Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

You don't have to say you're a god. They already know. (Sundays With The Classics)

It's back!  Sundays With The Classics makes a triumphant return after I finally buckled down and forced myself to read more of The Odyssey yesterday while I was waiting for a doctor's appointment, and if you are saying to yourself "Why is he forcing himself to read a book he obviously doesn't really want to read when there are so many good books out there that he could want to read and be reading, books like..."

Who should I give a plug to, here?

You'll have to read to the end of the post.

There was an article in Entertainment Weekly this week about some dumb new book that came out that tells what famous authors are reading or have read or which books they love the most or which books they leave laying around to show off to people or maybe all three of those.  I'm not sure: I didn't read the review because I can't imagine a worse use for my time than simply reading an entire book about the books other people who write books like.

That kind of information is interesting in passing, and mostly because people are always being snobs about it.  Whenever real people say things I assume they are lying, and that includes hearing real people not just tell what seem to be amazingly made-up stories on This American Life, but also hearing real "people" tell what books they are reading.

On This American Life, they did an episode recently called Getting Away With It, in which they encouraged "real" "people" to call in with "real" stories of things they got away with.  When I first heard they were going to do it, I assumed all of the "real" calls would be annoyingly fake and that I would be annoyingly annoyed by them and that turned out to be true, in part because I am annoyed by everyone and in part because people lie.

Almost every story people tell is a lie, and those stories are easy to pick out because they frequently are too good to be true.

As a note: I never make up any portion of my stories, although sometimes the conversations might be only about 82% accurately recounted, because I do not have a stenographer following me around to whom I can say "Read that back." 

You can tell I never make up my stories because none of my stories feature a Hollywood-ized twist or ending on them that never happens in real life almost ever, anyway.  My stories feature things like "I go to a parade and then we walk back to the school," whereas if anyone else were telling that story it would have taken some bizarre turn that made it "interesting" (in theory) and "a lie" (in reality).  It would have had me getting picked to be the head of the Frisbee Club, and then going to the Homecoming Game to sing the national anthem only to realize that I didn't know the words and then I would have had an aneurysm on the field and would have gone up to Heaven and talked with God for a while, and my old high school football coach, and they would have said "It's not your time, Son," and I'd have come back down here and invented a miraculous new pizza topping.

That didn't happen, in my (real) story.

On Getting Away With It, one real-life person called in and told a story about how he was at a stoplight and saw a cute girl next to him and decided to impress her by drag-racing her to the next light, and that part seems true enough as does what happened next in his story: He passed a cop while drag-racing and the cop put on his lights.

You might be asking "How is that getting away with it?"  Here is what the (lying) caller said next: He immediately fled away from the cop and turned right, only to have the cop follow him and he turned again and went by another cop and he turned quickly into an alley and momentarily lost the two cops behind him and ditched his car and got out and ran and then realizing that he could not go back to his car he ran and found yet a third cop and said his car had been stolen.

THAT is a story about which I immediately said "Didn't happen."  Because if all those things in that story are true, then the Hidden Secret Ending was "And the cop looked at me and realized I matched the description of the guy who was driving the car past that first guy, and they took me to the station and eventually charged me with fleeing an officer and obstructing justice."  I have been pulled over for speeding tickets and fought them in court and seen the reports which include, in a mere matter of moments, the description of the driver, and the fact that the "stolen car" driver matched the "real car owner driver" coupled with the fact that the police would find it amazingly coincidental that a car was reported stolen at the exact moment other police were looking for that car is enough to tell me the story is mostly BS.

As was Molly Shannon's story about hopping a plane to New York City at age 12, a story so incredible that Ira Glass had to hasten to add that they had checked with the friend who confirmed the details and I still don't believe it.

When "real" and by "real" I mean "famous" people are put on the spot about what book they are reading, they always say something superimportant and intellectual sounding.  (Even Mitt Romney's reading list has some that seem to me to be picked out just to make him look good, plus every Mormon everywhere automatically says "Twilight" because there is, apparently, only one Mormon author.)

