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Mom's International Days

When my mom first found out I was doing an International Day, she wanted to be a part of it. Didn’t work out that way (because I had awesome people already picked), but that didn’t stop her from coming up with her own ideas. Here are some of the, uh, best.

#10 International Take Your Mother To Work Day - Right now, imagine your mom at work with you. Would that be fun? Would she tell everyone what to do? Would she “straighten” your desk? (My mom is sitting here listening to me read this, and she says you should harness that. Let her vacuum your carpet, clean your blinds, prune your dead plants. Mom also insists that you buy your mother lunch as part of the deal.)

#9 International Clean Your Bathroom Day – I point out to Mom that you should clean your bathroom every week, but she said that some people would never do it if there wasn’t a day for it.

#8 International Call An Old Flame Day – You have to call up someone from out of your past and say “Hi.” When I ask mom what about the people who are married, she replies, “That’s okay. Just tell them ‘I was observing an International Holiday.’” (I’m going to use this as an excuse for everything.)

#7 International Blizzard Day – To commemorate the end of winter you visit Dairy Queen and eat a blizzard. When I point out to Mom that it already happened (in March), she says, “Yeah, but we’re talking Canada, so it may not happen until the end of June.”

#6 International Thank You Note Day – Write someone you should have thanked long ago.

#5 International Mexican Food Day – According to mom, this doesn’t mean visit Taco Bell. (Sorry Bear and Koz.) You can visit a great Mexican restaurant, or have a fiesta at your home. Go all out and decorate even. (And hire some Illegals to wash the dishes.)

#4 International Get Rid of Clutter Day – I’ll let her explain: “Everyone has a clutter spot…or ten. Tackle it with gusto. See what color that kitchen counter really is.”

#3 International Clean Out Your Wallet/Purse Day – Mom: “Everyone has old receipts or pictures of their girlfriends who’ve died…they now have kids in the fourth grade of are president of a law firm.” (I interject; “Is this after they’ve died?” She glares at me.)

#2 and three quarters International Pet a Giraffe Day – Either you adopt one, or go to a zoo.

#2 and a half International Eat a Bagel Day – Mom demands you toast the bagel and eat cream cheese, but I hate cream cheese so I say no.

#2 International Summer Snowman Day – Make a Snowman in the summer. You can use the shaved ice from your freezer, but that won’t last long. Much better: construct your snowman out of alternative materials. How sweet is that?

And the number one International Day my mom thought of…..

#1 International Serenade People With Neil Diamond Songs Day – Caroling should not just be relegated to Christmas. On this day you should go out and find people, either door to door, at work, friends, neighbors, or just call someone up out of the blue and sing to them. Pick from such Neil Diamond classics as Song Sung Blue, Cracklin’ Rosie, Red Red Wine, Girl You’ll be Woman Soon, If You Know What I Mean, I Am….I Said, Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, Holly Holy and of course Sweet Caroline. Even better: sing as Neil Diamond. Actually, this one is good enough for the website. I think I’ll do it one day.

Up tomorrow: Spudz

Monkey Barn Campfire Story Paintings (II)

Following up from yesterday, the top five paintings I almost used for the Monkey Barn Campfire story. These are so good I think I will use them for other stories. Oh, and by the way, no one commented on my opening sentences, so I assume you all a gree with my selections. I'm not getting enough credit for them. Oh well. {Click on the paintings for a larger image}

#5 Opening line of story: "Later, no one would be able to prove who started it, but Claire was always suspicious that the Marquis knew a helluva lot more than he was telling."

#4 Opening line: "This so wasn't going to end well."

#3 First line: "It wasn't that they weren't nice people. It was just that they....knew things."

#2 Opening: "June knew he was watching, but she hoped if she kept her eyes closed he might go away."

and the number one picture I almost used for the Monkey Barn Campfire Story....

#1 Opening: "It wasn't that she minded the work. Others had started that way, and they didn't call it the 'Casting Couch' for nothing. No, what bothered Julie is what her parents would say if they could see her now. Papa would get tense across the shoulders, look away, embarrassed. Mama would just call her a whore."

Campfire Paintings

To start off the Monkey Barn Campfire Story I ended up going with an Edward Hopper painting. However, I had other many good choices. Here are are the first five, and the opening lines I would have used. [Click on picture for full size]

#10 The first line would have been, "Everyone seemed to be enjoying their day at the park, transfixed with the water, but Marjorie was still worried they'd discover she was hiding a midget in her dress...."

#9 First line: "The more Jeff thought about it, the more determined he was to write a strongly worded memo to Acounting: 'I appreciate our company's cost-cutting measures, but added all up I'm just not sure the new Sub-Coach Class is worth the savings.'"

#8 First line: "Boyd looked at himself in the mirror and couldn't help but think, 'It's nice to know the years and the clown-murders have yet to catch up to my handsome face."

#7 "It wasn't the nudity that Frances minded so much, but the way Joy simply refused to let anyone else put their foot on the ball."

#6 "It was a love not meant to be, him with his stubborn foolish pride turned to self loathing, and her with her damned feathers always getting in the way."

Can you think of better opening lines? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

Up tomorrow: the Top Five paintings I almost used.

Best Salad Dressings

[I asked my sister to do Today's Top Ten List]

Best Salad Dressings

#10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Ranch - "It's the only salad dressing I'll use. I've tried the others and they're disgusting. Ranch stands the test of time. Seriously: If you get one that works, why get another? Take Thousand Island. There's a thousand things can could go wrong. Have you seen Blue Cheese? Cheese is supposed to be white, orange or yellow. Do I really want to eat something that's moldy? Oh, and it needs to be Hidden Valley Ranch. That's the best Ranch ever."

Evil Geniuses/Scientists/Nemesii

[This top ten list if brought to you by one of the Evil Kitties of the Realm: Sara of Schrodinger's Kitten. I totally disagree with her order, but I would have had 6 of these in my top ten, and hey: I'm not going to look a gift pussy in the mouth]

To commemorate the highest honor amongst scientists - the top ten Evil Geniuses/Scientists/Nemesii. Some may not be scientists other than in their 'form' we'll include those that SHOULD have been evil science geniuses too. Because it's my list, that's why.

honorable mention: Odd Job (Bond) - He MIGHT have been a scientist. I had to give him an honorable mention for the Hat. You know you wanted one.


10. Keyser Soze (Usual Suspects) - Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

9. Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs) - Don't cross him or he'll eat your liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

8. The Riddler (Batman) - The Batman Forever version computer-genius turned evil. It's Jim Carrey, man. How can he not be on the list as pure mental insanity?!

7. Lex Luthor (Superman) - aha! You think you're all smart with your 'but he wasn't a genius scientist!' Yes he was! In the original 1930s concept, he was a solitary mad scientist, and it was only in the decadent 80's that he was remodeled as corporate wealth. I'm predicting in advance that Kevin Spacey's version will go down as far superior to Hackman. Trust me.

6. Brain (Pinky and the Brain) - Taking over the world was just the beginning.

5. Snidely Whiplash (The Dudley Do Right Show) - The tying to the train tracks, the acme dynamite. He was the original, the best, the darkest, the mustache-iest.

4. Dr. Cox (Scrubs) - yes, he's on a sitcom, yes it counts. Pure genius. And don't you forget it, Brittney.

3. Professor Moriarity (Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) - Initially his math tutor, finally mathematical genius was killed falling over a waterfall in a deadly grasp with Holmes. I had the same exact situation happen with my math tutor once.

2. Dr. Julius No (Dr. No (James Bond)) - The best of all Bond villains - specialist in atomic energy, which cost him his hands. Was killed by drowning in radioactive water. With a name like Julius - I fully expected childhood issues. Shame on his parents and for suggesting he become a Doctor. Everyone learned that in evil genius development 101.

And the number one Evil Genius of all time…..

1. Dr. Evil (Austin Powers) - the pinky alone - no discussion.

Tom Hanks

I can't believe I've done a "Top Ten Julia Roberts Performances” and not Tom Hanks. If ever a man deserved a list, and with this guy, it’s a much harder list than with most others. Once Hanks won those two Oscars in a row he has been pretty much precluded from winning again, which is too bad, because he keeps turning in great roles. I haven’t seen every movie he’s made, but of the one I’ve missed only THE GREEN MILE might have made the list.


#10 (tie) Sleepless in Seattle & You've Got Mail – They’re basically the same performance, although both great. This picture (The Dirty Dozen conversation) is the best scene of either movie.

#9 Catch Me If You Can – Say what you will, that accent never sounded fake. He never broke character even for a second, and if we didn’t know it was Tom Hanks we would have sworn they found that guy in the ‘60s.

#8 Apollo 13 – Not my favorite movie, but Hanks is reliably good, as always.

#7 A League of Their Own – Tom Hanks makes this movie. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor.

#6 Forrest Gump – I’ve always wondered whether he carried the movie or the movie carried him. I like Gump, but it is overrated. Still, Hanks does a great job.

#5 Big – The first time we began to discover this dude might be able to act.

#4 Philadelphia – Most people would probably have this #1. I agree it’s a fantastic peformance. That he has three better shows how good he really is.

#3 Road To Perdition – One of the most underrated movies of the decade, Hanks plays his hit man so purely, without flash or bravado. Just awesome.

#2 Saving Private Ryan – If not for the two previous wins, there’s not a chance Hanks doesn’t win this year. His performance was crushingly nuanced. He has now moved into rarified air. Many actors can play emotional roles, but it takes special genius to play subtle.

And the number one Tom Hanks performance of all time….

#1 Cast Away – Almost single-handedly got a volleyball nominated. Once again Hanks would have won in a walk if not for the previous two wins. Carried a movie with script problems and made it one of the most compelling of the year.

Weird Names

[Tracy, of Kaply Inc., was kind enough to help out during this tough week. I asked her for a top ten list, and this is what she came up with….]

Well, you asked me for a top ten list. I normally don't make lists for anything other than groceries, and I only do it then because otherwise I am susceptible to the lure of the cheese, but after intense brain wracking, I gave up and sat down to watch the game.

No, not basketball, I hate basketball, it's baseball season, I watch baseball. The Sox beat the Rangers, 7 to 2, Opening Day and as I watched Trot Nixon smack the hell out of the ball, I thought to myself, I thought "Self, you oughta do one of them there top ten weird athlete names lists for Hyperion" because when I talk to myself, sometimes I'm a hillbilly.

And here it is.

Top Ten Weird Athlete Names, From Least Weird To Most, And When I Say Weird, I Ain't Kidding.

#10. Pokey Reese

#9. Trot Nixon

#8. Pete LaCock

#7. Coco Crisp

#6. Mookie Wilson

#5. Baskerville Holmes

#4. Candy Maldonado

#3. Van Lingle Mungo

#2. Majestic Mapp

#1. Detlef Schrempf