larrry boy goes prime time

I don't know if this is good news or not, but at least the show will be funny.

Go Larry, go!

H/T: Think Christian

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definitely not a perfect system, but

Admittedly, some aspects of this rent-a-priest idea give me the sceeves.

On the other hand,

Richard Hasselbach, who married after he was a priest for 13 years, defends the organization because many people are turned off by what he calls the inflexibility and rigidity of "the corporate Catholic Church."


He routinely marries people who are divorced, pregnant or gay and counsels people who were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests. He celebrates Mass in his home and performs marriages outside of church buildings. The Roman Catholic Church does not allow wedding ceremonies to be held outside.

Like I said, there are some things I don't like. However, take a look at the future of the church, my friends. As more and more faithful people (especially younger adults) become disaffected, this is where we are heading. This story focuses only on the Catholic Church but it doesn't need to.

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the latest imported wheels from new zealand comes with tv

All I have to say about this is:


Kim Yates, a mom who uses the TV carts says: "Mom shops alone now."

Even though she's with her kids.

The Harvard Psychologist says: "Do we really want to raise a generation of children who are either anxious or bored unless they're in front of a screen?"

Don't be so naive dear, the answer is yes.

And the Publix supermarket spokesdrone says it's not about ignoring children, it's about giving parents more choices. [apparently she hasn't talked to Mrs. Yates, above]

It's always about more choices, isn't it?

How friggin' stupid can we be?

chew on this piece of jerky

I'm writing this post from another computer so the tags will have to wait 'til later.

Anyway, Wasp Jerky posted a little something to make us think.

We need to be reminded of our tendency to ass-u-me too much, especially when it comes to this fear of terror we're being urged to live under.



A brief tidbit from NPR on memory.

Some keys to improving memory, according to a study of 33,000 people in Australia, are:

Do crossword puzzles (I don't)
Read fiction (I do, I do, I do!)
Avoid heavy drinking (Check)
Eat fish at least once a week (well, I used to)
Turn off the TV (I don't even turn it on)

The study says that those who watch TV less than one hour a day had the strongest memory.

Oops, just lost power here at the house. Yikes... better save this post. I may search online for the results of this study as soon as the power comes back.

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totally manipulative! i love it.

Here's an ad from Ikea. Beware the accent at the end because the punchline is just too good to miss.

Thanks to ineedcaffiene.

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soapy hollywood

What a great soap opera plot, or even better, the beginning of a Coen brothers script.

Craggy, ancient studio head gives one of world's biggest stars the boot without consulting the most powerful director in Hollywood who just happens to head an arm of Craggy's studio.

Sounds like something from The Player, but it's really happening.

And then, perhaps to increase the surreality of this situation, somebody asks Jerry Bruckheimer his opinion. Why, may I ask? He said it wasn't what he would dof. And if his political smarts match his movie making skills, then Craggy did the right thing.

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counting down

It's 13 days until my "Whoa! Where Am I?" trip begins. I've just spent the last hour or so corresponding with several bloggers in undisclosed locations whom I will be visiting.

This is gonna be good!

Now all I have to do is survive Labor Day week, which includes the heaviest single mail day of the year: the day after Labor Day. Of course I'll be working that day. Need you ask?

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speaking of stupid...

...how about this?

I guess you would have to call it "scoring." One of the songs will be called - ahem - Rise. The "director" says the "film" is aimed at the "couples market."

Righty-O, Felix.

stupid is as stupid does - or - sticks (of dynamite) on a plane part ii

Even his own father thinks it was a stupid thing to do.



because they don't have explosives in Texas

What possible purpose could you have for carrying a stick of dynamite(!!!) in your suitcase?

"I uh, work in, uh... Mining! Yeah, that's it. And I, uh, handle this kind of thing all the time. Seriously."

To the various blogfriends whom I will visit on my upcoming vacation, I will not be bringing any explosives, concealed or otherwise. So you can rest easy.

cuz all the cool kids have one

Thank ya, Denise. You've been rolled.

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brett gets a promotion

My friend Brett is taking over the blog for this post. I asked him yesterday to share the story of how he played with the late Maynard Ferguson. It's a great story and Brett tells it with a generous dose of his typical humility.

It's all you, Brett:

Today is indeed a very sad day for me and for a lot of Maynard fans. I am listening to his latest album and am really looking forward to his final album which will be released later this year.

When I was 16 Maynard came to play a concert at the high school in a neighboring city. He and his band always did a clinic with the school's jazz band. They didn't have one, but we did. We got the oppotrunity to play for Maynard.

I'll never forget the anger I felt toward our director when he had us play "South 21st Shuffle," a Maynard song that I played lead on.

As I was attempting to play Maynard's part and failing miserably, I heard the most powerful trumpet sound next to me. It was Maynard! I immediately stopped playing and breathing. Here was my hero next to me playing with my jazz band.

I'll never forget it. I'll never forget what a nice man he was.

It is indeed a very sad day. I'm going to listen to more of his music.

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just where we need to be

Inside the Mind of John Karr*

Now, really. Who in the hell wants to go there?

*New and improved! Now with depravityscale

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christmas is coming...

eventually. So, I thought I'd bring this to your attention.

Thanks to Romenesko's Starbucks Gossip for the tip.

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for my friends brett and jimmy

I like jazz, but not enough to listen to it regularly.

My friend Brett however, does listen to jazz and is a big Maynard Ferguson fan. No that's not even right. Brett is much more than a "fan." A trumpet player himself, Brett has actually jammed with Maynard. Pretty cool, huh? Perhaps he can be coaxed to reiterate the details in the comments to this post.

Sadly, Maynard Ferguson passed away Wednesday night. His manager, Steve Schankman, said:

He was the last of the greats. That era is closed. There is no Kenton, no Basie, no Ellington, and now, no Ferguson.

I read this news over at Sticky Doorknobs. As it turns out, blogger Jimmy Patterson appreciates Ferguson as well. Read his post here.

The man is gone. But Glory to God, the music remains.

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orson scott card's favorite movies

My buddy Will sent me a link to Orson Scott Card's all time favorite movies[ed. - oops! forgot to supply the link at first]. He sent it to me because of #5 on Card's list:

Kasdan set out to create The Western, with all the cliches firmly in place, and to do it, not as parody, but as paradigm. He succeeded. This cast of actors may be the best ever assembled for a single movie (with Linda Hunt at her bewitching best as the conscience of the story), with the result that instead of feeling like most ensemble films do -- that everybody played bit parts and nobody was the lead -- you leave this film feeling like everybody, even the Brian Dennehy "bad guy," was the star of the film. Kasdan is not the reliable moneymaker that studios might wish he were, but he aspires to greatness in every film and, as often as not, achieves it. Most important though is the fact that I love this film. If it's on, no matter at what point in the story, I can't keep from watching it right through to the end.

Will knew I would agree. But there are a bunch of my favorite films in Card's list: It's A Wonderful Life, L.A. Story (what a great movie), Groundhog Day, The Sixth Sense, Grand Canyon, Babe (I dare you not to like this one), and The Usual Suspects.

His review of Usual Suspects yields perhaps the best line in the entire post: "unlike the cheap surprise in The Crying Game, this "reveal" absolutely transformed the story and made it deeper and richer and scarier. Which is weird -- just when the film ends, you are more afraid?" So true.

And I'm tickled that he included Nobody's Fool, a terrific film that I would never have thought to include in a faves list. Just thinking about that movie makes me smile.

Alright then.

Here's a link to my ancient top 10 films post, in case you enjoy being bored.

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two good to resist

Before I retire for the night, a quick cuppla stories from NPR.

The Pope says don't work too hard. Amen, say I.

Maybe that item should be added to Northwest Airlines' list of 101 ways to save money after we've laid you off (#46? - "Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash").

I propose a new list:

Top 2 Ways to Let Employees Know You Really, Really Care

  1. Fire them.
  2. following successful performance of item #1, insult them.

a news story to cheer about

In a world full of bad news, we neeed something like this.

"...11-year-old Christian Nanson spotted something floating in the water. It turned out to be a young girl.

Nanson and John Fitzgerald, 9, both member of an Omaha Scout troop, reached the girl and brought her to shore..."

11 and 9. Awesome.

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back to work


After two glorious days of worklessness, it's back on route 7 tomorrow. Just me and the marriage mail. Ugh.

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My wife and I just got back from our evening walk. We live in a section of town that has a reputation as a well-to-do neighborhood. Indeed, there are quite a few large homes nearby. One of these homes has a monstrous lawn. It is obscene.

All summer this particular lawn has been a work in progress. In June there was the turning of the entire thing which made it a vast brown field. In July there was the seeding with that really nasty smelling sprayed-from-a-fire-hose seed which turned the field a shade of green that does not occur in nature. Then there was the constant sprinkling, and finally the mowing by a team of guys on lawn tractors.

Eventually I stopped looking at it as the sheer size of the thing makes me want to gag. Nobody ever uses it. There's never been a party featuring horseshoes or lawn darts or volleyball or badminton. In fact, I've not seen anyone save the lawn tractor operators so much as set a toe on The Lawn. It is nothing so much as a status symbol, an idol.

So because I will set my eyes on no vain thing, it fell to my wife to notice The Lawn tonight as we walked by.

I probably should have some sympathy for the guy. His financial, if not his physical, commitment to this lawn must be considerable. But instead, I felt... how can I describe it? Oh, I know: glee.

Every patch, every single blade of that beautiful unnatural grass is brown.

My apologies to any lawn nazis out there who are offended by this post. It was purely intentional.

"see the tuna fleets clearing the sea out"

Your Theme Song is Beautiful Day by U2

"Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away"

You see the beauty in life, especially in ordinary everyday moments.
And if you're feeling down, even that seems a little beautiful too.

H/T: Will who knows one thing

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it's still liver after all

Robert Siegel has trouble pronouncing Foie Gras. Listen to the story at the linked page about a pizza chain that is selling pizza topped with Foie Gras on the last day that the substance is legal in Chicago.

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see if you can guess what i am now

Here's a gallery of graphics templates of well known internet sites. Can you guess which is which (without looking at the URL)? I had a hard time with a lot of them, except for the Best Buy template... see what I mean?

It's interesting what draws the eye, and what kind of images become iconic.

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it's a deadly trend

Because Eric is such a trendsetting dude, and I am into slavish imitation...

Zombie Letters from e-zombie.com

Too bad there's no lower case.

You can Zombify your own word at e-zombie

mean people suck

This is just plain mean.

Gina now regrets putting her information online and warns other brides to be careful. She advises checking and double checking that everything will be there on your wedding day.

"I don't think anyone should have to go through this, especially five days before their wedding,” she said.

Not only did she put her information up there but she actually posted pictures of the cake she ordered and other details. I'm not sure how smart that is.

Be sure and protect your online information, people.

Tip of the cake topper to: Obscure Store.

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prepare to have your world rocked

Jack Shafer of Slate.com devoted approximately 790 words to a story about Time magazine's decision to change their publication day from Monday to Friday.

790 words.

I could only come up with two: who cares?

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what's a post?

I'm still here. In case you were wondering...

So, anybody know any good jokes?
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plans are for unmaking

Mornings (other than Saturdays, Sundays, or Mondays) go something like this.

6:00am or thereabouts: Wake up.
6:30am continue waking up, pray, maybe read some scripture.
7:00am continue waking up. Turn on TV. Yes, I actually watch the thing these days.. the Today show... well, I sort of semi-watch it as I read blogs and stuff. The reason is that I'm killing time until...
7:30am, when I check the cell phone to see if post office has called.
8:00am Post office has not called the house or the cell phone, okay to take a shower. (There is an understanding among rural subs that if the office has not called by 8, the day is yours).
8:30am Leave the house before post office can call.

