Thursday, March 30, 2006

Craig Wilson, the best fan I never had!

Not only did I get a chance to meet Dave Barry this past weekend at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Conference, I also met Craig Wilson, a columnist for USA today.
Craig's column, The Final Word, appears on Wednesday in the Life section. It is one of my favorites. His humor is subtle and witty and he is a master at pulling on the ol' heart strings. At one session at the conference Craig read from his book, It's the Little Things...: An Appreciation of Life's Simple Pleasures, and a recent article about a trip he took to Ethiopia. During the Ethiopia article he had to fight hard to hold back the tears. It's a powerful piece.
I first met Craig at his book signing. All of his books had been sold so I had him sign one of my sample columns. I told him that he didn't have to read it, just write that it was the best thing he had ever read. Here is what he wrote:
Kelsey -
This is the best
thing I've NEVER read
- Craig Wilson
Wow, my first big-time endorsement. You heard it first here folks. My column, Travelin' Light, is so good that you don't even have to read it. Take Craig Wilson at his word.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'm a swinger!

At 27, on occasion, I sneak out to the local park and pump away on the big 16-foot swings. I suggest you do the same; they won’t be around much longer.

In a recent USA today article Greg Toppo reported: “As safety standards trickled down over the past 25 years, schools, cities and day care centers have been quietly replacing swing sets with all-in-one climbing structures that child-development experts say promote both physical fitness and social skills.”

Toppo goes on to inform us that only 57% of schools have swings. Due to the requirement for spongy surfacing beneath the swings, costs have skyrocketed from about $800 to $4,000 for a simple swing set.

Also falling by the wayside are seesaws (on 13% of playgrounds) and merry-go-rounds (on 7% of playgrounds). Oh, yeah, and the monkey bars are now called “horizontal ladders.” Why the name change? Political Correctness? What next, are we going to rename monkeys?

Personally, I’m of the survival-of-the-fittest playground philosophy. Some of my most vivid memories from grade school are of good friends breaking limbs after high falls or freezing their tongues to the metal monkey bars. Now that all of the equipment is low to the cushioned-ground and made of plastic none of this will be possible.

We are destined to be a nation of weenies with good social skills.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I'm Dave Barry's Idol

(Dave has always been one of my favorite columnists and it was great to meet him. We shared a brief conversation about firecrackers in cats’ butts.)
I'm Dave Barry's Idol.
How do I know this? He wrote it on the inside of his book that I just bought at the Erma Bombeck writers’ conference:

For Kelsey – My idol
Dave Barry

I spend the better part of a passing thought thinking about what it is that Dave admires about me. Sure there are my unique sense of humor, biting wit, handsomely-rugged good looks, and my subtle social commentary, but Dave tends to be doing all right in these categories already.

As I put my newly signed book in my bag, I look up at the line – 350 people strong, arms filled with books for Dave to sign. Then it hits me, Dave idolizes me because I don’t have to sign one darn book.

Later, I hear another attendee talking about how Dave Barry had written that she was his idol on the inside of her book. She is thrilled. I say nothing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

After all, they are the "Magical Fruit"

Why shouldn't beans have their own museum?
The Baked Bean Museum of Excellence in Wales is kind of like "Field of Dreams" except instead of corn there's beans and instead of Kevin Costner there's Captain Beany.
Captain Beany built it and all of us Tourons will come. Without a doubt YOU are a MAJOR Touron if you've been to the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence.
Is it just me or does Captain Beany kind of look like Bono? By the way, Captain Beany is his legal name; it's on his passport.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Evolution and HDTV

Natural selection makes some weird choices? Take for example High-Definition Television. Without a doubt an affinity for high-def TV has been engrained in our DNA for about 100,000 years. I know this because my father and I will sit in front of any television that is excessively large, bright, and clear, regardless of the program. You haven’t seen purple until you’ve seen it in HD.

What purpose this serves in the evolutionary scheme of things no one yet knows. I suspect it has something to do with not being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.

Lately we’ve stumbled upon the Discovery channel in HD. If only the real world were so beautiful. We watch anything that is on it whether it has to do with fashion, travel, bridges, cars, or bugs.

We are learning a lot. Did you know that spiders fly to Hawaii? Well, not so much as fly, but float on the Trade winds at high altitudes. Most of them die from the cold and radiation during the 3 day flight at over 30,000’, but some of ‘em don’t. Seeds and birds get to Hawaii the same way.

I know you are thinking that HDTV has nothing to do with natural selection, but you are failing to consider games shows. Let’s say that the two of us, me and you, are on a game show. The category is useless knowledge and the host asks us a question about spiders flying to Hawaii. You don’t know it. I do. I win. You lose and losers are fed to the ill-tempered saber-toothed tiger.

Friday, March 17, 2006

OCD travelers

You adjust your surgeons mask. It needs readjusting after the heated conversation with the airport security guard. Who hasn't heard of a portable bidet? You like to feel fresh, why should you have to explain yourself?
Around your neck buzzes your battery-operated air purifier. A concentration of unipoloar ions makes you feel all warm and germ-free.
When you find your seat you bust out the seat condom. A protective layer of plastic is between you and the legions of mites and fecal matter left behind by the seat's previous occupants.
You politely spray down your bewildered neighbors with a light dusting of Lysol - kills 99% of bacteria.
You are an OCD traveler that probably should stay home with your pet monkey Bubbles.
Every traveler should read the article Making germs a no-go in today's USA Today. If you are an OCD traveler you should read it to learn of the latest in extreme germ avoidance; if you are a non-OCD traveler you should read it so you can spot travelers that may try to de-germ your eyeballs with Lysol.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The population of Ireland = 4 Million

# of US citizens that claim Irish heritage = 35 million

I found an interesting page of Irish-American factoids and for some reason included on the list is the amount of beer consumed per capita in the USA - 22 gallons.

Read here to find out who said: "Saint Patrick's Day is like green beer - something the Lord never intended." Also, if you want to "purchase products that will help your unsaved Catholic friends learn the truth about their Godless holiday" click HERE.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Pen is Mightier than American B-ball Mediocrity

Few people appreciate the great influence I bare over world events. For example, I sent Duke University's Coach K an email (posted below) demanding that he take on the job as the USA basketball coach, and, guess what, he did. No surprise really. If a not so prominent freelance writer sent a weak little letter to one of your many assistants demanding something, you'd probably do it too.

Mr. Brown,

I am a freelance writer and I am embarrassed by the state of USA basketball. I have written an article for my syndicated column, “Travelin’ Light,” about my 1992 USA Olympic basketball team shorts and why I am ashamed to wear them. I have pasted the article below. Please pass it on to Coach K.

I would like to encourage Coach K to take the coaching job for the next Olympics. I know that he will bring integrity to the program, win back the respect we lost in Athens, and most importantly, allow me to wear my shorts with pride.


Kelsey Timmerman
You can read the article I mentioned in the letter HERE.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pentagon to use sharks as "spies"

News from the "Who are the monsters, sharks or humans?" front:
The Pentagon hopes to turn sharks into "stealth spies" by using, what I am sure are overpriced, neural implants. The implants have passed their lab tests and are ready for the field. "Blue sharks implanted with the gadget are to be released off the coast of Florida."
Spring Break in Florida anyone?
I've got one question: what happens when a shark fresh off a tour of duty in some Southeast-Asian port tries to assimilate back to normal life on the reef, but is unable to beacause he just can't shake the horrors he's seen and the atrocities he has committed?
RAMBO SHARK! That's what!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Missing Link in Turkey?

5 human siblings between the ages of 18-34 were found living together in an isolated village in Turkey. While it is odd that the siblings are still living together after all of these years, it isn't nearly as odd as the fact that they are all quadrupeds.
To quote the Yahoo News story: Researchers believe the five brothers and sisters, who can walk naturally only on all fours, may provide new information on how humans evolved from four-legged hominids to walk upright.
From the report it sounds like these scientists would sell their most loyal Erlenmeyer flask to study the siblings. But to me, learning about our humble evolutionary beginnings from present day humans is nothing new. If these scientists have a weakness for home made ice cream and a penchant for croquet, they can simply accompany me to one of my family reunions to witness various characteristics, appearances, and behaviors of pre-modern man.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I'm sick

I have the flu. As Jimmy Buffett once said, "My head, hearts, my feet stink, and I don't love Jesus." It sucks.

One thing that my travels have taught me is that there is no better place to be sick than at home. It's better than any cheap motel or overcrowded hostel in the world. Here is an excerpt from a column I wrote about being sick on the road:
Hovering or squatting over stained porcelain, you watch your life force pass into foreign plumbing of varying degrees of inefficiency. You wish for a quick painless death to end the suffering, and a cup of your mother’s homemade chicken noodle soup to wet your quivering lips, but neither come. Thoughts of your own porcelain throne, as well as a few good sheets of 2-ply toilet paper, drift just beyond hope, in the realm of the divine. You’re sick and you’re alone in a foreign land.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I am a world record holder!

Remember Mad Libs?

The word game that brought you phrases like "the rhino wore pink panties to Venus," that made you laugh so hard on the bus that you shot snot all over little Susie Schoolgirl seated in front of you?

Recently, I participated in the longest Mad Lib in history - 34 pages long with over 1,100 blanks filled in by attendees of the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop in Dayton, Ohio.

That's right I hold a world record, an unofficial world record, but honestly who would actually spend the time verifying such a thing.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sharks are the monsters?

(I took this picture on a dive in the Bahamas)
Peter Benchley the author of Jaws recently passed away. He made his fortune by demonizing the shark and spent the rest of his life preaching conservation of the ocean's top predators. Benchley recognized what amazing creatures sharks are and that if man screws with the top of the food chain we're asking for trouble. Some others such as Vic Hislop, an Australian "Shark Hunter," never have come around.
Here are the facts:
Each year 100 million sharks are killed by humans. We hack off their fins, essential for swimming, and throw their wriggling, bloody torsos back into the water to die slowly, all for a nice bowl of shark fin soup. According to Julia Brown of Halifax University, worldwide shark populations are falling at an alarming rate. In the past 50 years there has been a 61% decrease in the population of large species. The population of white tip sharks, once thought to be the most abundant large animal on earth, has decreased by an alarming 99%.
And some still think that sharks are the monsters.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy 50th to a True Touron...

My Uncle Randy turned 50 yesterday. This picture was taken about 25 years ago when he had one of the best whafros (white guy afro) around.

He says he looks like Hyde from That 70's Show. I think he is giving himself too much credit.