The Speckled Mind

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Eye, Eye, Eye!

Anyone else who has gone through an eye exam knows what a strange phenomenon it is.

"One or Two?"

"Is this better, or this."

"Just look straight ahead." (as we shine a blinding light into your eyeball)

"Take off your glasses and try to read the bottom line for me."

And I'm thinking--if I could read the bottom line without my glasses, I probably wouldn't be here in the first place.

But, I needed new contacts, and an eye exam is apparently a prerequisite to getting them. One of the things that always bugs me is that machine that shoots little air bullets into your eyeballs. How is that helpful? And, it would have been really nice if the "technician"--and I use that term in the loosest way possible--would have warned me that it was coming. It scared the hell out of me.

Oh well. At least it wasn't as stressful as my last eye exam.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's A Month Between Friends?

As promised, German is finished and I am officially back in the saddle. Unfortunately, the horse is blind and shaped like the letter "U". Oh well, you get what you pay for, I guess. Coincidentally, today's blog is also brought to you by the letter "U". Weird...

I digress...

There really is no better way to get back into the blogging groove than with one of my patented Bits and Pieces episodes. So, for better or worse, here's what I've done/learned in the past month:

1. One of the greatest epidemics facing America today is mumbling. Mumblers can be found just about anywhere, and you can certainly find them at Ebenezer's. A word to the wise--if you insist on mumbling while placing your order, and I respond by asking you to repeat what you just said, IT MEANS I WANT YOU TO ANNUNCIATE THE SECOND TIME YOU SPEAK. Mumbling a second time will only result in me asking what you just said a second time. We could repeat this little game ad nauseum--I really do have all day--or you could put in a little effort and stop placing your order like a primate. Just a suggestion...

-and I'm just getting warmed up!-

2. The German language is crazy. And not the good kind of crazy either. Oh, German, why must your words have 32 letters? Who came up with verbs that have separable prefixes? Why must you place the verb at the very end of the sentence? And, for that matter, why must you write sentences so long they would make Charles Dickens blush?

3. 2008 has been a good hear for music so far. Death Cab for Cutie, Tapes 'n' Tapes, Sigur Ros and Coldplay all have spectacular new albums, and those are just the big names. A host of other, more obscure bands have made my ears very happy this year--amongst them are: Amber Rubarth, Liam Finn, Headlights and Ghost in the Water.

4. Jess and I like visitors. A lot. Have you come to visit us in DC yet? If not, you are running out of time! ACT NOW!! THIS OFFER CAN'T LAST FOREVER!

5. The best movie I've seen in a long time: Lars and the Real Girl. If you haven't seen it yet, put it to the top of your Netflix queue. You won't be sorry. Hopefully I'll get to post something more extensive about this excellent film in the near future.

6. Movie to skip: Prince Caspian. The film version of the C.S. Lewis's excellent book is flaccid from start to finish. It boggles my mind why the director would have departed so much from the book and created motifs that are alien to Lewis's original story telling.

7. I had the privilege of attending Tim Russert's wake last week; Jess and I met his son and wife while we were there. So incredibly sad... He was one of the good guys in a world filled with blathering pundits. NBC won't be the same without him--he was the best in the business and an irreplaceable voice of reason amid the white noise.

8. Has anyone else noticed that the Twins are only 1 1/2 games out of first place? They're far exceeding my expectations for the year. I can't wait until they open the new stadium in 2010.

9. Speaking of sports, I'm happy for Kevin Garnett. It was good to see him get the monkey off his back; though he was well compensated while in the Twin Cities, dealing with Kevin McHale on a daily basis is its own special kind of hell. Congrats, Big Ticket.

10. (HT: Jessica Banti) Be sure to read this excellent and scathing op-ed piece by Thomas Friedman of the NY Times about the insanity of the Bush administration's current energy policy.

11. I confess that I have been regularly listening to NPR's "This American Life" lately. I'm officially an elitist. God have mercy on me...

12. Two of my favorite people came together in one place last week. Click here to see N.T. Wright's appearance on the Colbert Report.

Well, I best be getting to bed. I'm sure there's more to be said, but it will have to wait another day.

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