Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Morning Beagle Haiku

The beagle abed:
Warm, cozy, and secure with
Monique at her desk.

Cheating Death

Just passing along a link to a pretty incredible blog entry. This came my way via the baseball stats community, though it has nothing to do with baseball or stats. Well worth the read: Cheating Death.

A deafening series of violent bumps. A patch of thickly clustered trees. A terrified scream. A sickening crash. A crushed mass of twisted metal and broken glass. A smoking heap.


Cheating Death

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Spider-in-the-Shower: The Sequel

To the tune of "Itsy-Bitsy Spider"

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider crawled up the shower spout.
John turned on the shower to wash the spider out.
Back came the spider, climbing up the--

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy (Early) Birthday, Monique!

Okay, some of you are reading that headline and thinking, "But it's only August 29 and Monique's birthday isn't until October 29. Two months is really early."

Yeah, it is really early. But I had a good idea for a birthday present for her -- something I knew she really wanted -- and it seemed a good idea to give it to her now than on the cusp of Winter.

Why was it a good idea to give her her present now? 'Cause it's a kayak! Did she like it? I'm not sure. She squealed briefly, then paddled away.

If you see her paddling by a lake, river, or stream near you, you can ask her if she likes it. And wish her Happy Birthday, even though it isn't her birthday.


Monique and I once again served as judges for Wolverine Lake's annual catch-and-release fishing tournament. There are a few more catch-and-release fishing tournaments these days, but when it started up about ten years ago it was pretty unusual.

As I watched a big walleye recover from the experience, then swim away, it struck me that the catch-and-release tournament experience for a fish is astonishingly similar to UFO abduction stories. That fish was just swimming along, minding its business, when suddenly it was yanked into the sky, saw a blinding light, was held in captivity, was measured and examined, then it was released back into the the wild where -- dazed and confused -- it tried to regain its bearings.

Which leads me to my question. Could it be that UFO abduction stories are just the inevitable fallout of aliens conducting catch-and-release human tournaments? I dunno, but if you're walking along a secluded path one day and see a hamburger floating by you on the end of a line, my advice is to resist the temptation to grab it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Haiku That I Expect to Develop into a Screenplay

Katie the Beagle:
How is she like Godzilla?
Her halitosis!

This Summer in Facebook Status Updates

Just thought it would be fun to do a Summer recap based on some of my Facebook status updates from the past few months. And so, here it is...

John Magee and Monique went shopping for plants today: heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, thyme, basil, mint, rosemary, blackberry, zinnias, impatiens, gerber daisies, petunias, and scarlet begonias. The real coup? A hops vine, which will one day contribute to a batch of homebrew. Now I reckon I'd better get off Facebook and get to plantin'. May 30 at 6:30pm
John Magee sez:
Let's go Red Wings! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!
Let's go Red Wings! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP CLAP CLAP!
June 12 at 10:14am
Damn. ... Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Thanks for the good run, Wings. June 12 at 10:40pm
John Magee napped away some of this cool, cloudy day with the help of my accomplice, Katie the Beagle. That's one snoozin' pooch! June 13 at 11:29pm
John Magee just sat on his pontoon boat, watched the sunset, and listened to a great Jerry Garcia Band concert I had never heard before. Good way to end the weekend. June 14 at 9:45pm
John Magee really enjoyed working at home this morning, but must admit that this afternoon it's easier to concentrate here in his cluttered cubicle, where his neighbor isn't asking if he can go wakeboarding. June 15 at 3:24pm
John Magee was going to laze about on the couch watching the Tigers game, but it was such a nice evening that I took a little sunset cruise on the lake, instead. June 18 at 10:54pm
Lunch in the cube: leftover fish soup. June 19 at 12:43pm
John Magee is drinkin' a foh-tie on the porch. Must be Friday evening. Too bad more storms are rolling in, or I'd be fishin' and drinkin'. June 19 at 7:10pm
John Magee is flopped on the couch with the Sunday paper and a Tiger game on the tube. I may eventually summon enough energy to go lay in the hammock later in the afternoon. We shall see. June 21 at 1:46pm
John Magee worked at home this morning, but I'm now packing up to go in to the office to confine myself to my cubicle, so that I don't have to resist the temptation of this beautiful day on the lake any longer. June 22 at 1:41pm
The wearing-shorts-to-work scorecard:
Jason Cornett, 3,814
John Magee, 1/2 (this afternoon, 'cause it was just too damn nice to put on a pair of full-length pants.)
June 22 at 2:33pm
John Magee is enjoying the heat. Thank you for finally stopping by, Summertime. June 24 at 10:34am

Raymond Brace - Excellent, but where do you stand on the "wearing-shorts-to-work" scorecard? June 24 at 1:58pm

John Magee - Hey, wasn't a 1/2-day in 14 years good enough for everybody? June 24 at 2:32pm

