Monday, October 5, 2009

Conversation with a Dad

Neil's Dad, in Accord, NY

NEIL'S DAD: Hey, bud.
NEIL: Hey, Dad.
NEIL’S DAD: Did you know that with my new Canon Powershot camera you can fully capture those fun, memorable moments with an HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV?
NEIL: Oh yeah?
NEIL’S DAD: Yes, it provides flexibility to use the optical zoom while shooting superb 720p HD movies with stereo sound. This allows you to fully capture those fun, memorable moments with an HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV.
NEIL: That’s a relief.
NEIL’S DAD: Yes it is—wait—what’s a relief?
NEIL: Well, you just said that with that camera you can fully capture those fun, memorable moments with an HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV.
NEIL’S DAD: Yeah, I did. So?
NEIL: Well, I was really hoping that you would have a camera to fully capture those fun, memorable moments with an HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV because I’d like to create a fun, memorable moment with an HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV next to that large wooden bear right here and now in Accord, NY.
NEIL’S DAD: That’s a great idea. I think it’s fair to assume that Accord, NY is full of opportunities to capture a fun, memorable moment with an HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV.
NEIL: Great. You go over there and stand by the bear. I’ll take the picture.
NEIL’S DAD: Okay, I’m now over there and standing by the bear.
NEIL: But I have a problem.
NEIL’S DAD: What’s that?
NEIL: I don’t have your camera.
NEIL’S DAD: Oh. Right. Well, it’s packed away in the trunk of the car.
NEIL: Really? So that means I can’t capture a fun, memorable moment with an HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV?
NEIL’S DAD: Not with my camera, you can’t.
NEIL: Then I’ll just have to use the camera on my phone.
NEIL’S DAD: That’s a good idea.
NEIL: Cookie, please.
NEIL’S DAD: Exactly.

Monday, September 28, 2009

10 Reasons Why South Dakota and New York are Practically the Same

Roger, across the road from Al's Oasis in Oacoma, SD

  1. South Dakota has fishing, and so does New York.
  2. South Dakota has hunting, and so does New York.
  3. South Dakota is bisected by a river, and so is New York.
  4. South Dakota’s fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops, and so is New York’s.
  5. South Dakota’s government is largely dominated by the Republican Party, and so is New York’s.
  6. South Dakota’s geography has more in common with the West than the Midwest, and so does New York’s.
  7. South Dakota had layers of sediment deposited during the Pleistocene epoch around two million years ago, and so did New York.
  8. South Dakota can generally be divided into three regions, and so can New York.
  9. South Dakota only has 35-percent of students above basic math proficiency, and so does New York.
  10. South Dakota is considered the Coyote State, and so is New York.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Residents, Danish Noblewomen, and Monkeys

At the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY

Mountainville, NY is considered a “hamlet,” though the geographic distinction has no formal place in New York State law like its close relatives “village,” “city,” and “census-designated place.” Given this lack of legal distinction, the residents of Mountainville have had to resort to their own methods to determine the qualities of a “hamlet.” What follows is a charter drafted by the residents to provide visitors with an overview of how Mountainville distinguishes itself from neighboring communities.

  1. All residents of Mountainville must wear traditional Elizabethan clothing at all times.
  2. All residents of Mountainville must carry around skulls of deceased court jesters at all times.
  3. All Danish noblewomen living in Mountainville must take Prozac.
  4. All populations of Mountainville must be centered in the area around Taylor Road between Route 32 and the New York State Thruway.
  5. All monkeys currently residing in Mountainville must be positioned in front of typewriters at all times.
  6. All plays performed in Mountainville must explore themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption.
  7. All residents of Mountainville must have a postal zip code of 10953.
  8. All Danish noblewomen living in Mountainville must avoid water.
  9. All dramatic structures of plays drafted and performed in Mountainville must reverse conventional precedent centering on the theory that a drama should focus on action, not character. Rather, said plays must be driven by the use of soliloquies so that the audience learns of main characters’ motives and thoughts.
  10. All residents of Mountainville must like trees.

Through this overview, visitors of Mountainville will better understand the nature of its residents, Danish noblewomen, and monkeys.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pass the Dutchie

Ray Gunn, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Says Ray Gun:

Dutch is an extremely weird language! I don’t mean that pejoratively, but it needs to be said. As an English-speaker, it’s often difficult to shake the feeling that you’re hearing a kind of Bizarro English when a Dutchman speaks to you, because so much of it sounds familiar. But upon close listening, it’s entirely alien. Linguists often say that Dutch is an amalgam between English and German, phoneme-wise, but I think that’s oversimplified. There are something like a dozen letter combinations that just don’t have an English (or even German) equivalent. Your subtle cues that you’re not in Kansas or Köln anymore.

For example, the letters “ui” together say “ow” as in “wow.”

Then there’s “ee,” which says “ay” as in “gay.”

Or our dear friend “oe,” which says “oo” as in “cool.”

And let’s not forget the “oo” that says “oh” as in “sex show.”

And that’s just a few vowels. They’ve got some crazy ninja consonants, too. Take “j,” if you will. When it begins a word, it acts a “y” as in “your” (don’t ask why there is no “y” in Dutch), but when it’s internal to the word it’s voiced as in “jump.” All hell breaks loose when the “j” is paired with an “i,” but that’s another story.

So meet Johnny Jordaan (1924–1989), the much-beloved Dutch folk singer whose sentimental feelings for his city of Amsterdam are immortalized in campy song, especially ditties about the once working-class but now-trendy Jordaan district from whence his stage name comes. You would assume that his name is pronounced “Yonny Yordan,” following the rules of the language. But alas, those free-spirited, fun-loving Dutch will pronounce the “j” our way for the first name but not for the surname.

