Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's about me, but you wrote it; is it about you?

My Grannie Annie always liked to read Biographies because she said it was real life and would ask, "Who needs to read fake life?" I like fiction, myself, and I know others prefer personal memoirs.

I think the genres of write offer an interesting puzzle - a quirky twist, if you well, to the claims we have on why we write. One who writes an autobiography takes authority of their own journey (this is the truth of what happened to me). A biographer, however, uses his/her authority to depict the journey of someone else (this is the truth of what happened to them). Meanwhile, the fiction writer, uses reality to base imagination from and to build a tale that makes sense (this is the lie about what happens when you think about several truths together).

My question is, then, who has the most authority? Does authorship place the writer in an authoritative role? Why wouldn't a fictionalized story work just as well, for example, to explore President Obama's presidency? Or would it be better if he wrote the truth about his own life? Better yet, what if we hire a brilliant scholar to write about the president?

My quandary is, which is the right answer for the actual presidency that Obama leads?

Take any crime scene. Multiple tales are told from multiple people. Something TRUE did happen, but it might be impossible for any of us to know it -- even about ourselves. I guess that's why Americans hire so many lawyers.

Then there's the issue of "why write it at all?" Many people live many lives. When it isn't document textually, do they not exist?

I'm going to bed.

Friday, January 30, 2009

canine cosmopolitan

I think my dog, Baby, has inherited my dog of yesterday, Juliette, with the incredible ability to shed waterfalls of hair 365 days a year. When she shakes, it pours off her like autumn leaves and it covers everything I own like a blanket of snow (that CNY knows way too well). Looking at my carpet of fur I thought, surely, there must be something that decomposes dog hair. It jams my vacuum cleaner regularly and sticks into my clothes. I know birds use it for nests, etc., but something must eat it, I figured.

This is when found out that micro organisms do consume dog hair because, like human hair, it is a protein. The bad news is that human flesh decomposes faster than any strand of hair.

So, I asked a quirky question, "What are uses for dog hair?" and I found there are people who weave it into clothing, including this scarf: Betty Burian Kirk

um, yuck.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

sculpt, complain, bicker, but sculpt

During winters of my childhood, we'd often go to Hamilton, New York to visit my grandparents.

There, enroute to Sherburne, we'd also see the incredible snow sculptures (some quirky) that fraternities and sororities built outside their homes. Given this never ending winter (and the heavy snow that fell yesterday with more falling last night) I think about the odd behavior of making odd art out of dropped fluff from the sky. It makes beauty out of beauty (and the pain in the butt removal of inches of frozen water).

I suppose I wouldn't mind creating a frozen "bird" to the plows that push more snow in my driveway after I just shoveled, but that would be an unjust action. I appreciate the CNY way they clear roads, but still....sculpting for expression makes these January days a little more hopeful.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

da green boots

I was once dubbed "redneck Armani." I liked this title and it was given to me when I showed up in my Ford Ranger, Ethyl Betty, wearing a tie.

Which brings me to my green, rubber boots with yellow shoe laces bought at K-mart a couple of winters ago for $9.99. I wanted to go sledding with my niece and nephew (snowboarding, actually) but I didn't have boots. I didn't need boots in Kentucky like I did and do in New York, so I went economical and blue light special. They were fine for a day of sledding and kept my feet dry.

They are ugly, calf-high clogs, actually. They're dorky, and I'll never forget Keith William's and Andrew Pillow's expressions when they saw me wearing them to a basketball game. Yes, they are the epitome of uncool and I love them for that. I've used my boots to unplug flooded drains in the street, to trudge through mud looking for Baby, and to present myself on the catwalk of life. They are warm, practical and silly, which makes me smile every time I put them on. A man has to take pride in what he wears on his feet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

and my generation had...

