How Will It Affect The Children?

James Lileks reflects on living at Jasperwood:

Ordinary day, with some exciting developments I will relate in exactly 32 days. It’s Daughter’s birthday on Friday – she’s 21 now. Considering embarassing her on Twitter about it.

Odd how it seems like a long time ago, and also not. Why? Perhaps because we never moved. Jasperwood has provided an endless series of unremarkable constants. The sound of the gate latch, the way the drawer in the hallway makes a squeak when pulled out or shoved in. The same dining room for all the big family events. The same bedroom, which she left with things that represent her now, and also make me recall an array of plastic My Little Ponys on the windowsill. It’s all there, 21 years, just behind the most recent tick of the clock.

That means his daughter has basically grown up with a childhood home. I wonder how that affects one’s psyche.

I mean, in my first twenty-one years, I went from apartment->housing projects->living with friends for a couple months before decamping to Missouri after my parents’ divorce->living in my aunt’s basement->living in the trailer park->living in down the gravel road->living in my father’s basement for college. To finish out the streak, as an adult I moved back into the house down the gravel road after college->living in my other aunt’s empty house with my mother->getting a place of my own->rental house after marriage->the house in Casinoport for seven years->the house in Old Trees for three years->Nogglestead.

My beautiful wife has a similar history as her father got a job in government service when he was younger, so promotions took them around Michigan and later down to Missouri.

I wonder if our children have a greater sense of security than I ever developed, what, with an intact family and a single home that they remember (although they see pictures of themselves in Old Trees, they don’t remember it).

We haven’t even changed it a whole lot–the carpeting, old as it was, is still what we inherited, and we have not rearranged the furniture much at all because large furniture pieces and bookshelves kind of dictate the layout. So not only is it the same house, it mostly looks the same as it has for most of their youth.

At any rate, that’s something I muse on, and since Musings is right in the title of this blog (and has been for seventeen and a half years, longer than my children have been alive but not by much), I thought I’d share it.

Lileks’ Bleat today also hints at big changes coming on September 1; given the wistful, reflective, and nostalgic/melancholic tone, I’m betting he’s moving to Arizona or wherever. What do the oddsmakers in Las Vegas say?

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Apparently, That’s Very Brian J. Of Me

I mentioned the other day to my beautiful wife as we left the Walmart that I always parked in the same place so I never had to look for my car. She said that was quite like me, which I assume means efficient and a life hack for the Internet..

I mean, it’s not exactly the same place every time, but it’s close, especially for the places I go all the time. At Walmart in Republic, I park in the last row of cars with the nose pointed to the right, the very edge of the parking lot. At Walmart in Springfield, it’s one row to the left of the south doors right across from the Lot Cop portable camera cart. At Pricecutter, it’s one row to the right of the west doors on the right. At Sam’s Club, it’s the first west-driving row.

Unless I cannot, I point the nose into the right so I can see out of the rear window better when I am backing out of the space, which eliminates half of the lot generally when parking in place I don’t go normally.

C’mon, man, what do “normal” people do? Just park anywhere and have to look for their cars every time?

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Movie Report: Zoolander (2001)

Book coverI watched this film with my boys because my youngest son has in the last couple of years decided that he will not smile for photographs. If you take a photo of him, he generally puts on a duckface pout, and I am wont to say, “Magnum! Dear God, it’s beautiful!” Which, as you know, conflates a couple of quotes from this film. So I wanted to share that source of that thing Dad always says with my boys.

This 2001 film is a full-length feature from a character Stiller had done of a dim-witted male model. In it, Zoolander, the title character played by Ben Stiller, has gotten a little stale being atop the modeling industry for so long. The Top Male Model three years in a row, he loses his chance at a fourth when a fresh face–Hansel, played by Owen Wilson, takes the modeling world by storm, leading Zoolander to question who he is and flirt with the idea of retirement. At the same time, an international fashion/clothing cartel wants to assassinate the new prime minister of Malaysia whose labor law reforms are killing their profits. The cartel has historically used brainwashed male models for hits, so they select Zoolander for the job and easily brainwash him. Meanwhile, an intrepid reporter played by Christina Taylor (Mrs. Ben Stiller) is investigating the cartel and becomes a target for their prime henchperson (Milla Jovavich, pronounced…. well, I don’t know).

