Monday, July 30, 2007


Everyone's been asking about the Yajeev Simpson character I developed at

Here I am in my nuclear Springfield glory. The setting is a lot like the one in which I toil.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I recently received this threatening letter and the accompanying picture with instructions to post it in my blog.

I thought it best to comply. I'm confident this means something to one of my readers.

Sounds like this guy means business. I'd take his demands seriously.

(with thanks to

Friday, July 27, 2007

Poll Results: Half of Land of Yajeev readers repeat offenders

Thanks to all who participated in the survey on my site. I asked you, “How did you find this blog?”

The response was overwhelming. 6 of you voted in my poll, and a whopping 50% of you reported that you had linked to this site from the old MySpace-based blog.

A “really great friend” informed a third of the respondents about this site. No “not so great friend[s]” spread the word about the Land of Yajeev, which is probably for the best.

Only one surveyed was referred here by direct mail, and 16% Google searched “land of yajeev”. Unfortunately, no one seems to have found this site by reference from other blog sites or from the radio and television advertising campaign. Clearly, the marketing department needs some help; fortunately, my pop is a great marketing strategist.

While I haven’t yet subjected these data to rigorous statistical analysis, with an n=6, the results can only be described as significant, if not scientific.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Can you find it in your hearts to forgive me?

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’ve been carrying a burden of guilt for too long. I have a confession to make: I have been less than forthcoming.

For many moons, I have been living a lie. The year was 1988, and I was in the second grade (you may have read about my entry into this grade level in a previous blog post). The offense: vociferous rowdiness on the school bus. The driver had heard my outside voice from within the school bus one too many times. He promised that a pink demerit slip would be sent home. He was a man of his word. This unbridled disorderliness is not the source of my shame, however; nay, I fear that spurts of uncontrollable hyperactivity are hardwired into my DNA. My personal sorrow is in the deception that ensued.

Every day for a week, I checked the mailbox for an envelope with the return address of the grade school. One afternoon, it arrived. I committed a federal offense by opening this parcel meant for your eyes only.

Inside the envelope, as promised, was the dreaded pink-tinted disciplinary report. While I had been persistent in checking the mail daily, I had not the foresight to plan what to do after I had actually opened the fateful notice. So, I did what came naturally without thought: I ripped the demerit into a thousand little pieces, and… Now what!?!? I had torn the conduct report to smithereens but had no exit strategy. Staring at the pink scraps cradled in my hands, I knew that proper disposal was essential. This crime had to be concealed. Whatever trouble I would have encountered with an intact demerit would be multiplied by as many times as there were shreds of deceit in my palms.

If I threw the shreds away in the kitchen trash, I suspected that you might see the papers and piece them together like the jigsaws we used to do together. I could just imagine the setting: Dad retrieving the bits of paper from the can under the sink, spreading them out on the kitchen table, calling me in to help him with the puzzle, saying, “Help me find the border pieces.” There I would be, sweating as each new fragment was assembled and the truth of my disciplinary infraction and subsequent subterfuge came into sharp relief. No, the kitchen trash would not do.

I next considered the trashcan in the garage, but rejected it on similar grounds. One solution remained. I looked both ways to avoid being sideswiped by parental traffic and sprinted to the backyard where I dug the deepest hole my little hands could in the few minutes I had before you would return home from your hard day at the office. I placed the tattered pink pieces into the hole and hastily covered it up with the dirt I had displaced moments before. My secret was buried.

You came home, and I put on my (flushed and sweaty) cherubic face. I prescreened and filtered every word that came forth from my lips in the days that followed, careful not to entangle myself in a web of fibbage. I was a second grader in crisis, filled with inner tumult. I was weighed down by the overwhelming guilt, but I was too far in to extricate myself from the quagmire. It was more than any 7 year-old should have to bear.

Garbage night had always been my least favorite, but on this particular week, Thursday could not come soon enough. Shortly before the trashcans were to be taken to the curb, I made like a dog at his favorite patch of dirt and dug like mad. I recovered as many of the dirt-stained shards of my notice of punishment as I could and carefully transferred them to the soon-to-be-collected garbage. The next morning, my plan continued without hitch, as only a few bits of pink debris on the ground around the garbage cans were all that remained of my demerit. I, of course, gathered them as quickly as I could to preempt either of you from picking up a piece or two and deciphering from the fragments of text still legible (like “while the bus was moving” and “like a wild dog”) what had transpired.

Unfortunately, Mom, Dad, the dishonesty didn’t stop here; one lie leads inescapably to the next. I feared your punishment for my misconduct (which almost certainly would have been less agonizing than the torment I put myself through in devising and concealing my plan). This I had managed to avoid. Hours of scheming and duplicity spared me minutes on the time-out chair and a handwritten letter of apology to the bus driver.

What was unavoidable, of course, was the punishment mandated by the school. The justice of Dr. Xxxxxx and his sidekick Mr. Xxxxxx was severe; they ruled with an iron yarmulke. Their penalty: that I be prohibited from Friday swimming class, which, as it turns out, wasn’t much of a punishment for me. I wasn’t all that fond of swimming class (you remember the time that I skinned the entire ftront side of my body trying to impress my classmates by jumping backwards off the diving board). Plus, missing swimming class meant I would be have to spend the time normally reserved for my aquatic misadventures playing Stickybear Typing on the class’s Apple IIc. Most of my friends were addicted to Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda, but I was a Stickybear guy all the way, so this as an alternative to swimming wasn’t such a bad deal. In fact, if it didn’t require such shameful misrepresentation, I might be persuaded to engage in disorderly school bus conduct more often.

I was barred from swimming, but you sent me to school with swimming trunks and a towel. I couldn’t very well bring them back home neatly folded in my gym bag the way they were when I left for school. After the closing bell of the school day and before my bus left the parking lot, I scampered to the lavatory for appropriate modification of swimming materials. The swimming trunks were soaked in water from the sink, crumpled up into a ball and stuffed back into my bag. The towel was thoroughly spattered with water such that it was damp but not dripping. Finally, I splashed my hair and proceeded to towel dry it with my dampened towel.

I returned home, and unfortunately, you were none the wiser.

Mom, Dad, I may have avoided the earthly punishment you might have (appropriately) meted out for my misbehavior and cover-up. But, take solace in the fact that I have been afflicted with this thorn in my flesh, this pang in my conscience for the past 19 years.

I'm sorry. Can you find it in your hearts to forgive me?


Your son

Monday, July 23, 2007

Upward Mobility (or the myth thereof)

I was very happy when I graduated from the first grade. Yes, I thought, I finally get to leave this unruly and immature phase to join the older, more mature second grade world.

So on the first day of the second grade, I found the classroom that had all of last year’s second-graders. Aaah, my new comrades. I stepped into the classroom, Transformers lunchbox in hand, took a deep breath, and surveyed my new group of peers. This was the erudite elite with whom I now counted myself an associate, a proud member of the highbrow second-grade intelligentsia.

My ascent through the ranks of lower academia was brought to a screeching and teetering halt when the teacher told me I was in the wrong room. This was the third grade classroom, and, as it happened, all of last year’s second graders were now third graders… which meant that all of last year’s first graders (barring one unfortunate soul) were now—gasp—second graders…like me. As it turned out, I was to be inexorably linked with this lot (and they with me) for some time…

I had aspired to infinite slope, but the system held me to an m=1.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Top 10 reasons I don’t eat vegetables

10. When I misbehaved as a child, my parents would hang me by my toenails over a boiling vat of pea soup.

9. Gourds are people, too (or are they?).

8. I have a recurring dream where I am being interrogated by a giant water-boarding cucumber.

7. Have you seen the way they treat those veggies in the patch…? the close quarters, living in their own filth, etc. Come on, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Asparagus).

6. Saving room for desert.

5. My dad told me eating my broccoli would put hair on my chest.

4. El nino.

3. I have long suspected a connection between greens and al Qaida.

2. I have a genetic condition predisposing me to ultrasensitivity to the bitter taste associated with most vegetables.

1. The school bully used to pelt me with brussel sprouts at recess.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hungry Man

Last weekend, I attended my wife’s graduation from the Masters in Gifted Education program at the University of Connecticut (for context, please see:

Pictured here is the highlight of the weekend: a giant pumpkin-ice-cream-on-chocolate-chip-cookie sandwich.

Er, one of two highlights of the weekend. Lisa’s graduating was pretty cool, too. Way to go, Lisa.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

(Apparent) size matters

A close friend, who shall remain nameless, was examining our dog. This friend asked, “Why do you think his hair is thinner underneath his front legs?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “Why do you think his hair is thinner between his rear legs.”

The friend replied, assuredly, “To make his thing look bigger. You know… to girls.”

Sunday, July 15, 2007

We Shall Overcome

It is time that someone broke the silence. I have lived with my condition in shame for far too long, as have, I fear, countless others.

“Give it to me straight, doc.” That was me, trying to be tough.

“I don’t want to alarm you…” These words, these terrible words, “I don’t want to alarm you,” have never, in the history of humanity, been followed by anything other than the most alarming of news. “… but you have it.”

“Are you sure?”

“The symptoms you describe, the observations I’ve made… they point definitively to this diagnosis.”

“Could it be anything else?”

“I’m afraid that would be… highly unlikely.”

Plantar fasciitis.

