How would you do?


Lady Montague
    a. died by a dagger to the heart
    b. died by sadness at Romeo’s banishment
    c. died by accidentally drinking some of Romeo’s poison
    d. DIDN’T DIE
Lord Montague
    a. died by a dagger to the heart
    b. died by sadness at Romeo’s banishment
    c. died by accidentally drinking some of Romeo’s poison
    d. DIDN’T DIE
Lord Capulet
    a. died in a brawl
    b. died by falling on his sword
    c. died by accidentally drinking some poison
    d. DIDN’T DIE
Lady Capulet
    a. died by a dagger to the heart
    b. died by sadness at Juliet’s death
    c. died by drinking some poison
    d. DIDN’T DIE
    a. died defending Romeo
    b. died trying to save Mercutio
    c. died breaking into Juliet’s tomb
    d. DIDN’T DIE
    a. Romeo killed him
    e. Mercutio killed him
    f. Benvolio killed him
    g. DIDN’T DIE
    a. Tybalt killed him
    b. he stabbed himself
    c. he drank poison
    d. DIDN’T DIE
Friar Lawrence

    a. killed for marrying Romeo and Juliet
    b. killed for tricking the Capulets into thinking Juliet was dead
    c. killed for making illegal drugs
    d. DIDN’T DIE
    a. killed by Tybalt while defending Romeo’s honor
    b. killed by Tybalt while trying to kidnap Juliet for Romeo
    c. killed by Benvolio for not helping Romeo fight Tybalt
    d. DIDN’T DIE
    a. killed by Romeo
    b. killed by Mercutio
    c. killed by Tybalt
    d. DIDN’T DIE
    a. died by drinking poison
    b. killed by the friar so she wouldn’t be lonely without Romeo
    c. died by stabbing herself in the breast
    d. DIDN’T DIE
    a. killed by the Capulets
    e. killed by the Montagues
    f. killed himself
    g. DIDN’T DIE


So much for the Month o' Edgy....


Sorry, m'man, but you've been trumped. With the arrival of Fob Four (I have a better blogonym for him, but I think it would be rather presumptuous of me to name someone else's child without telling them first), May now belongs to someone substantially smaller.

Curse the smaller guy! Always winning in the end!


Month o' Edgy


For those of you hoping to end your Month o' Edgy on a bang, may I present you with a synopsis of all things Edgy courtesy of Googlism:

edgy is a bully
edgy is good
edgy is not found in cutting edge designs
edgy is for all of us who aren't afraid to admit that sometimes children are magic and sometimes they really suck
edgy is a band based in halifax nova scotia
edgy is different for different people
edgy is awesome
edgy is a nice old pub that has been renovated
edgy is that kind of real
edgy is still a good thing
edgy is concerned
edgy is closer
edgy is not as easily available as many would like to think
edgy is the guy who is on the cutting edge of sound
edgy is for snowboarders
edgy is okay now
edgy is the sudden spate of denial of service
edgy is what teenagers wear and perform on street corners
edgy is called an allele
edgy is better than fuzzy
edgy is different
edgy is fine
edgy is an excellent fisher
edgy is my sister
edgy is ok; explicitly violent or sexual content is not
edgy is significantly more lame than something that's simply not edgy
edgy is all about being on the inside of an ipo
edgy is as good as they come as both a person and a talent evaluator
edgy is ok now
edgy is underlined when we arrive in st petersburg
edgy is pl
edgy is an understatement
edgy is welcome
edgy is cool
edgy is to say that captain cook is getting dead
edgy is an apparently unscripted remark about jonathan king
edgy is out
edgy is what weltschmerz does
edgy is normal
edgy is using globalshout lite
edgy is hot
edgy is putting myself in the shoes of a woman like maggie who's had a tough life and survived
edgy is very easy
edgy is that
edgy is thrown in there because they want something that stands out
edgy is j=f3
edgy is that the joint is rockin at the box office
edgy is lessons in darkness
edgy is an exhausted one
edgy is not just a name
edgy is risky
edgy is scary
edgy is that lee posits an oreo
edgy is the rule of thumb
edgy is so codified
edgy is usually meant to get ratings and is probably not the true view of the dj
edgy is that and only 273 new email messages
edgy is represented by traffic's benicio del toro
edgy is moving

Moving?!?! Where?!?!

