Tag Archives: Reads

The Monty Python School of Soccer

Rest Day Read (SR-30)
For the 30th installment of this series, we are taking a break from reading and turning our focus to some relaxing sports entertainment. And with World Cup Soccer from South Africa just around the corner, we will pay homage to the world’s most popular sport.
And now for something completely different…

Who in their right mind thinks of this stuff? Man, the Monty Python crew was funny. And no, they weren’t at all in the right mind. Still aren’t. For some reason, I remembered this skit as having a real soccer team playing against the Long John Silvers and they were also celebrating. That may have been even funnier.
When I was young, back in the 70’s, the only place you could see Monty Python’s Flying Circus was on PBS and only late, late, late Saturday nights. It was so cool, such subversive humor for the times. Watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus was like stepping into an alternate reality where us with a whacky view of the world felt right at home. It was like being 14 and sneaking into a R-rated movie.
Of course, the wide open, raw uncensored products of the BBC that we saw, mainly Flying Circus and The Benny Hill Show, were NOTHING like anything on American TV at the time. Brash, raunchy, politically incorrect and made satire of just about anything and everything. Yet, it seems tame compared to some of the crapola put on the airwaves today.
Creativity and imagination are golden. Shock and trash are just venom.

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Forever Young

Rest Day Read (SR-27)

Forever Young lyrics by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Bob Dylan’s 69th birthday. Yes, it’s true. Almost 70 and still on tour, currently in Europe. Forever Young is a great song. (Pepsi used it in a commercial, so then it must be great…right?).  I have a Bob Dylan story, well kind of a Bob Dylan story. He was actually there when this happened, so that counts in my book. Back in the summer of 1985/1986 (I can’t really remember for sure without using Google because I am also getting up there in years), I worked “crowd control”, a.k.a security, at Sandstone Amphitheater in KCK.
One of my favorite shows ever was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers opening up and playing back-up behind the headliner, Bob Dylan. It was as good as you could imagine. At Sandstone there was a section of ~3000 reserved seats right off the stage, which was set at the bottom of a big grassy hill. There was a fence around the reserved area, then the general admission folks, all 10,000+ of them, would sit on the grass hill. It was beautiful. But the GA people on the hill could not, I repeat, could not get past the fence and “crowd control” into the reserved area. Every show had GA people hanging out at the gates of the fence always trying to get past to the shrine of the stage. I had been cursed, spit on, offered bribes and threatened for not allowing GA folks to cross the line. Guess where I “got” to work for the Bob Dylan show…
So, I am working, getting the usual amount of caca from the crowd and the Bob Dylan’s set starts. Things quiet down a bit, but I notice this character standing right at the GA side of the gate who had sifted his way through the throng. He was skin and bones, scraggly, long, gray hair, dressed in ragged jeans and sleeveless white T-shirt. He was old, looked maybe sixty, but the obvious roughness to his life could have easily added 20 years to that face. I wondered how he afforded the ticket to get in, but that was and still is a great mystery. I sauntered over to where he was watching the show, the stage lights illuminated the joy on his face, transfixed on the man onstage.
Between songs, I say, “Like Dylan?”
“Oh, yeah, man.”
“Seen him before, then?” I asked, figuring he had probably seen Dylan dozens of times.
“Never. Only time. Always wanted to, but…you know, never had.”
I sat there a minute. Here we had 3000 reserved seat people, 2990 of them probably really don’t give a mouse’s behind about Bob Dylan. They got free tickets or just wanted to check it out or needed something to do that night. Then you got this one guy, who probably sold a kidney or something to get this one moment added to his life.
“Hey, mister. When I count three, climb through the fence here and calmly walk to that guy in the blue shirt down at front stage.”
“One, two” I moved right in front of him to cover his escape. He realizes what I told him and smiles. “three!” The little guy shoots through the fence and almost skips on air down to the front stage. I signal to the guy working front stage and he allows the old guy to stand there and watch the show.
He looked happy and content the last time I saw him down by the stage. Well worth all the crap I then received from the other yahoos standing at the gate trying to jump to the promised land. Perfect.  Forever Young.

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For Real, Invisibility Cloaks?

Rest Day Read (SR-26)
Metamaterial Revolution: The New Science of Making Anything Disappear.
by Fred Hapgood, Discover Magazine March 10, 2009
“The goal at hand, changing how objects interact with light, seemed at first blush to be routine; people had been manipulating visible light with mirrors and lenses and prisms nearly forever. But Zhang, a materials scientist then at the University of California at Los Angeles, knew those applications were limited. Based overwhelmingly on a single material, glass, the technologies were restricted by the laws of optics described in standard physics texts. The engineers in the room hoped to smash through those barriers with materials and technologies never conceived of before. The proposals included crafting what amounts to an array of billions of tiny relays; in essence, the relays would capture light and send it back out. Depending on the specific design of the array, the light would be bent, reflected, or skewed in different ways.”

Yep people, this means invisibility. Definitely a ways down the road and depending on the ironing out of some technical glitches, but amazing technology, to say the least. As my one-of-a-kind Grandpa Bosley would say when presented with such modern inventions as the cordless phone, heart pacemakers, cruise control, car air conditioning and microwave ovens, “Well, I’ll be damned”.


