Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Darn you, Canada, darn you all to heck

  • This morning, when my alarm went off promptly at 7:30, I found myself trapped in a dream in which the sound of my alarm was a signal from a powerful shadowy force that I could not yet get out of bed. I really wanted to get out of bed, but each time I would make an attempt, the alarm would go off and I knew that I was being commanded to bury my head in my pillow a few more minutes.
    What nefarious force would keep me from getting up and starting my day?
    And I found myself lying in bed thinking: "Why would the Canadians do this to me? I like Canada. Leave me alone, Canada."

  • New weapon of terror: Uncle Earl.

  • Meet America's newest proponent of a ban on pit bulls.

  • You know, if a bear puts forward this much effort in an escape, you should just let him go. Free Juan!

  • Ever watched a commercial and liked the music? You may be able to find out what song was used by looking here.

  • What makes America great? Corn mazes.

  • One of my favorite rugby players is bringing his international career to an end. Dallaglio is the reason I wanted to become a flanker, despite the fact that I am physically better suited to be a back. Actually, I am physically better suited to swimming or foosball, but you get the point. Dallaglio rocks -- I wish I could be like him, except with more hair.

  • In related news, could the coach that helped deliver England's Rugby World Cup victory do the same for the nation's soccer team?
  • Confessions of a one-trick pony

  • Jesus of Nazareth, you may have read, was a carpenter. Building things out of wood wasn't really his claim to fame; it was just something he did, because his earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter. Jesus grew up around a carpenter and just sort of naturally picked up the trade.
    My earthly father is a journalist. By extension, I am a journalist. I have an ingrained ability to disseminate information. I'm not sure I particularly enjoy being a journalist, but I do it because it's what I know how to do.
    I imagine Jesus might have felt the same way about his naturally learned profession. "Carpentry is alright," he may have thought. "But I think I'd prefer to save the souls of all mankind."
    OK. I'm nothing like Jesus.
    But I do want to help people.
    That's why my wife and I are hoping to join the Peace Corps.
    But here's the thing about Peace Corps: they send the help that countries actually want. For example, China seems keen on having a few folks come over and teach English. So, if I were an English teacher, I might get sent there. My wife, as a registered dietician, would be welcome in any number of countries.
    "We don't have a journalism need," said the recruiter when we went to visit this morning.
    Pity the country that would, actually. Things are in a very bad way when a government decries: "We need more journalists!"
    I certainly don't blame anyone for neglecting to request rabble-rousers when there are houses that need building, diseases that need fighting, and infrastructure that needs developing. But, uhm, I can't do anything else. I'm a monkey with a keyboard.
    So, the recruiter's suggestion to me: Learn carpentry.

  • E-mail addresses that would be difficult to give over the phone.

  • Sadly, this is not yet an Olympic sport.

  • When looking at this picture, it's best not to think about what happens in men's water polo.

  • Norwegian porn: the new crime-fighting tool.

  • Winning the award for comically melodramatic headline: this story.

  • For rent: One slightly-used Italian grandfather.

  • Today is John Robert Parker Ravenscroft's birthday. Be sure to celebrate by drinking a glass of red wine and listening to experimental music (or, at the least "Teenage Kicks" by the Undertones).

  • It's not experimental, but it's good: The Mooney Suzuki
  • Sunday, August 29, 2004

    Calling all Scots

    My friend Shiona moves to Glasgow in three to four weeks, but knows nothing of Scotland's capitol city.

    Do you know anything about Glasgow? Do you know anyone who does?
    She needs to know where to look for flats, where to eat, what to do, etc. Can anybody help me out?

    (POST NOTE: I have since been corrected in my embarrassing error. Glasgow is not Scotland's capitol city, Edinburgh holds that title)

    A sad, sad day

  • Despite his having scored his first NFL tackle in Friday's game, it appears that No. 69, Brock Lesnar, will be cut from the Vikings. Is there no good in this world?

  • This offer still stands and I am shocked no one has taken me up on it.

  • Here's one reason why I don't compete in Olympic Taekwondo. Well, that and my whole lack of athletic talent.

  • The particularly arrect of you might have picked up on my love of all things British. Needless to say, then, much cheering and floor stomping occurred yesterday as a result of this and this.
    The relay win was fantastic. Admittedly, though, Maurice Greene probably would have closed the gap if the race had been a foot longer.

  • I finally put an actual picture of me in my profile. I apologise to your eyes.
  • Saturday, August 28, 2004

    28,779 words and naked tango

  • BOOK UPDATE: Editing, editing, editing. I expect to finish up my first draft of the second part by Sunday. Then I will take the day off to celebrate John Peel's birthday and start in on the third part on Tuesday. I have no idea why I am explaining this to such a degree -- I doubt very much anyone is marking his or her calendar.

  • So, wait. Doing this is somehow wrong?

  • Note to thieves: When the police show up at your door, don't answer whilst holding what you stole.

  • One is inclined to believe that the admission standards for the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith are not very high.

  • I learned today that three-point line in Olympic basketball is three feet closer than the line in the NBA. That makes it even more depressing that U.S. players can't shoot threes -- a factor that came into play today when the U.S. was knocked out of gold-medal contention with a loss to Argentina.

  • Meanwhile, in other heartbreaking Olympic news, Paula Radcliffe -- the great British marathoner -- fell out of the 10,000 meter race.

  • I love the idea behind this blog -- celebrating Olympians who come in last. Hooray failure.

  • Personally, I'm not a huge fan of comedian Tom Green, but he has a blog and I have to admit that it's cool to see a "celebrity" blog. And it is sort of amusing that he loves to use his audio blog feature so much.

  • Here's your Jerry Springer moment of the day.
  • Friday, August 27, 2004

    Mae cwrw yn dda

    The first proper sentence I taught myself in Welsh was this: "Mae cwrw yn dda." It means: "Beer is good."
    Thank you, Jacob Leinenkugel, for making a tolerable beer that can be purchased for $5.25 at my corner liquor store.

    Thursday, August 26, 2004

    Qué momento!

  • Congratulations to the U.S. women's Olympic soccer team, who played a hard-fought extra-time match against Brazil today. Because the NBC network is run by total morons who do not understand sport, the match was time-delayed by an hour in the U.S. Central Time Zone. Who does that? Who delays a live sporting event? They wouldn't dare do that with basketball, baseball, or football. They obviously don't understand soccer or soccer viewers at all. A nasty letter to the monkeys in charge of NBC will be issued forthwith.
    Thankfully, Spanish-language network Telemundo had its priorities in order and aired the match live. My Spanish is weak, but I was able to understand the important stuff: "Estados Unidos es campeón Olímpico."
    At key moments in the match, the announcer would shout over and over " Qué momento!" ("What a moment!") That will become my new stock phrase for all things exciting.

  • Which reminds me, in the post below, I forgot the most important Hamm.

  • New weapon of terror: camels.

  • When visiting Lee's Summit, Mo., stay out of the water.

  • Good thing this kid wasn't from Gaylord, Minn.
  • Just to clarify




    Beware patient bees

  • I actually learned something today. When dealing with killer bees, "do not jump into a pool. The bees will wait for you to surface to attack."
    Dang. There goes my cunning plan of escape.

  • And if you dive into the water around these parts, you might come face-to-face with a mutant frog.

  • One of my favorite aspects of the Olympics has been Marcello the Brazilian superhero. He became a fixture during the beach volleyball competition, and I feel that NBC, nay, the whole Global Media Conspiracy, have completely dropped the ball in failing to pay more attention to him.

  • The crime in Sweden is out of control: "A shadowy group of militant Stockholmers" have decapitated a fiberglass cow.

  • Truer words were never spoken: "It's sad in any situation where you got two people that at one time professed to love each other resort to deadly weapons."

  • Remember Paul Pfieffer from "The Wonder Years?" That character was played by Josh Saviano. Josh is now available to assist in your legal needs.
  • Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    Hooray Shiona

    My good friend, Shiona, just got accepted here.

    Hopefully when she finds ridiculous fame and fortune as an opera singer, she will remember the little people.

    Put down the dead snake and step away

  • Newest weapon of terror: Dead snakes.

