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Tuesday, May 31, 2016


"This squirrel is inadequately afraid of humans! Squirrel, I am a threat to you! We are enemies! Please get off my bench! Oh, god! Oh, god! Don't touch me—oh, god!"
~ John Green
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I have said it before and I will say it again: I really, really like squirrels. Unless I look too closely for too long at their handpawclaws. Those things freak me out.

Monday, May 30, 2016


I will acknowledge Memorial Day, whether my institution or my state do or not.
~ Michelle Boettcher
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Related Poem Content Details

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. 
Shovel them under and let me work— 
                                          I am the grass; I cover all. 

And pile them high at Gettysburg 
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. 
Shovel them under and let me work. 
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: 
                                          What place is this? 
                                          Where are we now? 

                                          I am the grass. 
                                          Let me work.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


A man builds his house in England with the expectation of living in it and leaving it to his children; we shed our houses in America as easily as a snail sheds does his shell.
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
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So did you know that shed is a variation on the word "shade"? I didn't until I looked it up. If that is accurate. Maybe it isn't. Makes sense, I guess. You wouldn't want your lawnmower in days of yore to get sun damaged. Of course your lawnmower in days of yore was a goat. I wonder where the word "goatshed" comes from. Probably "goat shade."

Language is fascinating.

Also, just for the record Harriet Beecher Stowe - a snail doesn't shed its shell. It's attached. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016


We live in a society obsessed with public opinion. But leadership has never been about popularity.
~ Marco Rubio
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Today is Marco Rubio's birthday.

I wonder if he still believes that quote I found that was attributed to him. Also, I wonder if he has heard of something called "the popular vote." Though we may be about to elect a very unpopular president. Actually, I'm pretty sure of it - no matter who wins the person is going to be very unpopular with some people.

But it won't be Marco Rubio.

That sounds meaner than I meant it to. I just meant he isn't probably going to be an unpopular president as a result of the next election.


That was maybe slightly nicer-sounding.


Not a lot nicer-sounding, though.

Friday, May 27, 2016


If your eyes are opened, you'll see the things worth seeing.
~ Rumi
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This is part of the alley where I walk from my house to my work. For a few days, I thought there was a dead cat in the alley. I hadn't walked near it, but I had driven on the crossroad. The neighbors by me have a few cats. One is white with a gray part on it's head (fur not a beret or a splotch of paint) and gray paws. I saw it one day and then later I saw it lying in the alley - which it never has done before that I have seen. 

Then a day or two later, I saw it still laying in the alley. And I was sad. I realized it must have gotten hit and died. I felt guilty for a while because maybe it wasn't dead the first time I drove by it and I could have helped save it. I could at least tell my neighbors. I don't think they go into the alley very often.

Anyway, today I realized it wasn't a dead, squashed, rotting cat. It was a pizza box. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Syllables govern the world.
~ George Bernard Shaw
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When Aurora was the age she was in this photo she would say, "Down?" when she wanted to ask you to pick her up. I don't know why. Some sort of mind game, I think. She was probably trying to make me think that I had learned language all wrong.

Well, the joke's on her because she's wearing pajamas outside.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


We may just be two different clocks that do not tock in unison.
~ Lang Leav
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When I was writing this and looked for a quote to go with this photo, I accidentally typed "leav quotes" instead of "leaf quotes." This was one of the quotes I read. I like it. I mean, maybe it is sad if these two want to tock in unison, but it's hard to hear the other person if you're tocking over one another. I could go on, but I think I'll just leaf it at that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


A traveler must have the back of an ass to bear all, a tongue like the tail of a dog to flatter all, the mouth of a hog to eat what is set before him, the ear of a merchant to hear all and say nothing.
~ Thomas Nashe
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In preparing this blog, I expected to find tons of quotes about hogs. There were a few, but not nearly as many as I expected. Maybe it's because I'm from Iowa where we talk about hogs a lot. Maybe it's because I just always expect to have lots of quotes to choose from. Maybe it's because I just am accustomed to finding what I expect to find because my expectations are right so often.

Regardless, I traveled to the Bridges of Madison County and saw this bridge. Then I found a quote about traveling and hogs. And now my work here is done.

The moral of this post: Lower your expectations and you can always exceed them.

Monday, May 23, 2016


There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.
~ Salvador Dali
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If you take a pin and shove it into a melting clock, does it send a shooting pain through everyone's memories?

Probably only if it's a voodoo Dali.


I'm sorry.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it.
~ Don Marquis
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I like carnival things - rides, lights, the awful prizes you can't win at the rigged games. I think a good carnival food would be "Unicandycorn" because unicorns and candy corn are both sort of festival-ly and carnival-ly things. 

