Friday, December 30, 2005

Bonne Année

Bonne Année
Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
Mona was one of the five people to receive a Christmas card from the child bride and me. Perhaps, like Goo, she displays it proudly in her home and tells everyone that my wife is her ex-girlfriend.

Indeed, that sort of saucy international rumor alone would be thanks enough for the cheesy card that was sent, but Mona decided to do one better. Clearly gunning to eliminate the last vestiges of my old animosity France, she sent me a card!

As anyone would do with a card from France, I immediately stuck it to my forehead and took a picture of myself for the whole word to see.

The thing I really liked about this card is that the envelope that it came in said: "Open only with beer in hand (but don't spill any)!"

Thank you Mona, you are a woman of my own heart. Of course, I followed the directions on the envelope -- I poured myself a pint of Guinness extra stout before ripping into it (keen observers will also note that there is a bottle of Jameson in the background of the picture).

The writing on the card is a bit fuzzy; it says "Bonne Année," which, I know even without looking it up, is French for "Happy New Year."

In Spanish it's "Felíz año nuevo."

In Welsh we say, "Blwyddyn Newydd Dda."

However you say it, I hope you have a good weekend. Thanks for reading all my nonsense.

A year of writing sentences

Random sentences from the last 12 months.

January: "I guarantee you that what I think and feel in any given space of time is far superior to Point Break."

February: "There are all sorts of negatives to working in the same building as your pops -- you have to behave, all personal anecdotes are too easily fact checked, drinking stories must be toned down or kept to oneself, and I see my dad every damn day -- but one plus is the fact that I haven't had to buy a new car."

March: "You can walk around all day long and say, 'I am a member of the West-Northeast-Lower-Central-Near-The-Dumpster-But-Not-Quite-All-The-Way-To-The-Door-Of-The-Perkins-Side Crips,' but as long as you never actually congregate with other members of the WNLCNTDBNQATWTTDOTP-Side Crips, you'll stay out of trouble."

April: "Ignoring the irony and humor of my drawing the ire of the air hockey community, I extend to them a whole-hearted apology and suggest that they explore one of the other 36 million blogs that currently exist on Ye Olde Internet."

May: "Mrs. Kennedy could crush Cherie Blair with one hand."

June: "I kind of like just lying there without any sheets, feeling the warmth of summer evening envelope me, staying perfectly still -- doing my best to expend as little energy as possible; trying not to even think."

July: "Quick, describe your daily life in the form of a newspaper headline: St. Paul Man Corrects English, Drinks Heavily."

August: " It's in my blood to be this white trash."

September: "Some day, God will pay me back for past transgressions by giving me a son who thinks U2 are brilliant."

October: "Pretty soon she'll be getting together with her friends every night in an effort to avoid him -- her friends are Jose Cuervo, Jim Beam, and Captain Morgan."

November: "Apparently, in the northern suburbs of Paris, they have riot cars -- similar to the winter car, but always ready for burning amid a major civil unrest."

December: "Apparently, that is what Bill O'Reilly wants: a big, gay Mother-Of-God-Hating Christmas."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Tracksuit bottoms

  • That's a good name for a band, actually -- The Tracksuit Bottoms. I think it's interesting that in the same (written) breath as telling me the British name for sweatpants comes the admonishment not to ever wear them outside the house. We have the same rule in the United States, but it is less strictly adhered to.

  • A better name for a band: Rabid Cow

  • Abe Frolman dies on death row.

  • The "Time to make the donuts" (a phrase I use pretty regularly) guy is also dead.

  • I was amused by this line in the spam e-mail I received today: "Presently I am living in Ghana as political asylum seekers in budubram refugees camp."
    That's a hell of a nice refugee camp that has Internet access.

  • Victim? That kid is living the dream.
  • White socks

    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    OK, so now I know that it is important to not wear tracksuit bottoms in public when living in the UK. That's a good thing to know.

    If any of the Brits reading this blog feel like offering more fashion advice, I'd certainly be obliged. It would certainly save me the embarrassment of the time I learned to not wear white socks.

    I have not worn white socks (except when running) since 1996, yet my grandmother still insists on buying me a package of white socks every Christmas.

    This year I was able to pawn the socks off to my brother-in-law, who has no qualms with wearing white socks because he works for Big Oil and if you ever make fun of him he will ensure that you can't afford to drive your car. A bag of re-gifted white socks are the least I can do for the man who produced the Cutest Niece in America.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2005

    Fuck you, Comcast

  • You may or may not have noticed that no one is really working this week. For those of us who are required to clock in, it is supposed to be an easy week.
    Knowing this, I volunteered to work the early shift all this week for my benevolent employer. I did this because working the early shift in a throwaway week is the perfect excuse to work from home. All I had to do was roll out of bed, click on the computer and go. Simple.
    That worked Tuesday. I was able to make tea at my leisure, snacks were easily accessible, and I was able to spend the day in comfy sweatpants*.
    But this morning, I rolled out of bed and my Internet connection was spinning. After restarting twice, I came to the painful decision that I had to magically be at work in about nine minutes. In a flurry of profanity, I was able to get dressed, make a lunch and drive seven miles to the headquarters of my benevolent employer in 20 minutes. Then I got to spend the day sitting at my worker pod, unshowered and forced to listen to Löwenbräu talk about his Christmas.
    I was so full of rage that I actually fired off a complaint e-mail to Comcast, even though I know that massive corporations don't give a damn about customer service.

  • You know what Dublin needs? More Americans.
    Well, fear not, Dubliners, the child bride and I will be there for five days in March. Rachel is attending a conference and I am coming along because they have beer there. Also, I will have just turned 30 when we get on the plane, so the trip is a sort of birthday present to me.
    As an added bonus, I get to take part in cheesy conference-related activities. For example, a literary pub crawl.
    "Professional actors will meet the group and bring them to a selection of Dublin's famous literary pubs and other renowned locations where the actors will perform comical excerpts from works by Joyce, Beckett, Behan, Oscar Wilde and many more," says the conference literature.
    Comical excerpts from James Joyce? I suppose if incomprehensibility is funny, he is hilarious.

