Monday, August 31, 2009


Yesterday was my Aunt Starr's birthday. I am a bad niece and missed it by a day. I don't usually do the birthday posts, so if you have a birthday (that would be everyone who reads this) and I don't write about you on it, please don't be annoyed with me or think that perhaps we aren't real friends.

Starr is my mom's little sister. She is several years younger, so when I was little, she was kind of like my really cool older sister as opposed to my aunt. I used to spend the night with her and she would make me laugh, and we would drive around in her cool car and listen to Shawn Colvin sing "Riding shotgun down the avalanche, mmm mmm mmm..." She gave me (perhaps unintentionally...) the first cds I ever owned (Counting Crows "August and Everything After" and Harry Connick, Jr. "25", in case you're looking for those, Starr...) and she and her husband gave me my first cd player. Her husband, my uncle Kendall, was there for me in lots of ways when I was a kid, and helped teach me how to drive (and even allowed me to play Ben Harper while doing so even though he is more of an Eagles type of guy.)

All that to say that I'm lucky to have a Starr like her and I love her and I hope she had a very happy birthday!
Starr with her little girl Lauren. Alas, no pictures of us together on the world wide web.

Get thee to an apple orchard

Or something to that effect. There are a lot of places that fall immediately makes me wish to visit, and since today it was like 85 degrees instead of 90, everyone is talking about fall and how it's happening and so I want to visit those places.

Mostly, fall makes me long for college campuses. I'd settle for any pretty one (ah, Sewanee), but my own in particular. As soon as I stepped outside for lunch today, the cool breeze (aided by the shade of the TFP overhang at the door) and sunny blue skies immediately tossed my mind back to Auburn. Walking down Magnolia with my backpack and a crisp breeze, past Erskine Ramsey hall and the Art building, through Toomer's Corner, along the sidewalk under the canopy of trees...

It is kind of a bummer that backpacks play no part in my daily life now. I loved my little navy L.L. Bean backpack that traveled all the way through high school and college with me. It's in the trunk of my car (along with a whole lot of other things...) still stuffed with notebooks. I also miss sitting in history classes, taking pages and pages of notes on the Civil War or Argentinian politics or H.L. Mencken. I'd like to see all the RVs start gathering in their spots in the field with the orange and blue paper lanterns and giant, inflatable, light-up Aubies, and the tailgaters relaxing in their lawn chairs, waiting until 4 so they can rope off their spots for gameday. The rolling plains of Dixie are beautiful at lots of points in the year, but I love them especially in the fall.

So war eagle for autumn, I suppose is what I have ended up saying.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Story hour suggestions and Politifact

In preparation for the Ali's Challenge 3 post (due tomorrow) I was just reading the imdb site for "The Rescuers." You see, this week Ali and Kevin (of this tale) are enjoying beignets and crawfish (hopefully seperately) in NOLA, leaving me challengeless. So I told Ali that perhaps I would instead write a story about their adventures on the bayou, a la "The Rescuers," which is one of the more awesome Disney movies of all time (Miss Bianca? Bernard? Evinrude? So great!)

However now I'm a little skeptical of this idea as a) I can't get a good grasp on an idea and b) how do you improve on "The Rescuers" (without making "The Rescuers Down Under," which has already been done though isn't so much an improvement as a lateral move on the awesome scale) and c) would I be messing with some sort of copyright restrictions by tampering with their storyline?

Anyhow, if you have any suggestions for this week's fun fact that I can utilize in the challenge, feel free to submit them.

Also, I heard a guy from this website talking on NPR yesterday, and in looking at it, it seems pretty handy for those who prefer facts to hyperbole when considering things like politics and healthcare. The site is meant to provide non-partisan analysis and "just the facts, ma'am." How rare. Also, in case you've been wondering where one might read the thousands of pages of the Healthcare bill itself, here you go.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Afternoon Post

The Friday Afternoon Post this week will be dedicated to John Hughes, who passed away this week. While he is being most memorialized for the, yes, classic films he made in the 80's like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I'd like to honor the film of his that most touched my life. That film is, of course, Home Alone.

This movie is completely wonderful. It has honestly played a significant role in my life. My entire family - aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins - watches it together EVERY Thanksgiving after dinner. Not to mention the number of times I watch it in the entire holiday season, it's pretty amazing the tape still works (yeah that's right, it's on VHS. Old school is what you call it.) It has formed the basis for a significant part of more than one friendship, most notably myself and Ali (among other things, like the Beastie Boys and Gilmore Girls and Chinese food and Black Cherry soda.)

I think I could pretty easily quote the whole film in its entirity without the aid of the film itself if pressed. So anyhow, my tribute to John will be the following selection of memorable quotes from my favorite Hughes film.

"Is this toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association?"
"Well, I don't know. It doesn't say, hon. "
"Well, could you please find out?"

"This house is so full of people it makes me sick. When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone. Ya hear me? I'm living alone! I'm living alone!"

"I took a shower washing every body part with actual soap; including all my major crevices; including in between my toes and in my belly button which I never did before but sort of enjoyed. I washed my hair with adult formula shampoo and used cream rinse for that just-washed shine. I can't seem to find my toothbrush, so I'll pick one up when I go out today. Other than that, I'm in good shape. "

"Hi, I'm Mitch Murphy. I live across the street. You guys going out of town? We're going to Orlando, Florida. Well, actually, first we're going to Missouri to pick up my grandma. Did you know the McCallisters are going to France? Do you know if it's cold there? Do these vans get good gas mileage?"
"Gee, kid, I don't know. Hit the road. "

"Where did he go?"
"Maybe he committed suicide. "
"I'm over here you big horse's ass, come and get me before I call the police. "
"He's gonna call the cops!"
"From a tree house?! Come on!"

"I don't want to sleep with Fuller. You know about him, he wets the bed. He'll pee all over me, I know it. "

"Ma'am, I'm eight years old. Do you really think I'd be here, alone? I don't think so. "

"Well where's your mom? "
"She's in the car."
"Where's your dad?"
"He's at work."
"What about your brothers and sisters?"
"I'm an only child."
"Well, where do you live?"
"I can't tell you that."
"Why not?"
"Cause you're a stranger."

"You're not at all worried that something might happen to Kevin? "
"No, for three reasons: A, I'm not that lucky. Two, we use smoke detectors and D, we live on the most boring street in the United States of America, where nothing even remotely dangerous will ever happen. Period. "

"Say good night, Kevin. "
"Good night, Kevin."

"Kevin, if Uncle Frank says no then it must be really bad."

"Are your parents home?"
"Yeah. "
"Do they live here? "
"No. Why should they? All kids. No parents. Probably a fancy orphanage."

"That's the one, Marv, that's the silver tuna. "

"Guys, I'm eating junk and watching rubbish! You better come out and stop me! "

"We'll go thru the back. Maybe the kid will let us in, you never know. "
"Yeah. He's a kid. Kids are stupid. "

"I wish my grandparents did that. They always send me clothes. Last year I got a sweater with a big bird knitted on it. "
"That's nice. "
"Not for a guy in the second grade. You can get beat up for wearing something like that. I had a friend who got nailed once because there was a rumor he wore dinosaur pajamas. "

"He walks up and down the streets every night, salting the sidewalks. "
"Maybe he's just trying to be nice. "
"No way. See that garbage can full of salt? That's where he keeps his victims. The salt turns the bodies... into mummies. "
"Whoa. "

"Everybody in this family hates me! "
"Then maybe you should ask Santa for a new family."
"I don't want another family. I don't want any family. Families suck!"
"Just stay up there. I don't want to see you again for the rest of the night. "
"I don't want to see you again for the rest of my whole life. "

"Why the hell did you take your shoes off?"
"Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken? "

"Hey, I'm not afraid any more! I said I'm not afraid any more! Do you hear me? I'm not afraid any more!"

"We'll come back tonight, about nine o'clock, that way it's dark, see?"
"Yeah! Kids are scared of the dark!"
"You're afraid of the dark too, Marv, and you know it. "
"I am not!"

"There are 15 people in this house, you're the only one who has to make trouble. "
"I'm the only one getting dumped on. "
"You're the only one acting up. Now get upstairs. "
"I am upstairs, dummy. "

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ali's challenge story hour 2

Today's fun fact: Russian Soccer Fans going to Wales to support team urged by the country's fan organization to drink Welsh whiskey to ward off swine flu virus.

"Garbled Russian, warmed by the smokey afterglow of whiskey, is nearly impossible to understand, sir" the little translator said to the police chief.

"Why Archie, that was quite poetic," the chief responded magnanimously. "But you've honestly no idea what the man was saying?"

"We'll just have to wait til he sobers up, I suppose," Archie responded, shaking his head to indicate that no, he had gleaned nothing from the hour of questioning largely composed of the Russian tumbling repeatedly out of his chair. "Something about the pigs, and clearly something about whiskey. Welsh whiskey."

A muffled thud sounded from inside the cell followed by a brief silence, a groan, and then some remarkably tuneless singing. "What's that he's singing?" the chief asked. "It's, ah, Tubthumping, sir," Archie said, and cleared his throat. "Eh?" the chief responded, fuzzy eyebrows arched. "It's ah, erhm, they play it sometimes at sports matches...'I get knocked down, but I get up again...never gonna keep me down..." Archie's meak rendition did nothing to assuage the chief's confusion.

They both peered into the cell and saw the lanky man performing a drunken hula dance, complete with head bobbing, in time to his self-provided music. Noting his audience, he offered a large grin and a thumbs-up.

Archie and the chief turned away again. "Well," the chief said, "What I don't understand is why, if he had previously been at a football match, he then careened through the city, managed to locate a farm, and stole a herd of pigs." "Perhaps it's some kind of tradition, like a celebratory thing?" Archie offered. They turned and faced another cell, in which there stood ten rather large and disinterested swine, one of whom was at that moment chewing a bit of carrot and squinting at them dully from beady black eyes.

"They really doesn't look at all like Babe," the receptionist lamented from her desk, and the two men shook their heads in agreement. "Not a bit gallant," the chief noted disappointedly.

After arresting the man, along with the pigs, for causing chaos in a liquor store, no one at the station had been able to determine what should be done. The suspect was not in any condition to provide useful information, not to mention the fact that the man was an international visitor to Wales. And how would they return the pigs to their rightful sty? As discerned upon their arrival, pigs apparently wear no identifying items or markings - anyone could drop by and claim them as their own. Plus, their odor was not contributing positively to the aesthetic environment of the police station.

After drinking a cup of tea on the stoop of the station - the pigs made the inside rather uncomfortable - Archie and the chief questioned the Russian again. More lucid this time, he tried to explain what had happened. If the fan organization head thought the whiskey would protect people from swine flu, why not go right to the source? He was simply trying to inoculate the pigs against the virus.

"He's blaming the pigs," Archie explained to the chief. "You know, for the row in the liquor shop." They both glanced at the pigs, now dozing like so many dirty pink pillows on the floor of their cell. "He says British pigs can't hold their liquor."

Just then, a ruddy-faced old man in a rather stereotypical tweed cap poked his head in the station door. "Hullo," he warbled. "I seem to have lost rather a lot of pigs - oh, hello there!" He interrupted himself as he noted the pigs, now squealing with apparently delighted recognition in their cell. The Russian, sensing what was going on, began speaking loudly and utilizing dramatic hand gestures in effort to communicate with the farmer. "He would like you to know that your pigs are now safe from harm. From the swine flu. Also they may be a bit drunk. And he asks that you not punish them for getting arrested as he's sure they didn't intend to cause trouble."

"I see," said the farmer, looking puzzeled. "Well then. I suppose I'll let them off this time." He gave a whistle, and the pigs, freed from their prison, pranced out the door in a line, snorting happily. The Russian waved, and then promptly fell asleep, presumeably satisfied with his good deed.