Thursday, July 29, 2010
Libraries are an oasis in the desert of television, bad movie sequels, and monstrosities like rap music. Here in the hushed air and metal shelving ... the stacks ... lie the works of some of the world's greatest minds and thinkers. Don't get me wrong, the Internet is a wonder that can connect you almost instantly to knowledge and people across the planet, but to hold a work of fiction in your hand is to touch the imagination of another human being.
I grew up loving the library. "Corduroy," the adventure of a stuffed bear looking for the missing button from his overalls, was the first book to weave its spell of intrigue over me. And I was similarly mesmerized by the rhyming antics of all the Dr. Seuss books. And in fourth grade ... I remember it vividly ... I checked out a book called "A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula LeGuin. "This book is to advanced for you," the librarian had said, but I begged and pleaded and probably looked like I was about to cause a scene ... because I was! She acquiesced and I struggled though probably one of the most magical stories I've read in all my life.
And so it went. The library became a place for research, group study sessions, pleasure reading, and even volunteering as a "listener" for the Summer Reading Institutes my local branch sponsored for younger children each year. College was much the same ... the library represented a safe harbor from noisy roommates and classmates more interested in getting their "drink on" then passing another semester. And when I moved off campus to an apartment, the library was where I often came when I turned my heat down to 50 to save on utilities ... or where I stole toilet paper and paper towels to cheap on household items. It was a sanctuary on so many levels.
And now as an adult, my local library branch is an attractive, single-story brick-and-exposed-stone structure where I go to find "mind candy" in the form of historical essays, mystery fiction, sci-fi adventures, and more. Or when the walls of my apartment are closing in, the library is where my laptop and I can spread out and get some work done.
Unfortunately, it's also the place where parents of questionable skill have decided their children should hang out unsupervised during the summer months. Granted, a few are actually reading or pursuing quasi-educational topics on the Web, but the vast majority are loud, taking up space, and spending hours trying to find dirty words and pictures in the Reference section.
And library staffers shouldn't have to be babysitters. I have such respect for librarian science professionals and people dedicated to caring for and sharing the written word. Most are very knowledgeable about authors and current works, as well as helping you search for obscure materials. And friendliness and courteousness must be part of their screening process, because I've never met a rude library worker. But times are tough ... I know budgets have been cut meaning less acquisition dollars and even less hours for personnel ... so why saddle these friendly people with unruly children?
But all is not lost. Most libraries are still a quiet and beautiful repository for books, movies, CDs, and free (of very inexpensive) computer time and meeting spaces. Some are even maintaining extended evening and Sunday hours so people with busy schedules can still utilize their services. And many communities are organizing book drives to encourage citizens to donate good-condition books, references like college texts, CDs, DVS, graphic novels, and other materials in order to offset dwindling funding.
And of course, if you enjoy having a facility like a public library, then do your part when levies and other ballots come up for vote!!
POINT OF RANT: There really needs to be a licensing process for being parents ... come on!!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Survey data also supports a list of practical reasons why a "modern" man may choose to do some pruning about his body:
Waxing methods vary and are quite a bit more difficult to do at home. There are establishments popping up all over, however, with trained clinicians catering to men's body grooming needs (waxing, facials, nail care, etc.). A typical waxing appointment starts off with a consultation so the technician knows about any allergies or skin conditions, and better understands what results the client is looking for. It also gives the client a chance to ask any questions and become more at ease. Then the client is asked to remove his clothes and enter a treatment room where the area to be worked on will be inspected for moles, sensitive areas, and hair length ... a minimum of 1/4 inch of hair is needed for waxing to be effective. The area will then be cleansed to remove any dangerous bacteria, and probably treated with a prep lotion. Next the actual waxing takes place.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
It was about 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday ... Party Condition A went out the door when my buddy Trevor decided to attend with three of his drinking buddies, and my one brother decided to crash with a date, and my six "official" workplace invitees turned into 11 co-workers and three spouses-slash-significant others. Add that to the four other non-work friends I asked over and there were 24 people in my new place. Luckily I had some folding chairs in storage and the weather outside was nice ... four guests were smokers and that's something I wasn't keeping indoors. No way ... no how.
I was milling around, making small talk and checking on chips and pretzel bowl levels when there was a pounding at the door. I quickly went over and opened it, relieved to see that it was another friend, Mike, and not the fire marshall or my landlady who lives right next door.
The two final gifts were from a couple I pal around with ... Beth and Richie ... and my good bud Trevor. The "marrieds" got me an intricate wooden Buddha to bring me good luck (he would fit beautifully in the "lucky" coat closet ... and Trevor, to the snickering of his cronies, handed me an unwrapped porn DVD. "Many happy returns," he choked out before busting up and heading outside with his posse.
Everyone was gone by midnight ... all the gifts were shoved in the afore-mentioned closet by 12:05.
POINT OF RANT: Every known occasion should come with a registry so that people know the proper items NOT to buy you.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
POINT OF RANT: I wonder if Obama has considered a bedding bailout!!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
My final guest ... who would sit to my right so, if he would allow, I could pet him from time to time ... would be Lion-O from the ThunderCats animated television series. Lion-O was the teenage leader of a group of cat-like humanoids from the planet Thundera. Supposedly, they were their worlds only survivors and had fled to the world of Third Earth to begin a new life. But over the years, these agile and powerful heroes would continue to do battle against the evil mummy sorcerer Mumm-Ra, run across a few others from their homeworld, and hear rumors that their planet was not actually destroyed as they had thought.
I always loved ThunderCats. One of the reasons was that they were great heroes without overdoing it ... no flying or over-the-top abilities. They got along great and even doled out "kiddie wisdom" to viewers about healthy eating and the importance of literacy.
Now, over his plate of Friskies tacos, Lion-O could tell me more about the burden of protecting the Sword of Omens. He could confide in me if he and Cheetara had ever "shared catnip." With some prompting, he might share with me the secret of Snarf's Thunderian meatloaf recipe. And, most assuredly, he could tell me if he ever smacked those annoying twin Thundercats upside the head for being annoying ... constantly!!
POINT OF RANT: Don't knock the dreamer.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Sterling Archer, an international spy and intelligence agent for ISIS, is the title character on Archer on F/X, and the second guest invited to me "Who I'd Most Like To Meet" lunch.
Archer is bold, brave, and thinks with his penis. He's what you'd get if James Bond (the Sean Connery years) and Pamela Anderson (pre-hepatitis) had a lovechild.
Oh, what a spirited lunch we would have. Sterling could go on and on about his sexual conquests ... and he would, without question. He would also unwittingly disclose classified military secrets over mozzarella sticks.
And I've got questions for him: Why haven't you "taken out" Figgis? Why did you ever let Lana go? Why does ISIS seem to employ so few operatives for a worldwide organization? Why don't you get a butler under the age of 100? Any why do they call you "Duchess?"
POINT OF RANT: If you've never seen Archer, you are ssssoooooooo missing out!!
Friday, July 2, 2010
You know that stupid question that gets asked at parties sometime about what three people would you most like to have lunch with - alive or dead? People always get all uppity and say Abraham Lincoln (because he freed the slaves), Gandhi (because he is the symbol for peace and enlightenment), the Pope (don't have a clue), Jesus Christ (because you could give him a list of people to screw with), and so on and so on.
Well since the whole "perfect lunch" scenario is imaginary, so would be my guests. This is a three-day post ... my first guest would be Stewie Griffin from Fox's Family Guy. Stewie's had a rough time. He wants to take over the world but is too small to even reach the top of a table. He has an incredibly dry sense of humor, but most people can't even understand him because he's a one-year-old. He appears to be questioning his sexual orientation and therefore engages in unorthodox activities. He has the handicapps of any kid with a football-shaped heads (finding a good hat would suck) and the wrinkly eyes of a 50-year-old cowboy. And his show ... a cornerstone of the Fox Network ... has been canceled, saved, canceled, saved, attacked, boycotted, and pretty much put through the blender by censors and critics alike. I LOVE IT!!
But, oh, to pick the brain of Stewie Griffin. I could get Brian's cell number so we could compare notes on the life of a wannabe novelist. I could find out if he's ever had a run in with the Evil Monkey or the Fighting Chicken. I could perhaps discover the source of his passive-aggressive relationship with Lois and smooth things over for them. And, of course, I'd get the skinny on anything going on between him and Rupert.
POINT OF RANT: Nothing says stimulating lunch conversation like a domineering, mother-abhoring, technology-hording, enraged, sarcastic baby.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
And now the High Life is gonna become another place to park cars. There's a new industrial complex going up down the block and Vinnie sold out for good money. I hate progress sometimes, but good for him and Lori ... and their two kids.
But now I gotta find a new place ... one with at least a portion of the soul of the High Life. I think that people and bars develop a "comfort curve," a build-up of ease and familiarity that just makes the bar seem like the natural place to go to relax and unwind. And it doesn't happen overnight so, while I'm enjoying the last month of this place's existence, I better start looking for a new saloon where I can hang my beer goggles.
Here are a few criterion I think will help in my search:
2) Too Much is Too Much ... I like lived-in places. Nicks and scratches add character ... and a bunch of shiny chrome or sports memorabilia or signed celebrity photos everywhere is just distracting from the booze and conversation.
3) No Servers Under 35 ... it's just annoying. I like a bit of mileage and jadedness ... it makes for a great relationship. And extra points if the servers stop by the bar on their off nights just to say "hi."