Eff you, Al Gore.

bits_gore.480There was a time when I was a kid with purpose and potential. I was useful and valuable – to the point where people would actually seek me out for the wisdom of my counsel.

Then Al Gore had to go and invent the Internet. Asshole.

I was a trivia savant. A once-in-a-generation font of pointless bullshit. I was the chosen one of whom the prophecies spoke. But no more. Now I’ll fumble through whole categories while watching the Jeopardy TEEN Tournament. My skills have tarnished and faded with disuse.

“Skoog, who sings this?”
“David Essex.”

“Skoog, on this mixtape, next to ‘Don’t Misunderstand Me’, you’ve just got ‘R.C. Band’. Who’s that?”
“The Rossington Collins Band. They were made up of survivors from Lynard Skynard after the plane crash.”

“Skoog, The Monkees sucked, didn’t they?”
“Actually, The Monkees get a bad rap. Some of them had some real musical talent. And they were the first band to incorporate the Moog synthesizer – so really they were kind of innovators.”

I had information of value (extremely limited and selective value, but value nonetheless) and people wanted to talk to me because of it. Then Google came along and knew, like, a gazillion times more than I ever did.

I became the buggy whip of the trivia world.

Today I caught a glimpse of myself and recoiled in revulsion at the wraith that I’ve become. Our Internet access was down for most of the day at work today – on a day when I was trying to work on concepts for a couple of projects, rather than writing*.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let my mind run and play with concepts without the ability to instantly search a dozen different phrases, facts, events and ideas. I needed the web.

I was like a once cocksure corner drug dealer who has been overpowered by his own wares until he’s discovered – wretched and catatonic – in the fetid squalor of a smoke-filled opium den.

Oh, trivia! Foul temptress. Cruel mistress. Why must thou vex me so?

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*Now, if I’d been WRITING today, I’d have been just fine. I still proudly kick it old-school when I’m writing. Pen and paper for first draft, baby!

Elephants of style

I found out the other day that my friend Jen considers me to be a Stylish Blogger. Now, be aware that describing me as a "stylish" ANYTHING is akin to labeling OCB as "cuisine." I'm about as fashion-forward as a Mervyn's young menswear flier.

But whatever. It's Jen's call, not mine. And I'm actually pretty darned honored that she thought of me. So I humbly accept the title of stylish blogger, along with all the rights and responsibilities that accompany it.

Those include:

1. I'm supposed to write this post and link back to Jen's blog.

2. I'm required to share 7 things about myself.

3. I've got to nominate 5 other Stylish Bloggers. (This is really starting to sound like Amway, isn't it?)

4. I need to contact those 5 bloggers and let them know they've won. (This is the one where Jen kinda dropped the ball. I just happened to encounter my name and a link to my blog while I was killing time on Mars over lunch the other day.)

Okay then. Seven things about myself.

1. I really wish I could like Led Zepplin. But I can't. Never have. Not sure why. Just don't.

2. I found a seahorse in a tide pool in North Carolina once. Not sure how cool that sounds to you but it sounds very cool to me.

3. I'm pretty sure I've got some kind of low-grade narcolepsy (but, as yet, no discernable penchant for buggery).

4. I still get Jack Nicholson and Jack Nicklaus mixed up. (This one's getting significantly less problematic as years go by. Not because I've gotten better at it. Just because their names come up less frequently.)

5. My favorite book is still the Catcher in the Rye and I don't care if that makes me a cliche.

6. I didn't start paying attention to football till I was 11. That was 1978. That means I've never had the experience of watching "my" team PLAY in a Super Bowl® – much less win one. I have no cause to think that this will ever change.

7. I need a new swimsuit and I'm bummed because the Scheel's gift card I was planning on using to buy one got ripped off last week with my wallet. (And I'm cheap enough to string this situation out until my birthday in July.)

Now for some stylish bloggers.

I actually don't read a whole lot of blogs. The ones I do have to really grab my interest. Here are 5 people with big style and huge talent. These are my elephants of style.

• Jen at My House on Mars. She's quirky, funny and, for as far off the beaten path as she manages to stray, there's always something recognizable and relatable in her writing.

• Sara at simplyneutral. Yes, I realize it's a "corporate" blog. But I still go to read it sometimes just for entertainment. Sara's that good.

• Monica at Minnesota Transplant. I just love how hard Monica makes it to categorize her blog. Sports, literature, religion, travel… I wish I could be this interesting from this many angles.

• Jim at Busy Dad Blog. You know, I don't even remember how I stumbled onto this one. But I keep stumbling back. Good stuff. And nice to get a guy's perspective.

• Jenny at The Bloggess. Um… What can I say? This is as good as blogs get, in my opinion. I'm not a big LOL guy (much less a ROTFLMAO guy), but her stuff IS funny. And crazy. Way crazy. Like, wake-up-in-a-Mexican-jail-lying-next-to-a-stuffed-wolverine crazy. You've got to check it out.

 That's it. That's all I've got. Go check out those blogs, and thank you Jen for thinking of me! I'll try and be back soon to post more cuz there was lots to talk about this weekend – from Addy bragging to bacon.

The end.

(Crap, I've really got to come up with some kind of stylish way to sign off these posts.)

Click here. My kids’ happiness depends on it.

When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip.’*

So this is my channeling of Demosthenes. This is my call to action. This is my stirring, ‘Win one for the Gipper’ speech.


Please invest three minutes of your life into watching the embedded video below.

Pretty please?

What’s that? What the heck are you watching? It’s a church youth group project starring Molly, Claudia, and cousin Alyssa. It was shot and directed by our very own Josie. (Please don’t ask me what the Glee version of Safety Dance has to do with church youth group. Just go with it.)

There are four teams locked in mortal combat right now for the highest total number of views. (Hey, that’s quite enough of the depressingly cynical comments on mortal combat in the name of religion, jerks. It’s just a youth group video contest.)

So thanks for watching. You’ve made our girls very happy. Want to make them even happier? Watch it again.

I think the kids have until Friday, Aug. 20. So watch it early and watch it often. (It makes a wonderful stretch break at work. Seriously. If your boss gets after you over three lousy minutes, give me a call and I’ll go to bat for you.)




*Love this line from Ogilvy on Advertising. Classic.

There’s an app for that

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It's Corinne's birthday! And I think I did pretty well on her $5 birthday present.

I got her a $4.99 iPhone app — which would be an oddly pointless gift if we hadn't just caved last week. That's right; last week we gave up the desperate, futile wait for Apple to make the iPhone available for Sprint.

Corinne's switching to AT&T and getting the iPhone she's coveted so desperately and for so long. We shuffled some expenses and some budget dollars…and we'll make it work.

Now, if you're sensing a similarity between Corinne's $5 birthday present and her $1 Mother's Day present — and thinking that indicates a halfhearted effort and lack of creativity on my part — go screw yourself. Just kidding. But, in my opinion, what that similarity indicates is just how well I know and love my fantastic wife. She's a techno-geek. A beautiful, wonderful, adorable techno-geek.

So, as foreign as the idea sounds to me, I think an iPhone app is the thing that's truly going to bring joy to my wife… As soon as AT&T gets their act together and ships the damned phone.

iPhone = awesome

AT&T = lame