Back into the ether


So today Lady Steed and the Big O and I are abandoning the Residence of the Brass Clan and heading back to our internet-free lifestyle where we have to move. That's right, we found an apartment, will be signing the papers tomorrow and making a new life for ourselves in a Bold New Desert. This will probably be taking up most of our time, so it's back into hiatus I go, as per my officially announced supposition a couple weeks ago.



Iceskating's for big, burly, muscle-bound sissies


We (the Brass Clan) (see previous posts) went to the Shark Tank tonight because Papa Brass is a season-ticket holder and tonight was free holiday skating for season-ticket holders and their guests. And free chips and pretzels and peanut butter cookies and rice krispie treats and other unholy and unhealthful substances that are nonetheless delicious for season-ticket holders and their guests.

Somehow it was decided that, since the ice was crowded, it would not be a good night for the Big O to learn how to skate. And since it is a well established fact that I don't see the appeal of skating, that I would sit with him and ingest the worst kind of calories. And so I did.

The Big O saw Sharkie skating around in a Santa suit and said "Arrr! Arrr!" much as he would have had he seen a lion in a Santa suit. And so I was not too resistant to Papa Brass's desire to get O's picture taken with Sharkie.

But--and here's a lesson to all parents--when a child has got a definite fear of Santa, introducing him to one with a thousand-tooth smile just ain't going to work. In fact, it is apt to make him scream and clutch you and shudder as if he is about to, well, be drug under water and devoured by a six-foot plush predator.

Honestly, I can't think of anything scarier either.

Of course, we didn't try to take a picture with O and an actual hockey player, so who can say?


Major Announcement


Lady Steed has joined the blogosphere and I invite you all to head over and say hello.

Trying to get into whatever the spirit of Boxing Day is


I am a Californian. I have also been an Idahoan. And a few other things, none of which has any idea what it means to really feel Boxing Day and all it means to good little boys and girls the Commonwealth over. And so today we went with the Brass Clan (Lady Steed's family) to a wax museum on Pier 39 in San Francisco.

My parents had given us six tickets so our only expense was $45 to get the youngest of the Clan in and $563 to park. What I love about touristy areas is how welcome they make you feel by keeping the prices at a level that makes you feel rich when you realize the largesse you've spread about. Even if all a tourist does is park and gaze at city weirdos, the city can make him feel rich.

Hooray for tourist-friendly areas of major American cities!

Anyway, I haven't been to a wax museum since that other Bush was president and somehow the creepy wax simulacra weren't all I remembered. For instance, I don't remember Hirohito wanting my soul. Or Newton listening for that ethereal buzz that is driving him mad. Or Kate Winslet's uncomfortable smile as she tries to fake happy-to-be-here as--is that Leo?--looks on.

But it was nice to see Bush II sharing a laugh with Arafat, Salvador Dali pretending to be Geoffrey Rush, and Jezebel's careful hairstyle that saves her a lot of money on t-shirts.

From there we hit the Musee Mechanique, with its coin-operated cowboys and peep shows and county fairs and arm wrestlers. The price has risen to a quarter on almost all the exhibits since the musee moved to Fisherman's Wharf so we didn't bring to life as many of the hundred-year-old cyborgs as we may have liked--no execution scenes, for instance. But perhaps that was good. I'm not so sure the Big O had enjoyed the scenes of torture and dismemberment from the hall of horrors a half hour earlier.

Well, there's no accounting for taste.

Happy Boxing Day.




[Note: I am still technically on hiatus and without consistent internet access.]

So I have met Tolkien Boy. And together we have changed the meaning of FOB from Friends of [Master Fob] to Free of [Master Fob].

Special thanks also to Melongawk.


S'long, world!


I am now leaving campus, not to return for three weeks. I have no idea what my internet access will be like during this time.

So, in case this is the end, I just need you to know how much I love you.


How you can tell my students really love me


Yesterday I was given some nicely packaged bath salts made in chemistry class, a candy cane, and a cold cheeseburger from the cafeteria in its original foil wrapper.

Today I received another candy cane and a plastic reindeer that poops jelly beans.

Merry Christmas!