Raymond Brace - Was looking more for Jason's updated score (lol). June 24 at 2:34pm

John Magee - Let's see, three work days have passed since the last update, so that makes it:
Jason Cornett, 3,817
John Magee, 1/2

I'm beginning to think that he's running up the score on me! June 24 at 4:02pm
John Magee has become increasingly concerned that the celebrity-obsession of our media reminds me more and more of parts of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" by Edward Gibbon. Am I just turning into a cranky old man? Or did I catch a preview of coming attractions when I read that tome? June 26 at 12:27pm
John Magee and Katie the Beagle are lazing about the house, enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning. (Though Katie seems to be mostly wondering if Monique is back yet.) June 27 at 11:37am
Another beautiful summertime morning on the lake. This site just doesn't have enough thumbs up for me to express how much I like it. June 28 at 9:51am
John Magee very much enjoyed Andy Meisner's swearing-in as Oakland County Treasurer. It was great to see (almost) everybody who worked on the campaign again, and even better to see Andy finally become our county treasurer. Congratulations, Andy! July 1 at 2:03pm
Katie the Beagle, meet Mr. Skunk. Mr. Skunk, meet Katie the Beagle. I'm especially thrilled that you two met up at 1 am. That made it extra special. July 2 at 1:54am
John Magee and Monique couldn't figure out why the bathroom still stunk of skunk. Until Monique realized that Katie the Beagle's unwashed collar was still sitting on the sink. One lucky beagle's getting a new collar today! July 2 at 11:12am
John Magee is party prep, party prep, party prep. July 3 at 10:50am
Happy Birthday, America! Great fireworks last night on Wolverine Lake! Now we're cleaning up the party debris and getting ready to watch the US Eagles v. Canada in a Rugby World Cup qualifying match. (4 pm, ESPN.) Go, USA! July 4 at 1:53pm
John Magee was killing time waiting for the USA v. Canada Rugby World Cup qualifier on ESPN, and I can't believe I just lost an hour of my life watching the Frankie & Annette beach movie "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini", which barely even has Frankie & Annette in it. July 4 at 4:01pm
Hammock + Baseball Game on the Radio = Summertime July 5 at 2:40pm
Monday morning already? I disbelieve! July 6 at 9:52am
John Magee is lunchin' in the cube: a salad and a cup of lime jell-o. (Methinks my status updates could occasionally use a bit more glamour.) July 7 at 12:48pm
John Magee and Monique gave in to today's Jackson-mania and downloaded a few classic Michael Jackson videos via our DirecTV video-on-demand. That, of course, led to a trip to YouTube to pull up "Weird" Al Yankovic's "Beat It" and "Fat". July 8 at 12:29am
John Magee is baking a cherry pie and then headed off to the Dems of West Oakland summer picnic. Kinda handy that we can get there by boat. July 12 at 1:23pm
amºbig'eºnal, a. [ambi-, and L. genus, born.] of two kinds: used only in the Newtonian phrase 'ambigenal hyperbola', one of the triple hyperbolas of the third order, having one of its infinite legs falling within an angle formed by the asymptotes, and the other without. July 12 at 9:57pm

John Magee - Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence AS YOUR STATUS. AND POST these instructions in a comment to this status.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST book.
July 12 at 9:58pm

John Magee - Not quite a sentence, I suppose, but I did the best I could with the big, giant Webster's Unabridged that sits on our reference stand right behind my head.

John Magee - "Vimes remembered late-night patrols when he could practically see by the glow coming from some of the windows," was only four inches further away, and would've at least been a real sentence. July 12 at 10:00pm

Rachel Skousen Herr - That is great you have a dictionary close by! I grabbed the closest book to me, opened to page 56, and found page 56 in The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer is blank. July 13 at 7:59am
Brandon Inge ... *zero* HRs in the Home-Run Derby?!! C'mon, man, you hit two yesterday against real pitchers. July 13 at 9:54pm
John Magee is headed home, where two newly imported French nephews should've arrived from the airport by now. Monique and I are hosting a couple of loaner boys for the next month! July 14 at 5:51pm
So far today there's been swimming, fishing, and one big water fight ... all before I got out of bed. I'd say that my newphews Malcolm and Henry are off to a good start on their summertime visit to Michigan. Tonight's activity? Harry Potter, d'accord! July 15 at 10:56am
John Magee woke to find a nephew standing at the foot of his bed, holding up a bloody hand . That's much more effective than an alarm clock for waking instantly! It turned out to be just a scrape, albeit a good one, and was soon expertly bandanged by Moniq...ue. Although Malcolm might not be able to go swimming for a couple of days, the fishing continued unabated by the time I left for work. July 16 at 10:52am
John Magee Lunch in the cube: a bowl of beans. I've resisted the temptation to run errands at lunchtime today, 'cause it's so nice outside that I might not have the willpower to go back to work afterwards. July 17 at 12:42pm
John Magee is hanging out with Monique, Henry, and Malcolm over at Arsen & Brigitte's. Katie the Carsick Beagle made the crosstown trip with us, too, though I think we all now agree she might've been happier to be left home. July 18 at 3:49pm
Wondering what Monique, Henry, Malcolm, Arsen, Brigitte, Katie the Beagle, and I were up to this weekend? The answers can't be found on Facebook. You'll have to go check out the blog. July 20 at 12:51am

