Saturday, July 31, 2004

18,034 words and a bunch of whining

  • BOOK UPDATE: True, I am 1,683 words further along than I was last week, but I'm not as far along as I'd like to be. It's been a frustrating week, to say the least.
    To get to work each day, I take Minnesota Highway 55 east across the Mendota Bridge. Then I turn right on Mendota Heights Road and head to the palatial estate of my benevolent employer. But on days when there is a good song on the radio and the sun is shining, I will tell myself that I am not going to make that turn onto Mendota Heights Road. Instead I will carry on down to Hastings, Minn., then maybe to Wisconsin and who knows where else. But to this point I have always made that right turn; responsibility to blame.
    That's where I am with this book -- I want to push further, but the realities of life limit me to my two hours or less each day. It's not a lament that's going to earn me any sympathy: I'm doing what I want, but not enough of it.

  • Maybe I could just turn my novel into one very long blog post.

  • Anybody want to adopt a cat?

  • One can only guess what this might be.

  • Yet another reason I'm apprehensive about going to the dentist.

  • Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice enjoys the soothing sounds of Daniel Bedingfield.

  • This is kind of cool (if you're me): A few weeks ago, I posted a picture that sits on the wall of the world's dodgiest tattoo parlour, in Portsmouth, England. I have since found these three pictures of said tattoo parlour. If you look closely at the first and third picture, you can just barely see the Pompey sailor mural on the lower right.
  • The barbecue has been delayed

    "OK. I may have used too much lighter fluid..."

    Friday, July 30, 2004

    Who needs snow?

    These are the steps of Portsmouth Guildhall, where I got to see such paragons of entertainment as Roy "Chubby" Brown and Australian rock band Thunder (you know they rock because they have a bloke named "Snake"). I should point out that I got into both of those shows free. Next month it will play host to the Pompey Beer Festival.

    The rest of the time, its steps serve as a place to sit on warm, sunny days and drink Sainsburys bitter whilst watching kids fail to master various skateboard tricks in the square.

    Once, a group of kids got their hands on a number of those plastic pallets that supermarkets use for loaves of bread, and used them as sleds to power down the Guildhall steps. The kids were perfectly happy sledding from that middle bit, but after garnering sufficient cheap-beer courage, I asked to give one of the sleds a try and trekked to the very top of the steps.

    I was a little big for the sled -- I had to press my knees into my chest. And sitting at the top of the steps, I couldn't seem to scoot myself over the edge.

    "Give me a push, will ya?" I said to one of the kids.

    I think I immediately recognized this as a very stupid thing to request -- hey, kid, push the drunken American down the steps -- but it was too late. I shot down the steps with such terrifying speed that I now feel like wetting my pants just thinking about it.

    Thursday, July 29, 2004

    Combat cutlery

  • Behold: The hot-air powered Maestrofoon, the rocket-powered bicycle, and a number of other things that probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

  • How to spot a problem individual: "the caller asked them to pick up Nair, razors and a pizza before coming to his home."

  • Congratulations, Houston, on your 53rd light-rail accident!

  • Progressive minds in Arkansas have legalised Girl Scout cookies. If Girl Scout cookies are outlawed, only outlaws will have Girl Scout cookies.

  • Something tells me this study was commissioned by corporate America: Taking vacation can give you a heart attack.

  • This morning at the office, whilst practicing for my Olympic event, I heard the sound of someone eating chips (aka, crisps) in their toilet stall. That's just a wee bit unsanitary, isn't it? Clearly we need more children's songs explaining proper toilet use.

  • At least the Welsh are properly educated.
  • The Scots, they love me

  • In case you missed it, I am "excellent" according Jenny "Absentee".
    My wife would probably tell you that one of my main goals in life is getting people from across the British Isles to like me. Primarily I work toward this by drinking their beer.

  • In that sort of tangential way in which my mind works, I was reminded today that I mean to buy this book.

  • And while I'm on the topic of Scots, they are apparently miserable. Perhaps this is because of the flying ants.

  • I need to learn to be a better liar. Today, I found myself vying for a promotion within the hallowed halls of my employer. My boss said: "To be honest, Chris, I just can't see your really enjoying this job. I think you might hate it."
    "You may be right," I said.
    Well, there goes that job, then.

  • I wonder how one gets a job as a political joke writer.

  • Meet the toughest guy on the beach.

  • More on The Next Big Viking.
    Here's my amusing one degree of separation from Brock Lesnar: I dated two girls (not at the same time) with connections to Webster, S.D., where Lesnar last played football -- in high school, in 1995.

  • Eh? What's this about?

  • Man, here's a mystery: What could possibly have caused this explosion?
  • Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    Household Olympics

    Note: The following post is immature.

    Well, my lymph nodes are swollen, my body is aching, and I've got a sore throat. Yep, I've got Olympic Fever!

    With the Olympic games only a few weeks away, I've been trying to think of ways to enhance the experience for those of us not able to join in on the plate-smashing fun in Athens.

    I've decided that we need a series of Olympic events in which we can partake during commercials, from the comfort our own home.

    Since I am lazy, I have hitherto only thought of a single event: the bladder time trial.

    For this event you will need a beverage of your choosing and a toilet. The goal is to see how long you can go "No. 1," as they say. Or maybe it's "No. 2." I've never been very clear on the numbering system. As a child, I always used the word "tinkle" to describe this activity.

    (It's a shame I don't continue to use that word. I can just imagine sitting at the bar with my rugby teammates: "Excuse me fellas, I have to tinkle like a race horse.")

    Competitors in this event time themselves on how long they can maintain a steady tinkle stream. Stop-start tinkling and foreign devices are not allowed -- such behavior does not hold true to the spirit of the Olympics.

    Much in the same way that the United States is the current Olympic rugby champion because rugby has not been part of the Olympics since 1912, I am the current world champion in the bladder time trial because no one else appears to have thought up this event.

    Equally, I hold the world record time: 47 seconds.

    Of course, there are men's and women's divisions of the event. I don't think it's fair that the two sexes would compete against each other. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure women would always win.

    If you can beat my time or can think of another Household Olympics event, leave a comment below (Note that you don't have to be a Blogger to leave a comment).

    Hooray brain-damaged monkeys!

  • All other NFL teams might as well pack it in before the season even starts -- the Minnesota Vikings are going to the Super Bowl! This is why.

  • I'd have to say that this was a bad career move.

  • I've been putting my job at risk by doing nothing but play this game all day.

  • Add your own "snail mail" joke here.

  • I was thinking today about the commercials for Red Stripe beer. On the commercials page of their website, at the bottom, there are radio ads -- listen to the one that says "Reggae." I can't seem to figure out how to make a more direct link to the ad. Fortunately, all the other ads are good, too. Hooray beer.

  • I think I speak for everyone who has ever had their car towed when I say: Hooray cowboys.

  • Hooray, also, tigers.

  • Not so much hooray whales that attack.

  • A monkey that is displaying human traits is sick and may have brain damage. That actually makes a lot of sense.
  • Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    My Wife Is Hot -- Literally

    Here is this week's column. It will probably earn me a night's stay on our couch. Please forward it to all your friends, family and elected representatives.

    Now with the great taste of bathtub cheese

  • Why do I love chess? The fights.

  • This sounds OK to me. As long as they don't give me Steve Baldwin's talent (or lack thereof).
    Link stolen from Linus.

  • Mmmmmmmm, bathtub cheese.

  • I have cancelled my vacation plans to Inkster, Mich.

  • What could be more fun than designing your tombstone?

  • I'll tell you what could be more fun: collecting airline stewardess uniforms. Sure, it's a little disturbing, but better than collecting airline stewardesses, I suppose.

  • This article has a list of people blogging from the Democratic National Convention. This one is from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  • Separated at birth? (Part II)

    Jay Leno

    John Kerry

    And they're both from Boston...

    Friday, July 23, 2004

    16,351 words and liquid doughnuts

  • BOOK UPDATE: As of this morning, the count stands at 16,351 words for the book, and I'm doing my best to get the words out as fast as I can -- I can edit them later. I have a notoriously bad memory and I live in fear that good ideas will be lost because I can't get them out of my head and onto a page soon enough.
    This second part of the book is more complicated, but I find myself enjoying it more, and realizing that I have quite a bit of work facing me when I eventually get back to the first part. As I say, I don't expect this project to be readable until at least March.
    March feels like a long time away.

  • My wife and I saw "Anchorman" last night. I have long thought of writing a series of novels that parody my experiences in various television newsrooms, and I am delighted to report that "Anchorman" used none of my ideas. To that end, I can recommend the movie -- as long as you are not bothered by the absence of a plot.

  • Mmmmmmmmmm liquid doughnut.

  • Officials in New Castle, Ind., might want to check whether my college roommate has just moved into town.

  • And yet, I'll bet this woman is still better behind the wheel than most San Diego cab drivers.

  • Maybe this guy just really likes getting mail.

  • And they probably didn't have their bus passes.

