31 May 2015

you can't change running.

my brother cogito's got three kids - beavis, who's 7; regina, who's 5; and champ, who is only 5 months along. of the three, champ does the most crying and the least amount of self-propulsion. the older two have taken up, of all things, running.

beavis is a bit thinky - the kind of kid who checks out basketball books from the library to learn how to play basketball. regina is smart enough but she's the more natural athlete and learns to play sports by playing them. beavis runs like a girl. regina runs like a boy. that's just how it is.

so, they've taken up running, each in their own way.

beavis's school does this program where the kids run around the perimeter of the building and for each lap, they earn a token. the tokens add up somehow to bigger tokens or some nonsense. i really wasn't listening when cogito was explaining that part. point is, beavis did some running every day for a while and sort of caught on to the idea - one foot in front of the other and all that - and realized that it was an activity he could accomplish with reasonable success. he recognized that all the practice was having a positive affect on his skill. he's also social, so this particular program fed into his desire to be around people.

basically, with beavis, you've got an average runner who enjoys the sport for the self-improvement and socializing.

regina, on the other hand, is a machine. she's a natural athlete who doesn't concern herself with socializing, and the only improvement she's interested in is the kind that helps her win. she loves to run because it gets her places more quickly than walking and because it gets her places more quickly than other people. she hasn't done a program at school or checked a book out of the library, and yet she knows how to toe a starting line and how to fly out of the gates.

basically, with regina, you've got a superior runner who enjoys the sport for the competition.

i'm over-simplifying, of course, but what's cool is it's like this sociology experiment right there in one house. you've got a brainiac and a jock, and they have completely different approaches, but they end up in the same place - running. what's great is that they can both totally get the different things they are looking for from the same thing, from running.

you can run because you enjoy the feel of your muscles working and the conversation of your running buddies, or you can run because you like to kick ass, or it can be some of both or anything in between.

and running is fine with it, with all of it. running doesn't care. running will let you use it for any purpose you choose. running will be there for you if you want to lose yourself or if you want to find yourself. running will comfort you and running will celebrate with you. running doesn't care if you are fast or slow, tall or short, pretty or ugly. running doesn't care if you want to just whimsically flit around or if you want to compete hard - or if you sometimes want one and sometimes want the other. running doesn't even care if you love it or hate it.

running just is. you can't change running. and, i am sure you know the punchline... you can't change running, but if you will let it, running can change you.

18 May 2015

on the rise

a popular question this election cycle is - knowing what we know now, would you have invaded iraq? by which they mean, since it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction found, do you think it was right to have gone in there, based on what was clearly faulty intelligence. well, hell. what are you supposed to say to that? it's like asking - knowing what we know now, would you have gotten into WWII sooner? would you have let the damn wooden horse through the gates? would you have eaten the fucking apple??

c'mon, esteemed press corps. you can do better. of the-hell course, anyone would do anything differently, in retropect. that's where the saying "hindsight is 20-20" freaking the-hell CAME FROM!


yes, i am upset.

in 1787, great britain opened the work of the house of commons to press reporting. in the british empire of the time, there were considered to be three estates: first was clergy; second, nobility; and finally, third, commoners. when the press was introduced into the mix, edmund burke christened them the fourth estate.

each of the estates has a role. the commoners work. the clergy pray. the nobility rule. the press speak. it's honorable - all of it - when it's done properly, purely. honest work. honest prayer. honest rule. honest voice.

people aren't pure, though, or generally very honest, to themselves or to others. it all breaks down, sure, i get that. but it's one thing to break down and give in, and it's another to break down and yet strive to rise above. it's like we've lost all sense of rising above, that's what gets me.

14 May 2015

graduation day

i wish i had a million words to caution you.
i wish that you could listen to advice
before you leap into the great wide open -
heedless headlong, never thinking twice.

extra pieces from 5/14 poem

you're smart enough to know you should know better,
and the poets say, you can't go home again

you out the door, snapping cuff and fetter;
in tatters years of training rendered null

the poets say, you can't go home again.
is that true? it's what they always say.
literally of course you can go back,
it's what you've seen and done keeps you away.

13 May 2015

of plastic and the foil

i'm an aluminum foil girl, myself. there's an aged roll of plastic wrap in my kitchen drawer, must be at least 15 years old, which has seen dozens of rolls of foil come and go. does the plastic feel neglected, or is it smugly wise for having survived so long?

for food storage, i guess my first choice would be reusable plastic containers, followed by ziploc style plastic bags. i always have three sizes on hand - gallon, quart, and snack. of course, there're also some fold-over sandwich bags in the drawer, but those aren't for food storage. they're for food transport.

i keep this stuff mostly in one drawer - the wraps and bags, along with paper napkins and our stock of little boxes of matches because they needed a home, and the wrap-and-bag drawer was as good a place as any. the plastic storage containers aren't in the drawer because they don't fit. they're in a bin, in the pantry.

the foil comes into play mostly for lining pans, so that the pan doesn't have to be cleaned after use. i only do this with metal pans. there's no point in lining a glass pan with foil -- that just turns it into a metal pan, and if i wanted a metal pan, well, there they are. pick one.

i also have an unopened box of foil sheets because foil-wrapped sandwiches seemed a romantic notion, but in reality, using foil sheets is problematic, what with the gapping and all. plastic bags just have a nicer seal. so, i have this unopened box because of the realities of the romantic notion and also because i've had the unopened box for long enough to where IT as become the thing. like, it's not a box that contains foil sheets, as if they are separate entities, but it's all one unit and that unit is a box that contains foil sheets. get it? bottom line, i can't open it now. i mean, it's one unit, you know? opening it would be just criminal.

the plastic wrap i have is so old, it's before the time of special features. it's got no holiday print. it's got no magic-cling qualities. it is simple, plain roll of clear plastic. sometimes it sticks to itself, sometimes it sticks to the bowl i'm covering, sometimes it doesn't stick to anything at all. it's whimsical plastic and it does what it wants. after this time, it's earned the right.

tonight i got the whimsical plastic out, and it cooperatively clung to the watermelon bowl. i guess it didn't feel like fighting, not tonight.