(note: this list was slightly edited for vulgarity and lameness--meaning those things were left out)


The Last Sunday of the Month (a svithe)


This morning we woke to a dead fridge and so before church we threw everything into a couple boxes and I drove to my sister's apartment and dumped all our food into her fridge. Where it remains now. I guess we'll be going over there for dinner.

Buying a new fridge is not something we're terribly excited to do. We're hoping to move soon and if things work out as preferred, there should be no fridge buying or fridge transporting as part of that future.

On the other hand, just choosing to live without a fridge is somewhat of a strange idea. Sure, our ancestors did it, but our ancestors didn't have ice cream.

This being a svithe, it is now time for me to turn all this into a godly metaphor, and here that metaphor comes:

Life often provides surprising and unpleasant turns, and sometimes, when we're being crushed by Fortuna's wheel, we're left without terrific options for extricating ourselves. But we must keep proceeding through this life, we must move forward, otherwise we remain crushed. Now I don't know what solution we'll arrive at for our fridge problem, but we have been given the power to overcome that loss. God hasn't asked us to give up ice cream; he just lets us figure out the hows on our own.

This is a pretty good assessment of my view on faith. Faith isn't a highly detailed roadmap; faith is more of an attitude--an attitude that lets us follow a detail-free roadmap and be happy at the same time.

Can I have an amen?

Last week's svithe

Visit the Weekly Svithe


The slamming allegation


I have just been accused of being a door slammer.

I am not a door slammer.

I may not be the gentlest of door closers, but I am not a slammer.

Slamming implies a certain anger or violence or cruelty in the closing act.

I close doors in no such way.

I merely close doors with firmness and insistence and certainty.

When I close a door, that door is closed.

That is all.



We came up this weekend to my parents', where we are storing the Taurus, to wash it, make it pretty, take pictures and generally prep it for eBay. It's been warming lately--last week was actually summer--and so we figured we'ld enjoy some sun and get a little wet.

It is cold and overcast this morning--borderline foggy--the wind's behaving as if it is pulling in a storm.

We didn't bring any sweaters.

This is why I love Tehachapi. Four bleeding seasons, every single day.

Frickin Tehachapi....


YA me


Most of my reader friends who are posting the books they read this year are big into YA lit. I just finished a YA novel today, so I thought I should mention it so I can be cool too.

Something Upstairs by Avi

It was pretty good.


A new and improved alphabet
(continuation on a theme)




























How to comment on a svithe


I have noticed that svithes generally get fewer comments than other posts--and not just here at Thmusings, but on other svither's blogs as well (for a complete list of known svithers, occasional or otherwise, visit The Weekly Svithe and look at its sidebar). I suppose this is because most posts on most blogs are either flippant or stuffed with pathos. Svithing is neither, usually. So I will hereby, in the spirit of public service that Thmusings was built on, offer advice to the finger-tied who just don't know what to comment come svitheday.

1. Offer a factual or doctrinal correction. Edgy gave an excellent example of this on last Sunday's svithe here on my blog.

2. Comment instead on the appearance of the blog, as was done here and here.

3. Leave it at "Thank you".

4. There's always room for a bizarre non sequitur.

5. Put together a string of compliments, pulling from any ole place in the svithe.

6. Finally, and this is the easiest and most obvious method, just give the svither a big AMEN!

Surely you can handle that.


Svithing Aaron

.We be manly men.

We came to Tehachapi last night because I had to go to Bakersfield this morning to finish up my CSET. Coincidentally, our ward was, that night, having its father/son campout in Tehachapi. So I took the Big O and my father and we went up the mountains to spend the evening celebrating the joys of fire and graham crackers.

The bishop asked if I would bless the food so I did and I guess I did an alright job, because after I prayed he asked if I wouldn't mind giving a talk that evening on the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.

