Top Ten Songs to Sing Along with in the Car (even if I can’t hit all the notes)

10. “Picture,” Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow
9. “Been Caught Stealing,” Jane’s Addiction
8. “Cracklin’ Rosie,” Neil Diamond
7. “Bright Lights,” Matchbox 20
6. “Man in the Mirror,” Michael Jackson
5. “A Long December,” Counting Crows
4. “Desperado,” Eagles
3. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine),” R.E.M.
2. “Midnight Train to Georgia,” Gladys Knight and the Pips
1. “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby,” Counting Crows

March 7, 2008 question

MLU is in Monroe, Louisiana, as Kelly knew all too well. Okay, I don’t know that you can know that all too well, she just knew it from experience, and for that I congratulate and/or console her as necessary.

On to the category of awesomest news ever: the founder of the Weather Channel wants to sue Al Gore for maliciously and negligently scaring the world about global warming. I don’t know about you, but that just warms my heart. Uh oh . . . my heart’s polar ice caps are melting . . . AH! AAAAAH! NOOOOO! I’m DROWNING! Oh. Wait. Nevermind. False alarm. Anyway, I think we need to come up with a new term for people who are ignorant about climate sensitivity. My warm climatic trend is just as valid as your cold climatic trend. Don’t listen to Al Gore. He’s a climatist! He only likes green people.

Alright, time to get off my nonrecyclable soap box. Here’s today’s question:

At whose 1979 funeral did Kermit the Frog speak?

Could Someone Please Remind Me?

I promised Addison a donut. I told him . . . Sunday? I think, that if he let me clip his toenails, I’d take him to Dunkin’ Donuts the last day. (Yes, I did just use toenails and donuts in the same sentence.) But then, I didn’t deliver. That is officially unforgivable. He hasn’t brought it up, but that shouldn’t matter. He shouldn’t have to. You tell someone they’ve got a donut coming, you bring on the donut. You tell your son a donut is coming his way and fail to bring on the donut, you’re a Dunkin’ Donut Deadbeat Dad.

The donut, like a wedding ring, is a symbol of unending love. But it’s also the symbol for zero, which is how I feel.

Here’s the thing . . . Addison doesn’t just love donuts, he loves going to Dunkin’ Donuts. He loves sitting in the Dunkin’ Donuts and eating the donut and getting up twice to get napkins and telling the lady behind the counter thanks for the donut after he’s done eating. And he loves sitting across the table from me while he’s eating the donut.

And he is dead scared of getting his toenails clipped.

So I’ve been busy and tired and sick and I forgot. I deserve nothing less than public chastisement. Feel free to rain it down on me. Bring on the insults. Every one will be a reminder that I’ve got a date tomorrow.

March 6, 2008 question

Ugh. Barack. Hillary. Hillary. Barack. Why can’t you people just decide already? I’m sick of it. Literally, sick of it. Technically, I don’t think that is what made me sick, but there is sickness, and there is those two . . . coincidence?

I’ll tell you what is not a coincidence . . . the collective genius of the people who knew Lusaka is the capital of Zambia. Here they are, in all their geographical glory:

Steve T (the T stands for Took Advanced Applied Post-Modern Geography At MLU)

Now, here’s today’s question based entirely on the fictional university that randomly popped into my head when trying to decide what T stands for:

What state does the airport coded MLU call home? 

Way Cooler Water Cooler

Blogging is the new water cooler. To tell the truth, I didn’t realize there ever were water coolers . . . or that they are called water coolers, but they were, and they are. Where was I? Oh, yeah, water coolers.

Even when there’s no one at the water cooler and you’re not thirsty, water coolers are the place to stop for entertainment not at all related to what you’re supposed to be doing. When you’re alone at the water cooler, you dispense water until air bubbles come up. That’s always fun . . . like a cross-section view of a fart. When someone else shows up, you talk about weekends. It usually starts, “Doing anything fun this weekend?” or “Do anything fun this weekend?” (This makes Tuesdays really suck, because it’s entirely too late to ask about someones weekend without showing you didn’t care enough to ask yesterday, but it’s way too early to make fun weekend plans.) The universal implication in the question is, “Seriously, if it’s not fun, don’t tell me.” Most people ignore the implication and go ahead and share mundane weekend plans if that’s all they have.

