Saturday, May 28, 2005

Humor: spherical lyrical heliotropes

While I was an undergrad and on volunteer retreat staff at the St. Paul Catholic Youth Center, Mike Forsberg (a great improv comic) did a twelve-days-of-Christmas-like schtick where all the audience has to do is repeat what the leader says. Being Mike, and being Catholic youth, it was a forgiving crowd, so I heard (and remembered) the whole bit as high as ten or so -- but no other crowds have ever let it run that high, and most individuals will throw in the towel at six or so. Just repeat after me:

One hen.

One hen, two ducks.

One hen, two ducks, three honking geese.

One hen, two ducks, three honking geese, four piebald mares.

One hen, two ducks, three honking geese, four piebald mares, five glimmering shimmering oysters.

One hen, two ducks, three honking geese, four piebald mares, five glimmering shimmering oysters, six dozen pairs of Nephridian tweezers.

One hen, two ducks, three honking geese, four piebald mares, five glimmering shimmering oysters, six dozen pairs of Nephridian tweezers, seven hundred Macedonian horsemen in full battle array.

One hen, two ducks, three honking geese, four piebald mares, five glimmering shimmering oysters, six dozen pairs of Nephridian tweezers, seven hundred Macedonian horsemen in full battle array, eight brass monkeys from the ancient shrines of Egypt.

One hen, two ducks, three honking geese, four piebald mares, five glimmering shimmering oysters, six dozen pairs of Nephridian tweezers, seven hundred Macedonian horsemen in full battle array, eight brass monkeys from the ancient shrines of Egypt, nine spherical lyrical heliotropes from the University of Escanaba Michigan.

One hen, two ducks, three honking geese, four piebald mares, five glimmering shimmering oysters, six dozen pairs of Nephridian tweezers, seven hundred Macedonian horsemen in full battle array, eight brass monkeys from the ancient shrines of Egypt, nine spherical lyrical heliotropes from the University of Escanaba Michigan, ten thousand twenty glittering stars over the arid sands of the Mohave desert.

Email: Finding one's soul [SD]

You do need to be happy on your own before you can be truly happy in a relationship. Read M. Scott Peck about how (and this is me putting words in his mouth) the happiness of being together is like an ice cube placed in water: It's refreshing, but it melts. We open up to receive a loved one into our day, but true (permanent) personal growth occurs before or in parallel to the relationship. To make another (crude) metaphor, it isn't consuming a tasty meal that makes us grow -- though it satisfies our appetite. Our [physical] process of assimilation and growth occurs separately and on its own. So also with our soul[, separate from the input of verbal and emotional intimacy].

In a word, you need to "have a life" -- personal goals and pleasures outside of your responsibilities (work and family). In the end, we stand alone before God, so what we will have to say for ourselves? What did we do with our lives? Yes, it's good to sacrifice and serve family and others; but most people are not called to sacrifice everything and be left with nothing. It's even more tragic when it happens without even being aware of the problem.

Read Richard Nelson Bolles' What Color Is Your Parachute? because it lets you narrow down what things in your life that you're good at or have enjoyed or are interested in -- which also may indicate where your gifts, and inner joys, lie. It takes time and is ideally a lifelong process, but you'll begin to discover the unique God-given qualities that make you, you. Just remember Julia Roberts in The Runaway Bride, trying all those different kinds of eggs she'd made just so she could discover what kind of eggs *she* (not, as always before, her affianced) liked best.

Press: Hello Kitty, Hello Clone - NYT

Hello Kitty, Hello Clone - New York Times: "The cloning and sale of pets has its critics, who call it wasteful and inhumane. Some point to shelters bursting with pets in need of homes, or remind buyers that cloning is still a relatively new process, with the health of future generations of offspring still unknown. And the $32,000 lavished on one kitten clone would certainly pay for the care of many a needy animal. "

Press: With Irreverence and an iPod, Recreating the Museum Tour - NYT

With Irreverence and an iPod, Recreating the Museum Tour - New York Times: "So far, the unofficial guides cover only a few of the museum's works -- by artists like Pollock, Cindy Sherman, Francis Bacon, Picasso, Max Beckmann and Marc Chagall, whose well-known 'I and the Village' comes in for a critical pummeling by Jason Rosenfeld, a Marymount professor of art history, who calls it 'the worst, most reductive kind of art' and blames Chagall for all the 'ugly menorahs' and tacky stained-glass windows in modern synagogues.

'It's the worst style that ever developed in the history of art,' he declares."

