Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Waffleman: Idiot Sightings

Yo! Here we go again with these items sent to me. They are called “idiot sightings.” I think that’s about right – how about you?

I handed the teller at my bank a withdrawal slip for $400.00. I said, “May I have large bills, please?” She looked at me and said, “I’m sorry sir, all the bills are the same size.” When I got up off the floor I explained it to her.

When my wife and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver-side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. “Hey,” I announced to the technician, “it’s open!” His reply: “I know. I already got that side.”

I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: “Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don’t think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.”

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for “minimal lettuce.” He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce.

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate, when an airport employee asked, “Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?” To which I replied, “If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?” He smiled knowingly and nodded, “That’s why we ask.”

The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it’s safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, “What on earth are blind people doing driving?!”

I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself … and for the sake of her life couldn’t understand why her system would not turn on.

STAY ALERT! They walk among us … and they VOTE [REPUBLICAN].

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Notes

In the Large Hearted Boy (Blog) Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Antoine Wilson "Panorama City"

In his own words, here is Antoine Wilson's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Panorama City:

I love music too much to listen to it while I'm writing. I'd rather listen to something wholeheartedly than try to tune it out so I can put words on paper. That said, I'm definitely inspired by music, in a right-brainy way, as a mood-setter, as an emotion-accessing tool. The music that hits me most deeply tends to play in my head on repeat when I'm no longer listening to it. If I'm surfing alone, for instance, I've usually got the acoustic leftovers of some song echoing in my head.

Panorama City doesn't contain much by way of specific musical references, but in the years it took to write the book, the following songs each played a role in nudging Oppen Porter along his journey from village idiot to man of the world.

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Silver Jews - 'We Are Real'

Here's where I admit that I was tempted to put together a playlist of all Silver Jews songs. I listen to Silver Jews more than any other band these days, especially if I'm going to have to get up in front of people for, say, a reading. Something about David Berman's abstract poetic lyrics and slacker melodies put me in a properly calm and creative state of mind. Unlike late Pavement, there's very little irritable reaching after fact and reason. I realize that not everyone wants to listen to this band, so I limited myself to one song, choosing 'We Are Real' because of its title-declaration, as well as for the following line: 'my ski vest has buttons like convenience store mirrors and they help me see / that everything in this room right now is a part of me / oh, yeah.' Something Oppen Porter might have noticed, I like to think.

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The Fall - 'Paint Work'

At the center of Panorama City is a man with no plan, surrounded by people all too willing to make plans for him. When Oppen says, 'most problems can be solved by waiting,' he is essentially saying that we must leave room in our lives for the fortuitous. Some artists exist to remind us of this continually, such as The Fall's Mark E. Smith. It's not a message everyone wants to hear in our control-obsessed culture. Thus: 'Hey, Mark, you're spoiling all the paintwork.'


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Book Notes - Dan Josefson "That's Not a Feeling"

Booklist wrote of the book:

"The prose is matter-of-fact, even placid, and studded with perfectly phrased gems, a cool surface to a work that is rich in feeling. A wonderful and noteworthy debut."

David Foster Wallace called That's Not a Feeling "bold, funny, mordant, and deeply intelligent debut" in the last blurb he wrote before his death. Dan Josefson's novel is all of those things and more.

In his own words, here is Dan Josefson's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, That's Not a Feeling:

My novel is set on the grounds of an odd boarding school called Roaring Orchards, where the headmaster has developed his own therapy regimen to help students in "dealing with whatever it might be that [they're] dealing with." Most of the students are troubled, have been kicked out of school or placed on probation, or their parents just don't know what to do with them. Among the other penalties and restrictions that comprise the headmaster's system, the students aren't allowed to listen to music. That might be why there's no real music in my book—whatever songs and bands do appear, I invented.


"Let's Not and Say We Did" by The Silver Jews

There's so much about this one that reminds me of growing up, but in a good way. The pitch-perfect obnoxiousness of the phrase used in the title, the barely containable energy, the list of mean-spirited and surreal pranks. "Our minds can dream / like soda machines." David Berman hallucinates ideal juvenile delinquents, "finding the fiercest way to live" while no harm can come to them. That's part of what writing this book was for me.