  • If there's going to be any string in Los Angeles, it had better be serious string.
  • It probably used to be a brothel

    This is a picture of a bed and breakfast in the Old Portsmouth section of Portsmouth, England (where I went to university).
    Old Portsmouth used to lie outside the town walls and was home to literally hundreds of brothels and pubs. It is an area that is no longer nor wider than three city blocks. These days you can grab a pint at the Spice Island Inn, a pub that is older than the United States of America, and watch the ships move in and out of Portsmouth Harbour.
    I have no idea why anyone but me would be interested in all of this, but, hey, that's why it's my blog. Although, the Spice Island Inn will be mentioned in my book.

    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    We're on to you

  • A co-worker of mine in Boston got this e-mail today:
    "i recently heard a news report that only pigeons would be able to get into the fleetcenter because north station is infiltrated with them. then, this noon i saw a scrolling newsline that said inswededn, 1500 homing pigeons got lost on a 93-mile race, baffling authorities. is it feasible that terrorists could try to use homing pigeons to infiltrate the fleetcenter with gases??"
    Nefarious pigeon-using terrorists might as well just give up now. We're on to you.

  • Note: When extending your middle finger at a passing train, remember to do so at a safe distance.
  • Mom's famous

    My mom is in this picture -- it was featured Wednesday with this Star Tribune story. Allegedly she's helping to determine the health of Minnesota's wetlands. But is it just me, or is Mom wearing a SWAT-style flak jacket? It just adds more credence to my theory that Mom is a spy.

    It shows they care

    This is an actual e-mail I received. I swear to you I have made no changes:

    From: "Letter"
    Subject: Rejection letter
    Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2004 11:00:37 -0500

    Dear [firstname]

    Thank you for your application for the post of Website Manager.

    Unfortunately, you have not been shortlisted for an interview.
    However, i would like to thank you for your interest in the position and wish you every success in your other applications.

    Kind Regards,

    Personnel Department

    The Hass' evil genius, sans genius

  • Man, I want to be paid $100 a day to blow up balloons.

  • Dang.

  • Yet another reason why I left San Diego.

  • The fascists in Daytona, Fla., seem to think this is somehow wrong.

  • You may or may not remember the Cleveland woman who several months ago claimed that she had conveniently lost a $150 million lottery ticket. She is doing her best to capitalize on her notoriety. I expect she will release a porn video soon.

  • I present you with evidence of David "The Hass" Hasselhoff's genius. Honestly, what is happening in this video?

  • The Hass' video makes Leonard Nimoy singing "Bilbo Baggins" seem perfectly normal. Almost.

  • CORRECTION: Yesterday's post was, in fact, my 72nd. Please adjust your scorecards accordingly.
  • Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    Post No. 71

  • Today's post is my 71st. In 71 A.D., construction began on the Coliseum in Rome. I have no idea why I went to the trouble to research that fact.

  • Thank you for flying Aeroflot. In a few minutes, our flight attendants will be passing through the cabin with pretzels, drinks, and cans of whoop-ass.

  • We know, of course, that the CIA has overlooked a number of threats in recent years. Here's another one: The terror of drunken magpies.

  • Cool. In Zimbabwe athletics, the winner gets to sing. The Olympics should adopt this same strategy -- of course, then the United States would not only have to worry about accusations of illegal stimulant use, but voice coaching as well.

  • Michael Jackson plus his two children make three -- four more kids would equal seven. The book of Revelation warns against a seven-headed beast. I report, you decide.
  • Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    I got soul but I'm not a soldier

  • I think I may have mentioned that I finally finished reading "Mammoth" last week. I started reading this, but almost immediately recognized it as something I was going to enjoy it about as much as excessive earwax. So I've started in on Kurt Vonnegut's "Jailbird" (ya like the way I worked three Amazon links into a single paragraph? Go me), which was basically shoved into my hands by my friend, Eric.
    At the front of the book, there are all these really great blurbs that are almost intimidating: "A dazzling and virtuoso achievement by one of our finest literary natural resources." -- It kind of makes you sit there and think: "Man. Am I smart enough to read this book? Perhaps I should just set this thing down and go back to the Garfield compilations before I hurt somebody."
    And then I started to think about what sort of blurbs could possibly be offered up for my books (should one eventually be written and then eventually published). I reckon you'd have to sell my books at the airport, hoping to capitalize on the desperation of people who are bored to tears: "(Cope's) writing is easily more engaging than the nutrition facts on a package of pretzels;" "More entertaining than reading the 'USA Today Weekend Edition' on a Sunday."

  • Years ago, I worked for a very short time as an assignment editor at a television news station in San Diego. Once, while doing beat checks -- calling all local law enforcement to ask if anything of interest is taking place -- I was informed that a man had been beaten that day with a plastic duck.
    "A plastic duck?" I asked.
    "Yeah. Like a lawn ornament thing," the watch commander said.
    "What an odd weapon," I said.
    "Yeah. I guess sometimes you just gotta use whatever's available," he said.
    Indeed -- sometimes you just gotta use whatever's available.

