Archive for March, 2016

Used to be Cool

Two Guys Who Used to be Cool

Two Guys Who Used to be Cool

Student X: “I’m going to Mumford and Sons concert in July.”

Student Y: “I’m jealous. Tickets are too expensive.”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

X: “A band…”

Me: “Yeah? Which one?”

Y: “Mumford and Sons…?”

This was phrased as a question with rising intonation, accompanied by a head shake and frown. Telltale signs you think the person you’re giving information to won’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Imagine you’ve asked someone the name of their hometown and they come back with Bagakhangai?

Me: (confused) “I know them.”

X: (amazed) “You do?”

I realize the problem now. They are forgetting that I wasn’t born 41 years old. They are forgetting that I too had a youth, got wild, had a drink or two, enjoyed shenanigans.

They don’t know that I used to be cool.

And I was. I used to be cool. Used to be. As in, was in the past but not anymore.

I think I used to be, anyway. It might be an age problem. Roger Kahn wrote that “baseball skill relates inversely to age. The older a man gets, the better a ball player he was when young…” Is it the same with past coolness? Is it possible that my memory is skewing a cooler young me that never was?


But who cares.

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The Clueless Linguist



Early morning. I am trying to get a handle on world news via Facebook. I go there first because it’s easier to scroll through some pics of kids, cats, and chocolate bunnies than it is to deal with the real world.

At least this way, I don’t have to think so hard until later.

Oh, it’s a friend’s birthday. A guy I haven’t seen in 14 years, so as I try to decide whether wishing him a happy birthday is appropriate or transparently silly, I notice his other birthday wishes. They degrade:

Happy birthday, Jack!

Happy bday, Jack!

Happy bday!

Hap bday!

Happy BD!


Because nothings says “I care about your birthday than the 2.6 nanoseconds it took you to type three letters (in caps, though), on a Facebook page.

Things get weirder.

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Christmas Lite

No Contest

No Contest

I think I remember enjoying Easter as a kid. Sort of.

Advantages: The big one was that we had time off from school. We were encouraged to paint and then hunt for eggs, which was like an artistic version of hide and seek. We also got to spend time with extended family, often for the first time since Christmas.

Moreover, it was a weekend of special meals, which meant duck eggs and ham, those meals also meant that our dad would be in a good mood. Oh yeah, and there was so much chocolate that it was like getting a basket of diabetes as a gift.

But really, if I’m honest about it, Easter was basically meh. The whole thing lacked the overall explosive power of Christmas. Sort of a cool, but far less awesome, version of Christmas.

Christmas Lite.

The disadvantages were the flip sides of the advantages. While we got some time off from school, it was only a few days. We got to see the extended family, but for the under-fifteen contingent of that family there was an underlying, yet undeniable, well, here we are again, current to the proceedings. Sometimes it was clear we were just going through the motions. This is in no small part due to the fact that the proceedings were far more church-focused than those of Christmas. And who wants days off only to fill them with mass?

Not me. Not now, not then.

Also, while there were chocolates and hidden eggs, they couldn’t hold a candle to a light-filled pine tree surrounded by dozens of gifts. No matter how hard it tried.

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Guy Bits

Let's go hunt down a shark after this

Let’s go hunt down a shark after this

I read an interesting article this weekend entitled 12 Things about Being a Woman that Women Won’t Tell you by Esquire writer Caitlin Moran. It was a well-written, interesting, and humorous article relating some points of view to those of us sporting Y chromosomes.

It got me thinking that as a guy I could do something similar. And while I lean more heavily on humor, here are some things that guys feel, think, or deal with that we might not be telling you.

Our Bodies

The common perception is that we men do not care about what we look like. That we rely heavily on a society hypocritically obsessed with female bodily perfection while advocating male bodily leniency.

This is partly true. Many of us do understand that women have this harder than us, but we also worry a great deal about how we look. We hate seeing the belly poking over the belt or wearing a shirt that accentuates our budding man-boobs. We worry that we are too short, too hairy, too pudgy, too bald, or too gawky to attract other humans.

Every time a chiseled gent like Channing Tatum or Michael Fassbender struts nonchalantly god-like on screen we instinctively suck in our bellies and hate him.

Oh. We know.

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Skinny Legs and All

Skinny Leg Jeans

Skinny Leg Jeans

March is here. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday is the first day of spring, and tomorrow night is the university ball.

If you have never had the pleasure of going to a Czech ball, you should put this on your bucket list. Czech balls are what would happen if an American prom, a church picnic, and Caligula had a love child at a hunting lodge. Click here for more on Czech balls.

As much as I enjoy the ball, it does drudge up a bit of stress for me. While drinking is encouraged, blacking out and falling down are not. I will be in a room with dozens of students at the same time and not all of them like me. I really want to win something at the raffle.

And I have to dress up.

