We make holes in teeth!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Monkey & The Blue Beach Ball

On the way home today we were driving on the highway and there was a beach ball in the median. It was blue. Not completely blue. It had a little bit of color on it, maybe a hint of white or gray or something along those lines. I don't exactly remember what the colors were because we went by it in the blink of an eye. But more or less it was blue. Just blue. That's all you really need to know. There was a blue beach ball on the median of the highway.

As I drove by doing 70, or 75, miles per hour, I saw the blue beach ball and it made me wonder what the story was behind it, or if there was a story behind it. Randomly, it makes me think of when I was a kid and we used to sit in the back of pickup trucks in the open beds. And we would just sit there and go wherever we were going. Because it was okay to do that back in those days. But I'm sure that's not the case here, that's not the story here, But one time, not that long ago, it could have been the story here.

But it does make me wonder how exactly a blue beach ball ends up on the highway. Was the window open and some unhappy kid tossed it out in a fit of rage? Or maybe it was a parent who got mad at a misbehaving kid in the car, and as punishment rolled down the widow and hucked it out to teach the kid a lesson? Or maybe there was just a ball in the back of a pickup truck that finally got sick of being there and wanted to see what the green grass on the other side of the fence looked like. 

I guess I could make up any number of stories about this blue ball but probably none of them would be close to the truth. Because I can't really imagine a scenario where this ball ended up on the side of the road at this time of year. The thing that's more striking is that right now it's the middle of winter. And the blue ball was completely inflated. So it must have happened in the last few days, 1 or 2 at most. If it happened months ago, the ball would be deflated by now, or cleaned up by someone, or taken home by someone else. But this blue ball was completely inflated. And it was sitting there minding its own business in the middle of the winter day alongside the highway. It makes me wonder, again, how on Earth did you get there?

Probably most of us will never know the answer to this question, and of course it doesn't matter at all, but it doesn't stop me from wondering. I mean, who even knows where their beach balls are in the middle of February? We were on route 78, so it's not like we were coming from the south, as if we were coming back from Florida, or someplace warn like that. No, in fact we were just coming from Pennsylvania. A state just as cold as New Jersey is in February. So again, I ask, the beach ball came from where?

When I was a kid, and I remember this like it was yesterday...actually I don't remember it like it was yesterday, but people like to say that. I remember going to see Star Wars in the movie theater. And I remember getting a piece of junk, plastic light saber. And I remember fighting with my step-brother in the back of the yellow, I think it was yellow, Toyota pickup truck after the movie was over. And I remember my light saber breaking about 3.4 minutes after the movie was over. Or maybe it was 10 minutes or maybe it was 1 minute. But I think I remember the traffic light where we were as the light saber broke. And if my memory serves, it was literally 100 or 200 yards from the movie theater. So the point is, really it wasn't that far. And in fact, we really didn't live that far from the movie theater so at best it was 10 minutes. In any event, my light saber broke and I cried. I was probably 6 years old, maybe 7, maybe 8 - something like that. Anyway, I was too young to have any perspective. I mean even now, at age 43, a little part of me wants to cry when my stuff breaks. But I'm old enough now, so I don't cry when things break I just…well break them more & buy some more, I guess.

Anyway, the takeaway here is that I used to sit in the back of pickup trucks when it was okay to sit in the back of pickup trucks, and the blue beach ball today reminded me of a time when I could sit in the back of the pickup truck and you wouldn't be pulled over by the police and thrown in jail and splattered across the evening news for being horrible human beings. And the pickup truck also reminds of the days when we would go to Great Adventure and the monkeys would sit in the back of the pickup truck or the back of the El Camino, back in those days when the cars could still drive through the monkey cages. Of course we can't drive through the monkey cages anymore because people take their new Lexus or Audi or Mercedes-Benz and the monkeys rip off the windshield wipers or the antennas or the car emblems or whatever else they can get their hands on. This is because monkeys rip stuff off the cars because, you know, they're monkeys. Exactly because of that. Because they're monkeys. That's what monkeys do. Monkeys rip stuff off stuff. If you were a monkey you would probably rip stuff off stuff.