Today I lingered. I thought I'd head back to the Panera in Reading for a cinnamon crunch bagel and some coffee and some extended blogging time. I moseyed out of the house at 9 am and was a quarter mile down the road when the cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number (this was because our new supervisor hadn't yet called my cell). I pulled into the home depot lot and answered the phone (big mistake... see, if it's the post office and you answer it, it's very bad form to say 'no'). And so...

9:10 am Begin casing mail on Route 6.

There are two things that bother/concern me about this whole episode:
  1. Why didn't someone call me sooner when they saw that no one was at the mail case for Route 6?
  2. The regular carrier for that route wasn't scheduled for leave today and didn't call in sick either. What's up with that, I wonder?

Tomorrow should be interesting. Either I will be subbing for the unexpectedly absent Route 6 guy, or I will be delivering Route 2, which I've not been trained on nor do I know where it is. It's complicated and I won't bore you with the details. It's gonna be a long day.

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whoa, where am i: a prelude

This week I learned that my request for vacation time was approved.

The journey begins on September 10th (hopefully the 9th, but we'll see). My* plan is to return home on or about the 23d.

In between I will be posting pictures of various places on my journey (which for the first half will consist of generally westward travel, with a general about face toward the east in the second half).

As opportunity affords, I will post pictures of interesting or perhaps not so interesting places and you can try to guess where I am.

Since I have no more than a vague idea of where I'm headed (the only partial "plans" I've made are for in-person visits to three bloggers on my roll... and you three better keep those lips sealed), the pictures will be almost as much a surprise to me as they are to you.

No prizes are involved, mostly because I'm blowing my wad of cash (such as it is) on the trip itself. But you will be able to keep track of my itinerary. And I suppose if you live generally west of me, you could offer to let me crash at your pad**. There's a prize right there (ahem).

*You'll notice that I'm speaking in the first person singular. It is true, I'm flying solo. At least one reader wondered if this indicated trouble at home. Nope, not at all. It is a function of two new jobs with incompatible vacation paramaters. In fact, my wife and kids are currently eight days into their own road trip, and when she returns in a couple of days, it will be without the girls who will be spending a few days with the grandparents. Yes, you needed to know all that.

**That was a joke, but now that I think of it, maybe it would be fun. Anyway, I don't really need to crash at your place, but if you want to suggest your locale as a possible stop on my trip, feel free to do so via email [jvjannotti at gmail dot com] and not through the comments button. I can't make any promises other than I will consider all requests (if any).

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my good deed for the (yester)day

Occaisonally I find it necessary to use the bathroom. And of course, during a brief visit to the one on our first floor yesterday, the doorbell rang. Well, they would have to wait a few seconds. When I got to the door the ringer was gone, but I did see a woman across the street taking flowers out of her hatchback.

"Strange." I said to myself. Thinking she may have been my mysterious visitor I walked out to see what was up. As I approached I saw the reason for her flower removal. She was trying to get at her spare. The left front tire was completely flat. Closer inspection revealed a large and all to familiar looking gash in the tire wall. I know a thing or two or four about flat tires, especially the variety that occurs when one thoughtlessly drives into a curb, which this was.

I asked, "Did you knock at my door?"

"No that was my aunt. We got a flat tire and wanted to use your phone but she went over to this house here," she said pointing at the house directly across from mine.

Now, our house sits on a pretty steep little hill; about a 30 degree slope. This woman was parked facing uphill. I said, "You're not going to change your tire on this hill, are you?"

"Uh. No, I guess not."

I offered to let her pull into my driveway, which she did. She was wearing a couple of ace bandages on her leg and when her aunt appeared she did not look like the kind of person who changes lots of tires. By now the car was in my driveway anyway, so...

A few minutes and five very tight lug nuts later, the spare firmly and finally affixed, the aunt tried to hand me $10. I refused and put my hands behind my back. Undaunted, she stuck the bill in my shirt pocket. "Do something nice for yourself," she said.

When they were gone, I felt kind of sad about receiving a reward for the help I gave freely...

... but that didn't stop me from taking myself out to breakfast this morning. It was good.

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my surreal life

Got this from W.

Who Should Paint You: Salvador Dali

You're a complex, intense creature who displays many layers.
There's no way a traditional portrait could ever capture you!


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no, i don't plan to stop talking about this

Cell phones ruin your brain (at least, when you're driving they do).

Just today I was almost sideswiped by a woman talking on a cell phone. She never even saw me. Good thing I saw her I guess.

Drive now, talk later.


My friend Will is a good preacher. He offered us a sermon on gratitude today. You can find it here.

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an open letter to panera

Dear Panera,

You're awesome! Allowing me to use your phone for free to make a local call during my vacation last summer, and making wifi access freely available to everybody even if they don't buy anything (though I always do, it's only fair). You performed a great service to humanity, created lots of satisfied customers, and became the largest provider of free wifi in the country.

But I have to ask: what's with the abundance of fake outlets and the dearth of real ones at some of your stores? I tried every outlet in your relatively new Reading, PA location. All fake, except for one on the floor between the comfy leather chairs. My laptop was fully powered, so it didn't matter for the first hour or so. But when my battery got below 50% I started getting antsy. Fortunately for me the two lovely young ladies sitting in the comfy chairs got up and left and I scrambled over there, garnering only a few confused (read 'inquisitional') stares from other patrons.

Do you not want me hanging out for a little while? Do you make your stores so inviting and comfortable only to ask "so, how long will you be staying?" with that hope-you-leave-soon look on your face? What gives?

I hope you'll consider putting a few more outlets here and there in your stores and if you do, I promise only to use one when and if my battery starts running low.

Yours truly,


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the end of the hold down

"Hold down" is a term used by rurual carriers when a sub is running a route during the regular carrier's extended absence. Tomorrow is the last day of my hold down of Route 7. It wound up lasting 3+ weeks. The regular carrier will be back on Monday.

That doesn't mean I'm done working. I will be back on my old route, #5, on Monday. And I found out today that the carrier on route 4 is taking Tuesday off. Since his sub is away on vacation, I'll get the call.

I'm pretty tired. I had my first day off in three weeks on Wednesday and all it did was make me realize how tired I actually am. But today was payday... need I say more?

Good night.

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i thought so!


Here's a kind of frightening article about how cats are taking over the world. Okay, not really but it is about a cat parasite that seems to be able to change the behavior of humans.

I must have it, since...

infected men tend to be less intelligent and probably a bit boring[ed. - than what?]. But both men and women who are infected are more prone to feeling guilty and insecure.

At least that's what my cat keeps telling me.

Read the whole article, that last line is a kicker.


delayed memification

Will tagged me, like, a generation ago but I'm just getting around to this meme:

1. One book that changed your life:
Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
The Bible. Any version but the Good News or the Message.

4. One book that made you laugh:
Shopgirl by Steve Martin made me blow hot coffee through my nose in a Fort Worth, TX coffeeshop.

5. One book that made you cry:
Plainsong by Kent Haruf

6. One book that you wish had been written:
What exactly does this question mean? Well here's a book I wish had been written: Messier Spirituality. Unfortunately, Mike Yaconelli died before he could write it, but I'll bet he had an outline done.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Future Grace by John Piper. My sincere apologies to all you Piper fans, but the guy just does not get it.

8. One book you’re currently reading:
The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende

I'm not tagging anyone, but I'll bet mis_nomer would have some interesting answers.
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remedial vocabulary

Here's a phrase that's become very hard for me to pronounce:

Day off

I have one tomorrow. It is the first day since July 16th that the mail will be delivered but not by me. I don't know what to do with myself.
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buy my music

< Shameless commercialism > at work here.

Here's a link to my former band's CD page at CDBaby.

You can listen to samples and even order a copy. I guess it's more like an EP than a full CD, only five songs. But we worked hard on 'em. That's me playing the guitar solo on "I Owe Romeo." You get to hear the full version(s) if you buy the disc.

A real bargain at $5.00!

< / Shameless commercialism >
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woah, where am i?

