Sunday, December 24, 2006

¡Feliz Navidad! Nollaig Shona! Felix Dies Navitates!

I'm going to throw this up here now since I probably won't be writing tomorrow. So everyone out there in internetland, Merry Christmas. The title tells you how to offer that holiday greeting in Spanish, Irish and Latin, in that order. The Spanish and Latin are both phonetic, but the Irish is pronounced No-lahk Ho-na, in case any leprechauns come across your path tomorrow.

People made a big deal this year about how stores are saying "Merry Christmas" again instead of "Happy Holidays." I have to wonder who exactly gets offended by being wished a Merry Christmas. As a Christian, I can't say I would be offended if a member of any other faith wished me a Happy Hanukkah, Happy Ramadan or whatever. In fact, I think I'd think it was kind of nice that they thought enough to offer such a salutation to me. Just because I don't celebrate one of these holidays, they still happen. I've been wished Happy Diwali before, and I didn't answer with "I'm not Indian, jackass." I answered with, "Thank you." What is wrong with people? I think that "Happy Holidays" is a little obnoxious because it's so non-committal. If you go into Wal-Mart and the greeter says "Happy Hanukkah" am I really going to stop shopping there? This really seems like kind of a petty thing to worry about, doesn't it?

One of the things that helps make my Christmas merry is that when I go back to my church down here and they have an insert in the program (which, inexplicably, didn't have a schedule in it; making me think that the purpose of the program is to serve as a coat for this insert) that includes a shortened version of a Longfellow poem called Christmas Bells. I am going to include it here, but it's important to note that this was written in 1861, as the Civil War was beginning.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on earth," I said.
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The rest of the poem is just as good, and you should look it up and read it. Nollaig Shona!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I hope it's socks

Call me a resident of Mayberry if you like, but I don't get the people peek at their presents. I remember in elementary school and what not when people used to tell each other their techniques for finding out what Santa got them for Christmas, like sneaking into the closet when the parents were out boozing or carefully unwrapping a corner to see that it was Excitebike in that small box. Actually, I think Excitebike came out when I was like one, so I don't think this is accurate. But it would have been an awesome gift.

I like the surprise. I like the act of opening a package with unknown contents and reacting to it, so the giver sees the gratefulness in my eyes, because really, it's pretty nice the other way around so it seems pretty selfish to deprive the giver of that, especially when they're giving you stuff for free. So, basically, I'm calling you out if you peek. Ass.

I think it's a little bit like movies. I don't try to guess the plot of mystery movies as I'm watching them, because I like the revelatory experience. I like to get caught up in the experience. Like magic. It's pretty dumb, but it can be fun if you try to get into it. If a magician is reading this, I'm not apologizing. Because get a real job. A movie is supposed to allow you to enter into this alternate world, and if you're worried about guessing what's coming next, you're missing out on what the movie's supposed to be. Just like missing out on the Spirit of Christmas by peeking.

It's getting to be a bit less interesting these days. I'm not asking for a bike or Xboxes or Wiis. A few years ago I got a pretty awesome stereo. I don't know what I'm going to get this year, but I don't think it'll be quite that dramatic. Probably some dollars and maybe a movie or a book. Last year, one of my gifts was a cookbook, and it was awesome. I had no idea it was coming, unlike every scene in the new James Bond movie. I didn't want to guess it, but it was pretty predictable. But poker games in movies always end the same way. I'm still kind of bothered that it was poker instead of baccarat anyway.

The moral of the story, though, is that you're pretty much a bad person if you peek at your Christmas gifts. It's like stealing part of the moment from the people that are giving them to you, and showing that you're so impatient you can't wait. This is worse than those people who open gifts on Christmas Eve, which should b e completely unacceptable. So, if this you, work on it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

We shall never be satisfied

Christmas came a little bit early at my parents' house. When I got back into Florida, there was a Gillette Fusion razor waiting for me. But who am I to turn down a free razor? I have been living in the past with a razor that's only three razors, so not only is this razor free, I'm being propelled for free into the now. I'm doubling the number of blades on my razor.

This attitude, though, doesn't answer the question of why Gillette is sending me free Fusion razors. I didn't get Gillette anything; does that make me rude? Then again, Gillette can afford it. I haven't used it yet. I still have a few razors that are three razors, but I'm afraid to jump headlong into the six razor, in case the experience really is as revolutionary as the commercials lead me to believe. It's also a little more expensive for the six razor cartridges than the three razor cartridges.