So amusing enough; one of the Ben Stillerverse comedies, those collection of films with Ben Stiller, one or more Wilsons, Christine Taylor, and their friends that filled the middle 90s to the early part of the twenty-first century. Maybe they’re still ongoing but on a streaming service, so they’re invisible to me. I was explaining to the boys that there were two axis of comedy in this period, the Sandlerverse and the Stillerverse, movies that shared a lot of the same actors but rarely crossed over. I guess that’s not true–I tried to think of when they did, such as The Wedding Singer which had Christina Taylor in a supporting role, but I guess Ben Stiller was in Happy Gilmore, so it would be pointless to retcon some rivalry.

So, a good enough film–I’ve watched it several times, including seeing it in the theater and buying the DVD at full price at some time in the past. I often quote several lines from it, most often, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” Which means that these films with the boys is like a real life version of the The Source of That Thing Daddy Always Says.

I guess they made a sequel in 2016 or thereabouts, fifteen years after the original. As with the similarly retread Anchorman 2, I will not seek this out as I think the lightning was not captured a second time. Didn’t you watch Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Brian J.? you ask. Shut up, Ted, I answer.

Also, in researching this post, I cannot help note that the Wikipedia entry retcons contemporary political labels to assign political affiliation to the good guys and bad guys:

In the film, top people in the fashion industry, Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) and Derek’s agent Maury Ballstein (Jerry Stiller), are hired by other executives to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia (Woodrow Asai), who will pass progressive laws that would harm their businesses.

In 2001, progressive was not yet the contemporary term for good guys/left. And anyone who pays attention knows the fashion moguls are not Republicans. However, I fear modern audiences might have the mental acuity of a male model, subject to TikTokian bite-sized information brainwashing. But that’s just me.

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Creepy Is The New Normal

So I was streaming my gym playlist from my phone to the upgraded stereo system in our older conveyance on the way to martial arts class, and Amaranthe’s “82nd All The Way” played.

I really like the song, which is the best Swedish band covering another Swedish band’s song about Alvin York’s experience in so I played it a second time. As I said, the song prompted me to watch the Gary Cooper film Sergeant York.

And the next time I got onto Facebook, which I visit once or twice a day to see if I can recycle any quips I’ve made in the past as blog posts and maybe see if I can find an advertisement to make mock of since my Facebook feed these days is a woman I worked with for a year about fifteen years ago, two or three bloggers, and a slew of advertisements and recommended for you posts dealing with old music or old movie stars–along with the occasional post from someone else on my friends list when they have a Very Important Political Message that Facebook thinks I should see.

So I played this song twice on my phone, and I see:

I don’t have any Facebook app on my phone, gentle reader.

So are the two events actually connected, or am I seeing a pattern that only exists in my mind?

Welcome to the 21st century, where the Occam’s Razor now says Go with the crazy.

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What He Said

Author Treacher’s current Column? Newsletter? offers a bit of musing on comic book movies passing their expiration date again:

But a Black Widow movie? After they already killed her off? It just feels like an afterthought. Maybe it would’ve been a huge hit if it had come out in 2016, which is apparently the year it’s set. But now? Nah.

I wonder if the Marvel movies will have the same problem the comics had back in the ‘70s, after being such a commercial and cultural phenomenon in the ‘60s. Once the novelty wore off, the brand name alone wasn’t enough to keep fans forking over their dough. Pumping out titles with second- and third-string characters didn’t cut it. The magic was gone. You could still find some gems here and there, but the golden age was over.

You know, I kind of felt that after the Avengers story arc ended with Avengers: Endgame. I have not yet seen the most recent Spiderman movie. I only saw Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 this month because the resort we stayed at let us borrow the movie for free to watch in our room. The Black Widow? Doctor Strange II? I don’t think I’ll see those in the theaters either. Nor am I hastening to get a streaming service to watch Loki, Paul Bettany, or any of the Star Wars properties over there.

Is it because I’ve grown up? Unlikely. This weekend, I stopped at the local game shop as I mentioned, and I bought a stack of one dollar comics (but not Sarah Hoyt’s Barbarella since it was not in stock). Given what I have seen from modern Marvel comics that I bought at the Comic Cave for a buck each back in the day, I’m probably best served by buying older comics with more elaborate stories than simple stories with Comic Art.

