The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘high school’

Keys to Successfully Watching the Super Bowl

If you are an NFL fan then by now you have heard all about Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman and Bob Barker.

Can Peyton legitimize his legacy by winning a second Super Bowl, moving his record in the big game from 1-1 to 2-1?

Can Richard Sherman back up his big words with big play? Can people forgive a braggart, or will on the fence fans cheer for Peyton because they don’t like a big mouth?

Will Bob Barker’s veiled, cryptic words on the last episode of “The Price is Right” that he appeared on be correct?

These questions will only be answered at the Super Bowl!

Grab some popcorn, chat with your friends (but during this game you chat DURING the game, not during commercials), and enjoy what happens!


Pssst. In high school I had to read The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. The next step was obvious – I had to write a paper on the book. I turned to the internet for help and one of the sites I found was incredible.

I looked up the book trying to find out the themes, motifs, the usual “beyond the words” kind of meanings that somehow English professors/teachers find so obvious but that always escape me. The site I found had exactly what I was looking for … except the author of the site was playing a practical joke.

The site described enough of the book accurately to convince lazy students that it was legitimate, but the site also contained a bunch of made up nonsense. It was one of the funniest things I’d ever read.

I could just see a student handing in a paper confidently, only to get back an F with a note, “there were no unicorns in The Heart of Darkness. The next time you try and fake a paper, at least look up the synopsis from a credible source.”

I didn’t want to actually have people thinking that Bob Barker had some cryptic message years ago that was somehow tied to this game (would you have really believed that?) … But maybe some future post I’ll do that.

Attn: Ellen (1/8/14)



Back (apologies for my handwriting!)


The text of the postcard is

Dear Ellen,

I bet if I was a horse and going to my first day of horse high school and I saw other horses and I said “hey” some bully horse would say “horses eat hay!” I’d probably try to have a quick response like, “that joke is stale-ion … like stallion …”

This hypothetical horse high school would be tough for me.


Why am I doing this?

The Great Gatsby, and the Teenage Girl

Yesterday I posted quotes from a book I really like – The Great Gatsby. I re-read this recently for book club, and I enjoyed it. I bought a used copy from a Half Price Bookstore (I have a nice copy at my parent’s house, along with all the other books I read in high school).

Normally I look for a nice, clean looking copy – but I settled for this one despite seeing that some lines were underlined. I’m glad I did. The previous owner turned out to be Adrienne, as seen from this stamp. Adrienne is a pretty keen and funny girl, and I would’ve liked to have been her friend in high school.

Hopefully you’ll find her little notes as amusing as I did.








Happy Birthday to … GMa and G Pat

October is a big birthday month in my family. I decided to do a little post for some of the birthday boys and girls I know.

I’m combining these guys into one post for two reasons – 1, so that I can do the birthday posts in one week (which is much more soothing to my engineering-side than to have this in one week plus one day); 2, because they’re not immediate family. Sorry guys, I’m biased.


My grandma is crazy in the best way possible. She’s got an awesome sense of humor and has the classic grandma look down. Sweet, little lady? You betcha.

My senior year of high school my parents were going to be gone for a while on a trip to visit my sister who was then studying in Spain. They decided to have my grandma come stay with me for the duration of the trip. I have to admit I was not happy about this.

They had gone on trips in the past without feeling the need to have someone their to supervise me, and yet there I was, needing a babysitter. In retrospect they probably just wanted me to spend some time with my grandma, but I was too thick to see that.

Anyhow. Out she flew from Phoenix to Georgia. And off my parents went to Spain (those punks).

My grandma has always been a pretty healthy eater. As part of this she didn’t work with salt too often. Salt – a mystery food! Nevertheless, she wanted to cook us some nice food while she was there. One night this involved mashed potatoes.

They were, easily, the worst mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten.

They had enough salt on them to satisfy 30 deer (like a salt lick … get it?). I took a bite and my face just about caved in. But I trudged on. And grandma, wanting this to be a nice meal, ate too. For her, a salt rookie, she didn’t know how much salt was the right amount and apparently thought more was better.

At some point during the meal she looked up and said, “this seems a bit salty.” I would’ve laughed but my face had dehydrated into nothingness.

Why am I telling this seemingly insulting story about my grandma for her birthday? Because I stink at compliments, and also because it shows that she was there, being kind, and trying to do something with me even though it wasn’t her bag of chips. (Her bag of insanely salted chips probably.)

If I could go back in time I would be less of a snotty teenage, and appreciate her visit much more.

Happy bday grandma!, and thanks for being awesome!

And no, I don’t want seconds.

Cousin G Pat

My cousin G Pat is an all-around nice guy. When I was in D.C. this past summer I got to spend an afternoon with him which was great. I hadn’t seen him in a number of years but I knew, and he has stated this, that it made no difference.

For G Pat family is family – and you look out for them.

G Pat and I talked a bit about work and it was clear he has himself a nice spot – he’s a guy who knows how to talk, and knows geeky stuff. (That’s more rare than you’d think. Usually it’s one or the other.)

The odd thing is, I think I’ll always associate G Pat with solitaire.

When I was younger I saw him on two different occasions. He was crazy for little handheld solitaire games (great for road trips). Each time he’d let me borrow one to play, and then tell me to keep it – he was too addicted to them anyway.

Apparently this is true because between trip one and two he’d bought himself a new one. I imagine if I had asked to see his phone when I saw him last I would’ve found ten different types of solitaire on it.

Although handheld solitaire games aren’t much it clearly illustrates (in my mind) the kind of guy G Pat is – that is, like I said before, all-around nice.

Thanks G Pat for grabbing lunch with me in D.C., the handheld solitaires (they killed many hours on a number of road trips for me), and being my cousin!

Happy Bday!

Happy Birthday to … My Big Bro

October is a big birthday month in my family. I decided to do a little post for some of the birthday boys and girls I know.

I already told what is possibly my favorite story of my brother – here in this video log. (I’m afraid to go back and watch it because I probably look like a dummy, but I’ll link it.)

Instead I’ll tell a nice story about the broham.

My senior year of high school my history teacher was a Notre Dame graduate. Notre Dame was the school I really wanted to get into.  I had asked my teacher to write a recommendation for me for Notre Dame and he gladly agreed. In fact, on my way out of class one day, he called me to stay behind.

He told me that he still had connections at the school and if I could tell him that, if I got in I would definitely go there, he figured he could get me in. I knew that if I got in that I would go there, but I told my teacher I’d have to think about it. I didn’t like the idea of getting somewhere because of some favor – I wanted to go because of my own merits.

I made a bigger deal out of this decision than I needed to, and as part of my deliberations that night I called my brother. This was a rarity. He and I pretty much never spoke on the phone.

I explained the situation to him and he told me to take the offer from my teacher. Along with that he told me something that went along the lines of this – “none of my teachers in high school would’ve offered this to me. You earned this offer of help.”

I hadn’t thought of it that way at all, but it was a statement that I thought was very nice and a good point. I didn’t end up asking my teacher for that “special” recommendation but it’s advice that I’ve always carried with me.

If anyone reading happens to be stubborn and want to pave your road with your own merits, you earn help like you earn anything else. Help’s not a bad thing!

Happy bday to my wise older bro!

Weekly Wacko (65)

Do These Glasses Make Me Look Stupid?

It turns out that people get glasses for a reason. I don’t know, though, I’m still testing this.

In high school I was involved in you-name-it-I’m-in-it club. This was for the almighty get into a good college nonsense. One of these clubs involved volunteering.

At some point I was signed up to go bag groceries at a grocery store. It was for the March of Dimes. After bagging someone’s groceries I would smilingly say, “I’m bagging groceries for the March of Dimes, if you have any spare change …” Or something along those lines.

I figured bagging groceries didn’t require 20-20 vision, so I left my glasses in my car.

A good friend and I head to the grocery store, it is close to where he lives and he was just as involved in clubs so he figured why not. I am assigned an aisle and I am ready to rumble!

Let’s bring this mess on so I can BAG IT UP!

Unfortunately it is slow-moving that day – hardly anybody is coming through. When people do come through they give me nothing. I may as well have been saying, “I’m bagging groceries for my crack addiction, if you have any spare change …”

During the lulls I debate talking to the clerk. She is a pretty cute girl, I think. Again, not wearing my glasses. But I can be awfully shy and instead look around during the lulls, pretending to be deep in thought.

With about fifteen minutes left a woman comes along and asks for a pack of cigarettes. I stare at her. The clerk stares at me. The woman stares at me. The clerk asks if I will go get the cigarettes (they were behind some counter). I gladly comply – why didn’t they just ask in the first place instead of staring at me! (Like I’m not already awkward enough.)

After I get the cigarettes I come back and hand them to the clerk. She says, “thanks, Brad.”


How does she know my name?

I …

Oh …

Oh no …


I dated one girl in high school. It was an odd relationship that ended on a weird note. This clerk, as luck would have it, happened to be my one ex-girlfriend.

I had just been standing FIVE FEET AWAY FROM MY EX-GIRLFRIEND for about … oh … an hour and forty-five minutes … and I didn’t say a word.

I sincerely hope she caught the surprised look on my face and remembered that I ordinarily wore glasses. If it was me I would’ve assumed the worst and thought I was just some horribly mean person who couldn’t even say hello.

Thankfully I left very soon after that.

I don’t think I said anything before I left – too busy yelling at myself for not wearing glasses and doing that community service in the first place and then for walking away without saying goodbye (I started yelling at myself for this as soon as I turned my back and started to walk).

Glasses, huh? They are a tricky friend.

Want another example of a glasses-free bit of idiocy? Click here.

Weekly Wacko (27)


When I was in high school I often played with neighborhood kids (it was actually a neighbor mom’s mother who made me realize why – she was asking about my favorite neighborhood growing up and I said Alaska, because even though I was only K – 2nd grade when we lived there, even the ‘big kids’ (ie high school) played sports and stuff with my friends and I. She pointed out that I was now the big kid. Very perceptive and obvious, and it made me feel pretty good to carry on something I thought was so amazing).

One of the kids was a little girl in elementary school. She had apparently developed a crush on me – I would guess it’s because I was a senior in high school, a boy, played with the neighborhood kids, and tall (it was more fun that way when I picked up kids and spun them around or such).

One day she was running around the neighborhood and she decided to come around. She rang the doorbell and I answered. She had, watch out for the oozing amounts of adorable, brought over a juice box for herself and I.

We went outside and drank juice (substitute wine and add forty years and that’s the kind of scene). It was getting dark out so I told her I’d walk her home.

She wanted a piggy back ride so I obliged. Walking across the circular field in the middle of the neighborhood she admitted to me very plainly, “I wish I was a teenager so we could date.”

I mean, come on. I challenge you to out-cute that.

One day, her younger brother walked up to my house as I was sitting outside. It was my senior year of high school. The weather was perfect, and so I walked outside and laid down on the driveway, watching the clouds roll by. The young stud walked up, said “hi” (he was maybe four at the time?) and sat down beside me. He looked over, then laid down like me. Looked over again, so I had my arms behind my head – using them like a pillow, and mimicked that.

I felt like the coolest older brother ever. It’s no wonder I’m a huge fan of that family.

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