June 26, 2008 question

We apologize for the delay. We are experiencing technical difficulties. Okay, technically, I’m experiencing mental difficulties, but since I used the word technical, doesn’t that automatically qualify as a technical difficulty? Technically?

Anyway, here’s who knew that I have to wake up much earlier in the morning to sneak a Fibonacci number by them:

Paul K (the K stands for Killing Me Softly With His Sequence)
Trevor
Andrew
Charles
Nancy K (the K stands for Knows That No One Was Actually Named Fibonacci)
Heidi
Matt
and maybe Kyle, but I’m not sure.

Now here’s today’s also-easy-if-you-were-paying-attention-in-junior-high trivia question:

What common household substance is created when sodium bicarbonate is mixed with tartaric acid and calcium aluminum phosphate?

Random Mid-Year Observations

— Deja Blue bottled water tastes like Deja Butt.

— I realized what made Addison use ordinary as a derogatory word. Commercials. The next time a commercial comes on for any household product, especially a commercial that shows the split-screen performance comparison shot, pay attention to the use of the word ordinary. The voice-over person always injects abject disdain into the word. “The baking soda formula makes Dry-Skin Wonder Spray go on comfortably, unlike ORDINARY bug spray.” Given the deluge of commercials that come on in between Nick Jr. shows, I shouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that Addison thinks ordinary is a bad word. Makes total sense.

— I have loved watching the Cubs play this year. No predictions. No boasting. It has just been a heck of a lot of fun.

— Colin does not like to sit still. If he’s awake, he’s on the move. A phrase that has become all too common these days is, “Where’s Colin?” It’s fun.

— In South Africa, Asian people are considered Black. It sounds silly, but when you hear the reasoning behind it, it starts to make sense, and then gets silly and then sad . . . and then you might wind up angry. The problem was, Asian people were victims of apartheid. But the post-apartheid compensation laws benefited only Blacks (the label African American never really caught on in South Africa). To correct the oversight that left Asians in the South African cold, the government formally recognized all the descendants of yet another continent as Black, despite overwhelming visual evidence to the contrary. Of course, they could have just, you know, changed the wording of the law. No, relabeling people was definitely the way to go.

It just goes to show how ridiculous and demeaning racial labels really are. My fictitious but nevertheless very close personal friend Wayne Kim (who is a Korean businessman in Johannesburg) used to be considered an Asian American African, but now he’s just Black.

Maybe the most overlooked part of White Privilege is the general lack of labels. Sure, it used to be that in America you were set apart because you were Polish, Irish, Italian, whatever. Now white people are just white. And we aren’t even that. We only break out the white designation when there are non-white people to differentiate ourselves from. I really don’t know what to say about it. Just observing at this point.

— I haven’t blogged in awhile.

June 24, 2008 question

Bono got away with a 3-bomb, and here’s who knew:

Islem
Kyle
Heather M (the M stands for Maybe They Let It Slide Because, Hey, It’s Bono)
Karen M (the M stands for . . . Well, You’ll Have To Ask Larry. He Knew All Seven.)

Alright, here we are. Tuesday. Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday. You know what the funny thing about Tuesday is? Nothing. Tuesday isn’t funny. It’s Tuesday. It doesn’t even have a funny nickname. No “hump day,” no “manic Monday,” and no “Thank God it’s Tuesday.” Nobody thanks anybody that it’s Tuesday. Sure, there’s a Super Tuesday every four years. Woo flipping hoo. We just have to face it. It’s Tuesday, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Here’s today’s question:

What is the lowest positive integer that is NOT a Fibonacci number?

June 23, 2008 question

Elmo first appeared on Sesame Street in 1984. Heidi had the closest guess at 1987. Way to go, Heidi. Elmo loves you! (He gave a menacing scowl to the rest of you, or at least as close as his perpetually smiling muppet face can come to scowling.)

George Carlin died. I’ll always remember him as Rufus, the time-traveling Sherpa who guided Bill & Ted on their excellent adventure. My son associates him exclusively as the voice of Fillmore. Other people know him only as the first host of Saturday Night Live or the originator of the list of “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” which is probably the most popular list no one knows. I mean, you can guess at what the words are, but most people never hear the list. Since the masses only know what they learn on television, they don’t hear the comedy routine, they only hear countless references to its existence and the Supreme Court hearing that followed its broadcast.

That being said . . . or not said, here’s today’s question:

In a 2003 Golden Globes acceptance speech, what celebrity uttered number three on Carlin’s list of “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” without any FCC fines being levied whatsoever? (And don’t let the number three fool you . . . it’s the big one.)

Ensconced

I was recently tempted to use ensconced as a synonym for entrenched. If you’ve followed the links, you know how foolish I feel. Entrenched is more an embattled, impervious state of being, whereas ensconced is a pleasant little settled situation. Protection is involved, but, I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem as ugly.

I like that word, ensconced. It makes me think of scones. There should probably be a more astute observation here, but the whole skull, defensive, protecting, candle-holding etymology just didn’t do a lot for me. But scones, entirely unrelated to sconces in any form of diction whatsoever, are much more satisfying. Not so much verbally. They’re just really yummy.

June 19, 2008 question

Trick after trick after trick. As Steve T (the T stands for Tricky, Tricky, Tricky) and Heidi both knew, there are no states without interstates, even though Alaska and Hawaii (and even Puerto Rico) can’t really fulfill the inter- part of interstate literally. But the A-1, A-2, etc. highways and the H-1, H-2, etc. byways are still considered part of the national interstate system. Go figure.

Alright, done figuring? Good. It’s time to think about some important issues affecting our fellow humans. Today’s trivia is a two-parter. The first part is essay:

From a moral standpoint, what is the difference between gang violence and war?

Don’t ask why that popped into my head on the morning bike ride. I’m not allowed to tell. Feel free to blow off that question and continue directly to this more straightforward question:

In what year did Elmo first appear on Sesame Street?

Should I Be Worried?

Here’s a picture of Addison playing soccer. It has nothing to do with what I’m thinking about, but I like it.

I don’t think I need an iPod. My brain seems to recall any song I’ve ever heard. I’m not bragging. It’s more of a complaint, actually. Here are some of the songs that have been coming up on the neverending shuffle (aside from the ones I spontaneously compose, of course):
Unfortunately, there’s no delete option on my brain. Sure, there’s all kind of hard-drive damage, but I can never get the right parts to erase. Instead, I try to discover a little something to make me sweeter. Dang it all!

June 18, 2008 question

Indiana has the most interstate highways per square mile. If you’ve ever driven very far at all, you’ve gone through Indiana. New York to California? Yeah, you’re going through Indiana. Ohio to Illinois? Good luck avoiding Indiana. Paris to Moscow? Straight through the heart of Gary is by far the best way. Trivia newcomer Kyle was the only one who knew that one. Way to go!

Now, inspired by some of your guesses, here is today’s trivia question:

What U.S. states do not have interstate highways?

June 17, 2008 question

No no, no no no no, no no no no, no no no no limits! Yes, I do think that’s the weirdest way I’ve ever introduced an answer, but it’s still the answer. There is no maximum to the number of strikeouts a pitcher can throw in a game because not every strike out necessarily yields an out. If the catcher fails to catch the third strike before it touches the ground (be it a swinging third strike or a called third strike) and either first base is unoccupied or there are two outs in the inning, the batter may advance to first unless he is tagged out or thrown out before reaching first base. That’s just one of the great things about baseball. Theoretically, it could go on forever . . . just like this answer. Here is the list of people whose knowledge has no limits either:

Charles
Steve J (the J stands for Just Five Outs Remaining)
Nancy K (the K stands for Strikeout, Even If No Out Is Recorded)
Robbie
Heidi

Fantastic. Here’s today’s question:

What state has the most miles of interstate highway per square mile?

In My Head

I am NOT a songwriter. Technically. I mean, no one ever introduces me as “Singer/Songwriter Adam Kellogg” or “so-called songwriter Adam Kellogg” or “Adam Kellogg, amateur songwriter.” The point is, I’m not enough of a songwriter to be considered a horrendous songwriter. I guess the main thing is, I don’t write songs.

Wow, took me awhile to get there. I don’t write songs, but I do make up songs. I just don’t write them down. In my head, I’m always composing little songs about whatever the heck is going on up there. Sometimes those songs actually come out of my mouth. People I know well are aware of this as the themes of several songs revolve around their names.

Occasionally, the songs will be set to pre-existing music. For instance, “Elena Bobena (a.k.a. Ukrainian Woman)” is set to the tune of “American Woman” by The Guess Who. “Rhonda” is just a thinly veiled “Roxanne” by The Police. Still others are original music compositions, such as “My name is Heather (I am so beautiful)” and “I’m Addison,” which was later parodied with the hit “I’m Colin James.”

Not all of the songs are name-related, those are just the ones most likely to be sung out loud. I guess I sing them because I know they will either induce laughter or annoyance, and I find both reactions satisfying. The ones that are never sung are a little better . . . at least, they usually have more lyrics or lyrics that aren’t composed for the sole purpose of rhyming with the title and/or someone’s name.

The one that popped in and danced on my cortex today was an odd little country ditty called “I just ain’t into beautiful things.” I’m not sure what triggered the thought, but I realized that for a little while now I just haven’t been enamored with beauty anymore. It made me a little sad. I don’t know how I got to this point, but I haven’t really been listening or looking for beauty . . . or appreciating it when I see or hear it. I’m surrounded by it. But I’ve just been more into funny, smart, suspenseful, encouraging . . . I guess beauty has been boring for awhile. These aren’t the actual lyrics to the song, by the way. But it’s the gist. I won’t type the words, that would make me a songwriter. I’m just not ready to lose my strict songmakerupper-only status.

This sounds kind of dark to me now, but I don’t feel like I’m in a dark place or anything. But I think it’s worth making a change. I think it’s worth going after beauty in nature, art, music, and whatever. Not sure why, but there must be a reason. I’ll let you know when I find it.