  • Are we sure it wasn't just Linda Ronstadt's music that caused the riot?

  • Attention Canadians: Are you going to stand for this? Stand up for yourselves! Will you abandon hockey next?

  • The people of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch will not be happy to hear about this.
  • Monday, July 19, 2004

    Damn that vainglorious little bear

    What the heck has happened to the Snuggle fabric softener bear?!

    At one time, it was a cute little daredevil bear that enjoyed leaping from cupboards into piles of freshly folded laundry and laughing his cute little laugh. Now he's just a pompous stuffed bear.

    It started with that advert where he laughed at the porcupine who wanted to be the Snuggle fabric softener bear. You think it's easy being a porcupine? No one ever wants to cuddle up with you -- life is just one long series of rejection. Porcupines need love, too. And Snuggle, the self-involved little devil bear, laughs at the porcupine's pain!

    Now there's a new advert where some woman is lured to him in a forest, and the whole thing has a weird drug-filled porno feel to it. My wife points out that Snuggle has lost his cute voice and now sounds like a 15-year-old. Snuggle has become a punk.

    This once cute bear is now tormenting porcupines and menacing women in the woods. Next thing you know, this evil bear will be putting our children's lives at risk.

    Will you stop at nothing, Snuggle bear?! Have you no shame, sir?! Have you no shame?!

    Sunday, July 18, 2004

    Yet another message from Abraham Lincoln

    this is an audio post - click to play

    Is it me?

    You can make little Japanese anime-looking pictures of yourself here. I'm not sure, though, that this looks a whole lot like me... except for the beer in hand.

    Saturday, July 17, 2004

    13,497 words and a bit of Latin

  • BOOK UPDATE: 13,497 words is probably more than I have ever written on a single subject, but it still doesn't seem like a whole heck of a lot. Perhaps I should scrap the word "book" and say that I am writing a pamphlet.
    I started work this week on part two of my four-part pamphlet. I'm anticipating that this will be the most difficult part to write. Presently, it requires a great deal of staring at the ceiling working out the narrative in my head: "No, wait. That won't work because it happens at night, but the sequence before and after take place during the day, on the same day. Dang."

  • A few years ago, in a whim of self indulgence I bought a little scrap of paper that claimed to hold my family crest. Obviously I have no idea if it is accurate. No one in my family bothers to write anything down, so there is little evidence of our existence beyond my great-grandfather. But it's a nice looking crest and I wouldn't mind having it as my own.
    The crest also had what it purported to be my family motto: "Equo adeste animo."
    I have no idea what this means. Anyone have a clue? I assume it's Latin.

  • Flying just got much, much worse. Clearly Satan owns a phone company (that would explain telemarketers), because now the Dark Lord has figured out how to get cell phones --- and the loud, annoying conversations that come with them -- onto an airplane. Not only that, the phone has a one-second delay, which will inevitably create stuttering, stop-start, repetitive conversations:
    "What? I was saying that... What? No, go ahead. Hello? OK. What? OK. I'll go. I was saying that grandma's knee had to be drained of... What? Hello?"
    Imagine that on a seven-hour cross-country trip!

  • I'll bet this guy watches Fox News.

  • "With free admission, it would be a great way for visitors to give something back to the museum."

  • I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but my wife and I are hoping to join the Peace Corps once she's earned her master's degree. I often hope that we'll get sent to someplace like Romania. But I think I'll make a note to get any medical procedures taken care of back home.

  • I've spent most of my day racing badgers.
  • Friday, July 16, 2004

    Art in the city

    I just found this picture online today. This is a mural on the wall of the dodgiest tattoo parlour in Europe. Literally a hole in the wall, the parlour is located underneath train tracks near the University of Portsmouth politics buildings. With local color like this, it's easy to see why I want to go back.

    Make Blogger acknowledge Welsh

    I have decided that Blogger needs to offer a Welsh-language option for a post's date language. Icelandic, which boasts some 250,000 speakers, is an option, but Welsh, which boasts more than 500,000 speakers, is not. That hardly seems fair.

    If you use Blogger, please write to them and ask them to add Welsh as an option. Here is the URL to their Help form:

    Using my super powers for good

  • When people learn that I am writing a book, they will often say something like: "Oh, I'm so glad that you are putting your talents to good use."
    Obviously, it's a very nice thing to say, and I appreciate it very much. But then, what writer would admit to using his skills for nefarious means?
    "Hey Chris, what are you up to these days?"
    "I'm writing propaganda for the Nazis."
    "Ooh. I'd have to say you are putting your talents to bad use there..."
  • Speaking of fascists, they appear to have taken control of Missouri's Elk River.
  • Why do they only make loft bed frames for kids? I want one for my wife and me. Ooh, and a fort!
  • Is it just me, or is this woman holding a picture of erstwhile Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?
  • People who are not me:
    - Chris Cope
    - Chris Cope
    - Chris Cope
    - Chris Cope
    - Chris Cope

  • Thursday, July 15, 2004

    It's raining Chinese men, hallelujah!

    I found this to be partially amusing...

    On the main page of any of the dozens of sections that an IBS* website may have, there are what are called "blurbs;" little paragraphs and pictures leading you to that section's top story or stories.
    This morning in the Family section, I noted that the two blurbs told a story in and of itself.

    This was the first blurb: China Worries About Shortage Of 'Wives' In Near Future. It seems there are too many men in China. Obviously that creates a host of problems, not least of which is shed loads of lonely men. Golly, what should all those lonely men do?

    The answer came in the second story: Senate Vote Ends Fight Over Marriage Amendment.

    It's still not a Constitutional violation to marry a fella in the United States. China may want to think about taking things a step further...

    *IBS is the company running the sites where my column can be found -- Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. It was set up before anyone had ever heard of irritable bowel syndrome.

    I am paralyzed by ennui

  • I have pretty short hair, so it doesn't matter all that much, but I realized this morning that I have not washed my hair in at least three days. Hey, I could be French! C'est grand!
    Ah, I'm just kidding. Happy Bastille Day, froggie-types.

  • Well, duh.

  • In case you had any doubt as to whether Marlon Brando was a nutcase: "it always was the Oscar-winning actor's dream to play a woman in an animated movie."

  • Now available at the Cedar Point amusement park in North Canton, Ohio: Free metal shavings!

  • I have just cancelled my vacation to the Detroit suburb of Center Line.

  • Donner, party of 24, your table is ready.

  • Interesting true fact: The Japanese bombed Omaha, Neb., during World War II.

  • I'm not sure whether you could still get to Omaha by bus too see where the bomb landed, though. The fact that Greyhound has shed a number of its routes admittedly slipped beneath my radar, but I still find it a little sad. I once spent a few gloriously sleepless days travelling on the bus from Albany, N.Y. to Minneapolis when I was in college. It was on that trip, during a short stop in Cleveland, that I learned there is nothing quite so wonderful as a basket of fresh, hot French fries at 3 a.m.
    I also learned that it is important to be the first person on the bus, so you can quickly take up two seats and feign being asleep, else you may find yourself sitting next to a man with the worst-smelling feet in North America. When he took off his shoes, the bus driver threatened to kick him off the bus if he did not put them back on.
    I'm not the sort of person to wax poetic about a busload of people who spent 30 minutes arguing whether Milwaukee's hockey team is better than the Chicago Blackhawks (astute readers will note that such an argument is inherently flawed, due to the fact that Milwaukee does not have an NHL team), but many of the people on that bus were people with dreams and hopes, and the Greyhound bus was taking them there. I can't help but wonder now how small-town dreamers, grandmothers and lovesick college students will undertake their journeys now.
    My co-worker, Scott, shares a few of his Greyhound memories in his latest Weird Chroncles column.
  • Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    Drag queens and baby feet

  • You know, when a drag queen needs expensive new shoes, he will stop at nothing to get them.

  • "Bender claimed she was euthanizing the creatures" -- with a shovel. Sure. That makes sense; that's how we took care of Grandma.

  • If you are planning a trip to Kansas City, Kan., you might want to reschedule, due to the butt-biting bats.

  • Wait a second, this baby foot tastes like chicken. I want my money back.

  • Here's an entertaining John Edwards campaign commercial. No, wait. I got him confused with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper again. Extra points for anyone who has even the slightest clue what he's talking about.
  • Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    Reunions, Time To Look For Failures

    My mean old editor insisted I change a reference to having sex with farm animals, but here it is nonetheless: This week's column.
    Please help to make me famous and forward it to all your friends, family, and elected representatives.

    I love you, man

  • Apologies for my unnecessarily sappy post last night -- I think I may have had too much sun. Karma has paid me back for poor writing with a terribly painful shoulder, caused by the tremendous fights that were my attempts to get out of the water.
    When we were younger -- back in the days that the Crestliner was a good boat and buffalo still roamed the open plains -- we would do our best to think up good excuses as to why we couldn't get out of the water: "I think I'm leaning a little too far forward;" "My grip was wrong on that attempt."
    Sunday, however, we were struggling to find new excuses. Among the ones we came up with: the earth's rotation, global warming, and the position of the sun. Of course, it had nothing to do with the fact that we are older and heavier.

  • Regular readers (both of you) may notice that I've changed the blog's title ever so slightly and added some stuff in the sidebar to the right. I will be adding some more stuff there as time goes by.
    I don't actually speak Irish, Scottish or Cornish, but I added links to learning pages because I usually end up mentioning them when I tell people how I taught myself to speak Welsh. The mighty British Broadcasting Corp. has a number of really great language learning sites.
    It's actually pretty amazing how much information exists within the BBC's website. I am convinced that if there are weapons of mass destruction anywhere in Iraq, their exact location is revealed on a buried and forgotten page somewhere on the BBC's site.

  • Golly. That sure is convenient. I'm sure it was an honest mistake, though -- no nefarious activity whatsoever.

  • This story makes no mention of Richard having a wife of girlfriend. I wonder why...

  • Meet Wilda Davis: good lookin' lady and paragon of hygiene.

  • The USA Rugby match against France will be broadcast July 18 -- more than two full weeks after the match actually took place. And they say there isn't enough support for rugby in America. Fie, I say! At least it shouldn't be hard for you to go all that time without learning the score.

  • Have I ever told you how much I love modern science? Thank you drug companies. Thank you!

  • Bubbles game to keep you amused for approximately three minutes.
  • Monday, July 12, 2004

    The boys of summer

    Our stomachs are bigger, we remember to wear sunscreen, and the old Nordic Crestliner boat strains against our weight more than ever before. But a day at the lake is still what it has always been.
    My best friend, Paul, was in town this weekend for our 10-year high school reunion. He's a dork for insisting that we go, but it was good to have him in town.
    After suffering through the hours of discomfort that was our reunion Saturday, we were out on Lake Riley today, pushing the old boat for what she was worth.
    With five people sitting in her, a skier must suffer through a 15- to 20-second full strength battle before she gets up to speed and pulls you upright. It was funny to watch Eric as he fought against the water, almost wholly submerged but refusing to let go of the tow rope.
    We milked the day for all we could and I was winching the boat onto the trailer as the sun settled behind the trees on the horizon -- leaving us to gulp down beers and bratwurst and probably a few of the relentless swarming mosquitoes, and stare out on a placid, orange and pink lake in the early evening.
    Now I'm home and showered and in a few minutes I'll lay down next to my incredibly beautiful wife and listen to the rattle of our window air conditioner and say a few hundred prayers of thanks.
    Moments like today are why I go through all the other days. This is why I live in Minnesota. This is why I go to work. This is why I get out of bed every morning.

    Saturday, July 10, 2004

    12,420 words

  • BOOK UPDATE: I am now close to one-fourth of the way through writing my novel. I expect to start work on the second part of the book (there are four parts) sometime next week.
    I feel that I should be offering some sort of exciting insight into the book-writing process, but there doesn't appear to be anything exciting about it. It's extraordinarily tedious work -- you write something, then spend the next month editing it.
    I will say this, however: it is rather cathartic. In this novel, one of the characters is based on someone who upset me quite a bit for a number of years. But having spent the past several months dealing with the character, I find it all but impossible to form a single melancholy thought about the person. I am mentally done being upset, having spent so much time now going through it over and over and over again via the editing process.
    To that end, I am thinking that I may now have to write a novel that addresses the Minnesota Vikings' consistent failures in the playoffs.

  • Dang. Clearly there's still a long way to go.

  • Wow. This is pretty cool: A one-hour video highlights package of Britain's Glastonbury festival.

  • Palaeontologists have discovered mammoth remains in Sacramento.

  • A certificate of Kentucky citizenship has been issued to this man.
  • Friday, July 9, 2004

    Separated at birth?

    John Edwards

    "Rowdy" Roddy Piper


    John Edwards has come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And he's all out of bubble gum.

    Thursday, July 8, 2004

    Steve Irwin's got nothing on me

  • Obviously these girls were in need of the assistance of a rugged, manly man in a kilt.
  • John Kerry loves to point

    "If elected, I will point out to America all sorts of things, like that guy over there."

    "I will point to the east..."

    "I will point to the west..."

    "I will point to the north..."

    "I will point to the south..."

    "I will point at you..."

    "I will point at John's wife..."

    "And I will point to... Oh, ma'am, you have mustard on your shirt. No, just to the left a bit."

    "As vice president, I, too, will point out things of interest. Check out that guy!"

    Yes, but where can I find a Nipsey Russell impersonator?