So here are a couple of details about my long blogging road trip idea.

First, the whole plan hinges on me getting the time off. It looks like I'm all set to begin this adventure on September 10th. Perhaps the ninth, depending on how work treats me.

The main thrust of it is I will drive somewhere, I don't know where and spend an afternoon, a day, an evening there. Eventually I will find a Panera or someplace with wireless internet access and post a couple of pictures and a brief description of the place. My three readers (up from last year's two!) can try to guess where I am.

Them's the basics. More later. For now, I'm still holding down route 7. I've finished two six day weeks and am into my third, although I'm taking Wednesday off this week so I can write my next downtown article. This time it's Limerick, home of this monstrosity.
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i just want to bang on the drum all day

I don't have to work tomorrow! Woohoo!

Instead, I'll be puttering in my kitchen tonight and all of tomorrow afternoon, cookin' up dinner for some important guests.

The menu...

Hunter's Chicken (aka Chicken Cacciatorre, but this is my version done competely en grille, it's a whole meal by itself)

Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce (the alcohol cooks out, silly!).

Homemade semolina bread (the essence of simplicity)

And, for dessert... Tiramisu.

All homemade, from scratch. I don't mess around.

On Monday I'll let you know if any of it was actually good.

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you never can tell with bees


finally a debate about something that actually matters

Why I Believe That the Thumb Is a Finger*
by Kristin Jannotti

Many people believe different things about what is called the thumb. Is it or is it not a finger?

Lots of people think that it is not, mainly because all of the other fingers are so titled: index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger, and the thumb is not called the thumb finger.

However, I read a post on the web about it that said:

"My understanding is that, scientifically speaking, the thumb is indisputably a finger, but conventional usage sometimes sets it apart, meaning in effect that it's not a finger."**

In other words, how we say the thumb’s name makes us think it is not a finger, but really, that has nothing to do with it.

Is your thumb attached to your hand? Yes. Do you use it to pick things up? Yes.

Now, at this point, some people might prove their point by lifting something without using their thumb. True, you can pick things up without it, but when you don’t think about it, your body automatically uses your thumb in the job. Besides, you can lift something without using your index, middle, ring, or pinky. It’s not just the thumb you can do it without.

Also, what about your feet? How many toes do you have? Five. And is anyone arguing about the biggest of them being a toe? No. And which finger does it replace? The thumb. On the right foot and hand, the big toe and thumb are each farthest left. On the left foot and hand, the big toe and thumb are each farthest right.

Think about it. If the thumb was not a finger, than why would everyone say they have five on each hand, and ten all together?

There was also another person who made their point of the thumb being a finger quite well. Check out this post:
Idiomatically it's spoken of as a finger (as well as being distinguished as a thumb). If someone says "I can count the number of times I've heard that on the fingers of one hand", he means "up to or including five", not "up to or including four".**

Even see how Merriam-Webster struggles to define the thumb in his or her dictionary: 1: the short thick digit of the human hand that is analogous in position to the big toe and differs from the other fingers in having only two phalanges…

Here is what Bob Cunningham has to say about this, and I agree:
The definition starts with calling the thumb a "digit". So far so good. But then in the same sentence there is "the other fingers", which implies that the thumb is, after all, a finger.**

I think I’ve proven my point here.

The thumb is, with no doubt, a finger.

*It's sad when I have so little time that I must get my daughter to write posts for me... and the blog improves as a result.

**all quotes are excerpted from the discussion linked above, at Vocaboly's alt.usage.english forum. How my 11 year old daughter found her way there is a question for the ages.


what's the big idea?

I love long road trips. And I think I may have hit upon a stellar idea that combines a long road trip and blogging, plus uncertainty (which has been the hallmark of the last 13 years of my life). What could be more perfect?

More info to come...

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august article

If you want an excuse to sit in the A/C and read a bit, and aren't too picky about the reading you do, check out my latest article for the 422 business advisor. This time, it's about Collegeville (home of Ursinus College) and next door neighbor Trappe.

As you were.

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