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Archive for January, 2008

Rich Ferguson

The Puberty Talk…Or as Paulie the Penis Says: What The Heck is Happening To My Genitals!? – Part II of III

January 31st, 2008
by Rich Ferguson



In Part I of This Post:

I’d been asked by the school nurse to give my fifth grade boys the puberty talk. A couple problems, though: First, I’d never given anyone the puberty talk. Next, the nurse had asked that I refrain from discussing too much about sex while giving the talk.

Yeah right, I thought. That would be like trying to discuss the Theory of Relativity without ever mentioning E = MC 2.

Still, I felt I owed it to my students to do whatever I could to help usher them into manhood.

So I agreed.

To give the puberty talk.


Lenore Zion

Beauty In The Eyes Of A Fish

January 30th, 2008
by Lenore Zion


I have always associated certain things in my life with specific scents and aromas.

I believe it is the strongest of my five senses because I never forget a smell and I always remember the moment when I first experienced it, whereas I can just barely picture my own mother’s face when pressured to do so.


R Kent

Keep Going: Lessons from Kilimanjaro, part III of III

January 30th, 2008
by R Kent


At 11:30 on the fourth night, we heard Gabriel calling.

He was outside our tent, telling us it was time.

We had had a handful of hours to sleep after our early dinner, but I mostly tossed and turned.

We were 4,600 meters above sea level, our sleeping bags warm but constantly sliding downwards, as our tent was stapled down to a rocky incline.

The lovely Isabelle and I quickly dressed, shimmying into Spiderman-tight long underwear, fleeces and rain gear.

We stuffed toe warmers between sock layers and laced up our boots.

We pulled on balaclavas and strapped headlamps to our foreheads.

And we unzipped the tent and stepped out into the cold.

Seven minutes before midnight, we started our climb. (more…)

Megan Power

With All Due R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I Call for a Moratorium on Spelling in Songs

January 30th, 2008
by Megan Power


Spelling in songs is a lyrical device used to rally crowds. The gimmick has enjoyed some great moments.

A brief retrospective:

B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his name-o


Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

From Little Gray Storm Cloud of Doom to Pinup Girl: Part One

January 29th, 2008
by Meghan Elizabeth Hunt


This story actually starts in August, just after my birthday.

It starts with Jessica’s birthday present, something Jilly had been buzzing about for almost a month.


R Kent

Keep Going: Lessons from Kilimanjaro, part II of III

January 29th, 2008
by R Kent

By R Kent


It gets boring.

You climb six, seven, hours each day, and it’s steep and hard, and you soon lose interest in conversation.

Your guide doesn’t speak great English, and you don’t really feel like making the effort to be understood.

Your mouth is occupied by breathing (by the third day you’re already huffing and puffing too much to breathe through your nose), so you can’t physically talk much anyway.

So, though you’re climbing with your lovely wife by your side, you find yourself drawn more and more inwards.

You talk to yourself.

You make mental notes of all the wonderfully different and unique observations about mountain climbing that you will make once you’re back down.

You want to write a treatise on how life is like climbing a mountain, how you can only get to the top one step at a time, that the best part of the trip is the journey itself and not the destination, but then you realize all these things have been said before.

You keep climbing, up, up, up.

And sometimes it’s down, down, down. (more…)

R Kent

Keep Going: Lessons from Kilimanjaro, part I of III

January 28th, 2008
by R Kent


Je ne me souviens que d’un mur immense,

Mais nous étions ensemble,

Ensemble, nous l’avons franchi.

-Jean Jacques Goldman

We were unprepared.

Despite our fleece-lined jackets and our hand warmers.

Despite our diligent reading about Kilimanjaro and its various summit routes.

Despite all the training we did in the foothills of Arusha’s Mount Meru, marching up steep and dusty inclines on weekends.

Looking back on our time on the mountain, I don’t know, though, if there was really anything we could have done differently to ready us for our trek on Kilimanjaro.

Some things you just can’t know about beforehand. (more…)

Rich Ferguson

The Puberty Talk…Or as Paulie the Penis Says: What The Heck is Happening To My Genitals!? – Part I

January 27th, 2008
by Rich Ferguson




Picture the Scene:

It’s that time of year when the fifth graders at my elementary school get the puberty talk.

The thing is, the school doesn’t have a regular health teacher.

That left the nurse to talk to the girls.

The fifth grade boys were another story.


Noria Jablonski

Baby, I’m a Star (with Pink Eye and a Brown Caftan)

January 27th, 2008
by Noria Jablonski


When Star Wars came out when I was eight, I had friends who lived across the street from George Lucas. To me, it was like they lived across the street from God, if God looked like someone’s dad, bearded and bushy-haired in a plaid flannel shirt, puttering around on his deck. Later that year I moved to a new town, one immortalized in another George Lucas film, American Graffiti.


R Kent

From the Land of the Ch’tis to Alsatian Fairytale Villages, France is a Place Whose Parts Are As Great As Its Sum

January 26th, 2008
by R Kent


Go to any movie theater in France right now, and the longest line will be for a fish-out-of-water comedy called Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Land of the Ch’tis).

The movie tells the story of Philippe, a post office manager who gets reassigned from a sunny town in Provence to cold Bergues, a small village in Nord Pas-de-Calais, in the extreme north of France, home to a weird people who call themselves Ch’tis.

Philippe’s new friend Antoine, along with a cast of wacky locals, welcome the newbie, teaching him how to speak Ch’ti (which to my American ears sounds like drunk French, the ‘s’ sound becoming ‘sh’, the end of each sentence punctuated with a sound somewhat like an angry duck’s quack).

Philippe, at first utterly aghast at the prospect of having to spend two years in this strange land where torrential rains start at the border and the residents breakfast on bread first slathered in pungent cheese, then dipped in chicory-flavored coffee, eventually learns to speak Ch’ti like a local and ends up loving the place.

When it’s time for Philippe to return home to the south of France, he is predictably sad to go.

Antoine explains to him the local adage that “People only cry twice in Nord Pas-de-Calais. When they arrive, and when they leave.” (more…)

Brad Listi

Just in Case You Ever Decide to Buy a Full-Grown Male Llama That Has Not Yet Been Castrated

January 24th, 2008
by Brad Listi



On November 13th, 2005, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, an electronics technician named Dale Airsman was attacked by his four-year-old llama named Charlie.

The first indication of potential danger came early that morning, when Mr. Airsman walked out onto his property and heard Charlie let out an unusual growl, which then evolved into a high-pitched squeal.

Charlie then spit, flattened his ears back, and bared his choppers, which included three sets of razor-sharp “fighting teeth,” which llamas use to rip the scrotum (more…)

Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

I Am a Ninja Master and This is My Trivial Pursuit Pie Piece of Doom

January 22nd, 2008
by Meghan Elizabeth Hunt


This is Dan.


Dan is a friend and former American University colleague, meaning we worked together when I inhabited a small corner cubicle down in DC.


Steve Dupont

Hold Onto Your Hat - Thus Begins the Backlog Bombardment, Bitches

January 21st, 2008
by Steve Dupont



This is kinda how I’ve felt for a while now, regarding a whole slew — yes, one entire slew! — of unfinished and otherwise aborted TNB posts.


Eric Spitznagel

The Beat Generation: 50 Literary Euphemisms for Masturbation

January 19th, 2008
by Eric Spitznagel


1. Blurbing yourself

2. Burying the lede

3. Coaxing Salinger to come out and play

4. Coming up with a gripping plot twist


Kip Tobin

Dissecting the Viking Slap: Parts 1 - 3

January 17th, 2008
by Kip Tobin


In contemplating this post (possibly the first all-video post on TNB?) I looked into the history of the handshake and why humans have come to do it.

While it may be of (trivial) interest to note that Sir Walter Raleigh is accredited with bringing about the modern handshake (along with tobacco and thus the cigarette, the bastard) and also that it was initially used to reveal no weapons were being held and hence it was a show of trust and so on and so forth, I realized that I am not Wikipedia, that Wikipedia itself is probably only 80% accurate and that if you, dear reader, wish to know more about the handshake, reading it via my vapid digital prose (or non-plagiarized copying from Wiki) is probably not going to wow or educate you anymore than the pertinent text of Wikipedia itself.

So, JGreen and I developed this unique greeting which has been called the Viking S (more…)

R Kent

Climbing Kilimanjaro: A Matter of Life and Death

January 17th, 2008
by R Kent


Hemingway wrote a short story called “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”

He barely mentions the mountain.

The story mostly revolves around human beings dealing with human problems.

The mountain, as the reader learns at the end of the story, is something more than just rock and snow.

It is life and death, the only two things every human being on the planet has in common.

The lovely Isabelle and I will climb the mountain in a couple days, leaving from its base at the Machame Gate on the morning of January 19th, and hopefully returning after a successful summit on the 24th.

Over the last four months that we have spent in Africa, I have spoken often of life and death.

Africa seems to bring that out. (more…)

Paul A. Toth

AA: Not the Only Way

January 15th, 2008
by Paul A. Toth



I will start by giving the straight facts about AA. The program helps many, and adherents attribute their sobriety to it. I take them at their word. As I see it, whatever works, works. Nevertheless, AA is clearly a religious organization, steeped in Christian theology, with many of the meetings subtly reassuring the nonbeliever that he or she will, in time, come to pray on their knees, as I so often was told.


Greg Boose

My New Favorite Game is Guessing What Else Could Go Wrong With Her Apartment

January 15th, 2008
by Greg Boose


Lately, when stopping by my girlfriend’s apartment building, I’ve been feeling a lot like Tom Hanks in “The Money Pit.”

The place is falling apart faster than a button-down shirt from H&M, and every new discovery makes me laugh.

Or sigh.

Or pound my fists against the wall.


Reno J. Romero

On Misty Nights Strange Things Can Happen Like Sucking On Blue, Saying Hello To An Angel, Or Getting Bit In The Nuts By A Mutt Named Sammy

January 13th, 2008
by Reno J. Romero

The Queen City, NC-


I like Christmas. I like to see Christmas lights wrapped around houses. I like the cool air of winter. I like the good vibes people throw around, the smiles. It’s a childhood thing, I guess. A memory thing.


Doug Mulliken

God damn you, YouTube. God damn you to hell.

January 13th, 2008
by Doug Mulliken


I love YouTube. I have ever since my French roommate Nico introduced it to me when I was living in Barcelona two years ago. I think that YouTube and Wikipedia have probably done more for my procrastination than anything else I can think of on this planet.