Thursday, April 30, 2009

Craig Arnold

I have copied a letter that I have emailed to Aderholt, Sessions, and Shelby. If anyone else out there can do the same, I would greatly appreciate it. Please help if you can...

I am writing to you on behalf of a friend of mine who, two days ago, was reported missing in Japan. His name is Craig Arnold and he is a Yale Younger Poet, as well as a professor of English at the University of Wyoming. He went missing while hiking a volcano on a small Japanese island. We are afraid that the Japanese authorities are going to call off the search for him before he is found. There is a distinct possibility that Craig is still alive, as he has experience in hiking volcanoes. I don't know if there is anything that you can do on his behalf (contacting someone at the American embassy in Japan, contacting someone you may know in the Japanese government)...but, if there is, I beg you to do it for Craig’s sake. For additional information, you may visit the following blog site that has been set up to keep us updated on the search:

I appreciate all that you do, and all that you can do...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If the log rolls over, we’re all going to die!

While cleaning out my work email, I discovered this blog entry that I meant to post back from June of 08. Better late than never, right?

So, Jolly Green and I were talking at work yesterday about the negative energy that some of our coworkers exude, and how, as Jolly Green said, it was very much like a swirling whirlpool of fear and threat that sucks you down. I snickered and said, “Yeah, it’s like ‘If the log rolls over, we’ll all drown.’” As I said it, I realized that she might not get the joke, so I waited a second for the sound of crickets when instead, JG busted out laughing and exclaimed, “God, I’ve not heard that joke in years!”

I was so glad that someone other than myself remembered such a stupid joke that I went and googled it to find the original full-text to share with everyone. I believe that the chap I stole this from is British. You will see why...

Voices In the Dunny
A man had been traveling in the night and it was getting quite late so he stopped at a motel for the evening. When he arrived at the motel, he asked if they had any spare rooms left. The receptionist replied, "Yes, but we only have room 13 left and the bathroom is believed to have ghost voices heard in it." Since the man was so tired, he took the room anyway. Later that night when the man was sitting on the toilet doing his business he heard voices calling out "When the log rolls over we will all be dead!" He left straight away and never returned. The next day a woman needed a room for the night and the same thing happened to her as the man the night before. A few days later an exorcist arrived at the hotel. He too got room 13, and that night when he was on the toilet doing his business he heard the voices as well. The exorcist immediately jumped up and ran around the room yelling "the power of Christ compells you!" He listened carefully and when he heard the voices again, they lead him back to the toilet. He slowly looked into the loo to see 3 ants sitting on a crap singing "when the log rolls over we will all be dead!!!!!."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


The light was red. We were coming back from a 5K that Slim had just run in Oxford, and were stopped behind a big, white extended-cab Dooley that had every seat in it occupied. From the looks of things, the back seats were filled with children, the front seats with adults. The driver had what appeared to be a wand of mascara in her right hand, and was applying a fresh layer of lacquer while sitting at the light. I looked over at Slim and said, “She’s puttin’ on mascara…” The driver’s right hand quickly disappeared for a moment and then reappeared with a hair pick. The light still held. She began to pick at her straight-as-a-board hair. “I’ve witnessed women doing one thing or another while driving before, but I’ve never seen one actually going through the full beautification process…” Her right hand rapidly disappeared again, this time to reappear with a can of hairspray. There was a fog of hairspray ‘round and ‘round her head. The boy child seated directly behind her began a pantomime of choking and waving until the driver opened up the truck door and fanned out the fumes. At the same time, Slim and I were choking on our own incredulous laughter at the traffic light histrionics before our eyes. We would’ve given them a standing ovation, but the light turned green.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cue: Boomtown Rats’ I Don’t Like Mondays

Lunchtime on a Tuesday, about a month and a half ago:
It was warm in the Lena Martin Room, so we left the door propped open in order to catch a breeze from the opening and closing of the front doors in the vestibule. A group comprised of Southern Baptists, Jews and Episcopalians were heatedly discussing a book about the holocaust. How could a holocaust happen…how can genocide still be going on today…how can people kill and be killed in such numbers without someone doing something to stop it?

One of my arguments was that (always with exception, of course) the aggressor oftentimes has the advantage of planning and surprise, whereas the victim behaves with disbelief and shock. There was agreement among the group. One individual made an example of the three planes of 9/11. Planes number one and two went to their targets as planned by the hijackers, filled with individuals who were probably thinking that theirs was a typical hijacking situation where, if they did what they were told to do, they would end up terribly late for their board meetings and vacations, but inconvenienced and alive. Plane three was filled with individuals who, via cell phone had already learned that theirs was not a typical hijacking situation, that two other planes had already proved the situation to be dire, and who, as an informed group, planned to fight back.

One individual queried, “But why wasn’t there a hero at Columbine…why did those big kids, those football players not take the shooters down?” Putting all reasons why the shooters did what they did aside, and trying to put the fact that I worked with some Columbine students when I worked with high-risk teens at the horticulture school in Golden, CO, I pointed out that although Klebold and Harris were individuals of slight stature, they were so well armed, and had so carefully planned their massacre, they had the advantage of planning and extreme surprise on their sides. At the time of the attack (1999), there had only been two other sensational cases of school shootings, but they had occurred so many years before, and pre modern media, few people were aware that they had happened. Schools did not regularly practice evacuations or lock-downs (they certainly do now). You just didn’t worry about something like that, because something like that couldn’t happen in your school (cue naiveté). For good and bad, what happened that spring day in 1999 prompted schools across the world to be aware of all behavior that could seem suspicious…and it still hasn’t stopped people (young and old, civilian and military) from orchestrating mass shootings at schools, malls, small town civic buildings, and Eastern countries…

As I sat there saying those words to my book talk mates, I heard a walkie-talkie go off in the vestibule of the library. My listeners leaned in towards me, and I continued. “For all we know, that walkie-talkie could belong to a person who has just walked into this library with the intent to set off a bomb that will drive people out of the front doors and into the crosshairs of a shooter who is waiting outside. They may have been radioing that shooter outside just now to give them the signal that it was time to get started…”

Just at that moment, a deafening siren went off and I almost crapped my pants (as I think everyone else must have almost done at that moment). Clutching my heart, I gasped for air and slid back in my chair, closing my eyes for a moment to watch the little-publicized security camera footage from the interior of Columbine High School, dated April 20, 1999…

The siren was the monthly severe weather check that I always forget about. I could not have paid for a better set of events to occur while telling a cautionary tale such as I was telling that afternoon, and I sit here typing this while being revisited by the memory of wanting to crap my pants…

As a somewhat related sidebar:
After the Columbine incident, the Jeffco school district put in place some very strict lockdown codes for their schools. At Warren Tech (the Jeffco technical school where I worked when I lived in Denver), our lockdown procedure required all faculty and students to go to a specific building located in the middle of campus. Now, the greenhouses where I worked were located at the very outskirts of campus, near the foothill trails that led up into the Rocky Mountains. When the lockdown signals were given, we were to gather our students together, and as a group trek all the way across half of campus to get to the building where we were supposed to meet. Well, this wasn’t very smart in our eyes. The horticulture teachers all had an agreement that no other teachers (administration included) knew about. We agreed that we would go through the lockdown motions for drills, but that we would head to the foothills should a real emergency occur. You see, we all understood that if we ever had a shooter on campus, we’d be easy prey for them, especially considering the geography of the path that we would have to take in order to get to our destination. We stood a much better chance of survival on the trails that we knew so well from our flora hikes, and could get into the foothills really quickly if needed be. We never discussed this with anyone, it was just understood…