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Rest Day Read 3-30-10

Rest Day Read (SR-18)
Choruses from The Rock by T.S. Elliot
“But it seems that something has happened that has never happened
before: though we know not just when, or why,or how, or where.
Men have left GOD not for other gods, they say, but for no God; and this has
never happened before
That men both deny gods and worship gods, professing Reason,
And then Money, and Power, and what they call Life, or Race, or Dialectic.
What have we to do but stand with empty hands and palms turned
upwards in an age which advances progressively backward?”

When I did a little rant about poetry a couple weeks ago, I received a copy of this gem of a poem by T.S. Elliot from Mr. A. Catlin. I thought it appropriate to use early in Holy Week to help us evaluate where we are, both personally and professionally, in our relationship with our fellow man and with God. After reading and digesting, decide if you currently work to advance “progressively backward” or are determined “to work and live to honor God”.

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Rest Day Read 3-20-10

Rest Day Read (SR-16)
Life Value and the Paradoxes of Risk a commencement address by Charles S. Sanford Jr., University of Georgia, 1989.
“In the end, you’ll find there is more happiness in creating value for others and enjoying the benefits, both material and psychological, that flow to you, than there is in only adding to your own net worth. It’s that simple. When we create value for others, we do not personally take in all the value we have created – and that, the people who have done so say again and again, is a source of incomparable satisfaction. Actually, the implications are encouraging, for they suggest (amidst all the headlines about greed and ego-centrism) that there is a nugget of altruism in our natures – buried deeply, perhaps, but still accessible.”
Oh boy…where do I start. This article was tagged off of a Crossfit.com post a couple weeks ago, so again, thank you Crossfit.com. I had an incredible amount of trouble finding one quote to use as an intro from this article, it is all golden. Looking back over my printed version, I have almost 75% of the article marked in orange highlighter. Inspirational and intellectual, informative and considerate, personal fulfillment intertwined with communal fulfillment, Sanford hits a home run with these ideas. It may take several readings to completely wrap your arms around this one (3 times for me), but give it a chance and let it sink into your person. Just think how much greater our society, our economy, our government, our country and even each of our own lives can be through this path of using risk properly and creating value with our deeds.

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Alien Dog Attack Part 9

“Welcome to Shorty’s Ranch and Pet! How may I help you today?”

“Hello, Madge.  You’re in a fine mood today.  Get a raise or something?”

“Nope. Getting ready for Chick Days.  You know how I love Chick Days.” Madge leans to me and whispers. “My favorite part is that I get to take home the ones that don’t sell.  Madge’s Famous Friday Night Football Tailgate Chicken doesn’t happen by magic, you know!

“Yeah, yeah,” I answer.  “Shorty here?”

“I am right HERE!” a short bald head appears from behind the candy rack at the checkout counter. “What are you blind as well as stupid?”  He walks around the counter, swinging his rigid left leg along on each stride with his good right leg.  “How can Shorty’s Ranch and Pet be of service to you today, my simple-minded friend?”

“Shorty, I got a big problem?”

“And that’s supposed to be news to me?”

“Come on, Shorty.  This is serious.”  I follow him as he walks down the aisle toward the office.  I lower my voice “Shorty, I got an Alien Attack Dog with laser beam eyes at the house preparing for a full-scale alien dog invasion.  And, it has taken my kids hostage to keep me from trying to stop it.”

Shorty stops and looks back at me. “You are serious, aren’t you?”


He rubs his hand across his bald head. “You know, I have heard of these kinds of things, you know, through the Ranch and Pet industry chat groups.  But, I never thought anything like that would happen HERE. ” He shakes his head, “And it has those sweet darling children of your wife’s”

“I need some help fighting this thing, Shorty.”

“I hear you and I’m in.  What you thinking?”

“Well, the way I figure everything has a weakness, hasn’t it?   I was thinking, Achilles had his tendon, Napoleon had his Waterloo, The Wolf Man had silver bullets, Michael Jordan had baseball, Scooby-Doo had Scooby Snacks….then BANG it hit me like a rock!  Could the AAD share the same weakness with millions and millions of earth dogs, that insatiable desire for dog treats?  That’s when I hopped in the car and drove out here.”

“That is some pretty slick thinking, there.  Sounds a little crazy, but I think it might work.”  Shorty turns and limps to the pet aisle, his head bobbing up and down with each stride.  “Follow me, I think I have the planet’s perfect dog treat right here on my shelf.”

He hands me a bag.  I read the label “Science Diet Simple Essentials Chicken Flavored Dog Treats.”  I look down to Shorty.  “These good?”

“Dang straight these are good.  Dogs can’t resist them, well, at least earth dogs, that I know for sure.”

“Well, thanks, Shorty” I shake his hand and walk away. “Wish me luck.”

Shorty watches me walk back down toward the checkout counter. “Good luck and don’t worry”,  He pauses for a minute, looks toward Madge helping a customer in the garden tool section. “Madge will put that on your tab when she gets a chance.”