I would avoid the "Unicandycorn" stand because 1. I don't like candy corn and 2. I would be willing to bet there would be some glitter around there.

On second thought, maybe I don't think this is such a good idea. Or maybe it's a good idea and needs to stay just an idea instead of becoming a reality.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


There is no substitute for hard work.
~ Thomas Edison
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I disagree with Thomas Edison on this. There are lots of substitutes for hard work. Examples include: naps, half-assed work, daydreaming, etc.

I overheard a guy say one time, "My buddy - he's hard core unemployed." I don't know what that means, but it sounds like hard work just the kind without a job.

Plus I think Edison himself would say that hard work can be replaced with stealing other people's ideas (allegedly). Though, in all fairness, stealing other people's ideas is probably hard work, too.

Friday, May 20, 2016


A word after a word after a word is power.
~ Margaret Atwood
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The other day I was driving home from class and I heard an interview. I don't remember what the topic was. Or the speaker. Or the show. I remember it was on the radio, that is it. 

Anyway, one of the people being interviewed was talking and he said the word "exasturbates."

You might think that words are funny. But what is really funny is people using words.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don't forget food. You can go a week without laughing.
~ Joss Whedon
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It's interesting to me how we associate different foods with different parts of life. Salt water taffy = trips to the beach. Hot boiled p-nuts = trips to the south. Pecan and pumpkin pie = holidays. 

And chicken soup = feeling better. But why? Why is it Chicken Soup for the Soul instead of Pizza Rolls for the soul? I bet my brother Kirk really wonders about that. 

As do we all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.
~ Roald Dahl
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Last year for Halloween Aurora chose only red and orange candies. This resulted in no Milky Ways for Aurora's mom. Is it a coincidence that one of Aurora's dad's favorite candies is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups which happen to come in an orange wrapper? Or is it the result of hours of training?

We may never know.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.
~ Gilbert K. Chesterton
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You know that song that goes "In heaven there is no beer... That's why we drink it here"? That seems counter to Ben Franklin's quote that beer is proof that there is a God and He loves us.

In all fairness, I'm not sure how much time God really spends thinking about beer.

Okay, in all fairness, I'm not sure time is even a thing to God.

Okay, in all fairness, I'm not sure.

Monday, May 16, 2016


If you like the stuff I do, my chances of liking you go up.
~ Penn Gillette
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One day I was looking at my posted blogs. Four days in a row the titles were as follows" Rainbow" "Miracle" "Music" "Barn"

So then I got to thinking how I would probably like a musical called "The Rainbow Miracle Music Barn." And the plot would be something like how after a devastating storm a Barn would appear at the end of a rainbow and you could go there and listen to music and see miracles happen. And the songs from the musical would include things like:

"I'm Not Singing 'Til the Rain Lets Up"
"There's No Acoustics Like Barn Acoustics"
"Rainbows are Miracles, Too"
"It's a Barn New Day"
"My Main Beau is Pretty as a Rainbow"
"Miracle, Miracle, Miracle NOW"
"Remember Our Barn Song?"
"Wrap Up My Present with a Rainbow, Please"
"Farmers Can Sing, Too"
"Yeehaw Yeehodle Yeeboo"
"Thunder's Gone a Miracle's Comin' On"


I wish someone would pay me to write musical song title names. Or give me money to stop writing them. Doesn't matter to me.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


When ill luck begins, it does not come in sprinkles, but in showers.
~ Mark Twain
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I don't know if I believe in luck or not.  No, wait.  I guess I do.  If you are lucky to be born in a certain place or time or into a certain family or demographic group, you certainly have an easier go of it.  If not -- well, it's not just that things might be a little harder, there are things that are probably or at least nearly insurmountable.

But we probably shouldn't be talking about "luck." We should probably be talking about...  Well, I'm not sure - sunrises? Kittens? Smiles? I was trying to come up with something that everyone likes, but there are some people who don't like everything. I mean.. everything there is, there is probably at least one person who doesn't like that thing.

Except me. Pretty much everyone likes me. And if they don't, well that's unfortunate. Which is a synonym for unlucky. And thus I have brought this blog full circle.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


If you've got a problem, take it out on a drum.
~ Neil Peart
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So I have a problem. Okay, I have multiple problems - you don't have to be a smart aleck about it. In this case what I'm wondering about is my iTunes. I checked recently and my iTunes tells me that the number one most played song on my iTunes is "Second Chance" by Shinedown. And that I have played it 1,033 times. 


I'm not sure how that happened. All of those songs are fine, but I don't remember listening to them that much. I wonder if maybe I had it on repeat and then turned the volume all the way down and walked away for... 63 hours.