    *What is the British word for sweatpants? I'm talking about these.
  • Tuesday, December 27, 2005

    Happy Holidays, Until Jan. 6

    My latest column is out. In it, I posit that it will earn me hate mail, but so far so good. This probably has a more than a little bit to do with the fact that no one actually reads my columns.

    Erin Cooney's trail of broken hearts

    When I was in fifth grade and growing up in Houston, I had a crush on Erin Cooney, a girl I sat next to in classes thanks to the wonders of alphabetization. I was so stupid over her that I used my mother's ultra-high-tech Apple IIe publishing software to create a sort of newsletter, replete with newspaper-themed clip art, to promulgate my love.

    There were three issues of this newsletter, and I have never again in my life been that romantic.

    It's been nigh 20 years since I finally cajoled Erin Cooney to give me a kiss on the cheek on the playground of Bunker Hill Elementary, but I occasionally wonder what the hell ever happened to her. As a result, I have a habit of dropping her name into columns* and blog posts, in the secret hope that somehow this will result in her contacting me.

    Then, last week, I heard from a fella named Jason, who finds himself living in the Czech Republic these days. He told me that he had once had a crush on an Erin Cooney, and after a bit of quick confirmation, we determined that we were talking about the same Erin Cooney. Jason was smitten with her in junior high.

    St. Paul is 1,054 miles from Houston, Prague is 5,466 miles away. What we have here are the makings of an international society dedicated to Erin Cooney's discarded men. There may be dozens of us, stretched across the globe and searching for something to fill that tremendous void caused by Erin's absence. Woe to us, I say. Woe.

    *You'll note that this column claims that it was fourth grade, whereas this column says fifth grade. If my memory is correct, I chased after Erin in both fourth and fifth grades.

    The great American family

    The Hansens
    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    Here is my wife's sister (of pink bodice fame) and her family shortly after my niece, who henceforth shall be known as the Cutest Niece in America, performed as Clara in "The Nutcracker."

    With the Cutest Niece in America is her twin brother, Nathan, and their meat-and-candy-necklace-loving brother, Burk.

    Is it just me, or does my sister-in-law's husband look like Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning?

    Friday, December 23, 2005

    Nadolig Llawen pawb!

  • The North American Aerospace Defense Command's tradition of tracking Santa began in 1955, when a local Sears, Roebuck and Co. store ran a newspaper ad urging children to make a phone call on Christmas Eve and talk to Santa Claus. As fate would have it, the phone number was misprinted and, instead of reaching Santa, youngsters found themselves talking with Air Force Col. Harry Shoup of the Continental Air Defense Command.

  • Make Santa do your bidding.

  • The Ten ages of Christmas

  • It's not a bear in a tree, but just as good.

  • I wish I had thought to do stuff like this when I was younger. Oh, hell, I think I'll go out and get drunk and do it, anyway.

  • Unfortunately, if you drink too much over the holiday, there's no hope of your avoiding penance.

  • But if you imbibe on sherry, it means you are cosmopolitan.

  • Most importantly, though, please remember the reason for the season -- tortilla chips covered in cheese.
  • My niece puts yours to shame

    Me, Mikah, Rachel
    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    Here's me, my niece Mikah, and the child bride. Mikah is still dressed up from playing Clara in "The Nutcracker," and as you can see, she is the cutest little girl in America. Behind the smiles of me and Rachel are two people who will do horrible, horrible things to anyone who is ever mean to Mikah.

    My niece was surprisingly good in her role. Here's another picture of her -- note that she is the cutest one on stage.

    In the second part of the show, Clara does little more than watch other dancers.

    In this particular production, the only reason to watch the dancers was because you were related to one of them -- it dragged on and on and on. The highlights included one little girl with a penchant for falling to the ground with a stunning lack of grace, and another little girl who got out onto stage and decided she couldn't be arsed so she sat down.

    Those of us in the audience were able to sink down in our seats and close our eyes through certain less-exciting parts, but Mikah had to sit at the center of the stage and pretend that she cared. She did this amazingly well via a good deal of enthusiastic pointing.

    The boy who played the Nutcracker Prince often seemed more interested in smelling his hands, but Mikah kept him in line by occasionally jabbing him in the ribs. My niece is the best niece ever.

    Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Lib and Breezy

    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    Me, the child bride, Libba (my grandmother) and Breezy (my grandfather) all squished onto my grandparents' couch.

    While the cheesy idyllic painting of West Texas is inescapable, a less obvious element of this picture is that it features no less than six music boxes. My grandfather seems hell-bent on taking just about every piece of crap he finds at garage sales and turning it into a music box.

    He does this by taking a figurine*, gluing it to a wooden base, and then inserting the player from some abandoned or broken music box, also purchased at a garage sale. I estimate that he makes an average of one music box every two days.

    My grandparents' once-seemingly-large home is cramped with hundreds of these homemade tat music boxes. My grandmother does her best to keep the stock rolling out the door, but it is simply impossible for demand to keep up with supply.

    "Your grandfather has always been about quantity than quality," my grandmother said.

    What makes Breezy's hobby even more absurd, however, is that he is completely tone deaf. The man can recognize only one tune -- "You Are My Sunshine." He has to ask my grandmother which songs are being played and then does his best to match up the title with whatever figurine/snow-globe/award/doll/box he plans to turn into a music box.

    *My favorite Google image search return for "figurine."

    Whatever happened to the elbow punch?

  • I was watching the clips on Linus' blog today and it got me to thinking: you don't ever see action stars using the Jim Rockford-style elbow punch anymore. What happened?

  • A foreign national with multiple aliases and a vague past is planning to invade airways, and the U.S. government is giving him free reign.