Susan Magee Riordan - The internet's number two source of beagle haiku! Do you think the folks at Google have noticed a surprising spike in the number of folks looking for beagle haiku? July 20 at 8:11am

John Magee - According to Google Trends, "Your terms - beagle haiku - do not have enough search volume to show graphs." I suppose that if I had really wanted to see a spike in traffic, I shoulda gone with today's #1 Hot Topic: "erin andrews peephole video link."

You're a class act, searchers of the world. July 20 at 11:51am
John Magee has two sleeping French boys on his couch. July 20 at 10:51pm
John Magee just suffered a small paper cut while catching up on some reading from this week's council packet. I hope the voters appreciate how we elected officials suffer on their behalf! July 21 at 9:55pm

Monica Lesnau - Indubitably a sign signifying that it’s time to dispense with your pedestrian packet perusal and take up the pen or keyboard, which are definitely mightier than the sword, not to mention much safer, although running with them is still not a good idea. Check out: and not just because it’s a “dark and stormy night.” July 21 at 11:40pm

John Magee - Alas, with this fierce paper cut taking my right index finger out of action, all I can type is, "It was a dark a d stor y ig t. S dde l a s ot ra g o t. T e aid screa ed!" July 22 at 1:34am
John Magee just finished a tasty leftover lunch in his cube, and can't help but think, "Is that all there was?" July 22 at 1:33pm

Holly Hereau - Why are you always commenting about your cube? I feel depressed picturing you in it :) July 22 at 2:35pm

John Magee - Why do I comment on my cube, Holly? 'Cause for 40 or 50 hours a week, that's where me and my computer can usually be found. (Especially at lunchtime, which is usually when I check in on FB during the day.)

It's not all bad, though ... I have a few plants, some cool comic art up on the walls, and a big stack of contracts and invoices to give the joint some atmosphere. If I had a litter box and one of those exercise wheels they give caged rats, the place would be downright homey. July 22 at 10:32pm

Phil Gaven - Sweet Jesus - I want to see the exercise wheel they give to dudes like you. I thought the one in the kids' gerbil cage made a racket. What an image. July 22 at 10:38pm
John Magee just watched three episodes of "Star Blazers" with Malcolm and Henry. Sometimes you gotta love that 1970s Japanese animé. July 22 at 10:51pm
John Magee appreciates that Holly Hereau expressed her preference for a free-range Magee in her comment on yesterday's status update. Ahhh, to live in a world in which props roamed freely about the countryside during the summertime.... July 23 at 1:49pm

Holly Hereau - I think I can dig up some good pictures of "free-range Magee" July 23 at 1:59pm

Steve Mace - Isn't that what we fought against in the cold war? July 23 at 2:05pm

Ray Abruzzi - Makes you wonder how much actual "range" would be left for the rest of us, if Magees were allowed the freedom to roam and graze at will. July 23 at 2:59pm

Phil Gaven - Free range? I knew John when he was feral. July 23 at 4:25pm

Michael Magee - This Magee moved to Wyoming where there is more than enough room to roam and graze at will. I will also deny that there is any correlation between my moving here and declining Elk populations. July 23 at 4:51pm

John Magee - I would write something in my defense, but ... well, it's 6:41 pm and I'm still in my cube. So I think I'll shut down the computer and go home, where a feral pack of free-range nieces and nephews has taken over the house. July 23 at 6:42pm

Phil Gaven - Ooh. Fine line between free-range and feral, and you always want to keep 'em on the right side of the line. July 23 at 7:22pm
John Magee is getting ready to go to the Detroit Zoo with the pack of free-range nephews and nieces. I suspect that instead of signs saying, "Beware of Animals" the zoo will soon wish they had signs saying, "Beware of nephews and nieces." (...Just kiddin'. In truth they've all been extremely well behaved and a joy to have around the house.) July 27 at 11:19am
John Magee is back from the Zoo. Too bad the animals ate all the children. Shea was swallowed by a python, a Siberian tiger noshed on Henry, Atlee fell in the penguin tank and was nibbled by carnivorous penguins, Greeley was barely a snack for a polar bear, and Malcolm was sucked up the snout by a giant anteater. July 27 at 6:49pm

Kelly Gibson Franklin - Hope you were able to get a refund, or does that count as a donation/tax credit? July 28 at 12:50pm
John Magee This clip forces me to break out all my favorite Internet acronyms: OMG, LOL, ROTFLMAO. William Shatner Reads Sarah Palin Farewell Speech: It's not quite "Rocketman," but "Rocketman" didn't have bongos...
July 29 at 5:44pm
John Magee just walked by the kitchenette and mistakenly glanced at the TV with CNN on. Not only did it make me want to hurry back to working on my monthly report, but it confirmed my general opinion that the phrase "cable-TV news" is at best an oxymoron. July 30 at 5:55pm
John Magee is callin' it a day at work. Viva the weekend! July 31 at 5:45pm

Holly Hereau - Way to escape the cube! July 31 at 6:14pm

John Magee - I know you were rootin' for me. August 1 at 12:45am
John Magee and Monique had a really fun day today with Malcolm and Henry: carp fishing in the morning, Highland Games in Livonia all afternoon, and then tonight -- in a flashback to the early 80s -- we all played Dungeons and Dragons. (The carp seem to be safer from us than the orcs. Quite a few orcs died tonight, while the carp continue to swim safely in Wolverine Lake. August 1 at 11:45pm
John Magee played another round of Dungeons & Dragons with Monique, Henry, and Malcolm. It's given me an excellent opportunity to practice at my evil-goblin cackle. I think I'll break it out at the next village council meeting. August 3 at 11:46pm
John Magee thinks that if Holly Hereau finds my usual "lunching in the cube" status update to be a bit of a downer, my "Monday Morning Shower" poem will leave her in deep, dark depression. August 4 at 12:16pm
John Magee and Katie the Beagle think it's pretty quiet around here tonight with Monique, Malcolm, and Henry off at Arsen & Brigitte's for the evening. August 5 at 9:07pm
John Magee isn't much of a fan of being in his cubicle at work on a beautiful Summer day. But I am a big fan of my lovely drive into work on a beautiful Summer day, so I reckon I'll take what I can get. August 7 at 12:17pm
John Magee , Monique, Malcolm, and Henry are all watching an old Star Trek episode ("The Tholian Web") on a rainy day. Katie the Beagle would also be watching, but she's too busy napping. August 8 at 12:40pm
Hey, what's that outside? Oh, it's summertime weather. I almost didn't recognize it, it's been so long. August 9 at 1:05pm
John Magee is getting ready to read Henry & Malcolm to bed with another chapter of "Treasure Island." August 10 at 9:38pm
John Magee was watching the Tigers v. White Sox game on TV with Monique, Malcolm & Henry until the rain delay struck. Now Monique and I are watching the end of the game while Malcolm & Henry snooze after a long, full day of fishing, batting cages, and more fishing. August 11 at 10:55pm
John Magee and Monique are off in the morning for the enormous-Magee family reunion in the Adirondacks. Hurrah! (Yes, grammarians, it's a reunion of enormous Magees.) August 14 at 12:21am
John Magee and Monique watched shooting stars and satellites on a dark Adirondack night with Tom, Nadine, Mike, Krista, Mark, Caleb, Cooper, Matthew, and Jenny. What a great way to wrap up the family reunion weekend. August 17 at 11:53pm
John Magee got harassed on the road while I was driving in to work by a Republican who was mad about my Obama bumper sticker. Relax, GOP-ers, it's gonna be a long four years for you. (Well, eight years, really, if you're serious about nominating Palin....) Heck, I didn't even start to get irked about Dubya until after he'd already lost the South end of Manhattan and invaded the wrong country, and he had 6-1/2 more years to go. August 19 at 10:12am
John Magee drove in to work on 13-Mile Rd. instead of 12-Mile today: prettier trees and less raging political debate at 45 mph. August 20 at 10:35am
John Magee is prepping for his first fantasy football draft of the year tonight. With the fourth and sixth overall picks in the FPDL rookie draft, the Basking Beagles pick ... ? We shall see. August 21 at 6:39pm

Phil Gaven - Oh, jeez. I just peed myself from excitement. August 21 at 6:42pm

John Magee - Surprisingly, Phil, you weren't the only one to pee yourself over our draft. We had to stop the draft for a few minutes because somebody's two-year-old had a potty-training accident. August 21 at 11:31pm
Alas, the Basking Beagles didn't get Mike Vick in our fantasy football draft. (Katie the Beagle wanted us to draft him, cage him, and poke him with a cattle prod.) August 21 at 11:30pm
Down 20-0 after one quarter? Multiple turnovers? Dumb penalties? Getting their asses kicked on the offensive *and*defensive lines? Giving up kick returns for touchdowns? The Lions don't need preseason. I say they're already in mid-season form! August 22 at 9:27pm
John Magee and Monique just dined on tomato sandwiches and sliced tomatoes with heirloom tomatoes fresh from our garden. Forget sixty-three and drizzling outside, it tastes like Summertime at the Magee house this afternoon. Sun at 3:13pm
John Magee and Monique took a great sunset cruise this evening. Mon at 9:29pm
John Magee received 68 work e-mails yesterday. No wonder it felt as if I spent most of my day just trying to keep up. Yesterday at 10:58am
Another evening, another lovely cruise -- this time with guest cruiser Justine Carson and Thai take-out onboard for dinner. (Gotta keep cruisng while the weather's still good!) Yesterday at 11:14pm

Morning Shower Haiku

Sorry, l'il spider.
But spiders aren't permitted
In the shower. SQUISH!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Monique is sitting on the couch reading Robert Heinlein's Revolt in 2100. This probably wouldn't be blogworthy, except that she keeps muttering things like "It's a blueprint. It's a blueprint!" and, "That's just the way to do it!"

Be afraid tonight in your velvet-lined beds, oh plutocrats. Be very afraid.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunset Cruise on Wolverine Lake

Monique and I took a lovely sunset cruise this evening on the ol' Patio Boat.  It was quiet as could be, except for the chirping of crickets from shore.  I fished for a while, but nary a nibble was to be had. However, as soon as I pulled in my line the fish started jumping all about us.

I figured they'd had the last laugh on me for the day, so I settled for catching a few photos, instead:

Nice sunset.

Back to Our Core Competency: Beagle Haiku

Susan informs me that our international beagle-haiku ranking may be falling, what with all the family-fun pics and detailed whining about my plumbing woes. So it's back to work on a Monday:

Mole under the fence?!
Sniff, sniff, sniff! Dig, dig, dig! Sniff!
My beagle nose smells you!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Magee Family Reunion Photos

Okay, here they are, photos aplenty from the Magee family reunion last weekend at my Uncle Tom and Aunt Nadine's place in the Adirondacks.

Let me preface these by saying that we came back from the reunion with about two hundred photos, including plenty of good ones that aren't below. But there was no way I was going to post them all here. So if you want a copy of them all, just send along your mailing address and we'll send you a CD of the complete lot.

Okay, on to the photos...

Somebody must've forgotten to close the screen door because a big pest came in after Nadine's deviled eggs.

Mike and Zoe are ready for the party.

The pink mafia.

My Dad with my brothers Mike and Ben.

The Critter and Dan were already exhausted by the party prep.

Susan with one-and-a-half children.

Monique playing frisbee with Greeley and Atlee.

"What is this thing?" asks Greeley.

The grill crew.

Reunion fashion faux pas: My Dad and Ben with identical Detroit Rugby caps.

Chalk artists prefer to be close to their medium. Very close.

We just wish Ray could've relaxed.

The Critter and Dan draw a crowd in the shade. Did I mention that it was ninety-two degrees? That meant that two things drew a crowd: the shade, and the pool...

I have no idea what Rich is pointing at here. But I do know that he's damn serious about it.

Pick your caption:

1) Mike astonished the reunion with the "Hovering Buddha" skills that he learned during his years of exile in the Himalayan Mountains.

2) Alas, after Mike splashed all the water out of the pool with his giant cannonball, the shade was our only remaining option for cooling off.

Squirt gun and noodles. I am one fully equipped pool gangsta.

Pick your caption:

1) Nope, no family resemblance to be seen on the top of these heads. None at all.

2) Music courtesy of Sesame Street:
One of these hairstyles doesn't belong here.
One of these hairstyles doesn't belong.
Can you tell me which one doesn't belong here?
Which one is it? Do you know?

The massive scavenger hunt begins.

Greeley and Atlee look for scavenger-hunt treasure in the obvious hiding place, the middle of the lawn.

More shade-niks.

... and a few brave sun-niks.

Monique organizes the three-legged race.

Honestly, he was broken before he showed up for the reunion.

Monique and Atlee look for a three-legged race partner for Atlee.

The requirements are demanding, since we need to find somebody whose leg is exactly the same size as Atlee's leg.

Eh, close enough.

It's kinda sad, really. Most fans just go to the three-legged races to see the crashes.

Family reunion fashion plate.

Marcus mans the grill.

Reunion music courtesy of Nom de Plume. (You can download their newest album "Ashes to Argyle" on iTunes or from Yahoo music by clicking here.)

You have no idea how challenging it was to round up this crew for a group photo. Apologies to those who got left out. Send along a snapshot and we'll try to Photoshop you in there somewhere.

Lots and lots of Magees.

Josh leads an expedition into the deepest, darkest, most dangerous reaches of the wildflower patch.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Helen!

The party rolled on into the wee hours. But after 200 or so pictures, our camera was tired and needed a little "me time" with the recharger, so that's it for our photos from the party itself.

Like any party there was a considerable cleanup effort the next day. Party trash was strewn all over the place.

Some of us cleverly ducked the massive post-party cleanup by going to church Sunday morning for Zoe's Christening. So here's a bonus photo from the post-Christening brunch.