Painful soles. Flat feet. I’ve got it. For a few days, I did nothing but wallow in self-pity. I didn’t shower. I didn’t shave. I didn’t say much. (I did, of course, eat like normal, if not a little extra in the time I would otherwise have spent showering, shaving, and talking). I feared that what I had come to expect from a normal life would be stolen from me, as my condition declined until I was no longer able to walk without searing, shooting pain.

And then came the epiphany. Here I am, a person of above average celebrity, with this instrument, this portal to the masses. Maybe I have been given this affliction, this thorn in my flesh for a reason.

Yes, I do have plantar fasciitis. And since I have it, I’m going to make the most of whatever time I have left with it. I’ve decided to use the notoriety I’ve achieved with this blog to be a voice in the wilderness, telling the world that you can have plantar fasciitis and lead a relatively normal life. Through this blog and (for-pay) speaking engagements, I will raise awareness of this silent epidemic.

Listen. If you suffer with the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, you need to get tested. If you experience pain while walking, pain while running, pain while sitting, you need to get help. There is no need for you to live with this debilitating condition without professional podiatric assistance. Anonymous podiatrists in anonymous podiatric clinics are available to give help and advice. While a complete cure is not yet commercially available (and may still be years or even decades away—biomedical researchers won’t even touch it until they’ve got the trendier AIDS, cancer, and diabetes figured out), there are treatment options that can help you maintain an acceptable quality of life. Rigid shoe inserts, high-power painkillers administered orally or by injection, electrostimulation, painful foot stretches are all available to make life more livable.

Think not only of yourself. Think of your loved ones, those tireless caregivers who have sacrificed years of their lives, carrying things (like television remotes or video game controllers) to you because you were too pained to walk to get them yourself. They have walked by your side, supported your weight on long walks from the front door to the car in the driveway, listened to your yelps of discomfort. If you don’t get help for your own sake, do it for them.

Look. You are not alone. Plenty of high-profile celebrities suffer with plantar fasciitis. Professional basketball greats Tim Duncan, Larry Hughes, and Kobe Bryant. Jason Giambi of New York Yankee steroid controversy fame. Your humble narrator. Noted stage and screen actor Gary Grubbs ( Plantar fasciitis is not a death sentence. Alone, we may limp, but together, fellow sufferers, we will walk proudly.

Major Announcement: New Blogsite!!!

July 18 marks my one-year bloggaversary.

No one can deny that it's been twelve fabulous, glorious months of opinions, observations, wit and witticism.

After 73 posts and nearly 3000 hits (2983 and counting), it is finally time to take this show on the road.

That's right, loyal readers and friends, I am moving. This blog will no longer be housed on my MySpace account. Instead, it will be hosted by

The new blog website will be:

There will be some great new features available at not available in the current venue. Chief among them is that non-MySpacers will be able to see posted pictures and comment on blogs. These readers represent an underserved and longsuffering constituency who deserve full access and a voice in this ongoing dialogue.

Additionally, I am now in the process of courting corporate sponsors for the site. This should serve to help defray some of the costs involved with maintaining such a high-profile venture. I have to be honest: the relief from financial burden will be nice. (Lisa suspects that I might further cut costs by outsourcing the task of blogwriting to poor laborers in third world countries.)

To my MySpace following, for the timebeing and forseeable future, I will notify you of new blog postings by announcing them in my MySpace blog section. I will include links to the new site.

Unfortunately, the new site does not house a kudos repository... and this is one thing I will truly miss. Lisa has recommended manual kudoing for those who are so inclined. Feel free to include kudos in your responses. For example, "2 Kudos to you!" or "Mega-kudos!" or "Nice post, but just one kudo today, chap" are all appropriate ways of kudoing.

I hope that you will take this journey with me. This is an exhilerating and terrifying move. I take a risk by upping and moving, but I hope it will pay off and that you will be there with me when it does.

On this thrilling note, I proudly unveil "Land of Yajeev" at:

Here's to another year!

(current mood: excited)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What happens in Cook Forest…

So there we were, waiting in line at a little country ice cream store on vacation in Cook Forest, Pennsylvania. Ahead of us was a twentysomething guy with his twentysomething girlfriend and a veritable army of nephews and nieces.

"What can we order, Unlce Adam?"

"Anything you want," Uncle Adam heroically replied, as he slid his hand down his girlfriend's back until it rested solidly on her, um, rear. Lisa and I exchanged embarrassed glances as he proceeded to rub, massage, pinch, and shake. More shocking still was his girlfriend's total lack of response or embarrassment. My suspicion that she had some sort of neurological disorder precluding her from any sort of sensation below the waist was cast into doubt when she reciprocated.

We placed our orders, paid the cashier, and enjoyed our treats on a park bench next to the ice cream store.

Between licks, I was astonished to look up and see another couple engaging in overt bottom grabbing. This time it was a thirtysomething lady with her (by my estimation) fortysomething companion. Her actions were not so intense: she rubbed gently, grabbed, and held while their orders were placed.

We had just about had our fill of shock and awe amusement, so we finished our ice cream in the car. A sixtiesish couple approached the window to order. I looked at Lisa. She looked at me. We agreed that this couple would break the streak of tushy touchers. I put the car in reverse and began to back out when, what to our incredulous eyes should appear, but a sixtiesish female hand caressing a sixtiesish male buttock.

"Ooooooh!" I inadvertently cheered in my outside-voice, our windows down.

"Go go go!" Lisa commanded, embarrassed by my exclamation. I peeled out of the parking lot as the publicly affectionate couple turned their heads to see what was the matter.

Must be something in the ice cream.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: awake

Scared silly

Last night, I went all by myself to see the horror/thriller 1408.

I was the only non-couple in the theater and was excited to be on the edge of my seat.

The gentleman behind me to the left did a fine job of eliminating the horror aspect of the film by giving the play-by-play commentary of the movie, announcing to his significant other what was happening on-screen as it occurred.

He successfully and continuously reminded me that this was just a movie and actors with his booming outside-voice:

"Look--John Cusack can't hear anything!"

"Someone is behind him."

"Something's gonna jump up at him. I know it."

"Oh no. The telephone doesn't work."

"I think he's just dreaming this."

"That's not really his daughter."

"That guy's scary-looking."

"There's blood on the walls."

"He's gonna jump!"

"It's not over."

"Now, it's over."

"Roll credits."

"What a scary movie."

I can only imagine this guy narrating the rest of his everyday life... driving, working, shopping, eating, loving... Not much is left to the imagination. No one ever need wonder what he's thinking.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: horrified
(Then) Currently Listing: Various Positions By Leonard Cohen (Release date: 07 February, 1995)

Will blog for food

It has been apocryphally fabled that my first words upon entering this world were: What's for dinner?

It has been non-apocryphally fabled that my first words upon entering the world of matrimony were: What's for dinner?

I have only missed dinner once. I was 5. Presumably, I became distracted by Hot Wheels and bathtime and had not noticed that supper had not been served. My mom put me to bed. I remember laying there, tossing and turning, with the strange, unsettling sensation that something was amiss. My stomach gurgled. Then I felt the pang. I bolted upright and yelled at the top of my lungs, announcing my mother's failure to provide for her child's nutritional needs to all the neighborhood: "MOM! YOU FORGOT TO FEED ME!"

Flash forward 22 years. My wife is in Connecticut where she is completing her pursuit of becoming a Master of Gifted Education. She left the dog and me to fend for ourselves at home.

Thus far, I've found subsistence in the form of Chinese leftovers and Hungry Man microwave tv dinners.

I've finished the Chinese food and have only 1 Hungry Man meal left and 10 days until Lisa comes home. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when the Hungry Men run out. I fear we'll be reduced to animals.

Scrounge for crumbs, I guess. Maybe share Watson's kibble. Pop over at the neighbors' at dinner time...

Perhaps the good Lord will send some (hungry) manna from heaven.

Lisa... come home soon... you forgot to feed me.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: soon to be hungry, i fear

Overheard at Denny's

Pre-adolescent Girl 1: Do fish have brains?

Pre-adolescent Girl 2: Um, yeah. They need 'em to do stuff?

Pre-adolescent Girl 1: What stuff?

Pre-adolescent Girl 2: Fish stuff.

Pre-adolescent Girl 1: What's fish stuff?

Pre-adolescent Girl 2: Um... I don't know, but my dad catches fish and saves them in the freezer.

Pre-adolescent Girl 1: Oh.

(my pancakes were delicious)

Originally Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: blah

I thought it said cyclops gnu...

when I first read the headline. But, as it turns out, it was actually Cyclone Gonu that wreaked havoc in Oman.

Oh well, if I ran the news...

Originally Posted: Tuesday, June 7, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: disappointed

...speaking of inappropriate...

After featuring the brilliant comment of the boss in my last entry ("you're just like my wife... but in a good way"), I have found a way to insert my very own hoof into my very own oral cavity.

Rhonda, a co-worker, is suffering from an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection in her leg and is on bedrest at home for the week.

When she called the lab to give us a health status update, I asked to be put on the line so that I could deliver the following comic (or so I had thought) observation:

"Rhonda, have you seen A Christmas Story? Good. You know that leg lamp that the dad loves? Yeah, the one in the window. If you should happen to lose your leg in this whole ordeal, you should use it to assemble one of those leg lamps. They're really hard to find and go for like 200 bucks on EBay. You could really cash in on this thing."

The other co-workers in lab stood in stunned silence and later berated me for making light of the situation. "How could you?" one asked, shaking his head. "This is very serious."

Open mouth, insert infected foot.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, June 6, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: apologetic

He swears it was complimentary to all involved.

Rhonda, our lab manager, had organized the offers a product representative dropped off to show our boss.

Our boss arrived, saw the stack of "deals", and said: "Look at all those coupons. You're just like my wife."

He paused, shifted in his seat, then added, "But in a good way."

Originally Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: working

Not for consumption

Today, Lisa made two deserts: a strawberry pie for our own consumption and a strawberry jello pretzel salad for her co-workers to enjoy during a birthday party at work on Monday.

Also, today, I went grocery shopping and returned home with a panoply of edibles (as is not uncommon for a shopper such as myself--see blog for November 30, 2006).

So the stage is set: a refrigerator filled to near overflowing with recent purchases and culinary creations. On the top shelf, among countless other items, are the strawberry pie (for our own consumption), milk, and salad dressing. The strawberry jello pretzel salad (for her co-workers to enjoy during a birthday party at work on Monday) can be found in the bottom shelf milieu of goods.

After dinner (a delicous shrimp fra diavolo, also prepared by Lisa), Lisa was kind enough to serve us both some desert: we each had a slice of strawberry pie (which had, of course, been created for the express purpose of our own consumption). Topped with a dollop of fat-free Cool Whip, it was an utterly delectable desert, so delightful, in fact, that I decided upon seconds. "No, honey," I said. "I'll get it myself." (Foreshadowing: I have since come to regret these words.)

I gracefully emerged from my recliner, approached the refrigerator wtih aplomp, opened the door, reached for the pie, and, in a rare spasm of dyskinesia, jostled the salad dressing while my hand was en route to the strawberry pie (created for own consumption).

The dressing wobbled, forward, then back. And, then, it took the fateful swivel and tilted sideways. The bottle moved in slow motion, yet it all happened to so fast. Before I could correct my error, the thousand islands teetered off the edge of the top shelf and plummeted. The plummeting ended with a muffled plop. Before the visual stimulus before me could traverse my optic chiasm, I knew what I had done. I had caused the dressing to fall from its perch next to the strawberry pie (which was for own consumption) into (not next to or in front of, but smack dab into the middle of) the strawberry jello pretzel salad (prepared for her co-workers to enjoy during a birthday party at work on Monday).

The strawberry jello pretzel salad (which had been intended for her co-workers to enjoy during a birthday party at work on Monday) could no longer be served to her co-workers to enjoy during a birthday party at work on Monday... and, disfigured (but still delicious) is now for our own consumption.

Lisa has graciously forgiven me. I feel just awful.

I'm going to get some more.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: full

"I will never forget the tips you gave me today."

These were the words of Daksha, a technician in our lab, spoken with grave seriousness, thanking me for advising her to do the following when transferring proteins from a polyacrylamide gel to a nitrocellulose membrane:

1. Always cut the bottom right corner of the gel before removing it from its glass plate. Accordingly, cut the bottom right corner of the membrane to which you will be transferring the contents of the gel. In this way, you will be able to maintain the proper orientation of the membrane with respect to the gel and its contents.
2. Always place the gel onto the membrane in the same manner and orientation each time you transfer. In this way, you will always know which way is up and left on your membrane.

I told Daksha, "If you follow my ways, you will have much success in protein detection."

It seems that she has taken my words to heart.

If I can impact one person, just one, by sharing words of wisdom in biochemical technique, this whole science gig will have been worth it.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: encouraged

Waddle, waddle, quack, quack.

The following is a transcript from a recent telephone conversation with my mother.

Me: Mom, there's something we need to talk about.

Mom: OK…

Me: I just saw my podiatrist.

Mom: And?

Me: I have something of a bone to pick with you.

Mom: What is it?

Me: I asked him about the duck walk.

Mom: Oh, dear.

Me: Listen, Mom, Dr. Lowery says I was born with it. That it's in my bone structure.

Mom: I see.

Me: Mom, God made me this way. There's nothing you or I or anyone could consciously do to change my behavior. All that time you spent trying to correct my steps--

Mom: I was just trying to help you to be a normal boy.

Me: Normal? Mom, I was who I was, and I am who I am. This is all the normal you're going to get out of me. I can't change. All I have ever wanted was for you to love me for who I was, not for how I walked.

Mom: Couldn't you at least try to point your toes straight ahead when you walk?

Me: I did not choose this, and I couldn't possibly choose to walk any differently. Believe me, if I could have chosen my gait, it would certainly not have been that of a duck: heels in, toes out. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. The stares, the guffaws, the mockery—it's not been an easy road. (lengthy pause) But, it is a road I must continue to travel as courageously as I possibly can, knowing full well that pain will surely follow me all of my days.

Mom: You can't control it?

Me: I've tried. Honest, I have.

Mom: What about a good therapist?

Me: You're missing the point.

Mom: You're saying this is genetic?

Me: Yes, Mom, that's what I'm trying to tell you.

Mom: If you have kids, are there going to be little ducks waddling around the house?

Me: Yes, Mom, and I hope you'll love them, independent of their manner of locomotion.

Mom: I'll try.

Me: That's all I ask.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: (pre)determined


Blogging live from the Indy500 mini-marathon...

I've trained hard for this race. I've been tapering for the past 6 months or so and carb-loading for at least as long.

I just finished the 5K in near (personal) record time. I must admit I walked about half of it--which helped my time--my walking pace is a good deal faster than my running pace.

The best part of the whole deal is all the free stuff you get at the end: apples, bananas, Snickers, subway meal, potato chips, cookies... just enough to undo any health benefits I may have accrued from training and running(/walking) this thing.

The great thing about going out to big public events like this is that I get to see and meet many of my readers and supporters. I've run into at least 4! And who knows how many others of you are out here, to shy or embarrassed to introduce yourself to me.

Congratulations to all who raced and finished!

Originally Posted: Tuesday, May 5, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: spent

I have a way with women.

Women seem to like to push the envelope with me.

Tonight, after recounting the details of my difficult week with my therapist, she asked me how I felt about it. I hesitated, and, as if to push the envelope, she said, "You're p*ssed off." She paused. "Aren't you?"

"Yeah, I guess I am." We continued our conversation for some time. As we talked about why my week had p*ssed me off, I began to wonder why she had used the phrase "p*ssed off". This was certainly the most brazen use of language in our sessions to date. I finally decided that she was just trying to provoke me, to get my goat, to catch my attention.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I had clearly relinquished control of this conversation. She was on top in this one, and I had to turn the tables. Again, she asked me how I felt. I was prepared with a reply: "like my work had gone to sh*t."

She was taken aback. That was the last curse word uttered in our session.

If I (or my health plan) am paying her to listen and advise, she can stick to the listening and advising. I'll cover the risque language, thank you very much.

After this killer therapy session, Lisa and I went out to eat at Domenico's. As we circled the parking lot, a little girl stopped in front of our car, made direct eye contact, and stuck her tongue out at me. Yes--there I was, face to face with a chubby little tongue protruding from her cherubic little face.

We drove away.

I was boiling on the inside. How dare this little girl affront me so? I nearly pulled into a parking space before the change of plans. I jerked out of the spot, sped around the lot, until the little girl and I were eye-to-eye again within our respective cars. She was still giggling, reveling in her facial assault, when I, as they say, fought fire with fire. With unmatched oral agility, I returned the favor and stuck my tongue out at her!

She drove away. Actually, the older man (presumably her father, but one never knows) drove away. I ducked... for two reasons: first, to avoid ocular connection with her male companion, and second, to ensure that I had the last word in this nonverbal war.

I always have the last laugh with the ladies.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 27, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: accomplished

The Good Race

The wife and I are training for the upcoming Indianapolis 500 mini-marathon festival.

Lisa will be running in the 13-mile half-marathon, and I will be participating in the shorter, but no less mentally taxing, 5K race (3.1 miles).

Lisa says that for her, the last 3 miles are the hardest part of her race.

Which is how I feel about mine.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: Rocky Balboa-ish

"Best Party Ever"

[[Note: To have any sense of context whatsoever for this post, please see the following blog entry by another esteemed MySpacer… the Brian Hulick mentioned in both blogs are in fact one and the same:

with apologies to John Mayer]]

The only way I can describe the party of Erwin Rommel is that it tasted like flowers were growing around large masses of steel (what chili)... It was a partygoer's dream come true... It served whatever emotion your (sic) having back to you in a way that felt so uplifting. He's like the male Martha Stewert. Yah, I think that sums it up.

A Bio....

Erwin Rommel is the nom de plume of Brian Hulick. His parties are a not yet legal marriage between family get-together and the more abstract high school/college reunion (they're genderless). His debut party (as far as this partygoer is concerned) was in the summer of 2006 with Russ, Andy and Yajeev, where he served steaks, chips, and a variety of beverages. He is now a full-fledged member of the burgeoning social elite in Seaberry, Pennsylvania; he hosted the "Best Party Ever" on April 14, 2007 with a much wider assortment of guests, tunes, and delicacies.

His website can be viewed here:

IMPORTANT: His parties are by invitation only.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: grateful

The Mighty Bumpkins

My amibition has always been to be a part of something larger, greater than myself. Since I was a small child, I have dreamed of working as a part of a team to accomplish something that no one individual could on his or her own.

I experienced it in fourth grade when my team (Murphy Construction) won the Liberty Township little league championship in the late 1980s. I recall chanting "We will, we will rock you" from the dugout with a group of guys unified in mission. That was the height of my athletic career. My statistical highlight: I had two base hits on the season, one of which was a closed-eyed single which broke the no-hitter of Josh C. in the bottom of the final inning. His dad nearly strangled me. My other hit was a ground ball to left field. Speed demon that I was, I barely beat the throw to first base by diving toward the bag. Actually, my assistant coach tripped me on the way to first; he rightly believed I'd arrive faster at first by falling than running. Regardless, my identity was subsumed by the whole of championship winning Murphy Construction. The victory Dairy Queen banana splits could not have been any sweeter than the thrill of being on (if not contributing to) the winning team.

Again, in junior high, I found myself a member of a whole greater than the sum of its parts. After being cut in the first round of tryouts (I was the only one cut in the first round of tryouts), I was offered a position as scorekeeper for the seventh grade basketball team (because I had heart, if not skills). I traveled with the team, ate with the team, carried basketballs for the team, cheered for the team, and recorded statistics for the team. That year, the team went undefeated, dominating all other opponents in the Trumbull Athletic Conference (TAC-8). Few other events in my life have been as exhilerating as watching the team for which I kept the books win it all. I wore that conference championship t-shirt with as much pride as I would have had I shot the title-winning basket myself.

I have since longed to work together with a group of dedicated individuals to accomplish something great... to be a cast member in the community theater... to contribute to a scientific breakthrough... to win the intramural bowling championship...

I recall in college a dozen dorm mates were working together to complete what seemd an impossible task: passing a nerf basketball twice around the cramped dorm room, each individual being required to shoot it through the nerf basketball hoop consecutively without anyone missing. After hours of intense gameplay, tumult erupted from the dorm room like nothing I had ever heard. "We won! We won!" were the shouts of the young men who had each twice made the basket. The resident of the room was so elated that he shook a can of orange soda and opened it with his thumb partially occluding the hole such that the soda spurted around the room like champagne. "We won!" he passionately intoned as the orange pop rained down on his laundry and bedsheets. Oh, to have won with these men and tasted the sweet, sticky orange flavor of success.

My dream was finally realized again last Wednesday. The place: Chick Fil A in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. The occasion: Free chicken for a year for the first 100 people in line (I was number 31, and Lisa was 67, for those interested). The event: Hula hoop relay race.

The evening was packed with music, games, and free food. The emcee announced that there was time for one last game, and that teams of five should make their way to the front. My friends were not interested in competing (not even my wife, who had already won a t-shirt by singing with motions I'm a Little Teapot in front of the Chick Fil A crowd), so I resigned myself to watching from the sidelines yet another team accomplish excellence. To my delight, a group of four tough, burley, pierced n' tattooed guys shouted out that they needed another teammate. I knew immediately that this was my opportunity. I dropped my barbecue chips and sprinted to the guys. I told them I'd join their team if they'd have me. They'd have me: I was accepted.

"We're the Bumpkins!" one yelled. "Yeah, the Bumpkins!" another chimed in. "Bumpkins!" I added in solidarity.

The rules of the game were simple. The members of each team stood side by side, holding hands in a line. At the whistle, the first teammate would step through a hula hoop. The hoop would then be passed along the length of the team, with each member passing through the ring, and back again. The first team to have the hula hoop return to the first man would win. Teams would be disqualified if, at any point in the competition, the chain of hands was broken.

I was thrilled to participate and show my worth to these guys. Fortunately, I'm nimble, so this sort of event is right up my alley. I was the anchor for the Mighty Bumpkins, and I would not let my brothers down. Initially, the brawny bunch decided that holding hands was too effeminate and that we would be connected fist-to-fist rather than hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, the taskmaster emcee prohibited our adjustment, so we held hands.

From the first whistle, the bumpkins functioned as a single body, effortlessly wiggling through the hula hoop. The first man in line, still holding hands with the second, guided the hoop down the line around each subsequent teammate. My heart raced and pulse pounded as the plastic ring neared me. I couldn't, nay, wouldn't let my brothers down. By the time the hula hoop had reached me, I was in the zone-- the TigerWoods-MichaelJordan-JoeMontana zone. I passed in and out of that hula hoop like a hot knife through butter.

The hoop traversed the line of men and reached the front of our group, and, like the men of Memorial Hall in 1999 (but without the orange soda), the cheer burst forth as we Bumpkins, Mighty Mighty Bumpkins, chanted in unison: "We won! We won!" The tangled group of men jumped up and down, exchanging sweaty high fives in what can only be described as orgasmic elation. Oh the glory. We were on top of our game and on top of the world. Against all odds (we were by far the girthiest team in participation), we conquered the hula hoop challenge.

For winning, we each got our choice of prizes from the Chick Fil A stash: I picked a Chick Fil A travel mug and coupons for (more) free sandwiches. But nothing compared to the real prize: the pride that comes from losing oneself to the single, successful, victorious, organic whole... giving in to the power of the Chick Fil A sweet tea... and the everlasting kinship I will feel with the champion hula hoop shimmying Bumpkins.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: subsumed


...and you shall receive.

My mother-in-law, an avid reader and fan of my blogsite, asked me what she had to do to be featured in a blog.

Just ask.

... and if she's (un?)lucky, she might find herself in more...

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: sleepy

Fiery butter rubber glove pan fire

We'll see how soon she asks me to make dinner again.

The in-laws are arriving tomorrow, and Lisa has been hustling and bustling all week long, scurrying about to get our house in order for our anticipated guests. Meanwhile, I have been busy contributing to our family in less tangible, but no less important, ways... working long hours in lab... dogsitting Watson while Lisa shops... blogging...

So, needless to say, in light of all that I have been doing to help out, I was just a little surprised when I was asked to make dinner this evening while she worked on installing our last bit of flooring. Nonetheless, wife-loving husband that I am, I agreed to prepare a dish that, in retrospect, was far beyond my skill level: chicken and fettuccini alfredo from a box.

Per the instructions, I began boiling the noodles before starting in on the chicken. While the noodles were softening, I turned on the burner 'neath the pan to be used to brown the chicken. Once the burner and pan above it reached high heat, I dropped in the three prescribed tablespoons of butter to be melted. The butter sizzled for a few seconds and then spontaneously burst into flames. The blazes stretched nearly a foot in the air, and the heat was intense.

"Uh, Lisa, I need help."

We stared at the glowing butter fire for a few seconds, paralyzed. "Water!" Lisa suggested. I had the presence of mind to recall the wise words of Jerry, the Grove City College security guard, during residence hall staff emergency training five years back: "Water does not extinguish grease fires!"... and then I became lost in memory, reminiscing about getting to use a fire extinguisher to put out a grease fire in a barrel with Jerry's nodding approval. "Water!" Lisa repeated. I snapped back to the situation at hand. "No," and I recited Jerry's warning, "Water does not extinguish grease fires!"

Unfortunately, Jerry did not tell us that rubber oven mitts also do not extinguish grease fires. Of my own accord (Lisa is adamant that this was not her idea) I furiously clobbered the blazes with the rubber oven mitt I gave Lisa for Christmas. Flames shot around the glove and landed on the floor... as the rubber glove melted in my hand... Instinctually, I dropped the glove... which unfortunately landed in the fire, further fueling the flames, now spewing noxious fumes throughout our house.

I had visions of firefighters and fire trucks and fire hoses and our house and adjoining townhomes engulfed in flames on the eleven o'clock news. I imagined our neighbors scrambling from their homes, most prized possessions gathered in their arms... I began wondering what my most prized possessions would be--what I would want to salvage if our house were burnt to a crisp--my computer... my dog... my post-it note with future blog ideas... I digress now, and, more critically, I mentally digressed then as the scorching flames filled our kitchen and lungs with thick black smoke.

I decided I rather preferred to pollute the external environment over our internal environs. I threw open the kitchen window, picked up the pan, and thrust it outside. A helpful neighbor shouted to us, "I think it's done." Thank you, kind citizen. We hadn't noticed.

I sent Lisa outside to meet me at the window to retrieve the pan. She ran outside and met me on the other side of the window, but, upon her arrival, decided she wasn't all that interested in the pan after all. ("What was I supposed to grab it with? It was on fire!" she later recounted in her own defense.) So, I bent over to set the pan on the ground, my head directly over the conflagration, and got a faceful of black smoke. I dashed outside to retrieve the fiery crash, scooped it up after the edges of our bushes had been scorched and dropped it on the sidewalk.

Finally, I remembered how to extinguish grease fires. "Powder, Lisa, get some powder...sugar, no flour--get some flour." Dutifully, Lisa darted inside and returned with a measuring cup filled with flour, which we dumped on the butter rubber glove fire. The flames retreated, but not completely. Lisa made two more trips with cupfuls of flour. In retrospect, it might have been labor-saving to have brought out the entire canister of flour, but this effort was by no means a paragon of efficiency.

We watched as the inferno mellowed to a smoldering heap of ashen floury embers... and then as it died completely. To see an image of the flour-extinguished butter bonfire, go to the pics section of my account, and look for "Fiery Crash". I sincerely regret not taking a before and during picture to match this after.

When we came back inside, I found my noodles to be glued together in one giant noodle clump. Lisa suggested we just go out to dinner. I refused to admit defeat and started over... this time, less interestingly, I was successful. Dinner was delicious.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: full


I think I need to see a dentist.

I'm experiencing extreme bagel chip sensitivity.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: pained

April Fools

This morning, my family led a Pesach seder (Passover ceremony) for my parents' church.

Apparently impressed with my ability to read the traditional prayers, one congregant approached me and said: "That Hebrew--it's all Greek to me."

Funny, that's how I feel about Greek.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: relaxed


I was on a walk with my wife and dog when I happened upon two Kodak photo prints face down on the street. I picked them up and found pictured two of the most precious little girls I have ever seen. I carried the pictures home and remarked to my wife that it was too bad the parents of these children had lost these priceless pictures.

As we neared our house, it dawned on me that I had seen these children before. I rifled through the filing cabinet in my brain to place the faces on these darling little ones… and… gradually… I remembered where I had seen them… They had been playing outside of a house in my neighborhood… and that house… where was it located…? Ah, yes. That house was two streets from ours…

And, then I realized. I had picked up these photographs from right in front of their very own house. The pics must have blown out of their yard and onto the street. Then some strange passerby (me) picked up their pictures and kept on walking.

Enter my dilemma. Now that I have taken these beautiful pictures home, what do I do with them? In my heart of hearts, I'd like to return them to the girls' parents… but how?! How can I deliver these pictures back to their rightful owners without appearing to be a total creep? What do I do? Do I walk back over to their house, knock on their door, and say, "Hi, I have these pictures of your daughters"? Certainly, they'll think I'm some sick stalker or predator. Then, when they ask where I found them, if I'm honest, I'll say, "I found them in front of your house." I cannot imagine that "borrowing" pictures of neighborhood children can be good for my local image. Plus, paralyzed by indecision, I've now been in possession of these pictures for six days. Each day I wait to return them will make the interchange that much creepier.

I have other options. I could return the pictures to their house when I believe no one is home, by slipping the photos inside their door or in their mailbox. But this raises brand new creep issues. I'd have to case the house well enough to know when the family is in and out. This would involve lurking in the bushes with my binoculars, donning fatigues and camouflage face paint, waiting for the family's departure. Then, when I return the photos, I need to be absolutely certain that neither the family nor their immediate neighbors spy me with the package. And, what will they think when they find pictures of their children in their mailbox! Certainly, this is the hallmark of a real sicko. All that would be missing is the menacing note with words and letters cut out of magazines and newspapers.

So, if I do return them anonymously, I should probably take care to remove my fingerprints (is this even possible with photographs??? If you know, please let me know), else I'm likely to have the police knocking on my door wanting to ask me a few questions…

So, in order to avoid total creepiness, I have tentatively decided not to return the gorgeous pictures. Which is a real shame, because these kids are just too cute.

Enter dilemma number 2. If I decide not to return to images, what should I do with them? It seems such a shame to just throw these angels away…right? I must repeat that these are two of the cutest girls I have ever seen. The real sickos of this world (a group of which I take great care to not count myself a constituent) have made it difficult for non-sicko adults to admire the cuteness of small children without being made to feel like complete perverts. (As an aside, our former neighbors also had a very cute daughter whose utter cuteness and innocence I couldn't help but admire… yet, I always felt nervous when I watched her playing outside for more than a few seconds at a time… for fear that her parents would see me looking at her through my window and think me some sort of threat…Come to think of it, I hope that's not why they moved away… oh, dear…)

So I fear returning the pictures would make me seem a creep, but throwing them away seems a crime. If I'm not going to return them, I'd really like to hang them on my refrigerator, though this might not be such a great idea. Guests of our home might ask me who these children are… and I'd either have to tell this story (and pray they don't turn me in to the authorities)… or make another one up… which is risky, because what if they know these children!

You would appreciate my predicament even more if you could see just how adorable these little ones are. I'd like to scan the photos and post them on my MySpace page for my readers to see, but I think that this is probably out of the question.

Creeps give people like me a bad name.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: stressed

Aria to the Chief

Last night I dreamt that I was attending a roast for the former President Bush (George Herbert Walker). There were hundreds in attendance, but somehow I was seated at the head table with Katie Couric, my cousins, and others I assumed to be of national significance.

One by one, individuals at my table stood and spoke about G.H.W. Bush and what a great man and President he was. I was so sleepy and kept nodding off in the middle of people's speeches. When it was Katie Couric's turn, she rose and began describing the stages of mitosis. No one, excluding myself, thought this was strange. When Katie was finished, two others stood and further discussed mitosis, heatedly bantering back and forth, quibbling over the details of cell division... and everyone nodded, as if they felt like this were somehow an appropriate way to pay tribute to the former Commander-in-Chief.

I was truly exhausted, and in the middle of the mitosis debate, I spied the desert table. I got up, walked between the quibblers and George Herbert Walker and headed straight for the deserts, certain they would help keep me awake. Before my eyes was a heavenly display of cakes. I shouted to the head table, "You've got to see these cakes!" Bush and the debaters looked at me and nodded politely, not offended by my interruption. I served myself four pieces of four different cakes and returned to my seat in time for another lady to stand up and recite some cockamamie abstract poem that was far beyond my understanding.

Finally, I'd had enough. I could not see how the protracted mitosis discussions or the poem had brought any honor to Bush, 41. This was a roast, for pete's sake, not some scientific symposium or coffee shop poetry slam. This all seemed completely ludicrous. I had to do something.

When the poet sat down, I stood again, cleared my throat, and announced, "I hadn't planned on saying anything tonight, but I cannot help myself. In honor of our esteemed President, I will now perform an aria."

And I did. With the breathiest, most operatic voice I could muster, I began singing (at a slower tempo) the tune that plays in the background of the Flaming Lips' "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song". I amazed myself and thought, whilst aria'ing, "I sound really good." And, I could tell by the sparkle in his eye that Bush thought so, too.

I woke up mid-song, humming the tune in bed, astonished by my dream. I know it must have some significance, though I know not what. Perhaps I will serve (or sing) at the pleasure of some important person, like David at the feet of King Saul.

I'm open to alternative interpretations (or invitations: I do Bar Mitzvahs, birthday parties, and funerals).

Originally Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: groggy


My wife says I need a haircut. I don't disagree. My mane has become a bit overbearing. It might be best described as sort of a muted afro-puff.

And yet, I resist the haircut. It's not that I love, or even like, the coiffure I now sport. In fact, I find it a royal nuissance to wash, condition, and style.

However, as I walked from my lab to my car late one night, I happened to catch my shadow beneath the streetlights. The grey silhouette was striking. My head cast a shadow of stunning proportion. Not since college have I been so struck by anyone's cranial circumferance. Atop my slender physique, the gargantuan head made me look positively cartoonish. And, to be honest, I dug it.

If you asked my wife, she'd tell you that my greatest fantasy in life is to have a bobblehead doll fashioned in my image. If I wiggle my head just so under the city lights, my ground-level blackened image brings giant bobbleheads to mind. This brings me great joy after long, maddening days at the lab bench.

So, the haircut will have to wait until the burden of carrying such a heavy cerebral load outweighs the benefits of the size of the shadow I cast.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: content

Oh, brother, where art thou?

This entry may be unintelligible to non-MySpace members.

It may also be unintelligble to MySpace members. Oh, well. I tried.

More than just a brother, I have lost a (MySpace) friend.

All I ever wanted was my brother's support.

I told him about my blog, hoping he would read it and leave comments and kudos. After months of prodding, he finally told me he'd read it but couldn't leave any comments or kudos because only MySpace members can do any such thing.

So I did what any good brother would do: I created an account for him. I began accepting MySpace friends on his behalf and adorning his profile with cleverly captioned pictures. I did not just make him my MySpace friend, but I made him my TOP friend. I emailed him his new password and told him with a great sense of accomplishhment that he was now a member of a privileged, if not elite, online community who could comment on and kudo my blog posts.

Whenever someone requested him as a friend, I would email him and ask him if he wished to accept their offer of friendship. One day, a friend of my brother from yesteryear, Fred (names have been changed to protect the innocent), requested my brother's online friendship.

I emailed my brother and asked him: "Your friend Fred has requested that you become his friend. What do you want to do? Just say the word and I will accept or reject on your behalf."

His response was shocking: "I'm gonna have to ask you to cancel my account and I'll open my own when I'm good and ready."

I protested: "What?!?!?!? You can't cancel this one-- you've already got so many friends... like 4 of us: me, Ross, Bill, and Tom [only this last name has not been changed for protection of the innocents]. I've got--I mean--you've got so much invested in this. Look. Yes or no to Fred?"

My brother: "I'm sorry Yajeev -- I'm going to have to ask you to cancel..."

Me: "We'll talk."

Him: "terminate."

So, I did what any guy who had created a killer MySpace profile for his brother that he didn't want to see deleted because he secretly wished his brother would just read his blog and leave comments and kudos: I changed his password and assumed his identity.

This carried on for some time. But the pain festered. I would sign in with his MySpace ID and read my blogs from his account. I wanted to leave kudos on his behalf but I couldn't bring myself to commit that self-deceit. Finally, the facade became too much for me to maintain, so I relinquished his password.

A short time later, I received a note in my email inbox announcing that my brother had sent me a message from his MySpace account! Overjoyed that my brother had finally decided to bridge our technological devide and participate in the beauty that is the online social network of MySpace, I logged in to my account with great fervor to see what his message was. Maybe he wanted to tell me how much he loved my blogs... or perhaps he wanted to apologize for not being more enthusiastic and grateful for my efforts of setting up his awesome profile... I felt like the prodigal brother had returned. It was time for a party.

My giddiness quickly turned to sadness when I clicked on his message only to read the following: "This profile no longer exists." My heart sunk. He had chosen this cruel and unusual way to let me know my efforts were not appreciated and that he no longer wished to be my (MySpace) friend. He then emailed me: "Sorry, man...I need to have the solo thrill of creating my own account."


I remember my high school psychology well enough to know that I'm at the third stage of the DABDA grieving process (denial->anger->BITTERNESS->depression->acceptance). It may be the bitterness I now feel that compels me to air out my dirty laundry in this public forum... the public forum from which my brother has chosen to extricate himself.

That's ok. I know who my real (MySpace) friends are: you, my readers, commenters, kudoers. And especially Tom, who makes all of this possible. You are my (MySpace) friends, my (MySpace) brothers and (MySpace) sisters.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: Originally in denial, then angry, now just bitter

Meep meep!

I can't be sure, but I think my wife may be trying to kill me.

I have suffered too many near-death mishaps at her hands in the past two weeks for this to be a coincidence.

First, I was descending our staircase with a basket of laundry (which she must have known I would wash), my computer, and a bowl of dog food. On the penultimate stair was a well-placed grocery store bag filled with stuff she had been 'meaning' to take upstairs. My normally steady foot landed on the bag, and I slid as if on a banana peel. In the air flew towels, underwear, hundreds of kibbles, my computer, and my otherwise nimble body. And with a thud, both I and the computer fell to the tile floor, rained upon by a gentle shower of dog food. I survived, and so did my computer, but barely. This crash resulted in a $341 repair which may have been death for my wallet if not for myself.

Second, seven days later, she had us pulling up our carpet so that we could install laminate flooring. There I was, on my hands and knees, prying out staples from the underlying flooring so that we would have a nice, smooth surface on which to overlay the laminate planks. I looked up just in time to see our stand-alone corner dish cabinet falling towards my head. And, somehow, someway, I had the presence of mind to reach out my hands and stop the plummeting hazard mere inches from crushing my head like a melon. And, who was behind the cabinet? You guessed it. She claims she was just trying to move the piece of furniture to tear out what was the conveniently placed final piece of old carpet remaining on the floor.

Third, same day. On the shopping list she gave me was a pre-mixed bag of salad, which I compliantly purchased. I mentioned three days later, when she was cooking corn for herself for dinner, that we still had the salad. She replied that she could not eat it, but that I should. When I examined the sald bag I discovered that the salad had expired! I pointed this critical fact out to her, and she shrugged her shoulders, unphased. Look, I may not have a PhD in biochemistry or molecular genetics, but I am fully aware of the dangers lurking in leafy appetizers--E. coli, salmonella, ebola... and the risk must increase exponentially with each day after the expiration date. I did not eat the salad.

Finally, two days ago, after she claimed to have lost her cell phone, I found it that same night face down in the toilet, dead. The next day she was leading a field trip on which she simply had to have a cell phone. So, she borrowed mine. As my faithful and discerning readers will recognize, my cell phone represents more to me than the freedom to hear and be heard by millions on my nationwide network. My cell phone represents the addiction with which I struggle daily: cell phone Yahtzee Deluxe. And removing my phone for a full day at a time forces me to cease digital dice rolling cold turkey. The withdrawal symptoms were intense. Fortunately, I found a replacement phone for her last night. Were I forced to endure another Yahtzee Deluxe-free day, the tremors might well have done me in.

Ever vigilant, I will not succomb to her devices (though I may to crippling paranoia). Like Gloria Gayner (and Diana Ross after her), I will survive. I will be the Road Runner to her Wile E. Coyote. The Bugs Bunny to her Elmer Fudd. The Osama bin Laden to her American led multinational coalition of armed forces. I will dodge her blows and live to tell the stories. Probably in my blog.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: scared

Oops! Which one did it again?

So, I was on yesterday, when I saw a picture which gave me pause.

Turns out there's a Britney Spears lookalike on the loose that has committed heinous crimes. His name is Nathan Moore, and this teenager is being charged with murdering a homeless individual.

I haven't gotten a firm timeline together, but it appears to me he's shaved his noggin to hide his identity and perhaps pass himself off as a troubled female pop star. To be honest, he's done quite a good job. It's difficult for me to tell the two apart.

I have temporarily posted a picture in my pics section with the two side-by-side for comparison. I will remove it within a couple days to avoid copyright infringement issues.

To read more about Nathan Moore, goto This is where I procured his image.

To read more about Britney, goto This is where I procured her image.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: surprised


I knew that Youngstown was suffering a population (loss) crisis of sorts, but I never expected the city to go to such unusual lengths to remedy the problem.

Yesterday, we drove to Youngstown, and, as we crossed the city limits, we were confronted with a billboard bearing the following public service message and implicit instructions:

"Every girl needs a leading man. Have you been a father today?"

I had to admit I hadn't done my part. Then again, I don't live in Youngstown anymore.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: exanimate

***Yahtzee Deluxe Update***

For context, please see the 9/27/06 and 2/7/07 entries on my blogsite.

This morning, I rolled a 491 on cell phone Yahtzee Deluxe. It was my second highest score of all time. Needless to say I was thrilled. So thrilled that I screwed up the part where you enter your name for the High Scores list. It reads: VJ0A. And I can't change it unless I clear the High Scores list. Which I won't. Obviously.

By way of avoiding self-incrimination, I will not disclose where I was when said second highest personal score of all time was achieved. Rest assured, it was not at the Olive Garden.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: chipper


My name is Yajeev, and I'm addicted to cell phone Yahtzee Deluxe.

(Response: Hi, Yajeev.)

You may recall my recent discovery of cell phone Yahtzee Deluxe as an alternative and superior means of entertainment/occupation while using the toilet (see 9/27/06 entry).

What was once a sometimes amusement has since come to rule my life. I write this blog not out of pride, but in shame over the way I have allowed Yahtzee Deluxe to overtake every aspect of my life.

Had you confronted me two months ago as a well-meaning friend or relative, I would have denied, denied, denied... and would have insisted that YOU were the one with the problem, son. It's taken me a long time to admit that I have an addiction, but I know that this is the first step in overcoming it.

There has been no lack of warning signs... I have ignored them all. And yet, day by day, game by game, roll by ineluctable roll, Yahtzee Deluxe has consumed one facet of my existence after another.

It began when I would play Yahtzee Deluxe while sitting on the toilet. Before I knew it, I was extending my throne room visits, both in frequency and duration... I was sitting down for occasions I would have previously stood... I was visiting the restroom when there was no real need for elimination--I just craved an escape into my private sanctuary where I could satisfy what was fast becoming an unquenchable urge to roll five of a kind.

On my commutes to and from work, I have often found myself sitting in traffic. Before I knew it, I was whiling away my idle road time with Yahtzee Deluxe. When the road congestion cleared in the middle of a great game, however, I occasionally could not find the willpower to set my cell phone down and turn my attention to the road. Nay, one hand on the wheel, the other on the dice, I continued both pursuits simultaneously... usually managing to perform both tasks adequately. On one occasion, before my very eyes on the little color screen appeared "1 2 3 4 5." I yelled in exclamation, "Large straight!" when I heard a honk at my side. I looked up and realized that I had begun to swerve into the other lane. As if to explain myself and assuage the anger of the driver I nearly broadsided, I merely lifted my cell phone to the window and pointed at it, mouthing the words "Large straight." I felt sure he'd understand.

The urge comes upon me at all times--in the middle of the night, while reading for school, even in the middle of writing this blog I have played twice (scores: 199 and 224) and have barely resisted the urge to play more... I can do better than those scores--they're average at best.

Looking back, the warning signs of addiction have been so obvious... I've consulted addiction websites and found that I have exhibited several of the classic signs of addiction: denial of any problem, keeping secrets from family and friends (i.e. how much Yahtzee Deluxe I've been playing), problems with schoolwork (rolling the digital dice when I should have been reading), spending a lot of time figuring out how to satisfy my addiction, failed attempts to stop indulging, anxiety (you should see me sweat bullets when I've rolled four sixes and I'm going for the Yahtzee with one roll left), mood swings (highly score dependent), changes in sleeping habits (I've been playing in the middle of the night), feeling shaky or sick when trying to stop, weight gain (two pounds since Thanksgiving)...

And yet, it was only recently, while my wife and I were enjoying a romantic evening at the Olive Garden, when, during the slightest lull in an otherwise serious and stimulating conversation, I whipped out my cell phone, and pressed the memorized button sequence to open Yahtzee Deluxe and began rolling, that I realized something was amiss. I glanced up, and realized I had done something wrong.

"What are you doing?"

"Um, I'm playing Yahtzee Deluxe."

"Is our conversation not interesting enough?"

"Oh, sure it is." Pause. "Are you offended?"


"Oh, sorry." I flipped my phone shut, and slid it into my pocket.

We continued our conversation. My wife, graceful as ever, has not brought up this incident again. But I know that I have offended.

Which brings me to the present. It's easy to overlook the indications of a problem… until you begin to hurt the ones you love.

I have vowed to make a change: No more Yahtzee Deluxe at the Olive Garden.

It may seem a small step, but I assure you, it will be no easy task. And, I call upon you, my friends, to help me, to hold me to my commitment. I know that without a support structure in place, my best-laid plans are but lofty pie-in-the-sky fantasies. Please, if ever you find yourself with me in an Olive Garden, and you see me reach for my pocket, have the courage and strength to help me find my own courage and strength to overcome the animal Yahtzee Deluxe urge that rages within.

Thank you.

(Response: polite, gentle applause)

Originally Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: guilty


Warning: This blog comes at the risk of being (perhaps extremely) distasteful to some readers...

Cultural critics in America are quick to place the blame for the violence in our society on the ever-present violent video games, violent rap music, and violent movies. Fair enough. It is not too big a stretch of the imagination to concede that these may have had some influence on the brutal underbelly of our American civilization.

It follows to me, then, that given the recent obsession with hangings of dictators, associates of dictators, and relatives of dictators, that the word game hangman must be a major cultural force in Iraq. The endless hours youngsters in Baghdad have spent filling in the blanks, drawing a man sentenced to hang wrong letter by wrong letter and body part by body part have allowed death by strangulation to wedge its way into the collective Iraqi subconscious psyche.

As we support the formation of a new Iraqi government, one thing we should mandate before we cut and run is that the governing body set up an investigatory panel to determine the effects of hangman on Iraqi youths. When a connection is established between hangman gameplay as children and obsession with hangings as adults, this investigatory committee ought to demand that all hangman games have a parental warning and violent game rating. Exactly how this is to be enforced is not my call. After all, we want the government to begin to make and follow through on its own decisions.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: thoughtful

Fate of the Union

Clearly they (who?) weren't kidding when they declared the Blogosphere to be the media of the future, rendering the more traditional outlets (print, tv, radio) obsolete.

As an update, I have heard Skeaker Pelosi's State o' the Union blinking spree (see Jan 23 blog entry) discussed no fewer than three times in the tradtional media--more than 12 hours after you heard (read) it first on my blogsite.

If you don't think the mainstream left-wing (or, if you are so inclined, right-wing) press is scouring the blogosphere (this site included) for newsworthy content, think again.

My advice to you: Save yourselves some time--check my site before (or instead of) your preferred news (tabloid) outlet.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, January 26, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: triumphant

The State of the Union is Strong

Tonight, we watched our Commander-in-Chief deliver his penultimate State of the Union address. It's one of my top thirty (or so) things to watch in the second half of January. Some observations...

While the President was the star of the evening, the real entertainment was to his rear. Behind our Pres were seated (and occasionally standing) the veep Dickie C and Madame Speaker Pelosi. Lisa observed that Madame Speaker must lose a lot of congressional staring contests, while Cheney is probably the Oval Office champion. In the course of merely one or two minutes, Pelosi blinked an astonishing 100 times to Cheney's 18 (and 3 of those 18 came while resitutating after one of many stand-and-clap moments--these 3 almost shouldn't be counted in the final tally).

The frequency of ups and downs at these shows is rivaled only by Catholic mass.

We enjoyed the expressions on the faces in the audience. Ted Kennedy looked pained beyond tolerance. McCain appeared to be asleep for some time. Condi stared straight ahead, scowling, probably imagining herself in the staring contest on the grand stage.

Special guests served as examples of great Americans. Dikembe Mutombo was there as a representative of tall and wildly successful immigrants. The creator of the popular Baby Einstein children's video series was also in attendance. Bush: "Baby Einstein has grown." I can't be sure, but he may have believed her to be Albert's mom.

Lisa commented that the army men had lots of flair. They did.

I learned today that the speech is sent out in advance to members of Congress to peruse and, importantly, plan when and when not to stand and clap. Even so, there appeared to be some confusion among several start-and-stop clappers who had to check out the applause activity of those in their immediate vicinities before joining in themselves. I can appreciate some good old fashioned peer pressure when I see it.

As the President exited the hall, he signed autographs for members of Congress (republicans and democrats alike) clamoring just to touch his suit or shake his hand. He even signed one Senator's forehead. That lucky bloke'll never wash his face again.

At the end of the speech, John Kerry was the first out the door. I guess he really wanted to beat the traffic. JK.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, January 23, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: amused


Last night, I did it again.

I was number 64 at the grand opening of a Chick Fil A restaurant an hour from my house. Which means, of course, a year's supply of Chick Fil A! 52 coupons that can be used for Chick Fil A sandwich, chicken nugget, or chicken strip value meals over the course of the next year.

I sat outside on a lawn chair from midnight till 6:00 am, guarding my place in line. Wearing only my boxer shorts, long johns, a tee shirt, a fleece top, two winter coats, khaki pants, ski pants, two heavy-duty pairs of socks, tennis shoes, gloves (with hand warmers), a winter hat (toboggan?), and ear warmers, and draped with two blankets (one electric--but not plugged in), I toughed it out with 99 fellow CFA groupies of all ages, shapes, and sizes awaiting our treasure at the end of the rainbow. Those who arrived after the hundredth person were relegated to the side, in hopes of a drop-out in the first 100 (there was only one).

Mad props and shout outs to my CFA cohorts--Ben, Scott, Leanne, and Michelle... and shame to those who feared the elements or made going to work alert a priority... I won't drop those names here, but you know who you are.

Through the night we were treated to such luxuries as ice cream parties (in sub 20-degree weather), hourly role calls, tours of the kitchen (a highly valued warming opportunity and veritable fast-food preparation informational smorgasbord), free stuffed cows thrown from the roof (at the last one I attended, they threw CFA mugs from the roof... this made a lasting impression on the less dexterous among us).

As the hour of the opening neared, we were corralled like sheep (or chicken) to the slaughter and "asked" (required) to put on the promotional t-shirts describing the event. So, on went my sixth layer of torso-protection.

Finally, the moment came, the ribbon was cut, and the doors were opened. We marched in, receiving our neatly wrapped boxes of value meal coupons. The atmosphere was jubilant. Employees banged pots and pans in celebration. "Congratulations, congratulations!" Everyone kept showering us with kudos and adulation, as though we had just accomplished something. And, indeed we had. For we had achieved the American dream. We did nothing and got someone richer than ourselves to give us something for nothing. Makes me proud.

At $5 per value meal and 52 value meal coupons per guest, that's a $260 value. I waited in line for six hours. Which means I just made nearly forty-five bucks an hour. It'll be a long time till I'll see that kind of income again... probably not until March, when the next one opens at the mall.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: exhausted, yet jubilant

No Rules, Just Right

Everywhere I go, there are rules... regulations I have to abide by... at work, on the road, at home... Some people want to go where everyone knows their name; they go to Cheers. I, on the other hand, want to go where I can find freedom from the crippling rules of daily life.

That's why we went to the Outback Steakhouse, where the motto is: No Rules, Just Right.

We arrived at 2:00pm on a Saturday. The restaurant was nearly empty. The hostess escorted us across the restaurant and plunked us down at a table near the corner. After the hostess left, we decided that we rather preferred a booth to a table with chairs. Lucky for us, or so we thought, there was a booth immediately adjacent to our chair-laden table.

So we moved to the booth. No rules, right? Wrong.

Almost immediately, at the entrance, I could see forming a huddle composed of the hostess with two or three servers. They spoke in hushed tones and repeatedly glanced in our direction with expressions betraying both panic and consternation.

They broke the huddle, and the hostess, who must have drawn the short straw, made her way to our booth. "Um, I'm sorry, but you can't sit there." "Why?" "That server isn't here yet. You have to move back to your table." "I thought there weren't any rules here." "Not exactly." "Oh, can we move to another booth, then, somewhere else in the restaurant?" She paused to perform the mental calculations of counting the tables per section to determine how difficult it would be for the server in another section to wait on us in addition to his or her load of what couldn't be more than one or two other tables.

Reluctantly, she grabbed our menus, and we marched in step behind her to the booth across the restaurant. She seated us with a forced smile and walked away.

From this point, our meal went quite smoothly. Our waiter did a marvelous job balancing the demands of both of his tables. And, for the rest of our lunch, we felt carefree and uninhibited.

Outback Steakhouse: One rule, Almost right.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: repressed

Keeping us safe

As my folks were preparing for a recent flight to Charlotte, they walked through the airport metal detector. My parents noticed on the x-ray screen that they had accidentally left a large pair of scissors in their carry-on bag. My dad volunteered to remove the scissors and leave them behind, but the airport security officer assured them that the scissors were within acceptable travel code-- the blades were less than six inches long. This was troubling to my dad, who almost refused to get on the plane, knowing that a bad guy could get on the plane with scissors, as long as the blades were less than six inches long!

Not long after this, my mother-in-law flew from Indianapolis to Orlando for Thanksgiving, bringing with her Thanksgiving dinner. As she walked through the metal detector, the security officer stopped her and searched her carry-on luggage. The turkey and mashed-potatoes passed inspection, but the green bean casserole, weapon of choice for would-be ne'er-do-well's (like my mother-in-law) was quickly confiscated (and probably devoured).

As an experiment, the next time I fly, I'm going to prepare and carry-on a scissors casserole. The blades will be less than six inches long, and I will top it off with those delicious dry onion ring crisps.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, January 9, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: curious


Thank you, 63. As I unpackaged my most important Christmas present, the tag bearing your number gracefully slipped out and floated to the ground in a wisp of anonymity like the job you perform.

While I appreciate the DVD burner, cash, and Curb Your Enthusiasm Seasons 1 and 2 DVDs I received this season, it is the gift which you, 63, inspected that I will use the most. Thanks to your thorough examination of my shiny new boxer shorts, I don with confidence these cloths round my loins. I know full well that the barrier 'tween skin and pants is firmly established, that the elastic band snaps firmly 'round my waste, that the single button holds the slit securely in the closed position, that the seams are characterized by the utmost integrity.

63, if you're out there, thank you. I want you to know that your fine work is appreciated. These shorts fit perfectly. Your identity is a mystery, but your skills of scrutiny are not.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, January 4, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: grateful

Overheard from my sister-in-law's boyfriend

If it weren't for carbon 14, I wouldn't date at all.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: amused

Person of the Year

Time Magazine has recently named YOU as Person of the Year for all of the user-driven online resources (MySpace, Wikipedia, the blogosphere, etc.).

And, while I take credit for this prestigious award, I, for some reason that I cannot quite verbalize, found this honor a bit unsettling. Perhaps it is the fact that millions are sharing in a single prize.

Thus, as an actively participating member of the award-winning New Media, I would like to use this forum to nominate a more deserving recipient of the Person of the Year award.

Please reply to this post with your suggestions and reasoning. Remember, the individual receiving this designation must have made a significant impact on the lives of many (like of the 992 who have viewed my blog).

I look forward to the deluge of ideas!

Originally Posted: Tuesday, December 22, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: pensive


A program to fill the stockings of underprivileged children is being sponsored by the school my friend Chris works at. It is called "Santa's Stocking."

A poster at the school has pictures of all the children receiving gifts in said program. Above the pictures are printed the words: "Santa's Stocking Kids."

Whenever another teacher is in earshot of Chris, Chris points at the poster and says, "He really shouldn't be doing that."

No one gets it. The only one who (partially) understood him corrected Chris: "That's not how it's spelled."

Originally Posted: Tuesday, December 19, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: indescribable

You know your neighborhood's gone ghetto when...

...your neighbor's Christmas decorations look like this.

(Since I can't figure out how to actually embed images within my blog posts, I will have to direct you to "My Pics" from my main MySpace page. From there, please check out the image entitled "Winter Wonderland." You may have to be a MySpace member to view my pics. Sorry.)

While Lisa really appreciates their "Welcome Winter" snowman sign and hanging icicle lights, I just can't get over the kitchen sink and cupboards adorning their holiday lawnscape.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: worried

Chanukah Poem

Feel free to add your own verses of Jewish splendor... It'd be a real mitzvah.

'Twas the night before Chanukah, and on top of the table
Not an object was stirring, not even a dreidel.

The candles were placed in the menorah with care
In hopes that Chanukah Harry soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of potato latkes danced in their heads.

And Bubelah in her nightgown and I in my skullcap
Had just settled in for a long Kislev nap.

When outside of the bedroom I heard such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the kitchen, I ran a bit off kilter,
Where I found a sideburned man with his hands in the gefilte.

A little old man dressed in fancy blue rags
Putting out Chanukah gifts with Chanukah gift tags.

He lined all the presents 'round the Chanukah bush;
I nearly yelped for joy but he bade me to shush.

He asked me if we had any snacks kosher;
Having just watched Fargo, I replied, "Oh, sure."

After he'd eaten, he felt kind of heavy...
He gathered his things and jumped into his Chevy.

And as he prepared to speed out of sight,
he shouted:
Happy Chanukah to all--oy vey--and good night!

Originally Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: mildly creative

Christmas music reflections

This blog contains a few thoughts on some different Christmas music...

While I was listening to the King's rendition of Here Comes Santa Claus on Now That's What I Call Christmas Volume 3, I think I finally figured out where Lisa got her childhood idea that God and Santa were best friends (but God was just a little bit more in charge).

This Christmas carol doubles as theological exposition. For example, a few of the lyrics:
"Santa knows we're all God's children, that makes everything right."
"Peace on earth will come to all if we just follow the light, so let's give thanks to the Lord above that Santa Claus comes tonight."

Some thank God for the coming of his son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, but this song sets us straight.

I was also listening to Frosty the Snowman, and for the first time, I realized just how depressing this song is. If you've ever lost a pet and know how heartbreaking that is, imagine how awful it would be to watch your own hand-rolled sprung-to-life snowman playmate melt into oblivion. I nearly teared up.

Finally, a Christmas music recommendation. I have recently re-discovered a charming little album I thoroughly enjoyed in the days of my own youth: Merry Christmas from the Chipmunks. It drives my wife (and mother-in-law) crazy. I can remember sitting Indian style (is that politically correct?) on the floor as a small child in front of the cassette player, listening to this album over and over and over again (probably driving my own folks crazy). I am listening to it as I write this, and I can't help but be overcome by a minor fit of nostalgia... and a bit of a migraine.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: reflective

New Movie Contest

I was recently birthday gifted a subscription to Netflix.

Rental recommendations?

Best movie recommendation wins this contest.

Ready. Set. Go.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: excited

Awkward moment at TGI Fridays

We recently went out to eat with my parents at TGI Fridays (I ate a Dippable Cheesy Bacon Burger). My parents are routinely asking me about my work in graduate school, which, as my readers know, concerns yeast genetics.

They inquired about what I would like to do next, and I mentioned, somewhat flippantly, that I'd probably end up working on a sexier research project, at which point my mom began singing (with feeling), "He's too sexy for his yeast."

I'm not sure if she knows that's not how the song goes.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: weird

Warning: This could happen to you

My blog serves many purposes... one of which is to pass on nuggets of wisdom I have found over the course of my few years on this earth... most of which I have learned through the course of my own folly. What follows is no exception.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be this: Don't grocery shop while hungry. In my own depraved logic, I believed that this was in fact a good idea-- that my hunger would somehow more clearly guide me to those food items my body really needed. This turned out not to be the case.

I entered our local Giant Eagle on a post-vacation 'emergency grocery run,' with a very limited shopping list of the bare essentials: milk, carrots, apples, orange juice. I left with a somewhat larger collection of edibles: skim milk; baby-cut carrots; 3 red delicious apples; chocolate milk (low-fat); diet black cherry vanilla coke; ice cream sandwiches; chicken, broccoli, and cheese lean pockets; chocolate and peanut butter Chex mix (small bag); cheddar Chex mix (large bag); garden salsa Sun Chips; everything bagel chips; garlic bagel chips; lite Caesar salad mix; peach fruit bowls; low-fat Oreos; low-fat yogurt; and chocolate and vanilla cupcakes (3 of each). It all looked so good, and I was just so hungry.

I forgot the orange juice.

I am passing this on to my readers. I wish someone had passed this advice on to me: Don't shop on an empty stomach.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: satiated

The Few, The Proud, The Elite

I needed something to read. As we prepared to board the plane to Orlando, we stepped inside the airport bookstore. I scanned the rows of paperback books for one I might like to read.

Uninterested at this corner, I next turned to the magazines. Certainly I could find one to occupy me for the duration of the flight.

Time... US News... no. Not likely to provide additional information or insight than Newsweek, to which we already subscribe.

Given my recent phase of patronage of ESPN talk radio, Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News were unlikely to go above or beyond what I'd already absorbed in the sporting realm.

I briefly considered, then rejected Reader's Digest and a book of crossword puzzles. Cosmo, Elle, US Weekly, Entertainment also not deemed viable options.

Finally, my attention turned to the rack I normally avoid... the row of magazines reserved for those far more intelligent and important than myself. Heart racing, in a fit of motivation to improve myself, I purposefully grabbed and purchased The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly.

A bit of background. In my college days, there was one among our group of friends who rose above the lowbrow molecular biology and history textbooks to which the rest of us were accustomed. In addition to his sophisticated literature texts, he read The New Yorker (the first 'r' is silent). The rest of the group (excluding myself) chided him for thinking himself superior to the group. He faced the abuse head on, and I knew why... because he knew it was true... he was in fact superior to this mob, due in no small part, to his faithful reading of the New Yorker. I watched him, coolly composed, and the monkeys dancing around him, and I thought to myself, "I want what he has." But I still wasn't willing to endure his cross or scorn their shame.

Until now. In the relative anonymity of an airport bookstore, I summoned the courage to better myself.

Over the past several days, I have immersed myself in the wonderful elite world of those in the know and with the correct opinions about politics, music, the cinema, culture, and the sciences. As I made my wayward and twisted route from one cover to the other, I felt my sophistication and status rising with each page.

Inspired by my important and well-read college compatriot, The New Yorker was my Mt. Everest. I would scale the intellectual heights so that I could finally intelligibly communicate with him who was chastised by his ignorant counterparts.

Each evening, I have basked in the bubbling hot tub, glass of wine in one hand, intellectual sustenance in the other. I giggled knowingly at the cartoons, those visual puns, dotting the pages. I sighed reflectively as I perused the poetry. And, most importantly, I have absorbed the content, assimilating the opinions of the intelligentsia into my own cerebral framework, making the ideas of the elite my own.

I now know which movies to see and which to avoid. I rejoice giddily over the recent democratic electoral victory. I am aware of a charming fellow who talks to turkeys. I ponder the traditional storytelling methods of the Indian bhopas. I can wax eloquent on the effects of global warming on the planet's oceans. I can now authoritatively (and gleefully) describe the fall of Rumsfeld.

I have finished The New Yorker (and am just now beginning to approach The Atlantic). I feel as though I've acquired a heightened sense of awareness and importance. Yes, I am joining my college friend in the ranks of the elite... and I like it.

Inspirational, elite college compadre, you know who you are. I hope you will accept me into your caste of the knowing. I hope that I have not signed up too late.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: smug