Friday Five

1. He sure plays a mean pinball. Nine-year-old Caine Monroy was bored while waiting after school at his father’s auto parts shop in East LA. Instead of zoning out on his PSP or otherwise getting into trouble, he decided to build an entire amusement arcade out of cardboard boxes and packing tape. The problem was that no one really came by to play.

Then, as if straight out of a fairy tale, Caine’s knight in shining armor arrived in the form of filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, who needed a part for his old car. Nirvan was amazed by Caine’s brightness and tenacity (as I think you will be also) and wanted to help make Caine’s dream come true. He shot this short documentary and, with the help of social media, got dozens of people to play at Caine’s arcade. Through donations and revenue from the film, they’ve now raised about $204,000 for Caine’s college tuition, something that was once unthinkable for Caine’s dad.

Look at this boy go. Check out the look on his face when he sees how many people have shown up to play his arcade. (Have a tissue handy.) I think I’ll call him to build a bookcase for my living room.

2. It’s time for another round of Search Termapalooza! Below are just a few of the search terms people have entered and, for better or worse, ended up at this blog:

  • “New photos of Anne Frank”  (It seems “new” photos of her would be hard to find.)
  • “Picture of basement pipes licking”
  • “Useless flyers”
  • “Blood pooling” (Is that like car pooling? Or is it what happens when you lose at The Godfather’s billiards match?)
  • “Worlds most funniest Battle Gettysburg picture” (You mean one of the Civil War’s deadliest battles?)
  • “Helicopter tail dog”
  • “Copper rain gutters are expensive”
  • “Little house of tulip horrors”
  • “A strawberry by any other name” (A budding Shakespeare perhaps?)
  • “Struggle picky husband”
  • “Drag punk cangro”

If you have a blog, have you received some interesting search terms recently?

3. Anchors Away. It’s Fleet Week here in NYC – a spring tradition when sailors from around the world show up in their dress whites to celebrate…well, I’m not really sure what they are here to celebrate. (Sex and the City did an entire episode about Fleet Week, but since this is a family-friendly blog, I won’t post any clips.) But the parade of ships up the Hudson River is a neat sight. Not only are the giant battleships and air craft carriers on hand, but also the tall sail ships and fire boats. I took a stroll down to the river walk to watch them arrive.

(Flickr user jphillipobrien)

4. Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

~Nathaniel Hawthorne

5. Back to Basics. One more small plug for my class which starts on June 4.  I’m teaching an online creative writing course through The Loft Literary Center. It’s a fun class for beginning writers, where we discuss one element of fiction each week such as dialogue  and setting. There are writing exercises and readings from master works highlighting that week’s topic. I developed the syllabus and put together all of the course materials myself and I’m proud of the result.  If you or anyone you know might be interested, please forward the link above or in the sidebar on the right. Registration is open until the first day of class. So far about 7 people have signed up so it’s sure to be a fun course.

Have a great weekend everyone! If you’re in the US, hope you enjoy the extra day off! 



  1. Why oh why do I never get any funny search engine terms? Maybe I should go through them again and see. “New” photos of Anne Frank and the funniest battle are my favourites.
    I like that Hawthorne quote a lot.


      1. I did Jackie, there aren’t any. All totally straight, looking for the titles of books or “German books” and such things. Surprising.


  2. Okay, Jackie, clearly the most amazing thing about this post is the revelation that people actually do internet searches for “pictures of basement pipes licking.” Need I say more? Have a wonderful weekend–and enjoy Fleet Week!


    1. I often wonder what people are looking for? Really! I also wonder if any of my search terms are coming up on someone else’s post. 😛
      Tori had such a nice post about you and Sara at her wedding. Brought tears to my eyes. Have a great weekend!


  3. I saw the documentary a little while ago and it gave me happy tears! More artist need to use their talent for good (more like anyone with something to share); like Keith Haring. Some are given the gift to see the world differently, why not share the art? Now this little boy gets to go to college. There is no limits to what he can do!


    1. Isn’t that story about Caine wonderful, Jenna? I love when people use their talents and skills to pay it forward. We all have the ability to do it!
      Hope you enjoy the weekend!


  4. Great terms 🙂 Maybe you could create an exercise for your writing students around them. They have the ability to make you just sit and wonder, don’t they. There’s gotta be a good story in there.


  5. I love the search for “helicopter tail dog,” and it reminds me of my Abby’s famous “circle wag,” when she wags her tail in a giant circle about six times in a row…. can Reggie do a helicopter wag?? 🙂


    1. Labs have those wonderful, yet lethal, tails, don’t they! They’ll take out anything on your coffee table!
      Reggie has more of a “grandfather clock” wag. When he gets going, his tail will whack you in the shins if you’re too close.


  6. LOVED the video, Ms. C…
    I was only going to watch a few seconds, but I wound up watching the whole thing. It’s so nice to see such a creative and hard-working kid be rewarded for all the effort he’s put into that arcade!

    Scratch? On the eight-ball? I know it was you, Fredo… you BROKE MY HEART!


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