(Ace also offers commentary on the movie’s box office performance.)

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There But For The Grace of God

Over at Riverside Green, young Bark M. posts about a permanent sports injury:

There I was, charging toward the goal from my Center Attacking Midfielder position. The winger, sensing that I was going to make a run, played a perfect cross into the box just behind the centre back. The keeper was stuck in no man’s land—come off your line to try to intercept the cross or stay on your line and wait for the shot. Ultimately, the keeper made the decision to come out just a hair too late, and I was able to slide just underneath the outstretched, gloved fingers and strike the ball perfectly into the back of the net at the same moment I felt the meniscus tear in half in my right knee.

That 10-year-old girl never had a chance.

Yes, it’s true. I injured myself at great cost in a parents versus kids soccer game at the end of my daughter’s fall U11 soccer season.

* * * *

So if you’re doing the math at home—yes, I’m 43 years old now. But I never really felt it until Dr. Van Steyn started that sentence with, “Well, Mark, this is the first step to an artificial knee.”

Over the next seven months, I began to feel every day of it.

The real bitch about a torn meniscus is that it doesn’t get better, and you can’t really fix it. So I’ve had to adapt my entire life to adjust. I was a size 38 slim fit when I had my surgery. I’m lucky to get into a size 40 standard fit now, because I can no longer do any sort of plyometrics or running. As the Doc also said, “Running? That’s out of the question now.”

As you might know, gentle reader, I do foolishly athletic things in my middle age: Martial arts classes, triathlons, running and riding bikes on the farm roads near Nogglestead, playing catch with an overinflated football with my boys. So I am at some risk of self-inflicted irreversible injury often enough.

The worst I’ve ever experienced, aside from a bruised ribs a couple of times which mean a two-month break from martial arts classes, has been a torn groin muscle that took several months to heal and left me unable to tie my own shoes for a while. I can feel the scar tissue from time to time, but most of the time it does not impede me.

Each time I get a little hurt, I wonder if it’s going to be the one that limits me forever. Sometimes, this gives me some trepidation. Sometimes it makes me leery of closing in when sparring (Weet! Run away!)

But I watch the kids who take the martial arts classes or play elsewhere, and they don’t even think about getting hurt. They play and exercise with abandon. And when I’m dealing with a bit of nagging pain and something that’s aching in a not-muscle-soreness way, or when I just recover from something, I have to tell myself to continue to do the thing with abandon.

Because someday too soon, I won’t be able to do it at all, and although I jokingly complain about all of it, I will miss it when I am relegated to the recliner with books as my only activity.

So I feel for Bark. And I’m doing all the superstitious things I can to hope reading that piece has not jinxed me.

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Well, Not Everyone Takes Nine Small Town Papers

In this week’s Licking News (which I finally got a subscription to!), a syndicated column entitled Remembering the country correspondents that tells about “country correspondents”:

My family, a longtime newspaper employee and her daughter were in the picture. The photo also captures a group of women who were our “country correspondents.” These women lived in rural areas outside Licking and wrote news about their neighbors. The weekly columns were usually named with something related to where they lived.

Each week the correspondents called around to friends and acquaintances to gather information. Then they’d hand-write it on cut sheets of unlined newsprint that was provided by the newspaper. These missives were then mailed or brought into the office to be typeset for the next week’s paper.

However, it also asserts:

The items produced by these country correspondents would never appear in a modern newspaper.

As a matter of fact, The Current Local and Douglas County Herald both still have country correspondents with columns of what their neighbors are doing (so-and-so is out of the hospital, so-and-so had bunco night, so-and-so went to Kansas City) and what’s going on at their churches.

Although perhaps one might not consider these to be modern newspapers in the Gannett sense. Which is why I subscribe to them.

If you’re keeping track at home, here are the papers I currently take:

  • The Greene County Commonwealth/Republic Monitor
  • Branson/Tri-Lakes News
  • The Current Local
  • Wright County Journal
  • Douglas County Herald
  • Marshfield Mail
  • Stone County Republican / Crane Chronicle
  • Houston Herald
  • The Licking News

Although I might be being premature saying I take the Stone County Republican/Crane Chronicle as I just sent the check out today after picking up a copy from a news box on our recent jaunt to and from Berryville, Arkansas.

