The Library: Babysitter, Tutor, Friend, and Muse

LibraryIt’s a hot, icky night in Maine, Modern Philosophers, but I still walked to the Brewer Public Library to get a new book.

Whenever I finish a novel, I’m eager to get started on the next one, and I still prefer a real book to the electronic version.

As I walked home, new book in hand, my thoughts drifted to the important role that the Library has played in my life.  Maybe it was the heat, but I started to realize that I probably wouldn’t be the Modern Philosopher I am today with the Library…

When I was a wee lad, still wearing the child sized toga, I’d to go to the Library after school every Tuesday and Thursday.  Those were the days that my Evil Step Mother had to work, so my sister and I would walk from school to the McKinley Park Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

The Library was a safe place to spend a couple of hours, get my homework done, and read.  It wasn’t uncommon to see other school kids there, too, but they were with an adult.  My sister and I were the only ones who used the Library as a babysitting service.

brooklynThat branch, pictured on the left, wasn’t as amazing as the New York Public Library with its mighty lions, but it was a treasure trove for me.

When people ask me where I get the crazy ideas for my stories, I always come up with some wise ass answer.

The truth, however, is that the Library was probably my first Muse.  I always finished my homework quickly (I was a brainiac…I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now!) and then devoured as many books as possible.

I got lost in books, and time flew when I had a good one at my disposal.  They’d fill me with excitement and ideas.  I’d rush home and scribble down stories.  I wanted people to go to the Library someday and be able to take my book off the shelf.

The Library was also my tutor.  This was before the internet allowed you to research anything without leaving the house.  If I had a paper to do for school, I would park my butt at the library and find my answers on the shelves.  My Evil Step Mother was always telling me “Go look it up!” when I’d ask her a question (I had lots of questions!!!), so I’d walk over to the Library and do as I was commanded.

One of the things I most remember about this Library was its location.  It was across the street from The Fortway, the movie theater where I also spent plenty of time and found inspiration for my writing.  It was like a Higher Power had planned this one block of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with this Modern Philosopher in mind.

bobstNYU has an amazing library.  Here’s an interesting fact about the Bobst Library,  pictured on the left: the sports teams at NYU are the Violets (I was on the baseball team, and I can assure you that no one was intimidated by the Violets!), but the NYU mascot is the Bobcat.

Know why?  It’s an abbreviation of Bobst Catalog, the Library’s card catalog system.  That’s even worse than the Violets!

I probably should have spent more time in the Library while at NYU, but I was a Film Major.  I ran around with a camera, was constantly writing, and falling in love with some girl in the dorm, who would grow up to be my ex-wife.  I didn’t need a Library for that!

So I abandoned my good friend during my college years, and I totally regret that now.  More Library and less falling in love might have made for a better life in the long run.

I still go to the Library often, write my blog there at times, and am always seeking out new inspiration on the shelves.

Thank you, Library, for always being there for me.  Have you thanked your Library lately, Modern Philosophers?

Posted in Funny, Humor, observations, Philosophy, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Monday Morning Coffee Club: 7/21/14

Cofee signIt’s Monday again, Modern Philosophers.


Once again, we have an entire week waiting for us and we have to decide how we’re going to tackle it.  The way we handle Monday sets the tone for how we’re going to deal with the rest of the week, so choose wisely.

Since spending the day hiding in the Basement Bunker of The House on the Hill would probably be frowned upon by those who sign my paychecks, I’m going to put on my happy face and a cheery toga and try to make my best of this Monday Moroseness.

I did do something fun yesterday, which has bled into my Monday and managed to make this dreary day a little better.  Did you here about my Blog Pitch Party?  I wrote a post yesterday inviting bloggers to pitch their blogs like it was a Hollywood pitch meeting.

So far, there have been dozens of pitches posted, and I have discovered so many new and fun blogs.  The Pitch Party is going to continue for as long as The House on the Hill can accommodate all these guests, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, please do so today.

Here’s the link…Pitch Party.  All you need to bring is your pitch, a willingness to visit some new blogs, and an “I Hate Mondays” attitude.

All this pitching has gotten me into mood to start a new screenplay.  I’ve been mentally outlining a new idea for weeks, and I think the time has finally come to start putting words down on paper.  This would be a big deal as I haven’t written a new screenplay in a while.