I was thinking about Electric Company today and how this show, along with Sesame Street, shaped a portion of my childhood. I always looked forward to when Spiderman came on because it seemed to offer more adventure to the school-themed program, but upon watching episodes again, I see my memory is better than the actual product. In actuality, Spiderman on Electric Company is not the exciting, tortured hero that Tobey Maguire brought to modern fame. Instead, he was a sorry costumed freak who offered quirky plots to young children extending their school day. I guess, though, at the time he was an advanced icon and that children of the 70s and 80s had lower expectations for comic book heros.

I suppose I should find video of the sound games from Electric Company where two parties whispered sounds to make a word: "Gr" "eat" Great. Perhaps my memory of this is more fantastic than it actually was.

Hey, You Guys! It's amazing our generation has turned out as successful as we have.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Illusionary Optical

I'm a fan of eye tricks and tricky eyes (and it has nothing to do with my strabismus). By clicking on the above image, you can go to a site that will play with your notion of reality.

We use sight as a sense to navigate the world, but , how do we know that what we think we see is actually what it is? It's a quirky item to think about on a Monday.

Stare at the pink dots as they disappear. Then blink. Did they disappear or were they with you all along?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Odd Insect World

My sister reminded me last night of when she was in Murray, Kentucky, and giant locusts came out of the ground like some science fiction film. It made me remember going to Lauren Pfannerstill's graduation party where the bugs covered every tree in the Highlands and made their eerie, quirky sound. For those who don't know this thirteen year cycle, it is creepy indeed. They burrow up from deep within and slice into tree bark to lay their eggs. In some countries, this is a feast and the winged creatures are met with eating utensils. In Kentucky, the Cicadas are simply an odd part of nature's ritual. The sounds they make still haunt me, but their shells they leave behind make great gifts to send to loved ones in the mail.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh No! Pickles

I did not know about YouTube until teaching a unit on phobias and greek vocabulary. Andrew Pillow, class of 2007, immediately asked me if I'd seen a particular clip on YouTube and I asked him, what is that? He showed me immediately, and suddenly I had a new teaching vehicle. It is odd, indeed, that anyone can find an image they want to demonstrate a point they're trying to make simply by typing in an item -- fear of pickles -- into cyberspace and one can find such visual sensation. Is this exploitation? I'm unsure. What I do know is it is proof of our humanity. And so the world turns.

Friday, January 23, 2009

senior prank

I was thinking about a senior prank I heard was played at a local high school last spring on the last day of school. Students let three pigs go wild in the hallways wearing numbers: 1, 2, & 4. There was no 3. Administrators stressed all day looking for the third pig.

I think it is rather obnoxious, but youth is wasted on the young. With this said, that idea is somewhat clever. It makes me recall the time students put a swimming pool in my room full of gold fish for my birthday and the time other students lined my colleague's car with green plastic, World War II soldiers.

There is a place, I suppose, that adults who work often with the young get numb. At first, such quirky pranks are aggravating, but then after time you think, "now that was pretty clever." I suppose the MEATBALLS generations are inevitable and every campground deserves to find the lead counselor sleeping outside of his cabin.

But pig 3? Gosh, I hope the school didn't serve pigs in a blanket that day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


In the late 80s, early nineties, comedian Emo Phillips hit America with his whacky, bizarre and rather ridiculous sense of humor. He annoyed me, but then again he cracked me up. At times, I channel him to make sense of the world and wonder, "How would Emo see this?"

I think there's something to be said about going towards absurdity. Ah, but to make sense of this, one needs to be fully grounded in what it normal (or at least perceived as normal). Being unexpected is one way to anger, frustrate, amuse and complicate another's thinking. Emo Phillips did this. This guy's an odd duck, but that's okay.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


As if it can be measured

I found a "quirky quiz" yesterday that supposedly can measure your quirkiness. To do so, you must hit this quirky link.

Many of you may be surprised by my results: "You're so quirky, it's hard for you to tell the difference between quirky and normal.
No doubt about it, there's little about you that's "normal" or "average.""

