, I had to carry the rug outside and hose it down).

Graveyard for Resolutions

Every so often I notice that I still have two failed New Year's Resolutions prominently displayed on the top of the sidebar (to the right of this sentence) and while I was going to remove them, I have decided to keep them for the time being because I like the reminder that most of our "deep plots do pall, and that should teach us"; I may not have become an expert in Canadian culture, or committed a 100 songs to memory, or become a virtuoso at the banjo . .  and I may not continue to fast on Mondays and Wednesdays for the rest of my life, but the important thing is that I gave it "the college try" and not only that, I learned a few things about Canada (and also learned that I have oceans of ignorance about our neighbor to the north) and I memorized the chords and lyrics to a few songs, and I discovered that even though I don't play my banjo any longer, my wife won't let me sell it, because she likes the way it looks on the wall . . . and so I will attempt to eat nearly nothing on Mondays and Wednesdays, though I know that most days, I am doomed to fail, as are most people are when they make resolutions, but that's okay . . . we would be a sad species if we never made them at all.

Dave Cannot Assess the Situation (Even Though He Refers to Himself in the Third Person)

I have gotten so busy living my life, that I don't consume the same amount of literature, television, film and pop-culture as I used to . . . and I'm not sure if this is making me wiser and more experienced, or simply tired and dull.

Weird Hair Day

There are days when I always feel like I have a spider in my hair.

Dave Learns Something! Maybe Even Two Things!

Although I am a self-proclaimed Master of Vocabulary, every so often a student stumps me with a word (and I'm not talking about slang . . . I learn slang from the kids all the time -- my favorite new term this year is "ratchet") but last week I learned about word that's in the actual dictionary that I never dreamed exist -- a girl in my Creative Writing class wrote a poem about working in a shoe-store (she actually works in a shoe-store) and she used the word "brannock," and apparently a brannock is the device used to measure someone's shoe size.

My Children Are Both Overachievers

I didn't think my boys were capable of it, but this year's school pictures are the worst yet.

Third Grade Forensics

My son Alex gave me the lowdown about what was being debated on the playground Monday: cougar vs. owl in a fight to the death . . . and the setting was "the plains" and this occurred "at night," probably because both animals are crepuscular (Alex didn't use the word "crepuscular," but judging by his conversational topics, he will be soon).

More New Music from The Moving Rocks

The Moving Rocks are on a roll -- here is the second song from the very-low concept album I am working on; it's called "Many Lives" and the lyrics are over at G:TB . . . I recorded this song after reading this book and so my recording process was different than usual -- I started out by creating some rhythmic loops and interlocking them in various patterns, and once I had this musical framework, then I wrote the lyrics and added the guitar -- and this theme was certainly an influence as well, but that's probably obvious.

Spring Issue of Lifewild

Spring is here, and with it a new issue of Lifewild Quarterly . . . an online magazine that my friend Adam puts together . . . I have written a carefully researched article about Canadian geese and their feces, and there is a piece by my friend Eric as well, along with some cool art: check it out if you can (there's also a Winter Issue).

Beer Might Be Like Jazz

My new favorite beer in the universe is Switchback Ale, a delicious amber brewed in Burlington, VT and sold in 22 ounce bottles -- and I was surprised that BeerAdvocate gives it a fairly run-of-the-mill review, but then I remembered tasting this highly reviewed "world class" beer, which was way too hoppy and bitter and fruity and spicy for my primitive palate . . . and so I think my taste in beer, like my taste in jazz, might not be that sophisticated . . . I love Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, but have some trouble with Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman; if you are unsophisticated as well, then I highly recommend Switchback: it is smooth, delicious, high in alcohol, unfiltered, and has a scent and flavor vaguely like Magic Hat #9, but not as fruity.

It's a Great Time for Wealth Inequality and Music

Unemployment is high and the the environment is going to hell in a handbasket, but if you like music, then times couldn't be better: I heard a snippet of some rhythmic Latin jazz on WBGO  Wednesday morning, but didn't hear who the artist was . . . and forgot about it until Thursday, and then I went to WBGO's web-site and found the playlist and learned that it was an Eddie Palmieri song called "Listen Up" and so I popped that into Spotify (which now streams at my workplace) and I was suddenly immersed in some phenomenal Latin jazz by an artist I had never heard before . . . this is a vast improvement over the methods we used when I was a kid (putting a cassette in the boom box, and then racing to the radio to hit record whenever a good song came on) and while I know there are folks that will lament the loss of the mixed-tape or the album . . . or even the investment of paying for a record, which forced you to really listen to it, I still prefer the magic of the internet over those antiquated auditory customs (and I'm sure there are those hi-fi purists who hate the fact that most music is listened to on crappy computer speakers these days).

It's Hard to be a Man in the 21st Century

Last month, I helped a female teacher create a "Manliness Survey," and making the survey was so entertaining that we discussed the issues in my English class -- it was fitting because we were in the middle of Hamlet, and while there is no question that Hamlet is intelligent and eloquent, there is debate over his machismo -- and this resulted in another student and me having a one-armed push-up competition in front of the class, and during this display of unbridled masculinity, the girls were yelling "We don't care! This is stupid!" and the guys were yelling "It's all about push-ups!" and while this was a lot of fun, it made me remember that on that same weekend, Catherine made me take the kids to Target, in order to shop for the two birthday parties that they were attending, and we bought some Squinkies and Pokemon cards, and while I was doing this, I saw my friend Rob, with his kids, doing the exact same task . . . and we said "Hi" to each other and then went our separate ways without commenting on how unmanly we were behaving . . . it was Saturday morning and we should have been chewing tobacco and using power tools, but instead we were both pushing shopping carts at Target, and I was learning the distinction between Squinkies and Zinkies.

Two Choices Make Things So Much Easier

If I could be the star of any TV show, there are only two choices that come to mind -- I would either want to steal David Hasselhoff's role on Baywatch or be Jeremy Wade on River Monsters . . . and I'm pretty sure that for heterosexual males, these two choices are the archetypal options for this hypothetical question -- they've got everything covered . . . you can either travel the world, hooking into giant freshwater fish with a rod and reel, with a dedicated staff helping you find the action . . . or you could run around with a bevy of hot lifeguards, saving the day every episode, with the added bonus of beautiful California beaches and weather . . . so which do you choose?

Same Dave Under a Different Name

I have grown tired of Greasetruck as my fictitious band-name, and so I am changing it -- it's not like I have to consult with anyone! --and so the name of my new (also fictitious) band name is The Moving Rocks (The World's Second Greatest Rock Band) because I like the origin story of this name . . . anyway, here is my first song under this new moniker -- I am hard at work on recording a Moving Rocks album, and perhaps if I am extremely motivated, I will find some real live people to actually flesh out this project, but until then, this is nothing but Dave (and I've replaced the usual rambling psychedelic monologue with a guitar solo!)

It's Fun to Eat Junk Food and Watch a Lot of TV

Sometimes it takes an injury to remember how wonderful it is to eat salty and sugary snacks in alternation, while getting completely sucked into a TV show . . . especially when every episode is available on Netflix . . . I have watched thirteen episodes of The Killing since last Thursday, but season one doesn't wrap everything up in a neat package, so I need a new injury so that I can watch season two equally as fast.

Miracles: I Generate Them

While zealous fanatics of Sentence of Dave know that I am no stranger to miracles, I realize that some of my more skeptical readers question the authenticity of these wondrous happenings, and might even doubt my hagiographic qualities . . . but this example will certainly sway them: last Wednesday night, while playing basketball, my leg popped out of the hip socket -- or that's what it felt like -- and I knew to stop playing, but it didn't seem like that bad of an injury, but the next morning it felt much worse, and by mid-day Thursday, much to the amusement of my colleagues, I was curled in a ball on the floor of the English office, unable to find a position to relieve the excruciating pain in my right hip and leg -- and so I had to do the unthinkable . . . cancel soccer practice AND miss pub night, and despite taking Advil and Aleve, I couldn't sleep and my hip kept getting worse and worse, so I took off work on Friday and went to the doctor -- who despite having a very calm bedside demeanor, still scared the crap out of me, since he kept mentioning X-rays and MRI's and physical therapy and possible surgery . . . but the first step was to get an X-ray, which was an epic trip in the rain, considering I needed the use of a cane to get in and out of the car, but luckily all that showed up on the x-ray was a bone spur and lots of wear and tear, so he thought it was probably just a bad "bone bruise," where bone hit bone on the spur, and then everything swelled up, and so I spent Friday in incredible pain, taking a prescription anti-inflammatory drug, and I was unable to sit up, or walk very far . . . and in order to get off the couch, I had to undergo ten minutes of weird gyrations (including a step when I had to crawl on the floor) and I was feeling pretty low -- like I was done playing sports forever, even with my kids, and probably wouldn't even be able to attend Ian's soccer game on Saturday, let alone coach it, but when I woke up Saturday morning, I was able to get out of bed without a problem, and though my hip was sore, it didn't hurt . . . and I now realize the acute difference between those two states, and so I was able to walk the dog, coach the game (we won! Ian scored!) and rejoin the ambulatory world . . . and now I have a new lease on life, an appreciation of the simple things, and I have sworn to take it easy until I am fully healed and not jeopardize my health and the well-being of my family and myself by vainly taking part in adult athletics, because I am long past my prime . . . unless . . . unless . . . this miraculous recovery is a sign from the powers above that I should continue to recklessly participate in sports aimed for people many years younger than me, and I am sure that my stupid brain will slowly rationalize the latter logic, and I will act just like Steve Martin's character Davis in Grand Canyon.

That's a Killer

Though my injury sucks,  it is allowing me to watch and enjoy the first season of the AMC's Seattle noir murder mystery show The Killing . . . and I especially enjoyed it when local senator Ruth Yitanes tells councilman Richmond that his mayoral bid is over, because of his association with the murder of a high school girl, and that soon he will be "the punch line of a dirty joke."

The Medium Might Be a Message

 Neal Stephenson's ponderous, otherworldy and philosophical novel Anathem may be the perfect book to consume on an e-reader -- although it's disturbing not to know exactly how far I am through the book (30% . . . but 30% of what? I don't know how many pages it is) but I can see the monastic avouts in the concents of Stephenson's world carrying around a similar gadget . . . still this book isn't for everyone, as there is more description of architecture than there is conflict, which is probably why the electronic version is only $1.99 on Amazon.

The Looming Specter of Death and a Tonka Truck

I re-injured my groin/hip playing pick-up basketball Wednesday night, and part of me wonders whether I am getting old and should give this kind of stuff up, and the other part of me wonders whether getting drunk and stepping on a Tonka truck did more damage than I thought at the time.

Bags, Cans, Baskets, Etc.

During our vacation in Vermont my wife got to spend more time than usual with me, and so while she got to see how I operate out in the world, I had to endure her criticism -- which was always warranted, but I'm used to doing things in my own particular style, and when she's not there to witness my own particular style, then I think everything is going just fine; here are three examples from the trip that come to mind:

1) I have a poor sense of direction, but I like to drive -- especially in mountainous terrain, because controlling the car keeps me from getting carsick -- and over the course of our week vacation, we took quite a few drives -- for lunch, to snowboard, to shop -- every single time we approached the town of Weston, I had to ask my wife which way to turn (left) and if she asked me which way I thought I had to turn, I would yell, "Just tell me!"

2) we had to take the trash to the dump, because there was no garbage service at the house -- and I put the trash can in the back of the mini-van -- but the seats were folded down -- and so I tried to use the seat-belt to hold the garbage can in place, but every time I stopped short, the can tipped over, spilling garbage juice into the car, and the first two times the can tipped I told the kids to unbuckle their seat-belts and run back there and right the can -- which they thought was awesome . . . "We're walking around in the car while it's driving!" and I was thinking, "Welcome to 1978" and then my wife ended the party by asking, "Why didn't you put on of the seats up and put the can in the well?" and I told her that sounded like a great idea, and that I wasn't sure why I didn't think of that (perhaps I am an idiot?) and when I stopped the car and went back there and tried it, the garbage can fit perfectly and did not spill;

3) at the grocery store, I noticed that Switchback Ale was only $3.99 per twenty-two ounce bottle, instead of the $5.99 per bottle price at the beer store, so I brought six bottles up to the register, along with a frozen pizza and a rotisserie chicken -- and the old lady scanned the beer first, and put the large bottles in three little paper bags -- two beers per bag, and while Catherine was getting out money to pay for everything, I decided that my part of the transaction was over, and grabbed one of those little plastic grocery baskets and put the beer in it, and the old lady gave me a funny look and said, "You're going to bring that basket back, right?" and I said, "Of course, I'm just afraid if I carry these bags loose I'll have an accident," and then left, but my wife got to see her slow head-shake of disapproval at my strange behavior, because she was going to put those three paper bags into another plastic bag, which I didn't anticipate, because I have no patience and very poor communication skills (unless I'm talking about something I just read).

Complaint or Humblebrag?

I should count my blessings that I have complaints like this one about my children: sometimes my older son gets so wrapped up in listening to audio books that he doesn't pay attention when people talk to him (right now he's really into Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series . . . it's sort of like Harry Potter crossed with mythology).

This Sentence Was Written Under Duress

I apologize for the poor quality of this sentence, but I am feeling light-headed because of the stupid fad-diet that I have vowed to adopt for the rest of my life; it's called the 5:2 Diet and it started in England -- the gimmick is that you "fast" two days a week and eat what you like the remaining five days . . . but it's not really fasting, it's just eating very limited calories two days a week (600 calories for men) and the craze for this diet serendipitously coincided with my reading of Jared Diamond's new book about hunter-gatherers and the success of their feast and famine diet . . . so I am going for it, and I don't do things half-assed (actually, yes I do) so I made the promise in the English office that I would fast on Mondays and Wednesdays for the rest of my life -- and I'm writing this late Monday afternoon, and so the fasting is really catching up with me (though I correctly spelled "serendipitously" on the first attempt!) but if I can hold out another couple of hours, with just a salad for dinner, then I can go to sleep and really pig-out tomorrow (and one of the problems with this diet is that you need complete control of your environment . . . two weeks ago, I had made it through the bulk of Wednesday, but my wife walked int he door with two delicious smelling pizzas and I broke down and ate four slices).

I'm Really TRYING to Be Enlightened . . . Really, I Am

If you haven't seen the HBO series Enlightened, starring Laura Dern, then be sure to check it out -- it's funny and horribly awkward, and Dern -- who has a nervous breakdown at work in the first episode and attends a life-changing holistic rehabilitation center in Hawaii --returns to her old life, sort of . . . she's been severely demoted and has to move in with her estranged mom, but despite this, she is trying to become a better, calmer, less-materialistic, less bitter, more optimistic and hopeful person -- an "agent of change" -- but most people don't want to deal with this sort of person, and not only that, she's barely holding on to this new persona . . . I often feel this way when I vow not to lose my temper because of my children -- I can usually hold it together a few days (Serenity now!) and then I explode; the show alos reminds me of the Nick Horby novel How to Be Good . . . most of us our trying to be good people, but we wouldn't want to live with one (and I just read that the series was cancelled due to low ratings, despite critical acclaim, and that is actually a perfect end for the show).

Dieting Rule #487

It is not your duty to finish all leftover slices of pizza in the refrigerator.

Am I Misanthropic or Merely Grouchy?

In some respects, I'm glad the weather has finally turned spring-like, but the downside is that all the amateurs crawl out from hibernation and get in the space that has been mine all winter . . . these fair-weather folk clog up the sidewalks and the park and the tennis courts and the ball fields.

Two Very Very Important Questions

The house we rented in Vermont last week had Playstation 3 and Rock Band set-up in the basement, and after many hours of playing (and I must say that I am a pretty good Rock Band guitarist and drummer) two questions come to mind . . . one of which the internet answered: Question #1 . . . Are actual rock stars good at Rock Band? -- and there are loads of YouTube videos proving that actual rock stars usually CANNOT play their own songs on Rock Band . . . Question #2 is . . . Why don't they have a Jazz Band module for Rock Band? and while I love jazz, Bruce McCulloch answered that question long ago: if you like jazz, then you, sir, are my nemesis!

My Children Are Animals (and I am Inured to It)

Yesterday, I picked my kids up from school (plus an extra kid, as a favor) and I made the mistake of trying to talk to a friend for a moment, which gave my kids and their friend time to start wrestling, tackling each other, and slamming each other to the pavement -- which I noticed but didn't really address, because that's how they generally behave -- but because this was right in front of the school, two school aides and a teacher rushed down, to break up the melee, and I had to walk over and claim the children -- two of whom I explained, were "brothers" and then when I tried to finish my conversation, they started in again, and by the end of this round, Ian was kicking Alex in the head -- and my friend had to yell at Ian . . . and while this was horribly embarrassing, it was good for me to see how others view my children's behavior -- behavior which I am so used to that it doesn't faze me -- and all I could see on people's faces were expressions of horror.

I Hate to Say I Told You So . . . or Do I?

I hate to say "I told you so," but I told you so (and actually, like everyone else, I love to say "I told you so") and it wasn't me telling you anyway, it was someone far more respectable -- Diane Ravitch -- and she had the backing of Campbell's Law . . . so no one who reads this blog should be surprised as to what happened at Beverly Hall's school in Atlanta.

The Jungle is Low in Sodium

If you don't want to change your ways, then do NOT read the chapter on diet in Jared Diamond's new book The World Until Yesterday . . . like Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, it reveals some eye-opening dietary facts . . . except that Pollan points out the dangers of adopting a modern diet of corn 2 and corn syrup, and Diamond reveals the dangers of staple food laced with sodium and sugar, two ingredients that hunter-gatherers in the jungles of New Guinea do without -- and they have no incidence of stroke, diabetes, heart attack, coronary disease, and many of the other modern illness that plagues civilized man -- so I am going to try to eat less refined sugar and less sodium, which is difficult, because they both seem to be in everything -- but these are the only habits I am going to adopt from hunter/gathers, because while I agree with Wilfrid Oakley that "man may be captain of his fate, but he is also victim of his blood sugar" I don't think I am ready to abandon the elderly in the forest once they cannot move with the tribe, or commit infanticide if a child is born too close in age to the oldest child who is still on the teat, or adopt the treachery ideal of southwestern New Guinea, where it is even better to invite your enemy to share food and kill him than it is to kill him on the battlefield . . . "tuwi asonai makaerin!" (we have been fattening you with friendship for the slaughter!)

Big Announcement!

I loved our vacation in southern Vermont so much that I have convinced my family to abandon their hectic central Jersey lives and move with me to the Green Mountains -- and, of course, we will be living off the grid, growing our own granola and tofu, sugaring our own maple syrup, and doing without the internet . . . so no more Sentence of Dave, instead I will be keeping a daily journal, and I will write this journal with a quill pen, on hand-made vellum, and I will lock this journal in a wooden chest, which I will bury under our sugar-shack, and long after I am dead and gone, perhaps someone will exhume it, read it, and enjoy my posthumous wisdom.
A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.