28 April 2007

More M.Y.S.K.A.: Corinne Bailey Rae

More Music You Should Know About (M.Y.S.K.A.): What Norah Jones did for the piano, Corinne Bailey Rae does for the acoustic guitar.

Singing softly, quietly; a song as a conversation. Corinne Bailey Rae does this effortlessly, and with perfection. If you haven't heard of her yet, avail yerself here.

And her groove doesn't suck either:

27 April 2007

How would Mark Twain blog?

You simply must check out today's Dilbert.

Blogging. Mark Twain. Ironic smacking that obtuse slackers can't detect.

Between his blag and his comic strip, Scott Adams tickles my lexuchun and verboseness to no end.

23 April 2007

Walk Humbly Son

Eddie From Ohio's song Walk Humbly Son from their This Is Me CD scores a short memorial video tribute on the Virginia Tech web site.

Julie is an '88 Hokie grad, while Eddie, Mike & Robbie are Duke Dog grads from JMU.

22 April 2007

Signs You're An Adult

Scott Adams did a recent post on his Dilbert blag about permanent age. While still pondering mine, it's somewhere south of the currently accumulated years.

I wear cartoon jammies. I seek out new music and don't discount it as shite. I'm friends with urchins of friends and seldom find myself saying "when I was your age" to 'em.


There are milestones I continue to hit that serve as signs I'm an adult. A few weeks back was one: watching the odometer turn over 100,000 miles.

Bought used @ 17,000 miles in the fall of 1997. Have worked from home since, enjoying the insurance discount for the 0 to 3 mile commute. The paint job has seen its better day, but it's paid for and gets me around. The iPod tape deck adapter gave it a new leash on life.

Recent months had me purchase pondering for the next chariot, but I hit two problems. First, that I'm newly particular about the shape of vehicles. I can't find one that doesn't irk me - within or without my price range. And then I met the startling realization that I'm pragmatic.

It ain't broke. Do I really need a new car? Sheena posed harder questions during Cheek Weekend about conspicous resource consumption, and got me thinking.

I'd like to have heated leather seats for long road trips, but I could rent a car for those and save cashola (and have a lesser impact on the earth). I'd like ... well, really, that's all I want that I don't have right now. Then Sheena went and got all unchummy for Hummers.

Happy Earth Day!

19 April 2007

Slow Down

Robbie Shaefer (of Eddie From Ohio) posted some powerful stuff on his MySpace blog this week:

"Slow down.
Pain begets pain.
Violence begets violence.
Love begets love."

Read Robbie's full post here.

Update: props to CountryMouse for drawing my attention to Mary's post and the fantastic excerpt of a speech by Robert F. Kennedy on April 5, 1968; that would the be day after Martin Luther King Jr.'s senseless and violent death. RFK's words resonate just as strongly now as they did then. Walking In Your Footsteps by The Police keeps tripping through my head. Lessons unlearned.

James, by Mark Tonra

Aries Horroscope

Sorry, Aries peeps. You know how seriously I take horrorscopes. This being your last day n' stuff, I'd be remiss if I didn't share this most righteous and insightful of admonitions for you.

Get Fuzzy, by Darby Conley

Aw. Sniff. Makes me really miss visiting CarolinaMom and taking P.J. for a walk to check his pee mail, say hi to the cows, and get sideswiped by Sue Bird the cat. All your girls still love you, Peter Joseph McSpaniel.

18 April 2007


James, by Mark Tonra

A debate is afoot over on Whitenoise's blag.

Brings to mind a few quotes:

"Liberty is the possibility of doubting, the possibility of making a mistake, the possibility of searching and experimenting, the possibility of saying No to any authority - literary, artistic, philosophic, religious, social, and even political."
- Ignazio Silone, author (1900-1978)

"It is not what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable."
- Moliere, actor and playwright (1622-1673)

"To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another."
– Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved

"A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila."
- Pundit Mitch Radcliffe

And ...

