a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Beavers Were Once the Size of Bears - Part 2





(read part one first, please. it's right below. Thank you.)

Now I'm waking up - and I realize, unlike Dexter Manley, I can read. It’s a miracle! Kind of like Helen Keller, I place my face against the mighty, ravenous water heater, trying to find the rules, trying to look for lightning bolts or skulls and cross bones or some indicia that if I do X, that's the last thing I'll ever do.

I own this hot water heater.

That was my second fully formed thought this morning.

I own this hot water heater. I own this shit. Like my Joe Montana rookie card and my lucky pants. This hot water heater belongs to me.

And now it's going to kill me.

It didn't.

I was able to figure out how to turn it off; I cleaned up as much of the flooded area as was I capable, I made - and then pushed back a plumbing appointment, recognizing I had a 7 AM class that would last 5 hours and that if I wasn't there to tell the first quarter students about the tactile/kinesthetic style of learning - by god, they'd never learn to unlock their scholarly potential by doodling rainbows or swastikas or “Future Mrs. Timberlake” hearts during my lecture.

Got home at noon, still without sleep since 3 or a shower since...well, since Saturday.

Yes, it was Monday. Don’t judge me, people! I was depressed and lounging in my own funk and I am unashamed!

The plumber who I had already hired twice before to fix broken toilets remembered me and asked if I had a room in which he could stay permanently.

Funny. Hi-larious.

Also funny is that I have also hired two plumbers to fix my shower, one to fix my sink, and then another to fix yet another toilet problem.

I've owned my home for 6 years.

7 plumbers in 6 years.

Not to mention that I've had 3 roof leaks and 5 ceiling repairs. A new 14 hundred dollar AC compressor, a year and a half of power outages that led to my needing a new refrigerator and TV, a hurricane caused busted window, an attack of hundreds of bees. Hundreds of bees that I was able to fend off with a half bottle of Kaboom and my plucky spirit.

Oh - And my complex once tried to tow my car.

Total cost for the new water heater.

$949.70.

And ceiling repair.

$150

And I'm five pounds too heavy. Okay, 15 pounds.

But I’m still better off than Mike Vick.

Real quick – I have zero sympathy for Michael Vick, imprisoned for dog fighting. I’m just glad he’s not one of my guys.

Except…not for nothing, but I eat pork.

And in terms of measurable brain activity, the only difference between dogs and pigs is pigs are smarter.

So – we torture a dog and call it prison.

We torture a pig and call it breakfast.

(I don’t want to walk down the road with you regarding how pigs are raised and treated on their way to slaughter, but it’s bad, sister, b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-ad.)

Maybe there’s some small difference between the two things, some small difference that one could point to between torturing dogs and torturing pigs.

But probably not enough difference to justify the difference in treatment.

One is prison. One is breakfast.

Don’t misunderstand, I do it too. Not only wouldn’t I torture a dog, I’ve stopped kids from being cruel to animals in a way I’d never stop someone from being cruel to a, you know, person. If you were to tell me “yup, I regularly kill and eat kittens for the meat” there is literally zero chance I would ever speak civilly to you regardless of what level of beaver worship you promised me.

But I eat pork.

It’s delicious.

And I have no moral justification for it. None.

If it turns out that I’m wrong, and above us isn’t only sky, and someone is there at the pearly gates after I’m dead to say I’m not allowed in because I didn’t pray to Mecca five times a day or I didn’t confess my sins to a guy in a robe or I never had my head dunked in a lake to be born again –

Well, you know, okay.

That stuff is so antithetical to the way I view the world, that if the world actually works that way, it would seem incomprehensible to me that this was the result. I wouldn’t want to be a member of that club. I’ll go somewhere else, thanks.

But if St. Peter is actually a giant bear sized beaver, and he says I’m going to hell for all the bacon I ate.

I’d have absolutely no defense.

I’m guilty.

100% Guilty.

My only hope is I’m serving some purgatory time right now.

7 plumbers in 6 years.

Revelation 12 - Beavers Were Once the Size of Bears, Part 1







Me (about 3:30 AM last Sunday night): What...what...what....what...whathwatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

That's my groggy, "there's something happening that should not be happening at 3:30 in the morning" interior monologue. My pre-thought thought was the cat was scratching my downstairs leather chair really loudly. The cat, as mentioned in a previous blog, is my emergency contact, and I think she accepts payment for services rendered in the form of destroying all of my furniture.

The Cat: Next time, let’s pick up some brown leather. I like the way my claws dig into the brown leather especially. Oooh, microfiber! Score!

It wasn’t the cat.

My subsequent, still completely asleep thought, no more cogent than a typical dream I might have about Will Smith, his skin so taut and creamy, was that back a couple years ago when the pipe burst in my upstairs shower and I could hear the water leaking through the downstairs ceiling to the tile in cat beach, that it sounded a lot like this.

(Author’s note – In my kitchen, I keep the cat’s litter box inside a children’s plastic swimming pool; she’s always seemed to enjoy it and I call it cat beach and I’m hoping she’ll challenge Michael Phelps at the next Olympics. Perhaps dedicating her gold medal to the people of Tibet. That is all.

Oh…mosquitoes have 47 teeth and beavers were once the size of bears. That is all.)

I have no recollection of getting out of bed, only that I found myself, naked, still asleep, downstairs, staring at buckets full of water coming through my ceiling.

Fuck me. The pipe's burst again.

But I never made it to the shower to check - because now as I went back upstairs I could hear the death rattle of my hot water heater, which is in my spare bedroom's walk in closet along with my Wrestlemania XIII poster and class notes for the Reason and Value discussion sections I taught at Florida Atlantic University in 2003.

(Author’s note – I was talking some Bertrand Russell and did a bit…I had about a hundred students in an amphitheater type lecture hall, and was making the point about how fundamentally they didn’t care about human life as much as they thought they did…

….oh, oh…this reminds me, I want to talk about Michael Vick and Jimmy Dean pure pork sausage…don’t let me leave this blog without doing that run….maybe I'll do that in Part 2, hells yeah, Part 2.

…because all the students wanted to say that their highest value was human life, but when confronted with this hypothetical:

Me (not at 3:30 in the morning, but probably similarly groggy): Pretend for a second that you could enter an alternate universe where this happens – you come to the next class and I’m not here. Some substitute sadly says that Professor Jividen passed away over the past week…his head was sheared from his shoulders in a motorcycle accident…or he was murdered while making torrid man on man love with an oily 50 year old toupee wearing dude, burying his love juices inside toupee dude’s exposed chesthair…or he was eaten alive by a beaver who had escaped the ravages of evolution and was still the size of a bear…

And sure, some of you would be momentarily sad, because a person you kinda knew a little bit was dead.

But imagine the story value.

For years, for years you’d be able to say “I had a professor get eaten by a beaver.”

And people would be fascinated by that story.

Are you telling me it wouldn’t be worth it?

And then I walked around the room and asked each student to slap their desk if my dying would be worth it to him.

I’ve replicated this experiment at my current gig. Results are these: some go for it immediately, readily, perhaps even eagerly.

I failed them, of course.

Some needed more prodding…would there be a tangible benefit to them, say an automatic A in the course given the trauma associated with having a professor eaten by a beaver? More slapping of desks. What about tuition reimbursement? There have to be students whose psyches are sufficiently fragile that the occasion of their beloved Professor Jividen’s head being separated from his shoulders by wilding beavers would render them unable to fruitfully continue as students absent some type of set off…

By the end, I could see the frenzied looks in my students eyes. Florida hadn’t seen such beaver worship since (insert your own pornographic reference here, I can't do everything for you people).

And now I’m in this walk in closet and I’m still dead solid asleep, and the carpet around the water heater is soaked - I still haven't grasped what's happening, but I'm waking up now - I know it's the water heater. I know it's making a noise. I know there's water there and water downstairs and I know the cat is staring at me like she did just five hours earlier when I failed to notice the dead cockroach near her food dish.

The Cat: Fix it, asshole. Don't you have any responsibilities around this place? I’d do it myself but I t’aint got thumbs, son. I’m your emergency contact; if you want to “make it rain” go to the strip club, but keep that shit away from my house. I got scratching to do. Dig?

And I know something else, as I stood with my feet engulfed by the flooded carpet staring at the electric outlet in which the water heater was plugged.

It was really my first fully formed thought of the morning.

Water + electricity = bad.

Top 200 Major League Baseball Players Ever - #181, 180 BOB LEMON and JIMMY WYNN



edit - you can find the updated rankings under the label best baseball players ever
#181 BOB LEMON RHP Indians
1946-58
ERA+ 119
PW 34.2
WARP3 84.4

Not on the list - Urban Shocker, Stan Coveleski, Ed Cicotte, David Cone, Dutch Leonard
#180 JIMMY WYNN CF Astros
1963-77
OPS+ 129
BFW 29.6
WARP3 94.6

Not on the list - Lenny Dykstra, Rocky Colavito, Wally Berger, Eric Davis, Darryl Strawberry, Kevin Mitchell

Which means we've got 200-180 all knocked out.
#200 Elmer Flick
#199 Tony Fernandez
#198 Ken Boyer
#197 Andruw Jones
#196 Hank Greenberg
#195 Shoeless Joe Jackson
#194 Tony Phillips
#193 Frank Tanana
#192 Zack Wheat
#191 Bret Saberhagen
#190 Early Wynn
#189 Dazzy Vance
#188 Dave Concepcion
#187 Brian Giles
#186 Goose Gossage
#185 Dave Bancroft
#184 Mickey Cochrane
#183 Jack Clark
#182 John Clarkson
#181 Bob Lemon
#180 Jimmy Wynn

Top 179 to go...