Answer key


For those of you who could not figure out #13 or #14 or #16, here are the answers:

A, B, B, A, B, D, B, C, B, D, A, C, C, C, D, C, C, D, A, C, C, C, B, C, D, A, C, A, B, B, D, C, A

Taking turns on my blog


Little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown by eruption. It rises up and increases as noiselessly and gently as not to disturb an angel’s ear, perhaps is invisible to an angel’s eye. The rain does not fall in masses but in drops; the planets do not leap in their orbits, but inch by inch and line by line they circle the orbits. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things, and in morals and religion, it is by little things, by little actions, that every one of us is going—not by leaps, yet surely by inches—either to life or death eternal.

---David O. McKay

"Well, I don't think rocks would be very interesting to God," I said. "They just sit on the ground and erode."
"You think that way because you are unable to see the storm of activity at the rock's molecular level or the level beneath that, and so on. And you are limited by your perception of time. If you watched a rock you entire lifewouldoudl never look different. But if you were God and could observe the rock over fifteen billion years as though only a second had passed, the rock would be frantic with activity. It would be shrinking and growing and trading matter with its environmeIts ITs molecules would travel the universe and become partner to amazing things that we could never imagine. By contrast, the odd collection of molecules that make a human being will stay in that arrangement for less time than it takes the universe to blink...."

---Scott Adams

The faith that stands on authority is not faith. The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul.... Great is the soul, and plain. It is no flatterer, it is no follower; it never appeals from itself. It believes in itself.... It calls the light its own, and feels that the grass grows and the stone falls by a law inferior to, and dependent on, its nature. Behold, it saith, I am born into the great, the universal mind. I, the imperfect, adore my own Perfect. I am somehow receptive of the great soul, and thereby I do overlook the sun and the stars, and feel them to be the fair accidents and effects which change and pass. More and more the surges of everlasting nature enter into me, and I become public and human in my regards and actions. So come I to live in thoughts, and act with energies, which are immortal. Thus revering the soul, and learning, as the ancient said, that "its beauty is immense," man will come to see that the world is the perennial miracle which the soul worketh, and be less astonished at particular wonders; he will learn that there is no profane history; that all history is sacred; that the universe is represented in an atom, in a moment of time.... He will calmly front the morrow in the negligency of that trust which carries God with it, and so hath already the whole future in the bottom of the heart.

---Ralph Waldo Emerson

We say that God Himself is a self-existing being. Who told you so? It is correct enough; but how did it get into your heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles....
I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it has a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal with our Father in heaven.

---Joseph Smith

But even now it is manifest and clear that there are neither times future nor times past. Thus it is not properly said that there are three times, past, present, and future. Perhaps it might be said rightly that there are three times: a time present of things past; a time present of things present; and a time present of things future. For these three do coexist somehow in the soul, for otherwise I could not see them. The time present of things past is memory; the time present of things present is direct experience; the time present of things future is expectation.[437] If we are allowed to speak of these things so, I see three times, and I grant that there are three. Let it still be said, then, as our misapplied custom has it: "There are three times, past, present, and future." I shall not be troubled by it, nor argue, nor object--always provided that what is said is understood, so that neither the future nor the past is said to exist now. There are but few things about which we speak properly--and many more about which we speak improperly--though we understand one another's meaning.

---St. Augustine

Please vote for your favorite.

Bibliophile, railophile


The Big O will not go to sleep anymore unless he has first put under his pillow The Caboose Who Got Loose and The Little Red Caboose. He usually adds a third item as well--his whistle or Pat the Bunny. Once his pillow is sufficiently lumpy with reading material and musical instruments, then he can sleep.

In honor of his railophilia, Lady Steed made him a special cake for his second birthday last week with which I will now make my first photo-posting attempt.





So I will die of lung cancer.

I will, I'm sure of it.

I've just learned that I have spent virtually all my life in or next to a series of Poison Centrals.

Go here and see if you can beat my scores:

For "Metropolitan Areas Most Polluted by Short-term Particle Pollution," I have lived or spent extensive time in numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 15, and 23.

For "Metropolitan Areas Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution," I have lived or spent extensive time in numbers 1, 2, and 5.

For the "Counties Most Polluted by Long-Term Particle Pollution," I have lived or worked in 3, 4, and 7.

Of the "Most Ozone-Polluted Cities," I have lived or spent lots and lots of time in 1, 2, and 3.

Of the "Counties with the Worst Ozone Air Pollution," I am or have been on intimate terms or have frequently visited 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13(a), and 22.