Once a third person enters Water Cooler zone, it’s no longer safe to discuss weekend plans because of the possibility that two of the three have already partaken or planned to engage in fun plans that don’t include the third person. This is unforgivable, so the third person will introduce his or herself and immediately start a new topic of discussion: television shows and/or sporting events. For some reason, television show discussion works best in threes.

The addition of a fourth person automatically divides the group into two pairs, at which point one pair discusses personal matters they’ve been waiting for an opportunity to cover while the other pair (usually the last two people to arrive at the water cooler) covers weekends or work . . . if it happens to be Tuesday or Wednesday. Water Cooler talker number 5 is never there for water. They are just lonely and jealous of the other four. Their arrival sparks a brand new topic: crappy things that have happened recently.

It has to be something that is regarded by all the members as a bad thing (person #2 getting screwed out of a promotion won’t come up if person #4 got the position). Personal illnesses are popular. Bad weather. (Not snow. Person #3 likes snow, and everyone else knows better than to get him started.) Layoffs. Tragedies. No topic is too sad, because the group is at critical mass and it needs to break up. When the discussion turns somber, everyone nods their heads in faux deep thought. Of course, there is virtually no difference between the FDT head nod and the PAAUJ (politely acknowledging an unfunny joke) head nod–one or the other is inevitable. The head nod and a visit from the boss are the only things that can dependably break up the Water Cooler gathering.

Anyway, my point is that blogging is the Internet Water Cooler. But it’s better, because none of these rules apply. You never have to talk about your weekend unless it’s awesome. There is no limit to how many can gather. You can be as open or impersonal as you like. You can talk about television shows, but you can do so while watching said television shows. You still feel like you’re catching up with the people you like, and the potential distraction from doing anything meaningful is obvious. There are no FDT head nods unless the person whose blog you’re reading is in the room. And when you desperately want the conversation to be over, you can just click away instead of trying to invent new body language expressions for “How can you not let the conversation die after three prolonged sessions of head nods?!”

You’re gone now, aren’t you? Okay. Bye. I’ll see you. Have a . . . great . . . weekend.


Before I get a chance to hear what the judges say, I’m gonna make this short and sweet . . . and shocking to myself.

I loved Daniel Noriega tonight. He totally belongs in the ’80s. I just loved it. Darn. I wasn’t quick enough to type this before Paula made a “bright light” comment.

Okay, and I just heard Simon guarantee the kid’s place in the final 12.

March 4, 2008 question

So this is it, the March 4 must win for Hilary Clinton. I’m pretty sure Barack Obama also would like to win a primary or two today, but more than anything, I just want it to be over. Right now it’s really just a question of which 5th grade teacher you’re gonna get. Is it the cool young guy who throws all the rules of teaching out the window and makes learning fun? Or is it the strict, scary old hag who thinks even recess should be conducted professionally? One way, you learn things you’d never thought you would learn and you grow as a person. With the other, you detest life, but you’re practically ready for college by Christmas.

Of course, in the end you could wind up with hardened military veteran who is funny and tells great stories, but if your homework is late, he’ll shove bamboo shoots under your fingernails. Ooh, the excitement. Here’s today’s question:

What is the capital of Zambia?

Also, mucho kudos to those who knew yesterday’s question was a trick. The funny thing was, everyone (no matter what their answer was) based their answers on the suspicion I was trying to trick them. Which I was. But the trick was that it really was too easy. Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Strait of Magellan. Good thing, too, because if you can’t find your own Strait, what hope is there for you. Here’s who knew:

Karen H (the H stands for How Did That Get There?)
Steve T (the T stands for Tough To Circumnavigate The Globe Without A Strait)

You’re all fantastic.

ROTFL . . . L

That last L is for “Literally.” Addison actually makes Colin roll on the floor, laughing. It is hysterical. Honestly, the activity those boys do together most often is laugh, and it seems like the fulfillment of their very existence. The thing about these pictures is that they were taken during what I swear was a fifteen-minute giggle marathon that I heard as far away in the house as I can possibly get from that spot. When I finally arose to see what could possibly be so funny, I found Addison’s material to be extremely simple.
Once again I swear to you, the only thing Addison did to provoke Colin (and himself) into cascading peals of turn-your-brain-off laughter was to say this one line in various intonations and funny faces: “Hello down there!” It started with Addison sitting in Colin’s high chair, Colin doing his little two-fisted hammer crawl to see what was going on, and Addison looking down at him and saying, “Hellooooo down theeeere!” Laughter explosion. Then Addison held his nose and said it Chipmunk style, “Hello down there!” Even more hilarious, apparently. Each exclamation of “Hello down there!” was separated by a good 30 seconds to a minute of high-powered, hernia-threatening belly chuckles. Once Addison could catch his breath again, he’d go to that well one more time . . . and it never ran dry.
Eventually, Heather decided that Colin would have to eat lunch, but not before burning an Iron-Man load of calories through laughter that continued pretty much until the first spoonful of mashed mixed veggies came at Colin’s face. At that point, a good hearty “Hello down there” might have been the end of Colin. It was a good thing, no doubt, that the hilarity stopped. But man, oh man, that was hilarious.

And honestly I think Addison has it right. He is obsessed with making people laugh. I’d like to think he got that from me, but it has to go deeper than that. Little kids recognize as obvious things that adults manage to forget somewhere along the way. I think Addison sees very clearly that laughing is good. Of the things life offers, laughter is one of the most precious, but it can be sneaky and evasive. If you ever have the opportunity to laugh, go for it. Whatever worry might be occupying your mind, it will come back. But laughter fades away . . . or it causes you to choke on pureed produce.

March 3, 2008 question

Oh my goodness, look at the time! Most of you have probably run out of time to answer trivia questions for today, but I’ll go ahead and . . .

A) Award credit to those who knew that 2100 is the next multiple of four year that won’t be a leap year. The rule is that if it’s a multiple of 4 and a multiple of 100, then it’s not a leap year unless it’s also a multiple of 400. Don’t forget, or you’ll look like a fool in 2100. A wrinkled old fool.

B) Let you know that March 31 will be my last day at Moody Bible Institute. I’m resigning to pursue freelance writing back home in Indiana. No worries, though . . . trivia is going nowhere.

C) Ask you a question. Here it is:

Who discovered the Strait of Magellan?


My friend has a tradition of asking the question, “What are you into this month?” Actually, it’s a series of questions, so I’ll get right to flattering her with imitation by answering them myself.

The Thing I’ve Been Working On The Most
Change. I had a Groundhog’s Day revelation that I desperately needed to break out of my “every day is the same” lifestyle. So I’ve spent the entire month trying to make at least one change a day. Some of them lasted. Some of them stuck for no more than a day or two. Some days nothing changed. But in the end, it was a fantastic exercise.

TV Show I Used To Love But Now Hate And Refuse To Ever Watch Again
We used to be huge Survivor fans (the show, not the band). But for the past few go-rounds, we haven’t watched an episode. It’s not that I hated it, I just hated what my Thursdays had become.

TV Show I Sometimes Hate But Really Like This Year
Desperate Housewives. It’s kind of moot post-strike, but I liked what they were doing with this season. Felicity Huffman and Dana Delany are serious actors, and I’ll tune in to watch them share the screen any time it happens.

The CD I Can’t Stop Listening To
Raising Sand, the surprisingly natural collaboration of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and produced by T-Bone Burnett. But I think every album recorded in the last 8 years has been produced by T-Bone. Still, it’s really good, and this song is one of my favorites.

My Favorite Blog Entry This Month
I guess it would have to be my last one, because it was the biggest change of all.

Blog I Am Always Visiting
Michael and Leah (and Cole) really crack me up and make me think and all the other things I look for in a blog. Plus, the Web address starts with mlb, which subconsciously makes me think I’m about to read about baseball.

What I’m Most Looking Forward To Next Month
My last day. And March Madness. But mostly my last day. And meeting my friend’s new baby, whenever her first day comes around.