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Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Bores put you in a mental cemetery while you are still walking.
~ Elsa Maxwell.
- - - - -

It was very disquieting to me that while Kirk and I were eating at Zombie Burger the song, "Heaven is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle was playing in the background.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Fish die belly upward, and rise to the surface. Its their way of falling.
~ Andre Gide

- - - - -

My mom says she can only wear her "Project Lutefisk" shirt at Thanksgiving or Christmas when she makes lutefisk.  Erik says she can wear it for Halloween too, if she wants to frighten people.

Monday, October 29, 2012


If the Vikings were around today, they would probably be amazed at how much glow-in-the-dark stuff we have, and how we take so  much of it for granted.
~ Jack Handey
- - - - -

So this morning, I heard on NPR that the poison hotline gets lots of calls around Halloween.  They get lots of calls when little kids chew on glow sticks and get the glow stuff in their mouths and then their mouths glow in the dark.

That is yet another awesome way that babies freak out their parents.  As if pooping themselves and spitting up on their parents isn't enough.  And learning sign language.  It freaks me out that babies can learn sign language.  And if we keep teaching them that, it won't be long until they start talking with one another and organizing and just completely take over.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be led by a bunch of babies with glow-in-the-dark mouths speaking a language I don't understand.

You might say, "Don't worry, Michelle.  Just wait until night time and then when they're talking you can see their glow-in-the-dark mouths and stage a coup and take control back."  But you are so very, very wrong because they're speaking sign language.  They don't have to open their mouths at all!

Think, people!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


My joking answer to this question is that I leave a bowl of milk out on the back porch every night for the Idea Fairy. In the morning, the milk is gone and there's a brand-new shiny idea by the bowl.
~ Sarah Zettel
- - - - -

I was looking online for bright shiny things and I came to a video called, "How to make an aluminum foil ball toy for your cat."  I did not watch that video.  I'm pretty sure I already know how to do that.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I want to feel my life while I'm in it.
~ Meryl Streep
- - - - -
I like Meryl Streep, but she is kind of intimidating to me.  I would NOT want to piss her off.  If I have something to share with her that I think she might not like, I always think carefully before I approach her with it.  I consider it "Looking both ways before I cross The Streep."
So far, so good.  I haven't ever really pissed her off.  At least not that she's mentioned to me.

Friday, October 26, 2012


A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

When I was a kid we went to Brainerd, MN which is one of the alleged homes of Paul Bunyan.  The photo above is not of that place.  It is a roadside attraction on HWY 69 between Ames and Rake, IA.  I like seeing these kinds of things, but I wouldn't want to be the neighbor to them.

Anyway, I liked the Paul Bunyan stories.  I like the fact that we mythologize our struggles - John Henry: Man versus Machine.  Or Man versus Nature - Paul Bunyan.  Or Old Stormalong: Man versus Water.  Ichabod Crane: Man versus Pumpkin.  Johnny Appleseed: Man versus Fiber Deficiency.

I wonder if Paul Bunyan ever sang, "I Got You, Babe" to his ox.

No.  I guess not.  That song wasn't released back then.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Don't wait.  The time will never be just right.
~ Napoleon Hill
- - - - -

Me:  Thanks for the conversation.

Brad:  Anytime!

Me:  ANYtime?

Brad: Nnnnnnn -- I take that back!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Our past is a story existing only in our minds.  Look, analyze, understand, and forgive.  Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it.

~ Marianne Williamson
- - - - -
Why is it that people always say, "To make a long story short..." when it is way too late?


Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -

Okay, who wouldn't want to buy this tower thing?  If you charged $5 a person to go up into the tower, you'd make your investment back in no time.  Plus there's always offering advertising space on the sides of the tower.  And opening it on weekends as a Tower and Breakfast. Where, if I was you, I'd suggest marketing that you serve a TOWER of pancakes. 

Of course, I'm not completely sure what the amenities inside this tower are currently.  I don't know if it would comfortable hold a bed or a place to make or serve breakfast.  But I'm an idea person, not an implementation person.  You work out the details.  Just make sure I get my cut of any potential financial gain.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
~ Mark Twain
- - - - -

Kirk:  So, who do you think is going to win?

Me:  The debate tonight or the election for our next President of the United States?

Kirk:  No.  Ru Paul's Drag Race.  We forgot and scheduled a party to watch that before I saw when the debate was.  That's probably why only about five people are showing up.

I would suggest in a little less than 4 years, that Kirk and Jared try to host another event to watch "Ron Paul's Drag Race."  I know it's not a show yet, but I expect it could be in 2012.  Get on it, TV.  But not Public Television because you might not be around.

Monday, October 22, 2012


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them.
~ Henry David Thoreau
- - - - -

How come there isn't such a thing as an Air Force surplus store?

