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.
Whenever someone calls our house and asks if we have time to do a “short” survey, I always say, “No. No, I don’t have the time.” The one time I agreed to do a ‘short’ survey I was on the phone with them for 30 minutes or more. It was about chocolate bars and there were no coupons forthcoming after the survey.
Dixie, on the other hand, loves doing these kinds of things. She’s inclined to say, “Yes! Yes, I would love to do participate in your survey!” Which is why we are now receiving monthly phone calls from Statistics Canada. I thought she was supposed to be doing all of this–so did she–but tonight the Stats Can guy told her he needed to ask me a ‘couple’ of questions.
Let me pause here to reflect: maybe if telephone surveyors didn’t whitewash the procedure and simply tell the truth–”Do you have 30 minutes for a survey?”–the people doing them wouldn’t be such hated individuals (even though we don’t know who they are. I’m sure they’re very nice.) Granted, they wouldn’t get many people to participate, but we’d all be getting along.
So the guy tells Dixie he needs to ask me a couple of questions. She hands me the phone and he launches into a speed-talk grilling of inane details. And I was on the phone with him for 20 minutes. Couple of questions indeed.
What I can’t figure out is what in the world Stats Canada could possibly do with the information they received from me.
“Did you make any trips away from home that ended in August 2010?”
“In Canada, in the U.S or elsewhere?”
“What is the name of the country?”
“Did you boat or attend a powwow on this trip?”
“How much did you spend on…? Did you…?”
“Yes…No…Yes…No…. No…. Depends on how you define ‘trip’…. No…. I don’t know….$900…. $5. No, my wife says it was more like $50. ….10 days. No, wait–11 days. That’s because we counted days of travel, not nights. 5 days with friends…. Yes, we went to the beach, but we didn’t go to the beach to do beach things. We were just near a beach…. No…. Pretty much all historical and arts. …..No. ….Yes. About this much. ….If that sounds weird it’s because we worked for half the year and went to school for the other half…..Shopping and religious…. All of them…. No…. No…. Afternoons…. Except Tuesdays and Wednesdays….No…. Is that Thanksgiving week?… No…. Prior…. Yes….No.”
Seriously. What manner of graph will come out of this interview’s results?
Surveys drive me nuts, especially if there is no immediate and tangible result (such as a score or rating or evaluation) for me.
England posts are forthcoming, just as soon as I weed through and edit any pictures that need editing. In the meantime, here is a brief conversation I had with a guy at my bank’s credit card department about $80 in long-distance charges for a couple of short calls from Denver to BC:
Me: “Hi, yes. I made a couple of calls to Canada using my credit card from a public pay phone in Denver. Two of the calls were less than 30 seconds long. The third call couldn’t have been more than a minute or two. Yet I was charged nearly $20 for each one of those calls. Is that a normal charge?”
Credit card guy: “Depends on your definition of normal.”
Me (audibly irritated by his response): “Well, I would certainly say that $18 for a 30-second phone call is not normal. ”
Credit card guy: “OK, I’m tranferring you to disputes.”
Very helpful. Turns out my credit card company can’t do anything about the charges sent them from American phone companies. The disputes guy told me in a roundabout way that it was foolish to use my credit card rather than a calling card.
I have a 1-800 number for the American phone company responsible for these outrageous charges, where I will register my disapproval, but I’m sure nothing will come of this.