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Dizzying Intellect » 2008» April

Looks Deceive

So I stopped at Borders on the way home to pick up Heather Armstrong’s new book. Which for some reason is in the psychology/self-help section — admittedly, I haven’t read it yet, but how is a collection of anecdotes going to “help” anyone? Maybe I just don’t understand self-help books.

Anyway, I had read an Ann Coulter article earlier in the day, and parts of it made me laugh (the James Carville line, especially), so I thought I’d pick up one of her books on the way out.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m no fan of Ann Coulter. Her public persona grates on my last nerve, and the fact that she’s somehow become the representative for all conservative women makes my brain hurt. But I think that if I knew her personally, I’d love her, because her snarky, smart way with words completely cracks me up.

So I picked one at random, and walked up to the register, where a fresh-faced girl in her early-twenties, with her hair in a ponytail, was checking the last person out. I walked up and put my books down, and as she picked up the Coulter book, I asked if books came with an assigned “genre” — curious about Heather’s book’s placement.

She stammered for a minute, glanced down at the book in her hands, and looked really worried, and I knew I’d lost her. So I went on to explain that I thought the psychology placement of the other book was odd. She started laughing and told me that Into The Wild is in the recreation/outdoors section, and that they just roll with it.

And then, as she’s just about to put the Coulter book into the bag, she — I swear to god, this young girl that I would’ve picked for an Obama groupie with no hesitation — physically hugs the book to her chest, and says “I love this book.”

I feel like I stood there with my jaw on the counter for fifteen minutes, but it must have only been a second or two. I mean, this town is blue. So we chatted about Ann Coulter for a few minutes (there was no one else checking out), and how funny but utterly polarizing she is. Two conservative women. In a Borders. In St Louis.

Weird.

(And now I know how people must feel when I start talking about politics.)

Retarded is a Personality Trait, not a Medical Condition

As I was pumping air into one of my tires with a foot pump yesterday after work, I took my shoes off in the driveway (it’s harder to do in heels than it sounds). A few minutes later, I did a delayed double-take and realized that I’d worn mismatched shoes all day.

*sigh*

They were the same color (and my pants are too big, so the hems are pretty close to the ground), so hopefully no one noticed. I just can’t believe that I didn’t even notice after I’d taken them off and they were sitting right next to me. I mean, they don’t look anything alike.

I need a vacation.

Tear Me Down Like Roger Moore

I have to run to a meeting, but this just caught my eye.

I love (LOVE!) Amy Winehouse. She blows me away. I know, if you don’t get her, you just don’t get her, and I’m certainly not condoning her trainwreck lifestyle. But I’ve said since the first time I ever heard her voice, that she reminds me of exactly what Nina Simone would be, if her heyday was today, instead of the 60s. She has the same roughness and scalding anger, and the level of crazy vocal talent — and they have such similar voices.

Anyway, I hope she gets the 007 theme, because I think she fits the new Bond. And I hope it somehow helps her troubled life.

YouTube: Amy Winehouse - Back To Black

YouTube: Nina Simone - Feeling Good

Seriously Tough

Dude, my cousin was in the 2008 Best Ranger Competition, and he was one of only 16 teams to finish.

He doesn’t have the same last name as me, and I’m not going to tell you who he is, but he kicked ass.

You can read about the competition here.

Sweet!

Think Geek: Good/Bad

More from ThinkGeek — one good and one very, very bad.

Good: The best brownie pan ever. All edge pieces!!

all_edges_pan.jpg

Bad: Personal Soundtrack t-shirt. Like last year, people whined so much about the April Fool’s edition, that they made one of the products real. But it couldn’t be as cool as last year’s 8-bit tie. (And of course, it wasn’t the Pii, which I would totally have bought.)

personal_soundtrack_shirt.jpg

Didn’t we just get people to stop carrying “boom boxes” and start using headphones again, so we don’t have to listen to their crappy music choices? Isn’t it bad enough that we have to listen to their ringtones, for the love of god?!

‘Senior’ Moment?

I was driving home last night and noticed that the guy behind me — an older dude, maybe early sixties — had a weird smirk on his face. I’m a people-watcher. At first, I thought it was funny, but the longer that exact expression stayed on his face, the creepier it got.

We pulled up to a stoplight, and he lifted a Bud Light and took a giant swig out of it. Then, fortunately (for me, not others) he swung onto the freeway and disappeared.

It’s not like I’ve never seen anyone drink at the wheel before, but it’s been a long time. It sort of shocked me. I mean, during rush hour? At sixty years old? Jeez, grow up.

On the other hand, with that smirk, maybe he was just warming up for a tri-state killing spree.

Faith

I saw this little cutie on the news last night. She was born with only three legs, and one had to be amputated because it was deformed, and had atrophied.

I love the metaphor here, for “handicapped” meaning only what you think it means. She can hop and run and chase geese and play like any other dog. They tour around doing benefits and fundraisers, and visiting nursing homes and military bases and stuff, giving puppy love.

But mostly I just think it’s cool to watch a dog walk around on two legs. What a good girl.

[Faith the Dog's official site.]

Notes

1. I love Jim Halpert. This is going to be this show’s Slap Bet, isn’t it? Hilarious.

2. Mariah Carey called Ryan Seacrest “John” on the results show. I can’t help loving what that must have done to his massively overinflated ego.

3. There is no talking in the bathroom. If you need to use your cell in private, go into the stairwell. If you need to chat with a friend (or me) go to a desk. Honestly, people.

4. There was no traffic today, and the office is, seriously, half empty. Is this a holiday that I don’t know about, or is everyone that freaked by the earthquake?

5. Obama called himself “a pretty darn good politician.” *sigh* That’s what we’re all looking for, right, another freaking politician? Yep, I still hate all three of them.

Yikes.

Dude, we just had an earthquake. In St Louis.

Suddenly, buying a 115 year old house seems slightly less smart.

Update: Yow, it was a 5.4. Not too shabby.

Update: Huh. There goes another one.

Update: That one was a 4.5. That’s actually pretty creepy, that you can feel a 4.5 from 150 miles away, on the 3rd floor of an office building. Very different from California…

$32.17

Take one of the best violinists in the world, put a 300-year old Stradivarius in his hands, and… drop him in a Washington DC metro station to busk for an hour during the morning commute.

Sure, it’s a stunt, but it’s also a pretty interesting personality test, both for the commuters and for the violinist.

I could see this working better in Europe, for multiple reasons (less pressure to be to work on time, bigger train stations, more appreciation for classical music, etc) — or in the evening rush hour, when one is hurried but not risking one’s job. It’s also, in my experience, better for both acoustics and a captive audience, to play at the bottom of an escalator, not the top.

But I still didn’t expect these results. This quote particularly got me:

The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother’s heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.

The interviews with the passers-by are fascinating, especially the shoeshine woman, and Picarello and Olu, the only ones who get it.