  • Two-headed albino snakes, however, while alive and well, are a hot commodity among thieves.

  • It doesn't really say good things about your town that they decide to name a toilet after it.

  • Prepare yourself for a whole new level of pain.

  • Today I happened upon the webpage for Portsmouth, England's Division 2 rugby club. I really like their motto: "Probably the best on the South Coast." Probably.

  • Who would have thought sand could be such a big deal?

  • I think I have mentioned before that I am a periphery member of the Global Media Conspiracy. One of the things that annoys me most about the mindless behemoth that keeps me fed and (inadequately) stocked in beer is scare journalism. This is when a boneheaded reporter who earned their degree in mass communications and has zero journalistic skill decides to emphasize the most terrifying angle of any particular trend or happening.
    A few years ago, as soccer started gaining popularity in the United States, there were a number of stories talking about the injuries possible as a result of heading the ball. There were no stories about shattering your elbow playing (American) football, or having your teeth knocked out in baseball, or tearing your ACL playing basketball, or dislocating your shoulder swimming -- all things that have actually happened to people. But heading the ball in soccer? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
    Anyway, that brings me today, when I found this poorly written story on the dangers of blogging.
    One of the writers I copy edit for reminded me today of something I once told her about TV reporters: "They are monkeys. They are capable of exhibiting human-like behaviors, but they should not be trusted to do anything other than amuse people."

  • Regardless of the danger involved, Iraq and Paraguay put on a good match in today's Olympic soccer semi-final. Paraguay won 3-1, tarnishing a story that still has a good chance of becoming a major motion picture on par with "Cool Runnings" and "Brassed Off." They now play Italy for a chance at bronze.
  • Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    Olympics Should Bring Peace, 6-Man Swordfights

    Keen readers of this blog may see a joke or two repeated (I like to say "refined") in This Week's Column. Nonetheless, please help me become ridiculously famous by forwarding it to your friends, relatives and elected representatives.

    Old man Crisco

  • How to tell you are getting old: You find yourself listening to Sade and thinking: "This alright, ya know. I should buy one of her CDs."
    It was only for a few minutes. But still. Help me.

  • That water polo is sort of an odd sport, isn't it? I just can't stop watching. It is the fried Mars bar of sport.

  • What happens if you expose a Lego man to extreme heat, or feed a roll of toilet paper into a paper shredder? Find out.

  • Congratulations, meanwhile, to the U.S. women's soccer team who advanced to the final Monday.

  • I have cancelled my vacation plans to Colorado.

  • Al Dvorin has left the building.
  • Sunday, August 22, 2004

    Note to Lindsay

    I have fixed this post; you can now see pictures of your beloved rank leader. And everyone else will be left to wonder what a rank leader is (here's a picture of mine).

    Saturday, August 21, 2004

    Free drink

    Do you live in Grand Forks, N.D.? Do you know anyone who does? I found this free drink card on the sidewalk this morning and it seems an absolute shame for it to go to waste. I'm almost inclined to drive up there myself. If you know anyone who could make use of this card e-mail me.

    28,703 words

  • BOOK UPDATE: It would appear that I have only written 300 words over this past week, but that doesn't mean I haven't put in loads of work. As I say, it's been all editing and probably will be for the rest of the month.
    The editing process is slow and rather annoying, but there's something quite satisfying about it. I will chop away unnecessary words and move around paragraphs and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and come away from it thinking: "Wow. That actually is better."

  • Still, I'm eager to finish up editing this second part and move on to the third. I am hoping to have something to finally show for myself on my 29th birthday (March 20 -- mark your calendars).
    I found out this week that my friend, Paul, starts work on his Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in just a few weeks. He's married to a doctor.
    My friend, Eric, is an accomplished musician, whose wife is earning her MBA. They'll be buying a home in the autumn.
    My friend, Lindsay, who reads this blog, starts her master's degree work in what, two weeks?
    My wife is close to completing her master's degree work and is going to save the world from itself.
    Can you see the weak link here? It's me.
    Sure, I'll still be the same useless monkey I've always been if I get a book published, but, you know, I'll have a BOOK. If it's published in hardcover, I can use it to physically defend myself against an attacker -- let's see Paul do that with his fancy MIT degree.
    Anybody know any literary agents? Sooner or later I should probably start looking for one, I suppose.

