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» 2008 » September

Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2008

Family life 30 Sep 2008 07:53 pm

Now it’s official

My daughter’s soccer season officially began last night, even though she has been playing for weeks.

That’s because we spent an hour and a half in ER following a mishap on the soccer field. Malori has been injured every single season in every sport she has ever played. The paperwork we sign at the beginning of each season states succinctly and accurately that if your child plays sports, he or she will eventually be injured. Boy, is that an understatement. We don’t consider any season to be official until we’ve reported to ER and pulled the crutches out of the attic.
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Comic books & Commentary 29 Sep 2008 08:23 pm

Monkeys by mail


The ads in old comic books are a hoot. Some of the craziest involved the purchase of sea monkeys and — in rare cases — real monkeys. The image above comes from a new article posted at that is all about one young consumer’s purchase of a simian pet that arrived via mail. I bet such things would be prohibited today. The story is funny and oddly touching. You can read it here.


Books 28 Sep 2008 07:55 pm

On a pilgrimage


I’m taking a graduate class this fall whose subject is Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. If you aren’t familiar with the work, it is a series of tales — mostly in verse — told by a fictional group of pilgrims traveling from London to Canterbury to see the bones of the martyred Thomas Becket. Chaucer’s original plan was to have each of the 31 pilgrims tell four stories each — two each on the way to Canterbury and two more on the way back — but he completed only 24 stories before his death.
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Commentary 24 Sep 2008 06:17 am

World won’t end until spring

Good news for those fearing the end of the world from the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva: The device is under repair and won’t be operable again until spring, according to the Associated Press. Read more about it here.

This means the Christmas shopping season will proceed as planned. Thank goodness.

Books & Media & Movies 23 Sep 2008 08:39 pm

King of the Geats

If you’re familiar at all with Beowulf, either the epic Old English poem or the more recent movie adaptation of the same, you’ll enjoy this clip: 

Apparently, the film incarnation of Beowulf sleeps with Grendel’s mother, a hideous beast whose equally monstrous son has been terrorizing the community. In the original poem, he hacks up Mom with a sword. “Make love, not war,” is the motto of this new-age hero.

Commentary & Family life 23 Sep 2008 04:58 pm

Hell is an L-shaped desk

I spent most of Sunday on my knees, but not in church.

No, I was assembling an L-shaped desk my wife bought for our spare bedroom, which long ago became designated the “computer room.” The two desks we had wedged into the room weren’t very convenient for the kind of work either of us does there, so we decided to trade up to one monstrosity of a desk, 72 inches on a side.

It took my step-father and me most of the day to move the two desks out of the room, downstairs and to the garage; then pick up the new desk (all 214 pounds of it!), haul it home and take it upstairs. It went up in pieces, because that’s the way it came — one of those “some assembly required” jobs, a euphemism for “no two pieces will be attached when you open the box.”

The assembly lasted most of the afternoon and into the early evening, with a few breaks for cold drinks and hot pizza. I had a special incentive to finish assembly in one day: All the junk that had been piled on and in the two old desks had migrated to the top of our bed; without the new desk to hold it all, I would have no place to sleep.

We finished with only a few extra screws and pieces rattling around in the box, which should mean the damn thing won’t fall apart next week. I know one thing for sure: The only way it’s coming out of that room is hacked up into small pieces and thrown on the window.

I’ve got dibs on the job.

Commentary 21 Sep 2008 07:15 am

Predicting the end of the world

Here is my print column from Thursday, Sept. 18, as published in The Alliance Review:

The world didn’t end on Sept. 10.

This is good news to everybody except possibly the Cleveland Browns, who would have been spared another humiliation from the Steelers, and Sen. John McCain, who could have stopped wondering why he chose a running mate who hijacked his presidential campaign to run for the office herself.

The rest of us can take solace from the fact that scientists who fired up the Large Hadron Collider beneath the earth on the French-Swiss border last
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Comic books 20 Sep 2008 03:38 pm

Take a Stand — or better yet, buy one


One of Stephen King’s longest, most compelling novels comes to comics this week with the release of The Stand: Captain Trips #1, the first of a five-issue mini-series which, in turn, is the first of several mini-series planned to adapt this sprawling, post-apocalyptic tale.

At the helm are writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Mike Perkins, who move through the opening chapter methodically, setting up the characters (a gas-station jockey, a pregnant woman, and an ascending
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Media & Movies 19 Sep 2008 05:08 pm

Treed apes


Since I’m on a bit of a nostalgia kick, here’s a photo of a Planet of the Apes tree house play set that I had as a kid. Now, the set above isn’t the one I actually owned, mind you (although, come to think of it, it could be — who knows what Mom did with the original), but a photo from a site dedicated to chronicling the great Mego toys of yesteryear.

I spent many a happy hour with my Apes action figures — don’t call ‘em dolls! — and this tree house, a memory jogged by the storm — helped return to earth of a newer POTA toy. That entry is here. It inspired Review Capitol Bureau reporter Marc Kovac to wax nostalgic about his own Mego Apes play set.

Browse the Mego Museum here.

Media & Television 18 Sep 2008 08:41 pm

More Dicky Moe


Because absolutely nobody demanded it, if you click here, you can see in its entirety the 1962 Tom and Jerry cartoon called “Dicky Moe.” It’s a seafaring parody of Melville’s Moby Dick, with an obsessed one-legged captain who paces the poop deck muttering, “Dicky Moe, Dicky Moe!” For some reason, that image has stuck with me for years until I exorcised it by watching the cartoon on something called Tubearoo, which is like YouTube’s annoying little cousin.

I’m not the biggest Tom and Jerry fan, but I like the series well enough, and I especially enjoy the Simpson’s version, called Itchy and Scratchy, where the violence level is turned up to ten and still can’t compete with some of the sadistic images from the original cartoons.

Dicky Moe! Dicky Moe!

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