Friday, May 2, 2008
Rags & Bones Vol. 4
Let’s omnibus, baby…
David Blaine, the once interesting magician, just broke the world record for holding his breath under water. On Oprah (which is a weird place if you ask me) Blaine held his breath for 17 minutes, 4.4 seconds. Uh, neat. Do a freaking magic trick.
Speaking of breath…
When it comes to the most useless invention ever, I lean towards the candle snuffer. A brass bell shaped “tool” that you cover the candle with, thus decreasing the oxygen and the flame is extinguished. We already had an invention to do that. It’s called your breath. Pucker up and blow fancy boy.
Archeologists and treasure hunters recently found a shipwreck off the coast of South Africa that contained “tons of copper ingots, elephant tusks, gold coins — and cannons to fend off pirates.” Who doesn’t love a good pirate treasure story? How does treasure hunter become your occupation? That might be the coolest job in the world. Where do I send my resume?
I picked the Suns to win the NBA championship. Oops. If we are cursed with a Spurs versus Pistons finals, I am boycotting the whole shebang. I can’t handle another San Antonio flopathon and games where the final score is 77-73. You put Tim Duncan and Rasheed Wallace on the same floor and it will be Whineapalooza 2008. Can’t handle it. Here is, yet again, more proof the NBA was more fun when everybody hated each other. Larry Bird took on Charles Barkley and Dr. J. Good times.
I wonder why there hasn’t been any significant new musical instruments in the last 50 years. Are we out of ideas for horns? You would think the would be a new woodwind invented since 1900. The only new instrument I could think of was the synthesizer, and that’s still just a piano. Or another stringed instrument besides variations of guitars, violins, or ukulele’s. There has to be more ideas out there. And no, I don’t think the keytar counts.
Here is an amazing little nugget of musical history. During sound check before The Concert for Bangladesh, Bob Dylan and George Harrison performed a duet version of Bob’s “If Not For You.” I miss George.
Life took a turn towards the surreal when my cousin Aaron and I were talking on the phone and I wondered aloud whatever happened to a guy we used to play basketball with. A good guy, but he had a few run-ins with the law after some bad judgment. Which was too bad because he was really good, could have played at USC. So, we googled him. And then we saw this. It took a moment for what we saw to set in. Is that real? He is on a site called writeaprisoner.com? Really? So bizarre. The best part was the photo he chose. “Hey, do you have that picture of me swigging Hennessy right from the bottle? Cool. I’m going to use it for my writeaprisoner.com profile.” We also liked how he wrote his “favorite flavor of woman is caramel butterscotch.” You can’t make that up.
And finally, an even odder story. This week in the Indian state of Maharashtra, locals participated in a 500 year old ritual where infants are dropped 50 feet off a tower into a blanket below. This is done for “good luck.” Who's running this town, Mola Ram? (Thanks for the joke Drew.) You know, I’m all for cultural tradition, but maybe there are a couple we could lose. Dropping babies off a tower may be one of them. I can’t stop imagining how this started 500 years ago.
I think the conversation may have sounded something like this;
Two farmers are sitting on a hill beneath a tree, looking down at their village.
Abu: You know, the crops aren’t coming in very good this year.
Punjab: Tell me about it. And our cows aren’t giving milk. Dry as a bone. You know what else? I lost my favorite pair of sandals in that last flood.
Abu: We can’t get a break.
Punjab: I hear you. What we could use is some better luck. Some good luck.
Abu: Right. We need some good luck. But what could we do? Any ideas?
Punjab: Well, let me think. Give me a minute. (Both men ponder in silence for ten minutes or so.) I have an idea, it may sound a little strange, but hear me out.
Abu: Go on.
Punjab: You have an infant son right? Well, so do I.
Abu: (Intrigued) Go on.
Punjab: There’s that 50 foot tower over there doing nothing. It’s more decoration than anything else. I say we go to the top of the tower, have the rest of the town down below holding a blanket, then we drop our sons off the tower. For good luck.
Abu: (Still intrigued) Interesting.
Punjab: What’s the worst that could happen? A couple broken necks? I really feel this is our best shot at better luck.
Abu: Well, I’ve heard enough. Let’s do this.
The two men shake hands and begin to walk back towards the village to retrieve their sons to drop them off a tower.
Punjab: I have another idea. I call it Russian Roulette.
Abu: Tell me more.
It probably went something like that. 500 years later, we have this: