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Tuesday, July 31, 2012


A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
~ William Blake
- - - - -

A tree was cut down to make this picnic table.  And here you can see the reflection of a tree that has not been cut down in the picnic table.  If they were able to think, to pontificate, I wonder if the table would look longingly upon the tree and wish to be growing again.  And if the tree would look in horror at the table.


Probably not.

Monday, July 30, 2012


All my writing is about the recognition that there is no single reality. But the beauty of it is that you nevertheless go on, walking towards utopia, which may not exist, on a bridge which might end before you reach the other side.
~ Marguerite Young

- - - - -

When we were watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, Elizabeth was talking about how she was going to grow up and design an olympic stadium.  I told Maddie it was going to be really cool because it will be the first time a former Olympic gold medalist will have designed an Olympic stadium.  And that Elizabeth's triplets will also be competing in the Olympics that year and she will also have designed the uniforms for the U.S. athletes to wear at the opening ceremonies.

And we agreed that Maddie would be so proud to tell all her cats about it while they watched the ceremonies on TV.

Well, maybe Maddie didn't agree to that....

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Everything old is new again.
~ Peter Allen
- - - - -

I don't think David's idea for a Johnny Depp sequel called, "Edward Penishands" is a good idea.  Though typing the word "penishands" does make me laugh.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Children have very sharp powers of observation - probably sharper than adults - yet at the same time their emotional reactions are murky and much more primitive.
~ Donna Tartt

- - - - -

Elizabeth:  (looking into the window of the neighbor's house from our back yard):  Michelle...  there's a nun!  If I didn't see the front of her, I'd think she was one of those scary people from Scream.

Maddie:  Yeah.  Who wears their nun outfit anymore?  And there's a priest with her.

Elizabeth:  Yeah, a priest.  Or a pope.

Maddie:  He's wearing black, so I don't think he's a pope.

Elizabeth:  Why do they wear black?  Don't they go to church?  And aren't people who go to church angels?  And don't angels wear white?

Maddie:  Yeah, Grandma goes to church.

Elizabeth:  Yeah, but she wears different kinds of things.  She's a different kind of angel.

Friday, July 27, 2012


A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one.
~ Sam Rayburn
- - - - -

People who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones.  I get that.  But does that mean that everyone else can throw stones?  I don't think that's going to work out very well.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Don't be defeatist, dear.  It's very middle class.
~ Dame Maggie Smith as The Dowager Countess.
- - - - -

So, Leslie and Kirk convinced me I should watch Downton Abbey.  Of course I had to mock it (see image above).  However, it is addictive.  In fact, I found myself - after watching the end of the second season - going over my list of chores for the next day in my head.  And I found myself doing this by alternating the Irish and British accents of the service class.

Does this mean I want to be a member of the service class or I just wish I had members of the service class to do my chores?  Probably neither.  It probably means I watched too much Downton in one shot.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I consider it the highest compliment when my employees go out and start their own companies in competition with me.  I always send them a plant to wish them well.  Of course, it's a cactus.
~  Norman Brodsky
- - - - -
Work email exchange between minion and I.

Me:  I believe we can cancel today's meeting since we decided yesterday we were done and didn't need that meeting.  Do you concur?

Sara:  I do.  I am making nice strides in the curriculum for a web training this morning, so the additional time will be fantastic.  :)

Me:  Okay.
         Get back to work and quit dinking around on email.
         I love being a boss.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


All theory, dear friend, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- - - - -

A Facebook friend recently posted wedding images from their photographer.  The name of the studio was "Shades of Gray Photography."


I wonder if they'll be undergoing a name change in the near future?

Monday, July 23, 2012


I bet if you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, 
it would make beer squirt out your nose.
~ Jack Handey
- - - - -

When Megan told me that my blog reminds her of Jack Handey, I took it as a compliment.  Then later I wondered if she meant my use of Jack Handey quotes reminded her of Jack Handey.  And I got really angry at her for being so sarcastic and mean.  But she had already moved to Oregon, so my vengeance would have to wait.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


A book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements and clumsy hands. so the librarian protects the books not only against mankind but also against nature and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion.
~ Umberto Eco
- - - - -
When I returned all of my books to the library, the librarian said that the computer system was down so they were forgiving all the fines.  Otherwise, she would have had to charge me $1.50 for each book.  I said that computer problems are sometimes good.  She grunted.  I think in agreement.
I asked if the library had slow since classes ended.  She said, "No.  We've been busy with people like you returning their overdue books.  Most of them have to renew some of the books and it takes them 20 minutes to figure out which ones."  She paused, then looked up at me.  "You don't need to renew any of your books, do you?"
"No," I said quickly, trying to curry favor.
"That's good."  She continued to scan my books back into the system.  
"One good thing," I said, "Is that I know how many books I can check out at a time because this is all that I can carry."
"Yes," she concurred.  "We have people returning them in carts and boxes and bags..."  I thought about asking if they came with ribbons and tags because she sounded a little like that line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but decided not to mention it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


The defining function of the artist is to cherish consciousness.
~ Max Eastman
- - - - -

Apparently, this was the elixir of creativity at the Des Moines Art Festival last year.  I had to challenge the staff when they confronted me, though.  Because who is to say whether or not I'm an artist?  And the sandwich artist being escorted away from water cooler at the festival had a right to be outraged, as well.

Friday, July 20, 2012


The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.
~ William Blake
- - - - -

In looking at this photo, I got to thinking that Spiderman doesn't shoot his webs out of his butt the way spiders do.  I think this was a good decision on his part.  He would be pretty vulnerable to being blindsided in attacks if he had to turn around every time he wanted to fire a web at an enemy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


A mother's happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.
~ Honore de Balzac
- - - - -

I think that you could replace the word "beacon" with the word "bacon" in the quote above and it would still ring true.  At least for people who look forward to and have fond memories of bacon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey, 
at a mild season, through a pleasant country, in easy stages.
~ James Madison
- - - - -

You know how fall has two names - fall and autumn?  I am assuming that autumn comes from the autumnal equinox.  So, why can't spring have two names?  Spring and - from the vernal equinox - Vern?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


As soon as there is life, there is danger.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

When Jessica came to visit my house, she said, "I hope you close your windows at night since you live so close to the train tracks."  At first I was confused.  A closed window was not going to keep a train from careening through the house.  Then she added, "Someone could just jump off the train and break in."

First of all, thanks for one more thing to worry about.  As if I didn't have hobo concerns already.  I have written about them in this blog mainly because I'm not sure that hobos get on computers too much and if they do, I strongly suspect they do not follow my blog.

Second of all, why would a hobo jump off a train and choose THIS house to break into?  There are other bigger, nicer houses with nicer vehicles and boats and stuff that a hobo might choose.

Third, I think my cross stitch of "Hobo is Where the Heart Is," will make any hobo that jumps off a train and breaks into my house feel really guilty and he or she will leave and not come back here again.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Always keep your mind as bright and clear as the vast sky, the great ocean, and the highest peak, empty of all thoughts. Always keep your body filled with light and heat. Fill yourself with the power of wisdom and enlightenment.
~ Morihei Ueshiba

- - - - -

I think that we have conditioned ourselves to need to control the temperature in our environments too much.  I guess you could say that we have airconditioned ourselves.  I'm trying to undo that.  And what I have learned so far is sometimes it gets really hot.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Courage consists in the power of self-recovery.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

I don't think it's very nice to put people on a road to recovery.  They probably need to be resting, not walking down some road.  Maybe if we put them on the couch to recovery or the chaise lounge to recovery.  Now that would make sense.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Language is the source of misunderstandings.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- - - - -

I saw a woman the other day ask a colleague if he spoke "Spanish."  I put the word "Spanish" in quotation marks because that is what she did with her fingers.  According to Wikipedia, airquotes are used to indicate satire, sarcasm, irony or euphemism.  I don't think the Spanish language is any of those things.

But that is "just me" "not understanding" what her "point" was.

Friday, July 13, 2012


There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. 
My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
~ Dalai Lama
- - - - -

For some reason putting a Dalai Lama quote with a photo of a sign about zombies makes me laugh.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


(photo by Richard Boettcher)

I have an insane belief in my own ability to manifest things.  Insane belief, you know, that - I think it's ultimately complete sanity, but - I believe we create with every thought and every word in every moment is pregnant with the next moment of your life.  This is a fantastic journey that we're on.  It really is.  I mean, I've been challenged by it and it's been really difficult at times, but ultimately it's the last place we'll be able to tell the truth.  And that's what your job is - ultimately.  whether you do it in an abstract way or a real way.  Your job is to tell the truth about humanity.
~ Jim Carrey (on Inside the Actor's Studio)
- - - - -

Dad:  Hi.  Your mother and I have been working on this [juvenile nativity] project for the last 3 weeks.  We made 56 sets of 3 figurines each for the kids in the preschool at our church.  Your mother painted most of them and I cut, sanded and primed them.  I had a bunch of scraps of 1/2" plywood and figured this was better than sending them to the landfill.

Me:  That is really cool, but what preschoolers really like are plaster of Paris sheep so they can eat the heads off of them.  Wait.  Maybe that was just Erik.