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun.
~ Orphan Annie
- - - - -
So, I've had this blog idea on my list for a while now.  It just says, "Little Orphan Annie Oakley."  But I can't figure out what to do with it.  I could make a joke that Orphan Annie could never be a sharpshooter because she doesn't have pupils, but that doesn't really work.
Sometimes I have ideas and they don't work.  Sometimes I write blogs about them anyway.  Kind of like this.  Sometimes I don't ever write those blogs.  People probably appreciate the few tiems when I use that restraint.  Other times I wait and a good idea comes of them.  This is not one of those times.
But let me just add this, I don't think an orphan should be giving you advice to gamble away your bottom dollar on ANYTHING.  First of all, why would you take advice from a child.  Second, an orphan might not be the best person to tell you how to approach games of chance.
That said, if the sun does NOT come up again tomorrow (other than it just being a cloudy day) it isn't like you'll have to pay off this bet.
Upon further review, I'm going to make sure this posts on a Sunday.  I think fewer people read my blog on Sundays.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


A woman without love withers like a flower without sun.
~ Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain
- - - - -

I think that Eve Ensler should write something called "The Vagina Manologues."  And it could be either about men or with men speakers.  And vaginas. 

Or maybe that's a bad idea.  I don't always have good ideas.  Like my idea that Eve Ensler should write something called "The Vagina Manilowgues" - a musical featuring the music of Barry Manilow.

Friday, October 19, 2012


It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
~ Albert Einstein

- - - - -

I think that, just like a driver's license, one should have to renew a creative license, as well.  And I think the standards for doing that should be very high.  You shouldn't just be able to "take creative license."  There ought to be some standards, I think.

And I think I would be a good judge for that.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many --
not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
~ Charles Dickens
- - - - -

If professors profess and teachers teach, why don't students stew?


Never mind. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I remember being onstage once when I didn't have fear: I got so scared I didn't have fear that it brought on an anxiety attack.

~ Carly Simon
- - - - -
It makes me nervous that everyone will be jealous that Carly Simon wrote that one song about me.  You know?  The song "Anticipation?"  I probably think that song is about me.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean.
~ Albert Einstein
- - - - -

Elliott and I have little conversations from time to time.  At least a couple a week.  We talk about things and the world and how people function (or try to function) in the world.  We make very astute observations.  All the time.  We talk about the nature of life and what is real and all that super-complex stuff.

Here is an example of one of our exchanges getting at the root of truth.  Elliott had just made a very important observation.  Then he said, "Oh, that might be mean."  I responded, "It might be mean and it might be true.  Sometimes those are the same thing."

We agreed.  So it must be one of those ultimate truths.

Monday, October 15, 2012


An army of deer would be more formidable commanded by a lion than an army of lions commanded by a stag.
~ Proverb
- - - - -

That's because an army of lions would eat the stag.  An army of deer would only eat the lion if he was a dandelion.  And then, lets face it, of all the plants, a dandelion wouldn't be the best leader anyway.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly.  
Do not mistake activity for achievement.
~ Mabel Newcomb
- - - - -

When I was a kid, at dinner, if my mom caught me with my elbows on the table, she would say,

Mabel, Mabel,
If you're able,
Get your elbows off the table.

This annoyed me on a number of levels - first and foremost was the fact that apparently my mother could not remember my name.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Earth laughs in flowers.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
- - - - -

"Why do you take so many pictures of flowers?" she asked.

"There is a story in every flower," I responded.  "A story of beauty and growth and persistence.  You can see the story in a beautiful bloom or a tattered petal.  Flowers are like life.  Some have better beginning and treatment and are going to thrive.  Others overcome obstacles and bring a hard-earned beauty to the world."

I paused dramatically.

"Plus flowers don't run away when you try to take their picture.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Sometimes life hits you in the head like a brick.  Don't lose faith.
~ Steve Jobs
- - - - -

I like thinking about renovations.  I try to picture how rooms might look with different walls or windows or light.  Space matters.  Structure matters.  How we move about in our little pieces of the world matters.  When I was talking to Leslie about it, she just kept talking about her idea for a new book: The Cask of Grannymontillado.  


