Thursday, April 1, 2010

A IS FOR "ARLEE BIRD" & "ARITHMETIC"

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“Step right up! Step right up! Step right up!
Everyone's a winner, bargains galore . . .”
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WTF?! [Or, INTRODUCTION]
My McBuddy, Arlee Bird (I call him rLEE-b, but you might know him as Lee), concocted this concept one day. He noticed that, excluding Sundays, there’s 26 days in the month of April. So, in a moment of inspired lunacy he said something like, “Hey, I know, kids! Let’s put on a show! Everyone post a new Blog installment every day in April – excluding Sundays – based on the order of the alphabet.”

To get the lowdown on all the rules, regulations, bylaws, the registration sheet, the certificate of completion (suitable for framing), and the rebate form, you can go to rLEE-b’s Blog ‘Tossing It Out’ and read a full explanation of “THE BLOGGING FROM A TO Z APRIL CHALLENGE.”

After much back and forth deliberation, I finally, in the eleventh hour, gave in and decided to join the fun. (In other words, rLEE-b talked me into it by using smooth words . . . and by threatening to send Rocco over to my house to break my legs.) Also, I woke up yesterday morning hearing this sentence in my mind: "S is for Stream Of Consciousness." I took it as a sign of some sort. Uhp! I'm an idiot!

Well, for me, posting at least 100 words on any topic from A to Z is like eating bread (an ancient Hebrew expression meaning “it’s easy”). Heck, I could burp 100 words about Astrophysics – a subject I don’t know even the first thing about. So, this idea didn’t really present me with much of a challenge.

Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Led Zeppelin said, “Good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share.” Fred Astaire said, “You like potato and I like potahto; You like tomato and I like tomahto; Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto. Let's call the whole thing off!” So, to up the ante a little, I’ve decided to make this a dual sorta 'Stream Of Consciousness' thang. Every day (excluding Sundays – can’t you remember that?!) I will post a Brief Blog Bit about something I like, or consider positive, and something I dislike, or consider negative, and both will begin with the same letter of the alphabet.

I’m going to keep it short and flying fast; free-form thoughts written rapidly without a whole lot of regard for continuity, logic, facts, details, grammar - a semi-Stream O’Consciousness flow spewed off the cuff; on the fly; shoot first, ask questions later; off the top of my head while rolling through “Stop” signs and flipping the bird to the Language Police as I go by.

Afterwards, I will go back and try to make heads or tails of (or make amends for) what I’ve written prior to posting it. In other words, I’ll try to tidy up my act a tad before subjecting you to it.

Reading this “Stuffs” for the next 26 days (no Sundays!) might be a little like trying to understand what I’m saying when I’m yakking while very intoxicated. Only I won’t be yakking, I’ll be writing, and I won’t be liquidated, I’ll be sober . . . unless you’re buying, in which case I’ll have Grand Marnier on the rocks and you can leave the bottle and call me a taxi.

Buckle your seat belt, put on your crash helmet, stick some baseball cards in the spokes, and hang on, Saint Christopher – I may be hard to follow and clean up after.

GOOD STUFFS
OK, today is April 1st and that means . . .
A IS 4 “ARLEE BIRD” :
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[rLEE-b, lower left - 1964]

Arlee Bird, or Lee, is my friend. He’s a good guy and I like him a lot. We’ve never actually met face to face, but Lee has a bottle of Grand Marnier he’s promised to share with me if that day should ever occur.

You know how I first met rLEE-b? Of course you don’t, that’s why I’m about to tell you. The very first thing Lee ever said to me was: “Georgia On My Mind ---- so many different versions, so many different styles --- everyone must have one version of this lovely song that they like.”

No, Lee wasn't calling me "Georgia", and no, I hadn't been on his mind.

Do you feel like you just walked into the middle of an ongoing conversation? Well, you did . . . and so did Lee. I met him on a discussion board that I had started at the Amazon.com website. The title of the thread was “The One Song Every American Likes?” I was proposing the idea that the one song more Americans like (once they’ve gotten to know it) ...or, to look at it from the other end, the one song the least number of Americans dislike, is “The Battle Of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton. Readers of this discussion board were suggesting other song titles that might be contenders in this category and Lee came out of nowhere to put in his two cents for “Georgia…” – a valid offering, too, I might add.

But what I now find interesting is that Lee first spoke to me on April 1, 2008. No foolin’! That is to say that I have known Lee now for exactly two years this very day!

