Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Linkfest

Here they are, all in one place for the first time (except on my FaceBook wall), an eclectic collection of links to videos, both new and old, all connected in some way or other to Christmas. Get a cup of hot chocolate, pull up a chair, and enjoy...

Animals "singing" Deck the Halls:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-0WVfj76bo

A Canadian mall's food court singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE

The Plunderer's March, my favorite song from Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOJBU95pVmw

The Digital Story of the Nativity is how Matthew or Luke may have related the story if they had written The Gospel According to Steve Jobs:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkHNNPM7pJA&feature=player_embedded

And finally, the True Truth of White Space Christmas:
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1754721911627&oid=33475707006&comments&ref=mf

Peace on Earth to you and yours...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

There's no business like snow business

Here in Minnesnowta, we are currently in the midst of what is being advertised as "the largest snowfall since the Halloween Blizzard of '91." Personally, if the scene in my driveway is any indication, I'm glad we didn't move to the tundra until 1994.





To pass the time between shoveling and spinal adjustments, I've been hanging out on FaceBook, of course, and one of my friends came up with the fun idea of inserting the word "snow" into the titles of movies and television shows...which got me thinking...which is a dangerous thing:


  • They made a movie about my efforts at raking the snow off my roof and clearing out my driveway: The Chronicles of Suburbia: The Voyage of the Snow Treader
  • The 1957 Oscar-winner for best picture, starring Alec Guinness as a prisoner-of-war dealing with a freak blizzard in the jungles of Southeast Asia: Snow on the River Kwai
  • Speaking of Alec Guinness, did you see him as Obi Wan BeenFrozen in Snow Wars?
  • That Christmas favorite with Jimmy Stewart, where his character finds out what his boring, little town would have been like if there had never been winter: It's a Wonderful Snow
  • Harrison Ford's adventurous archaeologist searches Antarctica for a religious relic: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Snow
  • A boy wizard does battle with the Dark Lord VoldeFreezemeister: Harry Potter and the Half-Snow Prince
  • Steven Spielberg's first blockbuster about a resort town's sheriff hiring a crusty, old snowplow driver to conquer a freakishly large blizzard: Snows (My favorite quote: "You're gonna need a bigger blade.")
  • Sandra Bullock stars as a gal who pretends to be the fiance of Old Man Winter: While You Were Snowing
  • That classic musical from Hollywood's Golden Era, starring Gene K-K-K-Kelly, Debbie ReynoldsWrap, and Donald O'Icicle: Singing in the Snow
  • A man is shipwrecked on an island: Robinson Crusnow
  • A Native American helps the European Americans fight the European Europeans: Last of the Snowhicans
  • The madcap mishaps and mayhem of a group of Army surgeons stationed in Alaska: S*N*O*W
  • A perky gal with a lot of spunk gets a job in a Minneapolis TV newsroom during the largest snowfall since the Halloween Blizzard of '91: The Mary Tyler More Snow Show

I could go on, but our miniature chihuahua, Edgar, is going to need to empty his bladder soon, and I need to either clear him a path or dig him a tunnel.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Minnesota: The Land of 10,000 Boasts

I've mentioned before about my aversion to Minnesotans' aptitude for declaring the state's superiority in practically every measurable circumstance known to mankind. Herewith are some Actual Factual examples:


Minnesota's 49 million turkeys were far and away the most raised in any state and 18 percent of the nation's total.

Minnesota leads the Midwest in a hot trend: cremation

Our state is tops in fishing licenses sold per capita.

Minnesota has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country.

Other states have challenged the accuracy of the decades-old breath test device called the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, but Minnesota is the only place where the case landed in federal and state courts.

Minnesota has been named the "Best Trails" state.

Minneapolis/St. Paul is one of the most intoxicated areas of the U.S.

Minneapolis has the purest heroin at the lowest price in the country.

* * * * * * *
Well, well, well...don't you just want to stand up tall and give out a yell?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I saw the light...not

Beloved called me while I was at work and announced that she had a light out.

This confused me a wee bit, as I'm more accustomed to thinking "the lights are on, but nobody's home." (Not that I think that about Beloved, you understand! It's just a common phrase. Seriously, folks!)

Upon cross-examination, it was discovered that the light to which Beloved was referring was the driver's-side headlight of her car.

"No worries," I cheerfully responded, "I'll just pop that puppy out and plug in a new one. In fact, I think I may already have a replacement at home. I'm pretty sure I bought a two-pack the last time I needed one."

"Where would it be?" asked Beloved. "I've been looking for a while and haven't found anything."

"Well, if there is one, it would be on a shelf in the mud room," I jovially offered.

"I looked there."

"No big deal," I chuckled, as this latest development rolled off my back, "I'll just stop on the way home and pick one up."

* * * * * * *
It took a couple passes through our newly-remodeled, super-sized StallMart for me to find the automotive lighting aisle, and the model number I needed had only one representative in the massive display of possibilities (which seemed to have absolutely no logic behind what got hung where), but I eventually arrived home, triumphantly carrying my quarry in its requisite plastic bag.

It was while I was placing said plastic bag in the recycling bin (strategically placed in our mud room) that I saw the previously-purchased automotive headlamp on the shelf. "Ha-ha! How amusing," thought I, as I cheerfully headed out to quickly switch the good for the bad so Beloved could once again drive safely in the dark.

* * * * * * *
NEWSFLASH! THIS JUST IN: Those who design the engine compartments of the modern mechanical marvels we call automobiles are apparently double-jointed contortionists...with an evil streak a mile wide.

It's true...when I finally wormed my hand into the so-called "space" between the battery and the cap sealing the compartment that held the bulb for the headlight, my only option for actually twisting the cap off was to have a friend lift me up and spin my body. And when this was done, I immediately dropped the cap into the interior of the fender/wheel well/labyrinth.

But was this enough humiliation and defeat for this particular day? Apparently not.

Having irretrievably lost the cap/seal/lid-thingy, I then proceeded to be completely unable to remove the faulty bulb...forget about putting in the new one. It was impossible to actually, you know, see what I was doing, so I was stuck feeling around with my fingers, which were fairly well numb with cold at this point. I could unplug the thing, but as for figuring out the combination of yoga and ninja moves necessary for getting it out, I was about as useful as a seeing-eye dog with a blindfold.

I finally submitted to the reality of my ineptitude and drove to my friendly neighborhood oil-changing tire store and asked the grease monkeys if they could save me from my rapidly-increasing frustration. Practically before I finished asking the question, I was on my way, with my bruised ego whimpering in the back seat.

When I asked MonkeyBoy how he got the cap out of the fender, he said, "I'm the one that's always dropping things around here."

So, yeah...I was out-performed by the worst guy in the shop.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bela Lugosi, where are you?

I gave blood the other day.

Correction: The Red Cross took some blood from me. Giving just isn't the right word to use for the red-tape wrapped, multiple-instruction sheet covered, inquisition-like screened event that I endured Monday afternoon-into-evening.

The unfilling station had been set up in the atrium-formerly-known-as-the-foyer of my church (http://www.valleycc.org), and the lead pastor had shamelessly begged us to fill up the appointment sheet, so I dutifully-obediently-pathetically participated.

Upon entering, I was cheerfully greeted, given a name tag, and issued a forest-killing pile of instructional pages informing me of the importance of my donation ("Give blood, good; use dirty needle, bad") and warning me of the possible-though-not-likely side effects of having blood forcibly removed from my body...including having a bruised arm that may display "a rainbow of colors." (Actual factual quote.)

I had to answer several questions about my personal health and private behavior. The good news is that said questions were privately answered by me on a computer. I'm thinking if the questions had been asked by a human being, face-to-face, we both would have been blushing like a nun at Chippendale's.

I was granted acceptance into the privileged crowd of acceptable donors, and directed to lay down and expose my neck to the incoming bat — er — give the nurse access to my arm. Once she pounded the inside of my elbow and painted my right side with antiseptic, it only took three people to lift the needle that was then twisted into my helpless flesh...all while telling me to relax, which was kind of like telling a person jumping out of a plane to fall up.

However, my attempts at relaxation must have been effective after all, because the next complaint cast in my direction had to do with the lack of speed with which my blood bag was filling. That's right — I wasn't bleeding fast enough for them. They kept jiggling the pipe that was protruding from my arm and milking the hose that ran from the pipe to the blood bag, but it all was taking so long that the wound started clotting over as if my body was saying, "I ain't got time to bleed."

Bottom line was, they couldn't get a full pint out of me and ended up having to discard the 90% of a pint that they got. It's all-or-nothing with those professional vampire types at the Red Cross. They told me not to let it discourage me from giving again in the future, but I said, "You are not the boss of me! It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to!"

But I think I will give it another try at the next opportunity. My arm is looking like a bag of Skittles and I can practically taste the rainbow. Yum!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My financial worries are over

I think I've had an apostrophe.

I've seen my future, and it's so bright, I need to wear shades.

The source of my inspiration and abundant hope is the following Associated Press item I read a few days ago.

McDonald's Pays for Worker's Weight
SAO PAULO - A Brazilian court ruled this week that McDonald's must pay a former franchise manager $17,500 because he gained 65 pounds while working there for a dozen years. The 32-year-old man said he felt forced to sample food each day to ensure quality standards remained high, because McDonald's hired "mystery clients" to randomly visit restaurants and report on the food, service, and cleanliness. The man also said the company offered free lunches to employees, adding to his caloric intake while on the job.

I can see clearly now (welcome to your newest earworm)...there are untapped resources out there waiting to be mined:

  • I should be awarded a cash settlement for all the sleep I lost during the nine years I proofread prospectuses for mutual funds...on third shift. Not to mention the damage to my nervous system and arteries from all the caffeinated beverages I had to ingest to ensure my wakefulness.
  • There should be a sliding scale of damage payments to my tender sense of well-being and usefulness for all the years I ministered to teens...who turned around and became felons, freeloaders, and insurance agents.
  • My current place of employment forces me to actually, you know, show UP, which involves wear and tear on my vehicle, along with other operating expenses that are not fully reimbursed.
If we work this right, ladies and gentlemen, we may never have to work again.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Good morning, Earworm, the Earth says hello

I wake up in the morning, and these songs are turning/churning in my mind. I shoo them away. They ignore me. I take down their names so I can put them on report.

AUGUST
3 – Everlasting God (“Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord; we will wait upon the Lord; we will wait upon the Lord…”)
4 – Country Road (James Taylor)
9 – Lady (Little River Band; this REALLY needs to stop showing up in this list. I’ve even NOT listed it a couple times when I should have, figuring it would be too annoying for readers with heart conditions to handle.)
10 – I Will Call Upon the Lord (“…who is worthy to be praised.”)
13 – Me and Bobby Magee (Janis Joplin. Kris Kristopherson can suck eggs.)
19 – Spinning Wheel (Blood Sweat & Tears)
20 – These Eyes (The Guess Who…no…seriously…this is not a game …that’s the group’s name)
22 – Love Isn’t Always on Time (Foreigner)
24 – I Am the Walrus (The Beatles. Where have you been, oh, Fab Four? You haven’t showed up in my morning music for a loooooong time. And when you do, you give me THIS?!!? Well, goo-goo-ga-joob to you!)
25 – First Song that I Sing (Sara Groves)
26 – Come On Eileen (Dexys Midnight Runners)

SEPTEMBER
2 – Reign In Us (Starfield)
3 – So Far Away (Carole King)
8 – I Am a Servant (Larry Norman. I sang a different Larry Norman song at the state fair on the 4th and found out that NObody in the room knew who he was. I could barely finish singing the rest of my set because of my grief.)
9 – You Should be Dancin’ (Bee Gees)
13 – Running On Empty (Jackson Browne) What a way to start the work week.
26 – My Wish (Rascal Flats…though I’m really hearing it because Beloved sang it in three concerts last week.)
28 – Top of the World (Carpenters)
29 – Still the One (Orleans)

OCTOBER
1 – If I Can’t Have You (Yvonne Elliman)
3 – Couldn’t Get It Right (Climax Blues Band)
7 – Country Road (James Taylor)
9 – The Face of Christ (Chris Rice)
29 – Hey Tomorrow (Jim Croce)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gingivitis P. Skulk, at your service

I've been running low on inspiration and time when it comes to posting anything chuckle-worthy here. Blame it on rehearsals and performances with Giant Step Theatre's latest production, Pinocchio, in which I play the guy who sells Pincushion to the evil puppet master, sticks Pinhead with a huge dinner bill, and rushes Pine-Sol onto a boat to Pleasure Island...where he will be turned into a donkey and used for slave labor.

I'm a lovable rascal.

I'm a lovable rascal who hasn't been able to post to his blog because he's had to keep speeches like the following concoction (courtesy of Peter Martin) fresh in his head:


We'll sue the pants off 'em! We'll nail 'em to the wall! We'll send 'em cryin' for their mothers! There will be damages! Big ones! I'd say a million for each of the counts against them. Count these counts: you've got violation of probate, bad faith fiduciary malpractice, wrongful accretion of intellectual property, breach of eminent domain, misrepresentation of an affidavit for collateral negligence, and circumstantial conspiracy to violate a coroner. Not to mention malfeasance, malpractice, maladjustment, and Mal Torme. Plus adverse possession of an affidavit for the party of the first part and de facto negligence against the due process to collateralize the defamation of the party of the second part. Did I miss anything?

"They didn't smell too good."

Brilliant! We'll get 'em for malodorous intent, too!
* * * * * * *
I'm lucky I can remember my own name, what with this kind of stuph filling my head.
Until next time,
Charles

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

THAT much, eh?

I was reading Renee Valois' review of Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' production of I Do! I Do! in Sunday's St. Paul Pioneer Press and was taken aback by the following paragraph:

The music is pleasant but not stellar — with one song a standout in popularity and poignancy, "My Cup Runneth Over" (with love), which has been covered by everyone from Perry Como to Bing Crosby.

Let's lay aside the factual fact that the parenthetical, with love, ought to be inside the quotation marks and have initial caps, along with the rest of the song title...and how those things NOT being done hurts my feelings. The phrase that really threw me for a loop was the one that ended the paragraph:

...covered by everyone from Perry Como to Bing Crosby.

Really?!!?

And just how many artists reside in that wide expanse? By my count, it's a grand total of one: Engelbert Humperdink.

And he has to really squeeze to fit.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I didn't know I had it in me!

While in Indiana recently, Beloved and I spent two-and-a-half hours with an ex-girlfriend of mine, eating breakfast. Not that we ate breakfast for two-and-a-half hours (though I wouldn't have minded a second helping of biscuits and gravy), but we sat in the restaurant that long, swapping stories and catching each other up on what had happened in the 15 years that had passed since we last saw each other.

Contrary to what some of you might be thinking about a face-to-face between an old flame and a current flame, there were no emotional fireworks. Two reasons: 1) Beloved happens to think the old flame is a very nice, interesting person; and 2) Beloved knows she owns my heart (and half of all my worldly goods).

The best thing I gained from the morning (in addition to a bit of plaque in my arteries) was hearing the story of something I did in my late teens...something that I had no memory of whatsoever, but which fills me with belated pride.

Behold...

A small group of us had been the entertainment for a monthly meeting of the Elks or Lions or Fraternal Order of the Manly Muskrats. After thrilling them with a condensed version of The Wizard of Oz, we piled into OldFlame's car. As she was backing out of the parking spot, she ran into a pole, denting the rear fender of her parents' car.

Burying her head in her hands, OldFlame lamented, "Oh no! I'm going to be in so much trouble!"

We drove to her house and I told her to wait at the car. "Let me handle this."

I went into the house and gravely spoke with OldFlame's mother, who we lovingly referred to as "Ina Mae," which was very convenient, as that also happened to be her name.

"Ina Mae...we were in an accident."

Motherly instincts boiling over, Ina Mae asked, "Is everybody all right?!!?"

"Yes. We're okay. It just dented the fender."

"Oh, well, thank goodness!"

* * * * * * *

I actually got her to be thankful for a dented fender! Pretty good for a sixteen-year-old theater geek.

Epilogue: Apparently, OldFlame's dad didn't take the news with quite the same level of gratitude.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'm goin' back to Indiana

Traveling from just south of Minnesota's Twin Cities to just south of Fort Wayne, Indiana involves a number of decisions:

  • Should we leave Saturday morning, or right after work Friday...arriving at my folks' place (the home of SweaterGirl and FlatulenceKing) at 3:00 AM?
  • Should we go south through Illinois on I-39, avoiding the drive through Chicago, or cut 50 miles off the trip by braving the Windy City?
  • Which lane should we get into at the toll booth?

Having taken the second option on the first two decisions, I was faced with the third question repeatedly between 10:00 and 11:00 PM. And at the very first toll booth, I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt my ability to choose wrongly.


In an effort to get everyone to purchase an I-Pass that allows you to bypass stopping to pay individual tolls, all toll-paying on the Jane Adams Memorial Tollway is done by cash to a real, live, surly human being. That wouldn't be so bad, I reckon, except that the driver of the van in front of me apparently tried to pay the one dollar toll with a 100-dollar bill that had to be tested for authenticity by a specially-trained agent of the Treasury Department who had to be flown in from Denver.


While I was waiting for the van driver to get his change...in very specific denominations of bills and coins...the thought struck me: JANE ADAMS MEMORIAL TOLLWAY????


Why would an actress who is, according to IMDB.com, "best remembered as the sympathetic hunchbacked nurse, Nina, in 1945's House of Dracula," have a tollway on the northwest side of Chicago named after her?

Or maybe the Illinois Department of Transportation is honoring the Jane Adams of janeadams.com: the "dynamic, exciting, and empathetic speaker whose presentations illuminate contemporary trends in lifestyles and choices, provide tools and strategies to increase personal satisfaction & professional achievement, and motivate audiences to take control of their lives, expand their horizons, and fulfill their goals." (That retching sound you hear is me.)

Oh...never mind...the line is moving again...talk to you later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dewey has...

According to the World Wide Wackfest and the search monkeys at GoodSearch and Google:

Dewey has taught our teachers how to learn.
Dewey has an attitude.
Dewey has demonstrated the creative ability to compose inspirational music, lyrics, prose and poetry.
Dewey has never been appalled by the novelty of an idea.
Dewey has had an insidious effect on American democracy through the baneful impact his core ideas have had.
Dewey has been an avid fisherman and lover of art all of his life.
Dewey has been developing a novel approach to treating addiction.
Dewey has offices in the U.S., U.K., China, Italy, Germany, and Poland.
Dewey has been photographing the landscape of California and beyond, from the ground and air in detail and in general for thirty years.
Dewey has not yet clipped any coupons.
Dewey has met some large and small dogs, and plays nicely with them.
Dewey has memories from when he was a baby and dropped by his grandparents.
Dewey has come under attack before.
Dewey has also appeared in many jazz festivals.
Dewey has the skill and experience to see a case through.
Dewey has a great sense of the majesty, grandeur, and adventure of life.
Dewey has been called an experimentalist.
Dewey has been active in the art of balloon sculpturing since 1975.
Dewey has swept the likes of communist Jones into our classrooms and put fear in educators to label Jones' venom as venom.
Dewey has published a total of 26 books and 4 videos.
Dewey has been a featured presenter at the Annual Festival Gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers (NOBS).
Dewey has four children.
Dewey has come to learn a lot about himself, people, and the world.
Dewey has been very active behind the scenes.
Dewey has previously lectured in composition at the University of Tasmania.
Dewey has two Administrative Assistants.
Dewey has studied the effects substance abuse has on the brain.
Dewey has served as president of the Society for International Nutrition Research.
Dewey has a new fiddle album out on his own DewBug label.
Dewey has his next acting project lined up.
Dewey has been a mess for years.
Dewey has total control!
Dewey has a problem he's not quite sure how to solve.
Dewey has rolls and rolls of puckered fat draping his squat frame.

For those who are curious, about five of these statements are actually factually true.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Injury + Insult

Back in the days when I was paying for groceries by ministering to/with youth, there was one Senior Pastor I worked with who was particularly fond of Christmas music: Joy to the World, Silver Bells, Oh Come to Old Faithful...the whole spectrum.


And I really had no problem with that. I'm fairly fond of the fa-la-las meself. Besides, he did force himself to wait until Halloween to actually put any Christmas music in the Mega-Bass, three-CD-changer, shelf sound system unit in his office.


Which brings me to today's subject: the disparity in salary and perks allotted to Senior Pastor/Preacher types and what is imparted unto Youth Minister/Student Pastor/Now-That-I've-Screwed-Them-Up-Beyond-All-Recognition-Please-Save-My-Teenager types.

Giving a larger paycheck, office, education allowance, and parking space to The Preacher than one does to The Youth Guy/Gal is perfectly understandable, acceptable, reasonable, and both okie and dokie. The Preacher usually has responsibilities beyond Sunday morning sermonizing that justify a higher rate of compensation.

However...

This exalted position creates a couple of issues; one that's bad for The Youth Guy/Gal, and one that is a disadvantage to The Preacher.

1) When the planets, stars, and prevailing winds all align to the point of being able to raise the salaries of the church's pastoral staff, some brilliant mathematician decides that increasing each staff person's salary by the same percentage would be the only fair course of action to take. Those of you keeping notes will soon realize, if you haven't already, that this results in a larger increase for The Preacher and a widening of the gap between The Preacher's salary and that of The Underling(s).

2) The knowledge that The Preacher's office is larger and packed with more material blessings than the converted broom closet that The Youth Guy/Gal scrunches into makes said office the specific target of any burglary attempts.

Now...I've said all of that so I can say this...

One chilly night in early November, a burglar burgled his or her way into the inner sanctum of the Christmas-music-loving Senior Pastor I was speaking of earlier in this post. Drawers were rifled, books were strewn, pen and pencil sets were pilfered, and worst of all...the Mega-Bass, three-CD-changer, shelf sound system unit was taken.

Did I say that was worst of all? No...back up...let me change that. The absolutely worst thing—what added insult to injury—was that, in the midst of what had to be a rushed, hushed, and hurried bit of larceny, the perp took the time to open the CD player, take out Julie Andrews Sings Christmas, and leave it behind. It was as if to say, "We want your stuff, but your taste in music sucks!"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Almost the News IX

Rural Bankers Survey Now Points Toward Contraction
Specifically, the word can't.

Girl Honored by Lakeville Police for Helping Mother
Has it come to this? Is dusting the house before company comes such a big deal now that it gets noticed by the police?

Military Muscle on Display
Hundreds of curious patriots an hour are filing past the preserved bicep of General George S. Patton.

Mark Bellows to Run for Mayor
Tension was high during last night's City Council meeting when Councilman Mark raised his voice and argued, "The mayor should not have to run in the Race for the Cure! I'll do it for him, and I'll do it well!"

Petters Witness Found in Contempt
After being missing for five days, Larry Reynolds was found hiding in a rented storage facility in the small town of Contempt, Arkansas.

Man in Critical Condition After Stabbing
One of the staff nurses at Mercy Hospital is quoted as saying, "All that guy does is whine and complain."

Bear Who Mauled Caretaker Put Down
A bear that mauled a caretaker has been given what is locally referred to as "The Rudolph Treatment": all of the other bears laugh and call him names.

Friday, August 20, 2010

According to the white pages...

The following is an educational service, provided free of charge by Almost the Truth.

According to whitepages.com, there are four people with the name “Dewey Roth” in the United States of America…and I’m not one of them. (It's true. As much as I try to ignore it, my actual, factual name is Duane...though for over four decades no one has called me that with any regularity except my 8th-grade English teacher, Linda Reed. She refused to call me Dewey because she had a girlfriend with that name. I refused to call her Mrs. Reed because I had a basket made out of plants with that name.)

Ravenna, Nebraska is home for an 83-year-old farmer named Dewey Roth. Anybody still actively farming at that age deserves to be recognized for having a not-quite-as-unique-as-I-once-thought-it-was name without any further harassment.

There's another 83-year-old Dewey Roth in McAllen, Texas. Apparently, 1927 was a very good year. According to the aerial view map at bing.com, he lives in a dark van in the middle of South Taylor Road.

1958 turned out a pair of Dewey Roths as well. One lives in Independence, Missouri; home of Col. Sherman T. Potter (fictional commanding officer of MASH 4077), Paul Henning (creator of The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres), and Harry S Truman. ("S" with no period, by the way. Like my own father, King Flatulence IV, President Truman had no middle name, just a letter.)

Tonawanda, New York is where our fourth and final Dewey Roth hangs his hat. When the town was founded there were several women named Wanda that lived there...several...large...women.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oh, what a beautiful earworm!

This quarter's round up of songs I woke up with...

MAY
3 – Let the Whole World Sing (DeGarmo & Key)
4 – Heart Hotels (Dan Fogelberg)
5 – Come Sail Away (Styx)
11 – Your Mama Don’t Dance and Your Daddy Don’t Rock and Roll (Loggins & Messina)
12 – If You Leave Me Now (Chicago)
13 – This morning, I was trying to sleep and trying to sleep and kept hearing a strange compilation of what seemed like every recorded song known to mankind…just snippet after snippet of tune after tune. I think my Random Access Memory is short-circuiting.
18 – Forever Eyes/Yesterday (Jars of Clay/Beatles) This made for an interesting mash-up. There is hope! Maybe my subconscious has a promising future as an arranger/producer.
19 – Love is Still a Worthy Cause (Sara Groves)
20 – Turn Your Radio On (Ray Stevens, though, yes, there are a few other versions out there)
21 – Jesus Paid It All
25 – Let’s Get It On (Marvin Gaye…but if you ever get a chance to hear a band called “Ferris” do it live…do it.)

JUNE
3 – Trickle Trickle (Manhattan Transfer. Long, almost useless explanation: For over a month now, I’ve been posting a snippet of a lyric as my status statement on Facebook…a different snippet each day. The source material has been my CD collection, arranged alphabetically by artist. The first day was Carolyn Arends, then The Association, through the Beach Boys and the Beatles, etc. In this list of morning earworms, I have generally ignored songs that I know are in my head because of the previous day’s status statement. That said, here lies Manhattan Transfer because “Trickle Trickle” pushed its way into my brain in spite of a June 2nd full of Don McLean: “Starry, starry night; portraits hung in empty halls; frameless heads on nameless walls…”)
15 – Whole New World (from Disney’s Aladdin)
17 – Yesterme, Yesteryou, Yesterday (Stevie Wonder)
21 – El Shaddai (Amy Grant)

JULY
12 – Love Hangover (Diana Ross)
17 – Stand Tall (Burton Cummings)
27 – With a Little Luck (Paul McCartney & Wings) I am particularly irritated at this particular earworm this particular morning. Firstly, because I’m thinking that it’s only going to get worse after tomorrow night’s PBS special giving Sir Paul some sort of American music honor (and how much sense does THAT not make?); but secondly, because the brain bombardment started over an hour before I needed to get up this morning.
30 – Midnight Blue (Melissa Manchester)

Friday, July 30, 2010

BOGO

I've recently been bombarded with the supposedly wonderful retail news that I can BOGO.

Payless Shoes says I can BOGO.

Applebee's has a BOGO drink special going on.

Here a BOGO, there a BOGO, everywhere a BOGO-BOGO.

And what does BOGO stand for?

Buy One Get One

Well, excuse me, but isn't that what one would normally expect from any purchasing transaction?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wet Carpet: This is not an instruction

It started with a wet spot on the carpet.

This is not such an abnormal experience in the Roth household: have I introduced you to our two dog-like creatures?
On the left is Edgar, on the right is Connor, and stuck in the middle with you is KayJay. (KayJay is NOT one of the dog-like creatures of which I am speaking, so that leaves us all to deduce that it must be the decidedly rat-like creatures, Edgar and Connor to which I refer.)

Let me explain that we have been tempted to rename these two marginally-canine companions Cate and Nate...as in Defecate and Urinate...signifying what they each are more prone to do in the house than in the backyard. That being the case, a wet spot on the carpet was not so much a cause for alarm as for aggravation. It smelled like Connor's particularly pungent variety of cologne and he was immediately blamed, ridiculed and ostracized.

This repeated itself several times, in fact, until I started wondering why Connor always seemed to decide to express his manliness when the air conditioning was running.

To make a longer story shorter, let's just say that we discovered that a leaky air conditioner, not a leaky pooch, was the source of the wet spot. Of course, this was not determined without the need of cutting a hole in the wall to gain visual access to the rear of the offending unit and a subsequent visit by our friendly, neighborhood RepairGuy to see if the leak could be fixed.

With coils properly cleaned and alignment impressively fiddled with and a lot of talk using words to which I smiled and grunted as if I had an inkling of a clue as to what RepairGuy was saying, the leak appears to be fixed.

That's good news for our carpet, but now I'm stuck trying to figure out how to apologize for unnecessary scoldings to a creature that has a brain the size of a walnut...a very small, smooth walnut.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ACT NOW!

The World Wide Wackfest is a marvelous thing. Using the appeal of the Internet, a person can take items that would normally be tossed aside as outdated, useless, or at the very least, quaint, and turn them into money-making opportunities of astounding proportions.

Observe:

What child could possibly resist the charm of a plastic, wind-up walking crab advertising Seattle? For a short time only, you can experience the thrill of the hunt as you find this little guy on ebay and enter into the bidding frenzy that is sure to ensue! With perseverance and determination, YOU could be the one to have this priceless souvenir shipped directly to your home or place of business! Click here: http://cgi.ebay.com/Seattle-Souvenir-Walking-Crab-Toy-/320559080911?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa2cf65cf


Or maybe classic entertainment is more to your liking: Imagine the joy on your child's face as you pop the fully restored, special edition of Disney's The Little Mermaid into your VCR! Relive the magical, musical moments of this film that marked the rebirth of Disney's animation department and ancillary marketing prowess. See it in all its VHS glory by clicking and bidding: http://cgi.ebay.com/Disneys-The-Little-Mermaid-Special-Edition-VHS-/320557802461?cmd=ViewItem&pt=VHS&hash=item4aa2bbe3dd

And finally, for those with slightly more sophisticated tastes: You can immerse yourself in the wizarding world of Harry Potter without going to Orlando or taking out a second mortgage! All you have to do is be the highest bidder at http://cgi.ebay.com/Harry-Potter-and-Sorcerers-Stone-VHS-w-new-footage-/320557808320?cmd=ViewItem&pt=VHS&hash=item4aa2bbfac0! Go back to where it all began with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, now with Never-Before-Seen Footage! (And we're not talking about close-ups of Hagrid's toes, baby!)

These fantastic opportunities are only up for bid for a few days, so don't delay, or, or...or...well, golly! That would just be so not swell...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Almost the News VIII

Drive to Free Attorney Grows
The no-charge services of a lawyer have never been "just around the corner," but now one can expect even more highway time before getting there.


Man's Shooting May Be Hate Crime
As a matter of fact, the chances of it being a love crime are practically zero.


Ikea Recalls Blinds That Choked Child
Quoting a company-wide electronic newsletter: "That set of blinds was a beautiful shade of light brown; I remember them distinctly."


Bill Would Trim Bankers' Say at Fed Banks
Who this guy, Bill, is, and why he has so much influence, is yet to be determined.


Big Signs Will Be Allowed on Parkway
The city of Burnsville will suspend enforcement of its signage ordinance on Burnsville Parkway during road construction this summer, but the large signs are required to maintain a minimum speed of 35 miles per hour.

Troops Targeting Taliban Leaders
In an attempt to gain a foothold for democracy and capitalism, U.S. troops in Afghanistan have been taking leaders of the insurgency on shopping sprees.

Pavano's Latest Gem Halts Twins' Slide
A recent trip to a playground was cut short for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen when a new diamond was put up for sale.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hey, Dewey, why haven't you posted anything recently?

Possibly random concepts and/or factual facts that may or may not pertain to the above question:

  • One of the driving forces behind Almost the Truth is seeing humor in the plethora of situations in which one finds oneself.
  • There is often humor to be mined from what is actually a painful experience.
  • Humor mined from pain is often not humorous to the actual person experiencing the actual pain.
  • Since June 9th, my life has kept a fairly tight orbit around the planet of Beloved's knee replacement surgery and the recovery from said surgery.
  • As a general rule, Beloved does not read Almost the Truth.
  • Most general rules have at least one major exception.
  • (Insert Murphy's Law here.)
  • I know which side of the bread my butter is on.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting Room

Here I sit, where families wait
While Beloved gets help for her gait
Our 31st to celebrate

What to get her for a present?
More costly than glass over pheasant
A new right knee: Oh my! How pleasant!

When they wheeled her through the door
I can't say that it was a bore
But I've had deja vu before

When 30 years we had been wed
To this same room I had been led
A new left knee laid her in bed

Back then, I felt a whole lot dumber
Than I do this cusp of summer
Now I know PT's a bummer

But still, we let the surgeon slice
To walk painfree will be so nice
And so we've let him do it twice

No...surgery is not a curse
It certainly could be much worse:
I could compose a longer verse!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What's the opposite of false humility?

Every so often, I click my way over to amazon.com and search on "Almost the Truth about Youth Ministry" just to see if the book-selling behemoth is still making my tome available...or to see if anyone else has written a review. (Thanks, Denise Grove [classmate from high school], for "Funny, funny, funny! Dewey Roth should have written a longer book. I read it in one sitting. It left me wanting more.")

It's always a nice feeling to see it there, but imagine the stuh-range feeling I had when this was my search result:



I know that screen shot might be hard to read, so let me elucidate and illuminate...or at least ruminate.

Brand new for $9.95. That makes perfect sense. That's what a person would pay at http://stores.lulu.com/deweyroth.

I can even kind of understand "12 new from $8.36." Lulu.com being the only place where the book is actually available, (if amazon sells a copy, they have to buy it from lulu.com first) there are apparently some independent sellers out there willing to take a $1.59 loss in hopes of making it up with inflated shipping charges. Okay...fine.

But here's what does a fairly fine job of confusing me beyond the bounds of my normal, loose grasp of reality: "2 used from $16.27"? And to be exact, one seller is offering a "used--like new" copy for $16.27 and a different seller has decided he/she can't let a copy go for anything under $16.28.

Wha--?!!?

Are there people out there who just refuse to get a decent bargain and insist, instead, on paying over 63.5% more? For a used copy? (And True Truth be told, you and I both know those sellers haven't purchased a copy from lulu.com yet, so if anyone is fool enough to order from them, it will be an absolutely new copy.)

What is this...the 1980s?

Of course, the best solution to it all is for you fine folks to order a copy directly from lulu.com, so the pauper-esque publisher (me) gets a bigger share of your hard-earned greenbacks.

THAT'LL teach those unscrupulous up-markers of others' output!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Muppets Take Hollywood

It started innocently enough.

Doesn’t it always?

On May 16, 2010, I had wanted to note the anniversary of the death of Muppet creator, Jim Henson, in my Facebook status, and so…

It was 20 years ago today, Kermit's daddy just passed away...

This led to a few comments from friends about how we couldn’t believe it had been that long ago and how we were glad to hear that a new Muppet movie was in production.

That’s when the speculations began…

Samwise: What's it going to be? Singing in the Pond, Citizen Kerm, The Princess Pig, or Avatoad?
Dewey: It's a somber drama...Felt Needs. Or maybe a horror picture about puppet cannibalism...Foam on the Range.
T-Girl: What about The Wizard of Foz?
Dewey: The Count of Monte Gonzo
T-Girl: Animal House...no, wait
Dewey: Indiana Kermit and the Electric Mayhem
Samwise: Statler and Waldorf of Arabia; The Maltese Fozzie; How to Train Your Piggy; Dances with Rizzo
T-Girl: Doctor Pigvago
Dewey: A sequel to Castaway, but starring a certain green someone…Kermit the Hermit; Bert & Ernie Go to White Castle; The Big Birdowski

And people say spending time on Facebook is wasteful. Ha!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Almost the News VII

In Hot Water, Utah GOP Leader Quits
Utah's House majority leader announced his resignation at a press conference today held in a hot tub.