So the blue beach ball reminds me of a time when monkeys would rip windshield wipers off cars and I guess really it just made me think of an open bed pickup truck, which makes me think of light sabers and monkeys and stuff like that. So I guess the title of this article has to be "the day the monkey ripped the light saber off the Mercedes Benz" or something along those lines. I'll figure out the title later, it doesn't really matter right now. What does matter is that the blue ball makes me think of another time, and you know, maybe the time was better or maybe it was worse or maybe it was just something else. But it reminds me of something, and I think as we get older we see things that make us think of other things. And those other things trigger a sort of avalanche in our minds. And the avalanche can be good, or bad, or neither good nor bad, or both good and bad. But it's the stuff like this that makes getting old actually a little more interesting than it would otherwise be. Because when you wake up and you think, "Wow my right knee hurts, I'm getting old," or when I get on the bike and I think, "Jesus this hill is so much harder than it used to be. I'm getting old," It's moments like these when I can have that avalanche of memory and think, hey that's kind of cool to have all this pent up memory energy in my head. It's great that a blue beach ball in the middle of February can bring back these memories like that. Because the more stuff you do, the more stuff you have, and the more things you do, the more memories you have, and as you get older you end up with more associations like this. Then more material slides down the mountain of memory when you see something that triggers it to go. 

And I guess I don't know what that all means. But I didn't see a light saber on the side of the highway today, I saw a blue beach ball. And it leads me to think of plastic junk, junk that didn't last very long, junk that we buy our kids these days too, junk that adds to the avalanche of memory. And the blue beach ball was probably cried about by some 6 or 7 or 8-year-old who lost something that they loved a little, at least in that moment. It makes me think this. That someday, that same little boy or girl may be driving down the road and they will see a light saber and think of the blue beach ball they lost when they were 6 or 7 or 8.

And at the end of the day that makes me smile.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Penguin Lesson

This is a post I had in my Drafts folder for who knows how long. This is from last year at some point, I think.


You have this conversation with your daughter after school:

Child: We didn't have the penguin lesson yet

You: What's the penguin lesson?

Child: It's about penguins. Can I have an eraser? Is there one in your office? Do you know why Sammy does not like Lollipops?

You: No, why does Sammy not like Lollipops?

Child: I don't get this. (hands you her homework)

You: So Sammy & the Lollipops?

Child: Because it the fell off the string and and her brother choked on it and there was a dentist in the parking lot and he said, "I'm a dentist can I help?"

You: So does the penguin lesson have anything to do with Lollipops?

Child: No....I'm just telling you that Sammy doesn't like Lollipops.

You: Do you think penguins like Lollipops?

Child: No.

Monday, January 12, 2015

10 Mind Blowing Ways to Lose Weight

It occurs to me that as someone who has once lost a lot of weight, I could offer any number of suggestions on how you, too, could lose weigh in this post-holiday season. Everywhere you turn these days you see 10 or 20 or 30 mind-blowing facts about fats & sugars and oils and polypropylene, But the fact remains as such. Until you have been proven to be some sort of quasi-Higgs Boson, you probably do not violate the known laws of physics. As such, you will need to lose that Xmas poundage the good old-fashioned way. Here are just a few tips I have put together to help you do this, in numbered format.

Always consult a physician before trying any of these.

1. Start drinking at noon, pass out, miss dinner.

This mostly works for those people who do shots. The higher the proof, the more likely it is to have a negative calorie deficit when you subtract the liquor calories from the missed dinner calories. Some people would suggest that you try and skip dinner entirely. But my advice is to make it physically impossible to eat by putting yourself in a sort of short-term coma.

2. Shoot yourself in the stomach.

By putting a hole in your stomach, this will generally greatly lower your desire for food. In the event that you still want to eat, a well-placed hole will allow you to eat and the pull the food out as it passes towards your intestines. This simple trick has been used in mafia circles for decades.

3. Gargle with motor oil.

This comes from ancient Hindu texts that suggest that covering the face and tongue with a fine oil will remove the taste sensation and limit us further in falling into the sensory pleasures in life. More practically, this will make you vomit a lot and ruin your taste buds for days. Try a motor oil cocktail 1-2 times a week for best results. Occasionally, you can try a motor oil cleanse as well, to purify the system.

4. Add a bottle of mustard to everything you eat.

Failing the above, more extreme suggestions, you can try this remedy which will make everything taste strongly of, well, mustard. Even the biggest mustard lover will cringe at the thought of consuming 4-6 bottles of mustard a day. Best practice here is to not use an expensive mustard, as the cost will eventually make this method somewhat prohibitive.

5. Eat more fiber, like the fibrous stalks of the tree branches in your yard.

Fiber creates the feeling of fullness. And this method of fiber consumption helps clean your yard up as well, which makes you feel good about your self-esteem, something that is presumably low to begin with being that you're a fat load and all. Added bonus for calories burned as you collect the fiber. Note that eating grass is generally not recommended.

