Secret of his success

Seeing the photo of the legless football player in the newspaper, I thought it was a hoax, but then I also found it on the internet so it must be true. (Link) He plays high school football in Ohio and is able to tackle the opposition by grabbing their legs and not letting go.

There was another article elsewhere about how when this young man was on the wrestling team in middle school a few years ago, his success was due to "upper-body strength." Well, I would think so.

Park City, by Ann Beattie

...my sister... is in an air-conditioned room at something called the Yarrow, learning how to perfect her screenplay about Sally Hemmings, servant to, and alleged lover of, Thomas Jefferson. Originally, the screenplay began in the present day, with the mounted heads of the animal trophies brought back by Lewis and Clark that were hung on the walls at Monticello talking to each other about the odd goings-on at night, but when I lost it entirely and almost died laughing, she was forced to see what she'd written in a new light.
-- from the title story of the short story collection Park City.

I'm no fun, but at least I recognize that I have a problem

Last week, a lot of co-workers were obsessed with the Megamillions lottery as it grew to $250 million. I never got excited about it because I tried to comprehend the slim chance of winning. People were pooling their money and organizing the purchase of tickets all over the city, thinking that if they bought at a variety of locations, it would somehow help them win.

Because if you spent $100 on tickets all at a single store, that would just be a waste.

I know it's fun to imagine what would happen if you won the lottery, so I kept this nasty comment to myself: "Hey Burt, if you win the $250 million, you're going to donate it all to victims of hurricane Katrina, right? That would be so cool."

Presidential Task Force Solution to Hurricane Katrina

Bomb Iran.

How to promote a fresh new comedy, 1975

I saw this commercial only once in September 1975 but it was unique; I'll describe it as best as memory permits. A young man and woman are strolling through the woods, talking quietly. They're speaking in Swedish and there are English subtitles. (This alone would've made it a memorable ad.)

Are the Swedes talking about romantic or philosophical matters? No, the man has heard about a TV show that will soon make its debut. It'll be called NBC's Saturday Night and it'll feature fresh young talent with original comedy and it'll have music too. The woman asks, "Where are they making this show?" The man says, "It will be broadcast live from right here in New York City."

The camera pulls back and reveals that the couple has been walking, not through any generic forest, but Central Park, and now we see New York's skyscrapers rising above the trees.

The woman, puzzled, says, "If we're in New York City, why are we speaking Swedish?" Words come onscreen: NBC's Saturday Night, premiering Saturday, October 11.

Everyone knows it's windy

Is this happening where you live? It used to be you could walk down the street without hearing your fellow man break wind. It used to be you could ride the train to work and not hear a passenger's flatulence. But twice in the past year, I've heard this, and both times the guilty party was wearing an iPod and ear buds.

I know the farting isn't due to the specific brand of portable music player. The same sounds could just as easily come booming out of someone wearing a non-Apple device.

Maybe people assume that if they can't hear their own butts, then nobody else can. Sadly, mi amigo, they are mistaken. Once it sounded like a door slamming and it came out of some skinny little teenage girl.

Will people become aware of their offenses? If they do, I predict that they will not exercise more control over their nether regions. Instead, home electronics stores will sell special air-powered speaker systems that fit in the seat of your pants. They'll play a bit of music, as needed, to cover up the occasional farting sound. The music will be as customized as cellphone ringtones, to allow people another opportunity to express themselves.

A year from now, if you're on an elevator and you hear a tinny little "whoomp! there it is!" coming out of a stranger's pants, you'll know why.

Duck duck goose

Then again, any neighborhood has its eccentricities. A few years ago at my mom and dad's house, I looked out the living room window. Across the street, Mr. Johnson was on his riding lawn mower, chasing a duck that was running in circles around his front yard. I called Mom and Dad to the window and we stood there watching for about one full minute. The duck wouldn't go into a neighbor's yard; he kept flapping and running within Mr. Johnson's property. And Johnson was no better; he never got off the mower, but kept driving after the poor duck. I don't know if he intended to run over the bird; I'm glad I didn't see that. Eventually the chase progressed to the Johnson backyard so I don't know how it ended.

I would like to say that after a minute Mr. Johnson came running back to the front of the house, chased by a duck driving a riding lawn mower, but that would be a lie.

Rules of the road

I don't know if I'll ever get used to some elements of the new area I've moved to this year. I saw graffiti all over some traffic signs. On the sign reading "DO NOT ENTER" it now says below it, "...without a smile!"