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Inspirational Reads

Felix Dies Natalis, Mi Uxor!

June 29, 2010

Today is my wife's thirtieth birthday.

Happy birthday, my dear wife. I hope you don't...lose your head.

Of course, when I look at this, only one special part of me "turns to stone".

Maybe I Just Need a Goat

June 28, 2010

As I mentioned last week, I took some time off so that I could watch some World Cup action. However, I didn't just lay around watching guys kick balls and fall on the ground. Prior to the match, I decided that I needed to get out and mow the front part of my yard, which was seriously in danger of getting completely out of control. I was a bamboo shoot or two away from attracting herds of pandas--a most unsavory change for the neighborhood--and with pandas, of course, come tigers. Neither of these did I want living in my yard (least of all the pandas), so I decided to mow.

It was not a pleasant thing to do, by any stretch of the imagination. It was hot. The high for the day was only going to get up to 89, so I thought I would carpe the diem and mow before the US/Slovenia match.

Because my mower is awesome--I bought it at Lowe's, how could it be anything but?--the drive doesn't work very well. I know what the problem is. I'm missing a screw. One fucking little screw, but it's what causes the drive to actually engage, helping pull the fucking mower along my fucking bumpy and hilly piece of property. If it's not working correctly (like, for the past year-and-a-half), the job of mowing becomes at least twice as hard. When it's 85 degrees in the morning, it's about a hundred times as hard.

So, I'm out there fighting the natural contours of the yard, the overgrown patches of weeds, and feeling the sun bake away my soul. Sweat is running in my eyes, the mower is getting choked by the dewy grass it's trying to mulch, and my hands and arms and legs ache because I'm fighting the mower as much as I'm fighting the yard. Because I'm not completely stupid, I took breaks, drank water, sat in the shade and surveyed my handiwork. What I had finished looked great. The rest...notsomuch.

But then, I begin to look around my neighborhood. And I begin to feel like a chump. The more I look, the more chumpish I am feeling.

See, I have neighbors on three sides who don't mow their lawns. They let their lawns grow so out of control that other neighbors finally get sick of how shitty it looks and they mow it for them.

The people next to me moved out for reasons that could fill an entirely different blog post. The plus side of them moving out was that I got a new step ladder (and it's a nice one); the downside is that their lawn grows wild, so that it more resembles Catherine of Aragon's eyebrows than a front yard! Hi-yo!

To be honest, I wrote that joke for one person in particular...I apologize if my acerbic wit of dead historical figures did not quite ring a chord this morning...

Anyway, they've moved out. The people across from them have moved on, as well. About the only good thing I'm going to get from them is a free recycling bin that I can use every other Friday...but they're gone, and someone else mows their lawn.

And then...there's the guy across the street. Rex Mulletus, he whose children put sand in my kids' fucking squirt guns, he who constructs ramparts of garbage bags to protect against invasion by the Huns, he whose back porch light shines right into my bedroom window. This man owns no functioning stove, no working grill, and no lawn mower.

And apparently no concept that a mullet is not cool, man. Not cool at all.

For two years now, my other neighbors have been happily mowing this guy's lawn for him simply because he doesn't. And while I'm glad that someone else has decided to do all the work for him, I'm a little bit...put off. I mean, here I am, sweating my fucking balls off to ensure that, at least once a month, my yard looks passable, and these three fuckers all get someone else to do their work for them, mostly by being as useless as humanly possible. Or absent. I guess that's a decent excuse.

It's not fair, if you ask me. Which I'm sure you didn't.

It's enough to make me want to quit mowing my own lawn...or just get a goat.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXXIV

June 25, 2010

Salvete, Omnes! How the bloody hell are you this fine morning? Or whatever time it is when you finally read this.

Anyway, this should have probably run last week, but like I said, I was too busy avoiding honest work and laying around like a lout, watching soccer.

What's that you say, you imperialistic European? Why is it that we Americans call it soccer? Well, I'll tell you, Jimmy. Even if you don't want to know, mostly because I'm sick of your arrogance, plus my team is in the round of 16 and you're too busy throwing yourself on the ground or refusing to practice or whatever it is that caused your team to self-destruct this time around.

The irony here, of course, is that is that I have very few readers from Italy or France, and the English also made it to the next round. So...*shrugs helplessly*

Anyway, the origins of the word soccer are, actually, British. Talk about your unexpected outcomes! (That's an irony joke right there, because of the preceding paragraph and then I...whatever, it's too early for cerebral grammar jokes).

It's true. You might not want to believe it, especially you who like to think you're cozying up to the Europeans by insisting to call it "football", because, ha ha, funny joke, you pick the ball up and throw it in American football! What a silly concept!

The origin of the word comes from the late nineteenth century. It popped up around the universities in London, who had sort of a conference of soccer teams that would play each other. It was called "Association Football", and the abbreviation for this was "Assoc." There was another sport that was popular at the time, as well, called "rugby". The slang for a person who played rugby was "a rugger", made by taking the first syllable of "rugby" and hanging "-er" on the end of it.

If you don't see where this is going, you might need your prescription checked, Mario. Anyway, when it came time to slangify a person who played football (as opposed to rugby football...which is how we in America came to call our game football), for some strange reason they chose the second syllable of "Assoc." to put the "-er" suffix on. Because "Asoccer" is kind of awkward to say, the leading "a" was dropped and we were left with soccer. The term caught on in America, and that's what we called the sport itself, not just the players.

However...think of the possibilities here for a moment. We were within a hairsbreadth of calling the sport "Asser".

Though the first attestations of the word are in the form of "socca", it did change gradually to "socker" and then the form we see today.

So, the next time you get asked, as an American, why it is that you call it soccer, just blame those jocular British and their university slang.