I didn't write this to my father, but I think he's right that Baby Jesus would rather that the wood was used to make little nativities instead of being sent to the landfill.  Of course, I'm just speculating.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Only I can change my life.  No one can do it for me.
~ Carol Burnett
- - - - -

I sent Sally (who is from Minnesota) the following joke that my father sent to me:

Hang on to any of the new Minnesota Quarters you may acquire. They may be worth MUCH MORE than 25 cents!  The US Mint announced today that it is recalling all of the Minnesota quarters that are part of its program featuring quarters from each state.  This action is being taken after numerous reports that the new quarters will not work in parking meters, toll booths, vending machines, pay phones or other coin-operated devices.

The problem lies in the unique makeup of the Minnesota quarter, which was designed by a couple of Norwegian specialists, Sven and Ole.  Apparently, the duct tape holding the two dimes and the nickel together keeps jamming up the machines.

Sally and I had the following email exchange after I shared the message with her.

Sally:  That's stupid!

Me:  You fear change.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
~ Mark Twain
- - - - -

Me:  You have a staff member named April who is working with you this summer?  She shared her umbrella with me when I walked over to the MU for lunch.  We had a great conversation.  She was very friendly.  Just wanted to share.

Liz:  I am happy to hear she was helpful.  Were you acting like a new student again?

Me:   No, I was acting like an old, confused administrator.  And, also, I was not acting.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.
~ Alfred A. Montapert
- - - - -

I think Pigs in a Blanket would make a funny thing to serve someone for breakfast in bed.  Because the person in bed is probably under a blanket.  Except that I don't like Pigs in a Blanket, so don't make it for me.  Oh, and I guess if the person you're serving it to is in a blanket, they might think you are calling them a pig.  And you wouldn't be.  You'd be calling them lazy for not getting up making their own breakfast.

People are so hypersensitive sometimes.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.
~ Earl Wilson
- - - - -

I love traveling.  However, at the end of a trip, I usually get sad that the trip is almost over.  That is why I always try to have a next trip planned, so at the end of one trip, I can be excited to go on the next trip.

One trip I wasn't sad to see end was the trip I took as a child with my parents and grandparents out west.  I got car sick.  A lot.  At one point, I threw up in a souvenir store.  And my mom made me wear a flowered dress because that is "all she could find" in the car.

Really, Mom?  Why did you EVEN PACK A DRESS for me?  It was supposed to be VACATION!  Do you even know who I am?!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce.  Instantly.
~ Demetri Martin
- - - - -

I think that taking good photos is kind of like a monkey at a typewriter.  Give the monkey enough time and s/he's bound to come up with something that is pretty good.  Give a person a camera and s/he is bound to come up with a photo that is pretty good.  Give a monkey a camera and s/he is bound to come up with something pretty good.  Give a camera to a person to take a picture of a monkey and with enough effort s/he will get a pretty good photo of a monkey.  Give a monkey a camera to take a picture of a monkey and the camera might get poo on it if the other monkey throws poo at the monkey with the camera. 

So, the moral of the story is, don't loan your camera to a monkey.

Friday, July 6, 2012


It's never too late to be what you might have been.
~ George Eliot
- - - - -

Really, George Eliot?  Really?  Well, I wanted to be a child progeny, and it's too late for that now!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


A man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself -
like, for instance, he can't find any clean socks.
~ Jean Kerr
- - - - -

I know that not everyone call pull off socks with sandals.  Because sometimes people get glue in their socks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the fourth of July
~ Katy Perry,  Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Sandy Wilhelm, and Ester Dean
- - - - -

Happy birthday, United States.

And here is to you working with me to make July 6th a national holiday, too.  Okay?  Who's with me?!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


A good upbringing means not that you won't spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won't notice it when someone else does.
~ Anton Chekov
- - - - -

Father to son (walking through Memorial Union food court):  I'm sorry to see I raised you all wrong.

I really hope this was a joke.  If it was, it was very funny and a line I think everyone should use.  If, however, it was a serious comment (it didn't seem to be, but maybe), then I hope the kid writes an amazing memoir that gets made into a film and that the kid makes a bunch of money.  Then the dad can be happy that he raised his kid all wrong because look - the kid is rich now!

Oh, and sorry about your portrayal in the movie by Christopher Walken, Dad.

(Incidentally, I couldn't remember Christopher Walken's name, so I typed "creepy actor" into Google and got the following results:  Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Walken.  Thanks, Google!)

Monday, July 2, 2012


We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone. Wouldn't this world be a nicer place if everyone could help another person just a little bit?
~ Loretta Scott
- - - - -

I think that when you help someone, you have to be prepared for surprises.  You don't know what all that help will entail.  For me, I like it to entail some sort of surprise cash gift or ridiculously expensive gift.  Otherwise, help yourself, buddy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Healing is a matter of time, but sometimes also a matter of opportunity.
~ Hippocrates
- - - - -

I wonder why we send people flowers to help them get well.  I think it's because we're too lazy to build them a "super-fast healing machine."