When you catch celebrities just carrying books, they tend to be popular self-help books of no real literary merit, except for Obama who actually does carry around books of obscure poetry with him, but when you ask famous people what they read, the list is always impressive-sounding and most likely fake.

Authors, I figure, are a different sort.  I bet they really do read the books they say they read, because authors are interested in writing and reading and have more expansive, and different tastes, than regular people, the way chefs seem to always be doing something different, too -- chefs eat weird fishes cooked in hydrogen tanks or something, whereas the rest of us just have a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast.

That's part of why I am struggling to read The Odyssey: I figure it has lasted a billion years or however long it's been since Greece was a thing, for a reason, and that reason can't be "Because English teachers foist it off on people," can it?

Can it?

Maybe not.

Because things are picking up.  In the latest installment I read, after the old guy who's name I forget talked about tricking the gods by hiding in a whale skin to learn how he could get off the island, the story got back to some real action, in that Penelope learned that her son, Telemachus, had sailed away at about the same time the suitors learned that Telemachus had gotten away, too.  While Telemachus was being loaded down with supplies for the next leg of his journey, back at the ol' UlyssesCave, the suitors started getting ready for another run at forcing Penelope to marry them, and learned that one of them had lent a boat to Telemachus, and they decided that they'd set up a plan to keep Telemachus from ever coming back: twenty of them got a boat and went to some cove near Castle Grayskull (which is where I imagined Telemachus lived) to wait for him and kill him when he gets back.

A servant overhears this and goes to tell Penelope about Telemachus leaving and how he's going to be killed and Penelope gets all bent out of shape, berating the servant for not telling her earlier. 

The chapter ends there: The suitors lying in wait to kill Telemachus, Penelope lying in uselessness and praying to Athena to help Telemachus, and that would be incredibly suspenseful and a cliffhanger except it's not because Homer has Athena tell Penelope "oh, it's going to be okay, your son survives," without even a SPOILER ALERT! or anything, so now we know for sure that Telemachus is going to live, but apparently to restore a bit of suspense to the proceedings, Homer has the gods not tell Penelope whether Ulysses is alive or dead, which really doesn't matter because earlier in the story, we've learned that he's alive, he's being held captive by Calypso, so now it's just a matter of going through the motions, like this is some sort of John Hughes movie.

And it all left me wondering not just at what point storytelling advanced to a point where we didn't give away the entire story 17% of the way through it, but also wondering why did the Gods bother?

Remember how Athena pretended she couldn't stay at the palace because she was an old man and then turned into a phoenix and flew away in front of everyone?  Turns out you don't need to do that to tip off the locals that you're a god, because the suitors knew anyway: the guy who lent Telemachus his boat tells everyone "I saw him leaving with Mentor, but I'm pretty sure Mentor was actually a god," and so I had to wonder: Why did the Gods bother disguising themselves?  Why not just say "I'm a god, and you know it?" because apparently everyone did. 

(That might explain Leda deciding to have sex with a swan, which is a pretty weird thing no matter how you look at it, but certainly a tiny tiny bit less weird if you know the swan is a god.)

So that is where I left off, and I hopefully will be more diligent about reading my classics, and also hopefully will be more diligent about having a point to make in the future related to those classics, but you gets what you pays for.

Here is what I've been reading in between not reading classics:

A Hero's Journey, by PT Dilloway: the first of what ought to be a long-running series about a great new superhero, The Scarlet Knight.  Excellent writing, awesome villain, great book.

War Angel, by Rusty Carl: a sweet and interesting take on a romance with a WWII angle; Rusty Carl is better known as Rusty Webb, the author of the brilliant "A Dead God's Wrath."

Shadow Spinner by Andrew Leon: this serialized horror story is billed as YA but is anything but: Leon's creepy world and slow-burn storytelling are like Stephen King, only not annoyingly overwritten like King's. 

And you could always go back and check out Michael Offutt's Slipstream, a new twist on sci-fi tropes featuring a hockey prodigy who can control the way time flows around him and has to save not just our world, but all of them, from a crazy sentient supercomputer being.

