Sunday, July 23, 2006

Beer-Drinking Mennonite Wins Tour de France

Like most Americans, I don't really follow bicycle racing. But I have been following this year's Tour de France with a little more interest since Floyd Landis, the beer-drinking Mennonite from Lancaster, PA has been in the headlines. It's nice to see that an ultra-religious background and a fondness for beer and pizza are not insurmountable handicaps to getting to the top of at least one profession.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Questions Are

Here is a list of the searches that brought readers to my blog over the last four days. A few might have found what they were looking for. In many cases, I imagine they were disappointed. If any wander back here, I would love to hear from them.

* two and one-half men cast
* footnotes for Silas Marner
* 27s not me whom
* discipline in a student life wikkipedia
* david bordwell
* mrs henderson presents barber
* amish
* joi hofsommer
* ruth irene garrett
* oprah winfrey sold Kirby vacuum cleaners
* classic book reviews jane austen
* the grapes of wrath john steinbeck 600 pages
* silas marner tape
* swartzendruber amish
* meadowbrook park garden plots
* worst analogies
* crockhead abroad
* review guy debord revolution in the service of poetry
* tillie carrier deck

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ask Aunt Tillie: Do Amish cuss?

Dear Aunt Tillie:

My son, a high school senior, has a job this summer working on an Amish construction crew. I was excited about the job because I thought he would pick up wholesome habits from his Amish co-workers. Instead, I find out that he is learning new curse words. Do you think these are really Amish boys that he is working with or are they just masquerading as Amish? Amish don't use curse words, do they?

Concerned Mother.

Dear Concerned Mother,

I guess you have never taken a hammer in hand and hit the wrong nail. No, theoretically, Amish do not cuss. The preachers in our churches do not tell us, "Go ahead and cuss when you have to; it's okay." On the other hand, most Amish work with their hands. When you work with your hands all day, they will, occasionally, be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What do you say when you're slicing a loaf of bread and nick your thumb, or pinch your finger in a drawer?

I have often wondered whether Jesus actually worked as a carpenter, as we are led to believe, or whether maybe he was the guy in charge of making estimates, drawing plans, ordering materials, etc. I don't see how he could have remained sinless if he was actually out there in the hot sun swinging a hammer and sawing a 2x4. Even the Son of God would have said "Son of a $%#&! if his hammer had hit his thumb instead of the nail. Actually, I guess they didn't have nails 2,000 years ago, he would have been hammering on a wooden peg. A peg is a lot bigger than a nail, so maybe he never missed his mark. That must be it; he was perfect, after all. It's a good thing he was born then and not now; he would never have kept perfection going for 30 years.

Aunt Tillie

Sunday, July 16, 2006

World's Worst Analogies

Okay, so this isn't exactly original, but the tank still hasn't filled up yet. An anonymous friend sent me these analogies, which are floating around the internet. They are attributed to The Washington Post Style section, but I don't know if they actually came from there. They did make me laugh like a chicken would laugh if it had a sense of humor.

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their
collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school
essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers
across the country. Here are last year's winners.....

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides
gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

14. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

15. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

16. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

17. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

18. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

19. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

20. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

21. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

22. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

23. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

24. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Dry Tank

This is from Ron Powers' biography, A Life: Mark Twain regarding Twain's promise to his publisher to write night and day and send 200 pages of manuscript a week on the book he was struggling with, which eventually came out as Roughing It:
He was kidding himself. He was in no shape to write night and day. His creative interest in the book had stalled, a recurring affliction that Mark Twain eventually came to understand metaphorically as his "tank" running dry. He also came to understand -- later-- how to deal with the "dry tank": put the manuscript aside and wait, for months or years, until the tank filled up again.

Some people have been asking what has happened to my blog; am I okay? I'm okay. My "tank" will fill up again when it fills up. I just hope it isn't months or years.