Music: Iris DeMent - Living in the Wasteland of the Free

We got preachers dealing in politics and diamond mines
and their speech is growing increasingly unkind
They say they are Christ's disciples
but they don't look like Jesus to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got CEO's making two hundred times the workers' pay
but they'll fight like hell against raising the minimum wage
and If you don't like it, mister, they'll ship your job
to some third-world country 'cross the sea
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Music: Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes

 and all my instincts, they return
 and the grand facade, so soon will burn
 without a noise, without my pride
 I reach out from the inside
 in your eyes
 the light the heat
 in your eyes
 I am complete
 in your eyes
 I see the doorway to a thousand churches
 in your eyes
 the resolution of all the fruitless searches
 in your eyes
 I see the light and the heat
 in your eyes
 oh, I want to be that complete
 I want to touch the light,
 the heat I see in your eyes
in your eyes

Music: Kate Wolf - Give Yourself to Love

Love is born in fire; it's planted like a seed.
Love can't give you everything, but it gives you what you need.
And love comes when you're ready, love comes when you're afraid;
It'll be your greatest teacher, the best friend you have made.

So give yourself to love if love is what you're after;
Open up your hearts to the tears and laughter
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.

Music: Bye Bye - Jo Dee Messina

Bye bye love, I'll catch you later
Got a lead foot down on my accelerator and the rearview mirror torn off
'Cause I ain't never lookin' back, and that's a fact.
I've tried all I can imagine
I've begged and pleaded in true lover's fashion
I've got pride, I'm takin' it for a ride
Bye bye, bye bye my baby, bye bye

Music: Mary Black - Song for Ireland

Dreaming in the night I saw a land
where no man had to fight
Waking in your dawn
I saw you crying in the morning light
Lying where the falcons fly,
they twist and turn all in you e'er blue sky
Living on your western shore,
saw summer sunsets asked for more
I stood by your Atlantic sea
and sang a song for Ireland

Music: Edwin McCain - I'll Be

The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath
Emeralds from mountains thrust toward the sky
Never revealing their depth
Tell me that we belong together
Dress it up with the trappings of love
I'll be captivated
I'll hang from your lips
Instead of the gallows of heartache, that hang from above

I'll be your crying shoulder
I'll be love suicide
I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life

Music: Mocedades - Eres Tu

Como mi poema, eres tú, eres tú
Como una guitarra en la noche
Todo mi horizonte eres tú, eres tú
Así, así, eres tú

Eres tú como el agua de mi fuente
Eres tú el fuego de mi hogar
Algo así eres tú, oo... algo así como el fuego de mi hoguera
Algo así eres tú, oo... mi vida algo así eres tú

Neal McCoy - The Shake

It's a natural attraction
Mother nature wouldn't make a mistake
What really turns me on is the shake

Music: Barenaked Ladies - One Week

How can I help it if I think you're funny when you're mad
Trying hard not to smile though I feel bad
I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral
Can't understand what I mean? You soon will
I have a tendency to wear my mind on my sleeve
I have a history of losing my shirt

It's been one week since you looked at me
Dropped your arms to your sides and said I'm sorry
Five days since I laughed at you
and said "You just did just what I thought you were gonna do"

Music: Vonda Shepherd - Heart and Soul

Like a broken record
I've stayed protected
From promises, from disappointments
I wanna hear your dreams, wanna drift away
Wanna break you in
Oh I wanna stay
Stay in heaven, oh in heaven
And see my life finally begin
Will we be together, oh forever?
Darling please let me in

If I could read your mind
I hope I'd find
The same love I have in mine
If I could go back in time
I'd try to find you
And make up for all this wasted time

Music: Annie Lennox - Into the West

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
The night is falling
You have come to journey's end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

Music: Jessica Andrews - Who I Am

I am Rosemary's granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma's still my biggest fan
Sometimes I'm clueless and I'm clumsy
But I've got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
It's all a part of me
And that's who I am

Music: Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Music: Bruce Cockburn - Love Loves You Too

Some people get to make the news
Some people get to say what's true
Everybody's got to find their own way through
But if you love, then love loves you too.

Some take the burden of another's pain
Some spend forever for a moment's gain
Everybody's got to find their way through
But if you love, then love loves you too.

Music: Modern English - I Melt With You

(We should know better) Dream of better lives the kind which never hate
(We should see) Trapped in a state of imaginary grace
(We should know better) I made a pilgrimage to save this human's race
(We should see) Never comprehending a race that's long gone by

(Let's stop the world) I'll stop the world and melt with you
(Let's stop the world) You've seen the difference and it's getting better all the time
And there's nothing you and I won't do
(Let's stop the world) I'll stop the world and melt with you

Friday, May 27, 2005

Inventions: Two-handed mouse

They have two-handed video game players. Why not two-handed (paired left-hand and right-hand) computer mice? I've seen innovative alternatives such as a hand-chording system and I look forward to a holographically projected virtual mouse and keyboard someday, but I could use both hands effectively with twin but independent mice; I really do like my left hand to know what my right hand is doing. Not quite like that kid in the Apple commercial who was drawing with one hand and doing math with the other though! That was cool if eerie.

