Apologize for What? A View of Andrew Breitbart From an Internet Acquaintance

Media personality Andrew Breitbart gives a spe...

Image via Wikipedia

On February 22, 2012, Andrew Breitbart‘s second to last radio show he guest-hosted for Dennis Miller, he talked about the quick passage of time.  He said if you ever want to slow time down, stare at the clock like you did in grade school.  Time goes by so quickly that we don’t even know what day it is.  He said, “If someone asked me the date, I’m usually about 3 or 4 days off.”  Staring at a school clock will slow everything down, he assured us.

Sadly, we lost Andrew shortly after midnight on March 1.  I first heard of Andrew way before the James O’Keefe/Hannah Giles sting on ACORN.  I met him on Facebook in the fall of 2008 when I first joined the Dennis Miller Zone (DMZ), the message board for the radio show. Andrew was a member of DMZ just like the rest of us.

I saw him online one day on Facebook and chatted with him.  All he talked about was how Dennis was his idol and he couldn’t believe that he’s guest-hosting his radio show.  Shortly after I posted that I’d be sure to call in one day. He was afraid he wouldn’t have a lot of callers,

On December 19, 2008, I called to ask him how he breaks up fights among his 4 young children.  I held on for an hour.  I didn’t mind it really, I just had to use the bathroom bad and I didn’t know exactly what time I’d go on air.  I was afraid I’d go on at the exact time the toilet flushed (which Erik Estrada later did in a phone interview with Dennis on-air!).

Then I heard the click and excitedly said, “This is Terri Jones, I’m one of your Facebook friends!”

To which he replied, “I know who you are!”

I asked my question but he said when it came to parenting ask his wife because he’s never changed a diaper. I would have responded with amazement that his wife was the only diaper changer but I didn’t want to expand on that topic with a full bladder.

He did, however, have a strategy for breaking up fights which was to sit his kids on the stairs until they resolved their differences. The show rewarded me with “Call of the Day” that day.  I like to think it was because out of pity for holding on for so long in more ways than one.

Though this was more than 3 years ago, it’s like it just happened.  When someone dies you don’t really measure time.  You just remember those moments like they are still happening and they never ended.

Tonight, I think I’ll get my analog clock and just stare at it for a while, like I did back in grade school.

dear today’s shopping mall, I unfriend you

Dear (insert every city’s major indoor/outdoor shopping mall),

As a teen, I fell in love with you.  I visited you with friends to buy the trendiest of clothes with my meager wages.  I got Orange Julius though I didn’t know what was so great about it.  I walked by girls (and boys) getting their ears pierced since it was the eighties. I snatched up every pair of parachute pants paying full price because getting spotted in K-mart was worse than leprosy.

Then in the nineties something smart happened.  You became the place  for The Intellectual.  Electronic stores invaded, major book stores opened for the now mature shopper who no longer needed hair scrunchies and leg warmers.

One could sample music through headphones while sitting around other people like a music bar. Game and puzzle stores laid out chess games for passers-by to play.

You bore toy stores stepped up from the usual Barbies and fake flipping barking dogs.  You sold science experiment kits and (gasp) art supplies.

If an artist or scientist suffered at an impasse, a trip to your glittery cages and “mall air” cured what ailed us with a salted soft pretzel, of course.  Like when we eat ice cream while suffering sore throats.

Then the recession of ‘Aught 8 rolled in.  Electronic devices blew up with books, music, movies and games that nobody had to touch except for touch pads.  Book stores dropped you and set themselves up outside your parameters with no weary shoppers to wander in.  Hot potatoes be damned.

Today, if we want to open a book we must do so whilst standing because big name book stores no longer offer comfy chairs to relax and browse. We must buy the magazine we want to look at along with a drink otherwise we can’t sit at the tables.

But face it, we get magazines solely to read in the bathtub because we can’t risk dropping our iPads in the water, unless you have a bowl of rice and a heat source handy to dry it out.

There’s hardly nothing left to touch before we buy.  The only place left in your vast expanse for The Intellectual is the overly sterile Apple store. There’s nothing colorful to feast on except the casings for their devices.

All that’s left now, Dear Shopping Mall, are stores with clothes, shoes, shoes, clothes, clothes, jewelry, and shoes.  And you know the sad part?  Nobody’s in those stores.  High-heeled Lady Gaga shoes sit on stands, shining their rhinestones and leopard and cheetah prints, lonely and soon to be forgotten in 2 months when they are shamefully out of date.

I shouldn’t complain, Shopping Mall.  I’m typing this on a software program that provides me with links, articles and pictures to accompany me which is pretty nifty.  I just wish something nifty was left over in your glass-windowed hallowed halls.

Sincerely,

The Average Intellectual Shopper

what good mathematicians do: a guide to problem solving

The following is a poster in my daughter’s math classroom.   Are these not solutions for everyday life? If you have a problem to solve in any aspect of your life, try what good mathematicians do:

image via flickr

1.  they look for patterns
If your kid is exhibiting less than attractive behavior, look for patterns.  Is it from lack of sleep? Are they hungry?  Too much sugar? In the middle of the night, do they open a window, lasso a tree and swing like Tarzan and yell “Get your damn dirty apes off me?” That might be it.

image via flickr

2.  they seek new ways to find solutions

Rather than tell your child they can’t bake a cake because they constantly ask for help while you’re trying to work and they never clean up after themselves, let them try it.  I let my girls bake a cake the other night.  After the fire department calmly explained to me that you turn on the oven, not the stove for baking, everything turned out A-OK.

image via flickr

3.  they create pictures, diagrams, and charts
What a great idea! Especially when you have to explain to your daughter’s teacher that she doesn’t really dream of killing zombies with poison plants and machetes although that’s all she draws in school.

image via flickr

4.  they estimate
Estimating is a good thing.  Like when you turn down buying coffee at Wal-Mart because it’s too expensive though you spend over 3 bucks a day at Starbucks every day.  Comparing the cost might come in handy.

image via flickr

5.  they ask questions
Such as, “Does Santa still have me on his good list?” after your kid’s last melt-down.  You think you sit on a gold mine at Christmas, letting the think they’re on the bad list if they dare talk back. But then you say stuff like, “Get me the TV remote or else Santa won’t visit you on Christmas Eve!” Santa will kick the crap out of me for that one.

image via flickr

6.  they create a plan to solve a problem
Especially when that plan involves chores for the kids to solve the boredom problem.  When your child says, “I want to do something fun. I’m bored. I have no friends to play with,” say, “The laundry’s lonely. Maybe you and the laundry have a slumber party with movies and popcorn. At midnight go wild and crazy and play Spin The Folded Towels. Whoever wins goes to the closet and sorts the linens.

image via flickr

7.  they explain their work
Very important when using their vocabulary words in sentences. They write, “My lip is sanguinary.”
You say “Shouldn’t you expand it a little, like WHY your lip is sanguinary?”
And they say, “It’s a sentence, C’MON!”

image via flickr

8.  they take time to do a good job
Of course! That is why kids take 3 hours to empty dishwashers. They simply take time to do a good job.

image via flickr

9.  they check their work
Listen up anyone who tweets. How do you know who’s talking to who with all those RTs and hashtags? #checkyourworkwhiletweetingdangit

image via flickr

10.  they use math to solve everyday problems
Math is wonderful especially for Californians. Like when most of your income goes to mortgage and property taxes.  When Jerry Brown takes over, he’ll take out more taxes.   But don’t worry because as Brown admitted, he has no plan for California.

8 good things about facebook

Facebook has completely redefined the term “friend.”  It’s like the Greeks’ definition of love.  There are 4 types: Agape (brotherly love), Eros (passionate love), Philia (friendship), and Storge (familial love).  In the Facebook world, there are also 4 types:

1.  Old friends from high school and college.

2.  Family and friends of the family.

3.  Internet friends you’ve never met in person but you truly admire.

4.  People you don’t remember but you accepted their request because you had like, 30 mutual friends.

I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life on the internet.  It started when I found people on Prodigy who, like me,  adored Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek).  At times the internet consumed me.  Other times it bored me.   Sometimes it made me laugh so hard that if I tried to explain it to anyone in the real world, it made no sense.  Other times, it left me face down in the bed crying.

But I don’t have ups and downs with Facebook.  If necessary, I can do without it but it has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. This is why:

1.  I learned about a high school friend named Kathleen diagnosed with breast cancer.  She updates her status with Vince Lombardi quotes like this one:

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.

2.  Another friend named Jody whose daughter lost her friend when a car struck her as she walked along a road.

3.  I followed my cousin Kim’s relationship status which blossomed into a happy wedding in Mississippi (she also provided me info about my uncle who was a World War 2 hero).

4.  Found lots of pics of me and my family at my nephew Neil’s wedding.

5.  Saw an album my brother Charlie created of our brother Bruce who passed over 2 years ago.  There were pictures imprinted in my brain and some I’d never seen before.

6.  Whenever I write an entry here, it appears under my status so I get a few more clicks.

7.  I see pics of children of my high school and college friends to see how much their young’ns look like them.

8.  My friend Becky, who I haven’t seen in 20 years, lives fairly close to me.  Now we go to the beach together with our five kids total.

So whatever your reason for Facebook time, good or bad (in my case good because I stopped watching television), look at what happened with social networking.  I bet the good outweighs the bad.

UPDATE:  One more good thing about Facebook.  I found out my very funny friend Eric met Hunter Thompson twice.  Here’s what he wrote:

First meet was through a motorcycle racer/cycle magazine buddy and it was, “Hi, this is Eric,” and we said “Hello.” Second meet was Aspen on a motorcycle trip. I pulled into the Shell gas station and he rode in on a Ducati. He was doing an article for Cycle World magazine. We briefly talked about the Ducati and I mentioned we met before. He looked at me like I was an idiot eating paste from the jar.