  • Huw's post Wednesday reminded me of last week, when I taught my nephews and niece how to say 'hello' in Welsh.
    One cool thing: my niece was able to remember how to say it a whole week later. Being the cutest girl on the planet and able to mutter a bit of Uncle Chris' crazy old language pretty much secures her a spot in my will.

  • Fine. Just fine. Don't invite me. You bastards.

  • Good name for a band: Failed Blog Ambition

  • How could someone be so ultra-stupid as to take an AIDS drug and assume it will allow for unprotected sex?
    I am baffled by the blistering unintelligence displayed here. It's one of those things you simply would not have an answer for when the space aliens show up to destroy the planet.
    "But, we're a valuable civilization. We've produced art and beer and knitting and Tom Jones."
    "Fair enough. But what about these people who flagrantly put themselves at risk for an easily avoidable fatal disease, and, in so doing, possibly make the disease drug-resistant?"
    "Fuck. You heard about them, huh? OK. Pull the trigger."
  • Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    Playing catch

    Playing catch
    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    The thing to note about this picture is that it was taken in mid-December and I am in bare feet.

    The picture was taken in the back yard of my sister-in-law's home in Houston, Texas. I am playing catch with my 7-year-old nephew, Nathan.

    My 4-year-old nephew, Burk (of meat and candy necklace fame), can be seen next to me playing catch with himself. He kept drifting into the path of the balls thrown by his older brother and after fielding several wild throws I started to feel that perhaps Nathan was aiming for Burk.

    Chemical plant as far as the eye can see

    Chemical plants!
    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    This is where the child bride and I spent much of our afternoon last Thursday. It is the jetty at Quintana, Texas.

    Quintana describes itself as "Gateway to the Texas Gulf Coast." That's not much of a claim to fame. Many of my childhood summers were spent on this jetty and swimming in the ridiculously warm waters that surround it.

    On the horizon you can see a drilling derrick and countless white and utilitarian structures. That is all chemical plant. I'm not sure if it's just one facility or a number of them.

    You can also see the rusted bases for a wooden railing that once ran the length of the jetty. All the railing has been ripped out by storms.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    It's a trick

  • Sometimes the child bride seems so wonderful to me and some part of my brain clicks on and says: "She's trying to lure you into a false sense of security."
    This makes no sense. Why would she try to dupe me? I have no money, I have no insurance, and I have no inheritance.
    Please help to come up with a viable conspiracy theory as to why my wife is nice to me.

  • People who will be receiving Christmas cards from the child bride and me: Huw, Heather, Goo, Mona (as soon as she e-mails me her address), and a fella named Rob who lives in Washington state. Your clone army DNA is on the way, kids!

  • God bless America. The disturbing elements in this video are myriad:
    - When people are shooting at the cars, it's clear that a number of shooters are off by at least 25 yards.
    - When the cars blow up, people keep shooting.
    - The 8-year-old girl (guessing on that age) who unleashes hellfire.

  • National Security Agency for kids.

  • Spot the guy who really, really needs a life.
  • FAQ: The child bride

    The reason I sometimes refer to my wife as "the child bride" is partially explained in this post and extends back to when I was a student at the University of Nevada Reno.

    A mass communications professor there referred to his wife as "the child bride" because he felt it was more complimentary than "the old lady," or something similar.

    Get mail from the Copes!


    As it turns out, the child bride and I have five more Christmas cards than we have actual friends.

    This oversight on my part means opportunity for you!

    The first five people to e-mail me (over there in the sidebar) a snail-mail address will be sent a Christmas card featuring a nauseatingly cute picture of the child bride and me!

    As an added bonus, I will have to lick the envelope to seal it, thus sending you enough genetic information to build a clone army!

    Christmas wishes and your own private army! What more could you ask for?! E-mail me now!


    Walking to the car

    I'm getting carried away with this audio blog stuff.

    MP3 File

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Oh my God, you guys, Richard Pryor is dead

  • One of the things I love most about going on vacation is ignoring the news flow. I have grown up constantly monitoring television and radio and newspapers, as if the world will somehow stop spinning if I'm not paying attention. But there is something immensely refreshing about going on vacation and not paying attention to any of it. If something happened last week, I don't know about it. Wheeee! Ignorance is bliss.

  • Truth is so depressing. If only I could wrap myself in a little cocoon. Or better yet, if someone would do it for me.

  • I know it's mean and juvenile, but I cannot get over the fact that one half of Britain's first gay union couple looks like Batman nemesis The Penguin.

  • Yep, that's what put an end to my career in film.

  • I have trouble believing that this woman's hair is real. I also have trouble believing that she's a woman.

  • I have had this link sitting in my inbox for several weeks now. It's not a bear in a tree, but, hey, close enough.
    (Thanks to Huw)

  • Whereas this link, sent to me by Curly, has only been sitting in my inbox for two weeks. The past month or so seems to have been lost to... uhm, I'm not sure. I wish I could say that I've just been drinking heavily, but really I've just been shit at keeping on top of things.

  • "'Belgian' citizens are actually innocent (for the most part) people (for the most part) that have been kidnapped by the New World Order's Belgian Conspiracy division and brainwashed"
    I always suspected there was something strange about my Belgian friend, Stephi.

  • Good name for a band: Nipple Reconstruction
  • Sunday, December 18, 2005

    Home again

    Wondering how Jesus puts up with the people who like him, and wishing my life were as exciting as Papa's (and I sound really, really tired).

    MP3 File

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    The Katy session

    Me, the child bride, my sister-in-law and her husband, and their three children singing in a minivan.

    MP3 File

    Nieces, Nephew Break Uncle Chris

    I should be shunning computers when I'm on vacation, but I felt the need to sit down at one and blog because my latest column is out. Forward it to all your friends, boy.

    Santa on a fire truck

    Press the play button below.

