Friday, September 26, 2008

Harry Potter and the Accent of English

Anyone can tell you the often quoted “Would you like a cup of tea?” is the timeless favorite line for anyone attempting a fake English accent. Or is that British accent? Hmm.

Anyway, it’s shocking how many Americans just love a good proper English lilt. I know growing up I wanted a girl that sounded like a London girl to be my wife. I often hear girls talk about how great guys from London or Manchester sound. It seems a guy with a great Brit accent automatically starts on the 1-10 hottie scale at level 6 before you even get a look at ‘em.

The popularity of Harry Potter films have altered the course of American kids attempts at sounding like they’re from the old country. Replacing the polite offer of a fine early gray steaming from the kettle are the simple words “Harry, ” or “Hermione.” Just short enough to allow any kid to sound faintly authentic.

Our youngest, R, is often attempting to sound like a Brit. She tried out her new phrase on the family and didn’t understand why we all cracked up:

“Hello, my name is R and I’m from British.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Piling On

The blogosphere is alight with the scathing comments made recently about the New York Times and it's inarguable left slant and unabashed support of one political party and candidate over another under the cover of journalism.

Quite frankly, since about 2003 I can't imagine anyone wanting to wait 24 hours to read old out of date news from a giant hunk of paper that bleeds black toner all over one's fingers, and often arrives soaking wet from rain or dew.

I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and jot a quick note to Bill Keller, executive editor of the NYT. Here’s my message:
From: DigitalRich
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 9:06 PM
To: Bill Keller
Subject: Oldsmobile

Dear Mr. Bill Keller;

I have never been a subscriber to your paper, though I have bought single issues in the past while in the city. I will no longer, and felt compelled to write and give you my opinion.

The NY Times is my father’s Oldsmobile. I can not for the life of me figure out why anyone would buy your paper when it is just as easy to read left and right slanted opinion paraded as news on sites like Huffington, Daily KOS, Hot Air and Newsbusters. It is so much easier, faster, and more comprehensive (and unfiltered) to get news and commentary online and through other electronic media. I fear your days (perhaps hours) are numbered.

If the NY Times had balanced and thoughtful news and commentary that freshly and fairly presented all sides it might be a compelling enough read that the paper would not be bleeding subscribers and advertisers like an Ebola victim. As it is, in my opinion your paper is a disgrace and embarrassment.

Then again, as I’m not a subscriber, you probably shouldn’t be worried or focused on my opinion. It’s just that you don’t seem to care about the views and opinions of the tens of thousands of people that have abandoned the NYTimes either.

I wish you well in your next endeavor.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

There’s Never A Cop Around When You Need One

Or so I’ve always thought. Friday night it turned out there was.

I spent last week in Los Angeles, working at my office (or more accurately, cubicle) out on the west coast. I had a great week pulling off a major presentation in front of a large group of sales execs, a multitude of meetings and discussions moving projects forward, and of course my regular working dinners (reading scripts) at my fave Culver City restaurants. Those would be Sakura House, Beechwood and Thai Dishes (for their amazing Kang Ka Rhee Chicken).

I arrived home to the Nashville airport courtesy of Southwest airlines about 30min later than the planned arrival time. Picked up my car and jetted home for what I hoped would be an hour of relaxation before I had to pick up my oldest daughter at church after midnight (she was at a youth group music jam/root beer party).

As soon as I walked in the door K called to say the party was a bust and she wanted me to pick her up early. So, back in the car with barely time for a bathroom break, and off I went for the one hour round-trip departing my garage at 11PM.

As I drove through downtown Franklin I spotted a couple kids standing in the parking lot behind Starbucks. Or more accurately, spotted a couple teenagers with dropped trousers peeing onto the Starbucks wall/back door in the parking lot. Disgusting. Right in the open with bright parking lot lights bathing them in accusatory shades of flickering yellowish fluorescent luminosity. I thought about how fun it would be to be a policeman right then and surprise them in the act. There’s never a cop around when you need one.

And then, at that moment, as I looked back to the road in front of me, I saw Mike approaching in the opposite lane.

Mike is my sister-in-law’s boyfriend. And, a Franklin city police officer. I rolled down my window in a split second and wildly pointed with my left hand towards the Starbucks parking lot. Mike saw me, recognized me, smiled, and then saw my finger pointing to his right. As I drove by slowly I saw the back of his cruiser as he stopped in the parking lot entrance, and the mean look on his face as he got out of his cruiser and yelled “what the h*** are you boys doing?”


I picked up K and told her what happened. We both hoped the scene would still be playing out when we drove by on the way home. And it was… in grand fashion. There were 4 police cars with lights flashing and two teenagers looking mighty sorry. Found out this morning that Mike was forgiving enough not to arrest them for public indecency and urinating in public, but did have both boys call their fathers to have them picked up in the parking lot, with a regiment of policeman watching, and pointing out to the dads the wet spots on the Starbucks wall.

Pretty fun night.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Skunk Hunt

I could see it coming a mile away.

As fall approaches and we resume our traditional bonfires out by the fire-pit, I could foresee a crisp clear night enjoying the roaring fire and each other’s company right up until the moment a skunk sprayed one of us while getting more wood from the wood pile.

A skunk moved into the wood pile this summer and I’ve been plotting on how to take him out. I discovered him one Saturday morning earlier this year while mowing the lawn. I roared up in my mower and we each surprised the other and I can only imagine the look of fear and shock on my face matched that of the skunk.

He tried to squeeze into the wood pile but wasn’t in front of his (or her?) den entrance. He turned to look at me and I though for sure I was about to get very stinky. I didn’t stay to see if he raised his tail- I pulled back on the mower, went full-speed into reverse and got out of there.

So, how to get rid of him…hmm….

I thought about poison, using my BB gun, a kill trap and much more. I couldn’t bear killing the bugger so I looked for an alternative. I found one called “The Skunker.”

It’s a live trap that allows the skunk to slide into a tube seeking the bait (dry cat food was recommended) at the other end, and then WHAM. The trap door at the back end of the tube slides closed and the skunk is trapped. He (or she) can’t turn around, can’t lift their tail to spray, and can’t even see you as you approach and pick up the trap. Perfect.

The only problem was I didn’t know what to do once I caught it. I thought about leaving it in there until it died (only briefly… but that is just too cruel), and a friend suggested a tie a rope to the handle and lower it into our creek for 10 minutes. Couldn’t do it.

I found out Williamson County Animal Control will come and pick up live trapped animals and remove them at no cost. They call when the trap is ready to be picked up. I have no idea what they do with the skunks after they pick them up, and frankly, I don’t want to know.

By the way… the trap is AMAZING. Its brilliant and worked great. I set it out for 3 nights, and the first two nights we caught Raccoons (which we immediately let go). Here is a video from our second night: