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Sunday, April 06, 2008


From NPR's Talk of the Nation...

Talk of the Nation
February 7, 2008

Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."

In this spirit of simple yet profound brevity, the online magazine Smith asked readers to write the story of their own lives in a single sentence. The result is Not Quite What I Was Planning, a collection of six-word memoirs by famous and not-so-famous writers, artists and musicians. Their stories are sometimes sad, often funny — and always concise.

The book is full of well-known names — from writer Dave Eggers ("Fifteen years since last professional haircut"), to singer Aimee Mann ("Couldn't cope so I wrote songs"), to comedian Stephen Colbert ("Well, I thought it was funny").

The collection has plenty of six-word insights from everyday folks as well: "Love me or leave me alone" was scrawled on a hand dryer in a public bathroom; "I still make coffee for two" was penned by a 27-year-old who had just been dumped.

Larry Smith, founding editor of Smith magazine, and Rachel Fershleiser, Smith's memoir editor, talk about the experience of capturing real-life stories in six words — no more, no less.

Fershleiser's six-word memoir? "Bespectacled, besneakered, read and ran around." And Smith's: "Big hair, big heart, big hurry."

some six-word memoirs listed on NPR and Smith magazine websites...
Being a monk stunk. Better gay. - Bob Redman
Couldn't cope so I wrote songs. - Aimee Mann
Made other laugh. I still hurt. - Nicole Brown
Miss you dad. You'd be proud. - LaBajista
Job stinks. Art doesn't pay. Dang. - Peter Nelson
Life too short, eat good cheese. - Vince Yanez
life's too short to not tease. - riley
worked my life to redeem blondes. - Casey Cote
Did I miss it again? Damn. - Angela
Freak accidents haven't killed me yet.... - Kevin S
Detest cubicle city. Music it is. - Ty
Tried to write; accounting is easier. - Sarah
Why does technology hate me? - Karli
Storybook life, get your own author - kelsey me!!!
Life's short, throw cats at people. - Collin Rue
"If I only had a brain." - Will G
Still waiting for those lottery millions - Julie
America the free...then came W. - Peter Schott
Once upon a time. The end. - Caroly
"It was a dark and stormy life!" oops - Lynn Marshall
No novel. An accountant. Go figure. - Allison Teasdale
Still able to laugh about it. - Pamela Morsi
Yes, I still believe in Santa. - Katie
Existentialist: None of this really matters! - Rich Schonthal
Giving birth made my life funny. - Sally Adams
wild girl became boring accountant mother - A Stern
"Just a janitor with a Masters Degree" - Tony
Busy. Ask again in 30 years. - Jean
"Honorable Mention" was my middle name. - Chuck Herndon
Stop. I need to start again. - Diane
Born butt first, nothing's changed since. - Jennifer
i like music but can't play - Jordan (Hey, that's my life! - OlderMusicGeek)
Six word sentence most significant accomplishment. - benedetto
I guess this is about it? - Joe
Three simple words: I love you. - John
When this was posed to my 8-year-old, she responded: Not much yet, but it's plenty. - amy
A little evil on the side. - Christopher Liebbe
Life was not a Neil Simon comedy. - Henry Ma
Machiavelli was right, so was Ghandi - Nate
I survived. Not waiting for rescue. - andyux
Life is not for the timid... - MAC!
geminis need more than six words! - Jan
My life: ferocious beginnings and endings. - Tee Potenta
Look, I can write a biography! - Zach
Painful nerd kid, happy nerd adult. - Linda Williamson
Never really finished anything, except cake. — C. Perkins
Been there, done that, had fun! - Along

As for mine... Interesting, but not as I planned. :)

A link to Smith's six-word memoir project
A link to the original Talk of the Nation piece
A link to NPR's Blog on the Nation: A Life... In Six Words
A link to The Bryant Park Project's show on six-worded memoirs

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Just Some Toilet Humor

These are some photos forwarded to me in the email. I put all the toilet-related photos I've gotten in a video. - OlderMusicGeek

Thursday, April 03, 2008

HUMOR and CULTURE/SOCIETY: The Real Reason It Snowed on April First?

This is an email exchange from my work. - OlderMusicGeek

Geez, looks like mother nature decided to play a practical joke on us!

I yelled, "It's April first already! Stop for god's sake!" But would the snow listen? Of course not!

Hope we don't get another April snowstorm!

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.

A co-worker:

Yeah, it makes no sense to me either. I don't know what Jesus or snow has to do with childhood - maybe it's the Mother Nature reference?

The Ex-Marine Co-Worker:
It's faithless bastards like yourself that cause this insipid weather!! Now I shall pray for God to bestow his fury upon thee!!(ha,ha)...rsvp...healthy, wealthy, wise, and happy!

Well, as one other faithless friend told me, "Jesus loves you" is a born again's way of saying "f--- you".

So, Eric, Jesus loves you very much! :)

The Ex-Marine Co-Worker:
I needed a good laugh like that!! And I just wanted to say from the bottom of my heart with deepest sincerity. Jesus loves you too, Dan! Jesus loves you too!

Oh yeah! Well, the whole trinity loves you!

How do you like that?

The archangels and saints too!

Of course, this would explain why it freakin' snowed again!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

CULTURE/SOCIETY and SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY: National Geographic's April Issue?

No, it's not really National Geographic! It's a National Lampoon parody.

From the National Lampoon website....

For April Fool's Day, the class-skipping slackers of the Harvard Lampoon have unveiled their latest parody issue: National Geographic—A Harvard Lampoon Parody. The special edition offers a long-overdue skewering of the iconic publication, sure to shock everyone from the Zulu of Zimbabwe to the Ice People of Antarctica.

The issue’s cover features socialite and Harvard Lampoon “Woman of the Year” Paris Hilton as she’s never been seen before: sexy and glamorous. More shocking than Lindsay Lohan’s pictorial spread in New York magazine, Paris Hilton strips down as an homage to superhottie Jane Goodall in “Paris Hilton After Dark—Your Wildest Animal Fantasies".

Other features include:

• Top Ten Rainiest Rainforests—Will this be the Amazon’s year?
• Mongolia’s Wildest Waterparks
• Baskets on Heads—A Retrospective
• Native Girls Gone Wild
• What the Beijing Olympic Committee Doesn’t Want You to Know
• Boobs You Can Look at in the Dentist’s Office

And, interesting enough, from the National Geographic website...

Geographic Lends a Hand

National Geographic responded quickly when contacted by the students last summer, though the magazine had no say in the content of the parody—much of which could be described as off-color. (National Geographic News and National Geographic magazine are both owned by the National Geographic Society.)

"My guess was they were just extremely bored and they were tired of working with animals and scientists and wanted to hang out with college students," said Hayes Davenport, who edited the magazine with fellow Harvard senior Ross Arbes.

In one article the Lampoon takes aim at a National Geographic contributor who toils away for years in search of a specific species. Their "Seeking the Island Fox" article has the writer cold, wet, and annoyed at getting just a brief glance of a "pretty boring" animal.

And from the actual parody itself...For years, the American lava lamp industry has outsourced its labor to the islands of Indonesia, where lava is cheap, plentiful, and harvested by thousands of natives" who work under "horrifying conditions."

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Even Mother Nature Got in on the Act

This is from me, not reprinted from somewhere else. - OlderMusicGeek.

Well, it was April Fool's Day, so every one was a comedian.

Including, it turns out, Mother freakin' Nature!

Went outside a little early, just in case I had to scrape off my car windows - even though, it's already April 1st! We've been in a long cold spell here in the midwest!

But I guess covering our car windows with frost wasn't enough for Ma Nature on April 1st. No, she had to add freakin' snow!

Snow! In April! What's freakin' next? Another April snowstorm?! (Picture of snow in my hometown this morning was stolen from the State 29 blog.)

And I'm not pulling a prank here. A snowstorm really did once hit my home state in April!

From the KCRG-TV website...
Wednesday's Snow Compared to History
By Josh Baynes, KCRG-TV9 Meteorologist
By Josh Baynes
Story Created: Feb 6, 2008
Story Updated: Feb 7, 2008
After today's heavy snowfall, you might be wondering how this compares to history. April 8-10, 1973 might come to mind, the Blizzard of '73. During that snowstorm, Cedar Rapids received 14.5" according to the Iowa State Climatologist, Harry Hillaker.
Iowa City: April 8-10, 1973 - 14.3"
Dubuque: Apr. 8-10, 1973 - 19.2"

From NewspaperArchives.com....
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Monday, April 09, 1973
Record Snowfall Blankets Iowa City Area
By M. JOANNE B BUEGGER Of the Press Citizen
The severe storm that immobilized most of Iowa had dumped 10 inches of snow on Iowa City by noon today, bringing its share of emergencies, accidents and outages, but no serious injuries were reported. The record-breaking snowfall resulted in numerous highway accidents, including a Greyhound bus bound from Omaha to Chicago...

