Wed 26 Oct 2005
There was this young lion who had become king of the jungle due to the recent passing of his father and feeling thusly empowered began to tour his kingdom. Head held high, chest puffed, out he pawed along the jungle floor, when off in the distance, drinking at a water hole was a large water buffalo, a bull. Our lion instinctively switched into hunting mode and silently crept from tree to tree, stalking the drinking bull. So quietly he crept that the bull was unaware until POUNCE! the lion leapt on the bull and ate him up in a one giant swallow. Wow! The lion felt GREAT now. Walking up on top a small hill, he tilted back his head and let out a powerful roar to signify his power and dominion. Below in the jungle thicket, a nearby hunter hearing the roar rapidly swings his rifle to his shoulder and WAMMO! kills the lion. Moral of the story? Don’t open your mouth if you’re full of bull.
Wed 26 Oct 2005
Left-handed people have been lingually discriminated for some time. Let’s take a short journey and see what we can uncover.
First, the word right means not only “the opposite side of left”, but also “correct.” To be saved, for example, we must find ourselves on the “right hand of God” (note the usage of both meanings.)
Then we have the word “ambidextrous” which is from Latin ambi- “on both sides” and Latin dexter, right-handed. Thus, to be ambidextrous means to have two right hands.
Focusing on Latin dexter, we derive “dexterous”, which means skillful or adroit. Left-handed people aren’t so handy.
First, in French, left is “gauche”, which means “the opposite side of right” as well as lacking social polish or tactless or awkward. What about Latin? Well, left in Latin is sinister (with all the English word’s connotations) and means “on the left” as well as unlucky. Hence, in English, to describe as gauche means to attribute backwardness to something.
Famous left-handers include:
Wed 19 Oct 2005
We all know that when two roads diverge in a yellow wood we’re supposed to take the one less traveled. ‘Cause it makes all the difference.
But what do you do at the confluence of three roads? If you like to people watch, you might sit at the corner and idly chat with the passersby. It’s likely that near such intersections would be posted information notices, etc. Throw in a tavern and you’d have quite the conglomeration. Such common meeting places were looked down on in Roman times as of little importance and time wasting.
Latin lesson of the day: Tri=three, via=road. As three roads we have the word “trivia”, or something of little importance. Ta dah!
Wed 19 Oct 2005
According to http://www.abiworld.org/statcharts/HouseRank.htm Utah leads the nation in personal bankruptcies.
Who is at fault here? Clearly the Satan-inspired TV show MTV Cribs. For those not in the know, a “crib” in today’s gansta parlance is (according to wikipedia.org) one’s living space, that is, their home or apartment.
MTV Cribs features a number of African-American role models like rap stars and professional athletes who are living life large. Through MTV, we get an inside view to their pimped out cribs. Typical features include massive square footage, huge screen TVs and fully stocked game rooms. No self-respecting conspicuous consumer would be livin’ without a fleet of sweet rides. Pulled out in front of these cribs are low-riding SUVs with large silvery rims and LCD monitors in headrests, some sort of sports car (Mercedes / Porsche) and a Harley or bullet bike.
There are two types of people in this world: those who watch MTV Cribs and those who watch MTV Cribs but say they don’t. It’s nearly impossible to watch the opulence and luxury and not wonder how life would be big pimpin’ style.
Enter typical Utahan. The three year average median income for Utah from 2000 to 2002 is $48,537.00 with a 90% confidence interval of +/- $1520.00 (according to http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p60-221.pdf (page 18))
That’s not very much income. Add on the monthly new car payments and the required wardrobe and vacations and you’re very much overspent.
Solution: get a bunch of credit cards, withdraw cash, and put a 30k down payment on a house. Then declare bankruptcy. Current bankruptcy laws allow for a homestead exemption of up to 30k (depends on the state.) Instant 30k equity!
Now just sign up for a few interest only loans and as the market goes up, your equity does too!
Also, you should hope that the market doesn’t go down and the interest rates go up. Then you’re in a tight spot Delmar. Also, new bankruptcy laws make filing much more difficult.
Oh, well, it was good while it lasted, eh? Thanks MTV!
Wed 12 Oct 2005
I know, the “your” should be “you’re.” That’s what makes it funny. It reminds me of this shirt:
Anyway, back to nimrod. Most people associate it (rightly) with “a person regarded as silly, foolish, or stupid.” (Dictionary.com)
Readers of the Bible or The Book of Mormon might recall a great hunter with that name. Indeed the original sense of the word is simply a hunter.