Every year, the day before the ball I dig into my closet and find the suit. It’s not even my suit, it’s the suit that a friend left behind that lives in my closet. It sort of fit me. An inch too long in the legs, an inch too tight in the waist. Though I overlooked these misfits, I probably looked like a guy who had left himself in the dryer just a bit too long.

This year is different. I have dropped a good deal of my belly, which means I feel better and look better. I don’t sweat during exerting activities such as blinking or mailing letters anymore. However, none of my clothes fit anymore. This is great, but makes me look like a boy who snuck into his dad’s closet and played dress up.

So, for the first time since I got accepted to prep school, I go suit shopping. And since I have the fashion sense of a Chinese communist party member, I need a partner in crime. And that is where Marketa comes in.

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St. Patrick’s Day Facts

St. Patrick's Day - a day of quiet, religious observance

Two Revelers Observe St. Patrick’s Day in Traditional Quiet & Religious Meditation

If you are anything like me you’ve spent a March 17th trying to figure out where you were and why you were wearing underpants on your head.

Pretty much since I arrived at college’s doorstep, St. Patrick’s Day meant wearing green and participating in a day of binge drinking in places where the most sober person sounded like Dudley Moore on his birthday.

Now, like most people who love tipping back a few pints and forgetting the world, I didn’t care why I was partying. St. Patrick’s Day was another excuse to let loose and accidentally booty call my ex-girlfriend’s younger brother.

But then I started wondering, what’s this St. Patrick’s Day all about? And then I did research and here are some truths about St. Patrick’s Day.

First off, it should be St. Maewyn’s Day. St. Patrick’s real name was not Patrick, but Maewyn. I can’t blame St. Maewyn; I’d have changed my name too if I were a Maewyn trying to get people to convert to an fledgling religion on a wet island.

Also Maewyn wasn’t Irish, but rather an English, Scottish, or Welshman kidnapped and enslaved by Irish marauders. But really, who doesn’t tell that story on St. Maewyn’s Day?

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The Day of the Cat

I have to learn this position for Cat Day

I have to learn this position for Cat Day

I had the idea this morning.

6:30:48 a.m. I was standing above the impossibly warm and comfortable bed I’d left moments before to smash the living daylights out of the thing making the ungodly beeping sound.

Glaring at the warm coil of covers I had just left, I noticed a form creep onto the bed and poke around the covers.

Bela the cat was relaxed and satisfied from the meal she’d pestered me to feed her 2 hours earlier. So after flicking the covers, shedding another cat’s worth of fur on the pillow, and letting out a yawn, she slipped under the covers and began a nap that would surely last until I got home 16 hours later.

Jealousy. Envy.

The idea came to me in the shower – one day I will act like a cat. I will have a Cat Day.

That day will be Sunday.

If you are like me and live with a cat, you expend a lot of feelings on that animal. There’s confusion, love, confusion, exasperation, confusion, calm, confusion, jealousy, confusion, and irritation. And confusion.

So, in order to understand the little beast more, this Sunday I am going to live a day in the life of a cat.

I am going to sleep in naked comfort and I am going to do it until something happens. Forget this whole “I feel like I’m wasting the day” morality issue. I’m sleeping until someone worthwhile comes around and offers to feed me. Or maybe until a good movie comes on. Or I have to pee.

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Page 45, My Love

Page 45, Line 1

Page 45, Line 1

I am reading The Bloggess. I love and hate the Bloggess for the same reason: she is hilarious. Not only is she hilarious but has the ability to write in a way that you feel she is writing just for you.


Today the Bloggess says that if you go to page 45 of the book closest to you, the first sentence on that page describes your love life.

This sounds like a glorious way to waste a bunch of time so I reach over and grab the book I am currently reading. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. A book about Australian POWs working on the Burma railway in World War II. Aussies slaughtering the English language while being tortured by Asian men in a jungle. This book will somehow summarize my love life.

Page 45: He imposed a levy on the officer’s pay to buy food and drugs for the sick.

Frankly, this isn’t far off from describing how I feel about my love life at the moment. And if I do a close reading of the sentence, I can see myself as He, the officer, and the sick. I could analyze the levy and the food and drugs until I can make them about my love life, but instead of depressing myself, I decide to choose three other books and see what page 45 has to say about my love life.

But which books?

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Domestic Utility Reassessor

dry rackToday, my standing drying rack lost another leg.

A drying rack, if you have never had to deal with one, is something that you hang wet clothes on after washing. There are several varieties of them. Mine is like the image on the left, so sort of like a prototype for a pool chair. As most Czech homes have washers and very few Czech homes have dryers, a drying rack is an important member of the domestic utility club.

A few months ago, one of the legs broke.

Buy a new one? Pah. Never.

If there’s one thing I have become quite adept at (well, one thing I can publicly admit to) it’s my abilities as a rigger. But rigger sounds like a truck driver or someone who helps Republicans win elections, so I prefer the term Domestic Utility Reassessor.

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