I can't remember the last time that something I bought was as revolutionary as the advertisers wanted me to think it was. High definition television, maybe, or limeade. Actually I don't remember seeing any ads about limeade, but it is pretty darn revolutionary. Lemonade is for pansies. But I sure don't remember getting something for free that changed my life. So I have to say I'm skeptical about the Fusion. Especially since I don't know how I can be sure that Gillette will stop at six. Why not eight? How about ten? How much of a luddite will I be considered if I stick it out with my three razors? Once I try out the Fusion, you can be sure that you'll hear about how smoothly shaven my face is. My guess is that it will be delightful.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Where have all the "ue"s gone? Do doo doot, do doo doot...

For some reason, I have been writing a couple of words recently that end in -gue. Word and Google with their built in spell checkers have alerted me with their ubiquitous squiggly red underlining that the ue in some of those words are unnecessary. Now, I am an above average speller (I am hesitant to claim greatness in a category like this, because as soon as I do I know I'm going to get called out for misspelling something in this very post), so I got a little nervous. Catalogue, for example, is underlined right now, as I write this. Dialogue is another one. Microsoft and Google prefer catalog and dialog, and they look naked, not unlike alway. I usually take heed from the red squiggles, but the green squiggles I usually ignore, because computers still suck at grammar. If they spoke, I would expect them to sound like some FOB Eastern European with their botched syntax but excellent vocabulary.

Since I am considerably less confident in my ability to keep perfect memory compared to a computer, I looked it up with sweat forming on my brow, and sure enough, dialogue and catalogue are the proper spellings. (I also learned that brow is a synonym for gangplank. Who knew?) Although, in both cases, the alternate -ueless spelling is also included as an alternate spelling. I don't remember this happening. My honest-to-God dictionary (as opposed to a virtual one on the internet) that I stole from the Thorn has it the same way, so apparently this other spelling has been out there for some time. Is this like a British/American thing? Am I supporting the pansy Europeans? I hope not, because I like the -ue. I also like tea, and am not ashamed to admit it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Bowl Predictions

I love this coming time of year. The Bowl Games fill me with a wondrous delight, making me wish that Div II got better coverage so I would care about it enough to want to faithfully watch all of their playoff games as well. The week from Christmas to New Year's is like God's present to me, because Christmas is pretty concentrated awesome, the good football games start, and it ends with my birthday. Bowl Week's gotten a little bloated, though, since now it's like 3 weeks. But who has two thumbs and isn't complaining about that? This guy.

Dec 19 - Poinsettia Bowl
Northern Illinois vs. TCU (-12.5)
NIU has got a great tailback and nothing else. TCU has a coach that probably belongs in a BCS conference. Frogs win big, beat the spread, but Garrett Wolfe gets like 1,000 yards.

Dec 21 - Las Vegas Bowl
BYU (-4.0) vs. Oregon
Oregon has been playing like hell lately, and BYU will get another chance to try to knock off a quality BCS opponent (they almost brought down BC in Cherry Hill). BYU has only lost two, the other being to Arizona (a team that also beat Oregon by a bigger margin). I think I'm going to have to take Oregon, though, because it's a well known fact that Mormons are afraid of Ducks.

Dec 22 - New Orleans Bowl
Rice (-6.0) vs. Troy
Wow. Two crappy teams playing for a bowl game who don't normally get to do that. Rice is on a 6 game winning streak right now, after losing to the likes of Houston, UCLA, Texas, Tulane and FSU (who put 55 on them, back when we thought FSU might still be good). Troy isn't quiet as hot right now, but they didn't get crushed as badly by Florida State. Troy lost to crappier teams, though, so it looks like Rice should win this one. Maybe Rice should try some jambalaya while they're in New Orleans.

Dec 23 - Bowl
USF (-3.5) vs. ECU
Jim Leavitt has had the second best year of any Florida coach so far this year, and it's largely thanks to Matt Grothe, the talented freshman QB. The Pirates don't really have much on their resume, other than a win over NCSU, but they were pretty terrible this year. USF has wins over Pitt, UNC, WVU(!), and one that should've been a win against Rutgers. It's hard not to like the Bulls in this one, especially since Pirates are nowhere near as sweet as ninjas.

Dec 23 - New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico (-4.5) vs. San Jose St.
Anytime San Jose St. played anyone remotely good, they lost. NM at least beat Utah. I guess I'll take the Lobos, because apparently they get to play at home.

Dec 23 - Armed Forces Bowl
Tulsa vs. Utah (-2.5)
The Golden Hurricane of Tulsa has been a little off at the end of their season, but Utah's been going all right. The Runnin' Utes beat TCU, which is the best win between them. I'll go with Utah, even though Mormons don't have the same fear of Hurricanes that they do of ducks.

Dec 24 - Hawaii Bowl
Hawaii (-8.5) vs. Arizona State
This one's easy. Hawaii's Colt Brennan (yes, there are two QBs in NCAA football named Colt) has amassed PlayStation style numbers (53 TDs on the year!) and will tear apart ASU's defense through the air. Hawaii gets the game on their home field and the Devil's coach just got fired. The over/under is 74.5, and I gotta tell ya, the over would be tempting. But Hawaii wins big, by two TDs at least. I was about to say, "Wouldn't it suck to have to play football on Christmas Eve?" but then I remembered they're doing it in Hawaii, so I'm guessing not really.

Dec 26 - Motor City Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs. Central Michigan (-10.)
The only thing MTSU has going for it is that CMU's coach is heading to Cincinnati, but I don't think it'll be enough. CMU wins the game, but not the spread. It would probably suck worse to play in Detroit the day after Christmas, because they probably make you practice on the 25th. And Detroit's not exactly Hawaii.

Dec 27 - Emerald Bowl
FSU vs. UCLA (-5.0)
Wow. FSU is playing in a San Francisco bowl and isn't favored. I don't think UCLA will have any motivational problems, since FSU is still FSU, even if they aren't really this year. The Seminoles aren't really gelling, and I find it hard to believe that they will for this game, which is essentially meaningless. UCLA wins, and gets to end their season with wins over two storied programs who have been at their weakest points in the last five years. Next, Bruins Quarterback Patrick Cowan will beat up a cripple in La Jolla.

Dec 28 - Independence Bowl
Oklahoma State (-2.5) vs. Alabama
If Alabama had a coach, I might swing their way. But they don't, and may not have a permanent guy before this game happens. OKSt wins a close one, and the folks in Tuscaloosa are trying to remember why they fired Mike Shula.

Dec 28 - Holiday Bowl
Texas A&M vs. California (-5.5)
This is the very bowl where two years ago Cal got humiliated by Texas Tech after Mack Brown talked his way into the Rose Bowl to let Vince Young smoke Michigan the way he smoked the Texans last weekend. Although, the Michigan team may have been better than the Texans. Cal played two good teams, maybe three if you count UCLA or Oregon (you can't have both). They lost to two of them (or all of them, if you don't count UCLA or Oregon). TAMU has beaten Texas and Mizzou, and lost to OKSt and OU by a combined total of two points. I think Cal is in for another surprise; the Bears might win the first half, but the Aggies will take over in the second and win.

Dec 28 - Texas Bowl
Rutgers (-7.5) vs. Kansas State
Rutgers. Next.

Dec 29 - Gaylord Hotels Music Cirty Bowl
Clemson (-10) vs. Kentucky
I have to tell you, this game scares the hell out of me. We're favored by a lot, and my flag football team could probably score on Kentucky's defense. But the Tigers have been off their game ever since the VT blowout. I think we'll win, but I don't think we beat the spread. Vic Koenning needs to get our defense back to form, since we got manhandled by the Gamecocks on the ground.

Dec 29 - Sun Bowl
Oregon State (-3.5) vs. Missouri
Mizzou ended the season kind of poorly, but they lost to some quality opponents. Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Iowa State were three losses that ended three of their last four games. They probably should have lost all the games they did, except maybe Iowa State, and that's a close call, it was in Ames. Oregon State ended with a three game winning streak, topped off by a win over Hawaii. I think I'll take the Beavers in this one, but I must admit I don't really care that much.

Dec 29 - Liberty Bowl
USC (fake) (-7.0) vs. Houston
I think this is a game that the Cocks can lose, but I hope they don't because that would be embarrassing for us. I'll take South Carolina with the points.

Dec 29 - Insight Bowl
Texas Tech (-7.0) vs. Minnesota
I like Texas Tech a lot, and I'm glad that Leach won't be coaching in the ACC at Miami like he was rumored to be. Minnesota kind of sucks right now, so I'll definitely take Texas Tech in this one. Red Raiders steal the Golden Gophers' nuts. Do Gophers eat nuts? Well, regardless, the Raiders are stealing them.

Dec 29 - Champs Sports Bowl
Purdue vs. Maryland (even)
Maryland. Purdue sucks.

Dec 30 - Car Care Bowl
Navy vs. Boston College (-6.5)
Talk about an unfortunate match up. Navy is a solid team that could win this game, and if they don't, BC won't get any credit for it. Tom O'Brien won't be leading the Eagles against the Midshipmen, and I think that might be the difference in this game. Navy wins the spread, and I think they win this game, too. The option is just ca-razy.

Dec 30 - Alamo Bowl
Texas (-11.0) vs. Iowa
I would take Texas with a 15 point spread. Iowa was supposed to be good, but (surprise) they weren't really. Which is especially rough, since the Big Ten had two good times, one that might be good and the rest was crap. They finished with 2 conference wins, against Illinois and Purdue; they got beat by Indiana, Northwestern and Minnesota. You know what? I'd take Texas if it was a 20 point spread. UT by like three TDs. Actually, that's assuming Colt McCoy is healthy; if he's not that line is pretty accurate.

Dec 30 - Peach bowl
Georgia vs. Virginia Tech (-3.0)
People are giving UGa too much credit. The win over Auburn was definitely a good one, but other than that, this guy's not impressed. I would take VT with double the points. The Hokies are the best team in the ACC right now and will make the Bulldogs cry. The Gobbler will peck Uga's eyes out.

Dec 31 - MPC Computers
Miami (-3.0) vs. Nevada
This one is a hard one to read. Nevada will be super pumped to be playing Miami, and who knows how Miami will be feeling. Nevada hasn't really beaten anybody good, so I think that will make Miami feel like they can handle it on talent. I'll take Nevada in that case. I was going to make a joke involving the pistol offense, but then I remembered that one of the Miami players was actually shot, and that joke may not be in bounds.

Jan 1 - Outback Bowl
Penn State vs. Tennessee (-4.5)
Penn State isn't a bad team, but I think Tennessee is better. The Nittany Lions got hammered by Notre Dame, and I think the Vols look a lot like them, except better at every position other than QB. I doubt the score will be as gawdy as the Irish-Lions matchup, but Tennessee wins the spread.

Jan 1 - Cotton Bowl
Auburn (-3.0) vs. Nebraska
This is a rather good match up. Nebraska has played some good games this year, but I think that Auburn will probably be better in the end. Go Tigers! At least this gives the Cornhuskers a chance to escape the State of Nebraska, for a little while, anyway.

Jan 1 - Gator Bowl
Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia (-7.0)
Chan Gailey coached maybe the worst game of his life in one of his biggest, so I expect the Mountaineers to look good in Jacksonville, especially with a big crowd behind them. It would've been fun to see Clemson in this match up, but after letting Cory Boyd run all over us, I think it would've been pretty ugly. There's no telling where Reggie Ball's passes will end up, because he has been pretty terrible lately. WVU wins.

Jan 1 - Citrus Bowl
Arkansas (-1.0) vs. Wisconsin
This one has the most deceptive lines in all of the bowl games. Wisconsin has an 11-1 record, and their only loss comes to Michigan, who could've played in the title game. Arkansas has three losses, one came from USC while All-Everything RB Darren McFadden wasn't 100%, one from LSU in a rivalry game, and one from UF, in the SEC Championship game. The Razorback's wins, though, include an Auburn team when they were on, a solid South Carolina team and a good Tennessee team. Wisconsin, on the other hand, didn't play anybody. They will get exposed by McFadden in a big way. Arkansas by 14 at least.

Jan 1 - Rose Bowl
Michigan vs. USC (real) (-1.0)
Wow, I'm a little surprised that the Trojans are favored. I guess they are pretty much at home, but I do have to say that I like them in this one. I think UM is nowhere near as good as people think, because the Big Ten has been very weak, with the exception of Ohio State this year. The Wolverines could suffer from let-down syndrome, since they missed the big one. I don't think Carroll's squad will have that problem. USC wins by more than one, and Song Girls are way better than the UM cheerleaders.

Jan 1 - Fiesta Bowl
Boise State vs. Oklahoma (-8.0)
Sooners should win. Boise's a solid team, but OU has the best running back in college football and a serious defense. Sooners by 10.

Jan 2 - Orange Bowl
Louisville (-9.5) vs. Wake Forest
I think this is one of the most compelling match ups of the bowl games. Clearly, the smart money says the Cards will score huge on the Deacs. However, Wake has got solid coaching and has been able to run with all sorts of teams that have way more talent than they do. They also haven't gotten a lot of love from anybody so far. Their secondary will have a huge task trying to contain UL's passing attack, but I think they will keep it close. Cardinals win the game, but not the spread.

Jan 3 - Sugar Bowl
Notre Dame vs. LSU (-8.5)
I don't see the attraction to Notre Dame. I don't know why so many people like them. Did they buy everyone hookers once? The Irish are in way over their head on this one. I think that people are going nuts over Charlie Weis way prematurely. He had a great big pile of Catholic money dumped on him, and I don't think he's done anything at Notre Dame that any other above average coach wouldn't have been able to do. They have an overrated team, and overrated coach and are playing a game in which they don't belong. LSU could've been the best team in the country and would be in the title picture if a few questionable calls went the other way against Auburn. The Tigers will crush the Irish in ways that the Irish have never been crushed before, but that won't stop them from getting embarrassed in a bowl game they shouldn't go to again next year. ND has the longest active losing streak in bowls. Tell you something? I will still watch this game, even though it will be the most one-sided of all BCS bowls, because ND deserves having everyone to watch them get beaten badly for taking the spot of a more deserving team.

Jan 6 - International Bowl
Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati (-8.0)
What the hell is this game doing so late in the bowl season? I don't like this. Cincinnati wins though.

Jan 7 - GMAC Bowl
Ohio vs. Southern Miss (-6.5)
I can't say I like this pattern. USM wins this one.

Jan 8 - Championship Game
Ohio State (-8.0) vs. Florida
First off, that line is way too big. UF wins the spread, no question in my mind. The Buckeyes are a great team, but they really had an easy path to the BCS game. They played a Texas team that started a freshman quarterback in his second start. They played Iowa and Penn State while they were ranked, but they turned out to be pretty terrible. The only other ranked team was Michigan. They clearly deserve the #1 spot, but I'm not sold that they deserve to be 8 point favorites. Four is more my thinking. I know you're going to think I'm crazy, but I like Florida. I actually think they can win this game. I like Urban Meyer as a coach, I think the spread option as an offense with talent like this is a really strange thing to defend against, especially with QBs and WRs as leading rushers. Florida's special teams are amazing this year (well, in coverage anyway). There is something to be said about playing that schedule and coming out with 1 loss (which hinged on a weird turnover call). I think UF should've gotten consideration for this game even if USC beat UCLA, but I think I might be the only non-Gator to think so. People thought USC was in-Vince-able last year, and look how that turned out. OSU isn't as good as USC was last year, and UF might be about as good as Texas. See you on the other side.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Snippets and pieces

Tonight, I wrote a bit. (Yes, I write in other contexts besides this blog. Sometimes it's even meaningful!) The problem is, all that came out was just snippets and pieces, nothing that I would call "anything," really. It's kind of a letdown, like when you have what you can tell is a really great sneeze coming, and after a few of those rearing-ups that precede the best, you can't force anything out. That's kind of how I feel about it.

I also have concerns about when it comes out as something that I don't want other people to read. I know there are folks out there who write for themselves and that's nice and all, but I don't get it. I can't really get on board if I don't think that somebody, at some point, will see what I pen in some way. Like in college, I wrote some movie shorts mostly because a friend of mine wanted to make movies and didn't have any movies to make. If wanted to make billboards (or comics, ahem), I would've done that too, just so people would get a chance to see my skillz.

I have a lot of stuff in my notebooks and hard drives and what not that will never see the light of day, because it's crap. That's ok, especially if it's something that I would call finished. There's closure there, I never have to worry about it again and can never have to worry about it again, much like the turd that gets flushed away. But if it sucks and I give up mid stream, then, well, I'm going to have to use another analogy because the toilet one just won't do anymore. Abandoning a kitten? Well, a kitten who sucks, so abandoning a puppy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What are we talking about again

Do you ever wish something that was socially acceptable that isn’t because you popped something in an odd place or dug something out of somewhere that came out in a funny shape? I sometimes do. I’m not going to tell you about what happened to me, because I don’t want your vision of my awesome to be tarnished by something socially unacceptable.

I do remember a story where my aunt was (proudly [not really]) telling a story about my uncle where he dug a hunk of wax out of his ear that was a perfect sphere. He, apparently, wondered this very same question, because she then proceeded to explain how he showed this artistic achievement to her.

I know there are people who compare farts, but that is actually pretty disgusting. I think it’d be a whole different ballgame, though, if farts didn’t stink. Do you really think they’d be all that objectionable if they were as inoffensively smelling as sneezes?

I’ve also come across people who are revolted by feet, which is sort of the opposite of what I’m thinking of here, but still weird enough to be mentioned, I think. I don’t feel any sort of animosity towards any particular body part. There are some that I like more than others (and I think you probably agree) but none that really offend me.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about something, but it’s not appropriate here, so I won’t go into it. Maybe we’ll talk more about potentially vile bodily functions, but not really.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Even Hall and Oates?

If you ask ten people or so what kind of music they listen to, I would wager than about five of them will say, "Oh, I like all kinds of music." You know what I think? I think they're liars, that's what. Nobody listens to all kinds of music. There is something out there that makes you say, "I swear to God, if I have to hear another Boston song, I will commit an act of arson." Or, bagpipes. Lots of people hate bagpipes. Not me though; if I could figure out a way, I'd have bagpipes play (in this order) Auld Lang Syne, You Might Think by the Cars and Happy Birthday every year on my birthday. (My birthday is on New Year's Day, which explains Auld Lang Syne.)

But more than Boston, I think I am tired of the Eagles. I honestly can say that if I hear Take it Easy on the radio one more time I am going to burn down a gas station. Or library. But then again, this isn't about me, because I definitely do not listen to all kinds of music. I'm actually a little ashamed that my near encyclopaedic (I chose the British spelling to be extra pretentious) of classic rock music has not translated into an interest in current music. I'm working on it, though, I promise.

People who say they like all kinds of music probably don't really care that much about music as an art form. That's my conclusion. If you are equally at home listening to, say, Ashlee Simpson as you are Miles Davis or Eric Clapton or Juice Newton or Parliament or Ricky Martin, really, can your opinions on music be trusted? Can your opinions on anything be trusted? This has been a pretty italics heavy post so far.

Here's what I have to say about this whole ordeal: just man up and commit to music. The crazy thing is you don't have to be monogamous or anything! Why is this so hard? Are you worried that when you run for Congress, somebody's going to be offended you forgot to mention you like reggae? I am offering two possible actions that I think are reasonable the next time somebody says that they like all music: simply walk away, mid-sentence, or punch them in the side. I have a Peaceful Easy Feeling that this will work out great.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

No, no, not a Jew. Achoo.

I have a funny sneeze. I purposely chose an adjective of ambiguous meaning in "funny" because I mean it both in the sense that it's distinctive and at times comical. That's expected, though; I come from a rather solid pedigree of funny sneezers. My mom's is superbly loud, my dad's actually sounds like "achoo", and is the only sneeze I've ever actually heard that sounds like that. To be accurate, though, it's more like "ah.... CHOOOO!" and it sounds like he's emphasizing the last part on purpose and kind of faking it. My mom and I have called him on it, but he thinks we're crazy. All I have to say is that I'm not faking my ludicrous sneeze. My brother's individual sneezes aren't anything to sneeze at (had to be done and I apologize for it) on their own, but the real distinctions is they travel in packs. He goes for like thirteen in a row, usually.

I remember the first time somebody laughed at my sneeze. It was kind of a strange experience, because really, what's funny about a sneeze? Apparently, the answer to that question (if it's my sneeze) is "the sound." I don't know what the acoustic cause is, maybe nostrils that are just perfectly shaped to get an unusual intonation. I wonder if it would change with a nose piercing. Anyway, somebody recently said "Is that a bird call?" after one of my sneezes in place of the more traditional "bless you."

This makes me wonder what sorts of etiquette implications are involved in a sneeze. Surely it is preferred to offer the bless you than not; but where is the line drawn? And how funny does the sneeze need to be for the laugh and the [not] clever one-liner to take its place? My typical rule of thumb is that I don't give the bless you to people I don't know, and even then, usually not to dudes. Don't know why, but that's just how I roll. I sometimes don't even bother with the ladies, though, because if a person has a quiet sneeze or like a half-sneeze, it's hard to tell if a bless you is warranted, because really, is there anything more embarrassing then blessing a cough? I submit there is not.