Yep. I'm pretty much a goner.

It's time to take take take


Give me this.
Give me that.
Give me everything.
Make me fat.

Thus begins the well regarded Saga of Greedy Charles, a 1914 comic farce that was taken with complete seriousness by the audience at its New York premier. Following the performance, a group of self-styled bohemians met and formed the first "Charlie Marley"--the hedonistic salon-like bachelors' clubs focused on getting and retaining physical pleasures such as wine, women and nightingale livers.

The above is a lie.





Inspired by one of my professors, I decided to let my juniors write their own American Lit final. They each wrote questions and selected quotations, then they took turns lecturing to the class on what they had written, then they turned them in to me. I selected one or two from each student and made the test.

Sound like an easy A?

You bet.

But I just graded them. My class pulled 6 Fs, 5 Ds, 6 Cs, 4 Bs and 0 As.


Now, I love this class and I love American Lit. But zero As?

That's not very many....


(If you would like to take the test, it follows. If you find any of the questions unbelievable, remember: they wrote the test. I just edited it from the raw material I was given.)

American Literature
First Semester Final

Dec. 12, 2005

1. The belief that human beings can arrive at truth by using reason rather than by relying on the authority of the past, on religious faith, or on intuition is what?

a. Rationalism b. Reasonality
c. Reality d. None of these

2. ___________ is a broad term referring to a number of Protestant groups.

a. Catholic b. Puritan
c. Government d. Literature

3. What is “Thanatopsis” about?

a. life b. death
c. birth d. childhood

4. What does Emerson think about “foolish consistency”?

a. If you do the same thing every day your life will be meaningless.
b. If you do something one day and nothing other days your life will be fulfilled.
c. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
d. A good example of why the British are dull.

5. Who wrote “Concord Hymn” during the Civil War?

a. Walt Whitman b. Ralph Waldo Emerson
c. Henry David Thoreau d. Emily Dickinson

6. When did Jonathon Edwards enter Yale?

a. when he was seventeen b. when he was forty-five
c. when he was twenty d. when he was thirteen

7. Who was the author that was kidnapped from his home country Nigeria?

a. Whitman b. Equiano
c. Jefferson d. Dickinson

8. Which one of these titles did Whitman use for one of his poems?

a. “I know why the caged bird sings”
b. “I hear America singing”
c. “If you were coming in the fall”
d. “Summer’s temptations”

9. Which poet was gay and wrote about farts?

a. Douglass b. Poe
c. Whitman d. Dickinson

10. In general, _______________ is the name given to those schools of thought that value feeling and intuition over reason.

a. Realism b. Romanticism
c. Deism d. Republicanism

11. To the romantic writers who came after Franklin, the city was far from the seat of ____________; it was often a place of shifting morals and, worse, corruption and death.

a. happiness b. death
c. chaos d. civilization

12. A great novel of the Civil War was not written until long after the war had ended because…

a. …the form of the realistic novel had not been fully developed.
b. …no one wanted to read a novel about the Civil War.
c. …none of the American writers were willing to go to the battlefront.
d. …the writers who saw the fighting firsthand were not willing to write about it.

13. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

a. George Washington b. Martin Luther King
c. Thomas Jefferson d. Abraham Lincoln

14. When was most of the literature of the American colonies written?

a. Today b. Age of Writing
c. Age of Reason c. Age of War

15. Where did Romanticism first develop as a reaction against rationalism?

a. United States b. Canada
c. Europe d. China

16. What did Romanticism have an influence on?

a. literature b. art
c. music d. all of these

17. Emily Dickinson as a person was…

a. …social. b. …always happy.
c. …not social d. …not a poet.

18. Which are the missing lines?

Because I could not stop for Death—

The Carriage held but just Ourselves—

a. He kindly stopped for me … And I had put away
b. On his civility … We passed the setting sun
c. He kindly stopped for me— … And Immortality.
d. For his Civility— … And I put away

19. Which of the following are not Romantic writers?

a. Thomas Jefferson b. Olaudah Equiano
c. Benjamin Franklin d. all of these

20. In what city did the young Ben Franklin arrive in order to make his fortune?

a. Philidelphia b. San Francisco
c. New Orleans d. New York City

21. Which Romantic believed that self-reliance—doing what is right for yourself—was of ultimate importance?

a. Poe b. Hawthorne
c. Emerson c. Bryant

22. To give his theory credence in “The Lowest Animal,” Mark Twain claims what?

a. That he heard about it from a famous scientist.
b. That he read about it in scientific books and studies.
c. That he drew his conclusions from his own experiments.
d. That it was created by Charles Darwin.

23. In “Because I could not stop for Death,” the speaker…

a. …does not take time to mourn a relative’s death.
b. …resists dying.
c. …accompanies Death to a tomb.
d. …observes Death taking a friend.

Enter the letter of the correct author and title on the line next to the passage:

_____________2. If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

_____________The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over a fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; His wrath toward you burns like fire; He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire; He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.

_____________When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

_____________Thus at the very moment I dreamed of the greatest happiness, I found myself most miserable, and it seemed as if fortune wished to give me this taste of joy only to render the reverse more poignant. The change I now experienced was as painful as it was sudden and unexpected. It was a change indeed from a state of bliss to a scene which is inexpressible by me, as it discovered to me an element I had never before beheld and till then had no idea of, and wherein such instances of hardship and cruelty continually occurred as I can never reflect on but with horror.

A. Olaudah Equiano: “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Oloudah Equiano”
B. Benjamin Franklin: “Poor Richard’s Almanack”
C. Jonathon Edwards: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
D. Thomas Jefferson: “The Declaration of Independence”

Enter the letter of the correct author and title on the line next to the passage:

_____________ “Deacon Peabody be d—d,” said the stranger, “as I flatter myself he will be, if he does not look more to his own sins and less to those of his neighbors. Look yonder, and see how Deacon Peabody is faring.”

_____________Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today—“Ah, so you shall be misunderstood”—Is it so bad to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

_____________It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined.

A. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Self-Reliance”
B. Benjamin Franklin: “The Autobiography”
C. Washington Irving: “The Devil and Tom Walker”

Enter the letter of the correct author and title on the line next to the passage:

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

Since then—‘tis Centuries—and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity—

I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west, the bride was a red girl,
Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking, they had moccasins to
their feet and large thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,
On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his luxuriant beard and curls
protected his neck, he held his bride by the hand,
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight locks descended upon her
voluptuous limbs and reach’d to her feet.

So thou shalt rest, and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny.

A. William Cullen Bryant: “Thanatopsis”
B. Emily Dickinson: “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”
C. Walt Whitman: “Song of Myself”
D. Emily Dickinson: “Because I could not stop for Death”

Safety first


So, according to this PSA I've been hearing lately, a wireless phone can be, while driving, my greatest safety device.

I'm glad to know this because I have been torn--should I buy a wireless phone or get my seatbelts fixed? Now I know.

And it makes sense, really. When I'm lying forty feet off the road with every bone in my body broken, I'm definitely going to want to call an ambulance.


On husbandry, rants and apologium



Not including this introduction, this post has three parts of which you are likely to hate at least one. When you hit that one, skip it and move on.

The first part is offensively egotistical, the second part is offensively presumptuous, the third part contains potentially offensive terminology.

That said, I have no desire to offend you.

The best husband

A few weeks ago, Lady Steed was visiting with some friends and they reached the conclusion that of all their husbands, I was the best. The big thing I had going for me was my superior social skills. Those of you have met me in the real world are now wondering how in the world someone with fewer social skills than Theric ever managed to get married. It is an excellent question.

Another of my attributes that makes me such a good husband is my mouldability. Lady Steed buys me clothes; I wear said clothes. Lady Steed asks me to take out the trash; I take out said trash. Lady Steed tells me to stop singing and tapping my way down the frozen foods aisle; I make an honest effort.

However, I refuse to goop my hair.

Lady Steed, my sister the beautician, and others have told me that I would look nice with my hair spiky. Besides the ludicrous notion that anyone looks better when their head looks like pigeon repellent, I will not put goop in my hair. For a couple reasons. First, gel. What a waste of money! I can't imagine anything less worth my hard-earned dollars. Second, touching. I always have my hands in my hair. Always. I never stop touching my head. If our society considering touching one's hair the height of obscenity, then I would be diagnosed with all sorts of psycho-ailments--from kinesthetic Tourette's to every other antisocial mental malady imaginable. I would be unfit to hang anywhere outside the asylum.

