All posts by Dale Connelly

I am a writer and broadcaster living in the Twin Cities.

A Focus on Faces

Today’s post comes from Bubby Spamden, a perennial sophomore at Wendell Willkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

Now that it’s spring and all, people at Willkie have really started to talk seriously about what jobs they want to have when they’re all graduated from school.

This is the thing that our parents keep telling us we should think about all the time, but they must not remember being fifteen at all because there is so much more to worry about – really important stuff like “was Ashley looking at me this morning over the top of her book?” and “do I have something gross stuck to my face?”

Anyway, there are lots of people who want to be movie stars and rock stars and sports stars, like that’s really a thing you can be. And then there are the more practical ones, who say they want to be accountants and engineers and software coders.

But I saw something the other day that I thought would be a really cool job and I totally didn’t know anybody could do this – I want to be a face researcher so I can spend my time thinking about really important questions like why do we have chins?

I didn’t carefully read the article where I saw this because it was so long! (I want to spend my time looking at faces, not fighting my way through all those words, words, words!) But I think I get the basics.

Humans have chins because evolution is making our faces shrink!

Wow!  Yes! It turns out our chins are slower to change than the rest of our heads when it comes to right-sizing, evolution-style. That’s weird!

So I want to find a University somewhere that has a major in Body Part Studies.

I think that would be incredibly cool because that’s sort of what everybody does in college anyway, but I’d be getting credit for it! And we’ll need more trained body part experts, because everything is changing.

I figure evolution is going to keep doing its thing. So the human face of the future will probably have even less chin, and this will mean huge changes in everything, especially in professional sports like horse racing and the NFL where they have to use chin straps to keep their hats on.

Enter me, the Highly Esteemed Face Researcher!

As America’s top face scholar, I’ll have plenty of work to do, giving my opinion about faces of all kinds!  I’d love to do the American version of a contest they had in Britain a few years ago to find the Most Beautiful Face.  Florence Colgate, call me!

And if my focus on the face doesn’t pan out, I’ll just shift my research to another body part that’s getting more attention.

I hear booties are big, but not big enough!

Your pal,
Bubby

Even though I’m extremely reluctant to discourage the dreams of the young, I told Bubby I’m skeptical that he’ll be able to assemble the right credentials to ascend to the post of America’s Leading Face Researcher. After all, it’s hard to become recognized as an expert in anything when every other person already thinks they’re an expert in the same field.

Kind of like being a writer in Hollywood.

But at least he’s showing a hunger for knowledge, as long as it doesn’t require too much reading.

In what area would you like to gain some expertise?

The Carrot That Is Not A Carrot

Getting humans into space has been a long, complicated process. Not everyone is able or willing to go, and the costs are formidable.

We found this out after going back and forth from the moon a few times. Because getting off the planet is such a pain, there has to be a clear reason to go, and some irresistible kind of incentive.

In case you thought it was heroism, post-launch fame is no longer guaranteed. All sorts of different nobodies have been to the International Space Station.

A series of helmeted government employees have been sent but we paid them to do it. Years ago a succession of dogs and monkeys were launched with mixed results. I think it’s fair to say all the animals and some of the people were happier and better off on the surface of the Earth.

California in 1849 had a golden magnet. But what force will lure humankind to the stars?

Enter a group of young Swedes with a wonderful idea – let’s send donuts.

The Homer Simpson in me is already looking skyward, hungrily.

Which kind is the most attractive & delicious doughnut?

Tax Day Tripper

Today is tax day, the day when every disc jockey who has control over the playlist is required to spin “Taxman” by the Beatles.

And by “every disc jockey who has control over the playlist” I mean about a half dozen people, worldwide.

“Taxman” is a great song, of course. And it’s the only song about taxes that’s even remotely fun.  Admittedly, the competition is thin in this category because I can’t think of another song on the subject.

Among poets, love is so much more popular, topic-wise!

This is a rage-of-emotion problem.  Taxes and love can both give you the deep blue notes – frustration and longing, blending into misery and finally, despair.  It’s in the realm of exhilarating highs that love really has it all over taxes.

Probably the only thing taxation offers that comes anywhere close to the giddy delight of love is the sudden discovery of a great, rock-solid deduction.

That, and the refund, of course.

Although an accountant might tell you a tax refund is the same thing as forgiveness when it comes to love – a  welcome turn of events but something you would have been better off avoiding in the first place.

Clearly, though, the Beatles could have done more.  The world would have hardly missed it if a few of those love songs had been re-directed into tax deduction ballads.

Perhaps they didn’t look closely enough at the fine print.

Got a deduction. For taking my family out.
Got a deduction. It’s legal, there isn’t a doubt, though.
It was our vacation. I was working too!
That isn’t so wrong! For a scout. A real boy scout!