11 May 2015

stuck like ketchup in a packet

ketchup packets. the return on investment is crazy tiny. they're nearly impossible to open and when you finally get them open, there is like a drop of ketchup in there. why are they so insufferably suffer-inducing??

the heinz company (soon to become the kraft-heinz company) sells upwards of 11 billion ketchup packets per year. that's billion. with a "b". impressive? pffth. arguably, this multitudinous sales number would be fractionalized if one didn't require 12 to 15 of the loki-forsaken packets to produce a single blop of ketchup.

a man named benjamin eisenstadt ran a diner across from the navy yard in brooklyn during WWII, but after the war, business declined and ol' ben decided to open a tea packaging company. seems reasonable, right? pffth. who am i kidding? it's completely unreasonable. makes no sense whatsoever. but that's what ol' ben decided to do. unfortunately, ol' ben didn't count on the competition. i guess this was before the age of the pro forma. at any rate, ben couldn't cut it as a tea bagger.

so now he's distraught. he's poured all is money into the machinery. what's he gonna do? ahhhhh! ben's wife betty had the winning idea - package sugar. (she'd cleaned up the messy sugar bowls in the aforementioned diner.) stellar idea and certain road to fame and fortune, had ol' ben remembered to patent the process.


ben did go on and package other foods, namely soy and duck sauce. obvs ol' ben knew folks in the chinese food biz... anyhoo - packages! tiny packages of food! i think you see where i am going here.

benjamin eisenstadt is the father of the ketchup packet.

how does knowing this get us any closer to knowing why the packets are so freaking annoying? was ol' ben annoying? could be, could be.

thing is - we do know the packets' origins, being produced on tea-bagging machinery, so we do know why those packets were originally so small. why are they still that way? i guess they just got stuck...
stuck like ketchup in a packet.


02 May 2015

¡el jefe!

in my continuing efforts to mitigate loss of brain functionality (see also "math problem of the day"), i have taken up listening to the local tejano radio station.

between my two usual country haunts, there's one each: jack-fm, contemporary christian, spanish-language tejano format, and small town sports - the kind where they're broadcasting little league and shit. anyway, i'll run up and down between the country stations when they're both on commercial break, looking for something besides commercials, so i knew the spanish-language station was in there, but i'd never stopped to listen.

the other day, while blasting up and down the dial (i know... i know... it's not a "dial"), i remembered the spanish-language and stopped. it was the morning commute and they had what was clearly a morning drivetime talk show. it was like a guy and a girl, or maybe two guys and a girl, and they were talking and laughing. suddenly, one of them was doing a crazy raspy high-pitched voice like a ventriloquist and then they all freaking cracked up. see? clearly, morning drivetime shtick.

they did that for a while, and then they launched into commercials. i decided to stick around because spanish commercials are not boring...? anyway, here's what i found out. of the very few spanish words i know, numbers figure prominently. in the radio commercials i heard during this timeslot on spanish-language radio, numbers also figure prominently. i am fairly certain these are telephone numbers -- firstly by the way they are recited over and over (as radio commercials will do), and secondly because they mostly begin with "seis quince" which is "615" which is the local area code. i did hear one commercial today use "seis uno cinco" which mimics how it's said in american: "six one five". the other, "seis quince" translates to "six fifteen", but i am still convinced they are phone numbers. i mean, the entire language is different - they're allowed to say area codes differently.

one of the commercials i heard this afternoon was for "grumpy's" which is a bail bondsman. i brilliantly deduced this because they kept saying "grumpy's". another mentioned "certificado de matrimonio" which is pretty clear in meaning, but weird on a radio commercial. another sounded like it might have been a cinco de mayo promo from the station. firstly, they said, "cinco de mayo" and the name of the station, and i also heard: coca-cola, piƱata, and bimbo. (in case you are laughing right now because bimbo i will tell your ignorant self that bimbo is a brand of sandwich bread.) so, i concluded that this was an ad for a cinco de mayo outdoor concert.

the station is called "el jefe" which means "the boss". the station promos just boom out in this deep voice like, "EL HEFFFAAAYYYY!!" so of course when i looked it up, i looked up "el hefe". hahaha!!! idiot.

the format is tejano, and i do know how to spell tejano, which you might not guess based on my poor showing with jefe. tejano is spanish for texan, and logically, the musical format is texmex. germans and eastern europeans who settled in texas contributed polka and waltz rhythms and accordion. mexicans contributed melodies and guitars. voila - tejano!

i generally enjoy tejano but didn't realise how large a part accordions play. i mean, accordion in every freaking song. i am good with it for now but not sure how long it will last.