"Much of the vitality in a friendship lies in the honoring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities."
– James L. Frederick in Journal of Ecumenical Studies

James, by Mark Tonra

All of the quotes above found their way to me via A.Word.A.Day - another reason to subscribe.

"That’s all hearsay." "Yeah. And here I am sayin’ it!"
- Rob Wilco to Bucky, Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley, 04-Oct-2006

17 April 2007

Today We Are All Hokies

From Ben Lansing.

We're all with you, Hokies.

- A former JMU Duke Dog, born of an ODU / W&M alum, grandchild of a Hampton University professor.

16 April 2007

Free Thinking

Because I have used corporate computers.

Because I work in the technology industry.
Because I know too clever geeks who can leap tall firewalls in a single line of CheatWare.

"Oh! Nice work, pixel Granny! Undermine those corporate oppressors on wit your bad self!"

Because I volunteer at the Georgia Aquarium.
Because I have an imagination that's not fond of firewalls.
Because I'm a free thinker.
Because I know the difference between logging off and logging out.
Because having Admin privileges doesn't suck.
Because I blog.

These are the reasons why I so totally loved this StrongBad e-mail, from work. Be sure to watch it. From work.

These Words Could Corrupt You

Not much posting of late. I don't mean to be hiding away and in a testaceous state. Not much time either for titivating chez Cheek these days, but am working on paying proper, passionate attention to the recent addition in my bedroom. I did manage to attend one musical performance last week, which included traversing the vomitorium to take in the great a cappella choral sounds of Emory University singers. As the cockshut arrives, my ears can't avoid the turdiform calls reminding me:

Spring is here ...
Spring is here ...
Spring is here.

Yes, I've been a blag slack*ss. But today's post is inspired by last week's themed words from A Word A Day:

Recently a national-award-winning children's book made news. Any book that wins a prominent award should make news but this one did it for the wrong reasons. A controversy arose because the book included the word scrotum [From Latin scrautum (quiver)].

Some self-professed protectors of human sensibilities felt that the book ought not to be in libraries -- they felt the book was inappropriate for children. Imagine if kids learned a straightforward word to describe a part of human body! Who knows, they might be scarred for life.

Well, this week's words are an antidote for such thinking. These are words that may sound risque but aren't. And if you find you haven't received the newsletter a few days this week, it's probably your email filter working hard to protect you from getting corrupted by these words.

10 April 2007

Fat American Keesters?

Reading Erin's blag this morning, solidarity is called for. She links to Brit Brian Appleyard's posts on American fatness.

I don't discount that this country has a problem with obesity. I'll even agree that many of us 'mericans are rather myopic, rich in denial, and culturally obtuse about other ways, means, and customs.

But stand back, Mr. Appleyard! I'm gonna have to kick what I assume can only be your FAT British arse for dissing peeps. PEEPS! You're gonna go there?!

"Six hundred million are eaten around Easter, two for every American. They look disgusting, though Peep brulee has possibilities. This does not surprise me. Americans do most things better than we do - notably writing, TV comedy and optimism - but good confectionery has so far eluded them. Is there, for example, a more disgusting comestible than a Hershey bar? I think not."

/Ahem. Rolling up of sleeves. Bile raised. Rant mode ON!

1. It's mostly our sugar-addled children that are consuming 99% of the peeps, quaffing sugar-rich soda as they cull the confectionous loot in their Easter baskets. Children worldwide are famous for consuming foods of questionable and no taste. Peeps taste remarkably similar to cotton candy - I should know, I'm eating one RIGHT NOW. A traditional yellow peep, gifted by a new friend in Florida. It's rude not to eat candy given to you. And kids eat them as gifts from the Easter Bunny. So, Sir Arse, you are dissing not only 'mericans, but the Easter Bunny too. That makes you mean. Mean people suck, per Happy Bunny. Happy Bunny is on my kick ball team and we're BOTH gonna kick your British fanny!

