Monday, February 28, 2011

Fab Four FaceBook Fandango

I unilaterally declared February "Beatles Name That Tune" month and posted a different bit of Mop Top lyric as my status update on FaceBook every day (except Sundays). What no one in his or her right mind would have anticipated is how the whole list holds together as a semi-coherent conversation...which is the only kind of conversations I have, anyway.

Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something I think you’ll understand. I've been in love before, and I found that love was more than just holding hands. Love you every day girl; always on my mind. One thing I can say girl: love you all the time.

When you told me you didn't need me anymore, well, you know I nearly broke down and cried. Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be. Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping. Pools of sorrow, waves of joy, are drifting through my open mind, possessing and caressing me.

Life is very short, and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend. There's nothing you can do that can't be done; nothing you can sing that can't be sung. With our love, we could save the world; if they only knew.

Been away so long I hardly knew the place. Gee, it's good to be back home. When I'm home everything seems to be right.

Who finds the money when you pay the rent? You know how hard it can be. The wild and windy night that the rain washed away has left a pool of tears crying for the day.

Would you believe in a love at first sight? The minute you let her under your skin, then you begin to make it better.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. My love don't give me presents. And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me.

The girl that's driving me mad is going away. The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still. And of course, Henry the horse dances the waltz!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How gifted is that doggie in the window?

Reading is a wonderful thing.

Through the magic of the printed (or pixelated) word, a person can go from being ignorant to being informed; unlearned to knowledgeable; not even knowing what it is you don't know to knowing something you never even knew you didn't know.

An article by Jesse Ellison in the February 21 issue of Newsweek has, like Paul Simon said in "Sounds of Silence," planted a vision in my brain that still remains.

The bad news is, the vision is not all that attractive. But first, the info, and I quote:

Labs [as in Labrador Retrievers] can detect colorectal and bowel cancer with 98 percent accuracy by examining stool samples, according to a recent study. The current technology is correct only 10 percent of the time.
I'm just...I mean, I really...when the farnsworth has it been determined that Labradors can do that?!!?

Firstly, if the current technology can only correctly detect colorectal and bowel cancer with 10 percent accuracy by examining stool samples, how could we determine the dogs' accuracy? "Hey, Melvin, Fido here says the donor of this sample has cancer. Better run it through our technology again...not that we can trust it the second time any more than we could the first time."

Secondly, how does one go about training a dog to know the difference between a stool sample from a cancer victim and a stool sample from someone without cancer? How many years of medical school (and boxes of Beggin' Strips) does that take?

Thirdly, how does Doctor Doggie communicate his or her findings? It brings to mind the comedy sketches skewering Lassie...

Bark! Bark-bark!

Lassie! What is it, girl? What's wrong?

Woof! Arf-arf! Yalp!

What?!!? Timmy fell in the old, abandoned well and has multiple cuts and contusions, with a possible hairline fracture of his right femur?

Fourthly, think about how dogs sniff each others' hind parts when they get together. All this time we thought they were greeting each other or trying to determine if they had met before. In reality, they're just performing medical screenings for each other.

Fifthly, maybe the high percentage of accuracy stems not from the superiority of a canine's diagnostic skills as contrasted to a computer's, but the superiority of the canine's methodology of examination. Maybe we humans could be just as accurate if we "put our noses to the grindstone," so to speak.

Which leads me, sixthly, to revealing that the title of the article quoted above is "Are Dogs Stealing Our Jobs?" and answering the title's question with a question of my own: Who would want that crappy job, anyway?

For the record...pun intended.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hey, how's the weather treatin' ya?

The January 10 & 17, 2011 issue of Newsweek shared some statistics (garnered from America's Health Rankings) that put my hectic life on hold and led me to ponder the cause, ruminate on the reason, and consider the source.

The stats were on binge drinking, defined as men pouring five or more drinks down the hatch in a single sitting (or, for women, four or more sexist). The title of the bar graph was "Binge Drinking Prevalence, 2010," and listed state names and a percentage.

What the award-winning team of journalists at Newsweek failed to inform this reader on was what the farnsworth the percentages actually meant. For instance, Minnesota, which came in third (c'mon, Sven, you're not trying hard enough!), was listed at 20%. Does that mean that 20% of Minnesotan drinkers are binge drinkers? Or does it signify that Minnesotan drinkers binge it up 20% of the time? Or...could it possibly be true that one in every five residents of the Land of 10,000 Entitlement Programs is a binge drinker?

Whatever the significance of the percentages, what caused my pause to reflect were the names of the top four binge-drinking states: Wisconsin (23.2%), North Dakota (21.5%), Minnesota (20%), and Iowa (19.4%). If we could get South Dakotans educated enough to know how to open a brew, the Upper Midwest would have a solid lock on the top 10% in the nation!

The burning question is, does living here in the tundra drive a person to drink, or does a propensity to over-imbibe coincide with the lack of good judgment it takes to put down roots (in the 5 weeks of the year when the ground is thawed enough to do so) here in The Nation's Icebox?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ask a Silly Question

Years ago, when I was earning a living subsistence by working with youth in a local church (i.e., The Youth Pastoring Daze), there was a particular day in which I went with a particular youth to visit her grandmother in a particular hospital. (Notice, it was not General Hospital. Nowhere near that much drama.)

While talking with the patient, I asked if the doctors and nurses were being good to her. Her reply was not only an education on the difference between her generation and mine, but an occasion for me to drop to my knees, clasp my hands over my heart, and cry from laughing so hard:

"In sixty-two years of marriage, I never once undressed in front of my husband, but around here, people come in and look at whatever they want to see!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hey! Look me over; lend me an earworm

It happens once a quarter: I post a list of those snippets of songs who force their way into my head while I am trying to sleep for just five more minutes.

1 – Yesterday (The Beatles)
9 – Younger Than Springtime (from South Pacific)
13 – America the Beautiful
15 – Daybreak (Barry Manilow) An earworm that actually made sense! Well, it would have made sense if daylight savings time hadn’t ended. As it is, day doesn’t actually break forth into all its splendor until I’m on my way to work.
16 – Good Morning (Beatles) Wait a minute…this is getting spooky.
17 – How Great Thou Art (There…that’s more like it)
20 – Babe (Styx)
21 – Midnight Blue (Melissa Manchester)
22 – Babe (Styx) Yes…again. Honestly…the lyric is “Babe, I’m leaving; I must be on my way,” so LEAVE ALREADY!
27 – Don’t Worry Baby (The Beach Boys)/Be My Baby (The Ronettes) This is a mash-up I’d like to hear the cast of Glee do. It really works.

1 – Castles in the Air (Don McLean) This was pre-American Pie, and if anybody reading these words also has his vinyl album, Tapestry, I think I may wet myself in shock and amazement.
3 – Dreidel (Don McLean, again) I tried to ignore this, so as not to repeat artists so quickly, but I had to tell the truth. And I know why McLean is insisting to have residence in my cranium: I listened to a couple of his albums while putting up the Christmas tree November 29th. Now, why are his songs still inflicting themselves upon me? Is it because they are so hauntingly beautiful and unique, or is it because my brain is just that feeble so as to accept any imprint whatsoever? (Don’t answer that.)
8 – Tonight’s the Night (Rod Stewart)
20 – Night and Day (Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66)
27 – Sweet Georgia Brown/Cantina Theme (from Star Wars) Unusual mash-up, I know, but try it…you’ll see that my subconscious is fairly genious.
28 – We Need a Little Christmas (The blame for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the Christmas episode of Glee that I watched last night.)
29 – Angels from the Realms of Glory (“Come and worship. Come and worship. Worship Christ the newborn king!”)

3 – For Once in My Life (Stevie Wonder)
5 – Evensong (Dave Burkum, who is the lead pastor at my church [] and wrote this song, which is used for our Sunday EVENing service…get it?)
9 – At the Hop (Danny and the Juniors)
11 – Vehicle (Ides of March) And, yes, you are correct…this is not the first time this little number has appeared on this list.
13 – The Air that I Breathe (The Hollies) Of course, this being January in Minnesnowta, the air that I breathe tends to make my lungs freeze…the whole situation’s brought me to my knees.
14 – Bound to Come Some Trouble (Rich Mullins)
18 – Tired of Waiting (The Kinks)
20 – Jessie’s Girl (Rick Springfield)
24 – Smoke of a Distant Fire (Sanford-Townsend Band) Yes, I had to look up the name of this one-hit-wonder ensemble.
26 – How Majestic Is Your Name (Michael W. Smith)
31 – Everlasting God (“You are the everlasting God…the everlasting God…You do not faint, You won’t grow weary…”) My subconscious probably felt the need to remind me of this True Truth because it knew I was going to wake up to YET ANOTHER SNOW STORM!