So, I guess my normalcy is quirky or my quirkiness is normal. You'll have to take the test yourself. It cracks me up that there can be such a barometer, especially based on these questions. We are such a strange species.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Orange we lucky to have such a mascot.

The history of the Syracuse mascot
is rather interesting and has been an indicator of the times. Last night watching SU lose to Pitt (making me more anxious for next Sunday's U of L/Syracuse match-up), I began to think about how odd a citrus orange is for representing the Central New York region. Looking out at the 100 inches of snow that have already accumulated in the area, I'm thinking that Otto is rather strange, indeed, and that the Syracuse Abominibal Snowmen would work (picture Bumble in a jersey).

Even so, Otto gives local fans hope for warmer days and citrus smiles. Yes, Syracuse once were known as the Saltine Warriors and could have become a troll, a ranger, a gnat or a beast, but instead they ended as an orange.

It makes one crave vitamin C.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A sudden turn or twist

One of the definitions of quirky is "a sudden turn or twist." Today is Martin Luther King Day and yesterday I had the privilege of attending the Syracuse University celebration at the dome with my friend Samuel from Kenya and my friend Marino from Sudan. The evening was a reminder of how MLK day is the only holiday where we can sit back and think about social change, diversity, civil rights and making America the strong democracy our forefathers wanted.

I'm not pollyanna with my optimism, but do believe that America is a cultural miracle that is modeling the way diverse groups of people should, could and might get along. I post this video today because it is inspiration and seems like a good place to think about the sudden turn and twist of American history that is existing today and tomorrow. For a second, i believe we should pause and revisit that where we are now is not where America has always been. Many lives have made it possible and, at least for me, I will spend today appreciative and thankful.

Yes, We Can.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And so it begins

1988 ended with Cynde's championship performance of Barry Manilow medleys.

2008 begins with Nikki's participation with another generation of Northstars, competing in the cadet class of the midyork winterguard circuit with a show called After the Storm.

Twenty years -- ZOOM and Boom, like a rainshower, just like that...

And what is quirkier than the man selling tickets who begins this film (did he raid room 301 at the Brown School), is how the winterguard tradition continues with the CNS Northstars competing in their 43rd year of competition. It seems to be a family thing. Aunt Bobbie with Sherburne-Earlville. Dad with the marauders then the Brigadiers and a tuba. Kim Staple in Hamilton and then Katie Corp, Cynde with a grand ol' flag and now Nikki. It's peculiar, historical, whacky and wonderful. Congratulations Nikki on your poise, confidence and ability to carry on the tradition.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

When I was a hippy, I was also Alex Keaton

At the gym yesterday, the song "Hair," from the musical HAIR busted out of my ipod. I thought about my days of going anti-establishment and when I refused to cut my hair. I became a hairy guy, myself.

I also thought about the multiple transitions of my undergraduate days where my life became more multicultural, diverse, challenged and magical. At Binghamton, all freshmen took a class with Dr. Susan Peters called "Musical Theater" designed to weed out students who weren't serious about school and who didn't study. In short, our task was to memorize every musical ever created in America, and their directors, producers, stars and major songs. It was crazy. I've forgotten most.

At the time, though, the musical HAIR caught my attention because it tapped into my inner-hippy. I loved the carefree disregard of vagabonds giving the middle finger to authority, structure and rules (he exists in me). My history shows minor mini-rebellion, but it also shows the inner-Alex P. Keaton Republican who pops in and wrestles all my rebellious youth. I always pull back.

There is a big part of me, though, that was driven to dance with the freaks in the park (which has occurred in segments of my life). There is also a big part of me that rides along with the cops and other authority figures. Finally, there's a part of me mesmerized by the high brow snobs trotting along on their Sunday tours through the park. So, in this clip, I am the white boy taking it all in at the Age of Aquarius. I'm a February kid, after all, so quirkiness is my nature.

