Tuesday, December 20, 2016

on earning small arms

Have you ever heard those cool old stories about how the world came to be? I drive three kids to school every morning when I'm in town in Salt Lake City. One of those days, Joe, Matthew, Louis and I started brainstorming on why my arms were so little. My nephew Luke and I had a long trip to a storytelling event up in Washington a couple weeks later. We fleshed out some of the original ideas and came up with a couple new ones.

On Nov 29, 2016, I took 8 of those ideas to a couple of open mics in Salt Lake City. That's what the video above is. It's just audio, you'll just see my ugly mug the whole time, but I go through all the ideas twice.. once early in the evening at a cafe and then late at night in a bar. I know I do much better earlier when I'm awake. At least that's what I think is the difference.

One of the original ideas I had tried at open mic at Wiseguys in Salt Lake City, as well. It was the Arm Party version:

A couple weeks later, I tried the vampire butt one at Wiseguys, as well:

Friday, March 18, 2016

comedy recordings combined, labeled

I was thinking of putting my sets together into an edited "comedy special" type of longer video. To get ready, I appended all of my comedy videos in order and then tagged the resulting video below. Eventually, the project turned into just totally revamping how I organize my material. It's still a work in progress.

Everything video
gleeby ideas channel

comedy virgin
0050 open mic virgin
0100 wave
0117 pay attention subtle hands

meeting people
0004 big butt
0012 fat naked belly button
0016 recognizable
0031 .. meet on the street
0040 .. taco bell
0109 fun to meet people
0122 .. chris titus
0131 .. kids embarrass their parents
0147 .. polite.. born that way
0159 that's boring.. try plane accident
0228 .. that's rude.. HA!
0236 kids will ask others (Mike)

0612 driving poorly
0019 recognizable
0023 see me on the street
0031 .. who are you?
0036 .. old so forget anyway
0039 .. Bob or Joe or Fred
0048 going on tour
0101 .. other drivers
0106 .. climbing hills behind trucks
0133 driving through puddles
0217 OCD about gas.. Idaho cops
0303 .. not a mule, don't need a job

0930 am I ablist
0012 no handshake (Jay)
0023 .. tried it in high school
0030 .. how do you shake hands with t.rex
0039 .. other stuff either.. flip people off
0053 .. sign language.. showing off
0059 .. anyone can do that.. except me
0109 met guy in wheelchair
0124 .. really hot blonde
0143 .. sorry, I was ablist
0157 .. didn't know I'm oppressed
0213 t.rex came from living with Samoans
0227 .. riding in electric cart with two nieces
0238 .. lady staring at me
0257 .. can be awkward for adults
0304 new roommate
0338 Jay shakes my hand (was setting up my chair)

1300 hobo zoo
0034 t.rex moving the mic
0044 t.rex getting old
0054 .. just flew in from ogden
0108 .. stopped at every temple
0113 Hobo Zoo (babysitting kid Hogle Zoo)
0203 kids ask what's wrong with hands
0241 best friend.. rude.. right?
0255 sometimes people are ablist like that
0308 that was funny! give him a hands!

1610 little johnny
0007 Mitch-slapped
0018 .. don't worry it won't hurt
0030 .. slapped by a t.rex
0037 meet the Robinsons
0055 .. lost weight a velociraptor
0104 Samoan nephews
0108 little Johnnie

1906 popcorn popping
0029 t.rex knocking over stool
0038 .. tired bird
0043 .. week to get from ogden
0049 .. thanks for angel moroni to rest
0057 fun getting laughs instead of stares
0114 popcorn
0214 had to fly.. can't hitchhike
0221 .. drive by and I'd flip off
0224 .. wave at friends
0227 .. they think I'm mad
0233 .. or sign language (show off)

2153 baby bird
0015 camera waving at (Andy)
0020 oowa! (up the step)
0022 watch this...
0032 t.rex setting up a stool
0040 .. and fixing the mic
0052 t.rex too much
0057 friend said tired from flying in
0112 .. not fully formed wings
0118 .. bring me a french fry
0130 .. if that works.. girlfriend!!
0142 sports.. soccer.. x-country
0231 other sports.. rock climbing (hay hook)
0247 rowing.. guy on the end with bullhorn

2502 gadgets and kids
0016 gotta sit.. lazy t.rex
0025 .. Barney any day now
0030 .. trying to lose weight.. velociraptor
0045 gadget tech guy
0145 sports kids
0153 .. gymnastics kid hanging
0218 .. nephews played football young
0233 .. canada hockey kids
0304 .. kids fall over puck
0305 .. that was it (forgot)
0326 .. no better.. just sports and kids
0333 give him a hands (Marcus)
0336 .. what? he's clapping at it.