DNR has Hired Sharpshooters to Take Out Small Herd of Elk
Apparently, the elk were not able to find their own dates.


World's Most Endangered Turtle Species is Threatened
Well, yeah...that would go along with being endangered, wouldn't it?


Jacobs Abused Boys Back to '62
Physicist, Ezekiel Jacobs, was amazed today as he found that, instead of a specially-equipped DeLorean, all it took was some physical violence to initiate time travel.


44,000 Helmets Recalled by Army
It was an evening full of nostalgia as soldiers from wars long since past reminisced about their headgear.

Chinese Professor Gets 3.5 Years for Setting Up Sex Parties
Seems like way more prep time than would be necessary.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I got to thinkin'...

Last Friday, I went to see a high school production of the mega-hit piece of musical theatre, Les Miserables. [Say it with a French accent: lay mizza-ROB-luh. In conversation, those in the know usually just call it "Les Mis" (Lay Mizz)] It was a great production, considering there were only two lines of spoken dialogue the whole evening and they would earnestly sing such memorable lines as, "Hey, Eponine, what's up today?"

True Truth is, it really was impressive and especially gratifying to see/hear several Giant Step (Children's) Theatre alums blow the roof off the joint.

[For any newcomers, Giant Step Theatre is the group wherein I coach acting, choreograph dance-like spasms, and share a stage with as many as 80 3rd-9th graders. (See www.myspace.com/giantsteptheatre) We generally take a well-known fairy tale and twist it into something familiar-yet-fresh. For example, in February, we performed Snow White and the 7 or 8 Dwarfs.]

ANYway...one of the Les Mis cast members (a Giant Step alum) suggested that we do a twisted version of Les Miserables and call it Less Miserable.

And THAT, dear readers, is what got me thinking...dangerous, dangerous stuph. How about a show focused on:
  • A hospital for folks that find it very painful to recline: Lay Misery
  • Inventing a soft drink without as much carbonation: Less Fizzy
  • An unmarried gal who works as a greeter at a Hawaiian airport: Lei Ms
  • A bed-wetter: Lay Whiz
You can never predict from whence inspiration will spring. But because I'm a little afraid of where this particular bit of brain runoff may go, I best be cutting it off right here. Consider yourself blessed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The earworm, my friend, is blowin' in the wind

Behold...the quarterly round-up of those irritating snippets of music that were wafting through my head, uninvited, as I woke up from a perfectly good sleep.

FEBRUARY
1 – Ooh-Ooh, The Coffee Says You Must (Okay, this isn’t really a song, but it’s a musical phrase that kept repeating itself in my head over and over when I woke up this morning…no explanation…at all…absoposilutely irritating.)
3 – I’ve Gotta Be Me (Sammy Davis, Jr.) There are plenty of other versions of this song, but I’m so glad it was Sammy’s voice I heard this morning.
5-16 – Songs from Snow White & the 7 or 8 Dwarfs (Whenever I’m in the midst of a production with Giant Step Theatre [Find us on Facebook and mySpace!], my mornings, and several afternoons and evenings as well, are spent with songs from said production tromping through my brain. This time around, I’m being bombarded with lyrics like “Dum ditty dum-dum, dum ditty-doh,” “Don’t try, no don’t try to be somethin’ you ain’t,” and “I am furious. I am livid. I’m insane with righteous anger. I am seething from my toes up to my crown. I am vexed. I am irate. I find it hard to hold my temper, and in fact I cannot keep my breakfast down!”)
19 – Diamond Girl (Seals & Croft)
25 – Joy to the World (Mistimed Christmas celebration in my brain)
28 – Forever in Blue Jeans (Neil Diamond)

MARCH
4 – Mercy is Falling (“Hey-O! I receive Your mercy. Hey-O! And I receive Your grace…”)
10 – Lady (Little River Band)
14 – ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
15 – Who I Am (The Police)
16 – Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows (Lesley Gore)
17 – Lord, I Offer My Life to You
18 – Lady (Little River Band…again. You would think that having attended a Norah Jones concert last night would have a positive effect on my morning earworm, but nooOOoo…)

APRIL
6 – Good News (2nd Chapter of Acts, which is one of THE seminal groups of “Jesus Music,” which became “Contemporary Christian Music,” which became Big Business owned by a company that also makes a fine Kentucky bourbon)
7 – Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
16 – Looking for the Right One (Stephen Bishop)
17 – Words (Bee Gees)
26 – Since I Don’t Have You (Brian Setzer and His Orchestra do a suhweet rendition…very interesting that this popped up while Beloved is back home again in Indiana)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bond on Back Burner

Cynthia Dickison reported in the Sunday (04/25/2010) edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:


MGM's financial woes have done what villains could not—stop James Bond. The studio's cash crunch has put "Bond 23," scheduled for release in 2011 or 2012 with Oscar winner Sam Mendes set to direct, on indefinite hold.


Let me say two things about that:


1) If something is going to be released "in 2011 or 2012," but you don't know which...is it really accurate to say that it is scheduled for release? "Studio executives are hopeful that it will be released..." maybe. "Popular opinion assumes it will be released..." perhaps. But if something is scheduled, methinks the timing of it ought to be known, you know?


2) I personally don't think finances have anything to do with the shelving of the next Bond movie. I personally think the shelving of the next Bond movie has a whole heckuva lot to do with the fact that the last Bond movie blew with the force of a major hurricane. It should not have been called Quantum of Solace. A more accurate title would have been Quantity of So-Lame.



I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Winner Wiener Whiner

Being raised as the youngest of four children (until my younger sister, DeSurprise, was born when I was ten), had its own unique blend of advantages and disadvantages:

  • While I certainly got all the stereotypical attention that naturally falls to The Baby of the Family, this resulted in having four older siblings who weren't all that crazy about the transfer of power.
  • It was great having those older siblings on your side when it came to dealing with bullies on the school bus, but that also meant I had omnipresent snitches eager to inform SweaterGal and FlatulenceKing about any less-than-noble activities I may have even just been rumored to have been thinking about observing.
  • Household chores were spread fairly thin amongst the four of us, but they often required cooperation amongst the four of us...ACK!
The prime example of all four Roth Childs needing to cooperate to accomplish a chore was Doing the Dishes.

Notice that I did not say "washing the dishes," or "taking care of the dishes." Noooooo. Doing the Dishes was an operation that required precision, skill, stamina, and a strategic mind to rival that of General Patton. My oldest sister, DeeDee QuickWit, would use one sink full of sudsy water to wash the dishes. My brother, Dave McCool, and other sister, Darlene DontTellMom, would take the dishes from the rack, dry them, and put them away. My job, which you will see was the most pivotal and important: taking the dishes from the sink full of hot rinse water and placing them in the rack.

I know, I know...from the outside looking in, it would seem that my part of the operation was pretty easy and evidence of being treated preferentially because of being the youngest. Looking back at it from a distance of several decades, I can understand that misconception. And apparently, Dave McCool saw it that way at the time, because he once stumbled upon a way to enforce a little Older Brother Superiority:

"Hey, Dewey. I bet I can hold my hand in that hot rinse water longer than you can."