From Cases.com...
Showing my age, but I remember walking over the tops of people's houses. I was in high school in Iowa. April 9, 1973 - a severe late season snowstorm was in progress across Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, northern Illinois, and southern Wisconsin. Wind gusts to 70 mph whipped the snow into 16 foot drifts in Iowa. 10 to 20 inches of snow was common with 20 inches falling at Grand Meadow, Minnesota and 19.4 inches piling up at Dubuque, Iowa.
"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible" - Frank Zappa
Last edited by AKAJohnDoe : 02-12-06 at 12:34 AM.

I know The Rocky Mountain folks and the Canucks are thinking I'm a wimp, cus I'm sure they take April snow and snowstorms in stride.

But this is exactly why I'll never move to The Rockies - or despite Canada's "legalized same-sex marriage, universal health care, and not being taken as a joke internationally" - I'll never move there either! I know no matter how crappy our weather is, there's is 10 times worst!

I already told my daughter that if she moves away after she has grown, she'll have to go the American southwest to visit me!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide

The following is from the web site for the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division (DMRD). - OlderMusicGeek

Explore our many Special Reports, including the DHMO FAQ, a definitive primer on the subject, plus reports on the environment, cancer, current research, and an insider exposé about the use of DHMO in the dairy industry.


Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is perhaps the single most prevalent of all chemicals that can be dangerous to human life. Despite this truth, most people are not unduly concerned about the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide. Governments, civic leaders, corporations, military organizations, and citizens in every walk of life seem to either be ignorant of or shrug off the truth about Dihydrogen Monoxide as not being applicable to them. This concerns us.


Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year.

What are the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide?

Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.

Dihydrogen Monoxide Facts

Dihydrogen monoxide:
  • is also known as hydric acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
  • contributes to the Greenhouse Effect.
  • may cause severe burns.
  • contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
  • accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
  • may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  • has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.
Dihydrogen Monoxide Alerts

Contamination is reaching epidemic proportions!

Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice.

Dihydrogen Monoxide Uses

Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:
  • as an industrial solvent and coolant.
  • in nuclear power plants.
  • as a fire retardant.
  • in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.
  • as an additive in certain junk-foods and other food products.
Environmental Impact of Dihydrogen Monoxide

Among the many commonly-sited DHMO-related environmental impacts are:

  • DHMO contributes to global warming and the "Greenhouse Effect", and is one of the so-called "greenhouse gasses."
  • DHMO is an "enabling component" of acid rain -- in the absence of sufficient quantities of DHMO, acid rain is not a problem.
  • DHMO is a causative agent in most instances of soil erosion -- sufficiently high levels of DHMO exacerbate the negative effects of soil erosion.
  • DHMO is present in high levels nearly every creek, stream, pond, river, lake and reservoir in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Measurable levels of DHMO have been verified in ice samples taken from both the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps.
  • Recent massive DHMO exposures have lead to the loss of life and destruction of property in California, the Mid-West, the Philippines, and a number of islands in the Caribbean, to name just a few.
  • Research has shown that significant levels of DHMO were found in the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 which killed 230,000 in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and elsewhere, making it the deadliest tsunami in recorded history.
  • It is widely believed that the levee failures, flooding and the widespread destruction resulting from Hurricane Katrina along the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 were caused or exacerbated by excessive DHMO levels found in the Gulf of Mexico, along with other contributing factors.
Industrial DHMO Dumping

In spite of the recent movement to ban unlawful dumping of hazardous chemicals into waterways in the U.S. and abroad, release of massive quantities of DHMO continues. Industry cannot be held accountable entirely because lawmakers are reluctant to pass legislation to make most forms of dumping of DHMO illegal. Reasons for this could include pressures from corporate leaders, industry lobbyists, and even vested foreign governments. This governmental inaction leading to nearly unregulated dumping may be one of the most overlooked environmental impacts of DHMO.

Meanwhile, federal (EPA) regulations are in place to make illegal the disposal of DHMO in landfills, including those licensed for hazardous waste. Regulations also stipulate that any DHMO appearing in a landfill must be removed. Judging from these laws it appears that the U.S. government recognizes the inherent danger DHMO poses to the environment, at least in certain circumstances.