I shake my head and walk out the door, reading the label on the bag of Science Diet Simple Essentials Chicken Flavored Dog Treats, “Dogs can’t resist!”  I open the Nissan’s door and scan the skies,  “I sure hope they can’t…”


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Rest Day Read 3-10-10

Rest Day Read (SR-14)

They by Rudyard Kipling

She felt her way lightly to the front of the car, and with one foot on the step she called ” Children, oh, children! Look and see what’s going to happen!”
The voice would have drawn lost souls from the Pit, for the yearning that underlay its sweetness, and I was not surprised to hear an answering shout behind the yew.

This is just a good old fashion ghost story told by a master. It was published as a short book with illustrations. I originally read it as part of an anthology call Dark Banquet:A Feast of Twelve Great Ghost Stories, edited by Lincoln Child. I highly recommend it! (The CC Library has both)

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Poetry Reading

The final chat presentation at last week’s Catholic Writers Conference Online was Catholic Poetry with David Craig.  Since it was the final chat, I listened in.  During the discussion, I had a poetry flashback.  Back in sophomore honors English, my teacher, Mrs. Goheen gave us the assignment of memorizing and reciting a poem in front of the class.  I was/am not a huge fan of poetry to begin with, so this was an assignment akin to flossing and brushing the dog’s teeth.  When I see poetry in books, the words get fuzzy and begin to dance around into a deadly vortex.  As the same time, I admit there are several poems and poets I really like.  Well, anyway, completely true to form, I forget all about the memorization assignment until late evening the night before we are to be thrown to the wolves.  I search frantically through our home bookshelf listening to the “I told you so’s” from dear Mother and the laughing of the brothers.  All in the know go to bed that night thinking old MH is toast in the morning in English class.

I sit in class the next morning, waiting to be called to the gallows.  When my name is called, I can feel the class and Mrs. Goheen in anticipation of great failure as I walk to the front of the class.  For those who don’t know me, I am a lineman, plain and simple.  I was probably the last over the cut line to get into honors English. I was a seat filler, a butt in the seat.  So, there I stand in front of the class, trying not to make eye contact with anyone.  I crack my knuckles and clear my throat for a little slapstick comic relief, take my best Shakespearian stance and begin.

“Behold the duck.

It does not cluck.

A cluck it lacks.

It quacks.

It is especially fond

Of a puddle or pond

When it dines or sups,

Its bottoms ups.

The Duck by Odgen Nash”

I can’t remember what grade I received on the project.  The audience seemed entertained and Mrs. Goheen seemed satisfied with the selection.  I am sure it was probably a B+.   Mrs. Goheen asked why I picked that particular poem.  I told her it was my favorite poem, but in all reality, it fit when written on the top of my tennis shoe, just in case I got stage fright.  But, The Duck became my favorite poem and still the only one I have burned to memory.  Thank you Ogden Nash.

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Rest Day Read 2-28-10

Rest Day Read (SR-12)
Aphorism #106 Do not parade your Position
-from “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” by Balthasar Gracian
“If you wish to be valued, be valued for your talents…”
Yesterday, I was reading “Chickamagua” by Ambrose Bierce (which was scheduled to be today’s story) on the web site which I use to link the short stories in these rest day reads. On of the ads at the bottom of the page was a box to sign up for the free daily email from “The Art of Worldly Wisdom”, which was written in the 1600s by Fr. Balthasar Gracian . Obscure to say the least, but being a lover of the obscure and forgotten, I jumped at the chance. This was the first one I received today and it is both a doozy AND timely. Earn respect and value, every day.

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Alien Dog Attack Part 8

What to do now? The Hays teenagers are held captive by the Alien Attack Dog (which, if you have teenagers, may not be the worse place in the world for them.  If we get out of this thing alive, I might have to borrow that gravity-rock-shackle-thingy).   Big Bad Bud has presented ridiculous demands for his “unique” services.  And the future of the world as we know it lies in the balance.  I close up Chucky the Wonder hamster’s exer-globe and, without thinking, toss it to the ground.  Big Bad Bud senses easy prey and shoots from the garage smack into the hamster globe, which rolls down the sidewalk, bounces off the fence and into the driveway.  With Bud in hot pursuit,  Chucky the Wonder Hamster regains his senses notices the killer feline bouncing after him and takes off running down the street in the plastic globe passing old Mrs. Johnson in her 1972 Pontiac Bonneville on Washington Street.   Well, at least that gets Bud and Chucky out of my hair for a few minutes so I can try to think of a way out of this impending doom.

Let me think…let me think…  Everything has a weakness, hasn’t it?   Achilles had his tendon, Napoleon had his Waterloo, The Wolf Man had silver bullets, Michael Jordan had baseball, Scooby-Doo had Scooby Snacks….wait a minute!  Could it be that easy?  Could the AAD share the same weakness with millions and millions of earth dogs, that insatiable desire for dog treats?  It could be the answer!  It went gaga over the green tennis ball, didn’t it?  Quickly, I jump into the 1992 Nissan and head to the Ranch and Pet to pick up what could be the answer mankind so desperately needs, Science Diet Dog Treats!

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