"The Underdog" by Spoon

When people ask whether my novel is autobiographical, I can't honestly say no, but it's about me in very weird ways. For example, this song underscores one way I came to identify with the characters after the whole thing was written. I had an awful time trying to sell the book, about four years of rejections from agents and editors. And it's ridiculously embarrassing to admit this, but the lines, "You got no fear of the underdog / That's why you will not survive," were as bracing for me as they would have been for the students at Roaring Orchards.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

How Records Are Made



Two great sets of photos showing records being manufactured. The first set are from 1954 starting with an engineer splicing up a tape. The second set is called "How records are made" from a 1962 Warner Brothers album sleeve.

Friday, October 19, 2012

John Hodgman - The Areas of My Expertise


When Writing, Please Avoid These Failed Palindromes

(*) Slow speed: deep owls

(*) Drat That Tard

(*) Two Owls Hoot Who Owls Hoot Too (Owt)

(*) Sour Candy and Dan C. Roused

(*) Desire still lisps: Arise! D.

(*) A man, a plan, a kind of man-made river, planned

(*) Hobos! So!

(*) Eh, S'occurs to Me to Succor She

(*) Tow a What? Thaw!


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Were You Aware Of It?

This is the first of several examples from my newspaper column of the same name that ran every Sunday, right under Prince Valiant in the New York Times for twenty eight years. The original columns contained wonderful illustrations by Charles "Sparky" Schulz, who you may recall as the creator of Snoopy & Dilbert. But as I do not control the rights to Sparky's spot drawings (and most of the time they were just pictures of men with extremely long fingernails anyway and had nothing to do with the subject at hand, I do not include them here.

Tennyson wrote, "It is the height of luxury to sin in a hot bath and read about little birds."

I'm sure you are glad to know Tennyson's bathing habit, but were you aware that...

-- Robert Frost bathed by rolling around in the Vermont dust once a year?

-- Wallace Stevens showered in beer?

-- Homer allowed others to bathe him, but because he was blind, he could not tell that they were just pretending to bathe him?

-- Emily Dickinson collected small soaps?

-- Guillaume Apollinaire shaved himself with a photograph of a razor that had been fitted with a razor's edge?

Were You Aware Of It!?!

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Excerpts from:

The Areas Of My Expertise by John Hodgman
Published by E.P. Dutton (2005)

Pages 48 & 49

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Editor's Note: Alfred Lord Tennyson (& John Hodgman) actually wrote "sit" though "sin" seemed a humorous typo. -- Allan Smithee

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Arts & Culture


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Update: Russian Punk Band Members Lose Appeal To Stay In Moscow Prison

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Big Audio Dynamite

"What About Love?" / "Suffragette City" (hidden track) D Bowie Cover



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Keep Off The Grass



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1999 (Prince Cover)



Monday, October 15, 2012

Journal Entry - 9:15 p.m.

Dirt under three fingernails; two of them on the right hand, one on the left. The ashtray, really a saucer plate, held nine cigarette butts, eight burnt matches, ash. Also on the round table were fourteen books, a thin solar-power calculator, a few paper napkins, eight pencils, six pens - some ballpoint, two lamps, sans shades, light bulbs exposed. And a half-pack of cigarettes plus three bus route pamphlets. The 5. The 54. The 15... though technically, the last is a surface trolley line.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Videos: Working with The Fall man

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Quietes: Ever wondering what it's like to work in the studio with Mark E Smith?




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A brief tour of Edinburgh with MES

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Edge.Org: What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?

Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor of Physics, Princeton University.

I believe that our universe is not accidental, but I cannot prove it.

Historically, most physicists have shared this point-of-view. For centuries, most of us have believed that the universe is governed by a simple set of physical laws that are the same everywhere and that these laws derive from a simple unified theory.

However, in the last few years, an increasing number of my most respected colleagues have become enamored with the anthropic principle—the idea that there is an enormous multiplicity of universes with widely different physical properties and the properties of our particular observable universe arise from pure accident. The only special feature of our universe is that its properties are compatible with the evolution of intelligent life. The change in attitude is motivated, in part, by the failure to date to find a unified theory that predicts our universe as the unique possibility. According to some recent calculations, the current best hope for a unified theory—superstring theory—allows an exponentially large number of different universes, most of which look nothing like our own. String theorists have turned to the anthropic principle for salvation.

Frankly, I view this as an act of desperation. I don't have much patience for the anthropic principle. I think the concept is, at heart, non-scientific. A proper scientific theory is based on testable assumptions and is judged by its predictive power. The anthropic principle makes an enormous number of assumptions—regarding the existence of multiple universes, a random creation process, probability distributions that determine the likelihood of different features, etc.—none of which are testable because they entail hypothetical regions of spacetime that are forever beyond the reach of observation. As for predictions, there are very few, if any. In the case of string theory, the principle is invoked only to explain known observations, not to predict new ones. (In other versions of the anthropic principle where predictions are made, the predictions have proven to be wrong. Some physicists cite the recent evidence for a cosmological constant as having anticipated by anthropic argument; however, the observed value does not agree with the anthropically predicted value.)

I find the desperation especially unwarranted since I see no evidence that our universe arose by a random process. Quite the contrary, recent observations and experiments suggest that our universe is extremely simple. The distribution of matter and energy is remarkably uniform. The hierarchy of complex structures ranging from galaxy clusters to subnuclear particles can all be described in terms of a few dozen elementary constituents and less than a handful of forces, all related by simple symmetries. A simple universe demands a simple explanation. Why do we need to postulate an infinite number of universes with all sorts of different properties just to explain our one?

Of course, my colleagues and I are anxious for further reductionism. But I view the current failure of string theory to find a unique universe simply as a sign that our understanding of string theory is still immature (or perhaps that string theory is wrong). Decades from now, I hope that physicists will be pursuing once again their dreams of a truly scientific "final theory" and will look back at the current anthropic craze as millennial madness.


The Best Non-Required Reading
Edited by Dave Eggers
Excerpt from Responses
pgs 18-19
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company
2006

Friday, October 12, 2012

Art & Design



Artwork by Wade Guyton (2008)

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More: Dots, Stripes, Scans

Wade Guyton at Whitney Museum of American Art - NY Times Review by Roberta Smith

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Winston Dictionary

ain't, Vulgar, contraction for am not or are not, sometimes for is not, has not, or have not.

1. like, adj. [comp. more like, Rare liker, superl. most like, Rare, likest], [ A.S. gelic, Similar, like (O.Teut. source)] 1. similar; equal or nearly equal; as in a like manner; 2. in a mood for; disposed to; with a verbal noun; as i feel like reading; 3. characteristic of; as, it was like him to be generous; 4. giving promise of; showing evidence of;

[snip]


Definitions Via:

The Winston Dictionary
College Edition
Pages 21 & 568
Published 1946
By the John C. Winston Company
(Copyright 1926-1946 by the J.C.W. Co.)
Printed in the U.S.A.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

David Berman: Royal Trux Listicle

Twentieth Century Trux (Videos)

via: Menthol Mountains

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More: Royal Trux & David Berman



Side one

5."Granny Grunt" (Hagerty/Herrema/David Berman) – 3:52

Side two

3. "(Have You Met) Horror James?" (Hagerty/Herrema/Berman) – 3:54

Monday, October 8, 2012

Breakfast Sandwich





Sausage/Eggs/Cheese on Hoagie Roll

Saturday, October 6, 2012

6 Band Names

(*) Fancy Cuffs & Collars (Said by Larry Anderson & Scott F. during Phillies Radio Broadcast - Fri., Aug. 8th, Phillies vs Cards)

(*) Can't Afford The Drugs (Via Postal Blowfish Mailing List)

(*) The Machiavellian Hypocrites (Via SJBB)

(*) Adam Eaton & The Bullpen (Coined by Chuck DeLeon, former columnist of Metro Newspaper)

(*) The Sea Hogs (Dictionary Entry for Porpoise aka "Poor Puss"... HaHa!)

(*) Corner Bar Tabs (Reality Based)

Friday, October 5, 2012

2 Recipes

Mushroom & Crab Soup

1 Mushroom Mix
1/2 Cup Onion (chopped)
1 Qt. Water
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Tbsp. Garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp. Sherry
1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 Cup Red Pepper (diced)
1/2 Lb. Crab Meat
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp. Parsley Flakes
1 Can Evaporated Milk

Saute onion, peppers & garlic in butter, cook 5 mins.

Stir in mushrooms, Old Bay, 1 Tbsp. Parsley Flakes, Worcestershire Sauce, cook 5 Mins.

Mix can of milk into water, add to soup, cook on simmer uncovered 15 mins. Add crab meat & Sherry. Simmer till crab meat is warm. Slowly stir bread crumbs into soup to thicken. Serve with sprinkle of parsley


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Honey Roasted Maitake

1 Lb. Maitake Mushrooms
1 Tsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Honey
1/8 Tsp. Salt

Preheat oven to 350'. Rinse mushrooms and remove ragged stems from the bottom to expose fresh ends.

Place maitake cluster into small oven proof bowl, or ramekin. Melt butter & honey together. Brush the tops of maitake with butter mixture.

Roast 15 mins. or until caps are browned & frizzled. Remove from oven, top with salt, & serve immediately with a fork & spoon. You will use the spoon for the broth at the bottom of the bowl.

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Bonus Round: How To Flip Food In A Pan (Video)
 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Restaurant Shifts

During the late '80's, had a job bussing tables (lg picnic tables/benches) at a hamburger joint named Tycoon Flats in San Antonio.

There were two guys who cleaned/bussed the large outdoor seating area, a cashier who took the food order at the front counter, one grill guy, one deep fryer guy, and another who added the lettuce/tomato/mustard/mayo etc. to the burgers, finishing them up and completing the order (sodas/fries/beer etc). The counter guy then called your name over the intercom system and you picked up the order before heading to the open area in the back. There was also a "barkeep" who sold beer from some coolers in the back.

About 1/2 hour before an evening/night shift began, a person known to the work crew showed up selling paper (blotter) acid. All 6 of the crew purchased a hit and dropped it there on the spot. After a while, felt the acid begin to kick in and knew the same was happening to the others when the pick-up guy who called your name over the intercom just started laughing for a moment or two when trying to tell people to pick up their orders. Also, remember it being one of the longest shifts I worked, or so it seemed at the time.

Note: the customers that night probably didn't think highly of the quality of their burgers or the service... But I've always wondered whether they knew all the employees were tripping.
 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Time Tables Of History

On This Date: October 2nd

On Oct. 2, 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first black to serve on the high court.

On Oct. 2, 1869, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Indian nationalist leader whose philosophy of nonviolence influenced movements around the world, was born.

On This Date

1869 Political and spiritual leader Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India.

1890 Comedian Groucho Marx was born in New York.

1919 President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed.

1944 Nazi troops crushed the two-month-old Warsaw Uprising, during which 250,000 people were killed.

1950 The comic strip "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz was first published.

1958 The former French colony of Guinea in West Africa proclaimed its independence.

1959 "The Twilight Zone" debuted on CBS.

1985 Actor Rock Hudson died at age 59 after a battle with AIDS.

1990 The Senate voted 90-9 to confirm Supreme Court nominee David H. Souter.

2000 The International Space Station got its first residents as an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts arrived aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule for a four-month stay.

2002 A man was shot and killed in a grocery store parking lot in Wheaton, Md., the first victim in a series of sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C. area, that left 10 dead.

2006 A man took a group of girls hostage in an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., killing five and wounding five others before committing suicide.

2008 Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden faced off in a vice presidental debate.

2008 Searchers found the wreckage of millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett's plane more than a year after he disappeared on a solo flight over California's Sierra Nevada mountains.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 2012: Thought For The New Month

"Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds."

-- George Santayana