Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bob's Big Boy Fund Raiser for Wounded Warriors Friday June 28, 2013

This Friday 7:00 AM-- 9:00 PM

BOB'S BIG BOY FUND RAISER To support Ride 2 Recovery. This is a great Non-Profit that assists our Wounded Warriors.

15% of every check will be donated by Bob's when a flier is presented to server. You can pu a flier at out table in the parking lot.

Another Classic Column/Essay from BHS '67 Alum, Dave LeSueur!

HA! Earworms and It's a Small World After All! Thanks Dave :)

Dave's email this morning...

New Essay

I've been told I should call these "essays" rather than "columns". Whatever they are, here's a new one:


Scientists at Western Washington University have discovered a technique to get rid of earworms – the technical term for those “annoying tunes that lodge themselves inside our heads and repeat on an endless loop.” They found that you need to do something that takes up space in your brain where earworms reside. Puzzles that tax your brain like anagrams or Sudoku were found to be very effective. Reading a novel worked for some people in the study. “The key is to challenge your brain”, said the lead researcher. “If you don’t use your brain, earworms will likely stick around. That is why none of the teenage boys in the study were ever successful ridding themselves of earworms”.

Scientists discovered that the worst offending songs were those by Lady Gaga, so I decided to try to replicate the study’s results. First, I needed to create an earworm in my head. I bought one of Lady Gaga’s hits, “Born This Way”, and listened to it ten times in a row. Sure enough, the chorus kept playing in my head – a definite earworm. Next, I did something that wouldn’t challenge my brain – I watched an episode of “The View” my wife had recorded. As predicted by the study, when the show ended, the Lady Gaga chorus was still playing in my head. Finally, I tried to do something that would challenge my brain to see if it would get rid of my annoying earworm. So I watched the same episode of “The View” and this time I tried to follow Joy Behar’s logic. That taxed my brain so much that the Lady Ga Ga tune was gone in 47 seconds.

However, there is a dark side to the study of earworms. In 2009, Mr. Jess Marker, a man confined to a wheelchair, went to Disneyland with his family. At exactly 3:34 p.m. he got on the popular ride “It’s a Small World”. In case you have never been to Disneyland, “It’s a Small World” has been described as a “motorized boat ride that features over 300 brightly costumed audio-animatronic dolls in the style of children of the world, frolicking in a spirit of international unity, and singing the attraction's title song, which has a theme of global peace.” The song and its catchy lyrics (“It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small, small world”) are sung over and over and over . . . and over and over again. Unfortunately, the boats broke down while Mr. Marker was inside. Everyone exited except for poor Mr. Marker. Disneyland had neglected to provide a way for wheelchairs to leave the attraction. It only took 30 minutes for mechanics to repair the boats, but by that time the 300 brightly costumed audio anatomic dolls in the style of children of the world were inspiring feelings other than a spirit of international unity or a theme of global peace. The man’s attorney estimates that Mr. Marker heard the “Small World” song 182 times! He was traumatized and reportedly had an earworm for three days. He sued Disneyland and was awarded $8,000 for his trouble.

By now, you certainly are humming “It’s a Small World” to yourself and for that I am truly sorry. But I hope you will be willing to participate in a follow-up study by Western Washington University. You see, no one in their original study could find a technique to get rid of the “Small World” earworm. I promised the researchers that I would pass along any information I received.DO NOT listen to the actual music for more than ten minutes as serious harm might occur. The United States military now plays “It’s a Small World” continuously as a part of its enhanced interrogations. Don’t worry, this particular earworm is not dangerous and should go away by itself in three or four days. In the meantime, however, I recommend that you not operate any heavy equipment or make any important life decisions.

David LeSueur lives with his wife Mary in Littleton, Colorado. Those of you old enough to remember Jess Marker – I mean Fess Parker – are probably now singing the theme song to “Davy Crockett” to yourself.” (“Born on the mountaintop in Tennessee . . .”)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"What I Have Learned From MS" by Dave LeSueur, BHS '67

Thanks Dave for another clever column...

What I Have Learned From MS

by Dave LeSueur


It is fashionable to say "Everything happens for a reason." So what is the reason that I have MS? One school of thought is that bad things happen to pay us back for sins we commit. If that is true, then I am sure I have MS because of some things I did in 2nd grade. It bugged me back then that Doug Boudinot would always punch me in the arm. So one day I punched him back as hard as I could and it made him cry (my friends said that was a "disproportionate response"). And once Bill Wolleck said Cathy Overman had cooties and I didn't step up to defend her. And finally I feel bad about those times Marc Morningstar wanted to play after school but I watched baseball on TV instead. Yes, I was a pretty bad kid and may deserve having MS.

I believe, however, that many bad things which happen to us are simply random events. I am not sure everything happens for a reason, but I do try to find Reason in everything that happens. I would prefer not to have MS, but as long as I have it, I might as well learn something from the experience. Two lessons come to mind.

My wife and I recently went shopping at the mall. We parked the car and headed toward the front doors. There were a couple of raunchy-looking kids riding their skateboards around the entrance. I found myself humming the tune from "Bye Bye Birdie" which asks "Kids! What's the matter with kids today? . . .Why can't they be like we were perfect in every way?"

We headed toward the handicapped entrance where there were two sets of doors. I planned on pushing the button which automatically opens both sets of doors . Just before I reached the doors, however, these two kids raced over and cut in front of us. "I can't believe how thoughtless these kids are" I muttered to my wife. One kid opened the first set of doors. The other kid went through and opened the second set of doors. They both smiled and held the doors for us to enter the mall. I clearly had misjudged these kids.

That happens all the time to me. People want to help. I am not naive enough to think that everyone is good, but I get to see the best side of most people. So the first thing I have learned from having MS is that most people are good.
The five-year-old son of one of our friends was watching me in my wheelchair and asked "Why can't you walk?" I never know how much to explain to people especially when they're only five years old. I started with the simple answer "I have a disease called Multiple Sclerosis." He kept looking at me like my answer wasn't complete enough for him, so I explained how MS interrupts the messages from the brain to various parts of the body. He still seemed interested so I told him about how the myelin sheath around my nerves was damaged and how some nerves in my spinal cord didn't work and that's why I couldn't walk. He nodded and smiled. I was proud of my explanation. I imagined he was going to say "Thank you Mr. LeSueur for that wonderful explanation. It was so clear that you have inspired me to become a doctor. I think I will do research and when I discover a cure for MS I will give you all of the credit."

I looked at him, waiting for him to speak. He looked at me, held up his hand, pointed to a band aid and said "I hurt my thumb."

So the second lesson having MS has taught me is that everyone has problems. Some struggle with physical ailments like me. Others battle depression, try to cope with the death of a loved one or experience financial issues. I am much more aware than I used to be of other people's problems. That may just be because people are more comfortable sharing their problems with me because I have MS. It may be that having MS has made me more sensitive. But life is not easy for anyone. Even people who seem to have it all -- professional athletes, movie stars and other celebrities -- often struggle with the sudden fame and fortune that is thrust upon them.

People are good. We all have problems. And there is a third lesson I have learned. If someone asks you whether you want to have MS or be cursed with sudden fame and fortune, choose the sudden fame and fortune option.