2847 imagine me
0003 amazing.. never seen anything like (Marcus)
0025 now I'm nervous..
0031 gadget guy
0117 imagine me naked.. right?
0125 recognizable
0141 meet the Robinsons
0201 .. lose weight.. velociraptor
0209 .. not too skinny.. homo habilis
0226 not really t.rex
0235 .. t.rex is mean.. not me
0238 .. more like baby bird
0246 .. flying from WA
0248 .. thankfully moroni's
0320 Marcus.. little person plays my torso
0328 .. because you had us imagine you naked
0337 .. what if I had giant dick
0403 .. Hitler punished with giant dick
0410 .. and hands from Scary Movie 2

3258 statue story
0010 Christian.. take requests.. get the light
0059 .. taping this?
0135 .. you're the best
0149 .. t.rex and panda setting up stage
0212 choice.. stupid FB joke..
0225 statue story..
0434 messed up ending...

3755 hitchiking
0022 dropped mic
0040 recognizable
0045 .. taco bell
0111 .. games.. thumbs up 7up
0141 .. no hitchhiking
0151 .. friendly t.rex waving

4005 bad days
0027 rough days.. years.. life
0038 .. born looking like t.rex
0042 .. everything I do I do weird
0049 .. can't wipe
0051 .. can't put my socks
0054 .. .. can now.. with toes
0102 .. got divorced..
0105 .. bike fell apart
0109 .. .. fell off the car
0111 .. .. bounced down the road
0115 .. .. glad it wasn't me
0126 .. here now.. friends..
0137 .. love everyone.. they love me..
0142 .. not t.rex.. Barney!
0156 popcorn
0206 .. everyone can see?
0207 .. because.. no way.. I'm sad again
0305 .. cured! $200 please
0308 still can't hitchhike
0311 .. or do sign language

4341 my friend Tracey
0002 Alex.. are you filming me Matt?
0016 .. mic drop
0104 forgot what I'm doing.. see ya..
0116 little over a year living with Tracey
0131 .. pizza hut..
0219 .. need blood in thumbs
0242 .. popcorn

4732 hobby hands
0025 cold enough to ice climb
0109 new hobby.. teach ASL
0139 .. mess ups with ASL
0228 problem hitchhiking
0237 trying to flip off.. they wave back

5037 old man butt
0013 Shayne.. don't worry we got this
0030 tough.. I'm on the front row, too
0135 can tell it's hard.. fat man breathing
0143 .. recognize me in bathroom, too
0148 .. sign I'm 46 and body hates me
0158 .. back hurts all the time
0207 .. tried walking.. joints hurt..
0219 .. saw dr.. diabetes
0227 .. worst nightmare.. disabled
0238 you watching my ass
0245 .. like my badonk
0247 .. sturdy t.rex thighs
0259 .. and little arms
0306 .. saw dr.. pt.. diet.. velociraptor
0319 .. too far.. homo habilis
0338 Shayne.. if you're t.rex I'll tame you

5326 why wine?
0024 that was tough
0025 .. because of butt.. t.rex thighs
0037 .. pt.. exercise.. velociraptor
0046 wonder too long.. tell teenager
0056 talking about wine
0138 gotta let grapes rot.. persian legend

5559 teaching sign language
0017 easier and easier
0023 this nice butt.. nice.. right?
0027 gonna miss it my friend
0033 lotta girls like it.. some guys..
0039 more guys than I think
0045 t.rex thighs
0053 pt.. exercise.. velociraptor
0105 rock climbing
0114 fell.. sprained ankle.. suck being disabled
0130 .. soo.. soccer.. goalie!
0141 .. back to work as ASL teacher
0246 also when driving..
0258 .. flip her off.. she smiles and waves back

5921 new relationship
0001 Christian.. arranged last three most to least fu arms
0035 .. right?
0046 t.rex thighs
0100 terrible breakup
0123 body not a chick magnet
0129 new relationship
0137 .. holding hand longer since divorce
0149 .. relationship.. challenge
0201 .. physically!!!
0215 .. uses all her strength
0227 .. when will you tell about me?
0241 .. yup.. physical therapy

growing up
0022 fighting mic
0033 version of life story
0039 growing up kids teased
0052 .. how big was that fish?
0100 .. rock paper scissors
0124 .. showed new flip off
0147 killed a kid with CPR
0217 musical instruments
0243 own business
0250 tried CIA
0310 t.rex when I grow up
0321 .. watch your cups when I step
0341 Jordan.. extra 'i' should be arms

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

story idea.. leaf

I sat distracted. I was listening to a performer alternately speak and then play a piece on the piano. It was a good talk. I was just buried in my own worries and fears. It was the last week before I started college.

