Mighty Life List
May 31 2011

Before She Met Me by Julian Barnes

The best parts of Before She Met Me by Julian Barnes:

“As soon as Jack introduced the girl, something flickered in his brain and automatically expunged her name. That was what happened at parties. A few years earlier, as an experiment, Graham had tried repeating the person’s name as they shook hands. ‘Hullo, Rachel,’ he’d say, and ‘Hullo, Lionel,’ and ‘Good evening, Marion.’ But the men seemed to think you homosexual for it, and eyed you warily; while the women asked politely if you were Bostonian, or, perhaps, a Positive Thinker. Graham had abandoned the technique and gone back to feeling ashamed of his brain.”

“She no longer expected each dinner to disclose a perfect partner — or even an adequate one.”

“He’d turned into a man like other men: lovingly surprised at his own emotions, while diminishing those of his partner.”

“He was incompetent at arguing with Barbara; she always operated on such fearlessly non-academic principles.”

“He felt a complacent lack of curiosity about why he had ever loved her in the first place.”

“But even so, she had said “Fuck’. It had been a nice evening; they’d had a good dinner together, got on well, hadn’t run short of things to say; but even so, a couple of drops of water and it brought out a ‘Fuck.’ What on earth would she say if something serious happened? If she broke a leg or the Russians landed?”

“One of the first things he’d said to her that made her laugh was, “I’m afraid I’ve got an academic’s body.”

Vocab list:

adamantine – having an adamant quality
ruckle – a wrinkle or crease
gammy – sore or lame
cheroot – cigar with both ends open and untapered
intransigence – unwillingness to change one’s viewpoint
parturate – give birth
senescent -Growing old; aging
tassle – euphemism for a boy’s genitals
homo ludens – man the player, the element of play in society
muleteer – person who drives mules
atavistic – Relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral

British terms/slang, (with aid from Nick and Sarah):

wet – usually ‘wet’ means like soft, or a wuss. Weak-willed. As in, “don’t be wet.”
Junior Scouts – like Cub Scouts
Scrubber – basically means… unattractive… someone who tries to look good, but looks awful. And probably a bit loose.” (I said, “White trash?” and Nick said, “Yeah.”)

May 30 2011

Brain Twin

“I had a boyfriend once who told me that before he called me on the phone for the first time, he was really nervous and brushed his teeth. That made me like him for a lot longer than I would have otherwise.” –Sarah Brown

May 27 2011

Soundtrack Friday

Six favorites from Esquire’s 50 Songs Every Man Should Listen To:

Truth from Alexander

Sofi Needs a Ladder from Deadmau5
It’s around 7 minutes long. The first time you listen, maybe start at 1:28 before you decide whether to add it to your collection.

Sydney (I’ll Come Running) from Brett Dennen

January Hymn from the Decemberists

Will Do from TV on the Radio

Heart Attack from Raphael Saadiq

May 26 2011


Years ago, I posted this poem by Todd Boss, and he recently sent me a note to say he’s been working on a project called Motionpoems — poetry set to animation and video. I love this idea:

RENDER, RENDER a poem by Thomas Lux from Motionpoems on Vimeo.

The Trees — They Were Once Good Men, a poem by Todd Boss from Motionpoems on Vimeo.

If you’d like to help, they have a Kickstarter Project up to fund about 15 new shorts to accompany Scribner’s Best American Poetry Anthology, so consider pitching in. Also, if you’re a professional film maker or video artist who wants to make a motion poem, let me know and I’ll pass your info along.

Thank you, smart people, for making cool stuff. Amen.

May 25 2011

The Oprah Gratitude Project

I’m watching the finale as I type this. Thanks for playing, team. A few of my favorite lessons learned from the Oprah Winfrey Show in the last 25 years:

“Doubt means don’t.” -Sarah

“I learned, then re-learned, then learned again to believe that when people show you who they are, believe them.” -Michelle K.

“We teach others how we want to be treated.” -Roxanne

“You can be right or you can have peace.” -AEB

“Being a good mom means taking care of yourself too.” -Allie

“Never let them take you the second location.” -Megan

“Always sign your own checks.” -Sugarleg

“A person who does not accept your “no” is trying to control you.” -DEA

“As a parent to one child, it was easier. Whenever Peanut walked (or crawled or toddled) into the room, I stopped what I was doing and said, “Look who’s here!” or something equally as inviting.” -Woven Moments

“If you don’t listen to the whisper it will show up again as a scream.” -Allie

If you still want to play along, tell us what Oprah means to you:

– Post your photo to the Thanks, Oprah! Flickr Group.
– Tweet your photo with the hashtag #thanksoprah.
-Leave a something you learned from the Oprah Winfrey Show in comments.

May 23 2011

Oprah’s Last Show! Project: What Have You Learned?

The Oprah Winfrey Show is almost over, and I’m a little disoriented. As many of you already know, I admire Oprah deeply.

Last week I was in Chicago with Laura, Margaret, Elizabeth, and 14,000 close friends to attend the taping of the Oprah Farewell Spectacular.

Y’all, I’ve had narcotic-induced dreams that were less surreal. Stevie Wonder! Aretha Franklin! Diane Sawyer! Queen Latifah! I kept waiting to find myself on stage in my underwear for the Algebra Exam Segment. (Laura is doing a recap of the whole thing, so check in there for details.)

I was weepy through most of the show, thinking about everything I’ve learned from Oprah and her team, and I know a lot of you feel the same way. The last show is Wednesday, and I’d like to celebrate by posting about what we’ve all learned over the years. If you’d like to play along, take a photo (like the ones below) of yourself holding a little sign with something you’ve learned from the Oprah Winfrey Show. And then:

– Post your photo to the Thanks, Oprah! Flickr Group.
– Tweet your photo with the hashtag #thanksoprah.

I can’t wait to see them, and again I’ll post a roundup of my favorites here Wednesday. For now, here are mine.

Ten Things I’ve Learned from the Oprah Winfrey Show

Your turn.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with. If you’re not feeling photo motivated, comments are welcome too. Tune in Wednesday when we’ll discuss our collective wisdom and what to do next with our DVRs.

May 23 2011

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood