John Lemon's Barrel of Fish

Posterboy for the whining conservative academic set. Candidate for troll of the week.


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Saturday, August 09, 2003


All the discussion about Arnold's run for CA governor brought up an important issue for me. When running for political office, an incumbent tends to have a significant advantage over a new challenger, ceteris paribus. If neither candidate is an incumbent, experience in some other political office (be it school board, water commissioner or county council representative) tends to help. Arnold seems to be the exception to the rule, but he has also appeared in an amazing number of blockbuster movies such as Junior, Eraser and The Last Action Hero.

Well, I've been contemplating a run for public office (and actually have been encouraged by a few people). However, since I'm a pretty brilliant guy, and because I have a blog, I don't want to start out with any puny shit office. No water commissioner for me. It is either governor, US Senate or nothing. However, I have a problem. I have never held public office before (other than sitting in the mayor's chair during an elementary school field trip). Worse yet, my movie credits only include standing around an "on location" movie set and bugging them until they gave me $25 to go away. (This actually works.)

So, I need experience. To remedy this, I have gathered my son's collection of Beanie Babies into a small village and have appointed myself Mayor Royale (a cross between an elected executive and an absolute dictator). Henceforth, the village shall be called Beaniebabyville. Because I am an ardent devotee of The Federalist Papers and the subsequent checks and balances built into the US Constitution, I have created a proper constitution for Beaniebabyville, which henceforth will be called the Beaniebabyville Constitution of 2003 (BC2003). The logic of this constitution is that "less is more." Too many conditions become too confusing and are really hard to write. The Constitution shall take effect tomorrow at 12:01 a.m. and contains the following:

Article 1, Section 1. All citizens of Beanybabyville shall heed and obey the declarations of the Mayor Royale.

Article 2, Section 1. Any citizen of Beanybabyville not complying with Article 1, Section 1 shall be disemboweled.

Let our new and enlightened way of life begin!

posted by John at 10:43 PM


Lee at Right Thinking* links to this NYT article (requires free subscription) about a junior high school teacher who plead guilty to possessing (with intent to sell) cocaine and marijuana. The reason this is news is that a court just ordered this guy to be reinstated to his old job. Part of his old job was being the Dean of Discipline at the junior high school. This decision apparently hinged upon his completion of a drug counseling course that would expunge the drug conviction from his criminal record.

Well, paint me stupid, but this raises an important issue for me. Being a teacher myself, I didn't know it was wrong to sell drugs to students. Go figure. You learn something new everyday.

* Lee's permalinks seem to be out of commission.

posted by John at 10:20 PM

Friday, August 08, 2003


Some dandy campaign posters here. Warning: Not for small children or anyone offended by language commonly found here.

Truth or Dare: How many of you think I should post the Arnold one on my university office door?

posted by John at 10:16 PM


Well, he did it again. Lemon Jr., while I was getting him in his jammies for the night, put his head on my shoulder and said, "Daddy, I want to be just like you." I said, "how?" He replied, "I want to be a coach. I want to coach t-ball. And I will coach a team called the yellow beavers." (His team is currently known as the Blue Sharks.) Again, this makes the urine in the hair all worth it.*

* This is a true story. While at a major theme park, only weeks after he had potty trained ... well, let me just put it this way: Do not give your child a piggy back ride (on your shoulders) if he is only weeks from potty training and in an environment where he could get excited.

posted by John at 10:08 PM


"Schwarzenegger vague on remedies." Gray Davis and Howard Dean held up as models of crystal clarity.

posted by John at 7:31 PM


I typically blog about my son's strange and errant ways, which are nowhere near as the story told in the post below. However, I am breaking the norm and telling you a very endearing story. As mentioned below, I coach t-ball. Coaching your own son can be tough since he expects that I will pay attention to him on the field and not the other 11 kids. Balancing this is pretty difficult, especially since my sense of balance is on par with Janet Reno after a five martini lunch.

Yesterday my son, with no prompting, said to me, "You're my coach... and my daddy." So I asked him, "Do you like me better as coach or daddy?" He said "daddy." I then asked why, and he said, "because I love you and you play fun games with me."* Moments like these almost make the cellphone in the toilet all worth it.

* Note: This will be the last time you see "I love you" on this blog.

posted by John at 5:42 PM


I coach t-ball for three- and four-year olds. Big tip -- three-year olds are too young for t-ball.

Anyways, there is one kid who I just have to blog about. First, he is (or should I say his parents are) never on time. In a 45-minute practice/game, his family usually comes 30 minutes late. The earliest they ever came was 15 minutes late. Two sessions ago, they came 42 minutes late! Why bother?!

The other thing is that this is one of the weirdest kids I've ever seen. He seems completely oblivious to everything going on around him and seems to wander aimlessly (more than most other kids). If he has the ball you cannot predict where the ball will end up. By this I mean anything within a 360 degree circle is fair game, and you don't know if it will be an over or underhand throw. He will just stand there with the ball in his hand with a blank look on his face staring who knows where. We coach him to "throw the ball, throw the ball." Then all of a sudden, with absolutely no warning, he will just start flailing (and I mean randomly flailing) his arms and let the ball go. Its the same thing with a bat -- we need to clear all the other kids far away.

I wish you all could see this because I've never, ever seen anything like this before.

posted by John at 5:36 PM


Just wanted to say hi.

posted by John at 5:29 PM


Sometimes you would think that certain companies don't have a sense of humor. Not so in this case.

posted by John at 4:02 PM


James at OTB says that everyone will be linking to this Lileks piece, which I refuse to link to just because he said that everybody will be linking to it. Lilkes is commenting on a piece that bloggers won't match Rush Limbaugh in influence and then makes an argument that bloggers -- not any particular one, but en masse -- are more influential.

This reminds me of the early talk surrounding the Internet. Remember? The Internet would replace "bricks and mortars" businesses. The Internet would transform social relations, blah, blah, blah. Well, I still like going to Borders books and drinking coffee and the Internet has not yet devised a way to make toast or wipe my ass after a bowel movement. I still would rather read my WSJ in print than staring at a radioactive screen. There are some two million bloggers out there, most of them (including myself) with nothing original to say. Is this the next manifestation of democracy? Sure, to the extent that two million people talking to a heap of scrap metal is democracy.

Listen, blogging is kinda neat. I do it more for myself than anything. It keeps me thinking about different things, it allows me to tell jokes and unusual stories when I'm not in the classroom, and it keeps me from writing my next book. My wife also agrees that it is better than porn, which I agree with. But we need to keep all of this in perspective. Blogging is basically ye olde "infinite number of monkeys with an infinite amount of time trying to write Shakespeare."

Plus, Lileks cites Star Trek alot and that is kinda scary. I went to a Star Trek convention once when I was a young teen and met Chekov. I looked around at all the adults at the convention and realized that I wanted to grow up and get a job at some point in my life. So here I am. Writing a blog. Oh, well. All our dreams can't come true.

posted by John at 11:57 AM


My posts have been light the past 24 hours as there have been some odd problems with Blogger (TM ... or perhaps S&M?). I had stuff to say about Arnold, Hillary and gay bishops, but I can't remember what now (short term memory -- I'm the academic version of Dory the Fish). Anyways, there are an infinite number of monkees on the Internet typing away, so I'm sure what I wanted to say was said somewhere else.

posted by John at 6:55 AM

Thursday, August 07, 2003


To paraphrase Steve Martin, "The new phone book's here. Whoopee!"

This is news only an academic could be interested in.

posted by John at 12:39 PM


"Please get your foot out of the toilet bowl."

posted by John at 12:34 PM

Wednesday, August 06, 2003


Mrs. Lemon is thinking about getting a small table for the entrance by our garage door so that we may store our briefcases and keys, thereby keeping them off the kitchen island counter.

Should I get a Corvette?

posted by John at 1:46 PM


It has been an unusually unproductive day. You can tell this by the fact that the highlight so far is when I got excited that the mail and the garbage pickup came at roughly the same time.

In the mail today, I received a small ad with the following phrase: "Education, the best gift you can give your child."

My son disagrees and argues that a Power Rangers Super Detroyer Pack would be a much better gift. I gotta go with him on this one as his choice is way cheaper.

posted by John at 1:39 PM


Does anybody recall if I took my vitamins today? For the life of me, I can't remember. This is an amazingly weird day. I think I had too much nitrous oxide at the dentist today, which is problematic considering that I didn't go to the dentist today.

posted by John at 12:45 PM


I really need to get to work today.

posted by John at 12:33 PM


James at OTB has made up a new code of ethics for bloggers. But it is so secret that I can't seem to find out what it is. Am I missing an inside joke here?

My only code is that there is no code. Oooooh, now there is a philosophical paradox.

posted by John at 12:32 PM


As noted in a post below, Howard Dean didn't have good grades. However, he went to medical school. The question came up as to which one. The answer is The Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx, part of Yeshiva University. Does anybody know anything more about this school (e.g., its reputation) or Dean's history of getting into it?

posted by John at 12:30 PM


Read my post here first, then come back and read this from here:

"...[Howard] Dean campaign manager Kate O'Connor was, perhaps, excited.
'We're back in Vermont for the day,' she had messaged supporters. 'We're in the office reintroducing ourselves to the people we work with!! And it sure is exciting here in the HQ!! Someone put a Coke can in the trash — and boy, was that a mistake! The Gov. noticed and reminded us that everything must be recycled!'"

And you thought I was joking about these people!

Hat tip: Taranto's Best of the Web.

posted by John at 12:13 PM


Apparently ignoring the advice of Mark Cuban,* Jerry Springer has decided to bow out of a Senate run.

* If Kobe is good for the NBA, Jerry would be great for political participation.

posted by John at 11:46 AM

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


Despite listening to some Rolling Stones today, I have been really listening to this disc alot. I didn't like it as much as this one at first, and had it on the shelf for awhile, but it really has grown on me and I think it is a masterful piece of work. It could well be this for the first decade of 2000. Plus, if you go here, you can see some really great videos for this album.

posted by John at 11:28 PM


Remember when Hillary did her listening tour? Remember when people actually listened to Tom Daschle? Remember when someone started a rumor that Tom Daschle was going to step down at the end of his term, and it was likely planted by Hillary's people?

Well, guess what? Tom's got a blog and it doesn't have a comment section.

posted by John at 11:22 PM


Good think Fritz Holling has a holistic view of our economy. He sees everything in perspective. Like this...

"at the end of World War II we had 40 percent of our workforce in manufacturing. And now we're down to 10 percent. We've got 10 percent of the country working and producing, and we've got the other 90 percent talking and eating. That's all they're doing."

Since Fritz is an old guy and his heart can't take anymore surprises, please do not tell him that of the "90 percent talking and eating," a good 80% of those will soon not be talking. Instead, they will be blogging.

posted by John at 10:30 PM


This is too unreal to believe. Why bother having a Constitution at all?

posted by John at 1:52 PM


Mark Cuban should put Latrell Sprewell or Allen Iverson on his squad. This is why I don't watch the NBA anymore.

posted by John at 1:48 PM

Monday, August 04, 2003


There's some good stuff down below folks. Don't let my narrow text boxes fool ya.

posted by John at 11:30 PM


James at OTB is constantly having contests. I've won three times, but have yet to see any beer or martinis. It is probably just a trick to get repeat business to his blog and boost his hits. Having been in marketing, this is a good idea and one that I will now shamelessly employ. Spread the word folks! Here it is:

List the ten funniest comics of the past 25 years.* I will present my first "Lemony" (TM) when I feel like the contest is over. Here is my list (in no particular order):

Dennis Leary
Gilbert Godfried
Bill Cosby
Steven Wright
Steve Martin
Catherine O'Hara
Gilda Radner
John Lemon**
Dan Akroyd
Harold Ramis
Martin Lawrence

Intentionally not mentioned: George Carlin, Dennis Miller, Jackie Martling and Janeane Garafolapogous.

* Most contests sponsored on blogs usually have a time limit of 15 or 25 years since most bloggers are below that age. Us old folks can't figure out how to create innovative websites. Actually, we can, but we don't have the time of a 25 year old. And actually, I'm the only old fart who can't figure this out. And since I am old, let's just stick to what I can remember, OK?

** OK, this one won't count, but it should be noted that the Lemonhead has performed standup and was invited to audition for a fairly famous comedy troupe (which I turned down upon my mother's request and based on the notion that comedians usually end up bloated and dead. I just ended up bloated.)

posted by John at 11:20 PM


Call out the false advertising police! I was all excited tonight for a straight hour of this show,* as promised by the local Sunday paper TV guide. I got my cottage cheese** and pulled up a sports-denominated beanbag chair and was all set. Instead, I got this show, which wasn't all that funny. It wasn't bad, but after 5 minutes I just faded out. Isn't there a government agency that can protect me from this kind of abuse?!

* This show is probably the best "pee-in-your-pants-funny" show I've ever seen. It is not the best or most inspired comedy out there (an honor that goes to The Simpsons), but damnit this show is funny.

** I know what you are thinking -- the Lemonhead is on a diet. Not really. While in a constant struggle to keep weight off, I will openly admit to enjoying large curd cottage cheese. However, Mrs. Lemon packed the last of the large curd in her lunch bucket and left me with the watery small curd store brand. Damnit!

posted by John at 10:34 PM


Astronomy magazine is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Congratulations to one of the finest magazines around -- great for beginners and amateurs, but not dumbed-down. I'm a regular subscriber and will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, I would have put Scientific American in that same category, and one with a longer pedigree, but about 5 or 6 years ago I noticed that it was becoming increasingly political. They did add an economics column which had some good articles, but overall it was mixing a leftist agenda with basic science. I don't know if anyone else had this impression, but do let me know if you share my impression (or even if you don't). Also, since I haven't read it except for skimming through it on the occasional airport layover, I don't know if it still has this tilt. Enlighten me.

posted by John at 10:27 PM


The whole gay Episcopalian bishop thing was cruising along but now seems to have hit a road block. This is probably not the greatest timing for those in the gay rights movement. You have the whole Catholic priest misconduct thing that is out there, then the Supreme Court decision that seems to have had an odd effect of reducing public support for the gay rights agenda. Now this.

For the record, I am actually fine with gay marriage but have not chosen to blog about it to date since it is not all that salient of an issue with me. Soccer coaches stamping my kid with ink is a bit higher up on the agenda. However, Mrs. Lemon and I have debated this issue and I can see some of the arguments against it. Also, I'm a bit hazy on the distinction between marriage and a legal civil union, though there seems to be big definitional issues under debate here. (Apparently the gay rights crowd is not happy with "just" a civil union.) Hey, isn't it a bit ironic that this issue is taking on greater saliency once the marriage penalty on federal income taxes has been repealed?

But all told, I think the issue should be solved at the state and local level. Let's give federalism a chance to work. This should not be a federal issue.

And just for the record, I think it is a bit early to start thinking about terraforming Mars as a matter of public policy. Let's get back on the moon first.

posted by John at 3:09 PM


Should heroin addicts be allowed to publicly defecate* on college campuses?

* This means without the benefit of a stall, or even a specifically designated bathroom.

posted by John at 2:19 PM


Tatoos have been all the rage over the past decade or so, more so than anytime in the past. Dr. Lemon is totally freaked out by needles, so I can assure you that I am art-free and always will be. But I have often wondered why so many younger kids are getting these things. I mean, didn't they see what it did to Mike Tyson? (There is a young guy in our university's cafeteria who has a tatoo that runs up his neck and is partially on his face. I really want to tell him that he has basically topped out on career options.)

Well, this weekend it struck me. Through various activities such as music class, soccer and pre-school, my kid has so many washable ink stamps on his body that he looks like Henry Rollins. (And like me and Henry, he is likely to have the neck of a nose tackle -- i.e., no neck.) And don't let the lable "washable ink" fool you; you can use a Brillo pad on some of these inks and they won't come off. They should label them as "indelible ink."

posted by John at 12:03 PM

Sunday, August 03, 2003


Is this guy running for US president, or the top job of a drought-stricken northern neighbor?

(Hint: Look to the lower right.)

posted by John at 9:09 PM


Today's reading: The Church (greatest hits -- actually, only hits) and Smashmouth. The latter was to get me going during a backbreaking day of planting bushes and needlessly repainting a tool shed.

posted by John at 9:07 PM


"Put your underwear on your bottom."

"No. I doubt the cat likes that."

P.S. Mrs. Lemon took Lemonhead Jr. (3.5 years) to the gym today to do some swimming, and was shocked when he broke out singing at the entrance (as I have taught him). It wasn't so much the singing as it was the song. "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you." The valet guy thinks it is totally cool. Mrs. Lemon does not share that mindset.

posted by John at 9:05 PM


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