"No way!"

"Sure I can. You go first."

At this point, you all know exactly what's going to happen. I, on the other hand, hadn't a trace of an inkling of a clue.

Speaking of "the other hand," I ended up needing one, because I held my hand in that near-boiling water until the meat was about ready to slip off the bone. At which point, my loving brother quickly dipped his finger in and out of the water and said, "You win."



And now you know why I don't have much of a competitive spirit.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What you hear is what you get

Last week, I spent some time with SweaterGal and FlatulenceKing (my parents). It's always a blast from the past to head to Hoosier Land and try to carry on a conversation over the cranked-up-so-Dad-doesn't-have-to-wear-his-hearing-aids soundtrack of RFD-TV:

"Hey, Dad," says I, "don't you kinda think Marty Stuart's hair makes him look more like an 80's rocker wannabe than a country legend?"

"Huh?" grunts FlatulenceKing.

"Marty Stuart's hair...that's pretty wild stuff!"

FK's face screws itself into a question mark as he replies, "Oh, I doubt he even uses snuff, no matter how mild it is. But I'll tell you one thing...he needs a haircut."

I laugh out loud.


"What...you don't think he needs a haircut?"


"Yes, I do," I snicker in reply.


"No I don't...I just cut mine last week."


Now I'm confused: "What?"


"You said I need a haircut, too, and I said I don't because I just got one last week. You wanna borrow my ears?"


"No, that's okay."


"They're right there on the table."


"I said, 'No'."


"So what?"


"Not so...I said, 'No'!"


"Go where?"


With a resigned sigh, I answer, "Branson...are you going to go to Branson?"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This state is not my home

I don't know if it's like this in every part of every country, but around here, if you're not from around here, no matter how long you've lived around here, you are never truly from around here.

The fact that I don't really fit in Minnesota, nor will I ever, was made abundantly clear to me last night at a concert by Norah Jones. Ms Jones cranked it up with a slightly honky-tonk rendition of an old Johnny Cash tune, Cry, Cry, Cry. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP4G2QVX_wQ) It's a song just made for the audience to shout along in the chorus. (Cry! Cry! Cry!)

Well...that was never gonna happen in the comfy confines of The O'Shaughnessy theatre.

What's more, my hands were begging to clap along with the song, but my brain wouldn't allow them the pleasure, knowing that they would be alone in the crowd of politely-listening Scandehoovians.

I leaned close to Beloved and whispered, "Minnesotans just don't clap."

She replied, "That's because they don't know how."

And I immediately knew she was right (an occurrence with which I am intimately familiar). If they had attempted to clap, they'd be doing it on 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4.

...And it occurs to me even now that many of you need me to explain what that last sentence even means.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Limited Random Access Memory

I've never claimed to be an intellectual superstar, but I've always thought people in general had a general sense that I was generally more intelligent than I know that I really am...generally speaking.

Apparently, I haven't been fooling anyone.

Last night, after our mid-week Prayer Pathways thang at church, a TV theme song from who knows how many eons ago popped into my head...and directly jumped into the atmosphere through my mouth. (Translation: I sang it out loud.)

It was at that moment that I learned the True Truth about the discrepancy between my perception of people's perception of me and their actual perception.

PrayerPal looked me in the eye and said, "I wonder what kind of important information you can't remember because you're taking up space with stuff like that."

To paraphrase Calvin & Hobbes: It's not that I'm stupid, I just have a mastery of totally useless information.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Many are called, but few are chosen

JURY SERVICE: A Rite of Passage to Adult Citizenship

That's what the poster in the Jury Gathering Room for the United States District Court in Minneapolis declared. It felt just a smidgen strange to think that, at the age of 52 years, 6 months, and 14 days, I was finally becoming an adult citizen of the country in which I was born and raised. "Today, I am a man."

I had been placed "On Call" for jury duty for a two-month period, and here I was, one-and-a-half months into it, finally being called to the courthouse to be interviewed for possible inclusion in a jury for a civil case. Just the possibility of serving on a jury in the U.S. District Court gave me a heightened sense of my own importance...albeit inflated and unfounded.

I parked at the Mall of America and rode the Hiawatha Line light rail into downtown Minneapolis. That was a first for me. The one really interesting/strange/mysterious thing I noticed was a small panel on the inside wall of the train that looked like it was a speaker for a public address system. Okay, the speaker-panel-thingy wasn't all that interesting/strange/mysterious...it was the sign under it: PANTOGRAPH HANDLE.

I thought, "What the Sam Hill is a pantograph, and why does its handle look like a speaker-panel-thingy?"

According to Dictionary.com, a pantograph is "an instrument for the mechanical copying of plans, diagrams, etc., on any desired scale." Here's a picture of a simple pantograph being used to draw an exact copy of a triangle, only larger.

In my extensive research on the World Wide Wackfest, I found a picture of the actual sign in question (thank you, southtwelfth.tumblr.com) along with a paragraph proposing that the sign is actually a pre-printed graffiti tag of a gang called The Draughtsmen: "Who else celebrates the use of the pantograph?"

The far-less exciting and far-more likely answer was discovered when I looked at the second definition for "pantograph" at Dictionary. com: "In electricity, a device usually consisting of two parallel, hinged, double-diamond frames, for transferring current from an overhead wire to a vehicle, as a trolley car or electric locomotive."

What does all of this have to do with jury duty? Well, nothing really, but I don't really have much to say about the actual serving of jury duty: I didn't get to actually serve. In the pool of 18 people being scrutinized to whittle down the number to 12, there were 5 pastors or ex-pastors. I was one of them who got whittled.

Suddenly, I feel insignificant and unworthy to be called a true American citizen.

"Today, I was almost a man."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Creative Recycling

An interesting conversation was had in my current place of employment the other day.

And yes...that is a noteworthy event. It doesn't happen that often.

My fellow technical writer, WhatifBoy, was talking about needing to take some time off to attend to the needs of his dog: "It's time for Sparky to have some knee surgery."

Having lived through Beloved's knee replacement last summer, my first thought, and actual statement, was, "It's time for Sparky to have his mail delivered by earthworms. Sayonara, Sparkster."

And then our administrative assistant, ClerkGirl, chimed in with a slightly more positive thought: "You know, there are plenty of dogs that get along fine with only three legs."

[The thought just struck me that the "Having lived through Beloved's knee replacement..." paragraph above might sound a little bit like I wish I would have arranged for my wife to be pushing up daisies instead of having her knee replaced. Ummm...FYI: that's not what I meant.]

I was feeling a teensy bit chagrined at having suggested euthanasia, when ClerkGirl added, "Then Sparky would have a new chew bone, too."


I'm still out of breath from laughing so hard, and I think I peed a little.

Friday, February 5, 2010

And they call the wind Earworm

Here's a quarterly round-up of the songs that were blowing through my head on these particular mornings as I fought my way toward wakefulness.


NOVEMBER
4 – Lullaby of Broadway (from the musical, 42nd Street)
9 – Undercover Angel (Alan O’Day) Whether this being in my head had anything to do with Beloved’s return from a week-long trip to Wyoming, I will leave up to you to decide.
15 – The Battle Hymn of the Republic
19 – Food, Glorious Food (from the musical, Oliver!)

DECEMBER
1 – Honky Cat (Sir Elton John)
10 – Reason to Believe (Carpenters) And yes, sticklers for the Truth, the group’s name was “Carpenters,” not “The Carpenters.” I’m just sayin’…
16 – Burdens are Lifted at Calvary
17 – The Right Thing to Do (Carly Simon) and Midnight Blue (Melissa Manchester) This actually made a pretty interesting mash-up in my slowly-regaining-consciousness state-of-being. Maybe the cast of Glee should work on this.
21 – The Stranger (Billy Joel) This song marks a very special place in my musical life. The album that shares its title was the last pop music I ever purchased on vinyl. 1981 is also about when I stopped listening to pop radio with any frequency (or on any frequency, for that matter).
25 – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (For once! An earworm’s timing that makes perfect sense!)
27 – You’re the First, the Last, My Everything (Barry White) And let me tell you, if you don’t think it’s a scary thing to wake up with Barry White’s low-rumble of a voice looping through your consciousness, you’ve got another think coming.
29 – Nothing But a Miracle (Rich Mullins)
31 – Only Yesterday (Carpenters) Kinda spooky that this barged its way into my head on the morning of New Year’s Eve, eh?

JANUARY
2 – We’re Getting Nowhere Fast (This Train)
4 – Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong (Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes)
6 – Cry for No One (The Beatles)
8 – Theme from Firefly (I watched the penultimate episode of this Really-Good-But-Tragically-Short series on hulu.com last night. The feeling is kind of like ActorBoy’s wedding reception: really enjoyable, but heartbreaking at the same time because I knew it couldn’t last.)
9 – Jesus Messiah (Chris Tomlin)
12 – Lotta Love (Nicolette Larson) I actually had to dig a bit to get the title and artist for this one. I searched on “Got a Lot of Love,” then tried “Gotta Lotta Love,” and finally plucked a snippet of the lyric out of thin air (my heart needs relating, not solitude) and found the answer. Who would have thought it would be that hard?
16 – (I Love You) More Today Than Yesterday (Spiral Starecase) Yes, that incorrect spelling is correct.
20 – We Need a Little Christmas (from Mame)
21 – Shadow Dancing (Andy Gibb) Not the first time this incessant tune has wormed its way onto this list. Maybe it’s because the song itself is so repetitive. It’s not nice to speak ill of the dead, but really, Andy…
27 – Private Eyes (Daryl Hall & John Oates)
28 – Kathy’s Song (Simon & Garfunkel)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm only human...not!

I did a vanity search on the World Wide Wackfest and made some interesting discoveries:
1. Contrary to what I might be led to believe by the address on all my utility bills, I do not live in Minnesota.
2. I am not a human being.

OBSERVE:
According to mantra.com, “Dewey Roth is a private company categorized under Farm Land Leasing and located in Cairo, NE. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $48,000 and employs a staff of approximately 1.”

After I gave up trying to figure out whether they rounded up or down to get to “approximately 1,” I started looking around for my articles of incorporation, but to no avail.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been feeling like myself lately, but I didn’t think it was this bad.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Almost the Truth to Go

Knowing that the tens of you out there who actually, factually read Almost the Truth feel a little sad at clicking your way to another Web page and leaving the latest installment behind, I have graciously decided to provide a way to keep the grins close to you whether or not you're close to a computer.

It's an amazing invention with which you can read and re-read two years' worth of blog postings without the need of any Internet connection, random access memory, or even battery power.

It's a little thing I like to call a book.

That's right, friends, as of just last night, Almost the Truth: The Blog Archive 2008-2009 is available for purchase at one of two Web addresses:


http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/almost-the-truth-the-blog-archive-2008-2009/8243725

or

http://stores.lulu.com/deweyroth

Now you can have a reason to grin and/or groan at your side, morning, noon, or night. Buy early; buy often. Valentine's Day is coming up. People have birthdays all year round. The 4th of July would be a great time to celebrate the freedom of the press. And you know what? It's never too early to get that Very Special Christmas Present for that Very Special Someone.


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Brave! The Daring! The Shameless!

That journalistic juggernaut of truth and wisdom, Entertainment Weekly, has a feature called "Style Hunter." Every week, there is a page full of answers to reader requests for where to purchase particular pieces of clothing or accessories that were seen in recent television or movie productions.

The following example fills me with wonder and awe...

Who makes Kate Hudson's sunglasses in Nine? - Camilla

For Hudson's glitzy dance number, veteran costume designer Colleen Atwood chose frames by Cutler and Gross London (style 0886), which are available at Selima Optique (212-677-8487; $490).





I'm sorry, but...ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!!?

1. If I were the producer of that movie, concerned with keeping things within a budget, when Colleen Atwood chose those frames, I would have chosen a different designer.


2. How absolutely fearless does a person need to be to think they can charge that much money for a pair of sunglasses?


3. Are those things made strictly out of the rendered hoofs of Argentinian mountain goats who died of natural causes during a full moon in months that have an "R" in them?




I am so totally in the wrong line of work...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Almost the News VI

FBI Digs into Yard of Home with 11 Bodies
An internal investigation is underway to determine what has caused the apparent shortage of shovels.


Man Pleads Guilty to Molesting Girl
Of course, he should have been pleading to a judge. If he wanted to plead to a molesting girl, he should have pleaded for her to stop it.


Bill Helps Wireless Users Who Switch
Thanks, Bill. You're a nice guy.


Judge: Gitmo Trials Need Perspective
A new court artist is being sought for the trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees. Judge Royce Lamberth has declared that the work of the current artist "has no depth. It's too flat; practically one-dimensional."


High Court Delays Boy's Return to U.S.
The 9-year-old Brazilian boy waiting to return to his U.S. father will have to wait a little longer. The court can't make a ruling in his case because it's just too stoned.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Learn a little lesson from our friend the Tasmanian Devil

There it was, on Page 4A of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, on the first day of 2010:

Tasmanian Devil Ill Revealed
WASHINGTON -- Fierce as they are, Tasmanian devils can't beat a contagious cancer that threatens to wipe them out. Now scientists think they've found the disease's origin, a step in the race to save Australia's snarling marsupial. The furry black animals spread a fast-killing cancer when they bite each other's faces. Since the disease's discovery in 1996, their numbers have plummeted by 70 percent. Last spring, Australia listed the devils--made famous by their Looney Tunes cartoon namesake Taz--as an endangered species. The surprise finding, reported in today's edition of the journal Science, has led to development of a test to help diagnose the tumor.

Forget for a moment how the title of this short article calls into question whether the thing that ails Tasmanian devils was revealed or whether a Tasmanian devil was revealed rather badly. There's a more important turn of phrase to skewer here.

Did you notice it?

Since the disease's discovery in 1996, their numbers have plummeted by 70 percent.

So...the thing that's killing off the Tasmanian devils isn't cancer...it's the discovery of the disease! Before the scientists stuck their noses into it, things were swimming along just fine, but nooooo...They of the Sacred Lab Coats had to go and make a discovery! Now the TDs are racing toward extinction!

Put this in the list of Things That Are Worse Than They Were Because Now There's a Name for It...right along with Swine Flu, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Pre-Menstrual Syndrome.