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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Friendy Reminder

I truly believe that one of the secrets to a fulfilling life are deep, long-lasting friendships. One of the beautiful parts of true friendship is the ability to relate on a deeper level than casual aquantance will allow. The best friendships are cultivated and enriched through time and effort. Everyone knows that true friends are able to occassionally use the phrase, "Do you remember when...". This type of mutual memory has more to do with effort by both parties than with the fact that someone is simply called a pal.

How many of us have had friendships that we felt were "one sided". Before you point a finger, remember that we've all fallen short in the "I'm there for you, man" category. Or, have you ever not been "accepting applications" for new friends. This sort of friendship hiring freeze does nothing to enrich your life and likely takes you a few steps backwards. The sad truth is, it's hard to be a good friend and much easier to not be one at all.

Praise God for my good friends. He has never failed to put the right people in my life at just the precise time. That is, when I have allowed it. Perhaps it's time to pick up the phone, reach out and be just the friend that someone out there needs.

Then again, tonight, there is that special episode of Dirty Jobs I've been waiting to see. Well, I suppose I can always just review the resumes tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ice Cream in January

As you may be aware, North Carolina has experienced some unseasonably warm weather this year. The record draught aside, it has provided a few days of "Spring" temperatures in a usually steamy breath, red-nosed winter and I have rather enjoyed it.

Last night, Leslie and I decided that we needed some groceries, so why not visit Trader Joe's on a Friday night. Apparently our respective social calendars ain't what they used to be. As one might imagine, my two girls weren't exactly thrilled with the idea. After all, a very special episode of Hannah Montana would be airing with a possible visit from the Jonus Brothers. (Note: If you have no idea who these people are, I would be willing to bet that you also have no idea what a Webkinz is. It's OK, I was once like you)

To skip to the chase, the girls behaved splendidly in the grocery store, enjoying free samples of cheese and deserts. The fare was not quite as lavish as a BJ's or Sam's, but you know the drill: Lady in paper hat and plastic gloves fills small cups with goodies and then gets bent out of shape that children would want to eat the stuff. Anyway, all of this only whet our appetite for some real dessert and Goodberry's, across the street, was calling. We promptly obeyed the call, sending our record of sticking to South beach for 2 whole weeks to a bitter end. Man cannot live by broccoli alone, I say.

The funny thing is, this seemingly boring Friday evening at the grocery store and then for ice-cream was more enjoyable to me than the countless times in my life when a Friday night was filled with the energy and expectation of my youth. (OK, I'm almost forty and not that old) The only difference on this Friday night, was that I was witnessing energy and expectation in my 9 and 10 year old daughters... and I enjoyed it beyond belief. In taking a few moments, last night to give the girls and my wife my full attention and engagement even in the midst of a seemingly dull night, I participated in an exercise that renewed my spirit and brought me great joy. And perhaps that is my lesson for the day. That is, a little grocery grazing and winter ice-cream with the family can, if you let it, be whole bunch of fun. And my Hot Fudge Sunday on a semi-warm January night was pretty darn good, too.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

"Stringbean"Wilson Needs Your Help

Elijah "Stringbean" Wilson has been doing what he does best for over 70 years. Creating music and writing lyrics that reflect his personality and experience. Most of his songs tell stories as what can only be categorized as "the blues".

Alas, Stringbean needs your help. He has begun what could be his greatest musical achievement, but has fallen short in the lyrics department. Only you can remove his long-standing mental block. Here's the first few lines of his masterpiece. Any help with additional lyrics and concepts will surely place your name somewhere in the annals of history and possibly Stringbean's next song.

"Hungry Man" Music by Stringbean Wilson, Lyrics by Stringbean and ??? (Moderate Blues)

You're like Peanut Butter Baby- On the lips of a starvin' man

You're like Peanut Butter Mama- On the lips of a starvin' man

I'll spread you on some whitebread

with a big ol' glop o' jam


Now I like oyster crackers, or cheezewiz in a can

But step inside my pantry, in a Jif your Peter Pan

You're like Peanut butter, baby

smooth and creamy, golden tan

Just one more heaping spoonful

Come and feed this hungry man...

Unfortunately, here's where Stringbean's creative genius ends. Can you help Mr. Wilson out with some other verses that deal with feeding a "Hungry Man"? If you accept the challenge, please place your post here...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Another NonGoogleable

If I were to judge my level of importance in this world by hits on a search engine, I'm sad to say that all would be lost. I am just not out there on the web and quite obviously, up to now, one of several things has failed to occur:

1) I've not experienced any success worth posting
2) I have had no great scandals in my life worth posting
3) I've never really known anyone with the ability/willingness to write something about me on the internet
4) As in this blog, my full name has never been used

There is one other possibility, and that is I am actually on the net but so far down the queue that no rational person with any life responsibilities would ever actually find me. OK, to me conducting a search on myself felt a bit strange. First of all, I realize what a complete group of flakes actually are going through life with my name. It's a bit maddening to think that someone could potentially get me mixed up with Alan *** with the mullet and mop, or the Alan **** with all the cats. I like cats (and mullets and mops for that matter), but that's not what I want you, dear internet searcher, to associate with the center of my life.
And so, to date, I remain obscure and, well, missing from the internet. Another nonGoogleable. But I guess in order of things important to me... that's just fine.

Do you have an interesting story about your search for internet identity? I'd love to here about it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Threat Among Us

It occurs to me how often we hear the word "threat" in our daily lives. The President threatens a veto. Thugs threaten the elderly. A storm front threatens the east coast. In fact, the threat of a nuclear attack kept American children under their desks for 17% of the school year in 1957 (statistics have not been validated, but work with me here). And now, global warming threatens our very existence. Well, if not our existence, it does seem to threaten our use of screened in porches as areas of relaxation, June through September.

In any case, we hear the word "threat" but rarely do we truly execute a threat. Oh we threaten to threaten, as in "I should sue that guy for backing over my azaleas" or "I should give her a piece of my mind". However that's not really like saying directly to a person "You ruined my bushes, you cad and now I'm going to call my lawyer". The reality is, that would sound pretty absurd and besides, nobody really has a lawyer on retainer anyway. Unless of course you are related to one, have a history of legal troubles or are just a bit flaky around the edges. [I mean no disrespect, just in case you are now considering a law suit against me]. And actually giving someone a piece of your mind would likely make you appear worse than whatever offensive stunt they pulled in the first place.

On the rare occasion that a rational human being does lay out a threat, it is generally veiled in milder language with seemingly inconsistent messages and a slight smile to make the recipient think it could be a weird joke. The line could be, "You know, Chuck, when you backed over my bushes last night... and I know it was an accident. Heck, you might not have known you even did it. By the way, your haircut looks really good. Makes you look 5 or 6 years younger. Anyway, my bushes... I planted those about 12 years ago and- who cuts your hair, anyway?" This spineless meandering will get you nowhere. So to help you out, here are some "threatening phrases" with explanations which will capture the attention of the most wanton and heartless of interlopers.

1)"Yo Mama"- While not actually a threat, this seemingly meaningless phrase is usually used when you are being threatened or harshly criticized and transfers your response from the offender to their apple pie baking next of kin.

2) "I shall smite thee"- Very King Jamesish and so little used, it will surely draw attention to your plight.

3) "I'm gonna hit you so hard, your head will ring like a 10 penny nail hit with a greasy ball ping hammer"- In reality, too long and unwieldy for use in the field, but a good one to have in your back pocket.

4) "I'll be on you like a spider monkey"- They seem fast and dangerous when provoked or poked with sticks.

5) "I know where you live"- This phrase says it all, except for the obvious fact that if you know where they live then they most likely know where you live, rendering the threat useless and possibly dangerous.

6) "I have friends in high places"- OK, fast fact- You are a low paid, second tier data entry goon. None of the people in "high places" even have lunch with you, much less call you a friend.

7) "Come over here and say that"- If there is any chance that they will come over there and say that, you'd better pretend that your i-pod is a hearing aid, because odds are good that they will skip the threat and move directly to a public beating.

8) I now welcome your suggestions to complete this list, upon threat of public ridicule...

Granny's Bag-o-Beans


OK, I've done it. I've started a blog. And to be perfectly transparent, I have no idea what that actually means or what is now expected of me. I'm not even sure what the word "blog" means or from where it derived, but perhaps that is a topic for another day.

If you have arrived here by accident, that's perfectly acceptable. Please feel free to peruse my musings. For my friends and family who have entered this site deliberately, please feel free to discount most of what I say since I was never a Rhodes Scholar nor am I an expert in any particular field. In fact, I would love to tell you that I will spend countless hours updating this blog with heavily-researched and valuable insights. The sad fact is, I will occasionally post a funny picture or a short, indescriminate thought. And so, if you read this (assuming you still are) you will probably not laugh very much and likely you will never cry. Your feelings will probably remain moderately in flux somewhere between those two states. Much like a key note address by Al Gore (pre-beard and fat) or, if you prefer, a 5:00pm on a Friday conference call with your mid-level boss, I shall say enough to be heard but not enough to over-extend our time together. You're way too busy for that and I don't have the energy.

But enough of the disclaimers. For those who care, read on... read on. Your Greenbeans await. After all, we only are allotted so many hours of wasted time each day.