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36 posts from March 2006

Final March Post

Oh. My. God.  March is FINALLY over.  I am going into hiding until Sunday night after Grey's Anatomy, at which point I will put up the new April site design and resume normal posting.  However, the three new posts from Michelle, Adam, and Jonah are plenty of reading material to keep you busy until then.  Also, for my final March post, I have decided to recognize National Noodle Month.  You can read that as well.

Continue reading "Final March Post" »


Schedule for March 31st

Today is a big day, because it's the LAST DAY IN MARCH.  As it is the official finale of our March extravaganza, this evening you will be treated to the fabulous conclusion of both Michelle's and Adam's series, as well as some other bonus items.

But the guest of honor for this special day is none other than our own Cathy Addison-Weemer, because it's her BIRTHDAY TODAY!  I hope you will all take a moment to send her your best wishes.  I sent her this e-card

Well, I'll be off celebrating the birthday until about 8:30 or 9 tonight.  See you then!


My Personal Favorite in the Series

The fourth post in Michelle's feature:

The Arts and Creative Materials Institute (a "non profit" industry group) created Youth Art Month in 1961. I'm pretty certain that this group had nefarious and profit-driven reasons for creating a month likely to get kids hooked on paste and glitter, yet YAM (as Youth Art Month is called by art teachers) has managed to transcend its dark roots to be more than just another manufactured and meaningless greeting card holiday like birthdays or Christmas. YAM is intended to educate people about the importance of quality art education in schools. If you believe everything that ACMI tells you, then you'd think that an art education teaches children self-expression and creative problem solving while simultaneously providing children with a valuable source of self-esteem. But then you'd be both the puppet of ruthless craft and hobbies wholesalers, AND wrong. An art education imparts an even more important life lesson: you can't be good at everything. In fact you're probably going to suck really bad at something, but as long you're trying that's what counts (though what it counts towards remains to be seen).

Racist_kid_map Think about it -- children are pretty much physically and psychologically incapable of drawing (trust me I'm a child scientician). Their art is pathetically endearing at best and atrociously offensive at worst (at left, see one child's vision of the world map in which every continent is colored according to the people that come from that land). And yet kids continue to draw, paint, scribble and sculpt and they even enjoy it because they are encouraged to keep trying.That is the true gift of art education -- it teaches children that it's okay to be bad at something but to let that mediocrity slide because at least you're trying your best. If there is one thing that the children of America should be taught in schools, it is how to read. And if there are two things they should be taught, it should be how to read and how to do basic math. But, if there are three things that the children of America should be taught, well, that's when art sneaks into the curriculum.

To celebrate this month, I've written a few limericks and haikus to
accompany a few pictures I found online. If you don't like the poems, then I think you should blame my art education for not giving me the creativity needed to complete this task. Or also for possibly encouraging me to settle for "just okay."

No_shoulders_4

There once was a man with no shoulders
They'd probably been crushed by some boulders.
He rode a long-necked horse
(Standing on its back of course).
This kid should draw better when she's older.

Sky_as_a_line

One girl has no nose--
The other a bow and socks.
What an injust world.

Bear_gigantism_joey_l_age_5

Huge Head was a brown bear.
And all the zoo-goers would stare
At his creepy green eyes,
Small body size,
And pet turtle that floated in air.

Boxer_propaganda

Grass is a green line,
A triangle is the sun.
Dog is patriot.


Young Voters Month/List Poem

Part III in Michelle's series spotlights Young Voters Month and the "List Poem" form:

In honor of Young Voters Month, I decided that as a young voter, I would do my duty and vote. After all, this year is the 35th anniversary of the 26th amendment -- the one that let the motivated youth of America vote in national and local elections.  Then I realized that it's March and there's no election in my state -- or in most states for that matter. Then I further realized that the only election this year is that dumb one where you don't get to choose the president. So I said sucks to that crap, and instead I voted for American Idol. I was ashamed to do it, but it was part of my civic duty.
 
That, in a nutshell, is what I believe to be the voting experience most young voters will enjoy during this fine celebratory month. The polls did see an uptick in the number of young voters in the last election, but that was November 2004 and this is March 2006. There's no votin' to be had at this time of the year, so what are you supposed to do for this month?  Sure, you could register to vote (thereby making many of the deadlines to register that pass in March) but that's boring, and more a celebration of bureacracy than democracy. And oh, the papercuts! And even during a presidential election year, when March is abuzz with primaries, it's hardly exciting since it's very likely that each party's candidate has already been chosen so there's no point in voting. So to recap: don't vote in March (because you can't and there's no point), but do vote for Kellie Pickler (because you can vote multiple times from the privacy of your own home, and American Idol is far less predictable than politics).

