Monday, February 28, 2005

I need a sandwich in here

  • You know that Destiny's Child song "Soldier?" The next time you hear it, in your head replace the word "soldier" with "sandwich."

  • Assuming Wales can avoid screwing things up against Scotland (which is, admittedly, a big assumption to make), it looks as if a major battle is set for the day before my birthday, when Wales will face Ireland and the Six Nations cup will be on the line.
    And I am incredibly upset that I didn't find a place to watch Saturday's defeat of France. Of course a match I don't see would be called "one of the great performances of the past three decades." Reportedly the best part came in the last five minutes when the Welsh defense just held and held and held. I am a big fan of defense; I think it's actually more exciting to watch than offense.

  • Can Gwen Stefani please die in a plane crash now? She's a pretty lady and I wouldn't mind keeping her in a closet for personal use, but the odds are that's not going to happen. So, it's time to just bite the bullet and have her private jet crash into a mountain. She's had her run; it's time for this silliness to stop. If her plane could crash into Jamie Foxx's mansion, that would be even better.

  • There is something seriously askew with your understanding of the world and your place in it when you refer to cancer as "my 9/11." An increasingly manageable disease compared with a national tragedy. Sure. From now on, all my hangovers will be known as "my personal Rwanda."

  • Whatever happened to Jessica McClure? The girl that fell down a well. Anyone know? She doesn't appear to have a blog.

  • According to this fancy little life-expectancy calculator, I'm supposed to live to be 90 years old. So, as of 20 days from now, I will have exactly 61 years left on this planet (that's a hint, kids). That's comforting to know, I suppose. Although, Old Horsetail Snake has already given away the secret to long life: "Wake up every morning."
    When I was a boy they told me I'd grow up to be 5-foot-10; I'm 6-foot-1. So, perhaps I can milk a few more years out of my life and make it an even 100. Maybe by 2076 Minneapolis-St. Paul will have an adequate public transportation system.
    Strangest question in the survey: "Do you have a bowel movement at least once every two days?"
    TWO DAYS WITHOUT POOPING?! Good gracious!
  • Saturday, February 26, 2005

    Topless darts is on in five

    The BBC has introduced a really cool cartoon thingy to help you start learning Welsh.

    I'm not 100% sure it's going to speed you toward fluency, but it's considerably more entertaining and interesting than any other learning I've ever seen. Here's the first episode.

    There's also a version for Scots Gaelic, and I understand that Irish is coming soon. But, obviously, Welsh is the way to go.

    Friday, February 25, 2005

    Problem child

  • Here's a random story that I suddenly remembered today:
    When I was a fourth-grade nothing, growing up in Houston, my best friend's name was John Estrada. He and I were pretty sure that we were the funniest kids in America and spent the vast majority of our time making each other laugh so hard we couldn't breathe. Indeed, that's what we were doing on Texas Physical Fitness Day, rather than sit-ups.
    I have no idea whether there is or ever was such a thing as Texas Physical Fitness Day. It could very easily have been something that our P.E. teacher made up, knowing that we would participate in just about anything if its official name had the word "Texas" in it. This trick doesn't just work on brainwashed little children who stand before the Texas and U.S. flags (in that order, thank you) and sing "Eyes of Texas" every morning, it works on Texans of all ages. The image of Texas is printed on beer labels. They don't put a picture of the state of California on beer bottles in the Golden State. They sure as hell don't do it here -- the closest we get to localized advertising are offers from our "Northland Ford Dealers." As best I can tell, "Northland" encompasses North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. But in Texas, boy, Texas sells. Take the most intense display of patriotism you've seen in your life, multiply it by 10, and you've got most Texans' attitude toward their beloved state.
    But that's neither here nor there, because John and I weren't doing our sit-ups*. Perhaps this was foreshadowing the fact that I would eventually join such a God-hating profession as journalism. John, of course, was a damned Hispanic.
    Our P.E. teacher, clearly upset at out blatant disrespect toward an activity which had incorporated the name of the Lone Star State, stormed over and shouted at us in her dead-dog breath (ironically, she stank of cigarettes) that we had to do our sit-ups and she was going to sit there and watch us do them -- as many as we could do in a minute. We probably managed about 20 giggling sit-ups each.
    "I want you to know that because of your behavior, those won't count," the teacher said.
    "What the hell did we do them for, then?" I asked.
    I was promptly sent to the principal office to be hit five times with a paddle.

