Monday, December 28, 2009
Colts: a record streak
And 50,000 yards. Kate
Beagle simply shrugs.
[And now, to the tune of "Blowing in the Wind"]
How many games will we see Indy tank
Despite setting records again?
And how many questions will Caldwell deflect,
Painter getting boos from ev'ry fan?
The answer, my friend, lies with Bill Polian;
The answer lies with Bill Polian!
Meanwhile, in Lions Land we note that the Colts took 23 games to gather their 23 wins prior to that game, while it has taken the Lions most of a decade to earn* their last 23 wins. And so, your esteemed Lions correspondent finds that just nine syllables can contain his feeling about the Lions' twentieth consecutive road loss, a streak that threatens to soon pass the NFL record of 24 consecutive road losses set by ... you guessed it! ... the Detroit Lions, earlier this decade.
Anyway, here are my nine syllables on this week's Lions stinker:
"Thank you sir may I have another?"
*"Earn", "Luck into" ... eh, whatever.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
By the time I got down to Ann Arbor, there were seven creators with seven books left. I put a good dent in my comics budget for the next couple of weeks by making a clean sweep at three bucks a pop. Here's a panel or two from each:
Each of the books contained three parts: an artistic statement a wordless comic, and another short comic. I saw a lot of Ryan's influence on the artistic statement sections in each. (Though that could also just be that Ryan's the only comics artist I know who has dedicated multiple books to exploring a theory of autobiography, so any comic statement of artistic self-examination is likely to remind me of his work.)
Not surprisingly, they were all a bit uneven, but all of them contained interesting images and cool bits. There were a few things that particularly struck me: Elizabeth Sevick's feel for facial expressions, Travis Larkin's storytelling in The Tales of T., James Barclay's "A Night in Amsterdam", and Chelsea Case's amazing anthropomorphic sponge, Gary the Loofah. I've read a lot of comics, but I've never see one that featured a loofah sponge as the protagonist.
Ryan also taught a class at MSU this semester, and he has both another MSU class and three UM-Flint classes in the Spring. If you get a chance to attend one of their signings next Summer, stop by and pick up a few. You'll see something entirely different, and the students can probably use your three beans more than the corporate overlords of DC and Marvel.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
From: Campbell-Droze, Mary
Subject: The Poetry Koan-er meets the Zen Masters
Surprise! Buddhist monks write a lot of stuff I wouldn't expect they would. One dreams about a very specific attribute of his sweetheart, another flings cusswords at a crow that would make a 20-year Marine proud, and one likens the air to elephant flatulence.
Some of the pieces hew more to what I anticipated:
I'm trying to tell you something I can't say
Like eating mist or chopping your shadow in half
but you never know what to expect from guys who simultaneously write about insight and picking their noses.
From: Magee, John
They're simultaneously writing about insight and picking their noses?
Are you sure you haven’t accidentally picked up a volume of Vogon poetry?
From: Campbell-Droze, Mary
Good grief, where's my TOWEL???
From: Kardos, Tim
Okay, Zen master, here’s some fodder for you:
NZ gal's Bulgarian airbags halt traffic:
Flashes jubs, gets run over
By Lester Haines
A New Zealand teenager whose mates dared her to flash her chesticles at passing motorists brought traffic to a standstill when an appreciative driver ran her over, the Southland Times reports.
Cherelle May Dudfield, 18, stood in the middle of an Invercargill road with her assets exposed on 27 September. This turned out to be ill-advised, and despite her attempts to evade an oncoming vehicle, she "rolled over the bonnet, cracking the windscreen".
An uninjured Dudfield earned herself an appearance before Invercargill District Court on a disorderly behaviour rap, where she pleaded guilty to improper use of Bulgarian airbags.
Duty solicitor John Fraser suggested the driver involved could have been a little more careful, but conceded he may have been "distracted".
Judge David Holderness said Dudfield was lucky the consequences weren't more serious and slapped her with a NZ$275 fine.
From: Magee, John
Oh, there’s at least a limerick in that incident
Now let’s see, what rhymes with “Bulgarian airbags?”
From: Campbell-Droze, Mary
Dugs-field fell, was fined.
No noses were picked, and no
From: Magee, John
Oh sure, it makes a fine haiku. But I think you can see my problem here:
A young lady from Southland, New Zealand,
Thought she could improve traffic’s wheelin’
By standing in streets
And exposing her teats
Until one driver lost control and hit her in her Bulgarian airbags.
It just doesn’t quite scan.
From: Kardos, Tim
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
What are you doing reading this blog? You should instead be reading Arsen Darnay's Symphony in Ghulf Major saga. The first two books in the trilogy (Ghulf Genes, In Search of Anna Magna) are finally available at both Amazon.com and directly through Lulu press.