And now I'm getting me that Taco Rack.

 I mentioned on my other blog the other day a new site I found, DealDash, and it is definitely a site worth bringing up again.

You know all those Penny Auction sites that you have to go bid like a million times on to try to get an iPad for $1.53 and you never do and then there's some guy on TV saying he did that and you throw your wife's curling iron at the TV 'cause that guy's a liar and then your wife is all "Why are you throwing things at the TV, I thought we talked about this back when you tried to teach the cat how to make ice cream?" and you try to explain that that was science and the cat volunteered but she never listens...

Anyway: DealDash isn't like those penny auction sites, not really.  Deal Dash is a site where you can bid on stuff and get great things like a taco serving rack -- honestly, I can not get that out of my mind, it's become my Everest-- or Playstation 3s, or towel sets or space heaters -- for way less than retail.

And it's like a game, really -- only even safer than a game.  To "play" Deal Dash, you just buy bids (registration is free!), and there's always sales and specials on them so you can get them super cheap.  Then you find something you want on auction and you bid on it, and you win.

Hopefully.  But here's the thing: if you don't win, you don't necessarily lose your bids.  First-timers get all their bids back, and if you bid on something and don't get it you can go buy the thing on their site and get your bids back, too, so you get your stuff and your bids.

And, Deal Dash offers a 100% money-back-no-questions-asked-not-even-a-question-like-"How'd you get your hair to look so marvelous?"-even-though-you-might-want-them-to-ask-that-question policy, so if you're not happy with your taco rack/something else, you get your money back.

So, in closing:

1. I am big on this site,
2. The cat wasn't half-bad at making ice cream, and
3.  You should go check out Deal Dash.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Best Scarlet Knight Power (Guest Post!) From a REAL AUTHOR! *rubs hands together, makes plan to grab onto coattails.*

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that one lucky commenter will receive a free PDF copy of the book from PT Dilloway.  So comment away! I have no idea what the rules are for the comments.  I'll get back to you on that.  But get a-commentin'!

Today's post is, as the headline announces, a guest post by amazing author PT Dilloway.  If you read his blog, you know that for the past few months he has, in his own grumpy way, been promoting the publication of what will hopefully be the first of many books featuring the hero he created, The Scarlet Knight:

Who, as you can see, meets all the requisite superhero criteria: (1) Cape (2) Brooding look (3) Hot body.

You've done it, PT!  Now, let's hear from the author himself:


First of all, thanks to Briane for having me today!

I’m pretty sure Mr. Pagel has at some point already determined “The Best Superpower.”  I’m not sure what he came up with.  Maybe it will be the one I come up with for the hero in my novel A Hero’s Journey.

The hero of my novel is called the Scarlet Knight.  Her power comes from a suit of magic red plate armor found in the sub-subbasement of the Plaine Museum of Natural History in our New York-type city, Rampart City.  The armor was created about four thousand years ago by Merlin the wizard—yes, that Merlin the wizard from Arthurian legends and all that.  Merlin provided the armor with a number of helpful attributes to help the wearer battle the evil Black Dragoon.

So here are those attributes:
  • The armor is impervious to all weapons except magic/holy weapons.
  • The armor also gives its wearer augmented strength, speed, and endurance
  • The armor speeds healing of injuries and can even cure some ailments like nearsightedness or asthma
  • The helmet is equipped with night vision to see in the dark
  • The cape allows the wearer to become invisible to human eyes
  • The cape also works as a parachute
  • The gloves can stick to walls to allow the wearer to climb up any solid surface
  • The gloves also can open any traditional, mechanical lock, not the fancy laser or computer kinds
  • The boots allow the wearer to jump really high and far
  • The Scarlet Knight’s weapon is the Sword of Justice, which can cut through anything from this planet/dimension
  • The Sword of Justice can also be guided remotely by the Scarlet Knight’s mind
  • (But the Scarlet Knight can’t fly.  So there.)

Yeah, that’s a lot of powers!

Which one of these is the best?

