LuAl's Tied Tongue Tumbles On

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March 22, 2011
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March 21, 2011

If You’ll Be My Bodyguard…

With nostalgia overthrowing my fragile mind, I am transported to a pleasant time. At the turn of the millennium, our backyard trampoline was the host to one of the greatest games ever invented: “Bodyguard.” Its simplicity was a thing of beauty. The only things needed were a ball, a trampoline, and neighborhood kids. All but two of the kids were around the trampoline’s perimeter, surrounding the brave duo known as the “bodyguard” and “president.” The assassins’ motives were clear; it was their goal to hit the president, as if it were a game of dodgeball, all while keeping the soiling of their exposed socks to a minimum. The only obstacle that stood in their way was the bodyguard. It was his duty to swat, catch, and dive in front of shots that were fired at the president. The bodyguard took all of the punishment with the lone reward of keeping the president safe (and extended trampoline time). Once the president was hit, the former bodyguard was sworn into office and the lucky assassin had to now protect the new president from his former colleagues in crime.

No winners. No losers. Just a sense of complete freedom.

As everyone else did, I loved to be the bodyguard. Within the frame of the game, I was invincible. The president appreciated me; the rest envied me. I could take a shot and bounce back up. I was an action hero. I was Vin Diesel.

Oh, how I would love to once again become Vin Diesel.

March 15, 2011

The Dot & the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics

March 2, 2011
“Believe me, all is brilliant.”
— Manchester Orchestra - “Simple Math”  
February 25, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

This is my list of excuses for not doing school work throughout the week:

Thursday - “I just got done with a long week of classes. Time to relax.”
Friday - “Today’s my first day off. I shouldn’t have to study.”
Saturday - “It’s the freakin’ weekend baby. I’m about to have me some fun.”
Sunday - “It’s the Sabbath. I cannot work today.”
Monday - “I only have one class today. Let me just take some down time to prepare for the week.” 
Tuesday - “I had a whole two classes today. I should reward myself by not worrying about school.”
Wednesday - “This week is hectic. I need to clear my head.”


1 note
February 5, 2011

Three Tips

I am in no way a savant about how to live life to the fullest. I am a procrastinator, an over-thinker, and a beyond hopeless romantic. So take the following advice with a grain of salt but I do believe these three tips will help you live a better life. If you have a simple piece of advice to share with carpe diem seekers, such as myself, please do so.

Here’s my three tips:

1. Make your bed each morning.
A made bed is the one thing that makes a bedroom either “clean” or “dirty” (at least for my standards, anyway). Making my bed is a routine that helps me prepare for the day. It’s a cup of coffee for this non cup of coffee drinker, if you will. When bedtime comes around, it is such a relief to crawl under the covers, listen to Karl Pilkington drop serious knowledge, and dream.

2. Use Dropbox
Do us all and yourself a favor and download Dropbox right now. File sharing is easy with Dropbox, rendering email attachments a thing of the past. Please, sign up today (if not for yourself, at least for me. I want to sound like I know at least something about the Internet).

3. Watch Community
It’s the smartest and most important sitcom on television. 

February 2, 2011

A Brainstorm During a Snow Storm

A day off of school has allowed me to listen to my favorite podcasts in the comfort of my own apartment. While listening to yesterday’s Pardon the Interruption and their “Toss Up” segment, I had an idea; someone should keep track of what Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon disagree on. For instance, they disagreed on whether Chris Bosh will win more NBA championships than Kevin Durant over the course of their careesr. Granted, it’s not an all-too-important argument, but they’re on the record. It would be cool to be able to access the “Kornheiser vs. Wilbon Database” 20 years from now to see which one was right. The same would hold true for every disagreement they have. It could be updated at the end of weeks, seasons, or careers, depending on the argument. I would be interested in seeing who was correct more often.

It’s just an idea.
I’m out of time. I’ll try to do better the next time. 

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January 26, 2011

15 Reasons Mister Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever


1. Even Koko the Gorilla Loved Him

Most people have heard of Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who could speak about 1000 words in American Sign Language, and understand about 2000 in English. What most people don’t know, however, is that Koko was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fan. As Esquire reported, when Fred Rogers took a trip out to meet Koko for his show, not only did she immediately wrap her arms around him and embrace him, she did what she’d always seen him do onscreen: she proceeded to take his shoes off!

