I had an odd experience at a place of business today. I was sent to buy something at a certain establishment. I was redirected to another area of that establishment, where two women were speaking to each other: a superior giving instructions to an underling. They carried on for a while as I stood at the counter; they did not acknowledge me. After a few moments, the underling left and the superior turned and looked at me. She said nothing.
At this point in my memory the events slow down. I had a mental debate about whether or not I should initiate speech in this situation. Dixie told me recently that I’m not gregarious. I also know what kind of negative first impression my dad would often make on people and I sometimes wonder if I haven’t inherited something of his “ability”. Those two thoughts pushed me towards initiating the conversation.
However, I was at the same time intrigued that this woman would simply turn to me and stare at me without saying a word (perhaps an attempt to communicate telepathically?). Since I was in a place of business, another part of my thinking — the part that eventually won the mental debate — was that courtesy and customer service would have her initiate dialogue, perhaps with a gentle “How can I help you?”
Instead, neither one of us spoke for some time. It was probably less than five seconds, but when you’re staring at a complete stranger, expecting them to speak and wondering what they’re thinking, it seems much longer.
So we stared at each other for a while.
The silence was broken by a curt “Yes?” from the lady and time returned to its normal speed. The transaction was carried out without further incident, other than a perhaps edgy subtext (not much more was said between us during the transaction).
Olivia loves playing “Just Dance” on our Nintendo Wii. She usually just sticks to one or two songs, such as “Walk Like and Egyptian”. But today all three kids were playing on some kind of “medley” mode, where different songs came up consecutively and Elvis’ cover of “Viva Las Vegas” came on. It’s a fun song and the dancing character we were supposed to imitate was even more fun: he was basically wearing a Three Amigos outfit. Good times. I had to dance that whole song through. Here are 4 out of 5 Otterburne Vandersluyses dancing to “Viva Las Vegas”:
I came across this series of posts by Alan Knox in which he “get us to think about what Scripture says compared to how we actually live and what our traditions teach.” Here is the original post (#1). I haven’t read all of them (there are over 180), but as I started going through them, this one particularly caught my attention:
as they were eatinginstead of eating a meal, Jesus took breadsmall pieces of bread that had already been broken, and after blessing it broke it andgave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cupseveral small cups, one for each of them, and when he had given thanks he gave it to thempassed them out, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28 re-mix)
“Several small cups, one for each of them…” Funny ’cause it’s true.
Kottke.org posted this amazing video of the lyrebird, which apparently can mimic almost anything (car alarms, chain saws). It’s almost unbelievable.
Kottke also posted this hilarious follow-up video. But make sure you watch the first one in its entirety:
Madeline: Luke started crying because I was making him laugh.
Luke: Well it hurts when I laugh.
Madeline: Luke, laughter is good medicine.
Me: They say laughter is the best medicine, Madeline. “It’s good for what ails ya,” as Opa used to say.
Madeline: What does “ails” mean?
Luke: Is it good for eczema?
Madeline: What does “ails” mean?
Me: No, but good question, Luke.
Madeline: What does “ails” mean?
Me: “Ails” means something that makes you sick or hurts you.
Madeline: Well, laughter ails Luke, so…
Me: Good point, Madeline. I guess laughter is the best medicine except for when laughter is the thing that is hurting you.
Saint Peter is watching the gates of Heaven, but he really has to go to the bathroom. He asks Jesus to watch the gates for a few minutes, and Jesus agrees.
As Jesus is standing there, he sees an old man leading a donkey up from Earth to Heaven. He notices the old man has carpenter’s tools with him. When the old man gets to the gates, Jesus asks him to describe his life and explain why he feels he should be admitted into Heaven.
The man explains, “In English, my name would be Joseph, but I didn’t live in America or England. I lived a modest life, making things out of wood. I’m not remembered very well by most people, but almost everyone has heard of my son. I call him my son, but I was more of a Dad to him — he really didn’t come into this world in the usual way.
I sent my son out to be among the people of the World. He was ridiculed by many, and was even known to associate himself with some pretty unsavory characters, although he himself tried to be honest and perfect. My single biggest reason for trying to get into Heaven is to be re-united with my son.”
Jesus is awe-struck by the man’s story. He looks into the old man’s eyes and asks, “Father?”
The old man’s face brightens; he looks at Jesus, and asks, “Pinocchio?”
UPDATE: Oops. Credit where credit is due: “The Greatest Story Ever Told?“
This week the kids spent some time at a friend’s house and made some masks. This morning they dressed up with clothing appropriate to their costumes. Madeline is a cat; Olivia is a bat; and Luke is a pumpkin.
With lunch, they decided that they should drink something appropriate to the animals they were dressed as.
Madeline, being a cat, wanted milk.
Olivia, being a bat, wanted to drink something red like blood, so she chose cranberry juice.
Luke, being a pumpkin, wanted iced tea, which is brown and is therefore, in his own words, “worm poop juice”.
Every so often, I return to McSweeney’s Lists for a good laugh. Here are some of my favourites of the ones I read today:
Godot never comes.
Bartleby is a lot like humanity in his preferring not to.
Peyton Farquhar sure has an active imagination at Owl Creek.
Your close reading skills and knowledge of symbolism will not be rewarded in your job as a lawyer or coffee barista.
* * *
~By Pravasan Pillay
The Wittgenspine Buster
The Figure Four Ankle Locke
The Reverse Spinning Kickegaard
The Top Rope Over-the-Shoulder Thoreau
The Pulling Down of the Lyotard
The Feuerback Breaker
The Unemployment Clothes Line
* * *
~By Jimmy Chen
“Everything in Its Mise en Place”
“All I Knead”
“My Waffle-Iron Lung”
“High and Dry Rub”
“Black Star Anise”
* * *
~By Josiah Lindsey
“Cuts Like a Hand-Sharpened Piece of Flint”
“Run to You Across the Bering Land Bridge”
“Hearts on Fire (Which Few of Us Can Make)”
“(Everything I Do) I Do It for Scavenged Mammoth Meat”
“Summer of 6″
There is more fun over at McSweeney’s Lists.
When I first got a record player, I imagined myself being very selective in which records I buy. That was before I discovered the glut of 25 cent records available at thrifts stores. In fact, I haven’t yet spent more than 50 cents on a record. It’s difficult to keep a music collection “pure”–I’ve tried many times (an the difficulty increases with the absorption of the music that comes with a marriage).
Most of what you find in thrift stores is kitschy: cheesy old gospel records with awkward pictures of the quartets on the front; self-titled albums by where-are-they-now artists with single names (Eva or perhaps Bridgette), the artist’s slightly fuzzy head-shot gracing the entirety of the record sleeve; records with grinning men holding accordions on the cover; and so on. The truth is, I wanted to buy several of these records just for fun, but I did restrain myself at least that much.
Several months ago–before I even had a record player–I checked the records at the thrift store in a neighbouring town. I bought The Band’s second, self-titled album for 25 cents, as well as Benny Goodman and his Orchestra Live in Brussels (that one was a bit of a risk, but it turned out well) and a children’s record with Winnie-the-Pooh songs on one side and “Peter and the Wolf” on the other (alas, the kids don’t seem to care for that one as much as I did when I was their age).
Last week, Dixie had a look at the same thrift store and bought several more: The Sound of Music soundtrack; the Obernkirchen Children’s Choir (that one was a miss); some kind of Mexican music (tentatively a miss); and Trapezoid’s Now & Then (a hit! click on the link to go to Amazon.com for sound samples).
Today I went to the thrift store in Steinbach and came back with several more: the original cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof (for Dixie); ABBA Greatest Hits (unexpectedly, given the title, I don’t recognize half the songs on it); and another kids’ Winnie-the-Pooh album.
I also bought two records for purely nostalgic reasons. First, I bought Zamfir The Lonely Shepherd. I have loved the title song since I was a young lad (if you’ve seen Kill Bill, you’ve heard it). I have no idea what the rest of the record will be like. Actually, yes–yes I do. Nostalgia!
As a joke, I also bought Christmas with James Last (sound bites at Amazon on the renamed album). I thought I’d give it a quick listen to bother Dixie and then redesign the cover and use it to protect my sleeveless The Band album. When I played it, however, it turned out to be a nostalgic treasure! THIS ALBUM IS THE DEFINING SOUND OF THE CHRISTMASES OF MY CHILDHOOD!
Dixie is out with a friend tonight. I played a bit of Christmas with James Last for her before she left. She saw my giddy delight upon realizing just what it was I had purchased for a mere 25 cents.
“Great,” she said. “Now I’m going to spend the evening imagining you at home crying quietly to yourself.”
And the truth is, a bit of water did rise to my eyes at the jingly sound of James Last’s Christmas.