There was a time when I only took the Republic Monitor that I would sometimes get a little low on having newspaper around to feed the grill’s chimney starter, much less use it as weed block in my garden. A couple hundred dollars annually, and I no longer have to worry. I just have to keep up on my reading (speaking of which, my stack of Wall Street Journals, which I cancelled in December, is getting down to only a couple of inches tall).

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At Nogglestead, We Have A Different Word For It

Lileks expands his idiom by reading the Internet:

I trust you had a good summer weekend, like the mid-60s Americans above, who are standing around wondering if they are in a cigarette ad or a soft drink ad. Most of all, I hope you didn’t have the Sunday Scaries!

No, I didn’t know the term, either. A google search produced an NBC news story that said “The term ‘Sunday scares,’ although not scientific, describes a common feeling of anxiety that builds up over the course of Sunday afternoon and evening.” The story was titled “The Sunday Scares are Real – This is Why.”

At Nogglestead, we use the term Sundaynitis.

But given our current workstyle and schedules, it’s less of a problem since we’re not working 9 to 5 or 8 to 6 or what have you.

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Theatrical Plays Based On The Works of Ed McBain? I’ll Take Season Tickets!

Oh, but, no. Apparently, it’s just the number of years this particular musical theatre has been operating. Not actually plays based on Carella, Meyer Meyer, and Bert Kling from the 87th Precinct.

Which reminds me: I need to unsubscribe from these emails, too, since I don’t like musical theatre unless an acquaintance is in it, and it’s been years since my friend from martial arts was in Jesus Christ Superstar.

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Because She Is A Girl, My Beautiful Wife Did Not Understand….

So our boys spent Independence Day at home for the first time in a couple of years instead of at camp (I guess the week is pretty expensive for the church to rent the YMCA camp the holiday week). They’re getting older now, so they get to light some fireworks themselves. Unfortunately, they got some inspiration from their older cousin and cousin-in-law last year–those guys were a little reckless, and my boys, being boys, loved it.

So my beautiful wife has taken to cutting flowers from her garden for locations around the house, and she ordered a couple of new vases for said cut flowers. As I was casting about for something to use to launch bottle rockets–c’mon, man, we used old soda bottles when I was a kid, but they’re not made of glass anymore, you know?–I spotted the recent arrivals on the counter.

“Can I use your new vases to launch bottle rockets?” I asked her.

“Sure,” she said.

Because she’s a girl and doesn’t know what bottle rockets do to their bottle.

Being the good husband that I am… Continue reading “Because She Is A Girl, My Beautiful Wife Did Not Understand….”

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The Joke Is On Me

After watching The Man In The Iron Mask, I decided to jump the boys right into another recounting of the film. Not the 1973/1974 versions of The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers with Michael York as D’Artagnon. The John Wayne version of the 1930s.

As we started to watch it, it became clear that it’s not a film, but a serial in 12 parts. And it took us an hour to watch the first two installments–since we started watching at about 8pm, I called a lid after watching two chapters because I didn’t want to watch six hours of ninety-year-old cinema on a weeknight.

After the lights came up, I saw the back of the DVD, where it says the running time is 114 minutes. Ah! I thought. It’s the recut feature film version from 1946 (which I learned of on Wikipedia).

Oh, but no.

We started watching again the next night, expecting to get to the end of something, and right after chapter four, a color set of previews for other public domain discs you could buy from this company (including Africa Screams, so I nudged my younger son who has seen it with his dear old dad).

And that was it.

Apparently, somewhere in the last two decades, I paid maybe up to a dollar for this DVD, maybe even new at Schnucks back in the day, for the first four episodes of the serial. Nowhere on the packaging–a full sized DVD case and not a cardboard sleeve–does it say it’s only the first four episodes of a serial–it refers to itself as an action film, which would indicate it’s an intact unit. Nothing indicates part II and part III are available. Basically, I got rooked.

Well, I can’t just leave those boys hanging since they’re kind of enjoying it–fortunately, Amazon has the whole serial available, and it should arrive today for our review over the weekend. Maybe even with a–dare I hope it?–better and cleaned up transfer.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about Ruth Hall, the lead actress.

