Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weekly Office

September 7 - "Uh...kind of a good news and bad news there. I was able to be on the scene so quickly because I was in the car that hit her." (Michael)

September 8 - "So many memories in this old gym. Pretending to have PMS so I didn't have to play volleyball. Pretending to have PMS so I didn't have to play basketball...those were the days." (Pam)

September 10 - Margaret: "I'm gonna head out." Michael: "Oh, okay. Well, um, I enjoyed this conversation. It was very nice. It was like talking to the sweet old lady on the bus." Margaret: "That's incredibly rude." Michael: "Now you ruined it."

September 11 - Dianne: "Mr. Scott, who is this other woman, Ryan? Who you refer to as...'Just as hot as Jan but in a different way.'" Michael: "Not a woman, just a cool, great-looking, best friend."

September 18 - Michael: "Ugh, Toby's replacement. Wow." Dwight: "So what do we know about her?" Michael: "Well, we know that Toby thinks she'll be great. Strike one. I hate her already."

September 21 - Pam: "That's [a single sheet of paper] all we brought." Michael: "This is all we need." Oscar: "We'll see." Michael: "Yes, we will see, Oscar. We will see because a blank sheet of paper equals endless possibilities. Conceptual. Alright. We are open for business."

September 22 - "A lot of jazz cats are blind, but they can play the piano like nobody's business. I'd like to put the piano in front of Pam, without her glasses, and see what happens. I'd also like to see her topless." (Creed)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This Old House

The Old House isn't too much to look at anymore. The shutters are off their hinges and the roof is missing a lot of shingles; some of the windows are cracked and the wooden boards are desperate for a new coat of paint. But to me, it's still beautiful, the most beautiful house in the world.

No matter what anyone tells you, a house isn't made of brick and wood, it's made of memories, and as I look around this old house in which I grew up, the memories come flooding back into my mind. There, right in the center of the living room, there's the bare spot on the rug where our big old dog, Spot, used to settle in the for the night. Spot's spot, we used to call it. And just a few feet away, behind the couch, there's my secret hiding place, the place I would hide every night when I heard Dad stumbling home from the bar.

Everywhere I look I see memories. To my adult eyes the room I shared with my sister seems so small, but once it seemed like the biggest room in the world. Coats of paint have long since covered the walls, but in my mind as I look at those walls, I can still see the messages my sister used to write to Satan.

Oh, how many hundreds of hours did I spend sitting at the old kitchen table doing my homework as Mom cooked dinner? When I run my fingers over the wall, I can still feel the plaster filling the bullet holes Dad made when he accidentally fired a clip from the semiautomatic weapon that he didn't know was loaded. Boy, until that day I never knew Mom could move so fast. Dad was so embarrassed when he got sobered up. We all laughed at that one, except Spot, of course. Poor old Spot.

As I climb the creaky wooden staircase, I can't help but remember all the games we played there. If I look at the steps real closely, I can still see traces of the skid marks left by Grandma's wheelchair as she tried to put on the brake. Mom sure didn't think Roll Grandma Down the Stairs was a funny game. Well, we couldn't play it without Grams anyway. Poor old Grandma.

Walking into the tiny room Dad built for Grandma and Grandpa, I have to remember to duck so I don't bang my head against the low ceiling beam. How we used to laugh every time we heard the unmistakable thump when Grampa forgot it was there and walked straight into it. I can still remember Mom telling me after we heard that sound, "dear, go upstairs and revive your grandpa." And looking around the room, there isn't even a single sign of the fire. There's not even an ax mark in the door where the firemen broke it down. Poor old Grampa.

The attic smells as musty and stuffy as it did when I was five years old. I used to hide up there for hours, just waiting for my sister to sneak up there with another one of the older boys from the neighborhood. And looking out the window, I can still see the tiny little claw marks left on the windowsill by Buck, the cat, as he tried to hold on as my sister pushed him out.

The basement is as damp and dark as I remember it. It was down in the basement that Dad used to play scary games with us like Hang the Pet. In fact, there's still a little piece of rope hanging from one of the beams. As I feel the cool cement on my feet, I remember how careful I used to be. Dad always warned us that it was bad luck to step on an animal's grave.

There'll be a For Sale sign on the old house pretty soon now. Someone will buy it, fix it up, and make it look brand-new. And they'll start building their own treasure chest of memories there. But for me, it will always be my house, the house in which I learned all about life.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weekly Office

August 19 - "Now okay, I know that this is probably not appropriate but I need help. Because I want to play ball with my kids before I get too old. And before that happens, I need to get laid. And before that happens, I need to be in love...I am a catch. And I am not going to be the one who got away. So this is what we're going to do. Dwight is going to hand out index cards and I want you all to write down the name of an eligible woman for me to date by the end of the day. No, by the end of the hour. Or you are fired." (Michael)

August 20 - "Today is Toby Flenderson's last day. I couldn't sleep last night. I came in extra early. So much energy. There are certain days that you know that you will remember for the rest of your life. And I just have a feeling that today is one of those days." (Michael)

August 21 - "Okay, here's what we're going to do. I'm going to instruct the kids about management and sales, Oscar will be in charge of accounting, Pam will be eye candy...No, and also because that is your alma mater. Darryl will hire some kids for the warehouse. You don't have to worry about internships with them because they definitely ain't going to college!" (Michael)

August 23 - Schneider: "Did Ms. Levenson say why she thought she was being fired?" Michael: "She thought it had to do with the twins. That's what I call them." Schneider: "Can you be more specific? Who are the twins?" Michael: "To be delicate--they hang off milady's chest. They make milk."

August 25 - "Okay, well, this will not do. Toby is going away forever and, ah, we need to do something very, very special. In some cultures, when somebody leaves, like New Orleans culture, they have a parade and they have a band and people party in the streets." (Michael)

August 30 - Michael: "We were joshing around. The two of us. And he said, 'Did I stutter?' And I said, 'Wha-wha-wha-what dog.' It was joking Toby, alright?" Toby: "He didn't seem like he was joking." Michael: "Well you don't get it. Because Stanley is a beautiful, sassy, powerful black man. And you're you. If you had any friends, you would understand friends joke with one another. 'Hey, you're poor.' 'Yeah, well, your mama's dead.' That's what friends do. It''re so white."

September 3 - Pam: "You mean 'leaves' as in 'dies'? You want us to throw Toby a New Orleans funeral?" Michael: "If the devil were to explode and evil were gone forever, what sort of party would you have?"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Truth About Them

Throughout history, brave men and women of science have been willing to risk scorn and ridicule to defend unpopular beliefs. For almost twenty-five years Professor Lawrence Kimball worked alone on a secret project in a dingy basement laboratory at the Institute of Human Studies. When he was not there, his lab was locked and no one, not even maintenance, was permitted entry. He never discussed his project with his colleagues, hinting only that he was on the verge of a discovery that might someday earn him recognition in the annals of science.

Finally, at the annual symposium, he asked to be recognized. Striding to the podium, his glasses falling down his nose, his wild hair flowing in a slight breeze, he cleared his throat and said, "I am pleased to be able to report the results of the study of my lifetime. Ladies and gentlemen, I have found irrefutable evidence that there is a direct relationship between breast size and intelligence!"

The room erupted. Angry voices shouted at him. The director of the institute stood up and said, "I can tell you, Professor Kimball, that that is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard."

Professor Kimball did not back down in the face of ridicule. As men of science have done for hundreds of years, he defended his research. "Not only that," he shouted above the din, "my research shows that results are the same whether the subject has breast implants or natural breasts!"

"This is absurd," the director said, "this is ridiculous."

"You're wrong," the professor insisted, holding up his thick report. "I have proof. It is right here. There can no longer be any doubt, the larger the breasts, the dumber the man."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Holy Wow

So, I'm trying to process last Wednesday. Carly and I went and took in what Louie Giglio described a "Spacecity Church," and by that I'm referring to U2. My brother Payton wrote a great blogpost highlighting that seeing them in concert should be on folks "Bucket Lists," and certainly I would agree. I've got some interesting takeaways and perspectives from our experience.

-U2 is the biggest band in the world. Period. I don't care who you have liked, or who used to be good and famous...RIGHT NOW, there's not a person or group that can pack it in like they can.

-It's an enormously diverse crowd that comes out for U2...ages, appearances, languages, tastes. Only reinforces the truth that their music is so universally appealing.

-Bono can still hit the notes. While he's not the most inviting, interactive entertainer (think engaging the crowd to join, jump, wave, etc), he does very well. His stage presence and showmanship of their ballads is super.

-The EDGE is the real force behind U2. How did I miss this all these years? So, I guess most people just associate Bono with the creative mojo of U2 because he's the front man, the political voice, the one with the cool shades. But, the EDGE can straight up jam, create the ridiculous rhythms which has made their songs timeless, and oh, by the way he can SING as well. A defining moment for me was when Bono took the time to introduce the band, and referred to The EDGE as "Our Captain." That's respect and deserved honor for The MAN.

