Monday, February 23, 2009

In Defense of the “Manbag”

Now, I tend to carry a lot of crap around with me. Too much crap to stuff into my various pockets. And even when I am traveling with the bare-minimum, I cannot stand the feeling of anything in my pockets, particularly the ones in back. It makes sitting an uncomfortable chore, not to mention reducing the profile of my shapely buttocks to a bumpy, sharp-cornered mess.

I guess I could have bought cargo pants; you know, the ones with myriads of pockets scattered about. But, at 46 years old, I kinda look like a dork wearing something clearly designed for someone half my age or less. No, I needed another solution.

Therefore, I bought myself the “Manbag”--a purse for guys. Mine came compliments of my good friends at Timbuk2, makers of professional-grade messenger bags. My Manbag (called the “Mini” by its manufacturers--isn’t that masculine?) has pockets, zippers and compartments galore. It also has Velcro and buckles to keep things secure--after all, do I want even manlier men stealing my stuff? No sir.

So, now I carry all my stuff in style. Sure, I have to endure some teasing from some small-minded people (my 16-year-old nephew snidely refers to it as a "Murse”--what a dopey name). However, I know where everything is and my buttocks look as shapely as ever.

A little high-tensile twine and this puppy closes up tighter than Fort Knox.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hey Kids, Let’s Play Mad Libs!

If you came of age after the 1970s, you might not be familiar with this little, time-wasting activity that not only produced a lot of yuks—particularly on long, boring car trips—but also taught many of us English grammar (well, the various parts-of-speech, anyway).

Here’s how it works— just be aware that I had to modify it for the Internet (I am sure some bright bulb has written a Javascript program that allows you to do it properly, but who has the time or the inclination to search? My hair hurts just thinking about it).

Below is a selection (don’t peek!) with key words left out and only numbers in their places. Up top is a corresponding list of numbers and the part-of-speech or word category each number represents. On a separate piece of paper, come up with a [funny] example of each required part-of-speech or word category. If you lack creativity, ask your 7-year-old for help. Then, once you finish coming up with the missing words, read the selection below (with feeling, of course), substituting your words for the numbers. Ready? Well, let’s proceed anyway.

  1. Adjective
  2. Inalienable Right granted by the Constitution
  3. Verb
  4. Relative (plural)
  5. Verb (past tense)
  6. Group of people from history (plural)
  7. Noun
  8. Topographical Feature (look it up)
  9. Inalienable Right granted by the Constitution (different from #2)
  10. Verb

...and here's the Mad Lib:

My Country Tis of Thee
by Samuel Francis Smith
(sung to the tune of My Country Tis of Thee)

My country tis of thee,

(1) land of (2)

Of thee I (3)!

Land where my (4) (5)

Land of the (6)’ (7)

Of ev’ry (8) side

Let (9) (10)!

Gee, wasn’t that fun?

Monday, February 16, 2009

No News Junkie Here

From what I can tell, a lot of people watch The News incessantly. They just can't get enough of it. These days, insatiable seekers of information squint their eyes at tiny newsblurbs scrolling at the bottom of--you guessed it--Network News Broadcasts.

I, on the other hand, do not see the value in The News--primarily because it already happened. It's too late for me to do anything about it now--can't avoid it, can't confront it. In my opinion, they should change its name to The Olds.

Now, contrast this with The Weather report--something I find myself staring at for hours on end. Oh sure, they tell you what the temperature is now--but get this--they actually predict what will happen in the future. Whether they are right or wrong is almost immaterial; this is information that you can use.

But that doesn't mean that all hope is lost for The News. On the contrary, the networks should seriously consider having the news written (and perhaps broadcasted) by psychics. Who wouldn't want to know when and where the next vehicular accident or stock market plunge will take place? And last night's winning lottery numbers? Give me tomorrow night's and we'll be in business.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Think, Therefore I Starve

I was a philosophy minor in college. There isn't much of a call for philosophers these days, which is why I ultimately went into a different line of work. There's a reason that the philosophers of old were referred to as "philosopher-kings". The philosophy game didn't pay well--even back then. Those who had the "calling" to philosophize better have been independently wealthy. It probably helped that they also were in charge. This way, they could proclaim some sort of edict that required everyone to listen to and/or discuss the obvious merits of the philosopher-kings' observations and theories.

One of the earliest theories thrown out there concerned Metaphysics. This is a good name; it gives the impression that there actually might be some science involved. Metaphysics is the "study" of how we can know anything about anything. Man, if that isn't scientific, I don't know what is.

Another wonderful philosophy topic is Logic. Logic involves all sorts of rules and shorthands and derivations that almost resembles math. This is probably why I remember precious little about Logic. One of the few things I do remember, however, is something called a tautology. A tautology is an example of faulty logic; e.g., It is so because it is so. It is easy to see why philosophers rejected this and why it was so quickly snatched up by parents, teachers and politicians almost immediately afterward.

I guess every now and then, the philo-kings felt the need to talk about good behavior. We now refer to such musings as Ethics. One can wonder, however, how ethical it was for the philosopher-kings to make their subjects actually listen to this stuff.