Otherwise, word on the street is I'm a pretty good husband.


Speaking of--and I've been wanting to complain about this for awhile, but haven't been sure how people will take it--but speaking of, where are all the other pretty good husbands?

I am completely perplexed by the numbers of absurdly unwed women I know--women who any half-sensible man would be desperate to give their lives to. Now maybe it's just because I don't retain male friends well and so most of the people I know are, in fact, women, but it seems to me that there are many more unwed women my age than men. And I don't know why. Have the men been conscripted to fight in Salvadoran revolutions? Have they been forced into polyandrous marriages and are now living out their lives wearing silk pajamas and eating pomegranates in some rich woman's harem? Is there a strange virus that kills men who don't get married by thirty? What is going on? Is their mass apostasy among men? Or are the lazy bastards just playing Xbox eighteen hours a day?

I keep expecting to figure out this disparity, but I still have not.

Maybe one of you can tell me.


Speaking of my supposed status as a good husband, I wish to apologize for my use of words such as the following:











segue (you know it sounds bad)















I am not the sort of person who laughs at farts. I am twenty-nine years old and I am still waiting for a fart that I think is funny. When I hear one, I will laugh; but I haven't laughed yet. This highmindedness may be generalized beyond farting and, therefore, I think of myself as a rather genteel person. But looking at that list of words you would not believe it. And therefore I apologize.

Enjoy your weekend.

Betcha dint know....


....that, speaking of Utah, it is more or less culturally identical with San Francisco.

I have been learning this little by little over the years and I would like to share with you two clinching proofs, both taken from the world of high school.

First, I don't know if you've ever heard of the movie Newsies (you probably haven't unless you are from one of the two above-mentioned locales), but it came out late one year--the same time Silence of the Lambs was rereleased to ensure strengthened Oscar buzz--and remained in theaters all of like one day. And until I went to university in Utah I was under the impression that no human being who was not personally acquainted with Christian Bale had ever seen the film.

But it ends up that in Utah, one high school graduation requirement is to have seen Newsies at least 453 times with all your best girlfriends. If you don't love the music, you're no Utahn.

My dear Lady Steed who grew up on the Peninsula had a similar graduation requirement. I learned this just a few weeks ago after we watched Mr Bale in Batman Beyond (which she liked so much that she regrets not letting me talk her into seeing it in THX).

Yes, San Francisco girls love Newsies too.

The biggest and most obvious cultural correlation however is this almost pathological love of a band called U2. I don't know if you've heard of them, but I understand they are very big in Ireland and that they are very very old--like the Stones only not as gross.

Anyway, when I first attended a college, I had a professor play a track off U2's Joshua Tree, which apparently, as far as albums go, is a "big deal." Only one kid of the forty or so students recognized the band.

Then I move to Utah where this band is on any given radio station 37 out of every 60 minutes. And I meet a nice girl from San Francisco who enjoys attending U2 concerts. And you wouldn't believe how much she (and others from Utah and SF) are willing to pay to see these fogies "jam." It's astonishing.

Anyway, I could go on, but the evidence presented is staggering enough.

Utah. San Francisco. What's the diff?


Rethinking Utah


So last night Lady Steed and I were waxing nostalgic re: Utah because our current home has a decided paucity of truly excellent grocery stores (or even better than decent, for that matter).

However, this morning, driving to work, I heard on KSL that Salt Lake is expecting a high of twenty-seven today.

A high of twenty-seven.

Heh heh heh.

Anyway, today is the Big O's second birthday and tomorrow my students are taking finals I have not yet written, so this is all you're getting today.

Read it twice.


It looks to me like an advanced form of laziness, ma'am


I handed back some assignments today and someone tore his name off--just the tippy-tip corner--and then left the rest of the paper on his seat when he left.

Lord, what fools these mortals be!


Clams for Christmas


Lady Steed serves in our church's organization for young women and this Sunday the adult leaders are each going to tell a spiritual Christmas story and then give the girls an ornament signifier of the story.

She came to me for thoughts and the only story I could think of was this one on clam chowder that I had just read.

So I suggested it and then set to thinking of potential ornaments.

No doubt my thinking was influenced by a certain musical insect because it was not long before I hit on the idea of Carlos the Christmas Clam.