  • I am always amused by multi-purpose things. There is an Asian market in my neighborhood that advertises a myriad of services: groceries, restaurant, one-hour photo, video rental, dating service. So how could I not appreciate an entertainer who offers to impersonate either Elvis or Al Jolson?
    Is there really all that much demand for Al Jolson?
    The Al-vis (see what I did there?) impersonator also does magic and fire eating. Could you possibly ask for more from one man?! How about this great claim: "Have your local Police Chief or Sheriff... lock their own personal handcuffs on (Al-vis). If he should fail to escape, you get his show for FREE!"

  • Of course, like most right-thinking individuals, this is the show I really want to see.

  • Way to go Kentucky! You make America proud!

  • Here's a reason to be thankful I'm not rich. If Rachel left me, the most she'd get out of it would be a CD of Lynyrd Skynyrd's greatest hits.

  • My co-worker, Jen Boyles, appears to be the only music reviewer with the guts to admit that the latest Beastie Boys album isn't that good.

  • I suspect this incident signalled the goalie's last day on the job.
  • Wednesday, July 7, 2004

    I have to write the book, too?

  • You know, the world simply cannot have enough bendy dogs.

  • That's a good name for a band; The Bendy Dogs.
    On Sunday I came up with a good title for a book: "American Fun." On the cover of the book, I would have a picture of a middle-aged and weathered Midwestern woman sitting in a folding lawn chair, smoking a cigarette and holding a sparkler. Now I just need a plot, beginning, middle and end for said book.

  • Sometimes just a few words explain the whole story: "The driver, who is in her 70s... apparently pressed the accelerator when she thought she was hitting the brake."

  • I think Winnebagos make this man angry. (Link contains a whole lot of naughty language)

  • This song is truly one of the most heart-touching pieces of music I've ever heard.

  • I can't think of anything more fun than a collection of 200 presidential campaign ads, spanning more than 50 years.
    No, wait. I wrote that wrong -- I can think of plenty of things that are more fun. Roasting marshmallows comes to mind straightaway. But it's still pretty interesting.

  • Here's something else that I find interesting that, in fact, probably just stands as evidence to the fact that I am a dork: People in Missouri have unearthed a baby mastodon.
    I am in the middle of reading "Mammoth," by Richard Stone, about the search to find a well-preserved mammoth that would, in part, allow mad Japanese scientists to attempt to clone the extinct beasts. My wife suggests there may be some ethical complications to bringing back a creature that's been dead for at least 4,000 years. Ethics schmethics I say!! Give me living mammoths now! If stupid John Kerry had made me vice president, I would have made the cloning of a mammoth one of the pillars of my administration. I would have overseen the founding of Mammoth World, and I would have gotten Cherie Blair to pose nude whilst riding one.
    I bought my mammoth book in Hot Springs, S.D., where no less than 52 particularly dumb mammoths managed to fall into a pond and drown over time. All of the bones found are from male mammoths, so indeed they were particularly dumb -- especially when you consider the fact that the majority of the mammoths found were teenagers. I suspect that the older ones managed to get themselves killed while trying to relive their youth, rather than going out and collecting grasses for their family or whatever it is that a respectable adult mammoth is supposed to do.
    South Dakota is perhaps more famous for another large animal, however -- the bison. The bison was around during the days of the mammoth but somehow managed to survive into the modern age, despite our best efforts. And here is the thing about bison: they are delicious! I can't help but wonder what I'm missing out on by not being able to sample mammoth meat.

  • Dearest Blogger technical staff,
    Your servers appear to have exploded and your backup squirrel in a wheel appears to be having trouble keeping up. Please fix.
  • Tuesday, July 6, 2004

    That's not funny, man

    "Chris? Hey, I was totally kidding about offering you the vice president gig. I've picked Edwards. Oh man, I had you going, didn't I?"

    Monday, July 5, 2004

    Looking forward to a diplomatic incident

  • Speculation is ripe as to who John Kerry will choose as his running mate. Kerry says subscribers to his e-mail alerts will be the first to know, but I am going to steal his thunder and reveal to you, gentle readers (both of you), who Kerry will choose:
    That's right, me.
    Once elected, my first act as Veep will be to get drunk at a state funeral and say totally inappropriate things about British Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife, Cherie. You know she's naughty.

  • If Nepal's drought continues, I'm inclined to believe that their rain god is gay.

  • If the above turns out to be the case, officials may want to call in the young Swede known as "fine beef."

  • Them Germans are serious about beer. Personally, I'd be happy living in a beerocracy.

  • While the rest of America is still celebrating the Independence Day holiday, I am lamenting the fact that I don't live in London.

  • California's brave leaders are protecting your God-given right to lead-filled candy.

  • Even if the idea for the movie "White Chicks" had indeed been your idea, would you really want to admit it?

  • Far more entertaining than dodgeball, there is such a thing as the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association.

  • This post is No. 50. Collect them all, trade 'em with your friends.
  • Another message from Abraham Lincoln

    this is an audio post - click to play

    Sunday, July 4, 2004

    10,710 words and rising

  • BOOK UPDATE: Despite a slight hiatus in writing, I am up to 10,710 words -- still more than are contained on the whole of this blog at this point, but still not very many. I'm not sure why I put so much stock in the quantity of words. Possibly it comes from my excessively lazy nature.
    If I think about this project as a whole, it becomes quite daunting. If I am lucky and hard working, I will have everything completed by my birthday (late March). Between then and now stands quite a bit of work -- hours more writing and probably just as much editing. This book consists of four parts and I am still working on the first part, not yet having touched the other three.
    Thinking about how much work is yet required makes me want to scarper off to the nearest pub, so I keep myself going with the minor victories that are increasing word counts.

  • I bought this CD yesterday and am enjoying it thoroughly. Someday I plan to join the rest of the world and simply download my music then burn it onto a CD, but as yet I am too lazy and cheap to do that.
    I also bought this CD.

  • It is now OK to sing rude songs about hamsters in Singapore.

  • Having suffered a series of sport defeats, the English are trying to think up something that they would be good at.
  • Friday, July 2, 2004

    Not that I've ever met him

    "Osama went thatta way"

    It's a man's sport

  • I discovered yesterday (thanks to the urinal advertisement at the Loon Cafe) that there is such a thing as the United States Dodgeball League.
    Perhaps stranger than that is the fact that there is such a thing as the American Dodgeball Federation.
    But wait, it gets weirder: there are "dodgeball centers," where you can go to play an exciting game of dodgeball.

  • The ADF's site, though, appears to have been written by someone who's taken a ball to the head one to many times. Under the "Training Tips" section of the site (which is surprisingly more than "Throw ball; dodge ball"), it says: "Wear the proper attire. Even if you gym doesn't have certain foot ware requirements remember the act of dodging can be dangerous if you slip."

  • Most of my day was spent playing this game.

  • Some would say Francisco Zambrano is an idiot -- and they'd be right. But this is nothing compared to what he did to avoid being pressed into service for the Royal Navy.

  • Vitally important information for women.

  • Among other things, Wynonna Judd's band demands a case of beer and a can of cheese in the tour's concert rider -- high class.

  • Strangely, they don't call for horseflesh ice cream.

  • Police in Pennsylvania are on the lookout for a group off nefarious fruit hurlers.

  • Thanks to genetic mutation, a German couple has produced a child with super strength.
    "He's a normal boy," says his doctor.
    Well, normal except for the super-human strength. And the razor-sharp claws.

  • Perhaps this guy is related. Sure, he's tough, but can he handle dodgeball?
  • Move out of your parents' basements

    I found this picture today on a blog that is written entirely in Klingon.
    And people make fun of me for speaking Welsh.

    A British bank is run with precision

    Saddam tries out for a Baghdad production of "Mary Poppins."

    Thursday, July 1, 2004

    You need a new dog

  • Driving to the office this morning, I encountered a woman who was standing in the street with her dog. As I inched my truck toward her, I realized that the dog was on one of those leads that people use for seeing-eye dogs.
    But this dog had her standing in the middle of the street.
    I moved past her and then pulled to the side of the road to go and guide her out of that street. Fortunately, by that time another man was helping her to the sidewalk and all I heard of his conversation was this: "I think you need to get your money back."
    I assume he was talking about the dog.

  • Apparently, Viagra can give you indigestion. I'm sure that's what every woman wants: a farty, horny old man.

  • "No healthy breakfast begins with mercury." -- Yeesh. Picky, picky.

  • Isn't it a bit late to hold an anti-slavery march? Missed that one by just 142 years, fellas. While you're at it, be sure to demand women's suffrage and lobby for an end to feudalism.

  • Oh man, that is just not right.

  • Remember Dodgy? They had that one song: "If it's good enough for you then it's good enough for me. If it's good enough for two something something something eee."
    Ok, you probably don't remember them, but I do and have added their album to my sprawling Amazon wish list.
  • Cruel and unusual

    As part of his punishment, Saddam is ordered to attempt to register a car with the California Department of Motor Vehicles:
    "Yes, but I don't have the title, see? Surely there's a way to register it without the title. Look, I have its old registration from Nevada. What do you mean I have to go to a different line?"

    Say 'I love you' with Rolaids

  • Is this a game or... I have no idea. Anyway, I feel like a champ because I made it to the finish.

  • This poem is sure to bring a tear to your eye -- it's so beautiful.

  • My wife will be delighted: We now know the title of the next Harry Potter novel.

  • Good dog. Very good dog.