Archive for the ‘Quote Board’ Category


Lego police interrogation (dialogue by Phil)

March 14, 2012

[Setting: the Interrogation Room of the Lego City Police Station.]

COP #1: “Where were you in the 20th century?”

SUSPECT #1: “What are you talking about?”

COP #1: “Where were you in the 20th century?”

SUSPECT #1: “I don’t remember.”

COP #1: “Shoot him.”

[COP #2 shoots SUSPECT #1.]

COP #1, turning to SUSPECT #2: “Where were YOU in the 20th century?”

SUSPECT #2: “I don’t know.”

COP #1: “Shoot him.”

[COP #2 shoots SUSPECT #2.]

COP #1: “These guys don’t talk very well.”


Scooby Don’t

March 10, 2012

Phil is starting to recognize the artificiality of certain plot devices in What’s New Scooby-Doo?

Me, trying to explain the episode “A Scooby-Doo Valentine”: “J.C. Chasez created evil clones of Shaggy, Scooby, Fred, Velma, and Daphne so that they would be arrested and put in jail. He did this because he was sick and tired of [his girlfriend] Rachel talking about [her ex-boyfriend] Shaggy all the time.”

Phil: “Why didn’t he just tell her?”

Exactly, son.


My little environmentalist

January 25, 2012

Today I picked Phil up from preschool after not seeing him for five days.

I entered the school with my bike helmet on.

The first words out of his mouth: “Dad! It’s good you’re using the car less, because polar bears might die. You know that because you’re a scientist.”

How’s that for a content-rich greeting?


Phil the orator: recent excerpts (updated Jan. 16)

January 4, 2012

“Are clone troopers on [Santa’s] naughty list?”

* * * * * *

Phil: “Look, Dad, you forgot your phone in the car. I got it just in time.”

Me: “Phil to the rescue!”

Phil: “I’m not a hero, Dad.”

* * * * * *

Me, reading from the Judith Viorst book: “It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

Phil: “Why doesn’t he [just] say it was a bad day?”

* * * * * *

“When I get peas at school I pretend that the peas are army guys and the [pod] on the outside is the plane and when it comes close to crashing the guys jump out.”

* * * * * *

Me: “It’s bad to throw snowballs made out of ice.”

Phil: “Why?”

Me: “Well, if you hit someone in the right place, it could really hurt.”

Phil: “Don’t you mean, if you hit someone in the WRONG place?”

Me: “Right.”


Greg’s crackpot theories, #1: the Opportunistic Joke Theory

January 3, 2012

The Opportunistic Joke Theory (OJT) states that the best, funniest jokes are mind-boggingly specific to the context in which they were made. They are jokes about which people remark “you had to be there”; if you weren’t, your chance to hear that particular joke may never come again.

My all-time favorite exemplar of the OJT involves a type of elective surgery best left undiscussed here. Over Christmas break, though, my uncle Scott provided another one that will suffice for illustrative purposes. We were driving in southern South Carolina near Parris Island, where new marines are trained, when we came upon a Tanger Outlet store.

“Hey, did you hear that Tanger is expanding its chain one final time?” Scott said. “They’re building a new store at the marine base. It’s going to be called Last Tanger on Parris.”


The Best of Times

December 29, 2011

My mom’s side of the family and my dad’s side have at least one thing in common besides my sister and me: an interest in and aptitude for writing. My aunts and uncles have written and edited works ranging from Don’t Tread On Me: The Selected Letters of S.J. Perelman to A Birder’s Guide to Minnesota to an unpublished organic chemistry textbook. It follows that our favorite game to play at family reunions entails creating and judging opening sentences of novels.

WHAT IS NEEDED: a bookshelf full of books, four or more players, one pen or pencil per player, and plenty of scrap paper.

HOW TO PLAY: One player — the Reader — selects a novel from the shelf and reads the title, author, and cover blurb to the others. Then he/she writes the first sentence of the book on a piece of paper while everyone else composes an alternative beginning. The Reader collects all of the sentences, mixes them up, and reads them aloud in random order. Everyone besides the Reader picks the sentence he/she thinks is the real one. One point is awarded for guessing the real first sentence; one point is also awarded for writing a sentence that someone else chooses. If nobody’s choice is correct, the Reader gets two points. Play continues until every player has had a turn as the Reader.

We didn’t invent this game, but we don’t know where it came from or what it is called. This Christmas I decided that we should give it a proper name, at least for intra-family purposes, and my proposal to call it “The Best of Times” (a reference both to Charles Dickens’ most famous lead-off sentence and our enjoyment of the game) was accepted by a majority of the Family Council.

My father, with his knack for conjuring up plausible geographical features, is the perennial champion. He didn’t play on Tuesday night, though, allowing me to carve out a rare victory, which I clinched with this hypothetical opening to Clive Cussler’s Treasure: “The secret to navigating out on the open sea is to ignore the compass and trust the sextant.” That’s not true, but it has a ring of authenticity and two people fell for it.

My Uncle Scott has also achieved a kind of notoriety for his opening sentences. On Tuesday, when Angela’s Ashes came up, he wrote, “Mount St. Angela really blew her stack.”

In another game, years ago, a turn was devoted to Too Late The Phalarope. Scott offered, “The phalarope was running late — very late.”

In our family, that’s right up there with “It was a dark and stormy night.”


Highlights from family Christmas gathering

December 25, 2011

My dad: “These muffins are half blueberry, half poppyseed.”
My uncle: “What? The muffins are half hubris, half hypocrisy?”

* * * * *

Most intriguing books in our guest house, as judged by their titles: “Beware The Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt” (Harvey Mackay); “Anything For Billy” (Larry McMurtry); “The Fist Of God” (Frederick Forsyth); “An Insular Possession” (Timothy Mo); “The Unmaking Of A Mayor” (William F. Buckley, Jr.); “The Parsifal Mosaic” (Robert Ludlum).


Wisdom from the booster seat

December 12, 2011

Phil was in rare form today as we drove to and from his preschool.

On the way there, I was explaining that the days are shorter in December than during the rest of the year. “It’s good the nights are long, so Santa has time to deliver toys to every boy and girl,” Phil noted. Pretty good reasoning for a 5-year-old.

On the way home, he was pretending that one of his plush ducks was shrinking. “Ducky’s so small that you can’t see him,” Phil said. “He’s as small as a cell.” Pretty good simile for a 5-year-old.


Phil’s first internship?

November 23, 2011

“Dad, I don’t want to go to school today. I want to go to your work and help you make cells.”

“Well, I don’t need to make cells today. I’m just going to do an experiment with a protein.”

“Can I help you with the pwoh-tein? You can do the hard parts and I can do the easy parts.”

Numerous practical considerations (and laws) prevent me from using my 5-year-old as a research assistant, of course. But I love that he thinks of scientific research as something that he can participate in. Too often it’s considered an enterprise reserved for highly trained eggheads.


Family fashion, part 2

November 8, 2011

The latest evidence that Phil is far more fashion-savvy than either of his parents: this morning he took one look at the shirt below — a black Ralph Lauren polo shirt with a number 3 on one sleeve and a large polo logo on the front — and said matter-of-factly, “This would be a good bowling shirt.”

We weren’t discussing bowling at the time, and I don’t think we’ve ever discussed bowling attire per se. But he’s totally right.