I Don't Sleep

Don't call me, Blah Blah Blah

Here's a story that will keep you up nights, and it's no urban legend. Every word of it is true; only the names have been changed to protect the misunderstood.

Gift wrap

I understand that some people hate to wrap gifts or have no talent for it. Gift wrapping, to a lot of my friends, means not removing the gift from the sack it was placed in at the point of sale ("The receipt's still in there if you hate it"); others, like my friend Barbara, remove the item from its original limp, thin, plastic bag and then create an effect a lot like it in wrapping paper, price tags and all.

Drinking games under the table

But let's get back to this drinking games business for a minute. When we last visited the topic we learned about Free Association, the Ten Worst Movies Ever Made, and the dreadful I Never, and it seems to me that with the holiday season officially underway we'll all need more than those to tide us over. My thought was that, for this column, I might try to include one or two that are actually fun, in a reasonable, non-esoteric way, to play.

Who Am I?

Drinking and the games it inspires

When I was growing up, in the seventies, attitudes towards drinking were obviously different than today's. Here in Kansas I could begin legally drinking beer when I was eighteen, but even before that, when I was as young as thirteen, my mom would get mad at those few waitresses who refused to serve me a glass of wine with dinner. "I'm his mother," she would patiently explain. If that didn't work, she would say, "All right then, I'll have two glasses." Sticklers.

Ye Olde Hoüsing Developmenté, why are you named so sillily?

I started thinking about the word "wilderness" the other day as I drove a friend to his home in the Wilderness subdivision of Tallgrass, and about its applicability to that particular neighborhood. The neighborhood's planners couldn't have meant "wilderness" as that word is commonly used when they named this neighborhood, since you can throw a Frisbee from the very heart of it and, with favorable wind conditions, hit a fourteen-screen theater, an elective-surgery hospital, or an all-suites hotel.

Theorosa's Bridge

OK, here's what happened: The scene is a golden prairie near the banks of Jester Creek late in the nineteenth century. Amid plenteous fields of life-giving grain there lives a peaceful "Indian tribe," as we then innocently called them, giving thanks for an abundant harvest on a mild Kansas afternoon.

Halloween movies that are better than Christmas movies

In my column last week I wrote, "Halloween movies are better than Christmas movies." To me the truth of that statement is self-evident, but I got a couple of emails all the same. My correspondents can have The Bishop's Wife and It's a Wonderful Life (although that second title, I wish to point out, at times offers a view of humanity almost as bleak and scary as anything we associate with Halloween). As proof of my stated thesis, I offer this list of thirteen top-drawer horror titles, all available on video or DVD. Pick up a couple for the holiday.

Scary stories

How scary is this? When he was still a teenager, my friend Jon was driving to Arkansas by himself. He was late getting started and his lateness was compounded when, in the more irregular geography of the Ozarks, he missed a turn. Not being one to backtrack, Jon forged ahead, eventually finding himself genuinely lost in a rapidly darkening and increasingly remote area.

The Secret North New York Street Industrial Complex II

This is the second part of a two-part article

Last issue I reported in these pages on the existence of the Secret North New York Street Industrial Complex ("the Complex" hereafter, because the acronym SNNYSIC too easily recalls N*Synch), and in the intervening week some readers jumped the gun and drove there without complete instructions. If you are among those readers, you probably agree that the Complex is a strange place to visit. But I want to caution you, too, that the Complex is fractal-like in its complexity and that it probably didn't reveal all of its secrets to you.

The Secret North New York Street Industrial Complex

This is the first part of a two-part article.

I used to believe that in all likelihood I'd been down every street in Wichita. But then I used believe all kinds of crazy things, like for instance that the right front wheel of any car I was driving was in imminent peril of flying off, or that none of the other guys in my graduating class at Goddard High School was circumcised.


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