Mackinac Machinations?

Mark’s recent post, Fake events of my lifetime, got me thinking: what news stories of the past left me feeling … unconvinced? A certain incident immediately popped into mind. Either I am an insensitive lout who is pitilessly digging up a family’s grief, or I have put my finger on an old school hoax—one from the days before cellphone videos and crisis actors. You help decide …

Source Continue reading “Mackinac Machinations?”

How to Rule the World in Three Easy Rolls

I was born a nerd, and I will die a nerd.

Like every nerd growing up, I was not much of an athlete.  I preferred to play board games with my best friend Thad, a fellow nerd. This was long before Nintendo and PlayStation, long before World of Warcraft or Minecraft.  We played chess and checkers, Risk and Stratego, and many of the Avalon Hill war games, like Tactics II and Stalingrad.

But I was not just a nerd.  I was also a tycoon wannabe.  And so I enjoyed the games where you made a million bucks: Careers and Masterpiece and above all, Monopoly. Continue reading “How to Rule the World in Three Easy Rolls”

Welcome to HELL (Part 1)

Silent Letters Say So Much …

Someone asked me at breakfast the other day, “Does anyone pronounce the ‘l’ in yolk?  I answered: I am unaware of any dialect that sounds out the ‘l’ nowadays, but at one stage in the history of English the ‘l’ was certainly pronounced. (Yolk comes, naturally, from the same root as yellow.) This is true of just about any silent letter in modern English: it shows up in the spelling because at one time it was pronounced.  This goes especially for every silent ‘e’ at the end of so many words.

(There are a handful of silent letters that were never pronounced, like the ‘b’ in debt.  This word started life in Old English as dette, but somewhere in Middle English some smarty-pants who knew a smattering of Latin realized that the Latin root debitum had a ‘b’ and decided to import it into the English spelling.  Other words with Latin letters shoehorned into them are plumber, indict, and receipt.)

If you could dial back the hands of time about 500 years, the English language would sound rather different from the way you know it today.  Continue reading “Welcome to HELL (Part 1)”

Avast, We Scurvy Dogs!

This essay contains medical information that might be construed as advice. It is not, but rather just long-winded opinion. Read it at your own risk.

Zombies on the Brain

In this piece I will proffer a novel thesis. And like every argument, I start from certain premises—things that one accepts without trying to prove.

I hold this truth to be self-evident: that the most awesome of all movie monsters ever are sword-wielding skeletons. I will drop anything to watch the scene from the 1963 classic Jason and the Argonauts in which the Claymation Dynamation skeletons rise from the soil to attack Jason and his men. I also stipulate to the nearly equal awesomeness of CGI skeletons. [Edit: see comments below]

The other cinematic monsters leave me cold. Vampires? They suck. Werewolves? What’s the big hairy deal? Mummies? There’s more wick than wickedness about them. Godzilla and Rodan? Hardly rad to me. You can keep your demon-possessed dolls, your poltergeists, and your ghosts. The Terminator is alright, but just because under the ugly Arnold-skin is a bitchin’ metallic skeleton. Continue reading “Avast, We Scurvy Dogs!”

Our Dam Obesity Problem

The following does not constitute medical advice. It is opinion. Before you make any changes to your medications, diet, or lifestyle, be sure that the person in charge of overseeing your health care is fully informed. By the way—that person is you and you alone.

If You’ve Got the Tide®, We’ve Got the Cheer®

Ever heard of pica? Not the font size—the eating disorder. Pica is the habit of ingesting things that are not food: dirt, drywall, chalk, clay, and so on. Some people see a box of laundry detergent, and their mouths start watering.

Pica has many causes, but a chief one is mineral deficiency. People who are low on iron, for example, often chew on ice; those low on zinc may dab a moist finger into the laundry soap for a nibble. Their taste for Tide® comes from their body’s unconscious craving for something it is not getting enough of. The non-food items rarely satisfy nutritional needs, but at least the pica-sufferer is not trying the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Continue reading “Our Dam Obesity Problem”

Little Dabs of Paint …?

Before I begin, let’s get one thing straight.  Ol’ Maarten here is all boy. Don’t you forget it …

That being said … I wear makeup.  Just once a year, mind you, and it is for professional purposes only, for a couple hours only, and with the lightest application only.  A makeup artist takes about ten minutes with me and each of my co-workers, laying on just enough foundation and powder to undo the effects of bright spotlights.

Over the years, I have consistently noticed three things about my experiences:  Continue reading “Little Dabs of Paint …?”