A bit of history for my readers yet unsteeped in the LDS mythos:

In May 1929, Joseph Smith was in the midst of translating the Book of Mormon with the help of scribe Oliver Cowdery. They ran across some passages describing the importance of baptism to salvation. I don't know which passage it was, but I usually imagine it was this one (feel free to skim):
    I would that ye should remember that I have spoken unto you concerning that prophet which the Lord showed unto me, that should baptize the Lamb of God, which should take away the sins of the world.

    And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!

    . . . . But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. . . .

    And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

    And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.

    And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

    Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism -- yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
Having received such a clear message that baptism is important, they decided to go out to the forest and pray about it, this technique having worked for Joseph before.

It worked again. No less a luminary than John the Baptist (of, if my history is correct, that sweet hippie band Honey & Locusts) appeared to them, put his hands on their heads and said, "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness."

And thus Joseph and Oliver had the authority to wade into the Susquehanna River and baptize each other.

I didn't know precisely what the bishop wanted me to talk about but now we're all sitting around the fire and night has shown that it's absolutely serious about this getting dark stuff and someone says Theric's going to say something about the Aaronic Priesthood restoration (this being our official yearly excuse to leave the women and be mountain men after all) and so I do and say roughly what I just typed. More or less.

Then someone says they guess that's it and will someone say the prayer.

Which I guess means I did a good enough job.

But svithes aren't about me.

And the priesthood isn't about me either. It's not about me and it's not about my bishop and it's not about the prophet. Or, in other words, it's every bit about us.

See, like most things in this world, the priesthood is an evidence of God's love. God, after all, didn't have to make beautiful mountains--the world could be a plain ball of nutritious mud--but he did because he loves us. God didn't have to make thing taste good--vitamin-supplemented bark-flavored gelcaps could sustain life--but he did because he loves us. God didn't have to make me thmazing either but---

Well, nevermind. You get the point. Nothing beautiful or wonderful is a requirement of his plan, but he gave us these things anyway.

Now priesthood is more of a requirement, I suppose, but when you consider that its sole purpose is to bring us back to him, it too becomes no more than evidence of God's love.

But then....what isn't?

Good old Minerva. Always with the perfect image for me.

Last week's svithe


Dancing in the street

(and other activities I won't be taking up any time soon)


1. Gargling gasoline (too expensive)

2. Washing myself with brillo pads (won't lather in summer's cold showers)

3. Marketing heroin-laced gummy bears (trademarking issues)

4. Distributing mail-order brides (immunization issues)

5. Eating monkey brains (restrictive California agriculture import laws)


Your chance to one-up Thmazing.
Or, failing that, Melyngoch.


My Whitmanesque ode to me was in fact a thinly veiled invitation for you all to flex your creative muscles and come up with your own Thmazing jokes.

Melyngoch is alone in taking me up of this, but she came up with a really good one:

    Some have speculated on whether Jack Bauer could take Thmazing in a fight. They forget, Jack Bauer is a fictional character. And Thmazing writes fictional characters. For breakfast.
I wonder if anyone can beat that?

Enough with the premonitions. Just kill me already.


I had a premonition this morning as I was driving to work through the endless desert filled with speeding drivers and dangerous intersections, that I will die in an automobile.

This premonition probably won't surprise anyone, given the events of this month....

However, about ten minutes later, a late model Firebird coming my direction veered into my lane. I hit my horn. (It's broken.) I swung to the right and he swung back into his lane. Thankfully, I never quite had to leave the pavement, because the shoulder along there is like an overfilled sandbox and could very well have led, well, to my death.

I've sensed evil in this drive since the very beginning. Now that evil is starting to rear its mechanical head. And Lady Steed found in our rental contract yesterday that if we die, our "estate" will be responsible for our rent through December.

We have got to become fabulously wealthy and quick! An affluent hermitage is my only chance to survive!


Post #300

in which we celebrate me
by sharing humorous facts


  • There are no unknown particles. Only ones Thmazing hasn't told us about yet.

    That's Thmazing!
  • To say Thmazing knows everything is to be redundant.

    That's Thmazing!
  • If Thmazing opens a door for you, it's not so much to be polite as it is an opportunity to show off that he can manipulate matter with his hands as well as his mind.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Since the birth of Thmazing, IQ tests are no longer scored on a curve. Psychiatrists discovered that doing so gave the world one genius and six billion idiots.

    That's Thmazing!
  • There are no lost causes. Only causes untouched by Thmazing's dazzling intellect.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing was responsible for the great Yellowstone fires of '88. His family was driving through and he had a particularly incendiary thought about pine trees.

    That's Thmazing!
  • String theory was proved to be true when Thmazing blew twelfth dimensional snot into a tissue.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Some people cry when they're in emotional pain. Some people cry from delirious happiness. Everyone cries when they meet Thmazing.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing discovered fractals while trying to figure out what the heck his hair was up to today.

    That's Thmazing!
  • French people don't like Thmazing because their collective sneers can't touch his on a bad day.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing's sneer can be measured on the Richter scale.

    That's Thmazing!
  • If the country's headed downhill, it's because politicians no longer seek the wisdom of Thmazing. Too many had perished under his withering gaze.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Not only is Thmazing awesome, he's also a really nice guy. By last count, he has allowed over six billion to live.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing : brilliant : : the sun : kinda visible on a clear day

    That's Thmazing!
  • There's no such thing as someone who doesn't know Thmazing. There are only people who can't quite comprehend what that magnificent presence is that permeates their lives.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Earthquakes are caused by the background radiation synching up with Thmazing's brain waves.

    That's Thmazing!
  • There were going to be Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but Thmazing doesn't like horses.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Lots of people think Thmazing is a cocky bastard. But no one blames him for it.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Given that birds suddenly appear every time he is near, Thmazing was able to prove that spontaneous generation is true after all.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Some people think space is infinite. Those people have never compared space to Thmazing's intellect.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Feeling it was impolite to group Thmazing with themselves, taxonomists created the designation Homo thmazinius.

    That's Thmazing<!
  • Thmazing has decided not to pursue a career in film because the makeup technology does not exist to make starlets his equal.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Most asylums now have a wing to treat those who looked upon Thmazing without preparing themselves first.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Compasses don't work within a hundred miles of Thmazing; his personality overwhelms magnetic north.

    That's Thmazing!
  • One of Thmazing's favorite tricks is to give the masses vertigo by raising only one eyebrow.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing never introduces himself when meeting people for the first time. He doesn't want to embarrass them.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing can make bread merely by warning wheat of the consequences of disobedience.

    That's Thmazing!
  • When Thmazing visits a steak house, he never has to wait in line.
    It's the cows that are clamoring to get in.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Some people think the word "Thmazing" refers to a way of life. I suppose that's true....

    That's Thmazing!
  • Some people gossip that Thmazing once saved the world. When asked about it, he looked confused and said, "Once?"

    That's Thmazing!
  • When Thmazing takes a wrong turn, it becomes, by virtue of his presence, a scenic shortcut.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing has completed his Theory of Everything, but he published it with Mad Libs just to mess with the scientific establishment.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Most people don't realize that potato salad began as a metaphor for Thmazing. (That's not a joke.)

    That's Thmazing!
  • Dan Brown's books is such a joke. The real Da Vinci code is about the historical necessity for a Thmazing.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Languages die when people realize they still can't keep secrets from Thmazing.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Descartes's first draft read, "Thmazing is, therefore I am."

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing's personal space is necessarily larger than others' to keep people from being crushed by the gravity of his intellect.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing can't write fiction. By virtue of his having imagined it, his stories become documented fact.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Thmazing was acquitted of murder when it was established that the victim had challenged him to a staring contest.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Monkeys want Thmazing to be their king.
    They're going to have to wait in line.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Not everyone respects Thmazing. Not everyone lives a life free of mental distress and acute paranoia either.

    That's Thmazing!
  • The APA considered removing "athmazuality" (failure to be attracted to Thmazing) from their list of mental disorders, but they couldn't stop laughing.

    That's Thmazing!
  • Some people say Thmazing should learn to edit himself. Others cry,


  • 2006-05-14

    A deceptive svithe, one in which I will seem to be endeavoring to trick you into thinking I am a humble person, which I am not


    Everyone who knows both me and this old song will tell me it must be my theme song. I don't know why.

    You're all familiar with these new Chuck Norris jokes, yes? Are you as familiar with the even hipper Thmazing jokes?

  • There are no unknown particles. Only ones Thmazing hasn't told us about yet.
  • To say Thmazing knows everything is to be redundant.
  • If Thmazing opens a door for you, it's not so much to be polite as it is an opportunity to show off that he can manipulate matter with his hands as well as his mind.

    You know---Thmazing jokes. But, as mentioned in the title, today I am endeavoring to be humble, so I'll wait till tomorrow to post all the Thmazing jokes I've collected. Today, the ego is to be reigned in.

    Anyway, goodness knows (or, more specifically, Lady Steed knows) that I have plenty to be humble about. And Friday night I had something of a humilitifying epiphany. But before I get there, let's talk about Shakespeare.

    You see, it's not just my fellow Fobs I can be envious of--I'm also jealous of Shakespeare. And rightly so, as no less a luminary than Daltongirl has stated she isn't sure whether or not I, Thmazing, am a better writer than Shakespeare. And if Daltongirl can't decide, then, at the very least, I'm not better enough to make a difference.

    I remember my junior or senior year of high school when late one night I sat up alone and watched Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. It about ruined my life. Never had I been so moved! Never had I experienced sure rapturously good writing! Shakespeare, I was forced to admit, was not only the greatest writer yet, he was the greatest writer possible.

    I sat down in a funk at the kitchen table. I pulled out my journal and used the few remaining pages to praise Shakes and debase myself. I could see no reason to ever write again. With that entry, there was no room left in my journal--and no room left in my life--for another word from me.

    Nowadays I think of R&J as a silly thing, while Hamlet's where the real money's at, but never mind all that. Let me tell you the primary reason Shakespeare's greatness bothered me:

    I may have always been a religious kid, but I have also always felt that if I wanted to be immortal, it was up to me.

    Not immortality, the gift of God. Immortality, freshman English forced reading.

    Immortality, Shakespeare-style.

    The only method open to Theric to avoid being forgotten.

    And Shakespeare was (and is) taking more than his share of the pages.

    Anyway, on to my epiphany:

    Intellectually, I have always known that this literature-based quest for immortality is irreligious. Or, more accurately, faithless.

    But it's hard for me to keep this in mind. There is something in my hardware that makes me think that artistic creation is of greater value than other pursuits. I try very hard to control this notion because it is necessarily false. God doesn't love the media mogul more.

    But the idea of all our telestial art falling into disregard in the eternities turns my stomach. All this beautiful stuff! Forgotten?!?! Forget the plumber, but not me!!!

    I wonder though if The Grapes of Wrath will be as meaningful in 60,000 years as the play I wrote in fifth grade is now? Interesting, but childish, and ultimately of only polite interest.

    Anyway, the epiphany:

    My priorities are bad. The immortality offered by our Father is much more important than the immortality offered by the literati. It shouldn't matter to me if my words are forgotten over the aeons. What should matter is whether I and my loved ones are remembered.

    This is an appropriate day for me to reconsider which relationships in my life are of the greatest importance. Which gift, given the choice of only one, would I prefer God give me: My family? or My words?

    I hope, as time goes on, I grow wiser. I hope, as time goes on, I consistently make the correct choice.

    This post is dedicated to
    w i t h o u t w h o m
    I would not be nearly so awesome.

    Last week's svithe
  • 2006-05-12


    .Whatever I feel like I want to do! Gosh!

    As part of the ongoing and sadistically intense language instruction program we are forcing our two-year-old through, we allow him to play with my Napoleon Dynamite Talking Pen.

