COLUMN: May You Live in Interesting Times

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to Harry is a resident of Logan and an alumnus of Utah State University. He can be reached via email at His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees. 

<em>“May I have 10,000 marbles, please?”</em>

—Kent Dorfman, from the film “Animal House”.

Now that the weeklong lamentation known as my birthday has came and gone, I can get back to my main purpose in life. That being, writing a weekly column where I skewer everything in my muddled brain with a bottomless cauldron of snark.

But I just do not feel like writing a long, seething polemic. Even a “random thoughts” column wreaks of an effort I am unwilling to put forth. Perhaps it is the Summer Solstice draining away my motivation. Or, I can just be incurably lazy.

To take a break from the humdrum that comes with discussing politics too much, this week I will offer lists on a variety of trifling subjects. I do so love lists. Feel free to add your own.

The 5 best male lead film performances I ever watched:

<ol><li>Paul Newman in “The Verdict”</li><li>Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”</li><li>Peter Sellers in “Being There”</li><li>Robert DeNiro in “Taxi Driver”</li><li>Anthony Hopkins in “Silence of the Lambs”</li></ol>

The 3 things I tend to do while playing strategy board games:

<ol><li>Gather a big lead early and then defend, aka, “run out the clock”</li><li>Complain incessantly that everyone is out to get me</li><li>Throw my hat across the room when those out to get me do get me</li></ol>

The 4 reasons why I might not stream <a href=”” target=”_blank”>my summer trash television show</a> Big Brother this year: 

<ol><li>They lengthened the season, which makes the competition weaker</li><li>The corresponding packaged TV show on CBS is awful</li><li>The houseguests have gameplay down to a science. Few make truly audacious moves</li><li>My desire to play the game has lapped my enthusiasm for watching it</li></ol>

The first 4 things I would do if I hit a big lottery:

<ol><li>Buy the home I would live in the rest of my life and put the rest in a solid investment portfolio</li><li>Start a philanthropic foundation</li><li>Visit Venice, Italy. I’d sit at a cafe every day for a month and write anything</li><li>Never step foot in Utah again</li></ol>

The 2 reasons why I started an Instagram account:

<ol><li>I actually do like posting pictures of things I enjoy, or events that make me happy</li><li>Vanity</li></ol>

The 4 things I have learned from having a dog over the past year:

<ol><li>Dogs know when you are sad and they give you more love at those times</li><li>Dogs have a peculiar love/hate relationship with baths</li><li>Dogs can stand next to you, motionless, eyes fixed on your food, during the entire duration of your meal</li><li>Dogs have only one modus operandi for approaching cats—head first. It usually ends badly for them</li></ol>

The 5 songs completely owned/ruined because of the films (in parenthesis) they were in:

<ol><li>“Hip to Be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News (American Psycho)</li><li>“Stuck In the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel (Reservoir Dogs)</li><li>The “Symphonie Fantastique” by Hector Berlioz (The Shining)</li><li>“Sussudio” by Phil Collins (American Psycho)</li><li>“The Greatest Love of All”, originally by George Benson (Coming To America)</li></ol>

COLUMNIST’S NOTES: You can look these up on YouTube, but you might regret it after. Also, “The Greatest Love of All” was likewise in, yep, “American Psycho”.

The top 6 things you should do if you are down the Jersey Shore during the summer:

<ol><li>Drive up and down Route 9</li><li>Walk the beach in Margate</li><li>See Barnegat Lighthouse on Long Beach Island</li><li>Get a slice of pizza at Mack’s in Wildwood</li><li>Hear a Philadelphia Mummers string band in concert</li><li>Eat at a diner after midnight</li></ol>

The first 4 things I would do if I was a Star Trek starship captain:

<ol><li>Set up a weekly board game night with the Vulcans</li><li>Immediately assume all weird behavior by the crew was caused by a malicious clone or a rift in the space-time continuum</li><li>Use the Holodeck to set up a scenario where the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl…because I have no idea what that looks like</li><li>Use the starship to pick up blue alien women for dates</li></ol>

The 3 biggest advantages of rooting for the worst team in baseball, which the Philadelphia Phillies currently are:

<ol><li>Low expectations can be liberating</li><li>You get to talk about how the ten year rebuilding plan is right on schedule</li><li>If you are going to suck, suck worse (better?) than everyone else. Be truly memorable.</li></ol>

The 6 best characters in the film “Animal House”:

<ol><li>Dean Vernon Wormer</li><li>Otter</li><li>Bluto</li><li>Flounder (RIP, Stephen Furst)</li><li>Fawn Liebowitz (Also, RIP)</li><li>(Tie) Mohammet, Jugdish, Sidney and Clayton.</li></ol>

The 5 best things about Cache Valley in the summer:

<ol><li>Sitting on the Deck of the White Owl</li><li>Listening to music and talking with friends at the Gardener’s Market</li><li>Hiking any trail</li><li>Bear Lake</li><li>Early morning walks on Utah State’s campus, especially on weekends</li></ol>

Let’s leave it there. I occasionally like to end these weekly literary soirees on a positive note.

Finally, to everyone that wished me a happy birthday and spent time with me this week, I want to thank you with all of my heart. It was a wonderful week that saw me receive one piece of magnificent news after another. Sometimes, things just go your way. When they do, hold on to that feeling.

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