Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday Fragments

Where pop culture and no culture collide

  • Bimonthly trips to the Burke Branch library were regular parts of my childhood existence. As a wee'un, I always checked out the tape/book combos that came in those ragged plastic bags with the white plastic rack hook. The most frequently borrowed book was the one where Cookie Monster sang "C is for Cookie". Later on, I regularly checked out D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths which was a massive hardback tome of illustrated myths (I had a Greek Myth fetish as a child). I must have checked that book out at least once a month.

  • I also tried the Norse Mythology book by the same author with the same illustrated gimmick, but it just wasn't as cool. Norse myths are rather boring after growing up with Greek ones. The names were cooler though. I may name my firstborn child, Thor for kicks. Uri!, Thor is ready for social studies, Miss Adams!

  • Social studies was such a joke class. We actually had textbooks in first grade that taught us that sharing made for a better community. Language Arts was always fun though, because of the story textbook containing all the stories you were to read over the course of the year. I used to read the book for pleasure reading and then the teachers would get pissed off two months later when they didn't have a lesson plan and forced us to read quietly during class and I had already read it. The only two memories I have of the stories now: The third grade reader was called Mystery Sneaker and had a footprint on the cover, and the eighth grade reader had a very cool story called Lenigan Versus the Ants about a man that singlehandedly saves his farm from swarms of fire ants in Mexico.

  • The other thing teachers back then did when they had no lesson plans (aside from the classic "let's watch a movie of the book we just read") was to have kids read plays. Listening to barely literate classmates reading a play was easily one of the most painful experiences possible -- I always tried to not have a role so I could just read ahead and ignore the glacial pace of the class participation. My eighth grade English teacher caught on to my tricks though, and assigned me the role of the Not So Angry Man in Twelve Angry Men (Juror #4, I believe) which meant I had millions of lines on every page. It took our class longer to read that play than it took the movie Unbreakable to have a point, and we didn't even have Samuel L. Jackson to entertain us.

  • Samuel L. Jackson's next movie, Snakes on a Plane is coming out this summer. What a great title .

  • As a kid, my parents made us read for two hours a day on the weekend. It was at this stage that I read and reread all those Beverly Cleary books. Whenever I turned in my Reading Is Fundamental lists showing how many pages I'd read, the teachers would never believe me at first. R.I.F. was fun because you got to turn in your little reading award for pizza at Pizza Hut, which meant I could sit at the tabletop Pac-Man game and pretend to play it (we never went to the arcade as kids because they were "a waste of money", and we didn't even own a Nintendo until two years after it came out). R.I.F. awards were almost as good as getting on the Honor Roll at Hammond Junior High, which got you fifty-cent games of bowling at the alley across the street.

  • When we "studied" bowling in eighth grade gym, I was still too small to use the lane's eight pound balls, so my dad bought a red six pound ball with Mickey Mouse etched in the back, which I brought to school every time we went bowling. I still have that ball in the basement, but now I use nine pound balls. I haven't been bowling since I visited Philip and Kelley in Blacksburg back in 2002 -- I'll have to arrange a local bowling bonanza sometime soon.

  • Amazon tempted me with a free trial subscription to Amazon Prime for the next three months, which gives me free two-day shipping on all purchases. After the trial, which ends in June, I'd have to pay $80 a year, which I probably won't do. The Amazon Prime membership extends to up to three other people living in my household, so if you go ga-ga over free shipping, maybe we can work something out. You could be my indentured servant and make dinners for me in exchange for three months of free shipping.

  • No big plans for this weekend other than a little poker and a little certification work. Maybe I'll go bowling or buy a cat. Or, maybe I'll just stay in bed all weekend long and finalizing my plans for taking over the world. Have a great weekend!

  • Cat comforts grieving orangutan
    Walmart suspects terror in Bush photo
    Police don't notice dead man or live dog

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