Business deductions. It’s all about the intent.
Business deductions. Airfare, beach bungalow rent.
It was a big meeting! Talked about the job.
I had to be there! That’s allowed. And I’m so proud!

Of course I claimed it – it’s a Jacuzzi!
Ask my doctor. He made me.
He wrote a prescription – a therapy tub.
An hour of soaking, then I scrub.

That’s what my deductions are.
Not entirely bizarre.
Stretching truth but not too far.
And it helps my asthma.

I’m also claiming an Olympic pool.
Ask my doctor. He’s no fool.
I need the workout. It’s good for my back.
So why don’t you cut me some slack?

That’s what my deductions are.
Not entirely bizarre.
Stretching truth but not too far.
Avoidance miasma!
(Please don’t audit me!)

You can deduct the cost of feeding Sparky.
It is allowed, though most are not aware.

Business.
That’s the pet deduction secret.
He’s an asset, not your pal. Whoa oh, oh

Setters.
Pomeranian or Spitz.
If it’s business then it fits.
That’s what dodgers do.
Ooooh!

Income.
Make sure Sparky has an income.
If he can be taught to sell, whoah oh, that’s

Better.
Put him on the staff today.
On his break time you can play.
Sparky and Old Blue.
Ooooh!

Ask my accountant to confirm it’s true.
His partner is a Shih Tzu!

What makes you sing?

Jockeying for Position

Today’s post comes from Minnesota’s 9th District Congressman, Rep. Loomis Beechly, representing all the water surface area in the state.

Greetings, Constituents!

Usually I am obsessed with currying your favor, but please do me this one thing for me.

Stop asking if I support Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

It’s too early to commit to any candidate. The reason for this is simple – as your Congressman my job is to find the one person who will be the best president for the 9th District, and then suck up to them without reservation.

But until candidates start to outline their positions on all the lake-related issues that face us, like algae, Asian carp, weedy buffers, jet skis mufflers, dock set-up rules, and a comprehensive global bait policy, there’s just no way for me to judge them.

Republicans have it easy. Partisanship makes some responses automatic, and they already know where they stand on the Ready-for-Hillary question.

For everyone else it’s still just a game at this point, with fun pastimes like trying to guess what slogan Clinton will use (“Nicer Than She Seems”, “Why Not This Time?”, “Probably The Last Chance To Do This”, etc.), and what strategies could possibly work as a way to build enthusiasm among those who are not already on board.

I do have a campaign song nomination, although I realize it will never fly because the payoff line is not only a negative proposition, it takes too long to unfold and it doesn’t have enough energy to accompany the obligatory pre-rally fireworks.

But it is clever, undeniably true, and it speaks to one key point that robs Hillary Clinton of political momentum.

Oh, well. Campaign songs usually aren’t good, or true. But at least we can hope.

I once suggested to my staff that we use Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as a campaign theme song because it is universally accepted as great music, but skeptics on my staff pointed out it would not only drain the rally support budget, it would make my remarks following the 2-hour performance seem unimportant and unnecessary.

Which would be an accurate assessment! But not very productive, campaign-wise.

Honestly,
Your Congressman,
Loomis Beechly

If you ran for office, what would you choose as your campaign song?

The Audacity of Heft

Today’s post comes from Wally of Wally’s Intimida, home of the Sherpa SUV. It’s a mighty big car!

Greetings, Road Hogs!

After reading yesterday’s comments on driving, I know most of you are not actually “road hogs”, but you each could  become one if only you had the right set of wheels.

Wally here to remind you that the Sherpa from Intimida is still the world’s widest, tallest, longest and heaviest passenger car .

And that’s saying something at a time when car designers are obsessed with “lightweighting” their products.  They take steel out of a vehicle’s frame and replace it with aluminum, carbon fiber, and carbon fiber reinforced composites (CFRC’s).

By doing this, it’s possible to improve gas mileage, drive-ability and customer acceptance.

But so what?  Some things are so basic to your identity that they should never be changed, and for the Sherpa one of those key things is heft!

No, we’re not embarrassed by weight.

That’s why Intimida engineers always opt for the heaviest, densest materials available. The frame is made out of steel-reinforced steel and skyscraper-construction-grade I-beams. Our paint is made from a paste created when crushed bedrock is combined with super-strong limpet teeth by melting both ingredients in blast furnaces as hot as the sun.

The reason is simple – a car as big as a mountain doesn’t need to get good gas mileage.   Because it’s such a massive object, the Sherpa  has stronger gravity than everything around it, so people and things just naturally come to it.

But when you do start it up and decide to go somewhere, the world will take notice!  That’s because a Sherpa is designed to be impressive, meaning it leaves a permanent scar on the landscape.

That’s why so many crumbling highways are closed shortly after an Intimida Sherpa passes through.

Yes, you did that.  But you pay taxes, so get your money’s worth!