  • What better way to start the school year than blistering drunk?

  • Please let this be true.

  • I can imagine this sort of thing happening to me: Waking up to discover a load of misinformed protestors on my lawn.
    In my case, though, they would inevitably be protesting something that I, too, would protest, like Nazis, but they wouldn't listen to me.
    THEM: "Boo. We hate Nazis!"
    ME: "I do, too. Stop calling me a Nazi. I hate Nazis, too. Please stop tearing up my lawn. I'm not a Nazi."
    THEM: "We would expect you to deny it, Nazi!"
    ME: "But, really. I'm not a Nazi."
    And on and on.

  • Behold: The super genius crow.

  • Olympic trampoline rocks!
  • Friday, August 20, 2004

    Professor Wrestling: Put Mask Back On Kane

    If anyone's into professional wrestling (Linus?), you might be interested in this article, which I may or may not have written (Professor Wrestling can never truly reveal his identity, of course).

    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    The tutuists win

  • New weapon of terror: Men in tutus.
    The tutu-sporting bandit is Canadian Ron Bensimhon. He is the same fella who interrupted Michelle Kwan's program at the figure skating world championships this year. On his chest was painted a promotion for Golden Palace Casino -- the same people who this year have succeeded in sneaking streakers and spoliers into the Super Bowl, the EUFA soccer championships, the U.S. Open golf tournament, and just about every other major event you can think of. Clearly, these are the people who should be hunting for Osama bin Laden.

  • It's all fun and games until someone's crotch is set alight.

  • I have cancelled my vacation to Macomb County, Mich.

  • Worst. Composite. Sketch. Ever. Check out the picture on the right.

  • Meet China's hairy rock-and-roller.

  • You're probably aware that Google offers its search engine in a number of languages. Some of these language options are downright useful; for example: Spanish, or Welsh.
    Others... Uhm... not so much:
    Pig Latin
    Elmer Fudd
    Swedish Chef
  • Wednesday, August 18, 2004

    Mrs. Wisconsin

    Did I ever tell you about Miss Wisconsin?
    She got married. Actually, this happened a few months ago, while I was out of town. I still feel bad for not going, though -- especially now that Judy has sent me pictures of her and her husband. They look very happy.

    Gummy worms and drunken mayors

  • I have a lot of trouble accepting the idea that shooting is a sport. But, I suppose you've got to let Olympic shooters do what they want -- they're armed and they're really good shots.

  • My parents live near a major road and occasionally passers-by will dump trash in their yard. As yet, however, they've never had to deal with a naked former mayor.

  • 5-pound bag of gummy worms? Check.
    23-gallon can of tomato sauce? Check.
    Casket? Of course!

  • No relation. I can certainly relate to her goal of "being able to sleep past 5:30 a.m." though.
  • Tuesday, August 17, 2004


    I see the uber geniuses have rid the top of my blog of unsightly advertising and added instead a little navigation bar.

    Via this little bar, apparently you can click the "Blog This!" button up top and instantly start blogging about whatever page you're looking at. Fascinating.

    You can get to this blog by clicking "Next Blog."

    And you can search this blog via the search function (although it doesn't appear to have all the bugs worked out).

    Yet you still can't get the post dates is Welsh. Boo.

    Monday, August 16, 2004

    Olympic fever

  • Are you like me that you simply cannot stop watching the Olympics? Honestly, I have never sat and thought: "Man, I could really go for a bit of the water polo."
    But I'm watching it now!
    This weekend my wife and I watched swimming, beach volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, swimming, basketball embarrassment, and swimming.

  • If you get a chance, watch teams table tennis. The idea that four guys could get that into table tennis will have you weeping with laughter.
    My big question, though, is how did table tennis become an Olympic sport and not, say, hurling, which is obscure but an actual sport.

  • But the sport that is conspicuously absent from the Olympics: Naked night basketball

  • My dad used to have to go through quite an ordeal to get me out of bed and ready for school every morning. Thankfully, he never brought in a live news crew.