Music: Greg Brown - Rooty Toot Toot for the Moon

He was just some young white kid, trying to sing tough and black
With gravel and spit in his voice
He laughed at the things we do, the Radio laughed too
I held up my arms to rejoice.

Singing Rooty Toot Toot for the Moon
It's the biggest star I've ever seen
A pearl of wisdom, a slice of green cheese
Burning just like kerosene.

So God bless motorcycles and far out, heavy trifles
You know you can't memorize them
Hang your hat on your nose, don't hide in your clothes
Smile at someone, begin to begin.

Singing Rooty Toot Toot for the Moon
It's the biggest star I've ever seen
A pearl of wisdom, a slice of green cheese
Burning just like kerosene
Burning just like kerosene.

Music: Greg Brown - Daughters

One won't eat anything much,
I guess she lives on air and sun and noodles.
One's beginnin' to learn that the milk is over there
inside of that shirt beneath the blue eyes of the woman I love.

I'm a man who's rich in daughters,
And if by some wild chance I get rich in money,
Like say another two thou a year or even one thou a year,
I'm gonna look in to havin' some more daughters.

Music: John Mayer - Daughters

On behalf of every man, looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too
So mothers be good to your daughters, too

Musings: Bond ... James Bond

Somewhere along the line, I think my career as a technology writer veered from the path where I would have had a job and adventures like James Bond has... You think?

Humor: Technicalities

Every now and then, I flirt with the Minnesota sense of humor I gave up on moving here that purveys "jokes" that only make people groan (often intentionally and even morbidly so). Tonight I did so when I asked, "Do you know what would be really depressing for a technical writer?" The answer is, of course (groan now if you wish), "To have the kind of boss who chides 'Now, don't get technical with me...!'"

Email: On being right [SD]

Can I say something to you that wives have long said to their husbands...? Of COURSE I'm right! ;-) At least, I wouldn't say something if I didn't believe it was right...

Email: The need for fun [SD]

Fun is always good for you -- esp. after traumatic things such as you've experienced. To "find your soul" means basically finding what makes you happy, and what you want to do -- just for yourself. Do that!

Email: Faith and effort [SD]

I always trust and believe things will happen... The only lag factor is how much time and effort I apply towards doing my own part. (The Lord provides fruit on the trees but we have to lug in the bushel baskets.)

I love the Mac but people are padding their websites with so damn much Java that only new computers can keep up anymore. (This is always the way of it too.)

Celebration comes after the victories not before...!

Music: One Thing - Let It Go - Paul Colman

I just heard "One Thing" from Paul Colman's debut solo album, with its crisp guitar and mellifluous vocals. Nice! It's still too new to find the lyrics on the Internet, but catch a listen here: Music: Let It Go [ENHANCED]

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Media: Futurama - "Hell Is Other Robots"

Bender: "How many roads must a man walk down before you..." (starts howling, then pants) "Keep those things off of me! Magnets screw up my inhibition unit."
Fry: "So you flip out and start acting like some crazy folk singer?"
Bender: "Yes...I guess a robot would have to be crazy to wanna be a folk singer..."

Fry: "I don't care how educational it is, let's do it!"

Bender: "C'mon, it's just like making love! Y'know...Left, down...Rotate 62 degrees...Engage rotor..."
Amy: "Ugh, I know how to make love!"

Bender: "Friends! Friends! Surely you're not going to eat before we say robot grace. In the name of all that is good and logical, we give thanks for the chemical energy we are about to absorb. To quote the prophet Jer-a-matic, one zero zero zero one zero one zero one zero one zero one..." *time passes* " zero one zero one one zero zero one...two. Amen."
Fry: "Does that mean we can eat now?"

Professor: "If only he had joined a mainstream religion, like Oprahism or Voodoo."

Leela: "Who would've thought hell would really exist? And that it would be in New Jersey?"
Fry: "Actually..." *gets interrupted*

The Robot Hell Song
(see for sound clips; links to individual clips are not allowed)

Proverbs: Some people gossip, but being happy means not going there

Blessings: Chocolate

A woman once said I was the most chocoholic man she'd ever seen. I'm on the wagon, though I do know one man who is even more a chocoholic than I.

Musings: The ergonomics of chocolate

Coincidentally, I noticed that the candy jar full of chocolate at work has a neck ideally fitted to a woman's hand; my man's hand always gets stuck, even pulling out one chocolate at a time.


What an absolutely useless site! I've selected a dozen areas in Houston, and it does nothing but present the same 300 listings in the same order -- and NO (or sometimes maybe ONE) listing in all that mess is actually listed, much less located, in said area! Typically all listings cover the entire 360-degree range of Houston.

Even an advanced search by zip code (which should limit the search to a specified zip code) does the same thing.

When are you going to learn that you add value and deliver clients by serving the RENTERS and not the MANAGERS?

