1) Once A Runner. I’m sorry! I know this book is the shrine and grail of chicken-bone wristed joggers worldwide, but having finally read it (after making fun of it for 3 years in blissful ignorance), I still have to say, What? Granted, it was funnier (intentionally…usually) than I thought it would be. And much of the actual writing about the experience of running was truly fab. Even the major over-the-top homoerotic love story obligatory in all Men Doing Serious Sports novels of the 1970s was amusing enough.
But still, I guess I must be missing something. Overall, it was just okay. Maybe part of the letdown had to do with how many times endlessly ad nauseum in perpetuum I have seen passages from OAR (this is how the adoring masses refer to it) quoted and bowed down to in hushed reverence. Trials of Miles! The Orb! The demons! If the furnace is hot enough…! Cassidy’s beard! OMG…Cassidy’s heartbeat!!!!!
And then, of course, I already knew he won the mile race in the end (oopsie! Sorry if you haven’t read it!) , so there’s that. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a sports book written in the 70s would mostly cast female characters as either predators or moderately annoying cling-ons who just don’t get why these crazy guys sacrifice so much for a sport they love. But I reached a point where if I had to read about Andrea worrying about Cassidy’s weight one more time, I was going to march right into the page and bellow, “For the love of God, he’s a neurotic and obsessive distance runner! He’s supposed to look like hell on two feet! Go have another donut with the Umbrella Man and get out of my sight!”
Anyway, this has been my entirely objective and important review of Once A Runner. I now feel qualified to start bashing Again to Carthage without having even the slimmest shred of knowledge of what the book is about.
2) Shunned Foods. Recently, I have seen that many bloggers have done the “10 Random Things About Me” post that is puzzlingly intriguing. I mean, I’ll read, with rapt and undivided attention, about how an absolute stranger has to Q-tip her ears every morning or put Vick’s Vapo-Rub on her feet during hot weather. It’s maddeningly and stupidly interesting to me.
One of the obligatory random things on this list is “Foods I Won’t Eat.” WHAT? Not, “One Food I Rather Somewhat Dislike,” but “FoodS I Won’t Eat.” One favorite blogger of mine listed, “Most cheese, though I have particularly strong aversion to bleu and feta, ham, tofu or any ‘fake meat’, chickpeas, avocado, mayonnaise, fish, crab, sour cream, refried beans, rare beef, bologna.”
OMG. Most cheese? Bologna is vaguely acceptable, but MOST cheese?! Tears.
I can honestly say that there is nothing that I absolutely won’t eat. I’ve enjoyed everything from pig intestines to roasted guinea pig with nary a gastronomical regret. Liver? Thank you! Anchovies? Bring it. Braised cow brains with soft-boiled eggs? Why not! Obviously, there are some foods I prefer less. Fruits that are full of seeds are a touch tedious. Cold soups are not a complete dream come true.
But, all in all, I’ll eat anything. Does this make me superior or just a pig?
3) Arguing Politics on the Internet. There are two guys at my gym who spend way more time standing around debating politics than throwing weights around. Because I can’t help overhearing them (read: blatantly eavesdropping), I’ve picked up on the fact that one dude is pretty conservative while the other is very liberal. They totally disagree about everything, but they seem to like each other. After a vigorous argument about the Occupy Wall Street protest, they’ll spot one another on the bench press. Three Obama slams and a Perry guffaw later, they’re making plans to get breakfast together after leaving the gym. Very Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf of them.
I recently saw an interview with Tom Brokaw (I don’t care if he sounds like his dentures are falling out, I love Brokaw), and he commented that the internet is partially to blame for the idiotically stubborn divisiveness of the Left and the Right. People (as in “real interacting human beings”) used to actually discuss opposing viewpoints face to face. I don’t think you can really overemphasize the value of seeing expressions, hearing a voice, experiencing a pause or a nod.
Yeah, you really can’t post this cartoon enough.
I would guess that if the two dudes from the gym got into it by way of keyboards and imaginings of how insufferable and Unlike Me the other one was, they’d never remotely consider toddling off to Cracker Barrel together.
I know this is not a novel or groundbreaking point. I just felt like bringing it up since overblown online political imbroglios depress me.
And if you comment on the irony of me bringing this up in a blog, I will formulate an argument to publicly crush you and prove that I’m right. Asshole.
4) Backyard Urban Chicken Bill. Yes, folks, that’s right! Once again, a proposal allowing Nashvillians to keep chickens in their backyards has resurfaced. It was defeated three years ago but, darn it all, this is apparently just too important an issue to sweep under the rug.
“It’s a healthy way to have eggs in your diet,” claims one supporter of the bill. “And chickens make great pets.”
Oh dear God.
There’s so much to comment on in that one statement….I ….I really don’t even know where to begin.
But, briefly, let’s chat about chickens as pets. Aside from the fact that a supremely high-strung sack of feathers and claws makes for a cuddly companion, the chicken, with its marble-sized brain, can learn remarkable tricks. With little to no training, a chicken will shit all over your back patio and wake up the entire neighborhood at 4 a.m. for absolutely no reason at all!
Furthermore, chickens enjoy going for walks and have no problems whatsoever with leashes or even muzzles! Enjoy a rousing game of Frisbee retrieval with your chicken. Dress your chicken up in a KFC bucket for Halloween–she’ll love it!
Yes, chickens for everyone in Metropolitan Nashville. Let’s work together to pass that law!