Continue reading “The Joke Is On Me”

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Wait A Minute–It’s A Trap

So I have been pruning my email inbox by unsubscribing from various newsletters. I mean, the Type 1 Diabetes Foundation has sent me several updates a week after I supported a friend in a walkathon a couple years ago–I don’t need that. Companies that I ordered one-off gifts from that somehow ignored the fact that I did not explicitly opt-in to further communications sent me weekly come-ons, as though something I bought my eight year old would appeal to my fifteen year old.

I started clicking the unsubscribe links in them and successfully trimmed the number of emails I receive daily. But when I clicked Unsubscribe on the State Historical Society of Missouri email (I was a member several years ago, but let my membership lapse because the monthly magazine was a little academic for my taste, and I never went to the events.

I got all the invitations, though, and information about programs I wouldn’t participate in or support, so I clicked the Unsubscribe link in it.

And got this email:

Hah! Click to confirm your subscription because you’re unsubscribing.

I did click through it just in case they meant it, but, no, it really is asking you to confirm that you want to subscribe to the mailing list.

Which I did not.

We’ll see if I am unsubscribed or if I have to start marking it as spam.

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Brian J.’s 2021 Beard Adventure: Ended

I mentioned when reporting on the movie Safe that every couple of years, I decide to grow some facial hair. I mean, it’s the fashion. The same people who mocked Duck Dynasty ten years ago for the long beards have grown them out, followed by the tech trend setters like Jack Dorsey. As I’ve said before, I would believe that the elites were not angling for another Civil Ware again if only they were not growing their beards out for it.

As I said on June 17, I was growing it out. Continue reading “Brian J.’s 2021 Beard Adventure: Ended”

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So, Brian J., How Do You Pack For A Three Day Getaway?

Well, given that I was not thrilled with my reading material that I brought along for my De Soto vacation, to pack for my trip to the resort on the lake at the beginning of the week, I packed eight books, including three that I was in the midst of already:

On the vacation, I finished the three that I was in the middle of reading and a couple of magazines that were a couple of years old. So I had a pleasant blend of things to read, thanks.

And a good, albeit late, trip to pick up some additional reading material.

My beautiful wife tells me about how many books she has on her iPad, but I am still the sort who needs to read the books on paper.

And, most importantly, I had enough that I could pick and choose from so that I would not feel bored nor compelled to simply read the Internet on my iPad.

Mission: ACCOMPLISHED.

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The Forgotten Dental Appointments of Brian J.

So I have a dental appointment today. I scheduled it specifically for July 1 because of course I would remember I have a dental appointment on Canada Day. But I’ve not been so diligent in recent years in recalling my dental appointments.

The penultimate penultimate time, that is the appointment before the appointment before last, I almost missed it; it was a ten o’clock appointment, a little later than normal–I usually schedule them after I drop the boys, and now just the youngest, off at the Lutheran school in Springfield so I could drop them and get my teeth rotated while I was in town. It was fortunate that it was a ten o’clock appointment because I dropped the boy off and made it all the way home when I got a reminder text that I had an appointment at 10, which gave me time to get back in town and make the appointment.

My penultimate appointment I actually missed. I mean, I got all the reminders–the office gives me a card that I can lose on my office desk, emails a month in advance, calls on the phone a couple of days before, and a couple of text messages asking me to confirm the appointment. I saw all the reminders with the dates, and I thought Thursday. I was certain I had a dental appointment on Thursday. However, that date fell on Wednesday.

So I got a text message on Wednesday from my dental hygenist. “Hi, this is Nicole at the dental office. You had an appointment scheduled for 9am, and I wanted to ask if everything is okay.” So I called back immediately, apologetic, and got it rescheduled. As an added bonus to my embarrassment, my iPhone picked up the first name in that message and now assumes that this phone number belongs to Nicole. Which means every couple of months, I get calls from Nicole and texts from Nicole saying, “I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!” I have added this as a contact with the dental office name in it, but it still thinks it’s Nicole. Which means I have preemptively explained this to my beautiful wife many, many times. Just like an adulterer would.

So, as I mentioned, I have a dental appointment today. I got a text reminder of it as I was driving back from my getaway this weekend, and I mentioned it to my wife that it was a 10am appointment the next day, and that I would probably need her help to remember it. Because 23 hours is a long time for me to remember things.

So, of course, yesterday afternoon, I was making plans to go to the gym first thing this morning and to do some marketing afterwards. And I held these plans in mind for much of the evening until I remembered I have a dental appointment today.

An 8am dental appointment, I have fortunately re-discovered. I had been scheduling them for 9am to be assured of making it. I mean, I drop my son off at a little before 8am, and the dentist’s office is a couple of minutes away, but I did not want to be detained in traffic and show up a minute late. Which left me with time to kill in town, preferably not drinking copious amounts of coffee and filling my teeth with pastries for Nicole to contend with. However, we recently agreed that it would be okay for me to schedule for 8 and be a couple minutes late sometimes. So it’s been 8am for a couple of visits, yet I forget.

Why do I have so much trouble with the dental appointments?

I think it’s because I’ve gotten accustomed to a calendar of days, not a calendar of dates.

I mean, my weeks tend to be filled with similar goals, tasks, and travels. The gym, the markets, errands, car servicing, transporting kids, blogging, nap, work, martial arts on weekdays; martial arts sometimes on Satudays and chores; and church, nap, chores on Sundays. So the day of the week more determines what I am to do than the date. Which means when I encounter something requiring a specific date, such as a doctor’s appointment, I get a little flummoxed, and if I get it in the wrong day of the week–when I remember it–I can get it wrong with certainty.

Also, the constant barrage of reminders might have the opposite effect, kind of like magazine subscription renewals–you get too many of them, and you miss the important one when your subscription is actually expiring.

Or it could be a character flaw, but let us dismiss that out of hand, gentle reader. I am an Internet blogger; I have no character to be flawed.

So what are the odds that I have spent too much time this morning blogging about dental appointments and miss or are late to one? Better than average.

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Good Book Hunting, June 29, 2021: The Thrift Stores of Branson

Gentle reader, I sneaked out again for a couple of days on you. My sons are at camp this week, so my beautiful wife and I drifted away to a Branson resort for a couple of days on our own. It was not the first time we’ve gotten away since we had kids–we went to St. Louis a year ago, and to Tampa a couple years before that on business. So we do have these adult getaways, but only every couple of years on average. This might have been our fourth in fifteen years of child husbandry.

At any rate, we planned to go hiking in a state park, but scattered showers enjoined in a downpour just as we were getting out of the car, so we altered our plans to visit a couple of thrift stores in downtown Branson. We hit the animal shelter thrift store and another “thrift store” next week that did not say what charitable organization it supported, so it might have been a second hand store.

I got some books, DVDs, books on tape, and a couple of CDs.

The books include:

  • Journey to China by the National Geographic Society just in case my Sinophilia rages again.
  • The Male Factor by Shaunti Feldhahn. Purportedly the secret rules of men in the workplace that every woman should know. Probably me, too. The book was from the second thrift store; it looks like that shop intakes a bunch of remaindered books kind of like Sheldon used to at the Collector’s Book Shop in University City.
  • The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail, a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.
  • Frederiksborg Museum, a picture/memento book from said museum. Where is Frederiksborg? Ask me during or after football season if I even watch any this year.
  • The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher by Rob Stennet; apparently the story of a real estate man that decides to woo Christian clients. And might end up redeemed himself.
  • Dispatches from Bitter America by Todd Starnes, a political current events remainder. I don’t know why I bought it. I don’t tend to read books like this very often, but I pick them up slightly more often. A remaindered copy.
  • The Rick and Bubba Code by Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey. Purportedly a humor book. Also a remainder.
  • Dave Barry’s History of the Millenium by Dave Barry. I don’t think I have it, but it was a buck, so we will give it a try.
  • Memoirs of a Public Servant by Charleston Hartfield.
  • Secrets of a Tabloid Reporter by Barbara Sternig.
  • Car Guys vs. Bean Counters by Bob Lutz; a former auto executive draws a distinction between visionaries and the corporate guys, I bet.
  • Road to Paradise by Max Allan Collins. Clearly, I am collecting his books for a time when I decide I really, really like him.
  • Treasure in Hell’s Canyon by Bill Bulick. A Double D Western. Which is probably not like the DD Westerns Randisi writes; this looks like a kids’ book.
  • Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young. This looks a lot like something that Larry Wood would write if Larry Wood would write this.
  • Crowdpleaser by Marc Smith who purportedly founded poetry slams. So these should have good, long lines and rhythm.

Were I betting man, I would place money that I read the play or the poetry first.