    MP3 File

    Thursday, December 8, 2005

    Löwenbräu and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat*

  • Yesterday, Löwenbräu spent several minutes telling a wandering story, the point of which was this: he signed an e-mail "the prodigal editor."
    This, he clearly felt, was the funniest thing he had ever done.
    "See what I did there? It's like the prodigal son," he announced. "You know that story, don't ya?"
    None of us have ever been to church, Löwenbräu. We are completely ignorant of Western culture -- the parables of Jesus are more obscure than Welsh-language zydeco

  • Good name for a band: Sticky Buttons

  • Last night I dreamt that an ex-girlfriend showed up at my door and begged me to take her back. I have this dream from time to time -- it's one of my favorites. It is not so much about the rejection of any one person as it is about my being able to reject them; the Ex-Girlfriend is usually a strange amalgam of women who have been foolish enough to go out with me (Irish-American face, Turkish ass, etc.).
    In the dream, Ex-Girlfriend is inconsolable in her grief and desperation to get me back.
    "Come on, now," I say. "You're making yourself look foolish."
    "I don't care," she wails, crumbling into me, her tears soaking my shirt. "Everything turned out alright for you, but I... I am just stuck. Please. We could be so good together now, you'll see..."
    "No. I'm married. I'm happy."
    "No. You're making a scene. Get up off the floor. Come on, get up."
    On it goes for a while and in the morning I wake up feeling like my heart is made of sunshine.
    Of course, the odds of this actually happening are only slightly worse than the odds of the U.S. government suddenly deciding to allocate $4 million a year for my personal use. But a lad can dream.

  • Oh, blimey. There are just so many things wrong with this picture.

  • Home sweet bus. Speaking of which, London's iconic double-decker Routemaster buses will be officially retired on Friday.

    *Yes, I realize that the story of the prodigal son is not the story of Joseph, but the headline made me laugh.
  • Wednesday, December 7, 2005

    Happy Pearl Harbor Day

  • After pissing on America's Finest City on Heather's blog, I think it only fair that I offer one of my favorite San Diego memories.
    Several years ago, my wife and I were walking along the street in Pacific Beach and a random fellow walked up to us and asked, "Did you see the planes?"
    "What planes?"
    "The old planes. I saw them up over Balboa Park this morning and then again down by the beach. They were flying around because today's Pearl Harbor Day, I think. Pretty cool -- those old planes."
    "Oh, we didn't see them."
    "Well, maybe they'll come around again today. You two have a happy Pearl Harbor Day."
    It's a clear sign that a nation has healed from tragedy when a random guy wishes you a happy Pearl Harbor Day. I'd like to think that the poorly named Patriot Day will go much the same way.

  • Twice within the last 24 hours people have e-mailed me with good names for a band, so I have finally broken down and created a blog dedicated to good names for a band. The URL --mwyclochbuwch -- is Welsh and literally translates to "more cowbell," which had already been taken in English.
    The downside of this is that I am now undeniably one of those people -- a person with multiple blogs. I am a teenage girl.

  • I am also a hack comic in Gainesville, Fla., apparently.

  • Arse. Not that it matters, of course -- they'll be relegated either way.

  • Shocker: Some overhyped thing made by Microsoft is shit.

  • I love it when I'm right -- as predicted on Friday.

  • Interesting Wikipedia page on languages in the United States.

  • Here's a random observation -- I have never met an incompetent man named Kirk. Some are a bit cheesy like the Rev. Kirk Franklin, or a bit nutty like Kirk Cameron, but incompetent? Nope.
    Huzzah for the Kirks.

  • I'm crap at looking at people's sidebars, so I have no idea how long this has been on Huw's blog, but I like it -- funny and dangerous.
  • Stay off the dope, you goddamn nitwits

  • Video blog Santa -- the North Pole is in Mounds View, Minn.

  • I have always wanted to be a beer snob, but I suffer from a distinct inability to really isolate the various flavors. Generally, when I drink beer I can only tell you that it is good or bad. So I can only tell you that the Lump of Coal Holiday Stout I had last night was good. Really good. So good that I recommend you go out and buy one for yourself.

  • When "A Charlie Brown Christmas" aired Tuesday night, it did so for the 40th year. It is probably my favorite Christmas program.
    When the show first aired in 1965, CBS television executives -- displaying their usual complete and total lack of vision -- hated it. Quoting from the Bible, no laugh track, use of children's voices (instead of voice pros), and the famous jazz soundtrack had execs convinced it would flop.
    I often wonder about the really great things we must have missed out on over the years because some boneheaded executive shot it down.

  • "We will change the way we look. Nine out of ten Conservative MPs are white men. We need to change the scandalous under-representation of women in the Conservative party and we will do that."
    But representing people who aren't white? Meh, not so much.

  • Has anyone else been experiencing Blogger suckage as of late? Last night I wasn't able to access either of my blogs for about an hour. Usually when this sort of thing happens, it means that they are tinkering with the workings. If that is the case, I hope that they will finally add Welsh as a language option and offer new templates. What Blogger feature would you like to see added/removed/improved?

  • "When Dunlop attempted an overhead chop, the sword got stuck in the ceiling."
    The valuable lesson here is this: don't try to get fancy when attacking someone with a samurai sword. Or, live somewhere with high ceilings.

  • Ah, well. That's comforting. If anyone needs me, I'll be hiding under my bed.

  • Sometimes I think about starting another blog, titled: "Reasons I Will Be Happy To Leave America." It would simply be a collection of things I will be happy to leave behind when the child bride and I move to Cardiff. Pretty high on that list would be beating up university professors who support evolution theory.

  • I will also be happy to escape this war on Christmas bullshit. If you're not familiar with this, it is a faux-controversy cooked up by Fox News -- conveniently in sweeps (when networks set their advertising rates and therefore seek to draw the highest viewership) -- decrying the absence of the word "Christmas" in some advertising. There is no organized policy against "Christmas," it's simply that the word isn't used in some advertising. Somehow the simple absence of something equates to a war against it. By this standard, American retailers have declared war on Islam by failing to train cashiers to say "Salam." And when was the last time a Wal-Mart greeter welcomed someone with the Welsh "S'mae?" This mean war!
    I know I shouldn't be shocked that Fox would overtly make up news, but Christ*, it depresses me. It depresses me even more that there are people who buy into this bullshit hook, line and sinker. I know one of them and there is nothing you can say or do to show that person that they have bought into a big lie. They have been duped for the sake of setting advertising rates.
    If you watch the video in the link, it is a pumpkin patch of argument fallacies that the average fifth-grader could pick apart. For example, John Gibson says, "We now don't call it the Christmas break; it's the winter break -- as if people worship winter."
    OK, John, explain the summer break.
    But I am really concerned about this blatant disregard for the word "merry."
    "We're not too interested with the word 'merry,'" O'Reilly says. "We don't really care about 'merry.'"
    He doesn't care about the word "merry?" Why is O'Reilly so desperate to trample on a perfectly good Middle English word? I like "merry." It sounds like "Mary," who was the mother of our Lord And Savior. Is O'Reilly declaring war on the Blessed Virgin Mary?
    Maybe he wants us to use a synonym.
    Like gay.
    Have a Gay Christmas.
    Apparently, that is what Bill O'Reilly wants: a big, gay Mother-Of-God-Hating Christmas.

    *There's no war on Christmas on this blog, boy-o.
  • Monday, December 5, 2005


  • Hay no más.

  • According to the BBC, wool is cool. That's good news for the child bride and me -- we love wool (this was one of our rejected Christmas card pictures -- we look like a folk-music duo).

  • "World Wrestling Entertainment says it is starting random drug testing to detect illicit drugs, steroids and prescription drug abuse among its performers." Suuuuuuuurrre.

  • No. Bad. Evil. Wrong.

  • One of the oddities of the web is its ability to narrowcast. People build websites dedicated to the strangest things -- like arms.

  • It's a clear sign I'm getting older that cutesy things like this don't make me want to kill -- in fact, I like it (takes a coon's age to load, though).

  • I found a meme on someone in Denver's blog that I felt like doing. These are the first returns (and some make no sense) from Google image search for:
    - The city where I was born.
    - The city where I live now.
    - My name.
    - My grandmother's name.
    - My favorite food.
    - My favorite drink.
    - My favorite smell.
  • Somebody has my mom's baby Jesus and she would like it back

    Here is an actual conversation between my mom and the child bride that took place last night at dinner.

    MOM: "Did you borrow my baby Jesus?"

    RACHEL: "Yes."

    MOM: "Oh, good. Can I have it back?"

    RACHEL: "What? I thought you were kidding. No, I didn't borrow your baby Jesus."

    MOM: "Really? Oh. But... are you sure? I have this memory of you coming up to me and asking if you could borrow my baby Jesus."

    RACHEL: "Why would I borrow your baby Jesus?"

    MOM: "I don't know. But I really have this memory of your coming up to me and you were holding it, like this, and you said, 'Can I borrow this?'
    "But then, I guess you would have brought it back -- unless you asked, 'Can I borrow your baby Jesus and not ever bring him back?'
    "But why would I say yes to that?"

    RACHEL: "I really don't have your baby Jesus."

    MOM: "Huh. I wonder where he could be."

    Friday, December 2, 2005

    All-gay action

  • Here's a random ethical question: is it OK for a gay guy to punch his partner?It goes without saying that if the child bride and I have a disagreement, I would be totally Bad And Wrong if fisticuffs were introduced (probably to my benefit -- Rachel is deceptively strong). I would be an irredeemably horrible person, says the unwritten code, even if she were to throw the first punch.
    But if my co-worker and I were to beat each other to a pulp in the parking lot, we would be Settling Things Like Men. Yes, a lot of people would think we were sharp as marbles, but very few would think we were as inherently evil as if we were hitting women.
    So, boy hitting girl is wrong.
    Boy hitting boy is dumb but tolerable and sometimes unavoidable.
    But what if boy hitting boy is gay boy hitting gay boy? Somewhere in my confused internal sense of right and wrong, that is not OK. But I can't explain why.

  • We are the moral standard.

  • "Thank you for all coming to Ken's funeral. You know, if there's one thing that can be said about Ken, it's that he loved animals."

  • Our anus is a useful thing indeed.
    (Found via Elisa)

  • I've got a 65- to 75-percent chance of having a white Christmas.

  • Ford appears set to screw over workers in St. Paul, MN (and four other cities). Although, to be fair, I don't think it will affect the city very negatively. The Ford plant is in the middle of a nice neighborhood and situated right next to the Mississippi River -- developers are probably already wetting their pants in anticipation.

  • Rubbish. Portsmouth don't need Harry Redknapp. Personally, I don't think they need to be in the Premiership, either.

  • One of the benefits of French hospitals -- apparently you get chocolate and strawberries straight after having your face replaced.

  • My fellow wage slaves and I spent much of our day trying to figure out what Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin will name their next baby. Tom says "Snowflake;" Maggie says "Sandwich;" and I'm leaning toward "Courage."
  • Random picture I found on the Internet

    Check out this kid I found on a blog in some language I don't understand.

    He's speaking the universal language of groove, is this kid. He's probably throwing down a crazy house session as this picture is being taken.

    "I want every muthafuckin' toddler on the dance floor! Everybody strip down to just your diapers! We are gonna go wild in this place!"

    Thursday, December 1, 2005

    Cheesy ham wreath

    The Minnesota Twins (baseball, kids -- it used to be our national obsession) have slightly different-looking uniforms for 2006. Because everyone knows that new uniforms make an athlete better. A bastard owner, a laughable payroll, a talentless roster that acts like teenage girls, and a crap home stadium are insignificant in the face of new uniforms. New uniforms make everything better.

  • Random work quote: "What you call a hack story, I call an exposé."

  • Good name for a band: Cheesy Ham Vishnu
    The band name would be a variation of what is sure to become a holiday favorite -- the cheesy ham wreath. Mmmm. Cheesy ham wreath.

  • Nothing, though, beats the Cinnaberger -- our all-time favorite recipe in my little cubicle squad. None of us have ever had the guts to try them, though. Perhaps this could be a new challenge for Huw -- make and consume a Cinnaberger.

  • Today is Jenny's birthday -- go wish her a happy one.

  • I forgot to mention that yesterday, in addition to being St. Andrew's Day, was the one-year anniversary of my finishing a first draft of my novel "Drinking Stories," the only novel -- that I'm aware of -- with its own official beer mat (made by Jenny).

  • If you enjoy stories about my being an ass, Sara has recounted the tale of when I went completely nuts in downtown Fargo. In my defense, I did not hurl a wrench at the windshield -- I flung a pair of pliers.
    I eventually remedied the stuck horn by ripping the rubber bit off the steering column. Sara then accused me of trying to kill her by flinging a pair of pliers at the window.

  • I'm old. There's this song they play on the radio by Sean Paul -- I have no idea what it's called because I can't understand a damn word. As best I can tell, this is how the chorus goes: "The world turnin', this tire burn, girl you know I'm gonna be bare. Buy up simple glazin', double glazin."
  • Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    Happy St. Andrew's Day

  • Cripes. How can it only be Wednesday? You suck, weekdays.

  • I suppose it's not all bad. As mentioned earlier, today is St. Andrew's Day. Get your kit off, ladies!

  • Like a lot of people, I have my blog set up to send me an e-mail every time someone makes a comment. It ensures that I get to see all the witty things you say.
    Unfortunately, the feature doesn't tell me to which post a person has responded. Usually i can figure it out, but this can sometimes be a problem when people respond to posts that have slipped from my memory (i.e., posts that are more than two days old). As such, I have no idea to which post the following comment is in reference:
    "He is a somebody! He is a Disney favorite. Guess you spend to much time on the internet talking about things and people you know nothing about to have children. Why dont you read up before you post any dumb comment. thanks"
    Of course the comment came from "Anonymous" and in classic angry commenter style, it has grammar/spelling mistakes. I think this may be an unwritten rule of negative commenting -- we see a lot of it in the Global Media Conspiracy. Most of the people who write in to complain that we are treasonous homosexual abortionists who are pushing our liberal socialist agenda to take God out of the schools struggle to string words together. But I'm intrigued; what Disney favorite could I have slighted that it would earn an angry response?
    According to the Blogger dashboard feature, I have spoken about things and people I know nothing about some 640 times on this blog (this post included), so it's difficult to just go through the archives and find the comment. I don't expect you to know, either, of course, but which Disney favorite do you think I might have insulted?

  • Scientologists -- crazy? Oh, hell yes.

  • Another reason to stay calm when driving: if you road rage, Ric Flair might kick your ass.

  • I have been feeling something very strongly today, but I only feel like stating it enigmatically via two sentences:
    - The No. 1 rule of broadcast journalism is that there are no other rules when you have good video.
    - Eight months feels like a long time.
  • St. Andrew Leads To St. Nick

    My latest column is out. It contains passing reference to Chris and Jenny and this line: " Here, have some eggnog. Each cup is worth about $30."
    Please forward it to all your friends and family; it makes the perfect holiday gift.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Road rage

    It was raining last night while I drove home. When I parked my car, my windshield wipers -- as they are sometimes wont to do -- refused to shut off. Usually this problem corrects itself if I shut off the engine; when the ignition is turned back on, the wipers will move into the off position and stay that way. But after killing the engine two or three times without success, I decided that I couldn't be bothered and simply assumed that it would all sort itself out by the morning.

    Overnight, the rain turned to snow.

    When I got out to the car this morning, it was under about an inch or two of snow. I started the car, cranked up the defrost, and then walked down the street (Rachel and I live in the city, so we park our cars in the street) to the truck to finally retrieve the second snowbrush that has been sitting in the cab since our Ford Shitmobile died.

    I wiped the snow off the rear window, the side windows and the windshield. Then, as I was scraping the ice off the windshield, the wipers suddenly came to life (the car had been on for about five minutes).


    "Wow, that's annoying," I thought.


    I reached in the car and clicked the wiper switch on and off, hoping that would somehow get the wipers to shut off.


    I carried on scraping the ice off the windshield, dancing around the wipers, and telling myself calmly: "Do not rip the wipers out. That would be bad. I will need those again at some point."


    According to my Pooh watch, I was already late, so, even though the windows were still all fogged up, I set out for work:


    "There's got to be a way to shut off these damned wipers. I guess I could just pull the fuse, if I could..."


    "Fucking rear-wheel drive doesn't do shit on these icy intersections. The weather guys said it was going to be like this, but apparently no one who works for the city watches the news -- heaven forbid they should put sand and salt on the roads."


    "Where the hell is the fuse box in this fucking car? A smart man would put it right fucking here -- but I've already learned that this car was not designed by a smart man."


    "Dude in front of me, why are you going so slow? It's icy, yes, but you don't need to... Whoa. What the hell are you doing? The road is over here! Have you ever driven in America? Just because you can't see the lines doesn't mean there's no road. You're going to hit one of those Hasidic Jews that are always walking up and down this road. I'm pretty sure that killing a Jew is a straight-to-hell offense."


    "Motherfucker! It's like that Chinese water torture, these fucking wipers! I can't believe the fuse box isn't anywhere close. Those fucking GM cocksuckers probably put it under the hood."


    "What the fuck is the hold up here? Shit. There's probably a wreck on the freeway and things are backed up all the way into the neighborhood. I am going to be so late."


    "Gah! Fuck you, General Motors! $250 was too much for this piece of shit. No wonder you're laying off 30,000 workers -- no one but a fucking retard would buy one of your fucking cars new."


    "Shut up, you stupid fucking wipers! Just...




    "I'm 20 minutes late. And the defrost barely works -- I can't see out my rear window. And the goddamned alternator is squealing. How did I end up like this? What did I do that I should end up..."






    "FUCK YOU ALL TO HELL, GM! You cocksucking can't-build-a-car-for-shit bitches! I fucking hate you! Do you hear me, GM? Hate! Fucking hate! As soon I get out of this car..."


    "Fuck you! As soon as I fucking get out of this fucking car, I am fucking going to fucking kick it as fucking hard as I can. I am fucking wearing fucking steel-fucking-toed fucking boots today, motherfucker. I will kick you, you fucking car! I am going to kick you!"


    You have to admire that 1980s steel. They don't make cars like that, anymore, boy. My foot hurts.

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    Martha is just alright by me

  • Now that it is no longer possible to stave off Christmas, I have taken to enjoying the holiday tradition of drinking egg nog. At present, I am taking the easy way out and simply adding Jameson to the stuff you buy at the supermarket, but I have visions of making my own nog from scratch. This is a little more difficult than one might think, though.
    A few years ago, the child bride and I attempted to brew up Martha Stewart's egg nog (link is a bit wonky) and it was undrinkably high octane. My friend, Paul, drank a cup of it and passed out.

  • I anticipate some people would criticize me for using a Martha Stewart recipe in the first place, but how can you not love an old boozehound felon like Martha? On her website she has a feature that allows you to search for recipes by ingredient and it's clear that the lady loves her hooch. Here are the number of recipes I found containing various spirits:
    Rum: 79
    Brandy: 63
    Whisky/Bourbon: 56
    Cognac: 53
    Vodka: 40
    Gin: 15
    Tequila: 13
    The search for "beer" returned 225 recipes. Hey. I'll tell you something for nothing -- that Martha Stewart is my kind of lady.

  • The Vikings won another game. Brad Johnson is unstoppable. We're going to the Super Bowl, baby! Super Bowl! This is our year! Never mind that three of the four teams we've beaten this year have sucked.

  • If I wrote headlines: Motor City Kitties Boot The Mooch

  • This weekend I was having a discussion with Esther about information that is blog appropriate, and I envisioned some insufferable blog in which a person wrote about all sorts of things that no one else would want to know, like expertly documenting a rash.
    It was one of those jokes that cuts dangerously close, though, so I will avoid telling you that the duct tape worked.

  • There is so much wrong with this story, I don't know where to begin. Although, I wish I had thought to propose to the child bride via a kiddie pool full of chocolate pudding.

  • When I was in high school, I had a four-year crush on a girl who was a fan of the Moody Blues. This was in the early 90s and as much as I liked her, I couldn't get over how dumb I thought it was to be a fan of the Moody Blues.
    Once again displaying my amazing teenage capacity for duplicity, however, I was an unabashed fan of bands like Blackfoot and Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Freebird" still makes me weep. It runs in the family -- my uncle used to claim that he could be heard on a Skynyrd live album clearly answering the question, "What song does Dallas want to hear tonight?"
    Blackfoot had slipped into almost total obscurity before I had even heard of them and I doubt that even the radio god that is Dave could name their biggest song without Google-searching, but I feel a certain sense of vindication to have learned today that Skynyrd will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Sunday, November 27, 2005

    Merry Christmas, bitches

    BeforeI am the sort of person who generally likes to hold off on thinking about Christmas until at least 1 December. But my wife comes from a family that keeps Christmas trees up year-round.

    No, really. My mother-in-law has a disturbing obsession with Christmas to the extent that she keeps up at least four trees all year long. Recently I was looking at pictures from our wedding day and I was thinking: "A few generations from now, people will look at these pictures and think that Rachel and I were married in December."

    We were married in the month of June.

    Our Christmastime compromise, then, is that Rachel is not allowed to start celebrating the Yuletide season until after Thanksgiving. On the day after Thanksgiving we drove out to Hansen Tree Farm to cut down a tree and drag it back home. It had snowed that day, so it actually felt Christmasy as Rachel and I wondered through the rows of trees, looking for the one that looked pretty enough to kill.

    AfterI always like to tell the story of our first Christmas together, when Rachel and I bought a massive 9-foot tree and could afford no ornaments for the damned thing. So, we drove up into the Sierras (we lived in Reno, Nev.) to collect the large pine cones that fall from the Ponderosas -- we used those and a few strings of lights to decorate the tree.

    Over the years we've collected a handful more ornaments than I've managed to drop, so our tree looks a little more legitimate. Although, there still aren't enough ornaments to go all the way around the tree -- the side facing the window is bare.

    My favorite element to our tree is Black Santa -- a 16-inch tall black man with a French horn and the most stylin' fur-lined robe ever made, for a man of any size. Black Santa, of course, sits in his rightful place atop the tree, making sure that all Christmas happenings are to his liking.

    Now we just need to put some presents under the tree.

    Friday, November 25, 2005


    Rachel and me
    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    This is what Rachel and I look like whilst standing out in the cold and waiting for my dad to get his damned camera to work.

    We were taking pictures to turn into Christmas cards (yes, we are those people -- the ones who send Christmas cards of themselves) but by this point had lost all patience with my dad's camera.

    "Well, it keeps shutting off on me," my dad said.

    "I need to get you a new camera for Christmas," I said.

    "But there's nothing wrong with this camera."

    "Yes there is. We've been standing here for five minutes and you haven't taken a picture yet."

    "Ah. There it went."

