Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday's Television Quiz

Fridays are flashback day - perhaps not watching television has me feeling nostalgic about all the good ol' shows from the past. Can you guess this one? If they're too easy let me know and I'll try to up the challenge factor.

When I was a kid this was one of the cartoons that I loved but my parents were not too crazy about - not sure if that's due to the creepy bad guy, or the cartoon women running around in skin-tight sorceress gear. Or the fact that the main character was constantly claiming to be the power (my parents were new Christians, conservative evangelicals at the time, and so anyone besides Christ who ran around claiming to be THE POWER was immediately suspect).

Anyway, how could I be to blame, if I just happened to wander over to my neighbor's house at exactly 3:30, and he happened to want to watch television, and this happened to be the show he wanted to watch (with a little prodding)?

A few clues:

- the main character's every day name, when he wasn't his heroic self, was Adam
- the main character's every day occupation was: prince (is that an occupation?)
- he had a dog named Cringer

Know it yet?

- the three sidekicks who knew his identity were The Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, and Orko
- he was the most powerful man in the universe

Still not sure? Here's one phrase that should bring everything back:

"By the power of Gray Skull!"

Click here to see the original trailer.

If you watched this as a kid, who was your favorite character? Was I the only one banned from watching this?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fourth Favorite Book Of All Time

For most of us who love to read, there is one book that we can look back on as THE BOOK that somehow lassoed our interest in the written word. Usually it happened somewhere in middle school or high school (although I have heard of late bloomers).

My fourth favorite novel of all time was this book for me - I read it during the summer before my senior year (thanks to Mrs. Yuninger), and the impact it had on me is immeasurable. The narrative voice was so astoundingly unique, and the story-telling so fresh and unguarded . . . from that moment forward I knew I wanted to write, I knew I wanted to read more, and I knew that when I went to college I wanted to study literature.

The book is The Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The main character is Holden Caulfield, perhaps the least forgettable character I've ever run into. The book starts off with "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like . . ." I found some more good Holden quotes on this website. Here are some of my favorites:

- "It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road."

- "I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible."

- "When I really worry about something, I don't just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don't go. I'm too worried to go. I don't want to interrupt my worrying to go."

- "All morons hate it when you call them a moron."

- "It's really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes."

- "Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody."

There is a tension in this book that has always fascinated me: the profanity-laced narrative of Holden seems incongruent with his all-consuming desire to protect the innocence of children. And he is still just an adolescent himself.

If you've never read The Catcher In The Rye, you really should. You can also find out more about the auther JD Salinger, who passed away last month here.

So what books snagged your interest in reading?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Email I've Been Waiting My Entire Life For

Seriously, guys, I'm about to be a millionaire.

Check out the following email I just received. I'm so giddy about it, I'm literally shaking. Don't worry, I'll still blog from my mansion.

The letter is as follows:

My Dear ,

How are you,first i will explain my self little to you before we continue.
I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance department of BANK OF AFRICAN . (BOA) Ouagadougou, Burkina faso , I am writing to seek your interest over a transaction.

- I'm not worried that they don't know my name. In fact, they are probably just trying to protect my identity from anyone who may have picked up this email by accident. I'm also not worried that when I searched this dude on Google the first thing that came up was "Scam 419". That is a coincidence.

In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of $18.5m US dollars (Eighteen Million Five Hundred Thousand ) .
In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in 31 July,2000 in a plane crash.

- At first I wondered at this person's inability to write a complete sentence, or to use correct punctuation, but then I realized that this inattention to detail completely lines up with someone who would misplace $18.5 million in their department. This is called compatible evidence. This makes me more comfortable with the situation.

Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless somebody applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
You can confirm the accident from bbc news website:

- The entire story summarized in a 74-word sentence using only one comma. Amazing. And the fact that there is a website attached showing the accident only confirms my suspicions: I am about to be a millionaire.

The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after five years, the money will be transferred into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund.
The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a Burkinabe cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner.

- The accident was in 2000. The money has to remain unclaimed for 5 years, which means these folks have been searching for me since 2005. That also means they have been working really hard for a long time to find me. I like that. Plus, they used the word "Burkinabe" which not everyone knows means pertaining to or originating from Burkino Faso. Only a genuine Burkinabe would know that.

We agree that 30 % of this money will be for you as foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, 10 % will be set aside for expenses incurred during the business and 60 % would be for me and my colleagues.

- This is where I began to get a little unhappy . . . 30%? I don't think so, buddy. I need at least 40% plus travel expenses. What do you think, I'm some kind of writer with no regular income and will go through all this hassle for chopped liver?

There after I and my colleagues will visit your country for disbursement according to the percentages indicated. Therefore to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as relations or next of kin of the deceased indicating your bank name, your bank account number, your private telephone and fax number for easy and effective communication and location where in the money will be remitted .

- A logical request. Although I thought all the relations or next of kin died in the plane crash? How can I then apply as one of them? Maybe he forgot that part. Oh well, not a big deal.

Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the application. I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is hitch free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer .

- I was feeling a molecule of fear at first, and then a polyatomic ion amount of fear. But when he reminded me not to entertain even an atom of fear, well, then I was reassured.

So I've sent an email to to collect on this huge fortune. I'll let you know how it goes. I won't forget you all, when I'm rich.

How A Fire Helped Me Remember

It seems a long time since my first post on going a year without television, at least until I realize it's still February. Then it doesn't seem very long at all.

I was thinking a lot about our decision not to watch tv during our short trip to Rochester last week to see Maile's brother and his family. We took a few peeks at the Olympics (you can't travel 300 miles and then be antisocial!), and the kids watched a few movies. I was still reeling from the realization that television has some positive elements.

Then a quick attempt at starting a fire brought things into perspective.

My brother-in-law Ryan has a fireplace, and I was trying to start a fire without kindling (tiny twigs and branches), using only cardboard and then huge logs. It wasn't going very well - the cardboard would burn really hot for about a minute, heat up the sides of the logs, then die out.

Just as I was struggling to get this fire going, Ryan came home.

"You got any small sticks?" I asked.

"No," he said, "but there's a bag of firestarters out there."

I went out into the freezing cold garage and grabbed a small, yellow plastic bag with something solid inside of it. It was a firestarter. I read the directions, handling it like it might explode into flame at any moment. Then I placed it between two logs and lit it, bag and all.

Suddenly there was a beautiful fire roaring in the fireplace, but I was left feeling strangely useless.

You see, when I was a kid I was in this church thing called Royal Rangers, where we learned to tie knots, chant off certain credes about character, and, among other things, start fires. We learned to use kindling, tinder, and then the real firewood. No paper, no cheating.

By the time I was 12 I could start a fire with my eyeglasses, a shoelace and the hollow wooden thingy that held my red neck tie in place.

Anyway, Ryan's fire starter had taken all the fun out of it. I sat down with my book and tried to read, but something was nagging at my brain. Then I realized.

Television is a firestarter.

Remember how when you were a kid and your parents would say "stop nagging me - go outside and play" so you'd traipse out the door with a couple of G.I. Joe's or dolls or something and end up under a tree somewhere in your backyard or at a neighbor's house and you'd play and play until, when it was finally time to go back inside, you really didn't want to go?

Remember how you used to rely on your imagination to have fun, and you'd create entire worlds and universes and everything hinged on some single solitary decision that you would make?

This was the same thing as building a fire one small stick at a time, seeing the nearly invisible flame turn into some monster of a bonfire.

But now - CLICK - the tv is on. There is no creation, only consumption.

I miss those small sticks.

That's what we're trying to get back to with this tv-time-out. The creation. The imagination. Reading. Writing. Playing games. Peace. Quiet.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Some Interesting Television Facts Which I Don't Think Are Facts

Some interesting facts about television that I found on the internet (are they true? I have no idea. But I found the information on the internet - it must be true, right?)

- According to legend, there's a Superman in every episode of Seinfeld.

- In the movie 'The Wizard Of Oz', Toto the dog's salary was $125 a week, while Judy Garland's was $500 a week.

- One in every 4 Americans has appeared on television.

- The Muppet Show was banned from Saudi Arabian TV because one if its stars was a pig.

- If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19.You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.

Sorry, I know that last one wasn't exactly an interesting television fact, but I had to throw it in there.

Disclaimer - apart from the last random fact (which can be proven mathematically), I cannot vouch for the accuracy of any of the aforementioned facts. In fact, I doubt they are true simply because the web site where I found them also listed the following as facts . . .

- Five Jell-O flavors that flopped: celery, coffee, cola, apple, and chocolate

- Internationally, Baywatch is the most popular TV show in history

- The cigarette lighter was invented before the match

- In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all the world's nuclear weapons combined

THERE IS JUST NO WAY THESE ARE TRUE!! Baywatch? No way! Celery Jell-O? Are you kidding me?

What do you think?

***I feel the need to source the two websites from which I got this information, even though most of it strikes me as false: here and here.