Friday, May 29, 2009

A Little Help, Here...

Not to brag, but I do believe that I am at least as smart as the average bear. However, from time to time, I find that my nearly adequate cognitive abilities are not quite up to the task at-hand.

For example, here are some recent puzzles from a local newspaper that have been giving me problems of late. And as much as I hate to admit it, I am going to need some assistance with them. But remember, I only want a hint—don't be giving the whole thing away now!

Word Search

Word List:
1. Loser

Fun With Analogies
red is to blue, as
is to ____________


Rearrange these to form a popular joke from the Raman II era, circa 457 BC.

Can You Distinguish Between the Twins?

Look closely. How many differences can you find?
(So far, I have only noticed that the one on the right isn't wearing a tie.)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Critic's Corner

Normally, I don’t read much. I find that it takes away from valuable TV-watching time. That being said, I did find myself wandering around a book store the other day.

What immediately caught my eye was the book, Gulliver’s Travels (see picture), written by someone named Cliff S. Notes. Instantly, I came to the conclusion that this would be the perfect subject for the next installment of the Critic’s Corner.

Working from outside in, I have to admit that the cover is quite eye-catching, if somewhat garish. Personally, I find the tri-colored scheme a little edgy; I think that an appearance by Fabio and some curvaceous wench on the book jacket might be more appropriate, given the story’s setting.

The plot itself is very simply written and easy to understand, while at the same time, seriously lacking in detail. The characters, too, are sorely in need of some added dimension and, dare I say, warmth (The complete lack of dialogue often made it seem like I was reading a textbook).

But what I found the most distasteful is Mr. Notes’s annoying habit of disrupting the dramatic flow of the story in order to explain to the reader what is going on. What an insult to one’s intelligence! I also will go so far to say that it might completely dissuade me from buying any more of Mr. Notes’s books (He apparently has authored several).

Well, that’s all for this installment of the Critic’s Corner. Join me in the Corner next time when I review some of the latest movie trailers and ringtones.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Little Program That Couldn’t

It has been said that for every program that actually makes it on TV, at least 10 first-episodes (or pilots, in the vernacular) have been cast aside into oblivion before ever being aired.

So, from among the wanna-bees, never-have-beens and also-rans, here are 5 such shows, each complete with a snippet of dialogue to let you know what you’ve been missing...

1. CSI, Boise

Investigator 1
: What did he die from?
Investigator 2: (after consultation with Medical Examiner) He was old.
Investigator 1: Case solved.
[Cue Theme: only Who song remaining never to have been used in franchise]

2. Real Housewives of Nome, Alaska

Sherri, your Uggs are to die for! And that head-to-toe fur with the big hood--I could claw your eyes out!
Sherri: Uh, it’s me--Nanuk. Sherri’s husband.

3. The Biggest Shmoozer

C'mon you wimp, work it! Work...That...Room!
Contestant 1: Hey there, nice tan! Is that your wife or is that your daughter? Didn’t I see you in the Hamptons last season? Now how about that big, fat, government contract?

4. America’s Next Top Model Citizen

Contestant 1:
Today I waited patiently in line, properly displayed the American flag, sorted my neighbor’s recycling and crossed only at the green signal.
Contestant 2: B*tch!!

5. American Idle

Ryan Seacrest:
He’s been completely inert for 4 hours, ladies and gentleman.
Randy: Cool.
Simon: I hated it.
Paula: [random, incomprehensible jibberish]
Female Judge who is not Paula: I think he’s dead.
All: You’re going to Hollywood!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

NYC Mysteries Explained!

Preface: The Big Apple is full of mysteries. For example, why it is called “The Big Apple” and not some other kind of large fruit?

Indeed it is the city of confusion, chaos and contradiction. I cannot imagine how a visitor from another state (let alone another planet) can make full sense of everything they encounter here.

Well, apparently they don’t. Several out-of-towners have made inquiries, imploring me to explain some of the things they have seen in our fair city. And I have no choice but to answer the call—for if I did not, you would be staring at a large blank space where this blog post should be...

So, Tom G. from New Orleans, LA writes

Dear Dave:
Why do I see different-shaped fire hydrants in NYC? Sometimes there can be 2 or 3 different kinds on a single street.

Dear Tom:
Fire hydrants, like automobile lines, contain several models and trim levels. And just like the auto, each hydrant's name and design is an attempt to project some sort of personality or attitude, if you will. For example:

Left to Right: The El Dorado and The Fastback GT

And, Ygal Q. of St. Paul MN writes

Dear Dave:
I see “No Standing” signs all over the place. What does that mean?

Dear Ygal:
You’ve got a funny name. But back to the question at hand—Our mayor has made it his mission to legislate our personal health and well-being. To that end, he has banned smoking in public buildings, pressured restaurants to remove trans fats from their foods, etc.

Apparently, he also feels that we live too fast-paced a lifestyle and, as a result, mandates that we take a rest every now and again. Therefore, these signs are to be taken literally. That is why you might see an example of our fine citizenry sleeping on the ground under one of them (alternately, they might be taking a similar respite on a park bench or subway seat).

And, Pepe R. of Plano TX writes

Dear Dave:
I tried to mail a postcard in one of those green mailboxes I saw, but it had no door or slot to drop the letter. What gives?

Dear Pepe:
Rookie letter carriers, like other teammates in uniform, undergo a mild hazing process. Their veteran comrades have placed thousands of these “dummy” mailboxes all around the city. Then, they wait in the bushes giggling while their unseasoned colleagues struggle with them.

So, on the negative side, you’ve been an unintended victim of a practical joke. However, on the positive side, you’re at least as smart as a rookie mailman.

Finally, Mary Louise F. of Walla Walla WA writes

Dear Dave:
How did the term, “Manhole” come about?

Dear Mary Louise:
I’m not sure, but it certainly makes me uncomfortable thinking about it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fun With Wurds

In what hopefully was a temporary, Junior High School-type moment, I decided to compile a list of words and phrases that look and/or sound remarkably dirty.

But rest assured, as much fun as each word or phrase is to say (particularly at the top of one's lungs), not one of them is salacious. In fact, each entry is wholly appropriate for consumption by--or merely in the vicinity of--young children, grandparents, in-laws and fundamentalist, religious-types.

However, I realize that my guarantee might not carry much weight with the skeptics in the reading audience. Therefore, I included an easy-to-understand definition next to each word or phrase. And, as an added bonus, I presented the list in alphabetical order--just the thing to facilitate memorization.

  1. annals written, historical records
  2. assoil absolve or acquit
  3. Bangkok city in Thailand
  4. bilabial frication using both lips to make a “raspberry” sound
  5. buttress a projecting structure made of stone
  6. cocksure quite certain and confident
  7. cunning linguist very clever expert on language
  8. mass debate large group discussion
  9. mass debater someone who participates in #8
  10. philatelist stamp collector
  11. proselytize an attempt to convert others
  12. pussyfooting acting in an indirect manner
  13. rectify make better or fix
  14. sects offshoots from the main (religious) group
  15. shitake type of mushroom
  16. titular referring to the title of something
  17. Uranus 7th planet from the sun

(The last-named caused so much in the way of embarrassment at symposiums and presentations, astronomers actually changed its pronunciation.)