2. Have you ever eaten a peep, Sir Arse? Methinks not. So you can simply shut the h*ll up.

3. 'mericans do even mo' things mo' bettah, but those 3 are good 'uns. Spanks for the shout outs. In trade, y'all are better at spelling / punctuation / grammar (that's "ritin", one of the three R's we Yanks learn in skool - not to be confused with "writing", which we do indeed excel at), geography, and beer. Although the beers in particular I'm referencing are Guinness (Irish) and Strongbow Apple Cider (not a beer). I like y'all's humor, too, but it's a par thing, not a superlative. I offer this on topic xkcd web comic as an example:

4. 'mericans DON'T do good confectionery? At all? Speaking in absolutes is such a sh*t stirring activity, Sir Arse. While taste is in the tongue, mouth, and nose of the taster and I won't dither with you over Hershey bars in particular, you again suck. 'mericans have some yummilicous chocolates, even some made by the Hershey company. Special Dark with Almonds is a fave. Have you never heard of Ghiradelli? And my Canuck peeps should join me in shouting out about See's Candy, as it was founded by a Canadian who became an American. Cheek peeps, add yer favorite 'merican candy guilty pleasures via comments.

/rant mode OFF

There's more in me, but I'm all exhausted. My sugar high from eating the peep has waned, and my sugar coma is now waxing thick.

But, my 'merican bum isn't quite as fat as it used to be. I offer the Easter Keester photo below, taken Sunday with my Easter urchin peeps after many of them had eaten Easter peeps of many colors. Not an obese booty in sight. I join Erin in asking Sir Arse to display his keester for all the world to see. (Nice pic, Erin! Good gams, too!)

09 April 2007

Easter Peeps

SmashAsh gracefully hosted Easter supper and put out a righteous southern spread ... baked ham, fried okra, squash and tomato casserole (a Cheek fave!), creamed corn, baked sweet potatoes, and scalloped taters brought by JackolAsh. Young KK slaved 'til the wee hours over a layerlicious yellow cake with yummy fudge icing - effort much appreciated. The kids' Easter baskets were filled with peeps of many colors - SmashAsh was particularly pleased to have found purple ones this year.

Her urchins struck poses for this year's Easter photos - such 'tudes! You'd never know they were all goosebumply - real troopers for the family photo cause.

SmashAsh's brood are quite photogenic. Their spring famdamily photos were snapped last Easter in the back yard chez Swede - and dang, these urchins are cute.

Easter weekend was quite chilly in Atlanta - the last gasp of winter found many with their grump on, but it was a serendipitous thang chez Cheek. It afforded wonderful fires Friday night for dinner with Kimplicated, and again last night for just me and the not so wee chats.

Thought I'd retired the hot cocoa for the season as well, but the free trade stuff from Trader Joe's came back out of the cupboard - how fortunate that a bit o' Redi Whip was still in the fridge! Ah, quaffing cocoa by the fire, catching up with peeps southern and Canuckian, chillin' with the kitties. A fine Easter Sunday's night.

Fare thee well, Johnny Hart

Tip o' the hat: Johhny Hart passed away on Saturday. He brought us B.C. Rock and created Wizard of Id. Great stuff.

06 April 2007

M.Y.S.K.A.: Lonely? Bat It Down!

There are songs, and then there are tunes. You know the ones. That you hear for the first time, and then have to listen to them again. And again. The lyrics are poetically compelling. The music grabs you, knocks you down, makes you happy, makes you sad, makes you THINK.

And then you can't get it out of your pointy head.

This is one of those: Mike Doughty's Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well. It's been in my pointy head since last summer from his Haughty Melodic release of unsuck listen list fame. The song's message is powerfully poignant but not realizable when first heard - maybe that's why it stuck. Work still to be done.

Here's to fewer "uncool ways of decathecting".

And the only way to beat it is to bat it down
And the only way to beat it is to bat it down
And the only way to beat it is to bat it down, down

Upon further thought ... perhaps it's because it takes me back to The Police and So Lonely. You?