  • Look at all the cool government crap you can buy on the Internet. Your tax dollars bought it once, now you can buy it again -- including a 1988 14-passenger van for just $300.

  • Newest weapon of terror: Bees.
  • Saturday, August 14, 2004

    28,403 words and editing

  • BOOK UPDATE: I am now halfway through a very rough draft of my novel (book, pamphlet, etc.). I suspect I will be spending the rest of the month (or more) editing, so expect the word count to remain steady or drop.
    I'm sure it's not really something you look forward to learning about, as if no Friday is complete without a word count on my book. But, as I've said before: my blog -- I can write all the boring, uninteresting stuff my tedious heart can stand.
    I'm really starting to take sense of pride in this project, though, and actually believing that I will get it done. I am notorious for leaving things half-finished. Hopefully once it is all done, other people will think it is good, too. My wife has read (or listened to me read) segments from the book and says that it is good, but she would say that, wouldn't she? It's hardly supportive to be honest in such a situation is it?
    "I know it's your dream to be a novelist, honey, but, seriously -- you should pack it in. That book is a stinking pile of poo."

  • Have you got Olympic fever? We do around here. My benevolent employer is behind this rather important website (don't go developing any new sense of respect for me, I have absolutely nothing to do with this project), and people were jumping today.
    I work in a closet in the basement, which is also where they keep all the technical geniuses (in the basement, not my closet). Today I heard this conversation:
    "It doesn't appear to be staging. Is that a hard code thing, or?"
    "Yeah. I think it's the hard coding."
    Sounds darn important, whatever they were talking about. While they panicked, I ate the last Krispy Kreme donut.

  • Ever have one of those days when a song from 10 years ago gets stuck in your head? Today it's "Labour of Love" by Frente!
    You have to write their name that way: "Frente!" It's like "WWE Smackdown!"
    Frente! only had that one song, really. I wore out their cassette (that's how we used to listen to music, ask your parents) in the summer of 1994, when I drove to and from summer school in a black 1989 Ford Mustang convertible. I thought I was the coolest guy on the planet -- driving my dad's car and listening to chirpy Australian pop music.

  • The average lifespan of a horse is 20 years. At 3 years old, Smarty Jones is being retired and put out to stud. In people years I think that works out to be the equivalent of 18 years old. Imagine if someone had come to you at age 18: "OK, bud, you're done with all the tough stuff in life. All you have to do now is hang out in this nice field and have sex."
    Man. It's good to be Smarty Jones.

  • Here's yet another sign that I'm doing things wrong in life: Little girls are making $112 a day selling lemonade.

  • So, along with everything else, you can probably now forget about taking any spicy Thai curry aboard your next flight.

  • Sometimes a job posting gives away a little bitterness toward the employer's previous employees. Sometimes it gives away a lot of bitterness.
  • Friday, August 13, 2004

    Lazy days of summer? No, just lazy

  • My apologies for not putting much effort into blogging this week. I've been bonding with my couch.

  • A San Diego taxi operator's license has been issued to this person.
  • Thursday, August 12, 2004

    Please note:

    Important papers will always demonstrate their importance by moving from where you put them to where you cannot find them.


  • The U.S. women's Olympic soccer team won 3-0 today against Greece.

  • Then, despite not understanding a word, I watched the Mexico men's team play Mali on Telemundo (Spanish-language television). One thing I noticed about Telemundo is that all the women in the advertisements seem to be really sexy. It makes me want to move to Mexico. The match, by the way, was a tie.

  • I got this e-mail from a reader today:
    "I enjoyed reading your article on the web site of my local TV station. I'm glad you got the girl, but I noticed in the byline that you have no children; is this one more thing that you found out you were no good at?"
    How do you suppose I should respond to that?
  • Wednesday, August 11, 2004

    Post No. 101

  • This is my 101st post. To celebrate, tonight I will be drinking the last two beers in my fridge. Don't try to stop me, man. I'm crazy.

  • As I understand it, the reason Great Britain has not put forward an Olympic soccer (football) team is because to do so would mean that FIFA would require them to do the same. Thus Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland could not put forward their own teams in World Cup. Apparently they want to preserve their division.
    I'm not sure if this is true -- it's what my friend Adam told me and I am too lazy to research it myself.

  • It seems we've decided to forgo August and September and skip straight to October up here in Minnesota. Today's high temperature was 58 degrees (Fahrenheit). From my office window, I could see two small trees that appear to have already given up the fight and are starting to change color. Nooooooooooooo!

  • Zoom! A San Diego taxi operator's license has been issued to this guy.

  • A pipe bomb is a weapon of mass destruction in North Carolina. Look for North Carolinian weapons inspectors to be sent to Iraq.

  • As Dave Barry would say, now the bastards are using cats!

  • South Floridians have crabs.

  • Sometimes news stories offer a sentence that makes you say, "Well, duh."
    For example: "Investigators said alcohol was involved in the incident."

  • The people of Hastings, Neb., sure know how to party.
  • Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Inept Gunfighter Gets Girl

    Featuring the musical stylings of Eric Johnson, Bryce Blilie and me, this week's column tells the true (but somewhat rosily re-created) story of how I met my wife -- no doubt soon to become a major motion picture: "Passion at the Ponderosa."

    Please make me famous, and forward it to all your friends, family and elected representatives.

    Ménage à truck

    Before I met my wife, I used to have a girlfriend, Erin (*), who would regularly accuse me of caring more for my pickup truck, a 1991 GMC Sonoma 4x4, than I did for her.

    That's silly. I never left Erin outside in a blizzard (well, except for that one time). But it has to be said that my truck never complained about my lack of ambition.

    Both Erin and my Sonoma were eventually stolen away from me, and I have trouble deciding which I would want to hurt more: the thiever of girlfriends or the thiever of pickups.

    But life goes on, and after a while I met my wife, who is beautiful, supportive and caring. And I got a new pickup truck, which has a CD player, an extended cab and cruise control.

    Things were going well until last Friday, when my wife's car broke down. Now, for lack of adequate finances, we will become a one-car couple. This means having to teach my wife how to drive a manual transmission; it means letting my wife drive my truck.

    I am torn, to be sure. Will my wife take good enough care of my truck? Will she treat her good and not strip out the clutch? But more importantly, will there be a place for me in this relationship? With a pickup truck to call her own, will my wife decide that a husband is redundant?

    (*) Not her real name

    Fashionable Olympians

  • With the Olympics now less than a week away, I was speaking to a friend today about Olympic soccer. He did his best to defend the U.S. men's team's failure to qualify (we had to play Mexico, in Mexico, in front of 60,000 pro-Mexico fans), and I started to wonder why the team from Britain had failed to qualify. As it turns out -- as best I can tell, at least -- there is no Great Britain Olympic soccer team. How can this possibly be true? Can someone explain this to me?

  • Whilst trying to find evidence of a Great Britain Olympic soccer team, I came across the Team GB Merchandise website. You would expect to find a collection of tatty baseball caps and grossly colored T-shirts, right? Hell no.
    It appears that Team GB has turned over its apparel rights to designer Ben Sherman. So instead of, say a goofy-looking bucket hat, you can buy a suit! Instead of a hat designed to copy those cool berets the Canadians wore in Salt Lake City, you can buy Team GB leather shoes!
    It's really a shame that Team GB did not put forward a soccer team. Their uniform would have been the most fashionable in the whole of the competition!

  • FORD ESCORT, 10, St. Paul, Minn., died Friday in Minneapolis of engine failure, despite its owners having sunk more than $600 into repairs earlier in the summer. A visitation will be held Tuesday morning at Lloyd's Automotive, after which Escort will be given to whatever foolish charity will have it.

  • Why is Californians the best? Because them know that the U.S. has 53 states.

  • Apparently you need a permit to put yourself on a cross in Alabama.
  • Sunday, August 8, 2004



    Here's my friends, Eric and Bryce, and me singing the theme song to the 1960s television show "Bonanza." Perhaps it will make more sense later this week when my column comes out.

    Saturday, August 7, 2004

    26,457 words and a consumer complaint

  • BOOK UPDATE: Writing this book is at times an emotional roller coaster (which is rather silly, I'll admit, since this is a humor novel); some weeks are good, some weeks are bad. This week, however, has been great.
    I've been on a tear this week, thanks to having taken a day off work to focus on the book. It gave me a tremendous boost. I am now close to finishing an extremely rough draft of the second quarter of the book. In other words, I have quite a long way to go yet.
    Beyond that, of course, getting spotlighted by City Pages yesterday meant my page views skyrocketed five-fold. That rocked.

  • Note to folks in St. Paul, Minn.: You may not want to take your car or your wife's car to Lloyd's Automotive, on Grand Avenue. It might take them two attempts to fix your wife's car and it might cost you far more money than you are willing to pay. Then, a few months later, the same problem might manifest itself again and the car might stop completely, and your wife might be stranded. At that point, Lloyd's Automotive might tell you that they won't even look at your wife's car (which they have twice failed to fix) until Monday. This might make you very unhappy.

  • This probably seemed like a good idea when the owner first thought of it. Of course, he was probably at a bar when he first thought of it.

  • Apparently, Jesus has a quota.

  • The Polyphonic Spree: Feel-good band or terror cell? This blog reports, you decide.

  • Cleveland Clinic: Now offering free towels!

  • Kittens? Who cares?! Clone a mammoth.

  • At least scientists in San Diego are working on something that really matters.

  • Man, this job sounds demanding: "While performing the duties of this job the employee is frequently required to sit, use hands to finger, handle or feel objects, tools or controls; and talk or hear."
  • Friday, August 6, 2004

    The definition of 'dodgy'

    This is a picture of the Tricorn Centre, which features in the second part of my novel. It has since been demolished. In its day, though, it was the definition of "dodgy." I found a number of pictures of the Tricorn. These pictures were taken in 2002, but the Tricorn looked just as rundown and abandoned when I was living in Pompey:

    Thursday, August 5, 2004

    I didn't even have to use my AK

  • Today has been a pretty good day. I received a record number of page views and then got handed the shiny new Texas quarter when buying a sandwich.

  • And they say there are no good jobs out there.

  • "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

  • Here's an equally strange quote: "You could hold up a dead mouse with a sign 'I love Bush' and we'd still probably think twice about stomping that mouse underfoot." -- Huh?

  • And on the subject of Bush, here's Will Ferrel reprising his impersonation of the president.

  • When thieving, it is good to first do a value judgment. You've got to weigh the benefits and risks. For example:
    Benefit = six-pack of Pepsi.
    Risk = More than 15 years in prison.

  • If I weren't at work right now, I would do an audio post just for this story, in which I would simply scream at the top of my lungs: "Ahhhhh!! Mad sheep! Mad sheep!"

  • My wife will be interested in this: Ralph Fiennes has been picked to play the character whose name we dare not speak in the next Harry Potter film.

  • I want this CD.
  • Hello Minnesota. Are you ready to rock?

    I learned this morning that this humble blog is Minnesota Blog of the Day, which means that I can now officially state that my high school assistant principal was way off base when he said I'd never amount to anything.

    Where's your blog of the day, Mr. Bianchi?!

    Of course, now I feel the pressure to perform. Or, perhaps it's just the altitude.

    Either way, thank you Minnesota -- by which I mean the guy at City Pages who runs the blog -- for choosing me as your blogger of the day. I'm all choked up (there's an auto-asphyxiation joke in there somewhere, but I won't touch it).

    Your city councilwoman wears combat boots

  • How to tell your city representative is a nutcase: She "wears military-style clothing including combat boots, fatigues and a black beret," and threatens to kill her fellow council members.

  • Anti-Semite soda. Coming soon: KKKola!

  • Suffer the children unto Mickey, for theirs is the Magic Kingdom.

  • I will never understand why coaches think it's a good thing when their players fight.

  • Here's a slideshow of a guy in Wyoming getting kicked in the head by a wild horse. The best part is the body language of everyone outside the ring:
    "Hey, look at that fella gettin' kicked in the head."
    "Reckon that hurts."
    "S'pose we should do anything?"

  • It's good to see that beauty pageant officials have given up on credibility. Legitimacy just slows you down.