A happy little bivalve, Carlos gets to wear the coolest hat of any holiday mascot--it's like a Santa hat but it has the brim of a sombrero.

Anyway, Lady Steed ixnayed the idea. I haven't a clue why. I keep promoting it but she remains firm.

I encourage you all to comment and tell her that her mollusk envy is misguided and that a) I am merely trying to help and b) Carlos the Christmas Clam is going to be way more memorable than a heartwarming snowflake, candycane or orangutan.

A dozen rhetorical questions


1. Why wouldn't birds suddenly appear everytime you are near?

2. In that case, would you say you love me for a billion dollars?

3. Are you going to add Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation to your Amazon Wish List?

4. Speaking of, what do you think of Thamazon.com, for after the corporate takeover?

5. Don't you mean life liberty and the pursuit of sweet Alaskan oil?

6. What the heckety heck heck heck?

7. Well which would you prefer--killing babies or a black & tan with extra caramel sauce?

8. My way or the mafia way?

9. Is there anything hotter than a chick bass player?

10. How about seventeen baguettes?

11. Would you like to lick my dog's eyeballs?

12. I'm sorry, were you shooting at me?

13. C'mon baby, don't tell me you wouldn't like one night with the Scallion Stallion, king of the wharves?

14. Um ... this monkey?

I hereby declare a blogger's dozen to be 14. *

I'm richer!


I just received a brilliant new form of phish that I wanted to point out to everyone, in case, contrary to my suppositions, there are any silly people who read my blog that might fall for this new-and-improved relative of the Nigerian prince story.

(Note: Everywhere this post says Thmazing it once said my real, actual last name which, contrary to the common theory, is not Spitfactory.)

From : Andrew Burr
Sent : Wednesday, November 30, 2005 4:51 PM
Subject : Greetings Thmazing!!!

21 Campshill Road
Se13 6qu Lewisham
London England.

Hello Thmazing,

This is a personal email directed to you and I request
that it be treated as such. I must solicit your
confidentiality and assure you that I am contacting
you in good faith and this proposal will be of mutual
benefit. I am Andrew Burr, a solicitor at law. I am
the personal attorney/sole executor to the late Mr.
Robert Thmazing herein after referred to as 'my client'
who worked as an independent oil magnate in my country
and who died in a car crash with his immediate family
in east London on the 5th of November 2000.

My late client a former Sub-Comptroller working with
Chevron Texaco Oil here in the United Kingdom and had
left behind a deposit of Nine Million Eight Hundred
Thousand British Pounds Sterling only (£9.8million)
with a finance company. After the death of my client,
the finance company contacted me, as his attorney to
provide his next of kin who should inherit his
fortune; this according to them is their policy in
sure circumstances.

Since the death of my client, I have written several
letters to the embassy with intent to locate any of
his extended relatives whom shall be
claimants/beneficiaries of his abandoned personal
estate and all such efforts have been to no avail. I
had to inform the finance company about my fruitless
effort in locating my late client close relative or
his next of kin. The board of directors of the company
just adopted a resolution and I was mandated to
provide his next of kin for the payment of this money
within the next 15 official working days or forfeit
the money as an abandoned funds. The company had
planned to invoke the abandoned property decree of the
company to confiscate the funds after the expiration
of the period given me. Also I have received official
letters in the last two days suggesting a likely
proceeding for confiscation of his abandoned personal
assets in line with existing laws of the institution.

Well I have reason very professionally and I can use a
legal means to present a next of kin of my deceased
client. This is legally possible and would be done in
accordance with the laws of the land. On this note I
decided to search for a credible person and finding
that you bear a similar last name, I was urged to
contact you, that I may, with your consent, present
you to the "trustee" as my late client's family member
so as to enable you put up a claim to the bank in that
capacity as a next of kin of my client. I find this
possible for the fuller reasons that you are of the
same nationality and you bear a similar last name with
my late client making it a lot easier for you to put
up a claim in that capacity. I have all vital
documents that would confer you the legal right to
make this claim and would make them available to you
so that the proceeds of this bank account valued at
£9.8million can be paid to you before it gets
confiscated or declared unserviceable to the bank
where this huge amount is lodged.

I do sincerely sympathize the death of my client but I
think it is unprofitable for his funds to be submitted
to the government of this country or some financial
institution. My aim is to retrieve this funds and let
it be claimed by the deceased family name, etc. for
this I seek your assistance since I have been unable
to locate the relatives for the past 4year now and
since no one has come for the claim. I seek your
consent to present you as the next of kin of the
deceased since you have the same last name giving you
the advantage so that the proceeds of this account can
be paid to you. Then we talk percentage. I know there
might be other persons out there with the same surname
as my last client, but after a little check my
instinct tells me to contact you. Can I trust you on
this? I shall assemble all the necessary documents
that will be used to back up your claim.

I guarantee that this will be executed under a
legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any
breach of law. I will not fail to bring to your notice
that this proposal is hitch-free and that you should
not entertain any fears as the required arrangements
have been made for the completion of this transfer.
Like I said, I require only a solemn confidentiality
on this. Please get in touch with me via my
alternative email andrew-burr4@excite.com for
better confidentiality and send to me your telephone
and fax numbers to enable us discuss further on this
transaction. My contact number is +44-7040-129-681 if
this proposal is acceptable by you, do not take undue
advantage of the trust I have bestowed in you, Thanks
for your understanding.


Andrew Burr(Esq)
Phone: +44-7040-129-681


Besides the many other problems with this email, what kind of idiot doesn't know that in 2000 there was no Chevron/Texaco--I mean, come on! I know my massive oil conglomerates! I'm a Thmazing! My uncle Robert (godblesshissoul) worked for one of them!




I have ambiguous feelings towards McSweeney's. I first purchased one of their quarterly affairs because it came with an accompanying soundtrack by They Might Be Giants. But, to be frank, the text pretty much sucked.

But I do appreciate their exquisite craftsmanship. And I don't think that exquisite is a word to be tossed around lightly. And they do helpful things on their website such as offering emotional support to pregnant women and advice on Aztec infestations. In fact, I must admit, that I like most of their online content.

I now own two of their quarterly affairs. The second was edited by Chris Ware and I like it very much. Or most of it at least.

Which leads me to suspect that I just don't like McSweeney's founding editor Dave Eggers. I picked up his Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius at a library sale, but I haven't had the heart to dig into it yet. Maybe someday.

Anyway, what I'm getting to is tadpoles, which can't read, and so will never be able to enter into the McSweeney's debate. Which I think is a tragedy. Because every tadpole I have ever met has known the appropriate thing to say at the appropriate time, and that's what I like about them.

Another sort of fob


Now that we own a 1999 Taurus in addition to out 20-year-old Accord, bless its soul, I carry a fob in my pocket of the sort that shoots out invisible space rays and locks/unlocks doors, pops trunks and makes a racket.

It didn't take me long to realize that I did not have to remove the fob from my pocket to unlock the doors and that not doing so would save me literally dozens of calories a year.

And so now I leave my hands in the warm cavity of my pockets and unlock the car doors.

On paranoia:

I try not to think about the fact that if my car radio can pick up a station nine car-hours away, those same radio waves are piercing my body day and night. As well as the waves from every yahoo's cell phone. To say nothing of those evil microwave ovens.

And now I am polluting the world with more waves--and mere inches from my reproductive organs?

What sort of child may #2 be if my testes are fully foberrated?

Ah, to be a Neanderthal! And to worry about nothing more than proper club maintenance!

It's a dangerous world for the modern man, I tell you. Dangerous for him and his children.

I'm rich!


Unfortunately, the feds showed up on my door Saturday and said that I was not allowed to give away big stacks of money, so that's all out the door.

But, I figure knowing both of Master Fob's middle names now gives me some serious blackmail power.

Also, I know who to take blood from if I develop hemophilia.


Phishing for Christmas money


Hey, everybody, great news! Since Lady Steed and I finished Christmas shopping last week, we don't need any more money for the rest of the year!

Since I hate to have it just lying around in large stacks tempting me to spend it, I have come up with a great plan: I'll give it to my blogging friends and acquaintances.

Here's the deal:

I'll give you a big stack of money if you buy me one inexpensive gift (nothing over five America dollars, please). All you have to do is leave your full name, social security number, bank account number, mother's maiden name and blood type in the comments section.

Since there are many evil people in this world, after posting, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY DELETE YOUR POST!!!! Don't worry! It has already been emailed to me and your big stack of money will be in your account within three business days.

I hope this helps you all have a happy holiday season!