Friday, January 16, 2009

thinking of Angela (penguin)

In the 2008 Happiness blog, I posted about a tiny collection of miniature animals I've been given, bought and found. I'm thinking about this quirky collection again, today, and how Angela L. began it all for me. Actually, Thalon H. started it. He used to carry around a beanie bag lizard wherever he went, and he bought a frog one for me. Then, Angela ordered a penguin from Russia and a 2 cm glass bird arrived only to be carried in a box of her precious belongings. So, the whackiness of seeking tiny creatures for my own animal kingdom began.

I am recalling my frog backpack that I once wore when student teaching and how this icon became a way of identifying me. I think of all the others in my life who also have taken on daemons and spirit friends through the mythological alignment with non human creatures. And I am thinking there's a little Russian figurine for everyone out there who spiritually connects to the earthly terrain in transmortal ways.

And of course I encourage everyone to by a fingernail size variation of their animistic self from overseas by clicking the following link. Think of me when you order, and if you are brave, you can send me one, too, and I'll add it to the small galaxy I've already collected. YOU CAN FIND YOUR GLASS SELF BY CLICKING THIS LINK.

Ribbit. Quibbet. Quirket. oink oink.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

for DeShawn

In 2000, when FINDING FORRESTER came out in the theaters, I took a student named DeShawn to see it. He dropped out of Brown, but we still stayed in touch as writers and thinkers. He went to trucking school and then drove buses for the district. We often went to University of Louisville games together - he was a stupendous ball player, but his grades wouldn't allow him to play. He was also extremely gifted and I was in awe of his writing talents. The night we saw this film we both thought it was rather weird. Neither of us knew what it was about, but we both suggested it and went. When we saw it, we grew quiet.

What is quirky is he and I began writing a novel together and would mail it to one another. Then, the novel disappeared in the mail and so did he (not in the mail, but in life). We lost touch and I hate that. He was a comrade in this great universe of whatever and the two of us connected via words.

Yesterday, we showed clips of DEAD POETS SOCIETY to students becoming English teachers. In watching it, I realized how white, upper-middle class, ivy and ridiculously detached from the American experience that film actually is. It is brilliant - don't get me wrong - but it is the tale of a privileged (yet pressured) white boy, prep school. As inspiring as John Keating is in the film, too, he still teaches dead, white men. The paradigms have changed.

And so I think of FINDING FORRESTER - in particular, this scene. It's odd that this film didn't win awards. Or maybe it isn't.
We live in a tricky country. I love some of the advice Forrester gives Jamal: "No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!"

I also love when Forrester says, "Let me ask you a question... those two foul shots at the end of the game... did you miss them, or did you *miss* them," and Jamal responds, "Not exactly a soup question, now is it?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So, I somehow ended up on a panel where I was interviewed with everyone at the conference.  Well, there's a story here for everyone.  Quirky is being interviewed in front of a large group of people and having no control of anything that comes out of you mouth.  No, actually, it was an irreplaceable experience.  

Alice the remarkable

One of the definitions for "quirky" is peculiar and far out. When my colleague and friend, Alice, sent me her recent chalk drawings I was blown away. Not only is Alice a remarkable and intimidating historian, not only is she a genius with photography, but she also is extremely talented with chalk. In the years I taught with her, she often did drawings on a square of blackboard paint and these welcomed you to her room until one nitwit or another would lean against it, accidentally, and wipe it away. Now Alice is working with giant, canvas podiums.

Her art work is far out, and the only thing peculiar about this knowledge, to me, is how so much talent can reside in just one individual. In my years of teaching with Alice, she always kept me inspired, on my toes and thoughtfully provoked. To this day, her genius never ceases to amaze me and I could never imagine life not knowing her.

Beyond tornados, Hitler, and serial killers, there's also Rembrandt Alice whose fingers have the capability to make the world a more beautiful place (and I'm including more than her two middle fingers -- I've also known them throughout the years of our friendship).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

As Quirky as the Japanese

When I traveled to Japan, I tried to understand their late night televisions shows. Most of them I couldn't comprehend, but their gameshows and prank television programming at least made some visual sense. I remember vividly, in fact, watching a series of contestants gnawing on frozen ice trying to get at a gold bar on the inside.

