I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Monday, June 28, 2010

#91 Calendars

Continuing with the 100 life-enriching little nuances series…

As much as I love technology, I don’t think there will ever be a time in which I don’t have a paper calendar hanging on my wall.

They aren’t all they necessary any more – given how easy it is to pull up a calendar on a smart phone, but there’s nothing like looking up at a calendar that has a full page photo of the season you are currently experiencing.

Nostalgic calendars are my favorite. A few years ago, I had a nostalgic calendar in my office that had photos of the American Flag being flowing in various places – from the sides of barns, to little country villas, to parades. Every month as I flipped the page, I wanted to crawl inside the picture and visit the person who was flying the flag to listen to his or her story.

In typical guy fashion, I’ve had tons of sports calendars over the years. Last year, somebody gave me a huge NASCAR calendar. It contained the birthdates of various drivers and some great photos. Although, it’s not quite as enjoyable when you flip it to a photo of a driver you aren’t crazy about.

A couple of years ago, I picked up a nostalgic car calendar from the shop that changes my oil. It contained drawings of old cars in their natural surroundings. One month had a drawing of an old pickup truck parked by a barn with a hound dog sitting on the hood.

This year, I picked up a Psalms calendar. For June, it quotes Psalm 17:7, “Show the wonder of your great love …” and it shows a waterfall. To me, it’s a symbol of the way God pours out his grace on us. It’s so vast, and quick, we miss most of it. But when we stop to ponder it, we get a glimpse of it’s enormity.

How about you? What has been the theme of your favorite calendar over the years and why?

Friday, June 25, 2010

There ain’t no bugs on me

Have you ever seen this television commercial?

My mom loves this commercial, so sometimes when I’m visiting with her I’ll start to sing it: “There ain’t no bugs on me, there ain’t no bugs on me, there may be bugs on some of you mugs …”

“ … but there ain’t no bugs on me,” she finishes with her head swaying back and forth and a smile spreading across her face. She’s a sucker for animals, so that adds to her enjoyment of the song, but my enjoyment comes from seeing her enjoyment.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Devil’s Spit

Last Friday, I began covering the College World Series for Examiner.com (here’s a link to the articles I’ve written so far). Even though the press is there for 12 hours or more on some days, only one meal is provided.

So, at lunch I’ve ventured out into the crowds on the main concourse at Rosenblatt Stadium to find something good to eat.

Twice, I’ve met friends by the Famous Dave’s BBQ tent. Both times I got the pork sandwich and both times I added a couple of squirts of “Devil’s Spit” sauce. The name of the sauce sort of grosses me out, but the first day I ate there, that was the only sauce they had, so I gave it a try. Looking back, I’m pretty sure now that it was not labeled properly. It wasn’t hot. In fact, it sort of had a sweet taste to it.


The next day when I visited the Famous Dave’s BBQ tent I squirted a couple of more rounds of Devil’s Spit on my sandwich and I joined my friends. As we were talking, my throat started to constrict and I started choking. Not because there was food caught in my throat but because Devil’s Spit is hot! Pop didn’t help. Coughing didn’t help. I was just left in my misery to wait it out as my friends watched, half-amused, half-concerned. But I survived. 

I’ll be back at the ballpark today and I might be there all the way through the last game next week – depending on whether or not one of the other guys for the website I work for is going to fly in and do some of the coverage. But I’ll guarantee you one thing – no matter how many more lunches I eat on the main concourse, and no matter how many more times I stop by the Famous Dave’s BBQ tent, I will not be going near the Devil’s Spit again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who writes these signs?

Saw this picture on the Oddly Specific website recently. The conjunction “or” cracks me up. I suspect most people would do both, rather than one or the other.

Funny Signs - I Need Somebody

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wax lips

Wax Lips “What do you think it tastes like?” my dentist asked me yesterday as she formed a temporary crown out of some sort of waxy material.

“I’m going to sound old, but it tastes like those wax lips we used to have as a kid. Do you remember those?”

“I’ve never heard of them.”

“Yeah, I’m old.”

It’s funny how a distinct taste can bring back a specific memory that was buried so deep it probably should have been gone by now.

I came home and googled “wax lips” and found that quite a few places still sell them. Although, the lips in the picture above (from Amazon.com) doesn’t quite resemble what I remember them looking like. Didn’t they used to have a white border?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Original Karate Kid

Over the weekend, I read a “Where Are They Now” article about the original cast from The Karate Kid (from 1984). From what I hear, the remake of the movie is pretty good, but it isn’t for me.

I’m not anti-remakes. I’m just anti-remakes of movies I’ve seen that meant something to me.

The Karate Kid is part of my teenage experience as I grew up in the 80s. To make it part of my experience as a 40+ year-old doesn’t make any sense to me.

Seeing a remake of a movie like The Karate Kid would probably be about as big a shock to the system as seeing current pictures of some of the actors from the original. The photo above is of Elizabeth Shue – taken in 2007.

The thing is, the picture doesn’t represent the Ali Mills character from the original movie because Ali never grew up. Movie characters are frozen in time and so are my memories of those characters.

The new version of the movie will become part of the culture of the generation after me. I’m fine with that. I’ve enjoyed many remakes over the years, including the most recent versions of Pride and Prejudice, Ransom and The Stepford Wives.

People who are older than me probably cringed at these remakes for the same reason I cringed when I heard The Karate Kid was going to be remade. Why mess with the original when it is easily available on DVD?

In the end, it comes down to this – a good story is a good story and good stories are repeated and adapted in every generation.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Vacation Time

IMG00401I’m taking the week off to vacation in Arkansas. My dad’s side of the family is from Arkansas and my mom’s side has roots in the state as well. 

My grandparents used to bring my sister and I to Arkansas when we were kids and we always had a blast. Since we were city kids, we couldn’t wait to get to visit our relatives so we could ride a three-wheeler or go exploring outside.

This trip feels a little different since so many of those relatives are gone now. But in about an hour, my mom, my aunt and I are headed to a little town where many of those relatives are buried. We’ll also hook up with another relative I haven’t seen in probably 15 years.

So, I’m looking forward to an afternoon of reminiscing, photos and catching up. I’m also hoping to just take it all in.

Oh, that picture you see up above – I snapped it with my Blackberry just a couple of blocks away from a relative’s house. I love the fish mail box/paper box motif. Reminds me of when I was young and my grandfather used to take my fishing in Arkansas.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The freedom to experiment

The way people process the minutia of life fascinates me.

I’m just about finished reading J.R. Moehringer’s memoir The Tender Bar. At this point in the book, he’s a copyboy for the NY Times with the hopes of becoming a full-time reporter for the publication.

Young baseball catcher signaling to pitcher
He is just about to give up hope on his dream when he plays catch with his cousin, McGraw, who is a pitcher on the verge of being selected in the major league draft. What Moehringer learns while playing catch changes him.

“He was a dedicated craftsman, and the rewards he’d gained from hard work went far beyond mastering a slider and a change. He’d mastered himself. He didn’t work hard merely because he was talented, but because he knew that hard work was the right path for a man, the only path. He wasn’t paralyzed, as I was, by the fear of making a mistake. When he bounced a pitch in front of me, or threw it over my head, he didn’t care. He was experimenting, exploring, finding himself, and finding his way by trial and error to a kind of truth. No matter how foolish he looked on a pitch, no matter how badly he missed the target, with the next pitch he was focused, confident, relaxed. He never once that afternoon lost the look on his face that he’d worn when we were boys. He was working hard, but he’d never stopped playing.

“Our catch, nothing more than a tune-up for McGraw, was a turning point for me. In one hour he taught me more than all the editors at the Times had taught me in the last twenty months. When McGraw returned to Nebraska I returned to the newsroom and became the best copyboy I could be.”

Imagine how much more fun life would be if all of us had McGraw’s attitude. Why fear what people think when so many of those people never take risks or have forgotten about the risks they took?


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