  • One of these things is not like the other.

  • I think I will try to be here for the summer solstice this year.

  • It's not catching on with me. Well, unless you're talking about this -- that's just plain fun. They should turn it into a waterslide.

    *Old-style sit-ups that they now say are bad for you.
  • Thursday, February 24, 2005

    Mossome no more

  • We had a bit of snow this morning in the thriving metropolis that is the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. I live on a relatively busy street, but for perhaps 30 full seconds this morning everything in the universe aligned to find me standing out on the stoop of my apartment building in the silence of a snowy morning.
    No cars drove by. No one said anything. And I just leaned back against the wall and took everything in and felt the muscles my shoulders un-knot and I thought: "The problem with you, boy-o, if you have any problems at all, is that this is the most peaceful you have felt in years."
    I need a vacation.

  • Sure, a cop got shot in Kari's neighborhood, but the top story here in God's Chosen Frozen Land is that Randy Moss has been traded.
    There's disagreement as to whether this is an intelligent move or the dumbest sports trade since Babe Ruth went to the Yankees. I tend to be on the side that says it can be a good move. Moss is being shipped off to the Raiders, which will continue to suck as long as Al Davis draws breath, and we have the chance to pick up some defensive players. Of course, because we're Minnesota, I'm sure it will get all screwed up so as to create the worst possible outcome.

  • Good name for a band: The Marmalade Accuracy
  • Wednesday, February 23, 2005

    Gogs and Norwegian spirit guides

  • There's a woman from Glasgow (Scotland, not Montana) that shares the same filtered air as me in the headquarters of my benevolent employer. The other day she was talking to me about the weak economic shape of her mother country when she said:
    "It's very bad. My friend is a medium -- spirits speak through him, you know -- and there's just no work. He had to move to Norway."
    1) While I don't dispute that Scotland's economic situation is less than ideal, I'm inclined to believe that the lack of a burgeoning economy isn't to blame in this particular case.
    2) Is there a great deal of work for mediums in Norway?

  • Mmmmmm!

  • Gruff Rhys (pronounced "griff reess")was on OneMusic Tuesday. There's clearly something not quite right with that boy. For that alone it's worth it to listen to the show (Gruff is there from about 10 minutes in), plus you get to hear Gruff's impossible-to-imitate Gog* accent.
    And it was fun to listen to Gruff and Huw struggling to speak English to one another. I liked when they just gave up and dropped into Welsh.



  • *A Gog (from the Welsh word "gogledd") is someone from North Wales.
  • Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    A rude, foul-mouthed peanut

  • Here's another reason why I am destined to spend any professional career hanging about on the lower tier: Today my fellow peons and I were discussing those couples who are condescending toward you because you're not doing what they're doing -- and obviously what they are doing is Right and Good.
    If you are single, they will say, "Oh, don't worry, you'll find that special someone some day."
    Because, you know, if you're not married you are a freak. Your life is an empty train that has derailed in the desert. You are alone, alone, alone.
    And if you are married, they'll ask when you plan to have kids.
    "They're such a joy," the proud parents will say.
    "Yeah. They sound like a real fucking joy -- a pissing shitting useless thing that I have to pay attention to all the time and spend all my money on," I was ranting. "You know what's really a joy? Having sex with my wife in the kitchen. I can have sex with my wife in the living room, I can have sex with my on the couch, I can have sex with my wife on the floor; you can't do that with kids around."
    As I'm saying this, all ranty style so that I can feel my face reddening and I'm sort of fading from actually speaking to anyone to a state in which I just speak in tongues fuelled by the laughter of others, I see one of my co-workers making a slashing motion across his throat and pointing beyond our little cubicle fortress. Not processing quickly enough what he was doing, I completed my thought before going silent.
    He stared at me and watched something beyond my vision pass by. Then he whispered to me that the owner of the company had been standing rather close -- giving a tour to a group of important-looking types.

  • Perhaps I need to become famous. Oh, man, if you don't already think Sean Connery rocks you will now!
    Connery is accused of "cursing and otherwise using indecent language" when a neighbor asked him to turn his music down. That is fantastic!
    Who is your mother, Alex?!*

  • Sentence that should probably not be in news copy: "Then a Fudge Maker works his magic by creaming the fudge."