Last night on VH-1, I witnessed their odd sense of humor, where people in a port-o-potty were suddenly transported above the stall and into the outside world. The insanity of this is ridiculous, but a population of people watch on to encourage more.

I can only imagine my reaction if suddenly my port-o-potty experience was broadcasted for national television.

Monday, January 12, 2009

rhino or wino? so many decisions

Two nights ago, at Cicero Country Pizza, a post card hung next to the pay counter. It was of a local who must have gone on a safari in Africa and who had shot a rhinoceros. The caption read, "This rhino was shot in Africa with a tranquilizer and, then, returned to the wild."

I found this to be a quirky addition to the sportsmanship of hunting. Now, instead of wild game being shot for the hunt of it, there are generations of beasts being tranquilized from time to time, only to recover and return to their animal instincts. A few days later, they might get tranquilized again. What a life! I thought, "Hmmm, do rhinos have addictions? Does a tranqulizer feel like a bottle of wine? Might they grow hooked on the feeling of wooziness that comes from a rifle? Is it like that Northern Pike in Oneida lake who keeps getting hooked and returned only because he is inches too short to keep? What does that do to a creature's psychology?"

And I thought about that rhino. He's rather big and, I imagine, quite an easy target. Now, shooting mosquitos for sport, that would be something worthwhile and interesting. What are the chances of hitting a good skeeter with a bullet even when you have awesome marksmanship?

We are a fascinating species. We humans, that is.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I MADE My Bed This Morning

There is something quirky about MTV's MADE show and when they run their marathons, I sometimes listen to them while doing other things. I am a huge sucker of underdog stories, or Pygmalion transformations, where a dorky, awkward individual suddenly is transformed into something more "normal" in society's eyes. This may be one of the primary reasons I opted to go into secondary education - to build the insecure egomaniacs. What the show does a better job of, however, is demonstrating how to coach another individual towards more self confidence.

It is for this reason that I've decided that I'm being MADE, myself, so I put together this silly video.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Perhaps Elsewhere is more quirky than here.

I completed recommendation #2 from the NOPL-North Syracuse Children's librarian. This time it was a book called ELSEWHERE by Gabrielle Zevin. As I read the book, I kept thinking it was terrible, but there was something that kept me going with it, and last night I completed it.

In a nutshell, the story is about a girl, Liz, who dies and finds herself on a ship to Elsewhere. This Elsewhere is actually the ying to earth's yang: one is the roots, the other is a tree. Life between Earth and Heaven is actually a fluid entity and is one that flows between. When one lands Elsewhere, they begin regressing from their Earth death age, until they are a baby again, and are sent to a river to become a new being. When one dies, they bring with them the memories of their Earth life, but soon they learn that the after Earth life is just as good. There is life after death, and it somewhat connects with this life, but also transitions a being towards one's rebirth.

The text was written in present tense, so it read like directions to a stage play. This drove me nuts until I was halfway through and I got angry. I said out loud, "Why is this written in present tense?" Then it occurred to me (and I actually thought it was clever) that on Earth, we write fiction in past tense and live our days in memory of yesterday. But Elsewhere, the after life, they life in the present. They don't operate in a past tense because they are in movement, constantly, of becoming something new.

And I finished the book with my 115 pound Baby in my lap, petting her ears. The dog has the softest ears, really, and when I got to the part when Liz's dog from Earth died of old age and arrived to Elsewhere as an arthritic pug, I immediately thought of Juliette Catherine Alanis Madonna Potatohead Scrappy Doo Olivia Houdini Dennis and hoped she arrived Elsewhere in a similar way. I hope that Tizzaphina Louise, Jake, Dusty, and Zoey are with her, too, speaking canine, until they become pups again, only to return to life on Earth as different dogs.