Unfortunately, our fun discussion came to an abrupt end when Amazon.com unjustifiably kicked me off their website and deleted every comment I’d ever posted there (it’s a long, sad tale not to be repeated today, but to put it in a nutshell, the Political Correctness Police busted me). But the remains of that mangled corpse can still be seen today. Link: The ONE SONG That EVERY AMERICAN LIKES?

After getting the boot from Amazon, I began blogging right here at 'Stephen T. McCarthy STUFFS'. I guess Lee started reading my Blog and began blogging at Blogspot.com himself, and now blames me for his addiction. (Lee, own up to your own issues, man! Face it, you have a Blogging Problem! Pour me another Grand Marnier and I’ll tell you how to overcome your addictions. Leave the bottle.)

I ordinarily post one or two Blog installments a week, but Lee talked me into this Blog-A-Day thing for April. It’s not the words I’ll spend that concerns me, it’s the time. I love Lee; he’s a smart, interesting guy who has lived a pretty unusual life, but I know that long before I get to "Z" (April 30th), I’m gonna wanna kill my friend for talking me into this. I’m basically a nonviolent dude, but rLEE-b must die! Of course, he’s a friend of mine, so I won’t want to hurt him (too much), but just kill him after torturing him, preferably for 26 days.

This is a little out of my area of expertise, so any suggestions any readers might want to make pertaining to methods of slow, torturous, but not overly painful, death will be appreciated. We have all month to come up with something.

(Look at the bright side, rLEE-b, at least you will be free of your Blogging addiction. But don’t DELAY – make out your Will TODAY! Leave me the bottle?)

BAD STUFFS
A IS 4 “ARITHMETIC” :

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Y’all think I’m just foolin’ when I joke about how bad my arithmetic is, don’tcha? No, No, No! If math skills were swords and this were a survival of the fittest society, I would be the first person slain!

I don’t know what it is about the way my brain works (or doesn’t, as the case may be) but I have always, since my earliest childhood, had a mental block when it comes to numbers. Which side of the brain relates to numbers? Right Brain? Left Brain? I can never keep that concept straight. But for me it’s definitely “Lame Brain”. In fact, I would suspect that one entire side of my brain is missing if it were not for the fact that I’ve always been a fairly decent chess player. And wouldn’t numbers and chess-move-thinking-thinking be guided by the same grey matter hemisphere?

Now I do like a few numbers: One represents God; Three is a favorite (I prefer odd to even numbers); Eight is cool because it’s a very spiritual kinda number that means a new beginning; Ten is acceptable because it’s such a well-rounded figure that I can wrap my mind around it and think in those terms. Ten out of a hundred is ten percent – even I can grasp that concept. And Thirteen I like pretty well because it's such a rebellious, nonconformist. But every other number can go straight to hell!

Eight is a likeable enough fella by himself, but get him together with other numbers as in “eight times” something, and I break out in a cold sweat and my mind immediately goes blank. I’m good with my Times Table up through Five, but the trouble starts with Six. It all goes in the tank after that, except for well-rounded Ten, and Twelve times Twelve which is one hundred forty-four – the ‘Pee Chee All Season Portfolio’ tells me so.

But despite my arithmetic handicap (yes, I’m allowed to park my car in the handicapped spaces), I still do something I’ll bet half of you don’t: I balance my checkbook every month. Praise God for the calculator and praise my employer for the small paychecks which make balancing my checkbook easier.

Le McQuote Du Jour:
Don’t be DOWN on what you're not UP on.
~ Anonymous (the ancient Greek philosopher)

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
Doggtor of Semiliterate, Half-Naked Blogological Studies
Stream O’Consciousness University in Airheadzonaopolis, Arizona

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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18 comments:

arlee bird said...

Streaming McCarthy--
That was some very funny Stuffs. I was guffawing and had tears running out my eyes. I'm just glad my wife wasn't here cause she'd a slapped me on the back of the head and told me to stop laughing so loud.

I was fascinated by the story of how we met etc and I was there. And I like the Good Stuffs / Bad Stuffs concept. It was all good and entertaining. But you can get serious sometimes if you really want to and you want to give us bread and circuses that's fun too.

I knew you'd come up with something great and you did not disappoint. Now to see what some of your regular readers think of this. Keep it coming. If it stays like this for the next 26 days I'll be tortured to death with laughter-- ah, but what a way to go! See you on B-day.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Ahhh, well, glad I got off on the right foots with ya, rLEE-b. Don't know if I can keep it up though (iz I crazy enough?)

When I went back to see how you had introduced yourself to me in 2008, I almost had to laugh when I discovered that it occurred on April 1st. How perfect was THAT?!

It kinda made me think: OK, maybe I really was supposed to join in this April A To Z Challenge after all.

[*Lord God A'mighty, please just get your po' servant to "Z"!]
;o)

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McStevieboy

mousiemarc said...

I don't got time for an A to Z blog with all I have to do. However, I will look on in astonishment.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

Well done on an excellent start to the challenge, this made me laugh so much I had tears rolling down my face. I look forward to your next contribution.

Have a nice day.
Yvonne.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BR'ER MARC ~
Yeah, I hain't got da time either, which is why I hain't felt this much pressure since I was in the Police Explorer Program boot camp. And that was yonder in '74.

I don't know if I'll make it, but I'll die trying (which is probably how Arlee Bird planned it).

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMeboy

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Yvonne! ~
Hey, thanks so much!! Wish me luck - I'm a-gonna need plenty O'It.

What has we gotten ourselves into, eh?

>>Have a nice day.<<

It's 8:30 AM and too late for that.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen

arlee bird said...

O'Stephen -- Even your comments make me laugh. You're not gonna die and what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. After this you'll be posting 2 times every day and writing books on top of that.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

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I'm a-gonna get you for this, rLEE-b! Oh, I'm a-gonna get you so bad!

~ "Lonesome Dogg" O'Stephen

Shannon said...

Your a wonderful writer Stephen...following you now, and I like that you are in the A-Z Challenge...

Shannon said...

Stephen...you are a wonderful writer, can't wait to read your book, if you ever write one..I know you will, you just gotta, because you are a great writer! Following you now!

Margaret Hall said...

HOLEY COW~!! What a posting! Loved it, but now my sides hurt from laughin'~!! Great input to Arlee's blog challenge, and great way to enjoy my 21st cup of coffee~!!...And, THANKS for making me add ANOTHER blog to my FAVORITES list...
(((she goes away grumblin' but happy))) =)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Shannon!
Hey, thanks for your very nice comment(s). Arlee Bird put you up to it, huh? How much is he payin' you? (Hold out - I'll bet you could get him to renegotiate your contract in your favor.)

No, seriously, thanks a million!

Actually, I do have a manuscript for a children's book written, as well as a screenplay. But they're both pretty old now and as dead as rLEE-b is gonna be when this A 2 Z Challenge is all over.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McGrateful

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Margaret! ~
Only 21 Cups O'Coffee? What a slacker! I think you should be drinking 26 cups a day in honor of Arlee Bird's 26-day April Challenge.

Hey, I'm very, very pleased that you enjoyed this post so well. I think my type of humor only appeals to a very small percentage of the population. What I'm saying, of course, if you can read between the lines, is: You must be weird.

Thanks, Margaret. I'll definitely have to check out your own Blog when I get a chance. But right now, between the A 2 Z Challenge, a visitor from outta state, a full-time job, Easter Sunday a-comin', and the usual Bunch O'Life that invades my free time on a regular basis, I'm outta breath but still gotta run . . .

Thanks again mucho!

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McWinded

CK said...

Funny, funny, FUNNY! I love your wit and writing style. I'm now a new follower!

God bless-
Carmen

Grammy said...

Hi, Stephen,
Interesting stuff! I look forward to reading more. I am a new visitor to your blog. You are correct when you say this takes a heap of time. I spent two hours last night reading some of the blogs and "meeting" a lot of new people. I am enjoying the whole experience.
Best regards to you.
Ruby

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

CARMEN!
Hey, thanks so much. Very pleased ya liked it. Soon as I can afford another bottle of Grand Marnier I'll write some mo'.

GRAMMY ~
Yeah, time is like the one thing I'm pretty poor in, and so now I wonder whether or not I really am going to make it all the way to "Z". I'll give it my best shot. Thanks a lot for stopping by. Arlee seems to have come up with a hugely popular concept.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

Bud Ezekiel H. said...

yeah...i bet you DO rollerskate in a buffalo herd just like i do.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Ha!-Ha!
BUD, "you CAN'T rollerskate in a buffalo herd!... But you can be happy if you've a mind to."

Any friend of Roger's is a friend of mine!

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe