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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Secrets of life for young boys growing up

A friend at the Coffee Scene today let me in on his 'secrets of life,' lecture he gave his two growing boys as their world suddenly included girls. He wisely told his sons to:

1. Always have clean fingernails.
2. Always have clean shoes.
3. Learn how to dance.
4. Smile and laugh a lot.
5. Let them talk about themselves... and listen.

Y'know... that works in lots of situations.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wanna see something no-one alive today will ever see again?

By the end of August, mars, the Red Planet, the subject of so many of our solar myths and sci-fi flicks, will be closer to earth than ever before.

As our respective orbits come closer, mars will continue to brighten in our sky and by late August, the two planets will be a mere 34,649,589 miles apart... a hair's breadth away in space terms!

Mars will rise in our late August sky at about 10 pm (EDT) and reach its peak at 12:30 am. Now here's the good part. It will look as large as our full moon to the naked eye! Imagine that.

Martians for dinner, anyone? Oh, it's a cook book.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Problem solved...

Jay Leno says the President just came up with the perfect solution for closing Guantanamo. He's going to turn it into a Pontiac dealership.

This India thing...

In my Nov. 16, 2008 post (look it up), I made note of the fact that China and India have 39% of the world's population. (The U.S. is a distant third.) Just saw something that helped make this astounding fact more poignant: India now has 41 cities with a population of 1 million or more! Mumbai tops the list with 14 million residents. Dehli has 10 million.

We have nine cities over a million with Los Angeles, our biggest at 8.3 million. How many of the other eight can you name. Bonus points if you can get them in order. (answer at bottom of post.)

With people come problems. Many in India lack municipal services resulting in mounds of rotting trash, sewage flowing directly into rivers and poverty in abundance. Think I recall reading that Mumbai has 179 slum areas. The movie, Slum Dog Millionaire, while a great flick, fairly accurately depicted the problem. The happy ending, however, was purely fiction. Latest news on the child stars of the film had them right back into the slums from where they were found. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

To think I was upset about missing a garbage pick-up...

Oh, yes. The U.S. cities: New York at 8.3 million, Los Angeles- 3.8, Chicago- 2.8, Houston- 2.2, Phoenix- 1.5, Philadelphia- 1.4, San Antonio- 1.3, San Diego- 1.2 and Dallas- 1.1

Friday, May 22, 2009

What can you say in six words?

Wall St. Journal today mentioned a Field & Stream Magazine short-story contest, what can you say in six words. The contest has drawn 466 entries like: "Saw geese. Guns blazed. Dogs fetched." Pretty good, huh? No matter if you are a F&S fan or not, interesting contest.

(ASIDE: I looked at the web site, which by the way, is really well designed with tons of reader content... a perfect example of what a magazine affiliated web site should be. I couldn't find any info on this contest. My guess... it is a magazine-only promoted event.... with entries accepted only on-line. It is an excellent way to get mag readers to the website...the Holy Grail of paper publishers everywhere. As a former magazine publisher, I was impressed.)

Now, back to the contest: It reminds me of the old television quiz show... Name That Tune, where contestants would bid lower to get the chance to name that tune.

"I can name that tune in six notes."

"I can name it in five."


...until one figured the song couldn't be named in so few notes... so that person said to the other, "Then name that tune."

The pianist would play the prescribed number of notes and if that contestant couldn't identify the song, then the other won. And vice-versa. You get the idea.

Well, I can write that novel in two words: "Atlanta burned." (The end.)

I can write it in one: "Hotlanta." (Ta-dah!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Does the number $3,550,000,000,000.00 ring a bell?

It should. It is our government's 2010 budget. So, if you personally had that much in cash ($10s and $20s preferred... or in nickels if you are some kind of a weirdo), what could you buy? According to some pretty neat research by Newsweek Magazine, you could buy:

Everything produced in Italy in 2008 PLUS all of the oil in Saudi Arabia PLUS an electric car for every 16 and 17-year-old in America PLUS the International Space Station PLUS a refund for everyone defrauded by Bernie Madoff PLUS The Big Dig, Boston's urban-infrastructure money pit PLUS a full funding for the Krasnow Institute's project to map the human brain PLUS all the tea in China PLUS the treasures of King Tut's tomb PLUS one 99 cent MP3 download from iTunes for everyone in America PLUS the first-ever weeklong staging of Stockhousen's seven-opera series PLUS the Holy Grail of baseball cards: a mint condition 1909 Honus Wagner PLUS a recession-era bargain" an Upper East Side condo on 94th Street PLUS a pair of Marc Jacobs 214S sunglasses (with dark gray lenses) PLUS one Carnitas burrito at Chipotle in Manhattan (plus tax). 

OK. So say I don't want the burrito... can I substitute? 

OR... you could spend it all on lottery tickets and have a great chance at some real money.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lucky Number

It all started when I was five. Dad had season basketball tickets and I got to see my all-time favorite player, Number 23, of course, known to everyone as ‘Squeaky.’ He was only 5’8” but he moved through all those bigger bodies on the court like a mouse running through a tea party. “Squeaky”… get it?

Loved him to death but he broke my heart, that bastard! Shaved points… for fifty bucks! Of course, in those days, $50 was like, uh, $60… the schmuck!

So I lived through it… wasn’t easy, but I did. Despite knowing how I should feel about a fallen star, Squeaky stayed in my heart. Now this was before steroids and performance enhancing drugs. If Squeaky did that today on such a small scale, it might even get lost amidst all this other crap. In fact maybe he would be carried off the court on fans’ shoulders… “Hey, look at that… an 80-year-old that dribbles.”

Heros die hard to a kid.

“Say it ain’t so, Squeaky.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Best Baseball Movie Ever

"Field of Dreams," of course. It was the best... and it was also one of Kevin Costner's three movies about baseball. (Can you name the other two?)

A key character in the film was Archie, 'Moonlight' Graham, played by Burt Lancaster. (I just found out that Graham was a real person!) The film didn't get everything right--like his meeting with fictional characters Ray Kinsella and Terrance Mann in 1972. The real 'Moonlight' died in 1965--poetic license, they call it. 'Moonlight' Graham did OK for himself though, in depiction and real life.

He was well known and highly respected as a kind and benevolent physician from Chishelm, Minn... just like in the movie. He really did play minor league baseball (in Charlotte and Scranton every summer from 1902 until 1908) and once, played a few games with the New York Giants against the Brooklyn team that later became the Dodgers. He always desired to be a doctor first, a baseball player second. He moved to Minnesota for his health. He had a lung condition and he wanted to live where the air was clean.

I learned all this from a synopsis of a biography soon to be released, "Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams Doc Graham," by Brett Friedlander and Robert Reising. I'll no doubt give it a look.

Kevin Costner's other two baseball movies? "Bull Durham" (another classic) and "For the Love of the Game." And no, ladies, his is not bare-butt naked in either of those. You have to see "Dances With Wolves" for that.

Guessing Game

How many times have you seen 'Its A Wonderful Life?' Me? Probably 23 or so. The movie turns when Uncle Billy, on a mission to deposit the money owed Mr. Potter, misplaces his deposit wallet. It is found by the evil-minded Potter who does not return it. BOO!

In Canada recently, a man on his way to the bank with $10,000 in cash in a similar wallet, forgot to zip it closed. A gust of wind ripped it away from him, scattering the bills everywhere.

Frantic, he hollered for help. Immediately, motorists and pedestrians scrambled to scoop cash from traffic, under cars, down the street. Impossible.

So, how much was recovered and how much found the pockets of others on the chase?

Answer: Every single dollar was recovered and returned! Not a Mr. Potter in the bunch... just a lot of human beings doing what most of us would do naturally.

Isn't it nice to hear a story like this once in a while?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How do you spell...

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg... no, not the one in Iowa, the one in Webster MA. Seems the state got it wrong on the road signs. Those sillies spelled it Chargoggagoggmanchaoggagoggchaubunaguhgamaugg. God. Can't they get anything right?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More proof!

You think it isn't nuts out there? Well, read more from these actual items that appeared in print.

From a column: One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers.

News bit: A deputy responded to a report of a vehicle stopping at mail boxes. It was the mailman.

Item: Army vehicle disappears...An Australian Army vehicle worth $74,000 has gone missing after being painted with camouflage.

Theft: A woman in the 1900 block of Lane Northeast reported that someone must have stolen her mail because she did not receive birthday cards from some of her friends.

Headline: Fish need water, Feds say.

Ad: Get 50% off... or half price, whichever is less.

Item: Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25.

Question of the day: Q. What constitutes a millionaire? A. A millionaire is someone who has $1 million, according to Mr. Blank, branch manager and senior vice president of investments at AG Edwards and Sons.

News: Federal agents raid gun shop, find weapons.

Item: County to pay $250,000 to advertise lack of funds.

Headline: Utah poison control center reminds everyone not to take poison.

News: Crack found in man's buttocks.

Item: A caller reported at 7:14 pm that someone was on a porch yelling "Help." Officers responded and learned the person was calling a cat that is named "Help."

Police report: 1:33 pm., Sonora--A man came to the Sheriff's Department to "find out how to legally kill" a person who was harassing him.

Report: An Edgewood man reported recently that his wife had gone missing some 18 months ago.

News: Police checking the area found an open door in the back of the building. An officer went inside and called out, "Marco." Police found the suspect after he responded, "Polo."

Ad: Full size mattress. Royal Tonic, 20 year warranty. Like new. Slight urine smell. $40.

Wanted: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. PO Box 322, Oakview, CA. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

China Cabinet: Buffet, hutch solid pine. 6.5 tall x 4.5 wide. Lighted windows. Few cat scratches but cat has been killed. $700.

For Sale: Turkey. Partially eaten. Only eight days old. Both drumsticks still intact. $23.

Classified: 1995 Nissan Maxima, green, leather, loaded, CD, auto start, sunroof, 4-door, good condition, $4500. Not for sale

Burglary report: A 38-year-old Cole Avenue man reported that his home was invaded on Sept. 9. The man said that he was sitting home alone masterbating and watching a pornographic movie when a man came down into the basement, hold a gun, and started to vieotape him. The man said that before he left, the intruder fed his dog some nushrooms and the dog died.

Need any more proof than that?