6. Eat only animals that you kill yourself, with your hands.

Possibly illegal in some states, particularly in the south. Regardless, it is proven effective, especially with larger prey such as lions & tigers. Start small, then work up to more challenging animals. Chipmunks are a great way to start as are squirrels. Dumb, prevalent, and not too nasty if you're quick enough.

7. Lock yourself in a non-edible cage and throw the key far away.

By removing yourself from any source of food, this limits the amount of food you can consume. Some argue that if you load the cage with food before you lock it, this averts the solution. However, by throwing away the key, you will soon run out of food and be left with nothing to gorge on. Negative here is potential death by starvation.

8. Run 19 miles a day.

By running 75% of a marathon every day, you will create such a calorie deficit that it will be physically impossible to gain weight. Long term, the idea is to generally drive the subject mad and they stop eating because running destroys the soul of most people long-term. Some have found this method perfect for those who cannot stop eating no matter what they try. Running this much allows them to eat anything whatsoever they want. Additional home budget line items for running shoes needs to be considered in this solution.

9. Weld your fridge shut.

Similar to #7, by removing all sources of food, the subject has no recourse but to not eat. Weak points of this method are that all food is not stored in the fridge. A second option to this is to put all food in the fridge before you weld it shut, or just throw it away after you're done. Guests tend to think your house much less welcoming when you are not able to give them a cold drink, however.

10. Staple your stomach shut with a nail gun.

By removing space for the food to go, the food has nowhere to go. Simple, right? Those that try to gorge will end up vomiting a lot. This tends to make one's friends avoid them.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Debate Week

You were never on the debate team in high school. You don't, in fact, know if there was a debate team in high school. You don't mind a good debate but you don't like drama, and abrasive debates. You like to think you avoid them but you also like to think you could take out Jordan in a game of one-on-one. You always thought it was a joke that Larry Bird had any chance in that game.

You get on the path and a guy runs the length of the path to get a specific seat. If it's that important you better let him have it. There end up being 50 people on your car and 2 have white coast, 2 green, and 1 red. The rest have black, including yourself. You consider making sheep noises but then that would be uncharacteristic of a sheep.

Yesterday you had an explosive disagreement with someone. It was not fun. But life, sometimes, deals you an Uno hand of green 2s. You wonder how many green 2s are in an Uno deck. You also think of the Super Mario Uno deck you just got at the house.

The video screen on the Path shows you Oscar updates. When you think of the word Oscar, the first 2 things that come up are Oscar the Grouch and The Odd Couple. You don't think of Ellen nor the Hollywood flubber than has flooded Facebook for the last day or 2. You don't care, but you also don't hold it against people who do. It always puzzles you when people feel the need to point out that they hate whatever is being discussed today.

A girl gets on the train and has enough makeup to make you think that Homer's makeup gun has finally made it to market. People just puzzle you.

The video screen also tells you everyone's horoscope. Today yours says something especially stupid, but you instantly forget what. You are reading a book on magical realism that is more real than magic, and 70 pages into it seems quite well done. You did not ride this morning but your back hurts nonetheless. You will ride tonight. Your coat seems to fit a hair less snug today.

This is your horoscope for the rest of the world: Today you will experience the last real cold day of winter. After today you're home free. Bet the house on RED.

You get in another debate at work. You eat a salad with tuna that is packed in oil. You have to admit that it tastes better. You drain the oil, and in the end oil is better for you than mayo.

Some people claim pigs can smile. You're not so sure about that.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Not the Onion: Study Finds that Those with Hammers Own More Nails

Not the Onion: Study Finds that Those with Hammers Own More Nails 

In a recent Stanford study, researches have found that those people who typically own hammers, tend to more often own nails. This results verifies what many have believed for a long time, but science has been unable to finally nail down until now. In an elusive series of double blind experiments, researchers were able to pinpoint a direct correlation between the owning of hammers and the subsequent possession of nails.

Sue Brighton, lead researcher for the project explained, "We've been trying to expose this trickle down effect for years, and finally we were able to pin it down recently by introducing the double blind aspect. We never had any idea how much the experimenters were affecting the outcomes, so we extracted them from the direct knowledge stream in order to get a clear indication of the hammer-nail process flow & correlation. Needless to say we're smitten with the results."

Previous projects tended to suggest that not only was there no correlation, but there may have been a negative correlation, in that those with hammers often denied owning any nails at all. "We're not sure why that was the case, but very often people would flat out lie. Even when presented with their toolbox that contained both hammer AND nails, they would claim their kids put them there or the neighbor had borrowed the toolbox."

At the local Home Depot, Aisle 8 expert Mack Brown was able to shed some light on the subject.

"What kind of stupid question is that?" he angrily retorted, when questioned about the correlation between the 2. "Of course they do. I hope they hell you're not wasting my tax dollars on this gibberish. Do you people get paid for this?" After several minutes the visibly irate Brown calmed down and explained, "Look, people don't come in here and just buy nails, only to come back 20 minutes later to get a hammer. It's the other way around. Usually they buy a hammer, then some time after that, they sheepishly return and buy a box of nails. I'd say 9 times out of 10 they'll pay for the nails at a different register than they bought the hammer."

Brighton suggested that the "9 of 10" phenomenon might be her group's next research project.

But the correlation isn't always a hammer-to-nails cause & effect. Researchers found several cases where the nails preceded the hammers. Scientists believe that an overabundance of nails typically beg the question of where they go. And the answer almost always leads to the purchasing of hammers.

"Some people who only own nails and not a hammer can sometimes improvise, like using a rock or even a coffee cup," Brighton said. "But have you ever tried to build a deck with a Starbucks mug? That's just bananas."

A specific case was cited by Brighton of a pair of granddaughters who were left with just 1 hammer and several boxes of nails. The older, who refuses interview requests, got the hammer. Her younger sister Sylvia got the nails. Says Sylvia, "Well I had all these nails laying around from pappy's inheritance, and I really had no idea what to do with them. My boyfriend suggested I throw them out but this is a piece of my heritage. I couldn't do that to pappy."

"So I went and bought a hammer," she continued. "[sister's name removed] suggested we split the nails and time-share the hammer. But I know how she is. She would have gotten half the nails then refused to lend me the hammer. Because she's always been like that. Selfish. So I told her to enjoy the hammer."

When asked if her older sister later purchased nails, Sylvia did not know. "I have no idea. There are a lot of things you can do with a hammer other than pound nails in all day."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Drive Off a Cliff, I Want Out

It is snowing, this is a drag. But you get up and ride the bike anyway. You've had enough. But you are absolutely sure you, among others, will be complaining about the heat in 6 months. It's bound to be a warm summer but the heat can't move in fast enough. You want to ride your bike outside. You could, but you can't. At the end of the commute, the walk to the office is miserable. Cold, snow pelts your face. You think of warm things but they do you no good.

Apparently the new WTC, also known as the Freedom Tower, a name you simply don't care for given that the mass of people march on to their daily solitary confinement in their own personal veal fattening pens, is already 55% rented. You cannot imagine when this thing will be done. You also wonder about the sewage systems inside this behemoth. It's a shame that they not only need to design big buildings now to be airplane crash-resistant, but they need to advertise the fact.

If you got a job offer in the WTC, you don't know if you could take it. How can anyone move into the upper half of that building and not be a little jumpy? Will the people working on the 73rd floor feel like they are free? It makes you cringe to think about. Maybe you could handle working on the 3rd floor.

You currently work on the 11th floor downtown. Everything down here is average, and overpriced. Coffee is mundane, or homogenized Starbucks. You cannot find a good bakery to save your life. Pizza is the only saving grace. There is a good pizza place but if you get there after 12 you might wait in line for 20 minutes just to order, and who knows how long to get your pizza. It's as if the whistle blows and everyone runs for the lunch door at exactly the same time.

Everything else is ok but expensive. You can make your own salad, and it's always good, but it always costs $13. That's an expensive salad.

Winter is moving in on drive time. Like, drive off a goddamn cliff already, because I want out.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Real Middle Earth

I wrote this last month, left it in draft, never hit submit. It's as good a day as any to post it....

The older boy pisses all over the toilet seat in the morning. The younger ones dumps his food all over the floor. You are too tired to care. You make the best espresso you've had all week. It's been a long week. You like espresso. 

It's Thursday, close to the weekend but still 2 days of work left. Your boss's boss suddenly shows up to the office today. You are indifferent. You are lint on his jacket. Grains of sand on his beach. Whatever, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. You are a cog in the great machine of life. A pawn, like Mongo. Mungo. Mango?

You randomly stare at this picture on & off all day, wishing you were here, thinking of what this sounds like, and what life would be like to live here. You wonder if this is where the Elves really live. You wonder if you would get sick of climbing up the steps on the side of the hill to get home every day. Probably you would. 


Accommodation in aviemore