Going down the list, a few can be eliminated because they have drawbacks.  Like the first one.  The armor is impervious to damage—except magic/holy weapons.  That includes the claws of the evil Black Dragoon, which sort of makes it a moot point.  The armor does heal injuries—over time.  If you get disemboweled or beheaded it can’t save you.    The cape can turn the wearer invisible—only to human eyes.  Unfortunately Merlin came up with this power before the advent of video surveillance, so cameras can see through the cape.  The gloves can open locks—but only like padlocks or other mechanical ones.  If you’re up against a combination lock or a computerized one?  You’re outta luck.

And sure the Sword of Justice can cut through anything—of this planet and dimension.  That may not seem like a problem, but what happens if you have to fight an alien?  Or someone from a parallel universe?  That doesn’t come up in the first novel, but it rears its head later in the series.

So we can eliminate those powers as being the “best” because it can’t really be the best if it’s not going to work all the time.

The augmented strength, speed, and endurance is nice, but we’re not talking Superman here.  The night vision is good, unless you’re in a brightly-lit area and then it’s kind of useless.  The gloves can stick to walls, which is great for climbing; if you’re not Spider-Man it’s not always that useful.  Guiding the Sword of Justice with your mind is neat, but it takes a lot of practice to get it to work effectively.

Overall I think the jumping is the best feature because it’s the most useful.  Why?  Because unlike Superman, the Scarlet Knight doesn’t fly.  She doesn’t shoot webs out of her hands either to swing around.  And she doesn’t have billions of dollars for cars, planes, or jetpacks or anything like that.  So how does she get around the city?  It involves a lot of jumping, which is aided by the fact that Rampart City is an old, crowded city so the buildings are usually close together.  A lot of those buildings are also pretty high too, so it helps to be able to jump really high.  Though by the end of the book she gets another means of transportation, so maybe I’ve negated my own argument.

If we’re talking about just the coolest feature, the sword would win hands down.  I mean come on, it’s a sword!

If you want to learn more about the Scarlet Knight’s powers, you can buy my book from Solstice Publishing here.  The book is also available from other retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  To find out more about A Hero’s Journey including character bios, deleted scenes, and a visitor’s guide to Rampart City visit my blog, PT Dilloway: Tales Of The Scarlet Knight.

And if you haven’t got enough of my spiel, I’ll be guesting on Thinking the Lions tomorrow!


Me again: A few things.  First, I'm 60% through the book, and it's an enjoyable, fast-paced story that somehow combines old-school comic-book style superherory (it's a word!) with magic and witty dialogue and [SPOILER ALERT! THERE'S A SUBPLOT I BELIEVE INVOLVING CORRUPTION.].  I heartily recommend this book.

Second, as PT said, check out Thinking The Lions tomorrow to find out whether PT can make a connection between superheroes and cheeseburgers.  [SPOILER ALERT! NOW I AM HUNGRY FOR A CHEESEBURGER.]

Also, while you're here, check out these superhero related posts.  I mean, what're you going to do, go back to work? Huh. I didn't think so.  It's Friday.  Nobody works on Friday.  It's in the Bible.

The Best Weird Superhero

The Best Superhero, New Nominee

The Best Anthropomorphic Animal Superhero

The Best Misunderstood Comics Character Who's Not Actually A Villain.

The Best Superhero Gadget

 And, while The Scarlet Knight will certainly factor into the voting, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that for something like seven years now there's been an off-and-on running debate about who is The Best Superhero: This link will take you to a set of all the posts discussing each nominee. But feel free to leave in the comments your own suggestions, which I will then re-post because I am lazy and like to get credit for putting up a post that other people wrote.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The 6 Best Songs About Presidents (and a bunch of facts you didn't know about the debates until now, maybe?)

see more pix like this on PWNST
Tonight is the second big presidential candidate debate, and according to everyone in the entire universe, this debate is even more important than the last debate, and might be more important than the next debate, unless the next debate is even more important than this debate.

It's possible, I suppose, that this debate is more important than all other debates combined, possibly including debates from other elections.

