Monday, June 30, 2008

Stories in Two Sentences

Just for fun, why not write a story in two sentences? Here is my attempt:

- As Bert sailed over the Hudson river at 140 miles per hour, he folded his arms indignantly. 'You'd think they'd put safeguards on a 70-foot wooden catapult, he thought with a scowl.

- She looked at her chain-smoking husband, sitting on the couch with his 50 pounds of gained weight while clutching the remote and picking his nose. "Well," she sighed, "I was dumb enough to have kids with him, so looks like my life is pretty much laid out."

- 'Surely this is a dream' thought Marty "Stonewall" Hackenburg as the 25-foot Burmese Python tightened it's coils around his fat, middle-aged body and began sliding it's massive jaws over his head.
His cellphone began to ring a delightful little Joan Baez compilation he had picked out himself, and Marty - unable to move his hands - rolled his eyes at this new inconvenience.

- "Superman must be bored again" thought Mrs. Berklstan as she looked up at the moon, revealing a perfectly shaped, 10,000-mile engraving of Superman bent over and exposing his buttocks to the earth. "Well, he did a nice job with the cape this time."

- "Hey, what is this button?", Stan asked. Ten seconds later, the earth was covered in a mile thick layer of bean-dip.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What Exactly IS Parchment, Anyway?

I can see how it happened. You got tired of sending the constant text-messages, the endless emails - your fingers were raw, worked and aching like grouchy little piglets. You wanted something different, a new way of communicating. Then it came to you - "Hey!" you exclaimed, jumping up from the cubicle farm, startling Bertha in accounting and knocking over her triple latte, "It's so simple!" You stood on your chair, put your left hand on your hip and raised your right in a grandiose, Ceasaresque gesture "My fellow co-workers" You exclaimed, chin high and set with determination, "From this day forth, I shall send all my messages by....(wait for it).....PARCHMENT!"

You stood like a proud statue, but the room remained silent except for Ned from sales who gave an enthusiast clap followed by a Vulcan hand gesture. You sat back down, energized from your new undertaking. However, you suddenly realized that you had no idea what parchment is, or how it is made. A small matter, you thought, as you went to your computer to type away the answer. Well, here it is, brave crusader!:

- Parchment is calf-skin, sheep skin, or goat skin scraped thin, stretched and dried creating a material ideal for manuscripts.

- Parchment began replacing papyrus as the popular material for manuscripts around the 4th century AD, although it was used earlier by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and various other cultures. Some say this was because parchment had a "hip look", and those using it were sure to land thousand-goat book-deals. (Others say the papyrus reeds were over-harvested and parchment was used to adapt, but like the theory of evolution, you can ignore that)

- Vellum is parchment made exclusively from calf-skin. Be sure to use this knowledge to impress your next date.

- Parchment was expensive, and generally only available to the wealthy. Some monasteries such as the Benedictines had their own livestock and butchers, enabling their output of fine documents. Of course, Org the Muck-Enthusiast couldn't read anyway, but at least the books were nice and shiny!

- Parchment was made by soaking skins in lime to remove the hair, then stretched and dried over a frame. It was then scraped thin and cut for use. If you want to try this at home, do it in your living room to really impress the mother-in-law. For a great conversation piece, try leaving out the lime-hair bucket.

So, young master, now that you know what parchment is, go forth unto the world and write! Break out the quill pen, boil the walnut ink, and find yourself a nice herd of calves. No more microscopic message keys! No more cramped little screens and twitching eye-muscles! Spread your parchment wide and scribe, sir, scribe!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Today's T-Shirts

- "I May or May Not Be Indecisive"

- "I Recently Won The Lottery, Single, and Likely to Buy You A Car"

- "Willing Alien Servant"

- "Sorry, Sky-Diving Won't Erase The Memories of Being a Geek"


- "Member: Emperor Trajan Fan Club"

- "Let's Face it, The Clock is Ticking And I"m Probably the Best You'll Get"

- "You Will Remember This T-Shirt"

- "If You Think Shoes Are more Important Than Manners, You Are Part Of The Problem"

- "Instead Of A Parrot On My Shoulder, I Have Nothing"

- "I (Heart) Simplified Representations of Organs"


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Trip to Greece: Complete with Traditional Dancing

That's right folks, I went to Greece. The seminal of Democracy, the custodian of civilization - the bridge between the ancient and the modern. And of course, the place where a unified people cry out in one voice, "That's right, poo-poo Americans, we smoke in our restaurants, and there's NOTHING you can do about it!"

What an beautiful, mysterious, and amazing country. Since I was a kid I have wanted to see it, and believe me I was running amok as if I still had on my bath-towel cape, wooden sword, and tinfoil shin-guards. But what can I say that pictures can't prove? So here you go!

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi - This is were the Oracles gave their predictions (Yes, the actual place). The picture on the right is, well, if you don't know open a History book immediately.

Some elder men gathered around a gaming table in Athens. I suspect they have been doing this sort of thing there for - oh, say 2800 years.

Woman walking down a street on the island of Hydra. She said something to me and smiled, but I don't know what. Perhaps she said "Your shoelaces are undone"

The beautiful Santorini. This island is so gorgeous you instantly start painting the minute you arrive. The villages lay along the cliffs like beautiful lounge-singers draped over a Steinway (huh?). Next is the Temple of Isis on Delos. An Egyptian temple!

Some random windmills, for your artsy-photo fix. Next is me fishing. That's right, I bought a hand line and some bait so I can claim I fished in the Mediterranean. Sure, I fished for about an hour and didn't catch anything, but so what!

On the Acropolis at Rhodes. I didn't see the Colossus, but I still think he is around somewhere, waiting to be found. He's probably pretty annoyed at this point, too.

The Library and Amphitheater at the ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey. Oh, I forget to mention, I went to Turkey to0 (smiles smugly).

And back to my house! And who is that? Mr. Cat! Say he is cute. Saaay it! Saaaaaaay it!

Well, that's all. I have plenty of more pictures, and am, of course, happy to show them to you in a living room slideshow, complete with smoking jacket and long monologues on each one. Just let me know! Oh, and did I dance?

You bet I did.