  • Here's an amusing little Flash movie video of an acoustic version of Radiohead's "Creep."

  • For those of you keeping track, I have finished this book and started in on "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby.

  • In searching for the link to Hornby's book on Amazon, I found a reader's guide for the book. Eh? It's just a humor novel, isn't it? Do people really need "a full-length analysis?"
    I wonder if anyone will ever focus on my book for a reading group. Maybe if it is a reading group for simpletons.
    In the back of "Life of Pi," by Yann Martel, there are a series of study questions that you can use for discussion in a reading group. That's sort of pompous, isn't it -- insinuating that your book is worth studying.
    I joked with my wife that I should do the same thing in my novel but with, as I say, simpleton questions:
    1) What is it that Ben, Jason, Justin and Steve see whilst standing naked in the English Channel?
    2) What brand of lager is Ben drinking when he injures his knee?
    3) Who is the only person not to have had sex with Mary-Jane?

    Hey, you like what I did there? I gave away a bit of the book. I'm sure your eagerness to read it is now equivalent to one's eagerness to reach a rest area after drinking a 42-ounce Coke on a road trip. Cross your legs -- you will have to hold it for at least six more months (this is assuming that I can actually find somebody who wants to publish the thing).
  • Tuesday, August 3, 2004

    Another short post

  • I've got rugby practice today -- my first of the season. Today's post will be particularly short as a result. I don't have time to sit around writing, I have to go get beat up.

  • Ohio is stealing our idea.

  • What's green and runs around your garden?
    A hedge.
  • Monday, August 2, 2004

    Schedule a meeting for this date

    I took off work today and am spending the day working on my book. At one point in the novel, I mention the date 13 May 1787. When I write this date, Microsoft Word underlines it in purple. If you mouse over said date, a little letter "i" pops up and offers to "Schedule a meeting."

    Yes, please. Schedule a meeting for that date.

    Sunday, August 1, 2004

    Of little or no interest to U.S. readers

  • Hello to Reet Smoot, who dropped me an e-mail Friday to let me know he is reading. He is a Charlton supporter, which, in my eyes, makes him more tolerable than what I originally perceived him to be -- an Arsenal supporter.
    (Right now most American readers are completely lost. Just skip over this bit)
    It's not that I hate the Arse, just that I thoroughly dislike them. Over the winter I read Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch" and slowly developed a strong distaste for his team. He just goes on and on and on and describes being in the stands as if he were part of some 1800s military campaign. Bah.
    Plus, I have a natural agitation toward teams that sit at the top of their division. I don't like Chelsea, Manchester United, or Arsenal. In baseball, I can't stand the Yankees. In basketball, I have had enough of the Lakers.
    I am a Porstmouth supporter. Or, as much of one as I can be from the United States. In the same way that everyone in America loves the Irish, almost all U.S. soccer fans are Man U supporters. A few breakaway rebels are fans of the Arse. As such, just about the only Premiership games we get to see are Man U or Arsenal. I have never seen Pompey play on American TV, and BBC online didn't carry any of their matches last season because Pompey had some sort of sleaze deal that retained rights to broadcast over the Internet, so you had to sign up and pay to listen to the matches (Major League Baseball does this also).
    So, as much of a fan as you can be from living 6,000 miles away and following the team solely through match reports -- that's how big a fan I am.
    I have only met two other Pompey supporters in the United States -- both I met at the Shakespeare Pub in San Diego, Calif. One of them had actually played on the squad in the 1980s, the other had a massive Portsmouth FC crest tattooed on his arm.
    Who is all this interesting to? Me. I am dancing around in a little circle of me.

  • My wife and I Sunday took part in the annual Hennepin-Lake Classic 10K race. Although, it was actually run around Lake Calhoun. I finished with a time of 53:11 -- that's a pace of 8:34.
    My wife finished with a time of 56:35 -- a pace of 9:07.
    Our times are little slower than in the race we ran in June, and sure, I came in 433rd, but I beat my wife. And that's all that matters.

  • Has anyone ever used the "Pause/Break" key on their keyboard? Under what circumstances would you use it? What does it do?