I remember him playing a song I knew was about 2000 warriors and their strength. The song inserted into my mind the thought that I was protected by warriors. Invisible, angelic warriors. My fears dissolved instantly. I was excited and looked forward to the new experiences of college.

A month or so later, I found myself overwhelmed and walking aimlessly. I wandered over to a low cement wall and just as I sat down, a leaf fell and landed on the thin wall right beside me. The leaf's message was both simple and completely changed my life. It was simply "All your choices have led you here. The entire universe spun and twisted and conspired to set this leaf here at the exact time you sat here by it. It is always so. You can never be in the wrong place." I know now it was the moment I realized I was one with the universe. I again lost my worries and fears for a time, and carried on plugging away at life.

And oh! the life! I had wanted to be a scientist as a kid. Then computers captured my imagination and I thought that would be the way to go. I paused all that to share my views on religion with others for a time, and while doing that, I discovered I really enjoyed getting to know people and talk about their dreams. I came back to college life determined to be an occupational therapist, helping others live with and adapt to disability. Volunteering helped me realize I couldn't perform physically in that field like I had hoped. In college, I began to fall in love with psychology, anthropology, and sociology.

I plugged away at a college degree. I had moved on from the original college to another much smaller one. I worked part time, and saved up tuition for a class or two at a time. Progress was slow. I began to doubt myself. I couldn't stay patient and keep seeing only small steps.

In my journal during that time, I wrote of feeling like a boy lost in a destroyed city. There were so many pieces to a functioning city, and the boy felt responsible for putting it all back together. The storms from the destruction were still raging, however, and the boy had no clue how to put things in order. Just when one piece fell into place, the storm would gather itself up and pull the pieces back up into its whirling wind. There was darkness everywhere and hopelessness and despair.

The pieces were the combined experiences of my life so far. Computers, people, psychology, my job in customer service. I was lost. I couldn't fit it all together. My brothers and sisters were all getting married and starting families. I had this mixed up jumble of experiences that wouldn't fit into a single cohesive life I could carry on with. Finally, I came across a government agency that could help me finish my bachelor's degree. I had a plan and I focused on social sciences. I would also be moving along to a third college.

There, with the pressure off, I continued learning about human thinking and feeling and being. The work I found, however, was at the college library. I felt another wind starting to blow. I graduated from college, met my wife, and got a job as a substitute reference librarian. Again I had "found my calling" and went screaming down the path to becoming a librarian. The image of the boy with now even more pieces to fit together was always with me. The substitute hours weren't enough, however, so I started hitting up the temp agencies. I eventually found a small state agency and did some proofreading work for them. Towards the end of the temp project, a permanent position opened up and I started down yet another path.

I wasn't afraid of computers and found myself playing around with the agency databases and making them find all kinds of useful answers to questions people asked me. Eventually the IT Manager asked that I be put under him and then immediately pulled the plug on my experimenting. I learned enough under him, though, that when he quit a while later, the agency felt I was qualified to be their IT Manager. This was the career path.

In the off hours, I had discovered storytelling from working at the library. I was also heavily involved supporting my nieces and nephews as they grew up. We never had kids of our own, but that left plenty of free time to help family around us. Then we took on a kid who defied all expectations. The differences between our parenting styles and the energy I had to put into keeping him on track took a toll on both my marriage and career. I kept trying to juggle nephew, wife and boss for some time, but just couldn't keep everyone happy. I focused on the nephew, thinking he didn't need yet another person to fail him. My wife made her own choices to start looking for alternative relationships. At work, it became difficult to concentrate and I found myself making mistakes, some of them costly to the agency.

So I separated from my wife, moved the nephew and myself to another apartment and the storm from college days seemed like a rain shower in comparison to the hurricane I was in. I finally broke. I quit my job. The nephew felt he was the trouble and moved on without me. For a couple years, I struggled thinking I could repair the relationship with my wife. Eventually, she filed for divorce. My life there was done. Shattered. I clung on to the group of storytellers I had been getting to know for ten of those years.

I signed the divorce papers and realized I was free from that place. I had a friend offer a room in her house several states away and I decided to go for it. I couldn't afford a regular apartment anyway, and her family and friends were extremely welcoming. After just a month there, it was time to go back up to finalize the divorce before a judge. My wife declared under oath that our relationship was irreconcilable. She had to say it first, because I didn't think it was until she said it. So that closed that chapter.

I was despondent and really just numb. I found myself driving aimlessly until I ended up at a lake I loved to swim in. It was rainy and cold, but I recalled the lake somehow was always warm. I walked to the dock and dropped off heavily. The water was warm enough and swam and floated lazily. Rain came and went several times. Eventually, it rained hard enough that the drops or splashes seemed to float just on the surface before the lake accepted them in. I was surrounded by little clicking balls of water that caught the light from the cloudy sky and lit up the lake for just the briefest moment then disappeared. Other times, the rain just fell silently, like a mist into the lake. I just floated and swam slowly and thought and thought and thought.

The thoughts weren't a screaming train of thought. That had been silenced by the numbness I felt. Then I saw a light floating on the water. Not the fleeting drops I just described. Bigger, and solid. I started over that way until I realized it was a giant drop of water. How? I got closer and closer until I realized a leaf had fallen on the lake with a curve in it like a tiny boat. The rain had filled the boat and the wax on the leaf had kept the water in a perfect sphere. It was beautiful. The perfect balance of timing, weight, surface tension all rolled into the most amazing sight I could ever remember. I gently floated around and around it. I waited for the rain to fill the leaf to overflowing when I expected the drop to join the surface of the lake and end the moment. It didn't happen. I finally reached out and gently touched the drop, thinking my finger would complete the join. It did, but most of the drop remained. The system was much more stable than I realized. Even more beauty.

Then I thought, "How can I share this?" I had no way of getting a camera there. I couldn't believe I would be the only person to see such a sight. When I touched it, the answer came. The answer was like a bolt. It was the answer to the numbness, as well. Three words filled my mind like a shout. Do it again!

I could find a leaf like that. I could add water. I could rebuild that scenario. It wasn't such a fluke. I could also do like now, and describe it. Tell the story. Replay it in my mind as often as I wanted.

But those three words filled the numbness that brought me to the lake. I could do it again. I could make friends, build relationships, create a good life that would be just as beautiful as the last fifteen years. It would be just as much work, but I could do it again.

A year into the new life, I took a class about storytelling and really, about creativity. One exercise had us take an image and describe it to another class member. I chose the boy rebuilding the destroyed city. I felt the frustration again. Relived the doubt and fear. Felt the anger when things just fell apart. Then, the instructor had us change location. So I did. I blew the clouds away and rose the sun up bright and warm. I moved the building site to the beach and turned the pieces into sand. The boy's heart changed. Now, he wasn't struggling with a heavy task, but playing. Friends came and went, and his creations did as well. The pieces of broken city he had been building were now building blocks and ideas for new and better creations. As he looked back along the beach, he could see his many beautiful creations. He remembered each one clearly and had beautiful memories of the friends and family that had built each particular castle. Some friends stayed with him for several parts. Some came for one, then left, only to return again.

The leaf lesson, "do it again," was fully learned. Not everyone spends their whole life building a single castle that needs constant protection and repair from the waves. Some people have several castles along the beach with wonderful memories and stories to tell of each and the friends who were there along the way. Some people fit several different lives into the time they have here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

BB Wolff: the whole story

Ever come across a guy that everyone is scared of? That has this reputation for being tough and almost, well, mean? But then, when you got to know him, when you become his close friend, you realized he's a huge teddy bear, with the biggest heart inside you've ever known?

That's my friend, Big Bad Wolff. BB for short, but we all call him Bubba now. Bubba is a friend first, a friend to the forest, a friend to the animals, a friend to the people. He'll defend and take care of any one of you in a heartbeat.

But what's his story? How did he come to save our little piece of the forest and become one of those guys we can call on and he'll be there every time? Honestly? It all started with his name... Big Bad. It was his mothers idea. You ever hear that old song "A Boy Named Sue"? It was meant to be like that. Bubba's mom thought a name like Big Bad would help him in the wolf culture he was raised in.

It did work -- a little too well. He was in fights constantly growing up. A long, long line of wolves came after him in the neighborhood, at school, on the playground, everywhere!

"Big Bad?" they'd say, "Let's see how big and bad you are!!!"

Thankfully, he was usually physically up to the challenge. He eventually fought his way to the top or near the top of all his social groups. He learned early on that he didn't always have to earn respect with a fight. Eventually, though, he realized the wolf culture was all about the raw, physical fight for superiority. That's when he left.