She creeps me out sometimes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


You don't have to be singing about love all the time in order to give love to the people. You don't have to keep flashing those words all the time.
~ Jimi Hendrix
- - - - -

I wonder, when people see me driving by, if they think I am singing Baby Jesus songs when I'm actually singing Leonard Cohen.  It doesn't matter too much to me, but they are really two quite different kinds of songs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.
~ Katharine Hepburn
- - - - -
So, I had typed myself a note about the fact that "being" and "knowing" are different things.  But there was a typo.  Instead, I wrote, "Being and knowing ate different things."  My guess is that is probably true.  If Being and Knowing went to a restaurant together, being would probably order whatever the wait staff suggested whereas knowing would have done extensive research on what the best or most popular item on the menu was.  Then Knowing would order that.
"And whom would have the better meal?" you might ask.  Well, I would hope you wouldn't have to ask that question because it is grammatically incorrect.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.
~ Lillian Smith
- - - - -

I really like to travel.  I like to visit new places and see things that I haven't seen before.  Or see things that I have seen in pictures or on TV, but haven't seen in person.  I also like to see things that are unexpected.  Like the occasional zombie festival or state park or a historical marker.

I had a set of historical markers once.  But they only worked in my "The Mall of Washington, D.C." coloring book.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.
~ Napoleon Hill 
- - - - -

Some seeds lie dormant for years before the grow into something.  Do they think and think about the time they are wasting waiting for their moment to come?  Do they stress about what they are missing or what they could be doing instead of waiting?  Do they have tremendous anxiety about what their futures hold?  Is their growth stunted by their worries?  Do they worry that they worry too much?  Do they weigh the benefits of BEing against the benefits of DOing?

No.  Seeds don't really have brains. 


I live on a ranch in Utah for now, but I'm gonna move. I've got another ranch to move to, but its location is a secret. When I get there, I'm gonna plow the road in behind me.
~ Wilford Brimley
- - - - -

If my ranch was enemies with The Button Hole ranch, I would have my wranglers go over there with some brown paint and pain over the "o" and the "n."  Then, one of two things would happen - either the Button Hole ranch gang would think it was hilarious, OR they would be so intimidated by my clever wordplay that they would ask to be our friends instead of our enemies.  Or, I guess they might seek revenge.  Which is why I will NOT name my ranch "The Assassin Hole" ranch.  Even though you might think it was intimidating and would scare off other villain ranchers, it does leave you susceptible to wordplay revenge.

Also, does Wilford Brimley really need to live on a secret ranch?  I would not have guessed that.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I have always loved to sit in ferry and railroad stations and watch the people, to walk on crowded streets, just walk along among the people, and see their faces, to be among people on street cars and trains and boats.
~ Ella R. Bloor
- - - - -

Leslie tried to tell me that "hobo" was not politically correct.  I asked what would be politically correct, "Vagrant Train Jumper?"  I also shared with her that I heard once in an interview that the hobo subculture is very violent.

"Why?"  she asked.

"Because, you can't just jump on a train or they'll shank you."

"What does that even mean?  Shank?" 

I explained that a shank is a kind of homemade knife.  Or so I thought.

"Why would they shank you?"

I thought for a moment and replied, "Because they want your stick and bandana."

"That really was politically incorrect," she said disdainfully.

"I'm sorry," I apologized.  "I meant, 'Because they really do want your luggage.'"

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight.
~ Diane Ackerman
- - - - -

Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between sunrise and sunset.  Both can be brilliant and both can take your mind off of your troubles of the moment.  Both involve the sun.  Both involve the sky.  And your eyes.  Both involve change.  Both can involve dread.  Or hope.

I think when you really boil it down the difference is that sunrise is when the sun is rising while sunset is when it is setting. 

Friday, October 5, 2012


Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.
~ Steve Jobs
- - - - - -

If the places we buried people were made out of concrete, we might call them cementeries. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.
~ Anna Quindlen
- - - - -

A lot can happen in a year.  A lot can happen in a moment.  Don't forget that.  A lot can also happen in a large flat area where they need more parking spaces built.

Life is crazy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


As one who has often felt this need, and who has found refreshment in wild places, I attest to the recreational value of wilderness. 
~ George Aiken

- - - - -

The other day I was typing the song in my head.  It was "Wild One" by Flo-Rida.  That song is in my head a lot.  Anyway, I accidentally typed "Wilde One" and realized that would be a really good song, too.  And maybe it wouldn't be so different.  I would imagine that Oscar Wilde might have enjoyed shutting down the clubs in his day, too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


The prairie, in all its expressions, is a massive, subtle place, with a long history of contradiction and misunderstanding.  But it is worth the effort at comprehension.  It is, after all, at the center of our national identity.
~ Wayne Fields
- - - - -

Brad:  It was incredible.  I never would have guessed I would have spent that much time out on the prairie.  Or that I would have learned so much.  I mean, there was absolutely nothing out there.

Me:  Well, there was a little house.

Monday, October 1, 2012


He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.
~ C. S. Lewis
- - - - -

Ham is not a very photogenic food.  Well, it kind of is when it is alive.
Now I'm sad about pig death.

And hungry for a ham sandwich.
And curious about why when someone wants attention, they call him or her "a ham."

And I hope you enjoy celebrating "Eat Country Ham" month.