Whatever the level of importance in this debate is, I won't be watching, a stance that I sometimes take some flack from people for.  But I won't be watching, for two reasons:

(A) There is no way that Mitt Romney can convince me to vote for him, as the only thing anyone can be sure he stands for is that he no longer stands for the things he used to stand for before running for President, and

(2)  The debates, like the conventions and all other aspects of the political campaigns, are pre-packaged events that are extremely unlikely to lead to any information about the candidates.

You'll see what I mean -- but let's have some songs!  About Presidents!  And I'll try to relate them to the debates! But they're still cool!

1.  President Garfield's Hornpipe, 

The hornpipe is a kind of sailor's dance.  According to Wikipedia, you did the hornpipe by doing

movements ... familiar to sailors of that time: "looking out to sea" with the right hand to the forehead, then the left, lurching as in heavy weather, and giving the occasional rhythmic tug to their breeches both fore and aft.
 Hornpipes were popular  in the 16th and 17th centuries, which is explainable by the fact that they had nothing else to do back then; weekend activities were limited to "do the hornpipe" or "die of consumption," and which would you choose?

While President Garfield's Hornpipe is by far my favorite hornpipe, there are also Thomas Jefferson's Hornpipe, and Lincoln's Hornpipe:

Speaking of Lincoln, did you know that unlike the freewheeling and supposedly entertaining Lincoln-Douglas debates, tonight's affair is a tightly-controlled showpiece governed by the official rules the campaigns negotiated?

Among those rules: The candidates may not use pre-made notes, but they may use blank paper to take notes on.  And they have complete freedom to take notes on any kind of paper they like. Says rule 5(d):

"the candidates may take notes on the size, color, and type of blank paper each prefers and the type of pen or pencil that each prefers."

2.  When The President Talks To God, Bright Eyes:

I'm not sure exactly what this song refers to, but I suspect it has to do with this October 2005 story from The Guardian:

George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.

Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."

FYI: He didn't.

But at least 119,000 civilians have died from war-related violence, making the 4,488 dead US soldiers seem like a small number in comparison.

A small, but useless, number.

Afghanistan, meanwhile, is no less useless a war, but is safer: we only just hit 2,000 casualties there.  But I'm sure eventually the Useless Afghan War will match its younger sibling in deaths.  Just keep swimming!

Speaking of talking to God...

3.  James K. Polk, They Might Be Giants.

Mitt Romney failed to electrify the electorate when his staff announced that his role model as a president was the first ever dark horse candidate, James K. Polk.  The apparent idea was to convince people that, like Polk, Mitt would get things done without worrying about a second term.

But it's possible that Mitt is hiding the truth and that his other role model is George W (the W is for Worst President Ever) Bush.  Like Bush, Mitt invokes the power of the Almighty when it's convenient for his political purposes, like when he criticized the Democrats for belatedly adding the word "God" to their platform by declaring that if he were put in charge, God would remain front and center in our politics, just where the Founding Fathers wanted it:

"I will not take God out of the name of our platform...I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart. We’re a nation that’s bestowed by God.”
 It should be noted that a religious-based assay of the Federalist papers found no explicit references to the idea that God was responsible for creating the United States.

4.  A Long Long Time, Guy Forsyth.

 Blink and you'll miss it:

We Americans are freedom-loving people and nothing says freedom like getting away with it.
We went from Billy the Kid to Richard Nixon.
 In the debates, neither candidate is supposed to address the other with questions or proposed pledges or demand future or more debates; wouldn't you like to see Romney and Obama simply talk to each other for 90 minutes, with no questions and no idea what the guy is going to ask?

You won't get to.

Here's something to mull over, since you won't hear about it tonight or get any substance:  Mitt Romney promises to reduce taxes across the board by 20%.  That's mathematically impossible without substantial spending cuts that Romney refuses to be specific about making.  But equally important is that Mitt's nonspecific growth plans, spelled out (sort of) in his "Five Point Plan," suggest that those tax reforms -- which, again, are impossible, mathematically, absent spending cuts -- would increase GDP by only 0.6%.

The GDP has grown by anywhere from 0.4% to 3.9% over the past two years, during which time there has been "uncertainty" (Mitt's term) over the future of tax rates, and during which time taxes have been higher (by 20%) than Mitt suggests they should be.  Increasing that GDP by 0.6%, as Mitt suggests his (mathematically impossible)(nonspecific) tax cuts would do, would have caused GDP to range between 1.0% and 4.5% over the past two years.

During the 1970s, annual GDP growth averaged, from January 1970 to December 1979, 2.8%, with only two years in which GDP didn't grow (1974-1976).  GDP growth hit a peak of nearly 8% in 1973.  During that time, the top income tax bracket was seventy percent.

Wouldn't you like if someone asked Mitt Romney not only to be specific about his proposals but to explain why his tax-cutting proposals would spur only 4.4% growth in the GDP when 70% top marginal tax rates allowed for annual growth of as high as 8%?

Nobody will, which is why I don't watch the debates.

5.  The Presidents, by Jonathan Coulton.

One other thing you won't hear asked tonight? Nobody will be able to ask the candidates "Sausage or pepperoni?"  Pizza Hut had been going to offer a free pizza a week for 30 years (which was termed a "lifetime supply" of pizza by people who are unfamiliar with the concept of "24 Hours Of Pizza,") to anyone who asked the candidates at tonight's "Town Hall" debate the question: Sausage or pepperoni.

Such a question clearly divides America into just those two categories, ignoring the minorities who prefer mushrooms, or weirdos who think "cheese" is a kind of pizza.

Don't you find it annoying when "cheese" is listed as a potential topping on pizzas you order for delivery?  Don't all pizzas have cheese on them?  Isn't that one of the basic tenets of being a pizza?  (Hard to define as it is, given that the question of what makes a pizza a pizza is a koan-like riddle).  Whenever I see cheese listed as a potential ingredient, I get all nervous and think that I have to order cheese or I'll get just crust with some sausage sprinkled on it, and then I suspect that I am simply being charged extra for putting the regular amount of cheese on it, because how am I supposed to know if I got a pizza (including cheese) with extra cheese as a topping?  I have no idea how much cheese goes on a pizza regularly, so no way to gauge how much extra cheese I'm getting.  If any.

Also: All questions asked by "Town Hall" participants tonight were pre-selected by the moderator.  Will we ever be told which questions were not selected, and why?


6.  Peaches, The Presidents Of The United States Of America:

 Not technically about presidents, I'm including this because this song is every bit as meaningful as the debates people get so excited about watching.

UPDATE: Having come back to look at comments, I've given some thought to that "Sausage or pepperoni?" question and the more I think of it, the more I'd like to see the candidates asked that, because I think their answers would speak volumes about them.  What do you want to bet Romney would give a mealy-mouthed "I like both of them, to tell you the truth" answer?  I bet you his entire fortune that's what he'd say.  I bet he'd go on to say he likes all kinds of toppings and compare it to the "Melting Pot" of America even though nobody has done more to avoid America being a "melting pot" than the Mormons, unless it's the Republicans.

But what would Obama say, is more the question:  We know he'd start with "Let me be clear..." but how would he finish up?  Is Obama a sausage guy? Pepperoni guy?  Is he man enough to pick one or the other?  If he picked pepperoni would people say that was proof he sides with foreigners?

I've got to think about this.

But I think they should be asked the question, and the follow-up:  Why?

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The 20 Best Pop Culture Workouts, 2:

I really actually think this might be the next workout craze, so I'd better slap "TM" and "Copyright 2012" and "I'm a lawyer and possibly the most litigious person you've ever dreamed of meeting" all over this now so that I can secure my future royalties by creating spinoff after spinoff of THE POP CULTURE WORKOUT(TM)(C:2012)(Ialaptmlpyedof) which I will now make even more popular by presenting Workout Number Two:  Cat Head Walking.

Or, this:

That's from the book One fish two fish red fish blue fish, by Ernest Hemingway.  (He ghost-wrote it for Dr. Seuss, is what I heard.).  That book, which I read with Mr Bunches twice on Sunday because he's super-into Dr. Seuss right now, is sort of an exercise manual all on its own.  There are the yellow running people who like to run... for fun in the hot, hot sun, the kids who ride a bike with their Mike sitting up in the back ("Mike does all the work when the hills get high") and Gox Boxing:

Which is properly done in yellow Gox box socks.

Here's something I've started to think about Dr. Seuss and I'm not trying to be ironical or hipster in saying this because I know the big Internet thing is to make a lot of fun over innocent things like comic strips or Back To The Future novelizations, because things that were cool when we were a kid like Choose Your Own Adventures books now seem hopelessly lame, and all, but this is not that.  This is for real:

Dr. Seuss books are kind of creepy.

Here is an example.  The example is Clark:

That is a weird-looking monster that's already pretty big but who is going to grow and grow and I'm kind of thinking that's a mixed message there.  The kids seem... seem happy with Clark, but they admit that Mom may not be so crazy about this animal that while it seems to live in the water can clearly breathe air and is going to grow and grow and Clark himself seems pretty malevolent looking.

One fish etc is filled with things like that, from the 11-fingered man who is held up as a role model to the guy who can magically conjure up fish, on a plate, every time, but who for some reason doesn't share with the Nook, who is doomed to wander the world, a cookbook hanging in front of his head on a hook... but he can't read.

THAT is worthy of a Greek tragedy, isn't it?  And then the God cast down Nook, and bade him eat only what he might learn to cook from the tome he had stolen from them.  The Book Of The Gods' Cooking hung in front of Nook, wherever he went, tormenting him with visions of foods he desired, but never could he learn to read the recipes and so his hunger went unsated.

I mean, that's not what Dr. Seuss says but that's what I got.

Also: Cat Head Walking seems impractical, but if I opened a gym that promised it as a workout I bet I would make about a zillion dollars.

Also-er: Maybe I should start a website making fun of Choose Your Own Adventure books? Maybe.  I mean, even with the zillions I'll make from Cat Head Workout Gym and THE POP CULTURE WORKOUT(TM)(C:2012)(Ialaptmlpyedof), why should I miss out on that sweet ironic hipster money?


1.  Yoda Jogging.

If they really wanted people to try it, maybe they should have called it "YESPalea?"

You can if you act fast get a free 32 ounce bottle of a health drink!

You can also maybe help your aching joints and get some relief for the pains caused by working out and make yourself healthier at the same time, but mostly FREE!

I'm talking about nopalea, a wellness drink being offered Trivita.  Nopalea is made from the fruit of the Nopal cactus, which is said to have healing properties, and may benefit people by reducing inflammation and detoxifying your body to increase cellular health.  From what I read on their page, it does this by helping remove old and dead cells while protecting new healthy cells.  Or something.  I'm no scientist.

Nopalea is so convinced that their drink can benefit you that they're daring you (I guess, via me) to try the Nopalea Wellness Challenge.  They want people with muscle and joint pain, asthma and difficulty breathing, heart health problems, bloating or cramps, and general fatigue, to get a free 32 ounce bottle of Nopalea, just by calling in (you can use that link I've given you up there to get to the site and get the number plus more information).  They'll send you the bottle, a booklet of information, and a form to use for the Challenge, and you can yourself track how you're doing for a month to see if it helps you.

There's no preservatives, no refined sugar in it, and the site has testimonials from people who swear by its restorative benefits.

Let's be honest: most of us are probably mostly like me, and I imagine that I'm drinking a "health drink" when I get a diet coke instead of a regular soda.  So I don't know how to measure whether the Nopal cactus fruit is good or bad or does what they say; what I do know is that I and probably a lot of you could be a little healthier in what I do, and for free, this is an easy way to give it a shot and see if it helps me and makes me feel better.  I get those aches and pains, I get fatigued... who doesn't? So I'm thinking I ought to take that wellness challenge, and maybe you should, too.