Kernan and "Rightness"

Grammar Girl has received props from a previous post, but Cheek knows how many of you are slack*ssbast*rds and likely haven't gone to check it out on the site or on iTunes.

Well. Shame on you.

One of Kernan's rules is that, as an English major college graduate, I'm allowed to spell and grammarize however I wish. I'm certified. But I also agree with April Fool's "Grammar Girl" that winners get to make their own grammar rules, as well. That seems only fair. I'm wincing in anticipation on that statement, as certain peeps will gleefully Cheek-bash with this authority.

Text below for the April Fool's Grammar Girl, but trust me, you want to listen to all of its 4 minute glory here. You *must* hear the caller, Stewart, and how he says:

"I thank you mighty kindly for, uh, puttin' up with me. I feel like ever since I started listenin' to yer show, that it's really improved my entire lexuhcun, and it's made me more verboseness in just my whole way of presentin' myself, and I really do thank you kindly."

CountryMouse, I'm sure that's just making yer *sshole quivah with the peevies!


I hope you enjoy this April Fools' Day show. It was created by Will Ross, host of The Traveling Avatar's Quick and Dirty Tips for a Better Second Life.

[Will's voice] Grammar Girl here, today we’re going to talk about the semicolon—the Roger Clinton of the punctuation world. Considered more useful than the regular colon by most grammar scholars because of its ability to form a winking smiley face, which is far cuter then the traditional smiley face emoticon, the semicolon can also...

[ring]Oh! Looks like we have a call!

[Call from Stewart, who comments on Grammar Girl's “hotness” and asks about bingoing, bingoed, and the plural of bingo.]
From Cheek ... seriously, listen to at least this part!

Hi, Stewart, and first off I’m sorry to hear about your battle with the mysterious assassin known only as “The Ninja.” As for your comments on my smoking hotness, remember, Grammar Girl affected you with her hotness. But the effect of her hotness, was you buying her a diamond tennis bracelet.

I’m glad to hear about your newfound grammatical skills, and I’ll be glad to answer your question. The short answer to your question is that if you win a game of bingo, you can say whatever you’d like. You’re a winner, and you get to make the rules. This is called the “Winners Write the Grammar Rule” which was created by Sir Ethan Fancybloomers, Lord of Wellingsly after his was the only ship of the line to fight the battle of Trafalgar from the shore after being run aground due to confusion about when the celebration rum was to be given to the sailors. Despite being put on the “honor system” to consume their rum only after Napoleon’s fleet was decimated, the entire crew of 415 jumped the gun leading to one of the most darkest moments in Royal Navy History. But I digress.

I use a simple device to remember the “winner’s rule.” Whenever you’re confused, just think “I before thee, after any victory.” It’s this rule that makes any X-Box live victory trash talking grammatically correct, regardless of how it’s phrased.

Now back to the subject of ninjas. When describing a group of ninjas you…

Grammar Girl: Will, what are you doing in my office?

Will: Ohhh, this is your office? See, I get confused because our offices look so similar.

Grammar Girl: Here’s a good way to tell them apart. My office is in Arizona.

Will: Cool, I’ll just finish this one thing…

Grammar Girl: Out!

Will: Grammar girl signing out!

04 April 2007

Death, Canada and Taxes: No Such Things In Real Life?

Comics in this post are from Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley

Yes, contrary to Bucky’s protestations, they both exist.

Forces are at work, bringing Canadians to constant recall. Scott Adam’s post today in the Dilbert Blog, for example, on imagining how reduced U.S. military resources could possibly make U.S. citizens less safe (they don’t). He imagines the totally plausible scenario where "Beer-soaked Canadians start throwing snowballs over the border and won’t listen to reason.".

Like that doesn’t happen all the time? And we never do anything about it. Beer soaked U.S. border citizens are just as drunk, just as deep in their snowball arsenal, and end the day inviting the Canucks by the fire if they’ll just share their better cheap beer.

American dreams, Canadian dreams, human dreams; they aren’t that different, really.

Recent conversation included reference to the SouthPark movie and the "Blame Canada" fake diatribe. I’ve a sticker saying such hiding in a box somewhere that used to have proud purchase on my desk, but since leaving Canadian employ there are fewer reasons to spy it and sigh in agreement. BioAsh’s recent "Enough Already" post certainly blames Canada a’plenty – sick stuff, man. Guess Greenpeace should update their Blame Canada vid accordingly until that policy changes as well:

And oh! my! gawd! The guffaws yielded from sharing this particularly swell xkcd offering with Mr. Pid yesterday produced much needed chortles. I lurve this web comic - it's so damn vivid!

Rumour has it my favourite Canadian will be in the Southeast in the coming weeks (no, those aren't misspellings of "rumor" and "favorite" – those are wacky Canuckian spellings). Sheena may have to be kidnapped for Atlanta revel rousing – her seasoned experience in things music and foodgasmic eats always packs cherry popping promise. And perhaps some cash exchange on the side?

Bursting Bubbles (and Forgiveness)

Ms. Bertoci. An early crush. The assistant teacher in my kindergarten class at Paul Burbank Elementary. Long, dark hair, pretty brown eyes, red lipsticked mouth, and smart, big-girl clothes. Everyone loved Ms. Bertoci.

She made sure we had our things as we lined up midday to depart on the bus, checking each one of us on our way out the door and giving us a hug goodbye. My dad tried to sneak into that line more than once.

One March morning, she herded us all to the back of the classroom to look out the window: snow falling on the first day of spring, 1974 in Hampton, Virginia. She coerced the lead teacher into letting us outside to celebrate and catch snowflakes on our tongues.

Fast forward to second grade. Our teacher, Mrs. Lawder, kept nodding off in class. We thought it was because she was old. The principal began class one day by announcing that Mrs. Lawder had a brain tumor and would be out the rest of the year, and would we please welcome our substitute teacher: Ms. Bertoci.

Certainly someone else remembered her with the same affection as I did, but it was like she was a shiny gift wrapped for me. Things at home were chaotic – beyond chaotic – and I welcomed her familiar face like warm sunshine after a long winter. I was her teacher’s pet.

She let me stay on after class to help grade papers, sharing a coke with me even though it was against the rules. We’d talk about books. About swimming. About math. About the violin. About anything. She was part best friend, part older sister, part mother. I adored her. I was the only one in the class that she treated as "hers".

And then the bubble burst. One day as I sat grading papers and drinking the shared verboten coke, she smoked a cigarette, standing in the back of the classroom with the door ajar for the smoke to escape undetected. As her pet, her confidant, I was sure not to tell. But my heart was broken, my crush crushed.

When I was little, I thought my parents and adults were all-knowing, and always righter than me. Ms. Bertoci was my first glimpse that people I admired and looked up to were not, in fact, perfect. People are people. We seem shiny and new and perfect at first, but we eventually become known.

We are walking mistake generators, “crashing around trying to make the best of an unpredictable universe” (Charlie Brooker). We are moist robots (Scott Adams). We are fallable. We let people down. We break. We crush.

I saw her again in fourth grade. Her best friend was the daughter of my fourth grade teacher, and they’d come by the classroom on occasion. She'd greet me with fondness, but I'd shy away, reeling on the cusp of puberty and self-absorbtion. She'd seem to look at me wistfully as I'd leave.

I didn't see her with the same joy as before, with the same acceptance. Tolerance had been part of my DNA at birth, but was awkwardly absent for her. I don't think she ever knew how she fell out of favor. I have to wonder why she took the time to reach out to me, and if she might have needed me as much as I needed her during those months in the second grade.

Ms. Bertoci may have been my first crushed, but she’s still the one who pointed out the wonder of snowfall on that first day of kindergarten spring. I’ll always smile remembering that. Now, as a fellow adult member in the walking mistake generator club, I can cut her some slack.