There will be other lives. There will be other deaths. The river flows.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Quirky Poem on a Regressed Equation

A little statistical poem before I leave
(& God knows I wish I had more up my sleeve),
but I'm a linguist and I love my words -
numerically, you can throw me out to the birds.
I did my best, that's all I can say,
trying at t-tests, x squared and F stat displays,
to make sense of my numbers and statistical guesses -
for all we English folks out there, come on and bless us!

As a frogman of sorts, I like to have an understanding of my marsh,
yet getting my brain around this class has really been harsh.
Even so, I try, and I leap forward with a smile,
taking another degree and adding it to my pile.

Perhaps I'm a table, or someone's Q yule,
either way, King Lear & Shakespeare, I like being a fool.

A year ago, I was enrolled in Statistical Thinking. I was never a mathphobe until this class, and although I triumphed in the end, the stress knocked me down again and again. I wrote this poem as an answer to one of the questions - you can guess I got it wrong. In fact, I didn't even get a comment (smiley face or star) from the professor. I just got 0 out 10 points for the question.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Eccentric Star Girl

For years, I've seen the cover of this text at Target. My local librarian suggested it to me yesterday, so last night I read it. It's the story of this boy's fascination with a quirky girl, Susan, who comes to his school, shakes things up, and disappears. She is your average ukulele playing teenager who randomly gives gifts, sings Happy Birthday to anyone, and refuses to be a mean spirit, ever.

The girl reminded me of those students I often found at the Brown School. In fact, I find it hard to believe this story wasn't introduced to me by several kids - it seems like a staple Brown text, even if it rushes at the end and doesn't go where I thought it would.

Still, it is wonderful to know there's a writer out there paying attention to teenagers that aren't stereotypical teens. They do exist, and while reading this, I remembered Dee Dee, an African American student who used to come to our pep rallies on roller skates and with butterfly wings. While the basketball players warmed up, she'd skate around our gym as the magical creature she was. She is one of many Star Girls that transcend the page.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No one knows like my nose knows

This morning, while planning my semester, I managed to scratch the tip of my nose. It bled for a very long time - half a roll of toilet paper - before it stopped. Recovered, I went to the gym.

On mile three of the treadmill, I notice blood was on my t-shirt and my nose tip was leaking again. I got off the treadmill and asked for a bandaid. I finished my workout soaked from sweat and with a bandage on my nose. As if I'm not funny looking enough when pushing weights, I now looked like I showered in my clothes and had a nose injury.

This reminded me of two items from the past: my Crandall mole and my mini-marathon pepperonis. I had a mole, like all members in my family, but mine needed to be removed. I had it burned and it turned into a giant blister that I covered with adhesives. Yet, on Chemistry "mole day," the teacher wanted her kids to unmask my nose to celebrate her subject. When I did, they were grossed out by the Rudolph apparition and only Mason Cox was brave enough to go further. He asked, "Can I touch it?" When he did, the vessal popped and squirted him with puss and mole-removal ooze. It was memorable, very much like the time I finished my first mini-marathon and had two streaks running through my t-shirt. It was there I was taught about male chafing while running when all the XY runners were quick to share their nipple stories.

I add this entry because I thought it'd be a delightful addition to my quirky pursuit of 2009. Am I wrong?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Quirkiness in the Animal Kingdom

I caught this story on CBS Sunday Morning. I knew, instantly, it's quirky truth needed to find its way on to this year's New Year resolution.

Some things can't be made up.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another King of Quirky

Pee Wee Herman (pre-movie theater scandal).

In my dream life, I would live as Pee Wee did with animated furniture and a secret word of the day, everyday. Pee Wee was simply spastic, ridiculous and quirky by all definitions. If only everyone tried to live up to his Playhouse standards.