The third book (Anna's Song) is coming very, very soon, and I'm sure you'll want to be ready to greet it when it's hot off the presses.
Go. Order. Read. Enjoy. You can thank me later.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Item #2) Indianapolis Colts start the season a perfect 13-0, and set the NFL record for consecutive regular-season victories.
Coincidence? MC-D, Katie the Beagle, and I think not. The Beagle Karma is here, and it is real.
Of Equine and Canine Perfection (Part 2): Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Season
In thirteen Colts games,
The only thing more perfect
Was Kate the Beagle.
Friday, December 11, 2009
1) Find a brewing buddy or two if you can. Both the brewing and the tasting are more fun with a couple of good friends.
2) It might be worth planting a couple of hops vines this Spring. As you start to move beyond the simplest brews, you'll need some hops, and hop prices have risen a good deal over the past few years, which means that you might fine yourself shelling out $3-$6 per batch for hops.
The vines themselves usually start producing a lot the second year, though you may get a few flowers the first year. Planting them now means they'll be ready when you are. Monique and I planted a couple of hops vines this spring, and got just enough to flavor a batch of stout we made this fall. It was genuinely fun to use our own hops for the flavoring, and I'm really looking forward to hopping most of my beers next year off our own vines.
3) Don't be afraid to experiment. Feel like dropping a quart of maple syrup in your stout? Go for it! Want to try adding some vanilla to an ale? Why not? (I can now tell you from personal experience that if you do try some vanilla, the beer really does need to age a couple of months afterwards.) The point is that whatever you do, the end product is likely to contain alcohol and to be something interesting.
And drinking the mistakes can still lead to a fun evening!
4) Most importantly, have fun! Some bits of brewing can get pretty technical, especially if you're just starting or if you're trying something complicated. But at its heart it's not much trickier than baking a cake or a pie, and you'll figure out the tricky bits as you keep trying. Once you've known the joy of drinking the fruit of your labors, no other beer tastes quite as satisfying.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
It seems to me that the Facebook / Twitter model is that of a large room, full of people saying things at random as it occurs to them, each with several other people standing there commenting on whatever random thing was said, whereas blogs are more like one person on a stage with a mic, standing in front of an audience. After they get done with their performance, someone out of the audience takes their place and does a turn, while various critics still in the audience write reviews of and suggestions for the performance they just watched.
I thought it was an interesting metaphor, and I wrote a few comments on his entry to try to extend his metaphor to explain why I see the two mediums as complements to one another, not competitors. Then I reckoned I'd copy them here, which just goes to show that self-plagiarism spans all technologies. Here's what I had to say:
Just think of the blog as the stage, and Facebook as just all the folks out there at the tables chit-chatting with each other and not paying too much attention to the stage, the bar, the wait staff or really anything other than their Farmville farms. There's no need for performance pressure on FB; it's just a place to chit-chat.
Then sometimes a good act comes on stage and people pay attention for a while.
I tend to use FB as a place to keep track of my family and friends, and I reckon the ante is that I pony up a status update when I check in. (Thus the hundred-plus "lunchin' in the cube" updates I've posted in the last year.) No pressure, just a quick sentence on whatever comes to mind.
That my seem like it's filling the Internet with trivia ... er, more trivia ... but really getting to know somebody over time involves knowing both the important stuff (got married, got a new job, had a kid, etc.) and the little things. And since my family members live all over the place, what I like most about FB is that I feel I have a much better sense of the little things in their lives. For example, I would have known that one of my brothers travelled to Norway for work recently, but I wouldn't have known that he was really thinking about buying a viking hat while he was there. That sort of stuff.
I tend to use my blog as a place to write out my longer, more coherent thoughts on things. And every now and then when there's something there that I think might be of general interest, I link to it from my FB account.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Hmmmn ... maybe the problem is that I need to go back a bit farther. How 'bout some good, old-fashioned Christmas movies from the good ol' days?
Uh-oh. Well, so much for the 20th Century. What does 19th Century literature have to say on the subject?
I reckon I'd best go a bit farther back in time. Let's go all the way back.
Okay, so much for going backwards. Maybe it's time to start a new Christmas tradition, a cheery tradition. Let's find a happy Christmas season tale in today's news!
Curtis Granderson Traded from Tigers to New York Yankees.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Detroit.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Suddenly, Arsen and Baldy regretted asking John to do his famed tornado-siren impression.
Now a few from the Novi Pet Expo:
We also visited a Lions game:
And now, a photo series I like to call "Gift Wrapping the Boat" starring Stella and Monique!
On Thanksgiving Day we (Monique, Arsen, Brigitte, Michelle, Stella, Wendy, Anna, Lexi, and I) all lazed about the house and then ate waaaaay too much turkey.
On the last Saturday night Arsen, Michelle, Monique, and I went for a walk in Grosse Pointe and amused ourselves by taking pictures of Christmas lights while spinning the camera. This might have had something to do with the growler of beer we drank before we went for the walk.
Stella created her own art the next day, a couple of music videos.
Finally, we close with a few photos of the Darnay girls with their mother.
Monique and Brigitte:
Brigitte and Michelle:
It was a great visit.
But then, Katie the Beagle's
Perfect EVERY year!
She hasn't yet updated her blog (Gettysburg Family) but she did pop a post up on Facebook yesterday, so she's back online at least a bit. Thanks for everybody's good wishes, both here and on her blog.
Oh, and the whole pulmonary embolism thing has led her and Rich to rethink their stance on smoking. They've quit.
Monique and I ate the last slab of pumpkin pie last night. We're down to two servings of mashed potatoes and gravy, one wee scoop of cranberry sauce, and 1/3 of a container of andouille sausage stuffing (which is oh, so yummy on turkey sandwiches!)
'Round these parts the Thanksgiving season lasts nearly as long as the Christmas season. And that's just the way we like it.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Back Then: Dec. 3, 1909
The Improvement Association of Edgewater Park, N.J., has found much cause for complaint recently in the whistle shrieks of the Pennsylvania Railroad locomotives. ... Men placed near the tracks by the Improvement Association noticed that one train, which passed through the town three times a day, was the principal offender. A fair-haired girl was found to be the cause of the tooting of this train, for no sooner would the shrill sound issue forth than this young woman would come out on the porch of her home and throw kisses to the engineer, who would return them, and give a few extra blasts in recognition of the salutation.
The Improvement Association has decided that if the engineer cannot woo his fair young friend without annoying the whole town he had better have her home moved further away.
This sounds like just the sort of thing that might come before our own village council in 2009. And it also sounds like just the sort of way we'd investigate it. However, given the general depopulation and real-estate collapse in Metro Detroit, we're not enouraging anyone to move farther away, no matter how annoying her beau's train whistle is.
(And I can't help but whatever happened to that engineer and the blonde.)
Saturday, December 5, 2009
The good news is that she seems to be on the mend. She's not happy about being separated from her kids, of course, especially Emerson. But Rich has been taking them to the hospital to visit. There's also good news in that it sounds as if she'll be able to nurse Emerson again once she gets off one of her medications (an anti-nausea med) despite being on the Coumadin.
If you haven't yet had a chance to wish her well on her blog, I'm still encouraging folks to go to her most recent post -- The New Normal -- on her Gettysburg Family blog and post a get-well note in the comments. I don't think she has internet in the hospital, but I'm sure she'll be glad to see them all once she gets out.
And that's about it. We're all still worried, but also encouraged.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
above the clouds,
silvered by moonlight,
the stars scattered far and wide,
above, beyond, and around us,
a beaming Mars rising red/orange in the east,
and some distant storms flash/flashing in the far distance,
we knew for an elusive moment a sense of peace.
Beneath us a northeaster was raging,
and that turbulent, rain-swept, crosswind battle at Morristown
was yet to come (Joy !)
God is good to us.
This was a Facebook post I came across this morning by a friend of mine who's a pilot. I don't think he particularly meant it to be a poem. But I really, really liked it. So I've added some linebreaks and posted it here.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
It sounds as if they expect her to recover fully, but it will probably take a while. If you're reading this, I think it would cheer her considerably if you go to her blog at Gettysburg Family and post a comment at her latest post (The New Normal) to wish her a speedy recovery.
(While you're there, click on a few ads, too. I'm sure a sudden jump in her AdWords revenue would also help her recuperation.)
You can also send along wishes for a speedy recovery to Susan's husband Rich and his brother Michael. No, they're not sick, but they're watching the whole unruly Gettysburg Family crew while Susan's in the hospital, and I'm sure it will take them quite a while to recover from THAT!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
When I started brewing again a couple of years ago it was with a Mr. Beer kit, which is one of the ones listed at the top of the listings on Amazon. It's really pretty easy and fun. The regular kit just comes with enough mix to make one batch, so adding in one of those three-mix variety packs is kind of a good idea.
It's a good idea to pick up a good book to go with it. The Mr. Beer pamphlet is pretty short on detail, history, and theory of beer. But a great book for a beginning home brewer is Charlie Papazian's Complete Joy of Homebrewing.
In the long run, the best thing to do is to hook up with a local home brewing supply store, especially if you want to start building a kit around some existing pieces like your glass carboy. Those sorts of stores a great source of expertise and advice, as well as a handy place to pick up some of the little do-dads that make it all a bit easier. If you don't know of one nearby and can't find one in the Yellow Pages, there's a pretty good listing of local stores here: Cryptobrewology.com. (It's set to Michigan as the default, but you can change states.)
The return of her routine,
And returns to bed.