MondayIf I were to start it on a Monday, that would really tell the day that it has no power over me.  So maybe tonight’s the night…

What are you doing to deal with another Monday, Modern Philosophers?

Only 17 hours to go, so hang in there.

Enjoy the coffee, and remember to clean up when you’re done!

Posted in blog, Funny, Humor, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Blog Pitch Party: Tell Us About Your Blog And Attract New Readers

party-invitationHappy Sunday, Modern Philosophers!

I was thinking about my time in Hollywood, and how I used to go to pitch meetings with movie producers.  They’d ask me to come in to pitch them ideas on screenplays I was working on, and based on a few quick sentences, they’d decide if they were interested in reading the script.

I am also often asked by producers and directors to email them my log lines, which is basically the summing up the plot of a screenplay in one or two sentences.

I thought it might be fun to bring a little Hollywood to our Blog World.  I really enjoy meeting other bloggers and finding new blogs to read.  Things are usually slower during the Summer, so I wanted to try something that might help bloggers find each other and attract new readers.

tell meIn the comment section, pitch us your blog.  Give us the name, a link, and up to three sentences describing your blog.

If you choose to participate, I ask that you visit at least two of the other blogs that get pitched.  You don’t have to follow them, but just give them a shot.

Here’s how I might pitch my blog in case you’re trying to figure out what the heck I’m talking about…

The Return of the Modern Philosopher: A humorous look at life in Maine from a slightly skewed perspective.  If you ever wanted to know what everyday life was like in a Stephen King novel, this is the blog for you.  Deep Thoughts from the shallow end of the pool.

the pitchSee how simple that is?  Why not give it a shot?  Hopefully, you’ll attract some new readers and discover some great new blogs to follow as well.

When you drop by one of the blogs, leave a comment so they know you visited.  Tell them that you’re part of the Pitch Party, and let them know what you thought of the blog.

Have fun with this, Modern Philosophers.

Now let’s see your best pitch!

Posted in blog, Funny, Humor, Philosophy, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 114 Comments

I Advise You To Get Your Head Out Of Your Read End Storage Facility

BlutoDear Modern Philosopher,

You always talk about being a Hopeless Romantic, so I was hoping you could help me out with an affair of the heart.

I am hopelessly in love with my neighbor.  We see each other every day, and she is the sweetest, funniest, most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.  I can carry on a basic conversation with her, but I do stumble over my words and never can quite bring up my feelings for her.

I’m worried that if I admit to wanting to be more than friends, and she isn’t interested, it will be very awkward around the neighborhood.  I’d hate to have to see her every day, and know that she didn’t feel the same way.  Then again, if I never say anything, I’ll have a constant daily reminder of how the perfect woman is right there, and I simply don’t have the courage to open my heart to her.

The other issue is that we’re both married.  Her husband is great friends with my boss, and helped me get my job.  Our daughters are best friends.  My wife is her gynecologist.  She is my son’s middle school teacher.  The four of us head up the Neighborhood Watch and are currently in first place in the local bowling league.

How and when should I tell her how I feel?

Hopelessly in Love

headacheDear Hopeless,

You should definitely make a grand romantic gesture like something out of a big budget romantic comedy.  Go all out, spare no expense, and make sure the whole world knows how much you love this perfect woman.

Are you #$%^&* kidding me with this letter?  Please tell me that this is a joke from a long time reader who wanted to see if I could control my Brooklyn accent and tendency to rattle off a string of curses when I’m upset and come across something so #$%^&* stupid.

If this is not a joke, then I advise you to get your head out of your rear end storage facility (this is a family friendly blog, so I’ve got to keep the language under control).

There are so many red flags in your letter that I thought I had traveled back in time to the Soviet Union.  What is wrong with you, dude?

The woman you should be talking to about these feelings is your wife.  She deserves to know that you are in love with someone else.  If she doesn’t kill you on the spot, consider yourself lucky.

I’m just going to hope this letter was a prank.  If you really are this stupid, then I guess any advice I give is simply going to be wasted.

I’m too upset to even sign this…

Posted in Funny, Humor, Love, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Mainers Get An A+ In Ice Cream


Happy National Ice Cream Day! How would you do on this quiz?

Originally posted on The Return of the Modern Philosopher:

ice creamHappy National Ice Cream Day, Modern Philosophers!

Goodness, we have some pretty odd holidays in this country, don’t we?  I think it’s time to start a Modern Philosopher greetings cards side business to take advantage of all these special days we celebrate.  Who wants to get in on the ground floor as an investor?

In the spirit of the holiday, I took to the streets of Bangor and Brewer to wish people a Happy National Ice Cream day and to conduct a little social experiment.

I stopped passersby (Mainers are friendly people, and are especially intrigued by a handsome man in a toga holding a microphone) and issued the following challenge:

How many flavors of ice cream can you name in 2 minutes?  How many states can you name in that same amount of time?

I wasn’t at all surprised to discover that not a single participant could name more…

View original 94 more words

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Brewer High School To Host Two Exchange Students From Hogwarts This Fall

HogwartsBrewer High School, which is located not far from The House on the Hill, announced today that it will be hosting two foreign exchange students from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry for the Fall Semester.

The school, whose athletic teams are called the Witches, is excited to have some foreign Witches and Wizards on campus.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity!” Principal Margie Beauchamps told this Modern Philosopher.  “Brewer High has always welcomed Otherworldly Beings with open arms, and we are excited to have ones from England joining us this year.”

Social media has been buzzing as Brewer students discussed the news, and according to one poll posted on Twitter, there is a huge push from the student body for the exchange students to be from Gryffindor.

hogwarts housesThe consensus seems to be that a Ravenclaw would be acceptable, a Hufflepuff should be a last resort, and under no circumstances should a student from Slytherin be allowed to set foot on the Brewer campus.

Principal Beauchamps chuckled when I mentioned the results of the Twitter poll.

“Our kids our wonderful,” she assured me.  “I’m sure they will be accepting of whomever comes to spend the semester with us, but I’ll see what I can do to keep out the Slytherins just to be on the safe side.”

This is the first time that Hogwarts, the school made famous by the Harry Potter novels and films, has ever sent students to the United States.  According to Beauchamps, the driving force behind Hogwarts’ decision was the influence of the three Witches who head up Maine’s largest coven.

Waltzing Matilda, Ti-Diana, and Volcanica Ivy, who also own Three Toads & A Wicked Lady and are good friends of the blog, refused to take any of the credit, however.

“We might have chatted with the Headmaster, but this was really all the doing of Principal Beauchamps,” Ti-Diana tried to get me to believe as she served me a mug of Butterbeer, which is now on tap at Three Toads & A Wicked Lady in honor of the news.

Brewer WitchesRegardless of who gets the credit, Brewer High is going to have a couple of new faces on campus in the Fall.

I would just like to officially welcome the students to Maine, and offer them both a blog internship while there are in town (even if they end up being Slytherins).

Hopefully, they can find some time to hang out at The House on the Hill and give me some Quidditch pointers.

Posted in Funny, Humor, Movies, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sometimes It’s The Little Things…

hannafordThe whole way home from the grocery store last night, Modern Philosophers, I kept trying to figure out why it had cost so much when it seemed like I had bought so little.

Once I was back at The House on the Hill, I checked the receipt and quickly found my answer.  First, I had bought a few items not usually on my list like garbage bags, shampoo, and freezer bags.  Second, the cashier had charged me twice for my hamburgers.

The burgers had a dollar off coupon on the package, so I figured the cashier had meant to scan the coupon, but had instead charged me a second time.  I was already in a bad mood, and didn’t feel like driving back to Hannaford with my groceries in tow.

I made a quick call to the store, and the manager told me to stop by any time with the receipt, and he would take care of it.  That made me feel much better.

I went back this morning expecting to get my $6.70 refunded plus another $1 for the coupon they never scanned.  Instead, the customer service clerk handed me $14.40.  I was befuddled, so I asked her why she had given me that amount.

“When we make a mistake, we refund you the full price of our error plus a dollar for your inconvenience,” she explained with a smile.

So the burgers ended up being free and Hannaford paid me $7.70 for buying them.  Not a bad way to start off my Saturday.

It restored my faith in karma and the world in general, which I needed after last night’s somber Friday Night Think Tank topic.

FaithIt reminded me of a great line from “Thunder Road”, my favorite Bruce Springsteen song…

Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night…

Thank you, Hannaford, for taking that extra, totally unnecessary, but much appreciated step to show me how important my business is to you.

Happy Saturday!

Posted in Funny, Humor, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments