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Monday, April 30, 2012


There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.
~ Plato

- - - - -

Elizabeth: (reading her book of knowledge by the Snapple company)  "Q" is the only letter that does not appear in the name of any U.S. state.

Maddie:                               Quolorado.
Michelle:                             Qualaska.


Michelle:  Maddie, Quolorado was actually pretty good.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I think we're the only jokeless show on television. I mean really, we have no setups and no punch lines. It's not a joke show. There are funny lines and funny moments but again the comedy is born of the human experience and awkward pauses are a great part of what it is to be human.
~ Rainn Wilson

- - - - -

Me:  How do you like your new swim coach?

Maddie:  I like him a lot.  He's really good.  He's a little awkwardly social, though.  That's okay, though because I'm a little awkwardly social, too.

Me:  So if you have to have a conversation with him...

Maddie:  Exactly - awkwardly social.

Me:  (pause)  You know a lot of people call that "socially awkward."

Maddie:  (laughing)  That's what I'm talking about!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Beware, so long as you live, of judging men by their outward appearance.
~ Jean de La Fontaine

- - - - -

This is what James Lipton looks like as a Lego Person.  If James Lipton ever wore a flannel shirt and khakis.

Friday, April 27, 2012


The cure for anything is salt water -- sweat, tears, or the sea.
~ Isak Dinesen
- - - - -

My horoscope yesterday said, "Meditate on the value of compassion."  I did.  There are hidden words in "compassion."  "Compass" - as in let your compassion guide you.  "Passion" - as in make compassion your passion.  And "ASS" as in, I don't have much compassion for you if you're an ass.

Wow.  Meditation is fun.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations.  
When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.  
~George Carlin
- - - - -

Camping is like short-term squatting.  Except you usually have to pay.  I guess it's like short-term renting. Except you don't get a house.  You're just renting a plot of land for a brief period of time.  I wonder if the campground owners would be angry if you planted a garden while you were camping.  

Also, if a kid is bad when he is camping, does he get campgrounded?

In February, I wonder if the camp groundhog comes out to see how many more weeks before camping season.

And so on.  And so forth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The way is not in the sky.
The way is in the heart.
~ Buddha
- - - - -

I think when you see a heart-shaped rock on the beach, it should make you happy.  It's a nice symbol to find in nature.  And I don't think you should be upset because it is the small, petrified heart of some ancient creature.  I don't think that's how it works.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?  
~Maurice Freehill
- - - - -

It's always darkest before the dawn.  And after the dusk.  And in the middle of the day if there is an eclipse.  And when you close your eyes.

Today it was dark when I woke up, but then it got brighter.  And then it got dark again now at the end of the day.  Life is like that.  Cyclical.  If it is dark and then light and then dark again real fast, it might be because you're driving through a tunnel.  Then it is motor cyclical.  Or bicyclical if you aren't going quite as fast.

Monday, April 23, 2012


 A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of.
Burt Bacharach.
- - - - -

Jordan dropped his fork on the floor...

Jordan:  Oops.  O - o - p...  O - o - p - s.  What does that spell?

Me:  That's really good spelling, Jordan.

Jordan:  Thank you.  P - o - o.  What does that spell?

Me:  Poe?

Jordan:  No.  P - o - o - p?

Me:  Pope?

Laurie:  Pop?

Jordan: No. P - o - o - p.  What sound does o - o make?

Laurie:  "Uh?"

Jordan:  No.  o - o.

Laurie:  Jordan, I know what it spells and it isn't very polite dinner conversation.

Jordan:  I'm sorry.  I don't know what I was thinking.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food. 
~Desiderius Erasmus
- - - - -

My brother Kirk hates Sociables.  I hate Chicken in a Biskit.  I know that hate is a strong word, but I think it is accurate in both cases.

I don't know if I have ever actually eaten a Sociables cracker.  If  you really are what you eat, this explains a lot.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Don't grow up too quickly lest you forget how much you love the beach.
~ Michelle Held
- - - - -

This is a photo of a sand fifty cent piece.

Friday, April 20, 2012


A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up children without surrounding them with books.... Children learn to read being in the presence of books.
~ Horace Mann
- - - - -

There are a lot of books in the world.  There are a lot of books in the library on my campus, too.  A LOT of books.  I took a tour of our library recently and saw the biggest book and the smallest book.  Tanya said when she gives kids a tour of the library they are way more interested in the small book than the big book.

You might think that is because kids are small and they like small things.  I think not.  I think it's because children like to steal things and a little book would be easier to steal.  I know they like to steal things because when I hear children singing it is like they are stealing my soul.

I also like libraries because children aren't allowed to sing there.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Man's heart away from nature become hard.
~ Standing Bear
- - - - -

When we were driving through West Virginia, I couldn't get over how beautiful it was.  I did notice a lot of garbage on the sides of the roads, though.  I told Leslie that seeing the trash made me kind of disappointed.  She said, "I think it's probably white trash."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I like this life.  I like it when it's hard, and I like it better when it's not, but I know you don't get the sweet part without the bitter.
                                                                         ~ Holly Near
- - - - -

I don't think I'd like to live in a candy land.  How would you farm that soil?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.
~ Oscar Wilde
- - - - -

When I grow up I'd like to live in a manor.  But not a loud and uninhibited manor.

Monday, April 16, 2012


To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps
 pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.  
~Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -
One morning, while looking at the hand soap, Leslie asked, "Where do they come up with names for this stuff?  Crisp Cucumber Melon?"

I said I wasn't sure, be we could find out and send in some new ideas.  I suggested Radish-Banana.  Leslie was partial to either Asparagus-Mango or Brussels Sprout-Pear.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"No, Kitty!  That's my pot pie!"
~ Eric Cartman
- - - - -

I do not like Banquet pot pies.  I actually don't really like pot pies at all.  They are yucky to me.  This is a photo of my parents' freezer.  Well, the freezer in the refrigerator in the basement.  What is reassuring to me is that they did not simply buy pot pies to torment me as a child.  They either really do like them, or else these are pot pies leftover from my childhood.  In which case, I guess they may have purchased them to torment me.

"Just try it," my parents would say.  "You'll like it.  Pot pies are good."

"I don't like them," I would respond.  I have tried them.

"You'll like them this time," they insisted.

They were always wrong.  Eventually, we all gave up.  They gave up trying to get me to try them and I gave up trying to convince them that I should just cash out whatever inheritance I was going to get so I could move far away.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


You must grow like a tree, not like a mushroom.
~ Janet Erskine Stuart
- - - - -

Mushrooms are interesting.  And yet, I learned at a very young age not to touch them or play with them or eat them.  The little blue things that live under them get furious if you do. 

Friday, April 13, 2012


I had only one superstition. I made sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run.
~ Babe Ruth
- - - - -

Some people don't like Friday the 13th or full moons or walking under ladders or black cats crossing their paths.  Those people are superstitious.  Not me.  I'm just regular stitious.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


 The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children.
~ King Edward VIII
- - - - -

When I go to my parents' house the next time, I hope they meet my expectations.  I am not going to spell out those expectations, because that would be like cheating.  I just want to see if they can meet them.

No.  Actually, I want to see if they can exceed my expectations.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Nature, who for the perfect maintenance of the laws of her general equilibrium, has sometimes need of vices and sometimes of virtues, inspires now this impulse, now that one, in accordance with what she requires.
~ Marquis de Sade 
- - - - -

What is the absolute minimum maintenance you can do on a road?  I mean you have to do something or else it would be a zero maintenance road, right?  So, what would it be?

And I have to add that the "Enter at your own risk" part of the message borders on taunting.  It is hard to resist.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Falling in love is like eating mushrooms.  
You never know if it's the real thing until it's too late.
~ Bill Balance
- - - - -

I don't know why Jessica was so dismissive when I asked if she was wearing orange when she said she was out hunting for mushrooms.  

Maybe it's because they were out hunting for asparagus.

Monday, April 9, 2012


A typewriter is a means of transcribing thought, not expressing it.
~ Marshall McLuhan
- - - - -

It bothers me to see typewriters dismantled like this.  I know that they might be out of common usage since we have computers, but there is still something about a mangled typewriter that is disconcerting to me.  I think it's maybe that the stories that might have come from this machine are no more.  It could be that - to me - the "repurposing" of typewriter letters is never going to be as good as the original-purposing of them.

Or it could just be that I don't like the fact that when someone does this they are making a typewriter into a typewronger.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Energy and persistence conquer all things.
~ Benjamin Franklin
- - - - -

You know what else conquers all things?  Robots.  And creatures from outer space.  And love.

But if I was in a fight with creatures from outer space and they were shooting lasers at me and I had robots and love, I have to admit I'd probably try the robots first.  Love should never be a last resort, but I suspect I'd panic when I saw those lasers.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


When I look down, I miss all the good stuff.  

When I look up, I just trip over things.

~ Ani DiFranco

- - - - - 


I think that when you ask someone how to spell something and they say, "Go look it up," what they really mean is that they don't know.  And also that they want you to go away and not bother them.  Well, at least that's what I mean when I say that.

Friday, April 6, 2012


 The soul never thinks without a picture.
~ Aristotle
- - - - -
This is a dish of lutefisk.  If you are wondering if it tastes or smells as good as it looks, the answer is yes.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.
~ Emily Dickinson
- - - - -

When you go for a hike and you discover a drying up creekbed full of frogs and you take a lot of pictures of the frogs, you know you're bound to do some writing about frogs.  I could make some joke about a "frog blog," but I won't do that.  It would be too obvious, and probably not that funny.  

Instead, I will quote Emily Dickinson:

I'm nobody.  Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us, don't tell.
They'd banish us, you know.

How boring to be somebody -
like some kind of frog
To work on the railroad all the live long day 
in a something fog.

Okay.  I wrote that without actually looking at the poem.  I know it goes something like that.  You wait here and I'll go look up how it really goes.

Found it.  Here it is:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –  
To tell one's name – the livelong June –  
To an admiring Bog!

Okay, it was pretty close.  

If I got to have some kind of land admire me, I'm not sure I'd choose a bog.  I think I'd choose the ocean.  Or a mountain.  Or maybe Mount Rushmore because it would be cool to have four presidents admire you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Human vocabulary is still not capable, and probably never will be, of knowing, recognizing, and communicating everything that can be humanly experienced and felt.
~ Jose Saramago

- - - - -

Me:   Are you interested in working with water animals?

Jordan:  You mean like a marine biologist?"

I hate it when I'm trying to simplify something for a kid and he turns it around and uses a really gentle tone because he's not sure I will understand his vocabulary.  That happens a lot to me...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


A writer should write with his eyes and a painter should paint with his ears.
~ Gertrude Stein
- - - - -

Opening a can of paint is like opening magic.  You don't know if the color in the can is going to look anything like the color you want on your walls or your house.  But you take that leap of faith.  You dip your brush and you spread it around to see what happens.  And you realize that it isn't exactly how you pictured it, but it's even better than you had imagined.  You finish the job.  You are satisfied.

And then magically the next day you realize that it is more teal than peach.  And how you made that mistake is also a magical conundrum.

Monday, April 2, 2012


There is something about the presence of a cat...that seems to take the bite out of being alone.
~ Louis Camuti
- - - - -

You might not think that a cat would enjoy watching you put together a puzzle.  And maybe enjoy isn't the right word.  A cat will at least sit and watch you put together a puzzle.  Given how idiotic cats think we are, this activity probably makes as much sense to them as anything else we do.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. 
Music is immediate, it goes on to become.
~ W.H. Auden
- - - - -

Today is my favorite holiday.  I almost didn't post a post at all today as an April Fool's Day joke.  But I just changed my mind.  I guess posting one late is enough of a joke and it doesn't seem like a giant punishment to everyone who loves this blog so.

There is a fine line between a joke or prank and just being mean.  You have to careful that you don't cross that line.  And you should also be careful that you know where other people's "lines" are, too.  You might do something you thought was just a joke and others might say that you're crossing a line.  Like the police might come and tell you that the giant statue you built as a joke tribute to yourself crosses someone else's property line.  Or is on state property.

You know, it is important to remember that "crossing the line" with police is not good to cross, either.  Allegedly.
Of course, if you do cross that line, you have plenty of time to reflect on what you did.  And to hum music to yourself.  Until they tell you to knock it off.