In the meantime, practice this little phrase. Given the number of Romance languages that are prevalent in the European countries where half the strategy of the game involves "throwing yourself upon the turf and crying like a schoolgirl with a skinned knee", it should prove quite utile:

Surge, tu globulus capilli uncti! Non doles!

Pronounced: "Soor-gay, too gloh-byoo-looss cah-pee-lee oonk-tee! Noan doh-layss!"

Translation in the hovertext.

And in case you find yourself enjoying a pint down at the pub this weekend and feel the need to chat up someone about the games, you can always hit them with this beauty:

Batavi visi sunt...

Pronounced: "Bah-tah-wee wee-see soont..."

Translation in the hovertext.

And with that, my friends, I'm off. I hope you all have a great weekend. I don't know about you, but around here it's supposed to be hot as bawls. So, stay cool, too!

Nostalgic Patriotism

June 23, 2010

I took last Friday off, which is why there's a lapse in the Latin lesson. That, and I was busy having sex on Thursday night and, while I felt plenty inspired, I also felt plenty breathless. Not to mention warm and fuzzy, sweaty and spent, drunk on the ecstasy of a post-coital glow.

So, I took Friday off.

I took Friday off so that I could watch the World Cup match. I spent ninety minutes sitting on the edge of my seat, hanging on every cross, tackle, corner and free kick. I went from ecstatic to angry in a fraction of a second. I bemoaned our lack of defense in the first half and praised our beautifully synced offense in the second half.

I love soccer. For a moment, I felt akin to our Continental brethren, taking time off work just to watch a soccer match. Sure, there wasn't any drinking, and there was very little singing, but I still felt a connection with millions of other people around the world for a little bit. I even wondered how long it would be before someone blamed the Bush administration for the terrible call that negated Edu's goal, leaving us in a 2-2 draw. I mean, if it worked for why Chicago's political corruption and violent streets lost the Olympics, it certainly must work for terrible officiating in the World Cup, right?

I won't be taking today off, however, even though I want to sit in a bar packed full of dozens of other soccer fans hanging on every play as our eyes dart back and forth between the U.S. match and the English match. Two screens, two outcomes, four teams wondering how it will play out, millions of fans ready to celebrate or bemoan the results.

Since my company has a distinct French flair about it, they relax the rules slightly during World Cup time, even if Les Bleus are the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons. I'm just wondering if they can set up a room where we can watch both the England match and the U.S. match. Nirvana, splayed out on separate projection screens.

Something strange happens whenever the World Cup rolls around: I get nostalgically patriotic.

One of the reasons why I love soccer is I played it in high school. My friend Nate talked me out onto the pitch one afternoon. At the time, soccer was a club sport in Indiana, so anyone could come and play. Practices were considered meetings, and games were...well, activities, I guess. I had never played it other than in Freshman gym class, when I learned that heading the ball--especially an older ball, that was made out of concrete and allowed to harden to the consistency of granite--was a painful experience.

However, when I went out onto the pitch, and ran my first line down the right side of the field, I was instantly and rapaciously in love. It was exhausting, I was soaked both with my sweat and with the misty rain that hung in the air, but I was a soccer convert.

I would go on to play several summers with some friends at various parks and pitches around my home, either at my high school or up the road in Fort Wayne. For a while, I would play over the lunch hour at Notre Dame, but a combination of shin splints, fatigue and my advisor being none-too-pleased that I disappeared for an hour plus during the middle of the day three days a week--and then had the audacity to want to eat lunch, too!--ended my playing career. I played a couple more intramural games for the chemistry department at ND...but that ended badly, thanks to an obnoxious bitch's comments. Anyway, not to toot my own horn (I do have a wife, after all, plus I'm not as flexible as I once was), but I was a pretty decent player. At least by rural Indiana standards. I was even better once I finally got medication to help get my asthma under control and I could build up stamina!

I don't want to say that I'm a naturally-gifted athlete, because anyone who has looked at me recently would burst into tears laughing at that notion, but I have always been able to pick up a game fairly easily. Continuing and sustaining that interest has always been the difficu--hold on, gotta go check Facebook for any updates.

But, when I watch the U.S. competing in the World Cup, I like to sit and fantasize. If I had been given an opportunity to play soccer sometime before my junior year of high school, I think I could have excelled. Could I have made the U.S. team? I don't know. For a while, it seemed like if you had American blood in you and could kick a ball, you were on the team. God knows I certainly have the zeal for it.

This is when my fantasies really start taking over. If I was good enough to play for the U.S. team, maybe I could have played in Europe--certainly not the EPL, but one of the lower leagues perhaps. I could have toured the cities and nations I wanted to, seen the sights and enjoyed myself. I could have traveled with the U.S. team, as well. I could have sated the travel and tourism bug that has always been with me. Oh, what could have been. Nostalgia.

And, when I watch our side, I feel a deep sense of pride for the team. They're representing our nation, and though most people here ignore them--I won't get into my thoughts on that topic, mostly because it will probably offend--they're still out there, playing and trying to earn respect. Perhaps not in the eyes of their countrymen who are more content to sit back and slurp Busch Light and watch stock cars driving in an oval for four hours. But, hey, soccer is so boring, right?


But, win or lose, or draw, I still feel proud to watch the team compete. Herein rests the patriotism. It's an honor to represent your country in a World Cup. It's an honor that, nowadays, I would have loved to experience.

Too bad the rest of the country doesn't feel the same.

Forever in Debt to Your Priceless Advice

June 22, 2010

I read yesterday that Rick Riordan is planning a new series based on Greek mythology. In case you're not familiar with Monsieur Riordan, he's the author of the best-selling young adult series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the first book of which, The Lightning Thief, was released as a movie earlier in the year.

So, Rick Riordan is that guy down the street gleefully rolling in a pile of cash thanking Zeus as he does so.

He might squeeze in a little bit of thanks for Ra, too, as Riordan's written a series of books based on the Egyptian pantheon, as well.

A quick read of his Wikipedia Biography shows that the native Texan dons the burnt orange and white as a Texas alumnus, and that he still lives in San Antonio. I'll bet he remembers the Alamo. While at Texas, he studied English and History.

Fascinating, I know. You woke up this morning and wondered all about the life of the author of the Percy Jackson books. Or didn't. And you're probably wondering why the fuck I'm so interested, other than the fact that I generally like people from Texas.

For the answer to these questions, we'll have to go back to 1993, when I was beginning to shift my focus from what was inside Jodi Hippensteel's shirt (mental note: stalk her on Facebook later today) and more what I would do with the rest of my life. More specifically, I was pondering what it was I should major in when I got to college.

My first inclination was to study English, as I was rather fond of English and language as a whole, and I also enjoyed dissecting books other than The Scarlet Letter for their depth, meaning and symbolism. As a backup plan, I pondered studying history, focusing on ancient history since I had been almost singularly obsessed with the Roman Empire since the sixth grade. Given this, I'd probably have sought a degree in the Classics.

Even then, I had aspirations of becoming an author (something I had been working on since the third grade). I was working for the local newspaper and also for the student-run newspaper at my high school, so I had some writing experience under my belt. I was just going to start getting serious about my possible career.

I voiced these opinions to my parents who enjoyed dangling me upon marionette strings, ensuring that they controlled as much of my life as humanly possible were interested in helping me make a sound and wise decision.

My father just seemed happy that I was going to college. My mother, on the other hand, began growling the moment I started speaking.

"I'm not paying for you to go to school and study some la-di-da subject that you'll never be able to get a job doing!" she howled, banshee like in the pitch and timbre of her vitriol. "I'm not wasting good money on you to tiptoe through the daisies for four years. You're going to go and study something that you can make a career out of!"

And that was the end of that. Since I had done well in my high school chemistry classes (in which things like "reaction mechanisms", "kinetics", "quantum mechanics" and "physical chemistry" aren't ever really mentioned, giving you that whole false sense of security thing), I opted for a major in chemistry.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my undergraduate institution. It's just that...well, the facilities were a bit dated and we didn't have a whole lot of laboratory equipment, especially instrumental equipment. So, while still in high school and weighing the idea of studying a scientific discipline, I pondered going to a larger school where I could get things like "hands on learning" and stuff like that.

My mother would have none of this. "You're not going to a big state school!" she hissed. "They don't teach you anything there. You just get an indoctrination!"

Incidentally, I converted to Catholicism whilst in college.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Also, incidentally, my mother snarled--actually snarled! Feral growl, teeth-bearing rictus and all--that I should "get real" when I was thinking about going to graduate school, and tossed around the words "Notre" and "Dame". At this point, I had wriggled out from under her thumb enough that I wasn't going to put up with her bullshit and then I pointed out that I would actually get paid to go to school there. I guess a degree in the sciences does have its advantages...

It shut her the fuck up, which accomplished my prime objective, but anyway, back to the story.

So, I ended up studying a subject I wasn't really that fond of at a small school with limited resources to help bolster that study wondering if my job is going to be shipped to India tomorrow or next week.

Meanwhile, in my spare time, I study Latin and the history of Rome, from the founding of the city to the fall of the Empire and the transition period after that where the great kingdoms of Europe slowly rose from the ashes of the Empire. I am also writing a book featuring Greek gods and working desperately to sketch out a fiction series that will be an allegory to various aspects of the rise of the Roman Empire that may or may not be geared toward middle school girls so that I, too, can shit gold bullion.

So, Rick Riordan? I admire you, sir. Please, don't stop wallowing in that pile of cash. Enjoy every moment of it. You've certainly shown what a waste of time a degree in history and language is, not to mention how unhealthy it is to have an obsession with ancient mythological stories. Yessir, I'll bet you're regretting that degree these days.

Because I enjoy my own cleverness so much, I thought I'd share this little sniglet of what I wrote last night in my Greek gods story (though if you've read my status updates on Facebook, this is old hat):

"Walking into the bedroom, Amanda rolled her eyes. 'Please,' she reproached, 'Priapos you're not.'"

By the way...if you're not familiar, don't look up "Priapos/Priapus" at work...

I Want to Believe

June 16, 2010

Sorry about yesterday, everyone, but I had a lovely little sports post ready to go wherein I spent a lot of words insulting Notre Dame and their desperation to cling to football independence, but then the ugly step-children of the Big XII did a deal with the Longhorns and Pointy Tail of Texas in order to keep the conference "together", thus ruining my perfectly-placed rant about Notre Dame's high opinion of itself and how nearsighted it is. So, I didn't publish the post and didn't bother coming up with a replacement. Maybe another day.

So, today, I have this dandy for you.

Despite the fact that I'm a "Man of Science", I like to keep an open mind to all manner of paranormal phenomena. Mostly, it's fun to believe some of this shit that we've had passed down through our lore. Cold spot on the floor? Why, it must be a ghost. Odd not-quite-a-log looking shape in the water? Sea monster, hands down. Probably just basking in the sun. Or, more importantly, it's probably disguised as a log, to lure in unsuspecting prey. Like you or me.

Don't even try to convince me that there aren't mermaids out there. Beautiful women plying the waters topless! And their legs are mashed together into fins, so that the only port of entry is their mouths! Nubile young chesty things that can only give blow jobs? Don't you dare try and tell me they're not real!