Internet: Old farmer's advice

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.

* Every path has a few puddles.

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

* The best sermons are lived, not preached.

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

* Always drink upstream from the herd.

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Nostalgia: You've got your blue herons...

We have blue herons in Houston; I see them now and then picking their way along Hunter's Creek, which runs past my home. Noble birds, but not as big or majestic as the Great Blue Heron of the Northland; they're So-So Herons. (Sorry, Charlie.) They're a joy to have so close though, and in the city to boot.

When I was a boy, I woke up about 6 am at the family lakeplace to find the entire lake swathed in a billowy pillow of fog. I took the rowboat out alone, taking in the shrouded watery wonderland. Suddenly a Great Blue wafted silently through the fog, passing just off my starboard and disappearing into the fog again. I'll never forget that moment. Such is the stuff that can turn a boy into a poet--or empower one who already is.

Rambles: Memorial City Mall's pocket parks

I was walking through the northeast corner of Memorial City Mall when I ran across the charming Texas Heritage Park, with iron sculptures and displays of Texas state symbols and traditions. After a bit of digging on the net, I just learned the mall's third "pocket park" opened April 1. Here is part of the developer's press release:

MetroNational's original pocket park, the Yellow Rose Garden, was completed in 2000 [...]. A unique arbor and bronze statue of Emily Morgan, known as the Yellow Rose of Texas, serves as the entryway to a sea of more than 200 yellow roses.

Texas Heritage Park, which opened in March 2004, treats visitors to 15,000 square-feet of Texas tradition, celebrating the rich history of the Lone Star State through art, music and landscaping which highlight 18 official state symbols.

The Anne Wilford Memorial Park, located on the northwest corner of the new Professional Office Building III at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital [...] presents a serene and reflective atmosphere with sculptures and artistic symbols [...] Two of the park's three ironwork trellises features [sic] a bronze medallion as a tribute to Anne's most compelling qualities: faith and charity. In the center of the park is a fountain plate that symbolizes Anne's service to the community and encompasses the handprints of her five cherished grandchildren.

In addition to the serene artwork, MetroNational created paving patterns throughout the park as well as the seating areas. The paving patterns compliment the diamond pattern of the artists' trellis screens. The center diamond is a flamed Dakota Mahogany granite with a liver-stained bronze metal design carved into the stone, while the two flanking diamonds are sculpted from flamed Blue Pearl granite. Each diamond pattern is outlined in polished Emerald Green granite. The remaining fields contain flamed Prairie Green granite with three flamed and polished Dakota Mahogany thresholds positioned at each entry into the park. Seating areas at every trellis screen are clad in polished Lagos Azul limestone, while each bench stone top has bronze icons from the adjacent screens cut into the stone.

Gibberwocky: berulean

Internet: Women's personals ads translations

40-ish - 49
Adventurous - Slept with everyone
Athletic - No tits
Average looking - Ugly
Beautiful - Pathological liar
Contagious smile - Does a lot of pills
Emotionally secure - On medication
Feminist - Fat
Free spirit - Junkie
Friendship first - Former slut
Fun - Annoying
New-Age - Body hair in the wrong places
Old-fashioned - No BJs
Open-minded - Desperate
Outgoing - Loud and embarrassing
Passionate - Sloppy drunk
Professional - Bitch
Voluptuous - Very fat
Large frame - Hugely fat
Wants soulmate - Stalker

(Cynical but often true!)

Press: Listen to My Wife - NYT

Listen to My Wife - New York Times: "In a world where most people are struggling, the search for 'balance' in high-powered jobs has to be counted a luxury. Still, there is something telling (if not downright dysfunctional) when a society's most talented people feel they have to sacrifice the meaningful relationships every human craves as the price of exercising their talent."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Humor: Lemony!

We're working on a project called Yemen, so I said "Yumpin' Yemeny! This job is Yemeny Fresh!" (No mention of Yemeny Snicket's Unfortunate Events.)

Press: The Lean and the Restless - NYT

The Lean and the Restless - New York Times: "The researchers believe the tendency to sit still or move around is biological and inborn, governed by genetically determined levels of brain chemicals. And that tendency influences weight -- not the other way around, the researchers say." (As I suspected: It's all about the metabolism.)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Press: Civility breakdown in the marketplace of ideas - DMN

Civility breakdown in the marketplace of ideas - Dallas Morning News: "If we are to prevail as a free, self-governing people, we must first govern our tongues and our pens. Restoring civility to public discourse is not an option. It is a necessity."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Press: Seriously, the Joke Is Dead - NYT

Seriously, the Joke Is Dead - New York Times: "In case you missed its obituary, the joke died recently after a long illness, of, oh, 30 years. Its passing was barely noticed, drowned out, perhaps, by the din of ironic one-liners, snark and detached bons mots that pass for humor these days."