So if a lightweight car is what you want, there are plenty of options out there.  But if you want to turn heads, collapse bridges and cause earthquakes wherever you go, there’s only one choice for you – the Sherpa from Intimida.

It’s a mighty big, profoundly heavy car!

Come see me today – my office is right in the middle of a Mountain Range of Cars!

Wally

About what are you unapologetic?  

 

 

Are You A Good Driver?

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty, a public official obsessed with everyday hazards and  minimizing risk.

At ease civilians!

Be at ease, but always be aware of your surroundings, because most things that are called “accidents” are anything but accidental!

I learned that saying back when I was studying for my BSIC (Bathtub Safety Inspection Certificate).

The bathroom is the single room in any house that is most prone to be the site of injury and distress, and as a licensed inspector I had to learn all the different ways there are to fall in a tub.

Most of them involve soap, and soap is not an autonomous actor in bathtub-injury scenarios.  By that I mean soap does not introduce itself into events – it is introduced by someone – usually a party to the action.

I learned that when questioning participants in any bathtub-injury-incident, the whereabouts and disposition of the soap is absolutely key to assigning liability.

Yes, liability.

We were trained to view this statement, “I slipped and fell in the tub, it was an accident,” as the beginning of an investigation, not the end.

That’s why I was alarmed to read several mainstream press accounts of yesterday’s publication in the journal “Nature” of studies examining an ancient collision in space that led to the formation of our moon.

It seems that a proto-planet named Theia collided with our still-forming Earth, and the debris from that impact, rather than just lying around in the intersection and the road ditches as it does in modern-day car crashes, congealed to shape the orb we know as The Moon.

The scientific studies computer-modeled many scenarios to figure out how two lumps of similarly  composed planet-stuff might run into one another.

But nowhere in any of the articles did I see any consideration of which proto-planet was to blame!  It is JUST ACCEPTED that they crashed.  End of story.  Don’t ask questions.

But I say NO!  Questions must be asked and blame must be assigned!

  • Were they headed in the same direction when one planet collided with the other from behind?
  • Was one planet trying to make a left turn and happened to  misjudge the speed of the oncoming sphere?
  • Was a planet trying to get across a busy orbit without looking both ways?

“Water under the bridge,” you might say.  Or “It happened hundreds of millions of years ago – who cares?”

But in taking that attitude, we automatically absolve the parties, shrug,  and accept that it can happen again.

That may be a comfortable place for you, but I, for one, am not ready to re-live (for the first time), the cataclysmic collision of sister planets.

Blame must be assigned!

Yours in safety,
B.S.O.R.

Are you a good driver?

Lost at Sea!

Today’s post comes from Captain Billy, skipper of the pirate ship Muskellunge.

Ahoy, Landlubbers!

Me and me boys is havin’ a great laugh today over th’ story of th’ novice sailor Louis Jordan, who was lost at sea fer more than two months before bein’ found last week somehow in better shape than when he went out.

Jordan says he captured rain water, stayed out of th’ sun an’ th’ wind as much as he could, an’ caught an’ ate raw fish after his food supplies was exhausted.

He was a bit of a heavy fella when he went out at about 290 pounds. Two months later he was closer to 200, lookin’ fit an’ pleased, which is no surprise. His haters says he’s a lyin’ scoundrel what is just tryin’ t’ get famous an sell books ’bout his ordeal.  Or t’ promote a diet plan what involves bein’ marooned on a vessel fer 9 weeks! Drop 10 pounds per week, guaranteed!

Me an’ be boys don’t doubt a word of it on account of our previous experience with a sailor we knew as Sensitive Stu. He was exactly like Mr. Jordan, a seafarer what stayed in his bunk th’ entire time he was with us. Th’ only time he ventured above decks was in th’ moonlight on nights when there warn’t too much wind.

Stu said his skin was “too tender” t’ be exposed t’ th’ harsh environment, an he marveled that th’ rest of us was above decks workin’ most o’ th’ time.

Naturally we was also amazed, so we put Sensitive Stu overboard in a dinghy at th’ very first opportunity an’ set him adrift with just a tarp, a bucket an’ a fish hook, confident that he would perish.

Six weeks later our paths crossed again an’ we found him as chipper as ever, havin’ stayed under the tarp by day, an’ caught rainwater in th’ bucket an’ fish wi’ th’ hook at night. An his skin looked marvelous, which as a pirate is a word I finds difficult t’ say.

But there was no other way t’ describe it.

Th’ episode caused a bit of trouble on board th’ Muskellunge, as several of me boys immediately took t’ their bunks hopin’ t’ become as relaxed an’ healthy lookin’ as Stu. But it was short lived when they realized it also meant there would be no more grog in their rations.

But our hats is off t’ Louis Jordan. An then our hats is quickly back on again, in order t’ protect our scalps from th’ sun.

Yer commander,
Capt. Billy

What do you do to protect your skin from the elements?