This is followed by "Man on Your Mind" by Little River Band (518) and "Sister Golden Hair" by America (510). Again, I like these songs, but was surprised to find them significantly higher than others.

When we get to 117 plays it's "Try" by P!nk, 110 "Something I Need" by OneRepublic, 107 "Sooner or Later" by Gavin Creel, and 106 "Demons" by Imagine Dragons. These make more sense to me and seem like songs I would listen to a lot.

Now tsome options for this weird batch of top songs include:

* Leslie playing my iTunes when I'm not around.
* Ghosts playing my iTunes.
* Shinedown breaking into my home to play my iTunes when I'm not around.
* Computers becoming independent thinking and acting beings who love Shinedown.
* Me sleep-listening to Shinedown.

Friday, May 13, 2016


But bad luck makes good stories.
~ Bernard Evslin
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Today is Friday the 13th. I like that day. It's always been a pretty lucky day for me. I don't know why. I think because I just decided it would be lucky and my decision was as powerful as whatever superstitious bad luck emanates on Fridays the 13th. I'm powerfuller than superstition. I'm like superduperstition.

Also, I see now that this is a menu from a place called Luke. It would be cool if there was a story about twins both named Luke - Good Luke and Bad Luke. Of course who would name their twins the same name? Their dad, Luke would.

Also, this is a lucky blog post because I think I had dinner at Luke with Rachel and I get to see her today.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


We live in a rainbow of chaos.
~ Paul Cezanne
- - - - -
Tonight on my drive home from teaching, I saw a rainbow. I watched it for a while. At one point it was right over a church - I love it when that happens. 

When I see a rainbow, I think of that song. The obvious one. Wait, you are thinking I mean "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - the Judy Garland version. And you're thinking that I'm going to write that I don't understand why you'd go OVER a rainbow when it's clearly easier to just go UNDER a rainbow, but that maybe that represents how hard Judy Garland's life was.

But no. That's not the song I'm thinking of. I'm thinking of that other one.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


One miracle is just as easy to believe as another.
~ William Jennings Bryan
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I just did a miracle. It was an accident and it was not really a good miracle. Sit back and let me explain...

I have a slow fly in my house. I don't know why sometimes flies are slower than other times. I did just finish watching The Barkley Races on Netflix, so maybe the idea of doing that race made the fly tired. Or maybe it's a very old fly. Or a very young fly.

Anyway, the fly just flew into the lamp on my desk. And then it dropped on the desk. Dead. I was going to pick it up with a tissue, but I blew on it first and it came back to life and flew away. Actually, it flew away faster than it had been flying before the miracle.

Now, I know that reanimating a dead fly is not the best miracle in the world, but allow me to submit for your consideration the fact that it is at least a slightly better miracle than a really good cleaning cloth.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


But you don't really care for music, do you?
~ Leonard Cohen
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The other morning I had the theme song from The Golden Girls stuck in my head. I feel like that is probably my brother Kirk's fault. I don't know how he did. More importantly, I have no idea WHY he did it. But I didn't like it.

However, it did get me to thinking (granted, it doesn't take much to do that). And I wondered that if you threw a party and invited everyone you knew if you would believe the biggest gift would be from me. It wouldn't be, but the most thoughtful gift would be.

But that isn't what I was thinking anyway. 

What I WAS thinking was that if I was a super-villain, I'd like one of my super-villain powers to be the ability to get songs stuck in people's heads. That would be really annoying. I'd want some other super-villain powers too. Like strength or mind control or the ability to become invisible because - in all honesty - the ability to get a song stuck in someone's head isn't going to let you do a whole lot of villainous things.

Monday, May 9, 2016


A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one.
~ Sam Rayburn
- - - - -
I wonder if in olden times when the community would come together for a barn raising, if they did a better job on some barns than others. For instance, if they really didn't like Farmer Drumpf down the road if they did a lousy job on his barn, but they loved Farmer Buscemi and did a great job on  his barn. 

Or if there were some farmers who wanted really creative barns. I wonder if people ever walked by a barn and questioned the design or the purpose behind something non-traditional. The exchange maybe would look something like this:

Visitors: Hm. Is that how you meant for that barn to look?

Farmer MacGaGa: Baby, we just barn this way.

I wonder about a lot of things. Some things I won't ever know the answer to, I guess.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Once you're a mom, you're always a mom. It's like riding a bike, you never forget.
~ Taraji P. Henson
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I like this. Here's the thing, though. My mom did sorta forget how to ride a bike one time. She was riding and it was late at night and we were outside watching her and she fell off the bike. Don't worry, she's okay. We would have stopped laughing at her if she wasn't okay.

Anyway, she says she hit some loose gravel or something. As a result she forgot how to ride a bike.

Thanks, Mom. So if you hit some loose gravel you're going to forget how to be a mom, too?!

The older I get, the more reflection I do, the more I understand why I turned out like this.

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Education is more valuable than money in the long run.
~ Robert Kawasaki
- - - - -

Today is commencement for the graduate students I get to work with. They are about to commence. You'll note that I did not say that they are about to "commerce." "Why?" you ask? Because they aren't business students. Though compared to grad assistant salaries they are about to do more of that than they have in a while, too.

Why does it always have to be about money with you people? Can't we just celebrate their academic achievements?


Friday, May 6, 2016


Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.
~ Shannon L. Adler
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What if Rapunzel wasn't kept in a tower, but in a silo?

We would still have to struggle with the gendered messages at play in the story, but that's analysis for another time.

What I was thinking is this... What if she was on a farm and when the prince (or random stranger who stalked her to the silo - creepy whatever he was) said, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long - HAY!!"

And he said it because she threw a bale of hay at him instead of her hair. Because who wants some stranger idiot to use your hair as a rope to climb up the side of a building? That's not fun.

Rapunzel is a stupid story.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
~ Benjamin Franklin
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I think this is really great advice. I believe people worry too much. I think I read somewhere once (which does not equate fact-checking, I realize) that children today worry more than they ever have. That's not good. 

In fact, it's probably bad for all of us. If our future is directed by a generation of worriers, that is going to be really bad. Bad for them and bad for us and most especially bad for me.

I may never sleep again. Great. Thanks, Ben Franklin. Thanks for nothing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Anyone who can think  of only one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.
~ Mark Twain
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I think I know why this place was closed. I think it ended up closing because who would want to go someplace where one of the things they bragged about was the fact that they had a loud, annoying, prolonged and unpleasant noise? This is bad marketing if you ask me. And you didn't ask me, but that's okay. I didn't ask you either.

Sometimes your opinion is sort of dinning in my head, in case you wondered.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


We shape our buildings. Thereafter, they shape us.
~ Winston Churchill
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I love looking at buildings - specifically old, abandoned, run-down buildings. Sheds, houses, convenience stores, it doesn't matter. I look at them as they are crumbling and tumbling and grumbling against their own weight, and I want to know the story of them.

Who built them? Why were they built?

And why were they not kept up?

Just like there are stories in every person, there are stories in every building.

Especially libraries. Seriously, they have TONS of stories in them.

Monday, May 2, 2016


A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.
~ Bob Dylan
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This is the time of year when lots of people finish the academic year. They are done with classes and sometimes done with degrees. They have learned a lot (hopefully) and are about to do a lot of good things with what they learned (ideally).

But it's not just students who need teachers. Teachers need students, as well. Like when I thought I was trapped in the bathroom and had to ask Eric to come and rescue me because his was the only number I had in my phone since Leslie left her phone in the car.

I heard people outside the door saying, "Oh, I guess we'll have to go upstairs and use that bathroom."

"NO!"  I yelled.  "Who is out there?  I'm trapped!"

But they could not hear me.

I finally figured out I just needed to try and open the door in a slightly different way.  Eric did in fact come to rescue me, but I wasn't in the bathroom then.

Fortunately, no one else was in there either.  Otherwise, he likely would have walked in on them.

While he is a hero to me, he maybe wouldn't have been a hero if he had stormed in on someone going potty. That sort of behavior is rarely seen as heroic.

Anyway, my point is that Leslie should have had her phone.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
~ William Shakespeare
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Just some random observations on May Day, 2016.

1. I have missed making some blog entries lately. I usually have a few scheduled in advance. I think this means a few things. One, I started this blog as a sort of way to bring some balance into my world when things were not going well in my workplace. It wasn't because of my colleagues in my unit (they were and continue to be wonderful). It was just a hard time. 

I think that I don't need the same kind of distraction or processing that I did when I started, so I don't turn to my blog to process the way I used to.

Also, I used to not have writing as a major part of my work. I like to write, so I would write in my blog. Now writing is a significant part of my work so again I probably go to my blog less because I don't need the outlet in the same way I did before.

2. So... I just read the history of May Day. I didn't know that. You should do some research on it if you didn't know about its history, either. 

3. There is a lot of work to do.

4. We have a lot of roses on our rose plant in the backyard this year. I don't know why. The only thing I do to it is I don't move over it with the lawnmower.

5. I need to get a new phone.

6. I really like my job. I get to teach ethics and research this summer. That still cracks me up a little that I teach those things.

7. I love Lego people.

8. Leslie was at a conference but she comes home today.

You may not think that these things are related. You may not be able to identify the theme of this blog. There is a theme, though. I'm not going to tell you what it is because that would ruin the fun for you. You'll figure it out.