He wandered for some time. Eventually, he found this little part of the forest. The people seemed much nicer to each other than the wolves. He decided to settle himself there and start building a life for himself.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

zen and pulling it all together

zen and pulling it all together
In 1999, I graduated from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. One of the coolest things they did there, was to meld together these crazy disparate topics into a class they called a program. My first program was called Springtime in Science and we studied statistics and the mathematics of nature, debated evolution vs design, and learned how to draw. That single program was my full time credit load that semester. I loved the experience and the audacity to build a wonderful learning experience out of such seemingly disparate topics.

Years later, after I separated from my ex, I was still working full time and had taken on guardianship of a mutually adopted teenage Samoan nephew. He and I settled into an apartment in another nearby town. In this time of upheaval, I naturally thought of turning to the church I grew up in. It turned out, my choices were to continue attending the congregation my ex still went to, or to attend her mother's congregation!

So I bailed completely. I had been intrigued by this idea of zen and thought I'd look into that more deeply. I found a few groups in the area, but settled on one that focused more on the zen than on the Buddhism.

With everything else going on, I decided I'd try to go to a Monday night meditation and lesson as often as I could. I loved every minute of it.

The zendo was located deep in the woods on the other side of town. It smelled like the lush evergreen forest it was nestled in. Birds might sing or call some nights, while other nights we listened to the sound of light rain tapping it's chaotic pattern on the roof. These Monday evenings meditating and learning at that small zendo became the most peaceful time of my week.

The hard part was getting to that beautiful peaceful place. Monday nights found me rushing to get home from work, feeding my nephew and getting him wherever he needed to be, then realizing what day it was and getting out the door just in time to get to the zendo before the doors closed and everyone was quietly meditating.

It was then, in my need of speed, that Molly Mom would wander into my lane and slow down. Or Grandpa Jerry would get around to his Sunday drive (a day late)! But I was on an important mission! So I honked and served and screamed down the highway and around the country road corners and made it in time most days.

One day, I got stuck behind two slow trucks, one in each lane . The first was trying to pass the other who was apparently not in the mood to get passed. Driving slowly, ever so slowly, behind them, my blood boiled and hate flowed from my lips, rushing loudly like water from a beautiful fountain.

It was there, in that moment of frustration and anger that my training from Evergreen kicked in and I finally got the joke!

I call it Zen and the Art of Road Rage.

So I tried my hand at stand up comedy last night. It was pretty shaky. Had a good time, though, then couldn't sleep all night. Had ideas running through my head but not in the good way. Finally, I stumbled onto this gem!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

BB Wolff: These three pigs...

I learned from the Little Red Riding Hood fiasco that people really weren't relating well to me. My personal "clean up the forest" project had been a little too personal -- as in not public enough. People just saw me as another wolf lurking in the forest.

So I worked on my English and started  a personal safety training business. I started to get to know and get known in the community. It was actually a really fun process. I'll have to tell you about it someday.

One day, though, I had a class run out to a meadow in the forest. As the class was practicing self-defense moves, I noticed a small road had been built at one edge of the meadow. Throughout the rest of class, I noticed three different pigs walking down the road.

After the class had finished and dispersed, I decided to investigate. As I headed down the little road, I discovered three of the most curious little houses. The first was made of straw, then a little ways down the road, another was made of sticks, and way at the end of the road was a good solid brick house.

Being a good neighbor and hoping to recruit new customers for my self-defense classes, I thought I'd introduce myself. I approached the straw house. I noticed immediately that the house was not very securely built. Any little breeze might at some point knock it right over.

From a distance, I called, "Mr. Pig! Mr. Pig! May I come in?"

I chuckled to myself at his clever, rhyming reply, "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!"

So I tried to explain myself further, "l just wanted to warn you that even I could blow your house in!"

Sadly, I also sneezed!

I was right! The house was demolished instantly! I felt badly, and scrambled over to help the pig who was buried in the pile of straw that had been his house. I sniffed him out and pulled him free with my teeth.

Sadly, I may have nipped him a little!

As soon as I set him on the ground, he took off squealing all the way to the next little house. You remember? The one made of sticks? As I got closer, I realized the tiny sticks left huge gaps in the walls! This house would be no shelter from the cold winter winds that were soon to arrive.

When I thought they could hear, I called, "Mr. Pig! Mr. Pig! May I come in?"

They must be rappers. They both called out together, "Not by the hair of our chinny chin chin!"

Again, I called out to explain, "I just wanted to warn you that even I could blow in your house!"

I think I was allergic to something that day, because I sneezed again!

The house was in worse shape than I thought. It swayed a little, then crumpled in onto itself! Fearing for the worst, I ran over and started sniffing around for the pigs. I caught their scent and pulled them both free together.

Under the circumstances, an accidental nip was almost inevitable. I felt badly as they ran up the little road to the last house.

Wanting to make sure they arrived safely and didn't need medical attention, I followed closely after them. A third pig held the door open for them and slammed it just as I was approaching.

"Mr. Pig! Mr. Pig! May I come in?" I called.

I heard them hurriedly conferring with each other, then, in unison, "Not by the hair of our chinny chin chin!"

What a strange family tradition! I replied loudly, "Your house seems strong, but I'm going to check for a way to get in!"

I walked around and around the house, huffing and puffing from all the running and excitement. It all looked sturdy, but I thought I'd better check the roof. From the chimney arose a wonderful aroma of stew that must have been almost ready.

I jumped off the roof and called to the pigs, "Looks good! ... and smells good!"

The third pig, who had just gathered the whole story from his brothers, came out and introduced himself. He was beside himself trying hard not to laugh. He had been in town earlier and had heard of my self-defense classes. His brothers, he said, could really use some confidence building.

He invited me in for dinner to the dismay of his little brothers.

Now I understand kids needing to save face in front of their peers, so it didn't surprise me at all to start hearing a different version of what happened that day. Each time I hear it, though, I just chuckle to myself.

Now you can, too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Heavy Matter

A Heavy Matter (written version)
Mom and I walked into a restaurant one day and my mom said, "What if we'd rather they use a scoop like everyone else?" Years of living with and knowing my mom had me both smiling already and also frantically looking around. What had she noticed? Whatever it was would be hilarious. That was her sense of humor. Around her, you always have to pay attention. Listen. Look. Be aware. Finally, I found it. On every table was a sign proudly advertising "Hand Dipped Ice Cream!"

Through this and countless other experiences, my mom built paying attention and really, being curious, into all of her children. I can't speak for my brothers or sisters, but these are traits I look for in others and find in my most favorite people. It's what drew me strongly to this story about a young man we have all likely heard of. The way I first heard the story, an apple fell and hit him in the head.

In 1666, the black plague was in full swing. Isaac Newton fled the big city, heading to his mother's house in the country. Suddenly, he had a lot of time on his hands. As he was in the orchard one day, in what he called a "contemplative mood," he really did see an apple fall from a tree.

Isaac paid attention. In one of those great moments when a million thoughts suddenly all come together, Isaac became incredibly curious. Why did apples in Europe and England and everywhere all fall straight down every time? Thinking about this crazy idea from Copernicus and Galileo that the world was round, Isaac realized they were all falling toward the center of a round earth.

But what started the apples' downward motion? Nothing moves on its own. To move a rock across a field, something has to push it. Isaac realized the earth had a force of some kind pulling everything towards its center. He started talking to his friends about "gravity." He was onto something. People caught his infectious curiosity.

Over the years, Isaac and others began watching and measuring things. Isaac wondered how far this gravity extended. What if the earth was pulling something towards it, while at the same time, rotating away from it? Like the moon? A friend noticed this gravity was weaker when objects were further apart. Isaac noticed larger objects pulled more strongly than smaller ones. Putting the two together, Isaac came up with equations that could reliably predict where planets and moons would be in the future. The planet Uranus didn't follow the model, so people began looking for something that was pulling it off course. That's how they discovered Neptune.

Newton's ideas and equations were so accurate, no one had any better ideas on gravity for nearly 300 years! By then, scientists had found his model so reliable it was considered a law. They were also getting incredibly precise at measuring things. They found that everything pulls everything towards itself, not just the earth. They also realized Isaac's model wasn't always working in some cases. Mercury, for example, wasn't exactly where they calculated it should be. How curious!

In the 1940's, in his own contemplative moments, Albert wondered why that was so. He talked to his friends about it and pulled together some ideas we're still trying to wrap our heads around. The short answer was that the sun is so incredibly massive it has bent space and slowed time around it. With those adjustments, Mercury once again behaved as expected.

The question still remains, however: What is pulling everything towards everything else?
The only problem with science stories? They're all cliffhangers!
How would you finish the story?

on earning small arms

Have you ever heard those cool old stories about how the world came to be? I drive three kids to school every morning when I'm in tow...