2. He Made Thieves Think Twice

According to a TV Guide profile, Fred Rogers drove a plain old Impala for years. One day, however, the car was stolen from the street near the TV station. When Rogers filed a police report, the story was picked up by every newspaper, radio and media outlet around town. Amazingly, within 48 hours the car was left in the exact spot where it was taken from, with an apology on the dashboard. It read, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”

3. He Watched His Figure to the Pound

 In covering Rogers’ daily routine (waking up at 5; praying for a few hours for all of his friends and family; studying; writing, making calls and reaching out to every fan who took the time to write him; going for a morning swim; getting on a scale; then really starting his day), writer Tom Junod explained that Mr. Rogers weighed in at exactly 143 pounds every day for the last 30 years of his life. He didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, didn’t eat the flesh of any animals, and was extremely disciplined in his daily routine. And while I’m not sure if any of that was because he’d mostly grown up a chubby, single child, Junod points out that Rogers found beauty in the number 143. According to the piece, Rogers came “to see that number as a gift… because, as he says, “the number 143 means ‘I love you.’ It takes one letter to say ‘I’ and four letters to say ‘love’ and three letters to say ‘you.’ One hundred and forty-three.”

4. He Saved Both Public Television and the VCR

Strange but true. When the government wanted to cut Public Television funds in 1969, the relatively unknown Mister Rogers went to Washington. Almost straight out of a Capra film, his 5-6 minute testimony on how TV had the potential to give kids hope and create more productive citizens was so simple but passionate that even the most gruff politicians were charmed. While the budget should have been cut, the funding instead jumped from $9 to $22 million. Rogers also spoke to Congress, and swayed senators into voting to allow VCR’s to record television shows from the home. It was a cantankerous debate at the time, but his argument was that recording a program like his allowed working parents to sit down with their children and watch shows as a family.

5. He Might Have Been the Most Tolerant American Ever

Mister Rogers seems to have been almost exactly the same off-screen as he was onscreen. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, and a man of tremendous faith, Mister Rogers preached tolerance first. Whenever he was asked to castigate non-Christians or gays for their differing beliefs, he would instead face them and say, with sincerity, “God loves you just the way you are.” Often this provoked ire from fundamentalists.

6. He Was Genuinely Curious About Others

Mister Rogers was known as one of the toughest interviews because he’d often befriend reporters, asking them tons of questions, taking pictures of them, compiling an album for them at the end of their time together, and calling them after to check in on them and hear about their families. He wasn’t concerned with himself, and genuinely loved hearing the life stories of others.

Amazingly, it wasn’t just with reporters. Once, on a fancy trip up to a PBS exec’s house, he heard the limo driver was going to wait outside for 2 hours, so he insisted the driver come in and join them (which flustered the host). On the way back, Rogers sat up front, and when he learned that they were passing the driver’s home on the way, he asked if they could stop in to meet his family. According to the driver, it was one of the best nights of his life—the house supposedly lit up when Rogers arrived, and he played jazz piano and bantered with them late into the night. Further, like with the reporters, Rogers sent him notes and kept in touch with the driver for the rest of his life.

7. He Was Color-blind

Literally. He couldn’t see the color blue. Of course, he was also figuratively color-blind, as you probably guessed. As were his parents who took in a black foster child when Rogers was growing up.

8. He Could Make a Subway Car Full of Strangers Sing

Once while rushing to a New York meeting, there were no cabs available, so Rogers and one of his colleagues hopped on the subway. Esquire reported that the car was filled with people, and they assumed they wouldn’t be noticed. But when the crowd spotted Rogers, they all simultaneously burst into song, chanting “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” The result made Rogers smile wide.

9. He Got into TV Because He Hated TV. The first time he turned one on, he saw people angrily throwing pies in each other’s faces. He immediately vowed to use the medium for better than that. Over the years he covered topics as varied as why kids shouldn’t be scared of a haircut, or the bathroom drain (because you won’t fit!), to divorce and war.

10. He Was an Ivy League Dropout. Rogers moved from Dartmouth to Rollins College to pursue his studies in music.

11. He Composed all the Songs on the Show, and over 200 tunes.

12. He Was a Perfectionist, and Disliked Ad Libbing. He felt he owed it to children to make sure every word on his show was thought out.

13. Michael Keaton Got His Start on the Show as an assistant — helping puppeteer and operate the trolley.

14. Several Characters on the Show are Named for His Family. Queen Sara is named after Rogers’ wife, and the postman Mr. McFeely is named for his maternal grandfather who always talked to him like an adult, and reminded young Fred that he made every day special just by being himself. Sound familiar? It was the same way Mister Rogers closed every show.

15. The Sweaters. In 1984, his famous red cardigan sweater was donated to the Smithsonian. It had been hand-knit by his mother.

For further reading, check out Tom Junod’s wonderful profile of Fred Rogers.

[by Mangesh Hattikudur]

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December 31, 2010
“There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year. I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.”
— The Mountain Goats - “This Year”  
December 30, 2010
“There’s nothing better than a Hershey bar.”
— David Letterman