-U2 brings the faith/change agent element. This was evident in the "Amazing Grace" interlude, the comment of "Let's have a little church here tonight" before we all belted out "Where the Streets Have No Name," and was realized in the simplicity of "One" and spectacle of "Walk On." Bono even sang a prayer for Aung San Suu Kyi which was very moving.

-While it was a little large for my interactive/participatory tastes, it was a visually stimulating show nonetheless, worth every cent. I mean, they pretty much did everything they could to overcome they fact that they are in a STADIUM and try to connect. Crazy lights, plethora of speakers, state-of-art screens, illuminated jacket and hanging rope mic, and of course the spaceship.

-Their anthems of faith, life, perspective, love, and politics may reach more people than many of the songs I've sang all my life. So, I want to celebrate the vessel that they are for our Creator, flash, flaws and all.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weekly Office

August 1 - "Hello Oscar Meyer Weiner Lover. I bet that you have a bunch of very liberal girl type friends, who trust you implicitly, because they know you'd never touch 'em because of your...condition." (Michael)

August 3 - "Today, I'm headed over to the job fair at Valley View High School to find some new interns. Wanna get some fresh blood. I'm intern-shopping. Um, youthanize this place." (Michael)

August 5 - "There is a master key and a spare key for the office. Dwight has them both. When I asked, 'What if you die, Dwight? How will we get into the office?' He said, 'If I'm dead, you guys have been dead for weeks.'" (Pam)

August 6 - "When I said that I wanted to have kids and you said that you wanted me to have a vasectomy, what did I do? And then we you said that you might want to have kids and I wasn't so sure, who had the vasectomy reversed? And then when you said you definitely didn't want to have kids, who had it reversed back? Snip, snap, snip, snap, snip, snap! I did. You have no idea, the physical toll that three vasectomies have on a person. And I bought this condo to fill with children." (Michael)

August 7 - "Oh my God. Pam, those [glasses] make you look so ugly. Pam, in order to get hotter, you take glasses off. You're moving in the wrong direction." (Michael)

August 12 - "I think I'm being very clear what I'm asking. Would an average-size rowboat support her without capsizing? It bothers me that you are not answering the question." (Michael)

August 14 - "Well, this is what happened: Ryan's big project was the website, which wasn't doing well. So Ryan, to give the impression of sales, recorded them twice--once as 'office' sakes, and once as 'website' sales. Which is what we refer to in the business as misleading the shareholders. Another good term is fraud. The real crime, I think, was the beard." (Oscar)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Table Manners

There was once a time when the Fork was King of the Table. Proud and alone, the fork ruled his domain. And there was peace and harmony on the tabletop. Everything was fine--until the night that soup was served.

The fork could not lift the soup. He tried and tried, but there was nothing he could do. Each time he dipped into the soup, it dribbled through his long, thin tines. Finally, the spoon, the fork's oldest enemy, came along. "I can lift the soup," said the spoon.

Reluctantly, the fork accepted the assistance of the spoon. Together, the fork realized, they could be even more powerful. Working as a team, it seemed as if there was nothing they could not accomplish. And once again, everything on the tabletop was peaceful--until the night that meat was served.

The fork and the spoon worked together, but as hard as they tried, they could not cut the meat. Finally, the knife, the enemy of both the fork and the spoon, came along. "I can cut the meat," said the knife.

Reluctantly, the fork and the spoon accepted the assistance of the knife. The knife cut the meat and the fork picked it up. Together, the fork, the spoon, and the knife were all-powerful. Working as a team, there was truly nothing they could not accomplish.

And so, for a time, peace and harmony reigned on the tabletop. For it was true; working together, the fork and the spoon and the knife were able to accomplish all that was demanded of them. But then one dark knight, lemon meringue pie was served. The knife said quickly, "I can cut it." The spoon said pleasantly, "And I can pick it up." But the fork said, "I can cut it and pick it up."

So once again, there was distrust on the tabletop. And while the spoon was busily occupied picking up the lemon meringue pie, the fork whispered to the knife, "You know, we don't really need the spoon. And if we get rid of him, there'll be more for us!" So while the spoon's handle was turned, the fork and the knife pushed him off the table.

For a time, there was an uneasy peace on the tabletop. Then one day a big piece of chocolate cake was served. Chocolate cake was the fork's favorite dessert. The fork cut into the cake and picked it up. It was delicious! And as the fork cut another piece, he realized he didn't need the knife anymore. So that night, when the knife had his blade turned, the fork pushed him off the table.

