John Lemon's Barrel of Fish

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


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Tuesday, August 26, 2003


"I know your frustrated because you don't want to pull up your underwear, but you don't bite mommy."

posted by John at 6:34 PM


After a rather frustrating week, I finally had a pleasant experience. I put in an order at Road Runner Sports for some shoes and other stuff and the guy taking in my order on the phone was one of the most pleasant folks you could imagine. We talked about running and wished me well on my upcoming surgery (not actually surgery since they don't cut me open, but it is a special "procedure" nonetheless). Over the years, I have had countless pleasant experiences with this company and have never been disappointed with service or anything. A great company that specializes in selling running shoes and paraphenelia, but they have lots of other stuff for non-runners.

posted by John at 1:42 PM


John Lemon will be taking a short vacation for about a week. John Lemon will not be taking his computer. Even if John Lemon did take his computer, he would not uplink. John Lemon is obsessive, but is not that obsessive.

John Lemon will return.

posted by John at 9:45 AM


(For those not familiar with the BB King posts, start here.)

Things in Beaniebabyville have been on autopilot lately. Members of the al-Cata feline terror network have been on the prowl, but we have not had any additional attacks. Dust bunny production has been poor, but the citizenry is becoming covered with dusty dust, indicating that they have been working in the Dust Bunny Mines under the Guest Bed Mountains. I cannot resolve this paradox so I plan to appoint a blue ribbon commission to study this problem. Unfortunately, when I went to get the blue ribbon I found only pink and yellow. The Yellow Commission Panel met a few days ago. This action apparently provoked a minor incursion by at least one member of the al-Cata network, which resulted in said al-Cata suspect vomiting up on the dining room carpet. It appears as if this attack was directed more at Mayor Royale than the Beaniebabyville citizens themselves, since Mayor Royale had to clean it up on orders of Mrs. Mayor Royale (a Rasputin-like character who lurks in the shadows of Beaniebabyville).

As Mayor Royale will be undertaking a world tour over the next several days, and since he is concerned about the well-being of his citizenry (being the benevolent dictator he is), I have take it upon myself to convene a parliament. While history tends to point out that this is a bad idea (think French Revolution), I am assured by Gizmo the Lemur (who looks like a trusting fellow) that convening a parliament is a good idea. Beanieparliament, as it has been so named, took it upon itself to introduce legislation decreasing the work week in the Dust Bunny Mines and raise the minimum wage. Mayor Royale reminded them that the proper role of a parliament was to keep their mouths sewn shut. More importantly, the only legislation to be introduced and debated by Beanieparliament will be legislation introduced by Mayor Royale. And the debate shall be restricted to praise for the pure genius of Mayor Royale.

Gizmo the Lemur, head parliamentarian,* inquired to when I was leaving.

I said, "soon."

He smiled and wished me well. What a nice fellow.

* While Gizmo is technically a Prime Minister, I prefer the term head parliamentarian (small case letters) since it is actually a hybrid system like France. I figured France has a good track record with republican government, yet still maintains a history of tyrranical kings.

posted by John at 9:44 AM


Al Franken was on one of the morning shows yesterday. I can't remember which one. He claims that the Fox News lawsuit was prompted by Bill O'Reilly. I found this to be a plausible hypothesis as O'Reilly is increasingly becoming a megolomaniacal blowhard. He is able to take criticism less well than Larry King understands humor. Nonetheless, when Franken tried to make jokes, it was very, very apparent that they were all set up in advance and the delivery was horrible. I mean it was really horrible.

posted by John at 9:16 AM


One of my most despised sayings is "you can't judge a book by its cover." Of course you can. That is why publishing houses invest lots of time, energy and creativity into drawing up good covers. Or why book series have a distinctive covers so that you know that book belongs to a particular series.

This came up when Mrs. Lemon and I decided to get our windows washed. There is this little red truck that look like a scaled down version of an old-fashioned fire engine that drives around a neighboring community. The writing on the side neatly informs you that it belongs to a small window washing business. The truck is always spotless and well-organized. We decided to take the phone number off the side and give them a call. The "book cover" of this truck basically signalled that whoever washes your windows will take good care to do a professional job. Granted, this may be a ruse and the workmanship may be poor, but on first glance I would say the odds are against it.

Additionally, one of the things we look for when finding a handyman or specialty service provider (to fix things I routinely break) is the Christian fish symbol.* You've probably seen them on cars. Well, in the phone book, some businesses place these fish symbols on their ads. (We also look for professional looking ads if we want quality workmanship since a more expensive ad signals that the business is serious about capital investment and hence quality.) You've probably seen these symbos on the back of cars. Again, it may be the case that the business is just using this symbol deceptively, but odds are probably against it.

I think it is kind of interesting that I've never seen a contractor put a Darwin symbol** on their ads.

* I'm well aware that the fish symbol may likely has pagan origins, but that is besides the point so don't bother bringing it up.

** You have probably seen these on cars too -- they are a play on the fish symbol, basically a fish with little feet. I have always thought that whoever dreamt that one up was pretty creative.

posted by John at 9:03 AM


If you are a teacher avoid this website like the plague. Also, if you are a parent and ever hear a teacher mutter something off this website during a parent-teacher conferences, get your kid out of that school ASAP!

And also for all you aspiring teachers, here is a bit of advice. Mrs. Lemon heard on the radio yesterday* that many teachers are trying to dress like their students to better connect with them. This includes shirts bearing the midrift and piercings. If you want to teach anywhere or at anytime, do not follow this trend. Kids have plenty of friends in their school, they don't need you to like or be liked by them. The two most beneficial things you can take with you into the classroom are authority and respect. Teachers who can achieve this and lighten the room up with some controlled humor are the best teachers around.

* Since radio is a format that tends to favor anecdote (spelled correctly) over aggregate data, this may not be a trend. But then again, a scatterplot is nothing more than aggregated anecdotes (again, spelled correctly).

posted by John at 8:49 AM


For those of you who don't have kids yet, you probably have wondered why parents with small children are always late. Five words:

"I can do it myself."

Generally followed by:

"No! No! I can do it myself!"

posted by John at 8:41 AM

Monday, August 25, 2003


"Please tell me those aren't urine stains on the wall."*

* While I don't like giving the context of these quotes away, suffice it to say that the urine stains were not Lemon Jr.'s fault (and they were not caused by animals).

posted by John at 10:08 PM


Today started out quite poorly. I didn't put the coffee pot underneath the coffee maker correctly (you'd thing a $120 machine would do it for you). I then spilled my only cup of coffee all over the floor. I knicked the car mirror on the garage while leaving. It became difficult dealing with the YMCA to get my kid's tee-ball picture from a delinquent coach. The day continued in this vein (with much more serious stuff -- at least in terms of career).

However, at about 3:30, it just hit me that this all didn't matter. I was on my way to get my son from school and realized that he doesn't care how many articles I publish, how many times I get invited to Harvard, whether or not I'm advancing the paradigm or whether I get promoted to full professor or not. He just wants me to roll around and play with him on the floor. To bring out the big workout ball and play "baby bowling" in the backyard, or teach him how to play tic-tac-toe.

While in the car driving back home, he said to me (totally unprovoked), "Daddy, some day when I'm bigger I'm going to get a tee-ball coach shirt just like you and coach tee-ball. You're a great coach Daddy. I really love you." This conservative crank nearly broke down blubbering in the car. (Fortunately, I got my senses straight and realized only pony-tailed lefties have "feelings." I then vowed to myself to kick a homeless person next time I was in New York.)*

Someone once told me that when you finally end up in an old-age home, no one ever talks about their careers. They talk about their families. It takes some people 70 years to figure this out. And some never do. I'm not going to be an academic superstar. I'm not going to shift any paradigms. I'll probably never be invited to Harvard again. But I think I'll do okay at the old age home.

* I should note that my son shortly followed this up with, "Daddy, can we go to the Coffee Bean and get a cookie now?"

posted by John at 6:37 PM

Sunday, August 24, 2003


posted by John at 11:44 PM


My son has been extraordinarily good lately and my parenting skills have improved immensely (being that it is easy to be a parent when you child listens). This is not good for blogging. However, I did have a little bit of fun at mom's (Mrs. Lemon's) expense today. Lemon Jr. had to brush his teeth but was too excited about going swimming, and a bit tired from rough sleep the night before, that he was doing the civil disobedience thing -- kind of like a nun chained to a nuclear silo. So, instead of yelling, I dug deep into my bag of motivational tactics and combined it with some ways to improve household efficiency. The garbage in the upstairs bath had to be emptied. I told my son that emptying it was a big privilege and he could only do it if he brushed his teeth. Fortunately for the future productivity of our great nation Lemon Jr. is a genius. Unfortunately, he immediately figured out that I was bullshiting (bullshitting?). So, I went one step further and used a male primordial preference to my advantage. I said if he brushed his teeth he could take the garbage downstairs naked. It worked. But it also shocked his mom, who shouted "[Lemon Jr.]! What are you doing down here with no clothes on? What if our neighbors come over and see you?"* To which I replied from the top of the stairs, "like they've never seen a naked kid before!" Which drew the response, "not our kid."** She did have a good point.

* This is an unlikely scenario, but a great excuse because the kid doesn't know better on that yet.

** This is not entirely true -- our neighbors, no; strangers, yes. I do believe I blogged about my child being in a department store one time, noticing that they were selling the same underwear he was wearing and shouting out that he had the same underwear, after which he began to pull down his pants and reveal all his glory. (When he pulls down his pants, his underwear tends to come with it -- most owners of 3 year olds can concur on this point.)

posted by John at 11:43 PM


Now why didn't the Supreme Court take this one up?

Just got back and here is my basic Shakespearean review of the plot.

Boys meet girls.
Boys get folded in bed and pierced (though not simultaneously).
Many more boys meet many more girls.
Most of those boys and girls get pierced, diced, burned, etc.
Boy and girl burn and drown two miscreants.
Miscreants appear dead, but you should know better.

This is Hamlet if there ever was anything.

Admittedly, this movie was more entertaining than the Matrix Reloaded, but not at all scary or even that gory. Despite a quantum leap to keep the plot moving, it was your basic monster-slasher film and a bit better than I had expected (super-low expectations will do that.)

posted by John at 11:28 PM


For those of you not familiar with the male half of the human species, let me give you some insight. There is something primordial about male behavior that tells us that if there is a large natural space (e.g., forest) with no one around, it is okay to pee. In fact, you could basically say that no male is 100% trained to used indoor plumbing, even when it may only be 50 feet away.

Now let me tell you a bit about my environment. The Lemons live right next to a heavily wooded area (about 3 square miles behind and to the side of us). We are in a neighborhood, but it is difficult to see your neighbors. We live in a portion of this neighborhood where the chance of a car coming by is virtually nil.

Well, I'll let you figure out the rest. I have to take my son swimming.*

* The first paragraph can be applied to small children and swimming pools.

posted by John at 12:30 PM


"I officially declare this to now be a bad time to teach you about home improvement projects."

posted by John at 12:25 PM


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