Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Did you know there is a town in Indiana called Santa Claus? I am not even kidding. You can find it right near Christmas Lake, which you cannot go to because the people who live there got tired of visitors and turned their little haven into a gated community. In any case, the story is they wanted to be Santa Fe, but there was already a Santa Fe in Indiana, which caused a problem when they wanted a post office. To get a post office, they had to change their name, and what better name for a town could there possibly be than Santa Clause? (Did you know quarterback Jay Cutler was born in Santa Claus?) Although I have very little proof, which is to say absolutely none, I am pretty sure those responsible for naming that town are somehow connected to those who most recently named our beloved Fort Wayne baseball team.
Speaking of baseball, shortly after the aforementioned name disaster (the town, not the team), the first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne. It was 1871, which also happens to be the year something was invented, someone was born, and something else fantastic happened or didn't happen. It was a good year.
Another good year was the one in which someone discovered lots and lots of limestone in southern Indiana. A whole collection of good years followed for the people who figured out how to sell that limestone to the folks building the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury and a bunch of other buildings in other places.
A collection of bad years for Indiana trees began shortly after settlers came and started chopping them down. Before the settlers, Indians lived in Indiana, and they seem to have liked trees a bit more than the settlers, so they left them (trees) mostly alone. (They had really good reason to like trees more than settlers once the settlers started attacking trees and bringing all sorts of new illnesses, like "boy bands" and "pop divas".)
Back in the day, before boy bands and pop divas, Indiana was around 80% forested. After all the settling and buildings and fences and fields and SUVs and talentless hacks with pretty faces and small brains exploited by greedy shysters with lots of money and no scruples, we are now closer to 17% forested.
That makes me feel bad about using my fireplace. I mean really, shouldn't I be watching all those poor exploited artists instead of wrapping my fingers around a steaming cup of hot cocoa while staring blankly into the flames as the firelight flickers warmly around the otherwise dark room and the cares of my day melt slowly away? Of course not, then all the trees would have died in vain! You have to ask yourself, if you were a tree, would you rather be chopped down and burned or subjected to the latest American Music Awards show?
Thankfully, Indiana does not have be ashamed of the artists we have produced. We can boast about the likes of James Dean, Steve McQueen, David Letterman, John Mellencamp, Cole Porter, Axel Rose (okay, we might have some explaining to do on that one), the Jacksons, and some other famous people.
The point of all this is there are lots of useless facts and tidbits floating around out there, and you may never know any of them. On the other hand, there probably aren't really any bad consequences for that, so you don't have to get all panicky about it just yet.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Okay, maybe you cannot identify with that, but how about something a little less extreme. Perhaps you find yourself wedged into a seat next to a very drunk half-naked middle-aged man sporting what is supposed to be some sort of team emblem in body paint on his chest and screaming incoherent insults at the opposing team. You wonder how you got yourself into that when all you did was accept free tickets to a game from a friend.
In any case, we had a friend over for lunch a while back. Later in the afternoon we found ourselves in the guest room looking at our newly remodeled bathroom and chatting idly about something quite forgettable.
Very innocently, she suggests the room might be more "open" if we move the bed a bit. My wife is skeptical, but figures there's no harm it moving it just to see. Of course, to move the bed, we have to move a few other pieces of furniture, but what else do we have to do on a Sunday afternoon?
Had we only glanced up we may have seen the grill of the truck hauling a trailer full of doom bearing down on us, but we did no such thing.
The next thing I know, I am in the garage staining a Crosley-like wooden record player/radio/cd player a darker color (to match the other dark wood furniture) after building two new shelves for the closet and moving all the furniture from the guest room into my office (which only recently recovered from its part in the bathroom remodeling project) while my wife and our "friend" are out shopping for paint, material for curtains of some sort, and a new reading chair.
Maybe it was the fumes from the stain, but I couldn't remember how on earth things went from, "You know, if you moved the bed over there, it would open up the room." to "Hey, why don't we tear down the house and rebuild it before your parents arrive in three days for Thanksgiving?"
As I try to navigate my staining sponge around all the knobs and dials, and use q-tips to try to clean when I am not so successful at avoiding said knobs and dials with my staining sponge, I wonder if this whole thing could have been avoided somehow.
Monday, October 8, 2012
It got me thinking about superheroes and their teeth. Spiderman, for instance, has a mask that covers his mouth, so I am not at all sure he is even able to brush his teeth (bla, bla, bla, Peter Parker, bla, bla bla.). Of all the superheroes available, why choose him for a toothpaste ad? It would seem the ad was actually advocating not brushing teeth, assuming we are supposed to brush our teeth the way we would if we were superheroes who could not get at our teeth to brush them.
Perhaps the ad was actually put out by some other toothpaste company trying to discredit the one supposedly putting out the ad. I mean, who would trust a toothpaste company that apparently advocated not brushing your teeth? Clearly this was sabotage. There is no way those highly astute mushy-brained kooks would have missed such an obvious detail, right? I mean, that would be like putting Lex Luther on an ad for hair dryers. "Blow dry your hair like bald evil villains."
On the other hand, maybe this just reveals the amount of contempt those mushy-brained kooks have for their audiences. Or, perhaps this is a test to see whether we pay attention to their work. Maybe they feel overlooked, forgotten, lonely, misunderstood, and under-appreciated, and this is their way of crying out for attention. I hear you, mushy-brained kooks, and I share the pain you feel from your windowless basement offices. We do notice your work and we want to respond to it in the way you intended when you poured out all your sweat and tears to create it, we just don't understand what you are trying to say.
Maybe abstract art and advertising don't mix very well. I'd love to brush like a superhero, if that was a good thing, and the model superhero was actually capable of brushing his teeth, and I knew what exactly about his method of tooth brushing I should emulate.
To prove my commitment to affirming mushy-brained kooks everywhere, I have stopped brushing my teeth and started wearing a spiderman hood every day. Well, actually, it is more like a red hoody sweatshirt I accidentally put on backwards with the hood up this morning. It's my way of raising awareness for your plight, mushy-brained kooks. People don't seem to get it yet, and I cannot really talk with the hood blocking my mouth, but I will not stop until people do get it, somehow, because it's what you do every day for us.
You are not alone, mushy-brained kooks (at least metaphorically or metaphysically anyway). Let's all join together to support advertisers by posting random, unrelated, irrelevant phrases and images wherever we can until our message cannot be ignored. No one will understand it, but everyone will notice it, and isn't that what it is all about?
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Who knew it was so difficult to build a functional paper towel dispenser for restrooms? I use two hands and pull, just like the very helpful instructions indicate, but I know who writes those sorts of things, so it is not a big surprise when it doesn't work.
Instead, I end up with a wet, thumb-sized scrap of paper towel clutched tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, and an otherwise undisturbed paper towel mocking me from the dispenser as I shake my hands violently to dry them enough to grip the remaining towel well enough to dislodge it. By the time I get my hands as dry as possible using towels with the absorptive qualities of the thirty-year-old shingles on my roof, my food has gotten cold, so my wife has boxed it up, paid the waiter, loaded the babies into the car, pulled up to the door, washed her hair, walked the dog (presumably someone else's since we do not actually have one), read an epic novel, and fallen asleep.
That is why I heartily endorse the super windy turbo jet turbine hand dryers. Not only do they provide loads of amusement for kids waiting for their parents, but they also keep restrooms free of paper towel trash. I am trying to convince my wife to get one for the house.
Monday, May 21, 2012
"Daddy, you have 15 and I have 1000."
"Okay daddy, now you have 200 because you did pretty good, but I have 10 thousand hundred, so I am still winning."
I have a checkers game on my iPod and he likes to play against himself instead of against the computer, or anyone else who might win. When I tried to explain to him that he should play against someone so he can get better at it he responded mostly by crying and punching himself in the leg emphatically. Later that day, however, he informed me that when he gets to Heaven one thing he wants to do is play checkers with God. He also informed me that he would not be upset if God won.
Well, I guess that is progress of a sort. At least he now concedes there may be someone out there who could best him at something, and he can be gracious when his opponent is omnipotent. Now if I can just convince him to play fairly with mortals we will be all set to tackle the next growth hurdle