So how did a great hunter become a twit? Turns out that people found it funny to call inept hunters nimrod. The OED has “2. A great or skilful hunter (freq. ironic); any person who likes to hunt. Also fig.” It’s the freq. ironic / sarcastic that interests us here.
Enter Warner Brother’s Bugs Bunny. According to Dictionary.com, Bugs used the phrase “poor little Nimrod,” to mock Elmer Fudd, the dimwitted, bumbling hunter. Hunce the connection from a nimrod to a moron. (Of course, Bugs wasn’t the first to use nimrod/moron, OED says it was: “1933 B. HECHT & G. FOWLER Great Magoo III. i. 183 He’s in love with her. That makes about the tenth. The same old Nimrod. Won’t let her alone for a second.”)
Tah dah! That concludes your etymology lesson for the day.
Sun 2 Oct 2005
What can I say? I just finished the Saint George Marathon and it hurt. A lot. (To be clear, I’m the one hurting, not the race.) Here’s the story: I fell sick (with the flu?) on the Wednesday before, but by Thursday I decided notwithstanding to run the race. (Can’t go losing my registration fee!) Friday afternoon my sister Kristen and I drove down to Saint George, picked up our registration packets and my ELITE number(!) We tried to catch a few hours of sleep, but four AM came sooner that we expected. We hurriedly dressed and drove to the marathon park. At the park, a herd of busses idled, ready for loading. We scrambled upon the first one we could and enjoyed some healthy banter with the other riders on the trip to the starting point (some 45 minutes up a canyon.) At that location, the organizers had erected a small city complete with the longest line of porta-potties I’ve ever beheld. It’s cold before sunrise in the canyon, so there were thankfully a number of small fires around which the growing swarm of runners huddled. Our ranks swelled to over 5,000 and at about 6:50am, the race began with the national anthem and the shrill of an air horn. The crowd surged forward, and we were on our way.
Did I mention that I neglected to train for the marathon? Well, I did. I’ve been busy with stuff. “How hard can 26 miles be?”, I thought. (Answer: very hard.) Looking back, I did pretty well the first mile. My strategy was to run 10 minutes and then walk one minute. That worked for about one time before it changed to, run 30 seconds walk five minutes. At mile ten, Kristen overtook me and tried, unsuccessfully, to motivate me to run faster. I told her I wasn’t interested in her motivational speaches and, after a shrug, she kept running and I kept walking. My running plan soon evolved into one of survival and finishing– I would walk when the course was flat or uphill and when the road was downhill I would lean forward and sprint like a demon-possessed-madman. This resulted in leapfrogging other runners only to have them pass me a short time later.
Aid stations. These curious way marks, positioned every three miles, were like mini parties for me. I would stroll from table to table gratefully accepting handfuls of orange slices and banana halves and water and Gatorade and Vaseline on sticks and power Goo. Other runners would slow down for the stations too, joining me in my feast and making me not feel like such an out-of-shape loser, if only for a moment.
Quitter vans. Maybe you’ve decided to run a marathon and then half way into the race, as painful bursts rack your body, you begin to regret your decision. For this, they have slow moving vans marked “tired runner pickup,” where you can cast your hopes and dreams aside and validate how much you think you suck. To those with too much pride to quit (me), these vans taunted our lack of training and offered a quick exit. Like drugs, these easy-way-out automobiles should be avoided at all cost.
Myth #1: “it’s all downhill.” This vicious lie is spread by the proprietors of the St. George Marathon website. They even feature a handsomely illustrated graphic depicting the steep, nearly treacherous decent. “You practically don’t have to run at all”, it seems to be saying. “Just lean forward and let gravity do its work!” Those who were taken in by this web of deceit were in for a shock as mile three came around and a veritable Everest loomed into view, dashing the lie apart like the sides of a hand grenade.
Bathroom breaks. Before the race had even begun, I noticed quizzically many people swilling jugs of Gatorade. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for proper hydration, but surely if you imbibe so much liquid you’ll need to void yourself of the excess soon enough. My prediction was right, and more frequently than the mile markers, was the lone male runner relieving himself (in plain sight) alongside the road. Fortunately, the women had the fortitude to postpone the bathroom breaks until the dual porta-potties at each aid station.
Conclusion. Like getting Lasik eye surgery, I’m glad I ran the marathon, but I didn’t enjoy the experience at all. I am frequently asked, “Will I do it again?” I don’t think so. With little offense intended to great marathoners, I personally don’t believe it is a healthly thing to do to one’s body. Burning fat is ok. Burning muscle is not ok. Still, there were a lot of healthly (and attractive) looking people who participated. Maybe next year I’ll just go to watch and cheer them on. With all the pain, it’s a heck of a lot easier to run when people are cheering.