Man, I don’t know where I am going to go with these books. I was just getting the shelves kind of tidy. It looks like I have made some room up on top reading Executioner novels recently, but that won’t account for them all. I might be getting close to stacking on the floor again, which seems a little like a defeat.

I got two audio books, Just a Guy by comedian Bill Engvall and Shakespeare’s Sonnets which is not an audio book but rather a collection of the actual sonnets. The latter is on audiocassette, which means if I ever get another vehicle, I will have to have a sound system with CD players and audiocassette player installed. Bluetooth? Optional!

Speaking of CDs, I got two music CDs: Exitos y Recuerdos by Selina because I have Paulina Rubio and Shakira, so why not some Selina? Also Greatest Hits by Nino Rota which is apparently Italian for Henry Mancini as they’re all movie themes.

I also picked up a bunch of things to watch:

I got:

  • A couple Mel Gibson movies, Ransom and Maverick. It’s easy to forget Ransom or confuse it with Payback as they’re both one-word crime thrillers. But I should already have Payback in the library as it’s based on the Donald Westlake as Richard Stark Parker novels.
  • Four Highlander movies; I am pretty sure I have them as I just watched them a year or so back, but I spent four bucks to make sure.
  • Her Alibi with Tom Selleck and Paulina P. I have yet to see it, which is weird, since I like Tom Selleck. Remember he made a bunch of movies in the 80s where he was the lead, but he really did not have success on the big screen without Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg–but he did all right in television Westerns.
  • Tombstone, which I did not own until now and have only seen probably once before back in the day.
  • Shanghai Knights with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. I don’t own and have not seen the first movie (as I mentioned when I talked about Rush Hour).
  • Quantum of Solace. I am a bit behind on my Craig Bond movies. I think I have only seen the first.
  • Assault on Precinct 13. This is the 2005 remake; I saw the original 1976 film some time ago.
  • Hamlet at Elsinore which is a hoity toity British production of some sort.
  • A Bruce Lee two movie disc (pictured in error with the books) containing Fist of Fear, Touch of Death and Blind Fist of Bruce which actually stars Bruce Li. I will have to watch them first to see if I can watch them with the boys.

If I were a betting man, I would bet the first of these that I watch will be Tombstone with the longer odds on Her Alibi. Of course, were you to bet with me, I would watch what I bet on first to win, so don’t fall for it. That said, we will know the answer soon, as they are next scheduled for the amusement park this weekend. And they have a week of VBS volunteering coming up, so I will continue my summer of increased movie scheduling. W00t!

At any rate, the total haul, including a couple of frames for crafts and a necklace of my wife, was fifty some dollars. More expensive than a hike, assuredly, but many hours of enjoyment to come and perhaps the cost will be recouped at my estate sale.

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Do It The Brian J. Way

This article hit my email inbox from the local athletic shoe store’s parent company: How to Make Your Running Shoes Last Longer.

To be honest, I didn’t read it because I have a better method.

Don’t run.

My running shoes, unlike me, are immortal.

I keed, I keed! But I have not been running that much this year. An indoor triathlon, an in-person 5K, and a couple virtual 5Ks. Which means, in calendar months, my shoes are getting up there indeed, but they don’t have much mileage in them.

I might replace them soon, though, as my walking shoes are getting worn, and I use my old running shoes as my walking shoes.

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And We’re Back–The Excitement Awaiting Us At Home

So we returned from our vacation on Saturday–we got home about 1pm after departing around 9 from De Soto, and we had to re-route around a traffic incident on Highway 44.

Now, when I return home, I have a little trepidation about what might have transpired while we were gone. I generally shut down the computers and whatnot, and I don’t recall if I ever had an instance where the machine failed to start after a vacation–I had an old Packard Bell with Windows 95 that was prone to throwing a shoe on reboot, requiring me to restore from the company-provided CD many times, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility. And who knows what else? At the very least, a thorough housecleaning, at least as thorough as we get at Nogglestead even though we cleaned ahead of the trip. And lots of laundry.

The heavily armed pet sitter managed to keep the Vikings at bay. None of the cats were forgotten and locked into some confined space without food or water for days, emerging emaciated or not at all. But the trouble began immediately.

Continue reading “And We’re Back–The Excitement Awaiting Us At Home”

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