And that's the photo roundup from these parts. As I said, if you want the full collection of about 200 or so pictures, shoot me a note with your mailing address, and I'll send along a CD.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

All the Wonders of the World, Part 2

We had a very septic-tank and plumber kinda day around the Magee house today.

Three hundred and sixty-five dollars later* I can report that our plumber guessed that the chunk of powdered laundry soap and calcium that had clogged our outlet to the septic tank dated back to the 1980s, especially since we haven't used powdered laundry soap in years and years.

The world is an interesting place. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea that such a thing as a sewer-pipe plug formed from powdered laundry soap existed. And I certainly never expected that within hours I would get to see such a thing up close and personal, with aroma enhancement courtesy of the fragrant perfume wafting from our pumped and open septic tank.

If this seems to some of you reminiscent of an incident from last Summer, you would be correct. However, there are two major differences:
  1. We're pretty sure that this time we got rid of the genuine clog that caused the trouble ... this really weird plug of powdered soap and mineral deposits in the outlet pipe from the house into the septic tank. For those who want too much information, here's a tidbit for you. When finally pulled from the pipe, that stuff floated in the miasma of liquid in the bottom of the septic tank.
  2. Thanks to smarter and quicker intervention when the troubles started again, I didn't have to use the phrase "septic geyser" this time around. Rest assured that although such a thing is a true wonder of the world, if you've ever had to use that phrase in all seriousness, you would gladly pay $365 to not have to use it again.
Final thought? I think we're all sorry that I blogged about this incident. But that's life on the Patio Boat some days.

*These kind of things are why the new-boat fund never seems to accumulate very much money.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Deep Thoughts, Part 2: The Slovakian Rap-Master

Just a little e-mail exchange between me and Mary Campbell-Droze that cracked me up:

From: Campbell-Droze, Mary (GPMS)
Subject: From the Feb 2009 iss of Popular Music and Society "Constructing a Slovak identity in rap music"

In my 12 years here, I think that's about the niche-iest subject matter I've ever seen. The only way it would become niche-ier would be "Constructing a Slovak identity in rap music with beagle accompaniment."


From: Magee, John (GPMS)
Subject: RE: From the August 2009 diss of Popular Music and Society

Ah, yes, I remember Grandmaster Slav’s big breakout hit, “Bratislava, Slovakia”. There are those who thought it was too derivative of Grandmaster Flash’s “New York, New York”, but I just thought he was kickin’ it Old-School-Slav style:

Bratislava, Slovakia, big city of dreams
And everything Bratislavan, ain't the way that it seems
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I'm a hardcore Slav and know my way around

Too much, too many Slovaks, too much (aha-ha)
Too much, too many Slovaks, too much, Raaah!

Devín Castle on the rock, in crumbling stone
Built in the Eight Century, A.D.
Rows of eyes, broken out windows
Now it's fallin' down and weedy
Miles of Slovaks, Staromestska Avenue
Doin' what they gotta do, a Slav ain't alone
I'm living in the land of plenty and many
But I'm a damn poor Slav and I don't know why…


From: Campbell-Droze, Mary (GPMS)
Subject: RE: From the August 2009 diss of Popular Music and Society

In one Grandmaster Sweep, you've managed to lock up the Slav vote on your next run for Wolverine Lake's water district chair! That, or alienated it so profoundly people who simply live next door to you won't even get elected to anything.

Deep Thoughts, Part 1: Preseason NFL commentators

I've started watching some NFL preseason football this week, in preparation for my fantasy football drafts, the first of which is tonight. This is a lot easier to do these days with the help of the DVR and the NFL Network, which rebroadcasts all the preseason games at odd times of the day. So I just record 'em, fast forward through the ads and delays, and watch the parts with players that I'm interested in.

One of the things that I love about these broadcasts are the total-homer broadcast teams. During the regular season games are broadcast by national networks that broadcast the game into both markets, so the broadcasters have to maintain some semblence of neutrality. But during the preseason the games are broadcast by the teams themselves, so they get to hire the announcers. Needless to say, the broadcasts are filled with effusive praise of the team doing the broadcast.

The Patriots/Eagles game had my favorite moment of this week in preseason NFL broadcasting. It featured a homer Iggle broadcast team. At one point Patriot running back Lawrence Maroney made this great videogame-esque move in a hole where he shifted about two yards to the left, ran by the Eagle middle linebacker, and picked up another five yards. And so the homer Iggle broadcasters tried to make out that the linebacker had done his job by forcing him to change directions.

Sorry homer Iggle broadcasters, but when your middle linebacker has a one-on-one tackle on a running back in the hole, and ends up picking up his jock, turning around, and jumping on the pile after a safety makes the tackle five yards downfield, the middle linebacker has not done his job.

Man, I love these hired-by-the-home-team preseason broadcast announcers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick Note On Saving Images from this Blog.

