This is what it says under “interests” in our facebook profile:

needlepointde-seeding watermelonsleeping standing uptracking rugby statisticsmaking tapiocawhistling dixiegenerating original euphemismsfashioning a bass with a microphone attachedskinny-dippingundoing buttonscrashing baby showers

Let’s have a look-see…

pink_houseNeedlepoint: Well, just look what can be done! If you aren’t already singing John(ny Cougar) Mellencamp,* then you are a lost cause. This is some truly inspirational work here, people.

*Music from Big Pink is also an acceptable thing to think about.

You think I’m being sarcastic, and maybe my tone implies as much, but true as toast, I can’t get enough of this 500 year old tradition. Needlepoint is art and if you don’t believe me, then stop by your nearest flea market and pick up some throw pillows or a monarch butterfly. And if you are particularly ambitious, we accept creative Needlepoint as barter for copies of bootleg Miss Fairchild cassettes.

De-seeing watermelon: It doesn’t get much better than that, now does it? I mean, pushing your fingers through cold, mealy watermelon to squeeze out the slimy black and younger white seeds*, all the while being sure that the juice drips into the bowl so you can drink it later. Whoever decided to grow these things seedless had clearly lost their passion for the finer moments of life. 

*Here’s a story: every 4th of July on Nantucket, the town closes down Main Street so people can come mill about, buy balloons and ice cream, watch the firefighters shoot water at each other, and listen to the town crier do his 17th century thing. There are also (as there must be int the United States of America) eating contests! When I was quite a bit younger, one of my brothers participated in the watermelon eating contest. My dad, my other brother and myself all stood behind the sawhorses** and cheered for him. He was good, too. Efficient. He had always been a fast eater, but only now was that truly an asset. Seth (other brother) and I cheered for him: “Go Caleb! Swallow the seeds! SWALLOW THE SEEDS!!!!” My dad, more concerned with his son’s health than winning (and having to carry home) a 30 lb. watermelon chimed in, “Choke! Choke!” He was being facetious of course, but I do wonder what the other parents thought…

**I seem to remember being fenced off by sawhorses, like one would at a concert. Did the organizers think we were going to rush the stage and disturb the integrity of the contest? Only now am I realizing how strange that detail is.

Sleeping standing up: When you are so tired that you can lock your knees, and your hips, and your shoulders, and your neck and just fall asleep, completely in balance with the world, then you know what it’s like to sleep standing up. Either that or your a somnambulist. Or a vampire.*

*I’m not convinced that vampires sleep standing up, not knowing much about them. However, I would not be surprised if they did, nor question this detail if I came across it somewhere else.

Tracking rugby statistics: Let’s see… You’ll be interested to know that India has a -26.38 point differential, whereas New Zealand is at +12.74. That’s a point differential differential of 39.12. This whole thing makes me downright deferential.

Making tapioca: Of course, I’m talking about making tapioca pudding. Tapioca, as we all know, is a colorless, odorless starch extracted from the root of the cassava plant. Here’s how to make tapioca pudding:


  • 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (you can usually find it in the baking section of the grocery store, do not use instant tapioca)
  • 3 cups whole milk (or skim milk with cream added)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla


1 Combine tapioca, milk, and salt in 1 1/2 quart pan on medium high heat. Stir until boiling. Simmer 5 minutes, uncovered at the lowest possible heat, adding sugar gradually.

2 Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Mix in some of the hot tapioca very slowly to equalize the temperature of the two mixtures (to avoid curdling).

3 Return eggs to pan with tapioca. Slowly bring mixture barely to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and stir several minutes at a low simmer, stirring constantly until you get a nice thick pudding consistency. Cool 15 minutes. Add vanilla. Serve either warm or chilled.

(Note: I stole this recipe from here.)

Whistling dixie: According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. whistling dixie is slang for “[engaging] in unrealistically rosy fantasizing”. Well, sounds like us!*

*We’d whistle the song “Dixie” too, if we could all whistle at all. Alas, not all of us can.

Generating original euphemisms: Isn’t that what the catchphrase series is all about? I mean, what is a catchphrase if not another way to say something that we already can say in other ways just fine. There all over our songs, and I’m not going to ruin the series by putting a half-assed explanation in this ridiculousness.

Fashioning a bass with a microphone attached: Um…

graham_larryWhen your captain hat is upstaged by the microphone coming out of your bass, you know you have something special going on. 

I would give two months pay for a cassette tape of the conversation between Larry Graham and Warner Bros. (you know he called his record company about this, no matter how inappropriate that would be) about his bass:

“Hello Warner Brothers? This is Larry Graham”

“Um, yes Mr. Graham. This is actually just Stacie, from the switchboard. To whom can I direct your call?”

“Yes, I need you to fashion me a bass with a microphone attached.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Graham, who would you like to speak with?”

“I’ll need that by next week. ‘One in a Million You’ is a massive hit and I’ll need to do my signature strut when playing the bass on all of the talk show.”

“Yes sir, but who would you like to-”

“Just have that delivered to the ‘Don Kirchner Show'” and make sure the action meets my standards.”

It goes without saying* that Mr. Graham is a huge personal hero to us. Please don’t smite us down for the humor, Captain.

*That expression always used to bother me. Isn’t that like saying, “The following statement is unnecessary” or “you are so stupid that I must point out the obvious to you”? Well, now I think it’s funny and use it liberally. I mean, obviously it has some staying power, right?

Skinny-dipping: ‘Nuff said.

Undoing buttons: This is less a band interest than a personal one. I used to nervously unfasten and refasten the buttons to my vest and shirt. If you are ever talking to me and I do this, just assume that I’m trying (and failing) to make a good impression. Then convince yourself it’s charming and flattering to you. Just don’t fault me for it. By the way, the button fly is no good.

baby-shower-giftCrashing baby showers.  I’ve never heard a positive word uttered about baby showers. It seems like the mothers aren’t too fond of them, and other guests would rather spend their Saturday cleaning the gutters. That said, when a ragtag group of musicians shows up just after the diaper rack is unveiled… well, it sure makes us look fun in comparison.