He made my childhood a blast and the world can use more of his humor.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunshine for a Little Miss

A year ago, I watched Little Miss Sunshine. Now, it is playing as a rerun on cable stations (with commercials - sigh), but is out there in cable land to remind everyone how dysfunctional our species really is and how quirky families tend to be.

I watch this film with a precious appreciation for life. Grandpa is a classic, as is this film. I personally connect with the adolescent boy who chooses to no longer speak. If you haven't seen it, it is worth its peculiar sense of humor and should put a little pep in your daily step.

Rent it right away...or look for it on cable. There's nothing wrong with a little sunshine in everyone's life.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


For Christmas, I wanted nothing more than a filing cabinet. The trick, however, is I didn't want anyone to buy me a new one. I wanted a used one that cost less than $20. Wola! Cynderballs came to my rescue and finally, today, I was able to sort a year's worth of articles into categories I could store away. No longer will my house look like a paper mill of academic writing.

There's something silly about how happy I am about this. After all, it's filing. Yet, there's something about putting things away and sorting that makes one feel accomplished.

Now, in 2009, I have a place for my Quirky files, including all those I transported from Kentucky and haven't unpacked since I arrived. I have a place for my alphabet magnets, too. Picture me dancing around in my excitement (and note that this dance might be sarcastic if you want it to be).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Willy Wonka

When we first paid for cable in upstate, New York (circa 1983), our channel changer was a brown box with a row of buttons and a lever that allowed viewers to switch from level one, two and three. The box had a long caramel chord that attached to the t.v. viewer and one could change channels without getting out of his/her seat (he or she could also get the paid channels of Cinemax and Showtime if you pushed several buttons at once and fooled around with the focus dial on the right hand side). The cable box belonged to my father in his smoker's lounge, however, and we little ones seldom got to use it. We resorted to using the muscles in our legs to walk to the old television set upstairs and would turn the dial (old-fashioned like...with our hands), and then walked back to our chair. We had to compete, though, with our mother who was either watching DAYS OF OUR LIVES or Phil Donohue.

This ancient period of time was known as the nineteen eighties and because we lacked instant access to mediated, digital reality, we didn't know that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory existed. In fact, I had to wait until TBS or another cable station would show it annually, once a year, and then I would coax my father into going outside to mow the lawn.

As a chocoholic I was mesmerized by this movie. As a horny toad for biotches with attitude problems (Varooka) I was enthralled and learned about desire. As a lover of Roald Dahl's writing, too, I was shocked, THEY MAKE MOVIES FROM BOOKS. I didn't know that.

Now, I can watch Willy Wonka - the King of Quirky - any day of the week on DVD or VHS. It seems to always be on some channel or other. I can even browse YouTube to see images of oompa loompas if my passion arrives. I can also compare the 1971 version (spermazoan me was swimming towards an egg at the same time this version was being filmed) to the disappointing 2005 version with Johnny Depp (Michael Jackson meets Emo Phillips).

Regardless, Wonka remains the Zeus of whimsical minds: A little nonsense now and then, relished by the wisest men, and
because of this, I salute him on day two of focusing on everything quirky.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to Day One

I begin this new site with the best of intentions, but I do not know if I can be as faithful and dedicated as I was in 2008 with my Happiness blog. I will try, though, and in 2009 I hope to pay a bit more attention to the quirkiness of our world. The one thing I miss most about my teaching-in-Kentucky life is the quirkiness of the students. It is for this reason I hope to use this site to rekindle the spark in my footstep they offered me on a daily basis. Keeping a sense of humor makes everything a little bit more tolerable.

Definition: eccentric
Synonyms: bizarre, far out, freakish, freaky, idiosyncratic, in left field, kinky*, odd, off-the-wall, out of the ordinary, outre, peculiar, strange, unconventional, unorthodox, unusual, wacky*, way-out, weird
Notes: quirky means strikingly unconventional or given to idiosyncrasies; kinky means showing or appealing to bizarre or deviant tastes - or in small tight curls