You or anybody else reading this blog can save the full-sized versions of any of the photos in this blog. (My Mom asked a question about getting some photos e-mailed to her, so in the spirit of teaching her to fish instead of e-mailing her fish, I thought I'd explain how it's done.)

If you want to download *any* of the pictures on this blog, all you have to do is to right-click on the picture, choose "Save Target As", and you can save the photo wherever you want. You'll get the full-size photo.

You can also click on the photo itself, and then when the page that you click to -- which only contains the full photo -- has loaded, you can right-click and choose "Save Picture As", and save the picture.

BTW, if you right-click on the photo shown on the full blog entry and choose "Save Picture As", you'll get the smaller version on that page.

Happy photos, everybody!

My Morning Commute Takes A Political Turn

I've been cheerfully ignoring television news lately, and rather enjoying my summertime untroubled by partisan battles. I knew at some level that things had gotten a little crazy lately around disreputable places like cable news networks and Congressional town-hall meetings, but it was a sunny summertime morning on 12-Mile Rd. as I drove in to work, so I really wasn't expecting an episode of Crossfire to break out at 45 mph.

I was just drivin' along with my window down, enjoying the sunshine, when this guy in an SUV started yelling at me. I couldn't make out what he was yelling about at first -- the wind rushing by drowned it out a bit -- but he was pointing at something rather emphatically, and it occurred to me that maybe I had something dangling out of my trunk or a door or something. Heck, maybe my car was on fire ... his yelling sounded that urgent.

"WHAT?" I shouted back at him.

"ARE YOU STILL HAPPY ABOUT OBAMA?!!!" he screamed as he pointed at my rear bumper. It became apparent to me that my "OBAMA '08" bumper sticker was the cause of the commotion.

I must confess, I really hadn't expected a public opinion poll while driving along at 45 mph, but what the heck.

"YES!" I shouted back. (Let's face it, I'm a sucker for a president who says in complete sentences that it's illegal to torture me.)

"WELL, I'M NOT!!! HE'S ..."

Alas, at the moment the traffic shifted a bit, or the truck in front of us downshifted and grew louder. Whatever it was, the noise kinda drowned out his reasoning. I rather got the impresion, however, that the gentleman hasn't been happy about Obama since Nov. 3, 2008. So I'm not really sure why it seemed so urgent to him to express his opinion through an open truck window at 45 mph.

However, I couldn't help but think, "Dude, we're driving forty-five miles an hour on a busy street. If you're going to spend your time yelling at people about their Obama bumper sticker instead of watching the road, you're gonna need some of that public healthcare sooner instead of later." (At the very least, I should think he would favor ensuring that what must surely be his elevated blood pressure isn't classified as a pre-existing condition.)

Really, people, let's all try to be a little less crazy out there, huh?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Whole Lotta Magees

We're back from this weekend's Magee family reunion, which was every bit as much fun as we expected. It's too late to really sort photos or write anything coherent, but I thought I'd toss in a few pictures from the weekend to whet the collective appetitive of the Patio Boat crew.

Uncle John and Atlee were well-matched partners for the three-legged race.

Aunt Monique and Baby Zoe, who is rapidly becoming Toddler Zoe.

That's a whole lotta Magees. Unruly lot, ain't they?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thoroughbred haiku.

Day at the horse track.
Betting windows, so much fun.
Good-bye, my bankroll.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Continuing Effort to Dominate the Global Beagle-Haiku Market

I got an interesting note from a search engine called yesterday. It seems to be aimed at searching frequently-updated sites like blogs, newswire feeds, etc. Anyway, they asked me to send along a description, and this is what I came up with:

"A sorta-daily journal for friends, family, and anybody who enjoys a good beagle haiku. Or a bad beagle haiku. The point is that (unless Katie the Beagle gets distracted by a butterfly or something stinky to roll in) we aim to dominate the world beagle haiku market, and nobody better stand in our way. Especially not a rabbit."

And, lo-and-behold, we are indeed their number one result for a search on "Beagle Haiku". (Take that, Google!) I'm curious to see how long it takes this post to make it into their engine, so I'll check a few times during today, to see when this item popped up in their engine, and report back on what I find.

In the meantime, their engine also seems to work on a "popularity" metric, so if you do stop by their site, please cast a vote for the quality of the ol' Patio Boat. Your beagle-haiku-generating Patio Boat staff thanks you!

Monday, August 10, 2009

August Haiku, Take II

Ninety-three degrees.
So humid that water drips
Off my glass in streams.

I looked at it today, and just thought it flowed better this way.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August haiku

Ninety-three degrees.
So humid my glass drips streams
Of flowing water.

Friday, August 7, 2009

All the Wonders of the World

Aunt Monique returned from her trip to the Eastern Michigan Fair with our ten-year-old twin nephews, Henry and Malcolm. “You will never believe what we saw!" she burst out, "It was the most unbelievable thing ever!" She sat cross-legged on the floor before me, and her eyes blazed with the excitement of a twelve-year-old Monique. Katie the Beagle lay down next to her, begging a belly-rub from the center of her universe.

"Pigs? Cows? The tatooed lady?" I guessed, genuinely impressed by the enthusiastic glow with which my wife had returned from the fair.

"They had this circus at the fair with lions and tigers and elephants--"

"We got to ride the elephant," interrupted Malcolm.

"Yeah!" said Henry, nodding his head vigorously.

"He was kinda slow, like this," said Malcolm, and he rocked slowly back and forth sideways, simulating the slow gait of the elephant.

"Wow, that's great," I said. "No wonder you're so excited."

"No, no," said Monique. "That wasn't the exciting part."

"More exciting than riding the elephant?" I asked dubiously.

"So we're at this circus and then they bring out this big kind of metal ball," said Monique, "Kind of a cage, really..."

Malcolm and Henry's heads nodded in agreement.

"... and then they bring out these motorcycles--"

"Oh, yeah, Motorcycles in a Ball, that's a good one," I said.

"Motorcycles in a Ball?" said Monique incredulously. "You've know of this?" she asked.

"Oh sure, it's a good one. They put two motorcycles in the cage and then they start doing loop-de-loops with each other. That's a pretty high-end act for a county fair."

"You've seen this before?" she asked again.

"Oh yeah, and then they'll bring out somebody to stand in the ball, or a third motorcycle--"

"You knew of this, and yet you never told me it existed?"

"Negligent husbanding," I admitted.

"I can't believe you've seen this before. I had no idea there was such a thing."

"It's a good one," I said enthusiastically, not wanting to deflate her bubble.

She shook her head in amazement at, I suppose, the odd bits of this and that that are tucked away in my brain that can still sometimes surprise her.

"So how was your evening alone with Katie the Beagle?" she asked, changing subjects away from the wonders of the fair to the more mundane.

"Oh, the usual," I said. "I stewed up some eggplant for dinner and had it on pasta, watched a little baseball, washed the dishes ... oh, and before I got home the neighbors had to rescue our beagle from the porch roof."

"The neighbors had to what?"

"Oh yeah, while she was home alone Katie the Beagle had a ride that may have been even wilder than Motorcycles in a Ball. Apparently she climbed up on our bed, then onto the dresser, then over the books and onto the windowsill, where she forced the window screen open just enough to squeeze out and climb out onto the porch roof, whence she embarked on a rooftop walkabout. From there she was kind of stranded, though, so eventually she started barking until she drew an audience. Fortunately, one of them was kind enough to rescue her from her predicament."

"She was on the porch roof?!" exclaimed Monique while looking in astonishment at the serene beagle whose belly she was rubbing. Katie the Beagle appeared to the naked eye to be nothing more than 20 pounds of furry contentment.

"Yeah, so, a typical evening," I said, "Baseball on the tube, dish-washing, beagle on the roof..."

"Beagle on the Roof and Motorcycles in a Ball, all in one day," said Monique, shaking her head. "Truly the world is a wondrous and mysterious place."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

If anybody's wondering about the cussin' from cubicle 2-461...

Intermittent bug,
Why must you vex me? And what
makes you so frequent?

You can't be explained.
You're not in the help guide. Yet
You wreck my data.

I upgrade software,
I track my keystrokes, I pray ...
And still you recur.

Malevolent bug,
I will defeat you. Kill you!
Dead! Dead! Dead! Dead! Dead!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday Morning Shower

First I shave away 48 hours of facial freedom,
Then I step under the rushing water to wash away
The crust of a summertime weekend
Spent in the sun and on the water:
--Sunblock, bug spray, sand and sweat.

After I have washed away the weekend
I towel off, then head to the bedroom
Where I put on the crust of a Monday morning
To be spent in my cubicle at work:
--Slacks, shirt, socks and shoes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Nobody expects Katie the Beagle in the hostas! Her chief weapon is surprise!

Woe betide the unwary rabbit who thinks the bunny trail leads by a harmless bed of hostas.

Lazy Summer Sunday on Wolverine Lake, Michigan

Those cottonball clouds float past slowly,
Keeping watch over the warm August afternoon:
The slight breeze raising the ripples
That lap against our old wooden seawall;
Katie the Beagle sleeping on the couch,
Nose tucked to tail, ribcage rising rhythmically,
Dreaming dreams of rabbits and belly rubs;
Malcolm and Henry tubing behind the neighbor's boat,
Henry's thumb points up, demanding ever more speed,
Malcolm's thumb jabs down, requesting a kinder, gentler ride;
Monique also on the boat taking photos, having fun,
But secretly wishing she was still in the hammock,
Reading the Sunday paper, being outraged by the outrages;
And me, sitting on the shady porch,
Listening to a ballgame on the radio,
Watching over all, like the clouds above,
And writing this poem.