Meme propogation

For some bizarre reason, I was tapped for a chain meme. So, rather than risk what befell Phineas Q. Snodd, who refused to participate, and watched his hard drive turn into a puddle of melted plastic, I will add my contribution.

Seven Things to do Before I Die

  1. Run a full marathon.
  2. Actually have something I write published, other than letters to the editor.
  3. Finish painting at least two armies for some game system, while the system is still being played.
  4. Learn to play guitar.
  5. Make a post that generates at least 20 comments (spam comments don't count).
  6. Travel to low-earth orbit, the moon, or another planet.
  7. Celebrate my 3,182 birthday by going cliff-diving.

Seven Things I Cannot Do

  1. Touch type
  2. Dance
  3. Suffer fools gladly
  4. Run a half-marathon in less than 1:30
  5. Sit at the computer for 10 minutes without an interruption
  6. Type more than three words without a typo
  7. Give up caffeine

Seven Things That Attract Me To. . . Blogging

  1. The fame that comes with having 3-4 regular readers
  2. The fortune I make by posting my thoughts for free
  3. Having a soapbox that no one can kick me off
  4. I'm contributing to the general waste of bandwidth on the Internet
  5. By making 1-3 posts per week, I reduce (in an infinitesimal manner) the ratio of porn:non-porn on the Internet
  6. In theory, blogging helps keep me in the habit of writing
  7. If I actually start making political or argumentative posts, I'll sharpen my critcal thinking and writing skills

Seven Things I Say Most Often

  1. Yes, that is a truck/train/car/fish/tree/sheep/etc
  2. No.
  3. Kevin, I said 'No'.
  4. Go to the naughty spot.
  5. This is the story of Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas is a Really Useful Engine. . .
  6. Insert text from any one of several children's books here. . .
  7. Why is it that so many adults appear incapable of thinking?

(Is it obvious that I am a stay-at-home dad with a curious toddler?)

Seven Books That I Love

  1. Dragonlance Legends
  2. Cryptonomicon
  3. Small Gods/Feet of Clay
  4. Tigana
  5. Hitchiker's Guide
  6. Ringworld
  7. the Wild Cards series

Seven Movies That I Watch Over And Over Again

  1. Star Wars (too many quotes to choose just one.)
  2. Spider-man ("Well, let me buy you a cheeseburger. Sky's the limit. Up to seven dollars... and eighty-four cents.")
  3. LoTR trilogy ("Forty-two? Oh, that's not bad for a pointy-eared elvish princeling. Hmph! I myself am sitting pretty on forty-THREE.")
  4. Blues Brothers ("Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail us now.")
  5. The Incredibles ("No capes!")
  6. October Sky 9"That's a good idea. Four unidentifiable high school students lost their lives early this morning when their toy rocket exploded."
  7. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance ("Pompey, go find Doc Willoughby. If he's sober, bring him back. ")

Seven Songs I Play Over And Over Again

  1. American Pie
  2. Sell Out
  3. Unicorn Song
  4. Here Comes the Sun
  5. Money
  6. Burning Down the House
  7. If I Had a Million Dollars

Seven People I Want To Join In To

  1. The Anchoress
  2. Brian Maloney
  3. TexasRainmaker
  4. TBD
  5. TBD
  6. TBD
  7. TBD

(Yeah, they're all right-wing. Earlier blogs in this meme have covered most of the smaller, left-wing blogs that I read on a reasonably frequent basis. No point in recursion, is there?)


A basic understanding of evil

No, this is not a political post. Last year, at about this time, I pulled out one of my copies of the Dr. Seuss classic, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!". (Yes, we have several copies, including the one in Latin.) I read it to my son, just as my father read it to my sisters and I. After a while, you pretty much memorize the whole thing, as I have done with "The Lorax."

I'm not really sure how much of the book Kevin understands. Mostly, he seems to wait for the pages with the trains, or ornaments (he calls them "balls"), and kind of glosses over the parts with the Grinch.

Until the other day. I have a Grinch shirt, which I only wear this time of year. He looked at it. pointed to the Grinch and said "Bad." (Well, "ba", but he means "bad.") I haven't been deviating from the story (except to ask things like "Do you see the train?"), but he seems to have grasped the idea that the Grinch is a Bad Guy at the start. Now, he just needs to figure out that even the Grinch could change.

Until then, it's awfully cute, with him running after me, pointing at my shirt and saying "Ba! Ba! Ba!"

Changes in the Hundred Acre Wood

Disney is a'changin' the Hundred Acre Wood. Apparently, they have decided that Christopher Robin is just far too masculine to attract today's child:


You notice, however, that there is always the need to introduce a girl into stories like this. I don't see anyone suggesting that Madeline suddenly go co-ed, or that Alice in Wonderland should be changed to Alan in Wonderland.

Anyway, they say that the Pooh franchise brings in over $1 billion per year, more than all their other core characters combined. So, logically, one would expect them to not screw around with a winning forumla. But hey, now we know where all those "New Coke" executives wound up. . . .

Christmas trees

Saturday, my wife, son and I went to go cut down a Christmas tree, which is pretty much an annual event. My wife comes from a family which uses artificial trees. For my family, this is not an option, since Grady Christmas Tree Farm belongs to my family.

Anyway, it's a yearly tradition at the tree farm to discuss some of the best comments from the previous year. You see, despite the fact that there are articles about it in the paper, about how, on a tree farm, you get to cut your own tree, some people just seem to be unclear on the concept. For instance:

"Where are all the sidewalks?" It's a farm. A real farm, with dirt, and mud, and snow. Nature isn't paved for your convenience.

"Are these real trees?" No, we've actually planted fake trees in the ground. They even shed needles, just like the real thing, but they are fake.

"Why is there snow on the ground? Don't you clear everything off for the customers?" Again, it's a farm, it's Illinois, it's December. If there is snow in Peoria, or Morton, or Bloomington, or Farmington, there is going to be snow at the farm. It's just the way things are.

"Why don't you have your trees illuminated for shopping after dark?" Two reasons. First, after dark, it gets really cold out there, regardless of lights. Second, there's a lot of ground to cover. Wal-mart might be willing to light up that kind of acrage, but we're not going to do so.

"It's really cold out here. Can't you do something about it?" No, Dick Cheny has borrow my weather control device to cause hurricanes in the Gulf. Again, Illinois, prairie, December. It's not T-shirt weather, but some people show up in short skirts or thin jackets. They typically buy the first tree they see that doesn't have a bare patch the size of a car, and are gone.

We don't actually say those comments to the people, of course, but it is a source of constant amusement, bemusement, and amazement that some people don't come prepared to deal with cold weather and the real outdoors. We fully understand when someone doesn't have a saw (I have my own, and used it today, but most tree farms have loaners), and are all willing to help someone cut down a tree. (This usually leads to comments about how quickly we can do it - but once you've cut down a couple hundred, you've had some practice at it.)

So, if you are going out to get a real, live, Christmas tree that you cut down yourself, remember to dress warmly, that it may be muddy, and you might need to borrow a saw. It is fun, though, and on a good day (like Saturday was - not too cold, with some snow on the ground), it's a very memorable experience.