Then, however, there are some things that scare the living shit out of me. The story behind the Amityville Horror house? That will keep me up at night for weeks. Tales of alien abduction--not the anal probe part, but the part where the aliens are walking through the motherfucking walls and have some sort of force field around the victim so they can't move? That shit's nightmare-inducing.

And then there's Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, if you must. Sassy is an idea that I like. The notion that there's an undiscovered North American ape species still around is, to me, awesome. The same goes for the Yeti (probably not the same species as Sasquatch), though since that's an Asian ape, it doesn't hold the same captivating keenness that Sasquatch does, at least for me.

However, I can see both sides of the argument with regards to Sasquatch. There have been so many people playing pranks and hoaxing others for years that every bit of Sasquatch evidence I see I view through a jaded lens. And while hair samples and footprints are nice and all, no one has found a body of one of these large American apes (yet, I hope), and to be honest, the body is the most compelling piece of evidence. Without it, there's too much doubt as to the existence of Sassy. No one believed in the mountain gorillas until a body was brought back, and that was fifty, sixty years ago! I suspect, however, that even with a body, there will still be skeptics.

Thanks to programs on both The History Channel and Discovery, and to a lesser degree on Syfy (Destination: Truth could be a good show, if they didn't try to pack so much stuff into one episode), it seems as though the study of and hunt for evidence of Sasquatch has taken a more mainstream track. This is good, because then maybe we can turn the tide of public opinion from Sasquatch being a children's tale of a forest-dwelling boogeyman into Sasquatch being a viable, scientifically-recognized species that we can protect and study.

But...for every step forward in the realm of cryptohominoidal study, there's...well, there's this guy:


Well, I guess it's good that Sasquatch has, apparently, mastered that lather, rinse, repeat cycle and took time to get some highlights done before visiting with Mr. Peeler and his dog...though I am disconcerted that Sassy can be driven off with a sharply barked "git!" and a stick.

It's not unprecedented to have Sasquatch reports in North Carolina or in Appalachia; most sightings, however, are reported in the Pacific Northwest and up into Canada, sure, but the sightings of a large, hairy hominid span coast-to-coast in this great nation of ours.

Wait. I'll bet he didn't see Sasquatch at all! I'll bet he saw...this guy!


June 14, 2010

In addition to her non sequiturs, updates on the rainfall in places in Indiana that I could care less about, and complete lack of understanding of my likes, dislikes and personality, my mother also likes sending on mass forwards through the email. And they are always oh-so-delightfully hilarious. Not just knee-slappingly funny, but wet-your-pants, I-can't-breathe-make-it-stop Jeff Dunham funny.

As was the case on Friday, when my mother sent me this gem titled "Oxymorons", which was a series of questions that were supposed to make you laugh. More importantly, none of them are oxymora (the proper plural of oxymoron), which are contradicting terms that are somewhat amusing if one thinks about it long enough.

With that in mind, let's check on the funny that she decided to bless my life with:

1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

Yes, otherwise it wouldn't pull dirt out of your carpet, you filthy hippy.

2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?

Because the "second" is the name given to a division of time that is 1/60th of a minute, the minute being the name given to the division of time that is 1/60th of an hour. Therefore, a "second hand", in this case, counts and records seconds, just as the minute and hour hands count their designated sweeps of time.

3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

There have been several instances across various dictionaries of misspelled words, but since the dictionaries go through rigorous editorial review before final printings, usually misspellings and grammatical errors are caught. If they aren't, a correction is made in a subsequent edition.

Also, wouldn't this question have been at least somewhat clever if something had been mispelled?

4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?

Webster didn't write the first dictionary, dickhead. Samuel Johnson did. Maybe you should have paid attention during English class, that way you'd know that, if you string words together, you can write things like "clauses" and "sentences" and "definitions for words in the dictionary".

As an aside, Webster did write the first American dictionary. He wrote it as a way of thumbing his nose at the British, whom we had just defeated to gain our independence. He's the one who is to blame for dropping the 'u's out of most English spellings, such as labour and colour so that they'd look less British.

5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

If something isn't working properly, we sometimes resort to smacking the instrument or machine in order to get it to work for us (but mostly to vent our frustrations). This is giving it "a whack". If something is "out of whack", then it needs a smack upside the the author of this particular forwarding.

6. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?

"Slow down" implies a natural deceleration, whereas "slow up" implies a more rapid braking of speed. Also, these sayings rose from regional dialects which, as the population of America has shifted and communications have improved, has caused a mixing of otherwise isolated phrases and speech patterns. This also explains why the girl at my favorite restaurant speaks with the most outrageously offensive New Jersey accent.

7. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?

"Fat chance" means there is no chance. "Slim chance" implies that, while the odds are against you, there is still a chance for you to achieve your goal. Which would you rather hear when you're trying to bang that chick at the end of the bar? Fat chance or that your chances are slim? I'll go with slim chances over no chance at all.

8. Why do "tug" boats push their barges?

While tug boats do sometimes push their vessels around, by-and-large most tugs still pull barges and large vessels through the water.

9. Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game" when we are already there?

Tradition. Besides, how many other songs about baseball that don't involve John Fogerty are there?

10. Why are they called "stands" when they are made for sitting?

Because the people who originally were "seated" there were forced to stand during the entire match.

11. Why is it called "after dark" when it really is "after light"?

Because it's a shortened form of "after darkness falls".

12. Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?

No, because you're still anticipating something to happen which you are exactly sure of. You know something will happen, but you just don't know what. Therefore, it's still unexpected.

13. Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy" opposites?

Because "guy" is a somewhat derogatory word, based on Guy Fawkes' fucked up attempt to blow up Parliament. Wise men come up with sage advice; wise guys try to detonate government buildings.

14. Why do "overlook" and "oversee" mean opposite things?

You can look at something, but not truly see it. Therefore, if you overlook something, you are missing it entirely. The word "see" implies a more specific examination, therefore if you are overseeing something, you are focusing your attentions on getting the job done.

15. Why is "phonics" not spelled the way it sounds?

Because the Greeks, from whom we take the word "phonics", didn't have an F as we know it. Their letter that made the /f/ sound was phi. When the Romans adopted various Etruscan letters, they absorbed the letter that would become F and assigned it the sound that phi made (as the Etruscan F made a sort of /w/ sound that the Romans used upsilon for).

The true irony in the question is that the Greeks didn't use C in their words and opted for the use of kappa, which should make the spelling of "phonics" as "phoniks". Apparently, the dumbass who wrote these questions overlooked that tiny little detail. Perhaps he should have had someone oversee his work.

16. If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?

I think I'm beginning to see the "moron" part of the title here. In order to achieve work, some bit of force has to be applied to the system. In most cases, work is repaid with the desired or intended change on the system. In others, its reward is monetary.

17. If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

Anyone who is witness to any of the marvelous mishaps and dramas that unfold in the world around us on a daily basis is the audience. All the world is a stage does not imply that the performance is taking place upon a designated site, but that it is happening in the world around us.

Again, the author of these questions must have failed English class and missed out on metaphor day. Also, you'll note, "metaphor" is a Greek spelling.

18. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

Love is blind. Sexual desire is visual in nature, especially for men. A feeling of sexiness is also important for women, which is why lingerie is so popular. I'm guessing, in addition to being a dickhead, the author is uxoriated, sexless or a Dolores Umbridge-like troll of a woman.

19. If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right?

No, presumably you'd still read left-to-right. Dickhead. This question is so obnoxious and offensive, it begs to have disdain and insults thrown upon it. And, no, you would still have dyslexia and you would still have the unfortunate luck to have your eyes focus on a point not far before your nose. Way to be compassionate for others, assface.

20. Why is bra singular and panties plural?

Is not a brassiere a single piece of clothing? Panties is a shortened form of "pantaloons" (via pants) which comes from Pantaloun, who is a silly old man character who wore tight pants over very skinny legs. Pantaloons then became any sort of tight trousers in the same vein as Pantaloun's pants, and the pluralized form has stuck ever since.

21. Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?

For the same reason that you whack an instrument that isn't giving you the result you want, mostly out of frustration. We've also been taught that if you do something harder, you will get the result faster, so pushing harder will, apparently, get the remote to work that much faster.

22. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?

Because before suitcases were used, most clothing was stored in bags. Therefore, garments would be stored in garment bags. The suitcase comes from the idea that men would carry a briefcase with them to work. As that was a smaller case, therefore "brief", a larger case would need a bigger name, therefore a suit.

23. How come abbreviated is such a long word?

Because it comes from Latin, "ab" meaning "from, of" and "breve" which means "short" (*ahem*). The ending is used to denote an action, which in the case of "abbreviated" means it happened in the past.

Abbreviation's abbreviation is abb.

24. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?

You are clean when you use them. Unfortunately, the towels themselves are not. Tiny spores of mildew and bacteria live on the towels' surfaces and when they are used, the mildew and bacteria take up the water and start growing. We wash the towels to get the stuff that lives on them off.

Of course, after we toss them in the dryer and it cools off, the mildew and bacteria come right back.

25. Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Because if it's still wet in the bottle, it's not completely adhesive. Once it dries though, it's stuck--whether it's in the bottle or not.

26. Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?

Because there are a lot of component parts in a television. Also, "set" has the most meanings of any word in the English language, so it doesn't just imply that you've brought together a collection of things. It could almost mean that "this is where you've placed it".

27. Christmas - What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?

Christmas - What other time of the year do we celebrate the most famous failure of birth control in the history of humanity?

28. Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

Because "driveways" used to take us from the street to our garages, thus it was a way to drive. As garages became more full shit, it became impractical to park your car in them (apparently) and so now we park on our driveways. "Parkways" used to imply that the road went through pastoral settings, hence "parks".

There was, of course, at the end of the mass forwarding something about how God loves us and wants us to be happy and some other feel-good bullshit about friendship. I skipped that here because, if anything is oxymoronical, it's defining Christmas as eating candy from a sock in front of a dead tree and then talking about how buddy-buddy chumly we are with God.

Oh, wait. My mistake. That's not oxymoronical, it's just moronical, like the rest of the forwarding.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXXIII

June 11, 2010

I promised something different today, and I'm going to keep with that. I should have planned something to commemorate the beginning of the World Cup, and made some weak association between soccer and Roman History.

But, I won't. I'm going to stick with the plan.

Without further ado...

Click on the picture to enlarge it. Hovertext is still in the picture.

And, in case you can't read it, it says:

"Iuppite id perdat! Meus nasus prurit!"

Pronounced: "Ee-yoo-pee-tay id pair-dat! May-oose nah-soose proo-reet!"

I don't know if this qualifies as a "webcomic", or if it's even the beginning of a series within the Latin series. We'll see what happens, I guess.

And please, won't somebody lend her a hand?

TMI Thursday: Bedclothes

June 10, 2010

I am, as of right now, very lonely. My wife and the kids are headed to Nashville where they will meet with my mother-in-law all while avoid flooding aftermath and Country Music Awards people. My mother-in-law is then taking the kids on to Oklahoma to visit family out there for a couple of weeks before heading back up to Indiana for two weeks or so. My wife is coming back sometime tomorrow.

That leaves me the run of the house for the next 36 hours or so.

Unfortunately, they make me wear pants at work...

Anyway, remember a couple of weeks ago when I was doing that presentation to my daughter's class? Well, in order to show off the glowing water, I bought a blacklight because it gives off the right wavelengths in order to help certain molecules fluoresce. I figured I'd keep it for the novelty sake, and so I had it in my room but not put away. So, my daughter busts it out and is playing with it, and she shines it on the sheets of my bed.


