What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

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Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

I wonder what goes in this space?


Words for Will

Anon, it is sweet Shakespeare's day of birth,
And--which is more, and most convenient--
Upon this day was he return'd to earth;
The same day that he came, he also went.

Prithee, let iambs fall from every tongue,
In number, five; thus shalt thou form a line;
It is the sweetest rhythm ever sung;
With words thus build we Shakespeare's perfect shrine.

A measur'd word can scarcely go to waste;
We'd banish rancor, foolishness and spite
If all our words were chosen, form'd and plac'd
With all the care that poets take to write.

Rhyme if you can, or leave your verses blank,
But speak the speech--it's Will you have to thank.


Why you need an editor, 7.26.11

Acoustic trio (female lead vocals, guitar/vocals, guitar/mandolin/mandola/vocals) arraigning and performing contemporary and traditional Christian worship and praise music are seeking a couple mature and experienced believers/musicians/vocalists to help collaborate with our project.

Well, I've heard worship songs I don't care for, too, but that doesn't make them illegal.


You can't scare me, I'm stickin' with the onion

The following lyric, unfortunately, was written too late to submit to the Vidalia onion jingle contest, which I just learned about after the fact. Nonetheless:

i'm broke and unemployed, i'm living on the street
i wear a trash bag for a jacket and newspapers on my feet

life is bitter
but those onions are sweet

i used to move among society's elite
i'd point my pinky when i'd drink and wear a napkin when I'd eat
till that fateful dinner party, when my personal chef
used some onions that were bitter and left me with bad breath
i was dumped by my fiancee, i was fired by my boss
the kitchen caught fire, the mansion burned down and they called it a total loss
but one lesson that i learned from all this misery and failure
i'll never touch another onion unless it's a vidalia

life is bitter
but those onions are sweet

i'm a denizen of shelters, a patron of soup kitchens
a careworn face in the regular crowd down at the rescue mission
there's only two conditions on the onions that I'll eat
they'd better be vidalias and they'd better taste sweet
i've been to pecos valley
traveled up to walla walla
i've picked 'em out on maui
but there's no onion like vidalia

life is bitter
but those onions are sweet

plant your roses and your tulips
rhododendrons and azaleas 
nothin' smells as sweet to me 
as a plate of sliced vidalias

life is bitter
but those onions are sweet


No regrets?

Never trust people who say they have no regrets. A person with no regrets has never made a mistake big enough to learn from; never done anything important enough or risky enough to have unintended results; never had to choose the lesser of two evils. Or, worse yet, he or she HAS done all those things, and yet remains unaffected by their consequences, unencumbered by conscience.


Love and Theft—and Grand Larceny

Joni Mitchell was recently quoted as saying that Bob Dylan was unoriginal—stealing his musical ideas from other people. (I guess she failed to note that many of Dylan's sources, e.g., Woody Guthrie, weren't exactly noted for originality themselves.)

But there's still a difference between theft of that sort and the kind of theft where two gospel singers in Georgia break into churches and swipe $100,000 worth of equipment. Hey fellas—just because Jesus said he'd come like a thief in the night doesn't mean that you can.

The Tell-Tale Honky-Tonk

Been thinking the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe might lend themselves to loose adaptation as a gothic country song or two.

I'm a sweet and pleasant feller,
That's what everybody thinks
Because they haven't seen me
When I've had too many drinks.
It's not that I'm addicted,
I just never get enough.
And that's when I can do
Some really wild and crazy stuff.

My cousin Berenice died
And was buried down beneath,
But I went and dug her up again
And pulled out all her teeth.
They were so white and pearly,
And she had all thirty-two,
But honey, don't you worry—
I would never do that to you.

Then when that's finished, perhaps an Ernest Tubb parody:

I'm walkin' the floor over you 

You're six inches from the bottom of my shoe 
I hope you're staying cool and moist
Down there between the joists,
As I'm walkin' the floor over you.


Rick Neuheisel, the Rat of Nim?

I attended a Mariners game with a group from my church the other night. When I found our section and sat down next to a fellow parishioner, Cal Uomoto, he said, "I didn't have you pegged as a sports fan."

There are bigger sports fans than I, but after all I am not only a fan but an occasional sports writer, so it does behoove me to know at least a little bit about most sports. I admit I'm a nerd, but some nerds love some things about some sports. So there.

Here, anyway, is a sports story with some real nerd appeal: a piece in the Seattle Times about how Rick Neuheisel, current UCLA Bruins football coach and former Washington Huskies coach, recruited his new quarterback by convincing him to switch from UW to UCLA. (If you follow Pac-10 football at all, you probably know that Seattleites either admire Slick Rick for being the last Husky coach to win a Rose Bowl, or despise him for being unable to control his players' off-field antics and for betting on NCAA basketball games and lying about it.)

According to the story, Slick Rick won this quarterback over by challenging him to a game. It was nothing involving football or any other sport, but rather a two-person math/logic game played on a marker board. The quarterback in the story calls this game "sticks." When I used to play it with other nerds in junior high, we called it 3-5-7, but according to Wikipedia, mathematicians call it "Nim." In most variations of the game, objects are arranged in three rows of varying lengths. Players take turns removing objects, trying to leave the other player with the last one. Reportedly Slick Rick told this quarterback that he'd have to consider UCLA if he lost 10 games in a row, which is exactly what happened.

In games like Nim, the outcome is often a foregone conclusion if neither player makes a mistake. For example, a correctly played game of tic-tac-toe always ends in a draw (if one player wins, it means the other one screwed up). Slick Rick's version of Nim is set up so that the person who goes second will win the game, provided that he or she understands the strategy and doesn't blow it. (In most versions, the advantage goes to the first player.) The Times story suggests that the quarterback was completely unfamiliar with Nim, so it's no surprise that Rick skunked him. Heck, Rick probably didn't even have to secure for himself the advantage of going second every time, knowing that the kid would most likely make a boo-boo.

Here's the irony in all this: Rick's use of Nim as a recruiting tool means that he is selecting football players who are no good at Nim — in other words, they can't recognize patterns and don't think strategically. I don't know about you, but those are not qualities I would want in a quarterback. Between two quarterbacks with comparable physical capabilities, I'd go for the smarter one. I'd want one who might even be able to beat the coach at Nim now and then.

If you ask me, this story is a cause for Washington fans to celebrate. Clearly, Rick Neuheisel is interested only in players who aren't as smart as Rick Neuheisel — meaning that every other team in the Pac-10 has a better shot at recruiting players who are as smart as Rick Neuheisel. Maybe even smarter.