    This part of his rigorous routine has taught him such useful monosyllabic (but daily used expressions) as the following:

  • Yes!
  • Sweet!
  • Gosh!
  • Bass!

    Now he just needs a Tony Manero action figure and he'll be a star....
  • Sometimes a delicious sandwich just doesn't cut it


    I had a delicious sandwich for lunch today. It had been sitting in my car and the cheese had melted and the meat flavors were melting into it and that great Italian bread was warm and ---

    Anyway, it was a delicious sandwich.

    Now school's over and I'm hanging out for an hour or so and

    I'm hungry.

    This sucks.


    Real Men : Quiche : : 90-Pound Weaklings :


    You tell me.

    The rhythm of May 10, 2006


    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!
    OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP! lak lak lak OOMP!



    All the world is fishscales!


    With my new glasses, I bought little clip-on shades. But today, Lady Steed left her nice over-the-top shades in the Lapper and so I went double-shades today on my drive home.


    The polarities played together and the world's dimensionality went wack and everything metal turned beautiful. But the most beautiful things of all were the patches of tar on the road. They turned...wow. Gorgeous. Such blues...such purples.... The only comparison I can think of is fishscales.

    What a beauiful world.

    Now more beautiful with Thmazing's Amazing Double Polarity Sunglasses! Get yours now!


    LDotFMotNYl: Extended Scene


    (Note: this follows a series of six deleted letters from the Last Day of the First Month of the New Year Letter. Visit those scenes here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)


    Theric Uses Public Forum to Corrupt Entire Community
    Ugly mug terrorizes innocents

    For roughly a quarter of 2005, Theric became the interim editor of the Tehachapi News. One of the best-loved aspects of that job was writing a weekly column. Just before the first went to press, he took the News’s digital camera home during lunch and asked Lady Steed to take his picture.

    Know this: You do not rush a masterpiece by Ansel Adams. You do not rush a masterpiece by Annie Leibovitz. You do not rush a masterpiece by Lady Steed. Nevermind giving her the added disadvantage of a less photogenic subject than Half Dome or Milla Jovavich —you cannot expect perfection within forty minutes. Especially when the background will necessarily end up showing a crib!

    Portraiture aside, Theric wrote a columns [sic] in which he equated Wal*Mart with starlings, civic leaders with rain, and reading with intelligence (a controversial one, that). Even without his column, Theric was able to edutain the masses in the paper’s pages with work on runaway sewage, renegade cementeers, equestrial therapy, wildland fires (shoes: melted), and trash masquerading as famous literary characters (such as the Holden Caulfield bubblewrap at the side of Dennison Road).

    It was hard to leave. Even though the going-away party had excellent sandwiches.


    (The lighter stuff is what made the final cut and the darker stuff is what didn't make the final version.)

    What didn't make it didn't make it because it just didn't flow, it didn't fit, it didn't work.

    Plus, that photograph was so awful that I think we all just wish to forget it.

    Ask Lady Steed.

    (Or Master Fob--he saw it too.)


    On the bright side!

    Those sandwiches!

    If you're ever passing through Tehachapi, be sure to stop at Kohnen's Bakery. If you're there for a sandwich instead of a pastry, I recommend getting the Saladwich and adding roast beef to it. If you are getting pastries, don't forget a nuss ecken!

    And don't forget to get one for me too!


    Svithe 12: The Gifts of God


    The Mad Svither lives in a land of plenty. He has never gone so long without a meal that he knows desperation. He has never had to go with his glasses taped up. He has never suffered want in any meaningful way.

    He has a sense that the world owes him wealth and comfort and satisfaction, and that anything less than American opulence is an insult.

    In other words, the Mad Svither recognizes the gifts of God not as something to be grateful for, but as something of a divine right.

    For shame.

    One of the Mad Svither's great problems is his sense of entitlement, an overwhelming sense of I Deserve that colors his world in shades of ego and expectation. Instead of looking to bless and serve, he finds it too easy to look down on the unfortunate and to treat his own misfortune as an incomprehensible anomaly, rather than, perhaps, the necessary results of his poorly planned actions.

    This world was created to function according to the principles of cause and effect, with a guiding principle: Choice.

    "Behold," says Christ, "here is wisdom, and let every man choose for himself...."

    I don't think it's unfair to generalize that scripture to all aspects of our lives. It is given unto us to choose--and we are expected to choose the good, to choose the gifts of God.

    We are expected to choose the gifts of God.

    God expects us to choose his gifts.

    We should not expect any gifts save we choose them first. And choice requires action.


    I'm not lecturing you.

    I'm lecturing me.

    The only problem is, the Mad Svither never listens.

    And that's a poor choice indeed.

    Last week's svithe


    On eating rat


    I don't get what the big deal is. This whole germ argument, it's preposterous. So you don't eat them raw. Fine. I cook mine, well done in fact (it's not beef, after all).

    And here's the thing--they're tasty, nutritious, and no one's out anything. You eat a rat, one more baby will grow to adulthood. No big deal. It's not like eating spotted owls, or anything.

    Rats aren't that hard to catch either, not really. They're plentiful, they're great with mango and cranberry chutneys, and you can use the remnants to make some really nice throw rugs.

    I just don't understand why so many people make a big deal out of it.

    Come over and have nachos some time.

    In keeping with recent tradition, I could have died this morning


    Of course, life is always fraught with peril and every morning could prove lethal, but mortality breathed in my face with particularly rank breath this morning.

    My commute takes me through the empty desert. Empty save for joshua trees and the occasional stoplight.

    I was at such a stoplight not an hour ago, sitting, waiting my turn. Behind the stop line, I am happy to say.

    The precise moment the light turned green, I jumped at the horn of a big truck--the dump truck two cars behind me, I assumed. The jump lifted my foot from the brake and I inched past the stop line as a cement truck screamed through the intersection in front of me.

    Had I proceeded into the intersection with more vigor, had I been watching the light more closely, had I taken that horn to mean Go Now!, had anything led me into that intersection a second sooner, me and my little car would both be dead right now. Police and paramedics would be on the scene at M & 50th, scraping me up, making measurements, arranging new homes for my organs, and that would be that.


    You know, I've never been a big fan of driving, but I am really ready to go back to a job I can walk to.


    Branew altime favorite neologism


    Lest you expect this post to be shameless thelf-promotion, let me just say that the neologism under discussion is not a thonce but, um, a melynonce.

    As you may know, I have been graced by Melyngoch to read her sexy new book (check out those measurements!) and today I happed across melynonce to die for: shourt.

    In fact, I think shourt might be a typo, but I love it all the same. And after thinking about it, I realized that it is a wonderfully useful word, no mere synonym for yell (of which synonyms we have plenty), but a new creature which carries the meaning of yell while also conveying a sense that the shourter is, while yelling, also covering the shourtee with saliva, the bastard.

    I hate it when people shourt at me!

    A cool breeze is blowing....


    ....as I sit here outside the door to our apartment watching Oliver play with his Radio Flyer horse. I am in the shade and a train is yelling at us from a few blocks away. The other kids are running around, shooting each other with water. It's nice.

    Last night in our yet comfortable bedroom, I reached atop the file cabinets and pulled down my still near-full bag of Christmas candy. I pulled out a couple Lindt Truffles only to bite in and discover their innards were liquid. Surprising but delicious. Mmm! Liquid!

    Which is something odd for me to say since only the day before I had dismissed fondue as a strange and confusing concept.

    Which it is. So shoot me.

    But not with a gun that uses bullets because those things are dangerous! Have you ever seen what a bullet can do to a pineapple! Insanity! And I doubt my body is much hardier than a pineapple.

    One summer my mother tried to talk me into going to Hawaii to harvest pineapple. It sounded good for a while, but in the end I was unpersuadable.

    I don't remember what I did instead. Probably nothing.

    I like nothing.

    I could go for some nothing right now.

    Just sit in the shade, a nice breeze blowing; I'll be watching my son and typing blog posts.

    Sound just five cents from heaven.


    A broken string of testing successes


    One thing I have to do to get my California teaching credential is to prove I know the Constitution. The easiest way to meet this requirement is to take a free, hundred-question test.

    So I signed up to take the test and was appalled to get only 89 questions right. Appalled. The test was not difficult and I was embarrassed. Yes, granted, the test was pass/fail with only 70 correct answers needed to pass, but 89?!?!

    The professor who gives the test, however, was very impressed. Double checked the results. He has people who have to take the test over and over (and over) again to finally pass it. My score was the highest he had seen in years. The highest since a local school district imported a bunch of Canadian teachers.



    I was concerned about taking the CSET, and rightly so. It has a reputation for being impossibly difficult. And when I did finally take the first two subtests, they asked me questions about Caribbean writers I never knew existed. The CSET is impossible to study for. I could have crammed for three weeks, yet never thought of checking out the haps in Jamaica.


    Anyway, when I got the results back for English Subtest I and English Subtest II, I received the highest possible marks on both.

    Let's hope I do so well on subtests III and IV later this month....


    Tonight I went to a [---------] class that [---------]. The class is big on teaching me to test students on things other than simple knowledge--things like taking that simple knowledge and applying/synthesizing/evaluating/etcing it. (Remember this--there's an irony here.)

    I was not nearly enough prepared for today's midterm--I missed class last week (we were dining with Anamazing, and hanging with Silly Marie and Brother Steed). I had intended to study yesterday and today, but instead was either on the freeway or talking to insurance investigators or picking up a car from the mechanic or visiting the DMV (and so on and so on, hour after hour) and skipping meals.

    I arrived to class early and kind fellow students helped me study.

    However, the test was merely a spewing of hundreds of facts that I apparently should have memorized by rote.

    That was it.

    Page after page of Give Me This Fact Without Context or Explanation Just Repeat Word for Word What I Said As I Said It and Do It Now.

    Page after page after page....


    And so the string is broken.

    What a lovely week I'm having, says the pity-addicted person.

    (Note: As with any addict, you should refrain from giving them what they want.)

    What a lovely week.


    Home again


    According to Google Maps, the drive from Foxy J's parents' place in Vegas to our apartment in the AV should take 4:41, which seems at least an hour more than it ought to take, but that shows how much I know.

    It took us just over eight hours to make the trip today.

    In large part due to our fancy new window, shown here as it appeared Sunday (that's me in the background with my glazier's tools):

    Behold what Theric hath wrought

    This window was not the work of a journeyman. It fell apart as soon as we hit freeway speeds.

    The trip was composed of stop after stop to repair the window.

    Problem one: One hundred degree weather (109 at the thermometer) does not lend itself to duct tape sticking as well as it could. The adhesive would melt and with each flap of the supposedly taut window, it would slide slide slide till it was free as a plastic birdie.

    Problem two: Freeway speeds. No matter how slow I went, I could not go slow enough to keep the wind from beating at the window making me a) go deaf and b) watch the window slip off the car.

    Each time we stopped and repaired (requiring me to drag my bum leg over and around and through to get out of the car), Lady Steed and I perfected our window's design, but until the sun went down, we had no chance for success. And even after dark, we still had the pounding flapping roaring noise in our ears.

    Sheesh. We bought new music for the drive back--the first real purchase of music just because in months if not years--and could hear none of it.

    Alas. We stopped at the last must-stop-at-at-least-once restaurant along the 15 and it sucked.




    1: We're alive and only I seem to be hurt--and that not bad.

    2: We got to spend another day with Master Fob, Foxy J, S-Boogie, Earth Sign Mama and Papa Biker.

    3: Angel food cake for Foxy's birthday. With strawberries. Strawberries!

    4: The car still drives.

    5: Sweet new glazier skills.

    6: (pending)

    7: (pending)

    8: (pending)

    9: (pending)

    10: (pending)

    11: (pending)

    12: (pending)

    13: (pending)

    14: Important life lesson to be learned (also pending).