Once again, the fork was King of the Table. And there was peace and happiness. Until the very next night--when, once again, soup was served.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weekly Office

July 17 - "I want to embarrass all the other parties. I want it to be a party that the guys in New York watch on the webcam and say -- Wow! How did they get Al Roker to come?" (Michael)

July 20 - "When Pam gets Michael's old chair, I get Pam's old chair. And then I'll have two chairs. Only one to go." (Creed)

July 21 - "I have never dated or wanted to do anything resembling dating Michael. Ever. Not ever. Not now, not then, not now, not ever. Ever." (Pam)

July 24 - "Today is a very special day for me. And it's really not about me. It's about my grandkids, it's about my great-grandkids. I can come back here when I'm a hundred and I can find that piece of cement and say, 'That's me. Look kids. Your daddy left that face hole.'" (Michael)

July 26 - "They say you should never mix business with pleasure. Really. Well then explain to me how a putt-putt golf company operates." (Andy)

July 28 - "You know what? This young man needs to learn that that's not how you treat people/ I don't care if it's pizza, good business is about respect and accountability and follow-through. You don't just make promises and pull the rug out from under somebody, do you? Dwight, please, escort this young man into the conference room." (Michael)

July 30 - "There are people all over the world with all sorts of problems and afflictions and diseases. They're deformed and they're abnormal and they're illiterate and ugly. Symphonies don't have any money. Public TV is a bust. I can't do anything about it, I can' know. There is just one of me and a thousand of them and rabies wins." (Michael)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chicken Poop #4

The Poet of the Open Road

In school, teachers held little hope for Billy Madden. He showed no interest in learning. His marks were always poor, he never completed a reading assignment or participated in class discussions, and he rarely did his homework. At an early age he was branded a "nonlearner." Yet, incredible as it might seem, this onetime problem student, who was given up for lost by every one of his teachers, grew up to become one of America's most-read writers!

Leaving high school without a degree, Madden was hired by the State Department of Highways. One day, Madden just happened to be in the office when an emergency occurred. The supervisor charged with writing road signs was out sick, and a sign was desperately needed to warn people not to go too fast. While other people suggested Don't Go Too Fast, and If You Can't Read This Sign You're Going Too Fast, Billy Madden carefully printed the word Slow and a career was born.

Madden had found his niche. He loved writing road signs. Initially, his spelling problems made the job difficult for him. The department unfortunately produced several hundred red, octagonal Stob signs before his misspelling was caught. But Madden spent many sleepless nights overcoming this deficiency and eventually conquered this problem. The result has been tens of thousands of signs that have become familiar to drivers throughout America.

It was Madden, for example, who dauntlessly campaigned to replace the confusing warning Watch Out Deer with the poetic Deer Crossing. For his famed Slippery When Wet, illustrated by wavy tire tracks, he received the first of three coveted Highwayman of the Year awards. Although some of his favorite pieces of writing, such as Big Trains Coming, have yet to make it onto America's highways and byways, the Guinness Book of World Records credits Madden as the writer whose words are read most frequently by Americans.

For a young boy once given up on by his teachers as hopeless, America's roads have become his legacy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Weekly Office

July 4 - "I've been carrying that ring around in my wallet for six years. Because you don't know when you're going to meet the right girl and the moment's gonna be right, and tonight, with the fireworks, and the music, everything, it was right." (Andy)

July 7 - "I think that everything...has its place...and I found that my place is here. Turns out I hate the forest. There's nobody there. This is where the action is. I don't need the woods. I have wood paneling. I don't need fresh air. I've got the freshest air around -- A/C." (Michael)

July 9 - "Michael and Jan seem to be playing their own separate game. And it's called, 'Let's see how uncomfortable we can make our guests.' And they're both winning. So, I am going to make a run for it." (Jim)

July 10 - "Oh yes! Count me in, dudes. I am in serious need of some bro time. The old ball and chain's been a lot more chain than ball lately, if you know what I'm saying." (Andy)

July 12 - "What is it like being single? I like it. I like starting each day with a sense of possibility. And I'm optimistic, because every day I get a little more desperate -- and desperate situations yield the quickest results." (Michael)

July 14 - "Oh, no, it's bad. It's real bad. It's like eating a hot circle of garbage." (Kevin, on Pizza by Alfredo)

July 16 - "So, I caught everyone before they left, and I told them my idea. They loved it. Because this is a group that respects good ideas...The one time of year they hear one." (Jim)