It’s enough to make one want to spend a while forgetting about it all in a Dutch coffeeshop.

Where, as you probably know, coffee is rather beside the point.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Alameda Wins Most Random City Trivia Award

Nesta, at the Alameda County Fair in Alameda, CA

ALAMEDA, CA – Many cities can boast their association with historical facts, such as being the country’s first capital. Other cities can brag about being the site of specific landmarks, such as statues that greeted immigrants throughout the turn of the century. Alameda, California, however, boasts neither of these distinctions. It is known, though, for the fact that 9-percent of its single-family homes are Victorian houses and that its Fourth of July parade features motorized living room furniture.

This is why the Federal Government has presented mayor Beverly Johnson of Alameda with the very distinguished and previously unheard of Most Random City Trivia Award. This is an award that was created to give the residents of the city a sense of pride and honor about being the home of the Oakland Raiders’ training facility.

“It’s really quite an honor,” Mayor Johnson said, “as it will send the signal to residents and tourists alike that Alameda is in fact the home of Charles Froling’s spite house—which is only ten feet wide and currently occupied.”

“I’m very pleased to have been a member of the Alameda community,” said former resident and NBA star Jason Kidd, “as I started playing basketball solely because the city adopted a council-manager government as a result of its status of a charter city rather than a general law city. Did you know that 112 of California's 478 cities are charter cities? I didn’t until I lived in Alameda.”

To commemorate the city’s award, the city government had a three-day festival to coincide with its county fair celebrations. Featured at the center of the festival is an oversized funnel cake. Each attendant of the festival is welcome to break away their own piece of the funnel cake and pour a little powdered sugar on it.

“Up until the 19th century,” Mayor Johnson said, “Alameda was a peninsula attached to Oakland but was only connected by marshy land that was home to one of the largest coastal oak forests in the world. It is now an island, and each piece of funnel cake that is broken away from the larger object represents how Alameda has likewise established itself as an independent and self-standing land mass. Funnel cake is also really effin’ good.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In Which Michigan Wilderness Guardian Goes Home

Roger, in St. Joseph, MI

Michigan Wilderness Guardian was a painted fiberglass bear slated to be part of the St. Joseph Beach Bears exhibit in St. Joseph, Michigan. After an enlightening romp through the forests of the wilderness, Michigan Wilderness Guardian thought it was high time he find his way home to join his brothers and sisters of a comparably fiberglass constitution to have a bit of lunch along the beaches of Lake Michigan.

He approached a road where he saw a sign for “St. Joseph, MN – 15 miles.”

“What luck,” said Michigan Wilderness Guardian. “St. Joseph is only 15 miles away from the very place I happen to be standing. I shall be home with my brothers and sisters in no time at all.”

After wandering for the better part of no time at all, Michigan Wilderness Guardian happened upon a small town with a church spire as its most notable landmark and a decidedly homogenized population of people. He didn’t see any beaches, and he didn’t see Lake Michigan.

He also saw no fiberglass bears anywhere.

“Excuse me,” Michigan Wilderness Guardian said to a female of the Caucasian persuasion in the 18-24 demographic, “but do you know where all of the St. Joseph Beach Bears are?”

“Beach Bears?” the female said.

“Indeed, I’m looking to settle down in my home of St. Joseph, Michigan to have a bit of lunch with the other St. Joseph Beach Bears, but all I see here is the all-female College of St. Benedict as well as a population of 96.69% white non-Hispanic residents.”

“Silly old bear,” said the female, “but this is St. Joseph, Minnesota, not St. Joseph, Michigan. St. Joseph, Michigan is sixty miles from Chicago and is known for its hosting of the Venetian Festival.”

“Bother!” said Michigan Wilderness Guardian. “I suppose that I have quite the journey ahead of me.”

And indeed he had. After journeying for 369 miles and an anticipated travel time of 6 hours and 10 minutes, Michigan Wilderness Guardian found his destination.

“Where have you been?” Bountiful Beauregard Bear and Gummi Bears on the Beach asked Michigan Wilderness Guardian after he arrived.

“I’ve just been on a bit of an adventure is all,” said Michigan Wilderness Guardian.

“Come and tell us all about it,” Bountiful Beauregard Bear said to him in response, “while we make these beaches our home from May 26, 2009 to October 22, 2009.”

“Anyhow,” Michigan Wilderness Guardian said, “it is nearly Luncheon Time.”

So he went home for it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why We Need Neckties

On E. 42nd St. in New York City

For many thousands of years, men grunted their way through supremely difficult tasks of a physical nature. These included but were not limited to hunting things, gathering things, building things, and growing things. It was significant that those millennia featured an abundance of such tasks, for the spears, arrows, knives, rods, and other tools all resembled their penis. With a daily handling of these items, the men were reminded that they had their own spear in need of use. Despite the grueling nature of their livelihoods, each man was able to remember to come back to their home and procreate with their wife. The human race would live on because the men spent their day handling rods.

With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, however, men began doing other things that often had nothing to do with phallic tools. Some may have been putting wheels on cars (round), others may have been bagging grain (amorphous). With this professional diversion from long and straight objects, it was important to help men retain memory of the part of their anatomy that would be necessary for perpetuating our species.

This is why, even today, men wear an accessory that not only reminds them of the shape of their penis, but ensures the retention this information by pointing to precisely where on their body this organ is to be found. Otherwise, the men in their post-Industrial jobs would forget about it, we would stop procreating, and our species would die.

This is why we need neckties.