The U.S. government refuses to ban the production, distribution, and use of DHMO. This inaction may be due to pressures from private interests and corporate-sponsored economists, among many, who predict a DHMO ban could produce disastrous results. Claims include damage to public health and the well-being of the U.S. and world economies.

Fortunately, some industry and governmental leaders are taking the initiative to inform and educate their employees in spite of what the U.S. government's official policy may be. Equally encouraging is the support of environmental organizations, such as the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, an important force in the southern hemisphere promoting "ecological wisdom, social responsibility, appropriate decision-making and non-violence." Notably, a busy high-ranking Member of Parliament there supports a ban on DHMO. This welcome endorsement serves as a reminder to a pre-occupied world that fostering a widespread knowledge of DHMO is crucial.

Stop the horror - Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide

Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is still legal. The impact on wildlife is extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer!


The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its importance to the economic health of this nation. In fact, the navy and other military organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations. Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network. Many store large quantities for later use.


Act NOW to prevent further contamination. Find out more about this dangerous chemical. What you don't know CAN hurt you and others throughout the world.

A link to the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division (DMRD) website

CULTURE/SOCIETY: April Fools' Day Facts: Behind the Laughs

This is from National Geographic. I found it with my NetVibes home page. I edited the article down a little bit. - OlderMusicGeek

April Fools' Day Facts: Behind the Laughs
Graeme Stemp-Morlock
for National Geographic News
March 28, 2008

"A lot of people think [April Fools' Day] is just obnoxious, and just wish it would stop," said Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes in San Diego, California.

"But people who love pranks really love the day and refuse to give up the tradition. They're the ones who keep it alive."

Boese notes, however, that the number of pranks in the home and at the office has decreased in recent years in the United States, and has been replaced by large institutionalized media hoaxes, he said.

(Related: "April Fools' Special: History's Hoaxes" [April 1, 2003].)

The origins of April Fools' Day are shrouded in mystery, experts say.

Boese believes instead that April Fools' Day simply grew out of age-old European spring festivals of renewal, in which pranks and camouflaging one's identity are common.

The Joke's On Us

Joseph Boskin, professor emeritus of American humor at Boston University, has offered his own interpretation of the holiday's roots—as a prank.

In 1983, Boskin told an Associated Press reporter that the idea came from Roman jesters during the time of Constantine I in the third and fourth centuries A.D.

As the story goes, jesters successfully petitioned the ruler to allow one of their elected members to be king for a day.

So, on April first, Constantine handed over the reins of the Roman Empire for one day to King Kugel, his jester. Kugel decreed that the day forever would be a day of absurdity.

Kugel, incidentally, is an Eastern European dish that one of Boskin's friends had been craving.

Though the news agency was less than thrilled about the gambit, "I thought I should have been complimented for a quacky, quirky story that was fitted to the occasion," Boskin said.

Humor and pranksters can offer society some much-needed perspective, he added.

"Good humorists are basically secular shamans—they both heckle society on one hand and heal it on the other."

Boese of the Museum of Hoaxes also points out the day is an outlet for social inequalities to be openly confronted. For example, street urchins used to play April Fools' Day tricks on London gentlemen in the 1800s.

Stranger Than Fiction

However, fictional humor is slowly giving way to factual absurdities in popular culture, experts say.

One needs to look no further than the Ig Nobel prizes awarded every year for scientific research.

This year's Ig Nobel prize for medicine went to researchers who published an article on sword swallowing and its side effects—in the eminent British Medical Journal, no less.

(Related news: "Poop Vanilla, Endless Soup Among 2007 Ig Nobels" [October 5, 2007].)

"We keep inventing fewer things simply because we keep finding it is impossible to compete with reality," said Marc Abrahams, creator of the Ig Nobel Prizes and editor of the Annals of Improbable Research.

In March, the journal describes Philip M. Parker, who has invented a book-writing machine that scours a database of information to churn out a book in 20 minutes. The device has helped him author more than 300,000 titles—85,000 of which are for sale on Amazon.com, including the "2007-2012 Outlook for Lemon-Flavored Water in Japan" and "Webster's English to Zarma Crossword Puzzles: Level 1."

"The real stuff is funnier simply because it is real," Abrahams said.

"In that sense, the things that are real and funny are a superior form of [an] April Fools' joke, because you can tell them and people will think you are making it up."

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