Vote

I have saved a specific style of poetry for this celebration: a list poem. I feel that this half-assed form of poetry (where in you simply list a series of things or ideas) is the perfect way to honor this half-assed month that tries -- but only a little bit -- to shake apathetic youth from their political slumber.
 
Stupid reasons a young voter may give for not voting:
  • "The elderly ladies who serve as polling judges creep me out."
  • "I was protesting P. Diddy's vote or die campaign by both not voting and not dying."
  • "A Laguna Beach marathon kept me from being able to leave the couch let alone the house."
  • "My favorite wrestler didn't endorse any one candidate leaving me unable to choose."
  • "I detest interactions that end in the exchange of fliers and/or bumper stickers."
  • "As a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, I refuse to do anything that will result in me receiving a multilingual sticker. This is America and in America we speak English (and don't vote)!"
  • "I was going to go get drunk and vote and then decided to leave it at just getting drunk."
  • "It was raining."
  • "The dilemma of the ladies on the Starting Over house was too enthralling and I couldn't bare to leave them."
  • "I was walking multiple dogs -- no really that's my job"
  • "A lack of true choice between the two parties leaves me disillusioned and unwilling to vote.... but really I just don't care."

Putting the "Press" in "Depressing"

More from Michelle.  Today's March muse/poetry form combination: Small Press/Diamante.

I am nearly incapable of containing my enthusiasm as I tell you all that March is National Small Press month. Why am I excited to tell you about this group of intrepid publishers? Plenty of reasons, but let me start by explaining what exactly the term "small press" means. A "small press" is basically just a relatively unsuccessful book publisher. No reallly, that's what it is. A small press is defined by how few books they publish (12 or fewer a year) and how few people read people those books (5,000 per book).

You, like me, may be confused about if the small press is the same thing as the independent press. Short answer: No and no one else was wondering that anyway. Long answer: Many independent presses are also small presses, but a small press isn't necessarily an independent press.  I shall quote from the Small Press Center to address this question: "The difference is that the "raison d'etre" for independent publishers is not their small size but the types of books they publish and their cultural and financial point-of-view." So independent presses may be small because no one else subscribes to their crack-pot philosophies so they don't sell more books, whereas small presses aren't small for any philosophical reason so much as just that the publisher can't print and sell more books.

Press

Well, I can't think of a group more deserving of a poem (at least more deserving of the poem I'm going to write today). Small press publishers pour their heart, soul and children's college funds into what amounts to a completely intellectual exercise that will no doubt bankrupt their families and go under  -- the press's closing noted sadly by the few tens of people who read their books. Though individually small-scale publishing is the profit equivalent of using dollar bills as toilet paper, on a larger scale small press publishers are taking a larger share of the book reading market from big publishing houses. So this poem goes out to them, because capitalism be damned they keep doing their thing and in the process they're sticking it to the man (the man being Random House, not Amanda Bynes or Gheorghe Muresan). This poem form is called a "diamante," which if you understood the phrase "raison d'etre" you would know is French for diamond. Half the the poem describes the words in the first line, and the second half the poem describes the words in the last line.
 
Small press
Artistic, impoverished
Printing, toiling, struggling
Idealism, obscurity, recognition, greed
Selling, profiting, suceeding
Soul-less, efficient
Corporate press

Also, I Deserve No Credit for The Graphics in This Post, They Are Michelle's Own Divine Creation

Today I am pleased to present the first installment out of at least three and maybe five of a feature in which Michelle helps us cover somre remaining March topics.  For example, today she addresses National Athletic Trainer Month.  All of the posts in this feature also conclude with a special poem written in honor of National Poetry Month, which actually might be April but I think we can all agree we're close enough.  Anyway, here we go:

I was very excited to educate the LMNOP readership about Athletic Trainers Month, as I thought that this month was dedicated to personal trainers. I figured that personal trainers deserved their own month as many seem to be ex-college athletes with no hope of a professional career, which may or may not make them as qualified as peanuts or water to tell you what to do at the gym. Then a personal trainer at my gym told me I was fat, and that's pretty much when I was about to give up on this post altogether.  Luckily, through my research [If I thought you cared enough to check out the facts, I'd refer you to the NATA website to learn more about athletic training. Since I doubt your commitment to this celebration, I'm hoping you'll just take my word as the gospel truth.], I learned that personal training is a completely different profession than athletic training, with athletic trainers being infinitely better than personal trainers.

Athletic_trainer_graphic1

Athletic trainers, much like Gatorade, began their rich and storied history on college campuses, then then spread their sugary, sweat-replenishing goodness throughout the entire nation.  They are essentially a poor-man's/college athlete's, less-educated physical therapist. Their days are split between the following important activities: wholeheartedly supporting the team (this may involve face and/or chest painting); playing with medical tape (specifically, making animal figurines); "assisting the athletic director as needed" (this probably includes dodging unwanted sexual advances, maybe also some xeroxing); celebrating Athletic Trainers month (sending e-greeting cards, making posters); and estimating the severity of a sports-injury by comparing said injury to a fruit or ball ("That bruise is the size of a grapefruit!").

Ttimeespent

Notice that not even one minute of this day is spent calling me fat; truly, these people are heroes.  In honor of these Athletic Trainers--dare I say Gods--I humbly submit this Cinquain. (In case you do not teach English for a living/do not enjoy elementary school poetry, a cinquain is a five line poem which follows a 2-4-6-8-2 syllabic pattern. I ignored the two syllable rule for the first line as "athletic" contains a disappointing number of syllables.)
 
Athletic trainers
Are certified.
They can splint your finger.
They're quite good at ankle-taping.
Helpful!

Kid's Got Skills

These are authentic Chuck Taylors from when my dad played basketball for UMass in the 1970s.

Lm_049

This is my brother Sunday after he watched the CBS sports special on Pete Maravich and was inspired to find those Chuck Taylors, plus some hideous short shorts and our oldest basketball, and recreate the magic of the era of Pistol Pete.
Lm_041 Lm_037_1

















This is the resulting video, which will bring you one step closer to understanding my family (make sure your speakers are on):

I mean, that's got to explain something, right?


Talkin' Waffles with DC

DC, who wrote the lovely piece you are about to read, is attending college in Iowa right now and therefore has the distinction of being the most geographically remote LMNOP correspondent.  He also has a very good sense of humor, which came in handy this summer when a child at the camp we worked at together got confused and peed on him. 
So that's the background info on DC.  Enjoy the article!

Tread Lauren asked me to write about Waffle Day for this installment of LMNOP. According to my research, National Waffle Day is August 24th, and International Waffle Day is March 25th. We need two waffle days to make sure the whole world is covered? I can’t imagine many Chinese going down to Roscoe’s to celebrate. Since I only recognize American holidays, I’m sending her this post so she can run it on its proper American day, five months from now. Those foreigners can keep their international waffles. Also, Lauren handed me this assignment with the warning that this is “the most challenging assignment I have.” Lauren, nobody likes a liar. I just read 5 whole days of science bullshit and you have me writing about pancakes with syrup traps. Moving on.

Quoting mrbreakfast.com: “March 25th the women of Sweden would set aside their winter tasks like chopping wood and knitting, and began their spring tasks... the most notable of which was preparing waffles.” I think I saw this same explanation on “swedensucks.com.” If you thought waffles were Belgian, think again. Do the research I couldn’t be troubled to do. Good ol’ National Waffle Day, in August, celebrates the anniversary of the patent of the waffle iron. Cornelius Swartout, a New York
resident, received his patent in 1869.  Like anyone who lived in a former slave state, I appreciate the goodness that a comes in the form of a Waffle House. However, I don’t appreciate the hiring practices of the tastiest franchise in the confederacy. I imagine the interview to be a server goes a little something like this:

Sign Manager: So, Doris, what makes you think you’re qualified to work at the Waffle House?
Doris: Well, I’m 60 years old and I’ve never waited tables before.
Manager: You’re already over-qualified. Do you have some sort of balding disorder?
Doris: Of course.
Manager: How many of your own teeth are still in your head?
Doris: Just thirteen.
Manager: Are they between yellow and brown?
Doris: Like a baker’s dozen popcorn kernels.
Manager: You’re really blowing me away here. I’ve already noticed your productive, hacking cough. Are you still smoking two packs a day to make sure it keeps?
Doris: Three packs a day, Clint.
Manager: Welcome aboard! Let me get you a hairnet and a smock. Go introduce yourself to that child-molester looking fellow we have working the grill and the illegal immigrant we pay below minimum wage.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the coolest thing about waffles: the awful waffle. For those of you who lived in an Osama-esque cave during your formative years, the awful waffle was a running gag on the Nickelodeon show “Salute Your Shorts.” It was some sort of cruel and humiliating punishment. Though we never actually see Bobby Budnick, Donkey Lips, Ug, or any of the other less popular characters perform an awful waffle, we’re left to imagine that it involves a tennis racquet, maple syrup, and sodomy. Why, what kind of stuff happened at your summer camp?

Fked

Discussion Questions:
1. Who would you rather: Michael Stein (new kid) or Ronnie Pinskey (replaced new kid in season 2)?
2.
International House of Pancakes: A gateway to international tolerance, or an affront to American values?
3. Would you hire Doris to work in your greasy diner? What about Betty, Ethel, Mae, Sandy, or anyone else with a grandma name?