Archive for the ‘Michael Lasley’ Category

I Meant to Post This Yesterday

November 2, 2007

Or even the day before that. But I didn’t. I decided to wait until Friday afternoon.

So to possibly carry us through the weekend…

I usually don’t care much for sports journalism. It bores me. But occassionally there’s a sports writer who comes along and is the right mix of brains and funny to make ESPN interesting. Bill Simmons is (sometimes) such a writer. He’s a bit frustrating — like the kid who sits in the back of class and constantly cracks jokes and he does this so often that it is just about to really piss everyone off when he says something so funny that you can’t help but love him. That’s how Bill Simmons is. He cracks lots of jokes. Only some of them are funny, but the funny ones make you forget about the nonsense he just wrote.

Anyway. Simmons writes a regular column for ESPN called The Sports Guy. It’s always worth reading, even though I don’t care about most of what he talks about (fantasy sports and professional football). He is a Boston native and a huge Red Sox fan. During the playoffs, he frequently posted his thoughts on ESPN’s website. My favorite column was this one: There’s Only One October Diary

The entire column is worth reading, but I love what he has to say about Tim McCarver and John Couger Mellancamp. I’ll leave you with a couple of snippets.

About McCarver: I might not be able to describe what McCarver just told us without you thinking I made it up, but let’s try: Over the span of 45 seconds, he just explained that a leadoff home run leads to more multirun innings than a leadoff walk, only he made it sound like this was some sort of remarkable revelation or something.

And those stupid chevy commercials with that annoying Mellancamp “This is Our Country” song: Now it has gotten to the point when I look forward to belting the chorus out. Chevy has just beaten me down completely — it’s the only commercial that causes Stockholm Syndrome. This is ouuuuuuur country.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

It’s Halloween!

October 29, 2007

Well, after surviving the fires last week, things are beginning to get back to normal. Very, very creepy driving through the canyon on my way to work — the mountains are black and it smells like, ummm…, burned things. I’ll try to post some observations at some point, but you all know not to hold your breath waiting on me to actually do that. Because I’m unreliable.

It is Halloween week! Hooray! Lots of people tossing dignity aside and dressing in ways which are not normally accepted by society. This is one of the few times I actually agree with society. We have norms for a reason, people. But I do like candy. And I’m ready to watch a scarey movie.

Here are some pictures of Halloween costumes for pets. I don’t approve of this — dressing pets up. They don’t deserve it. But some people do, so here are dogs dressed in Star Wars costumes.

Yes. I got this link from Good Housekeeping. Don’t ask.



October 15, 2007

I love midterm week. You can just feel people getting smarter! Everywhere you look, books are open. There are panicked looks on faces. No one has slept in days. Feels like home.

In honor of all the students here in Malibu who are getting smarter this week, here’s an article about an actual hand-on-a-stack-of-Bibles invisibility cloak. If you have a couple of minutes, it’s an interesting article, and you don’t have to understand physics to understand the article.

Here’s a video that is apparently pretty well-known in psychology circles (any truth to that Whitney?). If it’s not, it should be. I’m sure the creator of the video is pulling a quick one on me. Anyway. It takes like a minute to watch the video. Follow the instructions. And no cheating.

And finally, in honor of all those who are studying linguistics. Here’s an edited version of the movie Fargo. It’s about a minute and a half long. This is the Yeah Remix of Fargo. If you enjoy laughing at Northerners saying the word Yeah, this video is for you.

Invisible Children

October 4, 2007

A friend of mine, Greg, is planning a trip to Uganda with the organization Invisible Children. While there, he will be shooting “documentary photo essays,” whatever those are. You can read more about the project on his blog.

He’s asking for money, of course, so be warned before visiting his site. But knowing Greg, he doesn’t actually care if you can support him financially. If you don’t have the resources or the inclination to help Greg monetarily, he’d be happy if you just took the time to learn about the important work Invisible Children is doing. So if you get a chance, visit his site and find out what they’re doing.

Romance at the Demolition Derby (I’m phoning it in, yet again)

October 4, 2007

My nephews love demolition derbys. They love going to them. They love playing demolition derby with their bikes and tricycles. It’s a bit disturbing, really, this fascination with derbys. They even know the rules, more or less. I didn’t even know there were rules to a demolition derby. There are, more or less.

My nephews are 5 and 3, so it’s cute that they like demolition derbys.

Apparently, some women think demolition derbys are cute, as well. You may  have seen this story on MSN a few days ago (it was on the main page for a bit) about a man proposing to his girlfriend by painting “Will You Marry Me” on the side of the car he entered in a demolition derby.

He didn’t win the derby, though, so I’m not sure what that says about the future of this marriage.

This sounds like something that’d happen in my hometown. Although I’m proud to say that it didn’t.

Happy Thursdaying, everyone.

Something about Poetry

October 1, 2007

I’m not a big fan of poetry. I just don’t get it. But I’ve recently taken to reading some Jorge Luis Borges. His short stories are genius, and on a fancy, I picked up one of those collected works books recently. In the book is a bunch of poetry. Wanting to get my money’s worth out of the book, I started reading some of the poetry. The investment of time has been worth it so far.

It’s interesting to read collected works, especially if the author gives a little retrospective of their work, which this collection contains. Although he is most known for his prose, Borges’s first published work was a book of poetry:  Fervor de Buenes Aires. This was published in the early 1920s. In his three paragraph retrospective, written in the late 1960s, Borges describes his early poetry as “timid” because he was “fearful of [his] own inner poverty.” And as for the inspiration for his poetry, he says he sought “late afternoons, drab outskirts, and unhappiness.”

So for no reason in particular, other than I’m all about some Borges these days, here’s one of those poems inspired by the late afternoons in Buenes Aires in 1920. I like this poem because there’s a hunger in it — a hunger for acceptance and peace. (And it kind of reminds me of the theme song from Cheers.)


The garden gate is opened
as easily as a turned page
questioned by regular devotion,
and once inside, our gazes
have no need to fix on things
that already exist completely in memory.
I am familiar with the customs and the souls
and that dialectic of allusions
which any gathering of humans weaves.
I need not speak
nor claim false privileges;
those who surround me know me well,
know well my afflictions and my weakness.
That is to attain the highest thing,
what will perhaps be given us by Heaven:
not veneration or victories,
but simply to be accepted
as part of an undeniable Reality,
like stones and trees.

And Again.

September 26, 2007

Eviscerate. Tell me there’s a word that is more fun to say. I dare you.

It’s even funner because such a peaceful sounding word has such a violent meaning.

Phoning It In Again

September 25, 2007

Fuel pumps cost considerably more in Malibu than they do anywhere else in the world. So does labor for auto repairs. So I had to do some soul searching yesterday. I actually asked myself this question: is it worth paying these prices to live in Malibu?

Yes. Yes it is.

It was a busy weekend, what with having to walk everywhere, and so I haven’t the time to put together a coherent post about Greenspan’s new book or Secretary of State Rice ringing the opening bell on Wall Street or the big meeting at the U.N. about global warning (although, I’m giving myself a pass here, since the leader of our own nation couldn’t find the time for that.)

I don’t even have the time to put together a witty post asking Joe and Whitney if they are still mad at the Texans for drafting whatshisname instead of Reggie Bush.

So I’ll once again just throw up a random link and hope you find some sort of enjoyment out of it. Here are some drivers who will likely spend much more on car repairs than I did yesterday. And while they’re waiting on their cars to get fixed, they probably won’t get to sit next to Robert Downey, Jr.

Enjoy laughing at other people!

I’m Phoning It In

September 18, 2007

I usually have to spend a few days a semester talking about the pros and cons of using websites as resources. Because they — websites — can be very useful, sometimes. And they can be utter nonsense. I almost always have to deal with the wikipedia issue. Isn’t it a good source? Because it’s kind of self-policed, no? Everyone, it seems, loves wikipedia.

So I always end up sounding like the crotchety old man I fear I am becoming and try explaining to students about the wonders of peer-reviewed articles and following the development of arguments over the span of a few journals or books, but students’ eyes begin to glaze over and I end up sounding like someone you wouldn’t want showing up at your birthday party because I might go on and on about how sugar is bad for your teeth rather than just letting everyone enjoy the cake.

Truth is: I kind of like wikipedia. It is just eat up with interesting. Here’s one of my favorite pages.

I had no idea what the longest name in the U.S. was: Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. And I didn’t know that there is a “104-foot long, 5-foot wide house in New York City built entirely out of spite for the neighbors.” It’s called, creatively enough: Spite House. I didn’t know that there is a name for the theory that the world is steadily getting smarter: The Flynn Theory. I didn’t know that toilet paper holder was so complex a piece of equipment: but it is.

Anyway….skim through the list and enjoy learning about things you didn’t even know you wanted to learn about.

Happy Monday

September 10, 2007

I hate to knock Al’s article (below) off the front page, but I’m going to anyway. It’s very thought-provoking — if you get a chance to read it, it will make your head hurt. Like the good kind of head hurt that happens when you eat ice cream too quickly.

I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of the Darwin awards — you know, the yearly awards given out to people who die from seemingly careless or even silly acts. Because most of us do some pretty stupid things from time to time — our stupid things just usually don’t end up killing us.

I’m not completely humorless, though. Here are some pictures of people in the process of doing some stupid things. Most of these pictures involve people not really understanding the basic principles of gravity and ladders. Since these people (hopefully) weren’t harmed from their silliness, it’s okay to laugh, no?

The first picture is my favorite.

Happy Monday.