The sheets are solid black...however, certain areas of the sheets...*ahem*...fluoresced. Brightly. She thought this was cool. I, however, forced myself to stifle a laugh. I assume you've seen those exposes on the news where they take blacklights to hotel rooms to show all the residual bodily fluids left on the sheets and blankets and such. Well, this was the same thing, except it was my bed, and therefore (probably) my fluids.

And then the question came: "Why does it do that?"

She does have some idea as to why things fluoresce under a light like that--I mean, I haven't just taught her the important things, like how to read and write and shoot a basketball and what a zone blitz is. I mean, I've taught her some impractical things, too, like science.

I explained it away that it was glowing because there was some protein residue left on the sheets. She accepted it. I'm sure in a couple of years when The Talk is delivered, she'll suddenly be horrified and have to go all Goth in order to deal with the shock to her system. I'm fine with that. It helps a person grow.

So, I might need to wash those while the wife is away. You know, to freshen up the bedroom, help get her in the mood...

Although, once, that shit backfired on me. It was shortly after we had moved down here. My wife took Cookie with her down to visit her friend in Athens, Georgia one weekend, thus leaving me to hold down the fort at the apartment. Since I was younger, still as horny, and every bit as sick and twisted, I played around on some sites of ill-repute on the internet. Since no one else was in the house, I also felt the need to sleep naked.

And since I was naked and horny after checking out a lot of internet porn, I took care of business in our bed.

Oh, did I mention that we had white sheets at the time?

I also ate a lot of Mexican food that weekend, because it was cheap and I hate myself. This was all before I had my gall bladder removed, so I wasn't quite as leaky 'round back. All this Mexican food caused me to gas up like a blimp and so I laid in my bed--with the white sheets--and jerked off and farted to my heart's content.

I did put clothes on when a group of my friends came down from Virginia to visit me--four friends that I didn't tell my wife about. Two of them were girls, and one of them decided to shed her dark brown hair on the guest bathroom floor--a hair color which no one in my family possesses. All-in-all, it was a good visit. We sat around, shot the shit, told jokes and stories and all that. I even turned off the Notre Dame game in order to chat with my friends! And then we went and got some dinner--at a Mexican restaurant--and they headed back to Virginia. I had a good time. They had a good time.

After they left, I went back to exploring the internet's depravity and staining the sheets (I don't even know why). When I finally got up on Sunday, I looked at the deplorable state of our bed clothes and decided that I would wash them up so that my wife would be able to come home to fresh linens and a clean apartment.

Except, I didn't sweep the floor in the guest bathroom.

My wife comes home, finds the bed clean and made, the apartment clean, everything in order. And then she finds Kristen's hairs on the floor of the bathroom when we were giving Cookie a bath. So, there was a clean apartment, a bed that had been freshly washed and made, and hair from a strange woman's head on the bathroom floor. Yeah, nothing looks suspicious here!

So, I had to explain that I had some friends over and I had to reassure her that I had penetrated NONE of them. And then I had to explain to her why I had washed the sheets on the bed.

And then we went to dinner. At a Mexican restaurant.

Cue the Alice Cooper Music...Now!

June 9, 2010

Today is my kids' last day of school. No more homework, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks. And you can eat lunch with real silverware and get a second napkin, if you'd like.

As far as I can tell, there is nothing especially special planned for the last day of school. They had pizza parties on Monday, and so today is just a final winding down of the entire year. Today is actually a make-up day from the week where we had some snow, so it's like it's double plus good when they finally achieve their freedom today since it was an extra day to begin with.

I can remember, as a child, on the last day of school we would have paperwad fights on the bus. Since you came home with all the paper that had been collecting in your desk throughout the entire year, you were fully armed. My first bus driver, Allen Kitt, was cool about the whole thing. He was just an old farmer who drove the bus for some extra money. I think since we were mostly well-behaved throughout the year that he didn't mind us inundating the bus floors with discarded paper.

My second driver, however, was Gene Tumbleson, and he was kind of a dick. He never let us have paperwad fights. As far as I know, he was never married, raised ten thousand hound dogs, and worked on derelict autos that covered his property. My friend Nick and I drove past his house once so that I could see where he lived. It was like the Bumpasses with all the hounds trotting around the place, but without all the charm and humor. Sonsabitches! No one leave a turkey lying around!

We recently passed the sixteenth anniversary of my very last night of school...well, not counting college and graduate school. June 3rd, 1994 was the fateful night when I shuffled off this educational coil and became "an adult". Graduation was "fun", because we got frisked on the way into the ceremony so that no one would sneak in anything untoward that would cause a disruption.

Of course, when they patted me down, they wanted to know why I was trying to sneak a garden hose into the ceremony in my pants. I was told to immediately pull it out and hand it over, but I declined, saying that I'd get arrested for indecent exposure and I didn't need that on my permanent record. True story. No, honest.

We also got Bibles after we graduated--you know, after we were no longer associated with the school--but we had to return our caps and gowns in order to receive our diplomas and our Christian propaganda. We left the gym and we started toward our home rooms when my friend, mild-mannered Dan King, turned to me and said, "Fuck this, let's run!"

So, we did. We ran through the halls of the high school. Oh what rebels we were. Actually, we wanted to get the fizzuck out of there as fast as possible because our mutual friend J.J. was having his graduation party that night, and it was going to be awesome. was. Sort of. After days of cajoling my mother into allowing me out from under her thumb for a few hours of fun with my friends, I finally was able to go. I showed up, well after the party had begun. I stayed until my curfew--one that I had even after I graduated from college, mind. The best part was riding around in the back of this girl's new convertible--cherry red--with my prom date and someone else. We sat on the back seat, not in it. It was dangerous, it was stupid, and it was the first time in my life I had done such a thing. Dawn--the driver--sped through the streets of Huntington while we sat, unrestrained, in the backseat. My heart raced with each twist and turn of our journey, wondering if I would tumble off the backseat and die having banged only one chick throughout my high school career, and that experience being something unworthy of bragging.

And I loved every minute of it. The ride in the car, not the regretting only fucking one girl in high school.

My kids aren't near the age of graduation yet, and won't be for a while. However, since the end of the school year is upon us, congratulations to all this year's graduates. Have fun, good luck, and don't pick your nose in public.

And if you need a substitute keynote speaker at your graduation, my rates are cheap. It's mostly just boob pictures and a bottle of rum.

A fella's gotta sleep, you know.

Totally Blowing Stuff Up Tuesdays: Liquid Nitrogen

June 8, 2010

You know what's funny? When someone says they want to try to get back to posting everyday, and then don't post for three consecutive days. Hilarity. I have good excuses (they involve spending "time" with "family" and "being a father" and "cleaning up a nasty virus that was eating my computer on Sunday"), but I won't spend them here. I'll save them for another day.

So, I thought I would try to make it up to you by posting videos of explosions. Everyone loves blowing shit up, right? I thought so!

Anyway, as we've gone over here before (oh, look at that, the "imperial we"...not too full of ourselves now, are we?) an explosion is simply an expansion of gases more rapid and forceful than the container that is holding them can withstand. So, if there's too much pressure too fast, then boom. And giggling, though that's more a side effect, at least so long as everyone still has all their fingers, toes, eyes, balls...what have you.

It would, therefore, make sense that, if you have the liquid form of something that prefers to be a gas at room temperature, and you warm it up quickly, there's a good chance there could be some of that rapid expansion of the gas with cataclysmic results.

Like, say, a plastic bottle full of liquid nitrogen thrown into a warm pool...

That's short, sweet, and to the point. I like it, especially since the lights of the pool look green.

Obviously, the liquid nitrogen would warm to the temperature of the air--albeit slowly(-ish)...plastic is an insulator, after all--and the bottle would explode. However, with the water jacketing the bottle and helping transfer heat more efficiently, the bottle goes off faster and, presumably, harder (there's not as much time for excess gas to leak out). And, since it's underwater, you get sexy wave action.

But what happens when you really heat the living shit out of liquid nitrogen? Oh, it's time to call in some thermite:

Perhaps not as satisfying as other thermite reactions shown on here, but it was still kind of fun watching the liquid nitrogen boil away and the pool of molten metal piling up on the cinder blocks.

Plus, thermite is always cool. Heh. Explosion humor.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXXII

June 4, 2010

I'm going to do something today that I've never done before on a Latin Lesson: be funny! recycle a photo.

It's true. Last week's photo probably didn't fit the phrase perfectly, mostly because those three were already smiling. But, still, you could almost say that that girl in the middle's smile was a little forced, and that guy on the right is trying a bit too hard to be gay happy. And the girl on the left...with those mud-caked melons...well, we're all happy to see her.

I've been a little ranty this week, too, and I'd apologize if it didn't involve a lot of swearing and some things that were mildly amusing. For the record, it's still pretty fucking hot in my bedroom, and the corner where the desk sits seems to be in this permanently fucked position temperature-wise. If it's cold outside, I'm turtling while sitting here. If it's hot, well, the coinpurse is hanging mighty low.

Thank my friend, Dr. Assy, for that particular turn-of-phrase. Brilliant, isn't it? That's why he's a doctor and...well, I shan't go there. Not today.

Anyway, I'll keep this shit short and sweet, so that we can get to the revival of dead languages already! I've written a short tableau for our three muddy heroes from last week. It should prove--if not entertaining--perhaps useful if you find yourself in the forum or the public baths or some such.

Tu! A dextra! Fugite in malam crucem!

Pronounced: "Too! Ah daix-trah! Fyoo-gee-tay in mah-lahm croo-came!"

Translation in the hovertext!

Ah, em istuc rectius. Nunc, dominae, pro me saltate!

Pronounced: "Ah, em ees-took rake-tee-oose. Noonk, doh-mee-nye, proh may sahl-tah-tay!"

Translation again in the hovertext.

Clearly, I need to give up this whole concept of "novel writing" and just write a screenplay in Latin. Am I right? Damn right I am.

Anyway, you can clip little pieces of these things out for use in other aspects of your everyday life. I tried to break the lines up so that you could lift what you need from the Latin and use it.

Come back next week when I try something else completely new! I'm hoping that it works. We'll see...

Also, I might go back to doing writing updates on the weekends again, and/or work in those silly-ass words that I keep wanting to use in writing or something else a little different that I have rattling around in my head, but probably is something better suited to the weekend when not a lot of people read anyway. But, I'd kind of like to get back to posting nearly everyday and hopefully I'll be able to shuffle off these feelings of writer's block. Whatevs. I've got muddy women to watch dance. Valete!

I'm Sleepy (A TMI-ish Thursday Post)

June 3, 2010

I've come to a point in my life where I'm afraid I'm going to have to utilize a sleeping aid other than masturbation.

Don't get me wrong; polishing Darth Vader's helmet is still plenty enjoyable, but it doesn't get the job done like it used to. In the sleep department, that is. I'm still fully capable of ejaculating like a geyser. Allow me to allay your fears in that department.

It's just that now, I don't sleep quite as nicely as I used to. The simple solution is to blame it on the heat, as I am a man of ample girth. Especially where it counts. Don't believe me? Just look at a picture of my wife. Look at that smug smile of satisfaction permanently slapped on her lips. That, my friends, is a testament to girthiness.

I'm talking about girth in other areas of my body. *sigh* Okay, fine, I'll just come out and say it: I'm a bit overweight. I realized this the other day when a bunch of Chinese guys came by and rubbed me on the tummy and then questioned aloud why I wasn't made of bronze and just why was Buddha telling them to kindly fuck off.

Over the weekend, I was forced to close my windows and fire up the air conditioner. Usually, I try to hold out until June 1st, but I couldn't this year, mostly because the weather forecasters were wrong (insert shocked face here) and predicted highs well into the nineties for the holiday weekend. While the highs did not attain this lofty plateau, it was still amply humid around here, and so my hand was forced. Chilled, recirculated air became a matter of need, not just a matter of luxury.

The problem isn't even the heat during the day. That, I can deal with. The heat at night, however, is a whole different dog and pony show. A very sweaty dog and pony show, but a dog and pony show nonetheless.

The problem is that the temperatures don't drop below 70 at night around here, and if they do it's only in the wee hours before dawn that they accomplish that, well after I've slouched into the bed trying to grab a few hours of sleep. Coupling this with the fact that air flow in my house is fucking ridiculously stagnant, and you can see where the problems begin.

So, to recap: it's hot, it's muggy, and the air doesn't circulate so it doesn't ever actually get all that cool. And whatever cool air there is goes rocketing out through the piss-poorly insulated walls and windows. And the fan--though, it's a very good fan and I love it as if it was a third child--can only push so much air, and even that isn't enough to cool down me.

Thanks to this, I've entered into a sleep cycle where I drift off, begin the sweet, sweet dream cycle, and then, just as Natalie Portman is about to show me her V for Vendetta, I wake up. I toss about. I roll over. I mutter profanities under my breath. I finally drift off to sleep, rinse and repeat.

This means I wake up sweaty--which is never a good thing--and surly and listless and feeling as if I've taken one of those naps where you fall asleep on the couch for thirty seconds and then your kids start fighting over who gets to claim the remote after Daddy's drifted off. What? You don't have those fights in your house?

Well, kindly fuck off.

I'm sorry. Don't be offended. It's the heat and lack of sleep. Maybe.

So, this makes me think I should drug myself before heading off to sleep--that's where I'm a Viking, after all--so that I can make it through a night and wake up feeling at least a little refreshed and maybe not quite so surly.

Of course, waking up and having some of the morning sex would be nice, but I can really only take that matter up with one person--maybe two, if I'm lucky and someone's feeling kinky. *sigh* I can feel the glare through the computer monitor now, and she hasn't even read this yet.

My apologies for the digression. Won't happen again. Today, at least.

It does look as though I'm going to have to resort to some kind of chemical agent in order to help me through the night and sweeten my disposition.

I'm thinking rum.

Like Sand in Your Buns

June 1, 2010

I'm a little bit pissed this morning.

I know, what else is new, right?

And by "pissed", I mean angry. Not the good kind of "pissed" that would imply that I woke up this morning and started enjoying a good tipple.

A couple of weeks ago, in a moment of what can only be described as "impulse", I decided it was time for my children to own squirt guns. So, I shelled out all of ninety-nine cents (apiece...I'm not THAT cheap) for two water guns. We took them home, I showed them how to fill them, and they were off. Oh, what fun they had, chasing one another around the back yard, squirting and being squirted. It eventually devolved into having a squirt gun in one hand and a spray bottle in the other.

But, you know what? They're kids. They need to run around and have fun and play with squirt guns. It's all in good fun.

So, the other day, the neighbor girls from across the street came over, and they ran around in the backyard playing with the squirt guns, too. Now, the girls from across the street are harmless, but kind of annoying. One of them is terrified of bugs, and shrieks at the top of her lungs this long, piercing, keening wail whenever she sees a bug, let alone have one land on her. Do you know how many bugs there are in North Carolina? All of them.

The other one...well...let's just say I fully expect her to graduate--with honors--from the Elmer Fudd Academy of Public Speaking, if you know what I'm saying. *wink* Uh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-huh!

Anyway, yesterday, when I released the hounds children into the backyard to run and play while I cooked dinner, I found that my kids' squirt guns no longer worked. Hmmm, curious. Two weeks is all ninety-nine cents buys these days? Well, I guess that's no problem. Their birthdays are four to six weeks away, so I can get them new ones, and possibly upgrade them even. Yep, father of the year.

And then...then I hear why my kids' squirt guns don't work anymore...

Seems as though Bugluver and Elmer from across the street put sand into the squirt guns when they were playing with them. Sand. Motherfucking sand in the squirt guns! Who the fuck does this? It's a water gun, not a silica grit gun. What the fuck?

But, of course, they're not my kids, so I can't go off on them like I want to. And, the guns were only ninety-nine cents, so I would feel like a true asshole if I went next door and demand that Fudd senior repay me for the lost use of two squirt guns, but a tiny part of me wants to go and grab that fucker by the mullet and ask "Who the hell teaches their kids to put sand in a fucking squirt gun???"

Now, being a chemist, I'm familiar with certain materials and whatnot. I could get a hold of some shit that would dissolve the sand right quick, and--I'm fairly certain--wouldn't damage the water-shooting mechanism too much. However, when considering all angles of my options, the risk of getting HF burns quickly outweighs the recovered use of two squirt guns that set me back two bucks.

Oh, and by the way, if you're squeamish, you probably don't want to click on that link up there.

So, I guess I'm going to swallow my anger and bottle it up inside (always healthy) and just get the kids a couple of good squirt guns for their birthdays.

In the meantime, be vewy vewy quiet. I'm twying to discouwage the kids next door fwom coming over.