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    Self-made meme

    Even though I wasn't asked to do so, I thought I might steal the meme on Dave's blog from a few days ago. But then I decided I didn't really like the particular meme, so I've just made up my own:

    What were you doing 10 years ago?
    Nov. 23, 1995, was Thanksgiving Day. My girlfriend at the time, Sara, and I had Thanksgiving in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., at the orchard where she worked.
    This is where that Steely Dan song comes in. Annandale-on-Hudson consists of little more than Bard College, a tiny liberal institution of higher learning tucked away in farming country. Steely Dan originally formed at Bard, with Chevy Chase as their drummer. The group (sans Chevy) eventually went on to immortalize Annandale-on-Hudson with their song "My Old School" in their 1973 album "Countdown to Ecstasy."
    As indicated by my seven years of marriage to Rachel, things with Sara didn't turn out as well as perhaps they could have and for comedic effect I have a habit of playing up how pear-shaped it all went (conveniently ignoring my own culpability). As such, I am particularly fond of "My Old School" and the lyrics: "California tumbles into the sea -- that'll be the day I go back to Annandale."
    Interestingly, oleanders used to grow just outside the window of her dorm room.
    Anyway, 10 years ago, I took time from my busy schedule of failing all my classes at Moorhead State University to spend Thanksgiving and Sara's birthday (Nov. 26) with her.
    The dinner was hosted in a barn, with two or three massive tables stretching from end to end. Both sides of the family that ran the orchard were there; they had more family members than I had to that point thought could exist in a family. With Sara and I and another girl who worked the orchard serving as the only non-family members, there were at least 70 people at the dinner. Normally when I tell this story, I put the number at about 85 to 100, but Sara occasionally reads this blog, so I am trying to be conservative in my estimate. No doubt I am still off -- I have a horrible memory. If she were telling you this story, she would name everyone there and tell you what each person ate.
    Before dinner, a number of people went on a hayride that went around the orchard, and Sara and I walked around in the cold for a while. I have always thought, and continue to think, that miserable cold weather is romantic. There is not a woman alive who agrees with me on this, so Sara sniffled and swore at the cold until she could stand no more.
    The barn was warm and alive with all the people. Sara's letters to me used to read like menus, so she would, of course, remember better all the food that was available, but I do remember that there was a lot of it -- turkeys and venison that had been killed that day; a whole table of pies; and loads of wine. It's probably odd that I remember the wine. To put it very politely, my attitude toward alcohol at the time was priggish*, but I remember that I tried a very small amount of strawberry wine and wished that I could drink more. My stupid drama king pride refused to allow me to do so.
    This was the year that Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday. Before then, the holiday hadn't meant a whole lot to me. I come from what my cousin, Shawn, once described as "a dysfunctional family where everyone likes each other." We achieved this happy state by not forcing ourselves to spend a whole lot of time with one another, so Thanksgivings growing up were sporadic. When my family moved to Minnesota, my mother decided that just the four of us -- her, my dad, my brother and me -- weren't worth the trouble of making a turkey. Our tradition became that I would barbecue a rack of ribs.
    That Thanksgiving at Annandale-on-Hudson was amazing to me, though. I felt as if I were in some film or book. Like when you see one of those Jane Austen films and everyone is at the ball and you think: "Who did that really?"
    Who actually has a Thanksgiving like the one in "Avalon?" We did, motherfucker, and it was bigger.

    What were you doing five years ago?
    Nov. 23, 2000, was the day before Thanksgiving. I was working at a now-defunct Internet company that paid me to do little more than eat Rice Krispie treats and teach myself Welsh.
    Being a media hack, I was not able to leave town for Thanksgiving, so Rachel and I had dinner with a few other media hacks -- Jim "Landeros" Landrith and Gene Vance. Continuing the Steely Dan theme, Landeros has a habit of analyzing the band's lyrics when he is drunk:
    "'Gonna strike all the big red words from my little black book' -- That is great, my friend. That, Mr. Cope, is fucking genius!"
    Landeros now produces a show in Sacramento, Calif., and Gene has gone back to being a photographer in Reno, Nev., but at the time we were all living and suffering in San Diego.
    The dinner was hosted at Landeros' house in Tierrasanta and he did the brunt of the work -- fixing the turkey and the stuffing. Rachel did everything else and Gene, strangely, brought a 5-pound ham that he had bought at Boston Market. I did nothing but sit there and drink Corona.
    There was far too much food, the warm Southern California weather made it feel terribly un-Thanksgiving-like, and I had to leave early to get to work, but its still ranks up there as one of my favorite Thanksgivings. It's very hard for me to explain why I like Thanksgiving without sounding like the blog equivalent of a Precious Moments figurine, but that Thanksgiving had all the necessary elements for me.

    What were you doing last year?
    Nov. 23, 2004, was two days before Thanksgiving. I wasn't doing a whole hell of a lot -- I was at the same job, putting the same useless crap on my blog. The only difference, I suppose, is that the creator of Stove Top stuffing was still alive.
    One year ago I was, as is the case this year, looking forward to Thanksgiving at my parents' house in the suburban wonderland that is Bloomington, Minn. Rachel woke up early on Thanksgiving morning to make a delicious, task-intensive turkey; my dad made the stuffing; my brother and his wife brought desert; and my mother and I sat around drinking beer. As will be the case this year.
    The only real difference between this year and last year will be that my brother and his concubine will bring desert. Jon separated from his wife, Erica (whom he now calls "Ex-ica"), shortly after Christmas last year. Replacing her will be Vanessa, whom I refer to as "the concubine" because Jon is still legally married. The concubine is smarter and bigger breasted than Jon's wife, so I guess things are moving forward.

    What will you be doing one year from now?
    Nov. 23, 2006 will be Thanksgiving Day. The child bride and I will be living in Cardiff, hosting a dinner for all the poor souls who do not usually celebrate Thanksgiving. Britons regularly criticize the fact that Americans seem to have a holiday for everything, but this is one that's worth carrying over. It has no real religious or patriotic association and no one expects gifts -- the sole purpose is to get together, eat, drink, and say: "Here's to livin'."
    If you can get there, you are invited to join us.

    *If you are one of the people who is able to expound on my duplicitous stances on alcohol consumption, please remember that this is my blog -- I can delete comments.