  • Golly, I can't get enough of "Law & Order."

    *I'm pretty sure everyone will get that reference.
  • Kings Of Beer

    Eric and I have made beer and I wrote a column about it.
    Please help me become famous; forward it to all your friends, family and local brewmasters.

    Monday, February 21, 2005

    Thank you, Jeebus

  • Cripes, I hate automobiles.
    We have only one of them -- my pickup -- and this winter has been especially hard on it. This morning I went out to discover that the left rear wheel had locked up completely. The Google-search consensus was that something in the wheel was frozen and a bit of heat would cure it. But I park my truck out on the street. Shy of running several hundred meters of extension cord and hooking up a hair dryer, there wasn't much I could do.
    My wife took a cab to work -- $50 -- and I informed my benevolent employer that I would be working from home today. I am capable of working from home every day, but they are dead set against this because it would make me happy.
    During my lunch break, I went back out to the truck and crawled underneath to see if there was any visible ice that I could break loose. Nope. So I put my feet up on the hitch and started trying to rock the truck. As I was doing this, I thought: "Come on, Lord. Let me slide on this -- I don't have any cash to have this thing towed to a garage."
    And The Lord Almighty Our God In Heaven, or, perhaps, my better judgment, said: "What kind of dumb-ass are you?! You are sitting underneath a pickup and trying to get it to move. Get the hell out from under there."
    And I looked up and saw that if the car had moved, the rear differential likely would have sheared off my face. As I was crawling out from underneath, I caught my arm on a wire and I heard a little "click" come from the wheel. I had pulled the parking brake wire. I jiggled it a bit more, getting the release to click a few more times, and suddenly I had a car that could move again. In response, I let out a full-on Ric Flair "Woooo!" and frightened a woman who was walking by.

  • I want one of these shirts.

  • I find this amusing. Bid on other people's lost luggage.
  • We can't stop here, this is bat country

    Bollocks.

    Sunday, February 20, 2005

    We must speak of Ireland

    I'm pretty there was some sort of mild hallucinogen in the bheda-ko chhoyla I ate on Friday. According to my wife, I stood up in the middle of the night and pressed my face against the wall for about 10 minutes. Then, I walked into the main room, sat down very rigidly on the couch and said to one of the African masks on the wall: "We must speak of Ireland."

    I remember none of this.

    But then, it could have nothing to do with Nepali food. This morning I found my clothes from the night before laid out on the dining room floor in that style that my mom would lay out my clothes when I was a kid. On the bathroom floor there was a bottle of antiseptic and one of my rugby mouth guards wrapped up in the chain of my pocket watch. I have absolutely no idea what that's all about.

    Hooray. I'm going insane.

    Saturday, February 19, 2005

    My friends are big in Belgium

  • I realized today that I haven't ever linked to my best friend's band.
    He's also in this band, which was primarily formed for the purpose of amusing the guys who are in the band. Bryce (trumpet) and Eric (trombone) are featured with me in this famous track. And the band's guitarist, Matt, almost killed me once when I thought it would be funny to jump on the hood of his car -- he responded by flooring the gas pedal and I was tossed over the roof. To his credit, however, he did nurse me back to health when I had the flu in college. And I made out with his girlfriend about two days after they broke up.
    I also have friends who play in this band. Yet, I've never been in a band.
    Well, I shouldn't say "never."
    In high school, Eric and I and several others performed a stirring rendition of James Brown's "I Got You" at a talent show. I almost got suspended as a result.
    Also in high school, Paul (of Jack Brass Band and Belfast Cowboys) and I formed a group that was disbanded after our first rehearsal. This came in part because the drummer was grounded and the singer (me) wasn't particularly good at remembering lyrics. I had planned to name the band Asthma.

  • Dumbest hip-hop lyric I've heard today: "Whatever it takes, girl; I'll swim to France."

  • I've decided that "Judging Amy" sounds like a euphemism for something: "He was late to work because he was Judging Amy." I'm not sure for what exactly it might be a euphemism, but I'm the idea man here. Feel free to use it in your daily speech and we'll sort out its meaning later.

  • I'm sure you'll have seen this already. Anyone know where I can find a better version?
  • Friday, February 18, 2005

    And it was good

    I was thinking today about those statistics they always give that every 4.1 seconds a person is born, and every 1.8 seconds a person dies. At most recent count, there are close to 6.5 billion of us at any given time.

    Imagine if each person were represented as a little point of light. And imagine if you could stand back far enough to take in all those billions of points of light -- sparkling and twinkling and dancing and floating and swirling in the darkness. I should imagine it would be rather pretty.

    And I doubt anyone would ever pester you as to why any of those tiny points of light went out any earlier than any of the others.

    Utterly random post

  • I'm thinking this post should have been broken into multiple separate posts. Ah well...

  • It looks as if Jenny and I will now need to set up outside Windsor Guildhall. I still think it will be too cool for Pimms. Perhaps, in honor of Charles, we can drink cherry brandy.

  • Last night on One Music with Ras Kwame, his guest was top poet bloke Dr. Benjamin Zephaniah (probably best known for the poem "Wrong Radio Station"*), who reinforced my longstanding belief that poets need to stop trying to put their works to a beat. But he did offer an interesting explanation of the difference between a poet and a lyricist (i.e., apart from the fact that he calls himself as such, what makes Zephaniah a poet and not, say, Bruce Springsteen?).
    He used the example of the lyrics to "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz: "I wish that I could fly/ Into the sky/ So very high/ Just like a dragonfly."
    The lyrics are pretty, he said, but not as precise as a poem would necessitate. A poet, he said, would listen to that and think: "A dragonfly doesn't fly all that high."
    I have nothing to add to that. I just thought it was interesting. Having now mentioned a poet on my blog I am overcome by the desire to balance it out with a fart joke.

  • I'm generally slow to notice things, so you may have already seen that there's a date for the release of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- April 29. I saw a trailer for it today and have to admit being somewhat concerned about the fact that Zaphod appears to only have one head. And everyone but Arthur appears to have an American accent. What's wrong with making a movie adhere to the book? Why is that so wrong?

  • I will not rest until Peter Jackson offers a sweeping vision of Encyclopedia Brown.

  • Another thing I hadn't noticed until recently is that Major League Soccer appears to have undergone a few changes since I last bothered to pay attention.
    For one thing, Guadalajara's Chivas club has some sort of an MLS expansion team that plays in Southern California. This makes no sense to me, but it's interesting to note that there are now two MLS teams in the Los Angeles area and no NFL teams.
    Dallas has dropped its utterly lame name, The Burn, for the more European-sounding "FC Dallas."
    Salt Lake City has a team now. It, too, has attempted to go all Euro-stylee in its name, but with less success. Soccer in Utah is a very interesting venture. The old-guard Mormons like, well, all of my in-laws, probably wouldn't watch it if you gave them free tickets.
    Cripes. Can you believe the league is now 10 years old? According to a press release, the league is hoping to add two more teams for the 2006 season. "Conversations continue with several communities, including but not limited to Seattle, Cleveland, San Antonio, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Portland, Phoenix and Minneapolis."
    Columbus still has the best logo.

  • There's an old man who likes to walk around my neighborhood in the mornings carrying a shillelagh. I have nothing more to say about that.

  • My coworkers and I have added another phrase to our lexicon: Backdoor Santa. It sounds like some sort of incredibly rude sex act.
    Add this to what we previously came up with (fourth item down), and we were able to come up with this: "I thought he was a blue snack...until he gave me a backdoor Santa in my Diane Feinstein."

  • As always, I remain your primary source for news about bathtub cheese.

    *"I've been dancing to music that I can't stand.
    I've been reciting commercials to my girlfriends.
    I've been trying to convince myself that what I really need is a sun bed and a mortgage and some hairspray, the kind of hairspray that will wash my grey blues away.
    I've been trying to convince myself that I could ease my conscience if I gave a few pence, or a few cents to a starving baby in Africa, because African babies need my favours, because Africa is full of dictators, and, oh, yeah, globalisation will bring salvation.
    I've been listening to the wrong radio station."
  • Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    The few and the non-asthmatic


    Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to join the Marine Corps? I swear I have but can't find it in my archives. It was a warm spring day -- probably a week or so after my 18th birthday -- and rather than fighting my pickup's increasingly dodgy transmission I walked down to the Marine Corps recruiting center at Valley West Shopping Center, about half a mile from my house.

    "I'd like to be a Marine" I said.

    The recruiter nearly fell over his desk in getting up. It had apparently been a slow year. He shook my hand and had me sit down.

    "First thing you need to do is fill out this application," he said. "Oh, hell, I'll help you fill it out. What's your name?"

    And we went through all the particulars -- the paper version of being "injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected," like in "Alice's Restaurant." Unlike Arlo Guthrie, however, my application was not dismissed due to a littering conviction, nor was there any trouble with the drug question.

    "Ever done drugs?" the recruiter asked.

    "Nope."

    "Are you sure?"

    "Yeah."

    "Really? Not even a little joint?"

    "Really. Nothing."

    "Because that won't automatically disqualify you, you know. Everybody's tried pot. That's alright. I'm just asking. We can get around it, but I'd just need to know."

    "Really. I smoked a cigar last week and it made me sick."

    And on we went answering more and more questions until we got to...

    "Ever been hospitalized?" the recruiter asked.

    "Sure."

    "What, for tonsils, or something like that?"

    "Yeah. And asthma."

    The recruiter froze; wrinkled his face. In hindsight, I now recognize this as the look of a man waging a fierce internal moral war -- whether to follow-up on the question. Without moving any part of his body or changing the look on his face, he raised an eyebrow at me.

    "Asthma?"

    "Yeah."

    "When were you last hospitalized for asthma?"

    "Last year -- when I was 17."

    "Shit," he said, crumpling up the paper work and falling back in his chair. "Can't do anything with you. Go talk to the Coast Guard or something. Maybe they'll take you. Feel free to take some of those pencils and give 'em to your friends -- your friends who aren't asthmatics."

    Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    I love you, so I didn't buy you anything

  • Of course I am a Top Husband©, so for Valentine's Day I gave my wife a gratuitously large and expensive box of chocolate-type things. But if I hadn't, I would have a good excuse.
    My editor, Adam (who is a huge UT fan, by the way), sent me a story today about a divorce kit for men that encourages would-be divorcees to throw their wives off the trail by being incredibly nice to them.
    "The only way to get out this is if I make her believe that I love her," says a man on the five-CD divorce package.
    Evil? You bet. But the upside is that I no longer need to buy gifts for my wife. If she complains that I don't ever bring her flowers, I can simply point out that it means I'm not planning a divorce.

  • The American Consumer Satisfaction Index for Q4 2004 was released today. It's a measure of how Americans feel about the quality of the corporate machine we are giving our souls to. Overall, it appears our satisfaction has dropped, which means that we can expect loads of commercials cheekily identifying exactly what is wrong with the consumer experience. The spin here in the Global Media Conspiracy is that it could be an indicator of a weakening economy. As we all know, Bill Clinton is to blame for that -- he's to blame for everything. It was a given that he'd get the job as U.N. point man for tsunami relief; he caused the damn thing in the first place through his infidelity and socialist leanings. God hates that man and the rest of us have to suffer The Lord Our God's wrath as a bi-product.
    Anyway, here's a look how specific services performed.

  • North Dakota has the highest binge drinking rate in the country. Having lived there, this makes perfect sense to me.

  • Although, I'll bet Wisconsin comes in pretty high on that binge drinking list (and check out the talent at the upper right of the page -- it looks like the cast of a porn film).

  • Good name for a band: sex potato.

  • This post from Crystal made me laugh until I had to pee.
  • Monday, February 14, 2005

    Thank you, Corporate America, for preserving the integrity of this great nation

  • How great is it to be Kanye West? He performs a song at the Grammys that has massive popular appeal and still gets to wear the "controversial" label. Brilliant.
    It reminds me of the theory I developed years ago when Coca-Cola introduced OK Soda: America will never again face the threat of revolution because corporate America is too quick to absorb anomaly. Every difference of opinion is absorbed into the status quo, its blow softened by the aims of capitalism. Current white-collar working conditions take away every bit of a man's life in soul-wrenching fashion. But instead of legislation or unions we get cheeky Burger King ads pointing out how much it all sucks and somehow the argument to be treated properly is lost. A rabble-rouser can't stand on a podium and demand that his group's voice be heard. Those voices are being heard -- and ignored. One imagines the masses gathered outside the gates of Cuyahoga Bridge and Iron Co., staunchly issuing their complaints and then the voice of Daniel McCone echoing down from the bell tower: "Yes, those are all really valid points. All of you are exactly right. This is indeed an awful system. Anyway, we've got cake inside if anyone wants some -- it's Alexander's birthday. You will need to eat at your work stations, though. Good work everybody."
    The other day, I heard the hosts of my dad's favorite morning radio program bigging up (big upping? Up bigging?) Bright Eyes. This morning, I saw an ad for Green Day's album -- sandwiched between ads for prescription drugs -- during ABC's "Good Morning America."
    Obviously I'm being paranoid. I'd probably feel better if I had a burrito from Chipotle. Delicious, delicious Chipotle. Everything is better with Chipotle.

  • A coworker of mine was feeling ill today, so I found this list of synonyms for vomiting just for her. I like "to do supermodel push-ups."
    My coworker went home about 30 minutes later.

  • If the only thing I knew about my life is that at one point it had involved being tossed from a moving car, perhaps I would be thankful for the amnesia. You know, just cut your losses and move on.

  • Man, nothing spoils one's Valentine's Day mood more than getting shot during the act of love-making.

  • Man, the dogs pictured in this story are never going to catch a hare that way.

  • Wow, how tasteful: "When you first step inside, you receive a replica of the Titanic's boarding pass that bears the name of an actual passenger. At the end your tour of the exhibit, you find out whether the passenger survived."
  • Sunday, February 13, 2005

    Hanging out at Friday's

  • I went to lunch Friday with my brother, who told me a story from the day before when he and his best friend, Tony, had been sitting around drinking at TGI Friday's (it's an exciting life they lead down there in Burnsville).
    Somewhere along the way, one of Tony's friends called and said he might "drop in for one." About 30 minutes later, a large man walks into the bar and comes up behind Jon and Tony. Jon notices the guy out of the corner of his eye, but doesn't pay any attention to the guy until he notices that the he is standing about six inches from Tony's right ear. Jon makes eye contact with Tony to alert him to the man who's breathing down his neck, but Tony (remember, this is the bloke who tried to pick a fight with Kevin Williams) decides to ignore the guy. This goes on for about 30 seconds, with Jon trying to play along, when all of a sudden the guy spins Tony and screams in his face: "QUIT FUCKING MY WIFE!!!"
    Then he turns and walks out.
    It had been Tony's friend.
    That's funny, man. I don't care where you're from, that's just funny.

  • This is a day late, but: Hooray!
  • Friday, February 11, 2005

    Phil's coming back

  • Oh, well. That's good to know. If anyone needs me, I'll be banging my head against a wall.

  • It looks as if Blogger has updated its commenting feature. That's long overdue. Do you think I should set my blog to have the comments pop up in another window? I'm inclined to say no.
    Now they need to fix it so that my profile stops insisting that my most recent post was in November, and add Welsh to the languages in which the date is displayed. Catalan comes before Cymraeg? How is that fair?

  • Hey, Phil's coming back. Of course, over here in the year 2000, he's yet to leave. Last night's episodes saw the departure of Nicki, Rosa, Gianni, and Teresa, as well as Jeff.
    I don't really give a damn about it (I'm lying, but trying to salvage my manhood). I think it's cute that my wife has become addicted to EastEnders. I honestly think that it is in part because I have informed her that I want to move back to Britain someday -- I think she's trying to train her ear to the accent. This training will likely do her no good, as we probably won't be living in Cockney London.
  • Thursday, February 10, 2005

    It's like a fairy tale!

  • A fairy tale that involves the tragic death of a mildly insane anorexic; as all good fairy tales should, I suppose.

    Some of the peons (we are all peons, by the way) in my little wing of the Global Media Conspiracy had a long and totally unnecessary discussion, rooted in Ugly American ignorance, that centered on the question of whether Camilla should be queen. It went in pointless directions and was never properly resolved but the end result was that I growled, very loudly: "Don't try to fucking out-British me!"
    I know everything about Charles and Camilla, dude. Interesting fact -- Camilla's great-grandmother had an affair with Edward VII. Camilla reportedly once joked to Charles: "My great-grandmother was your great-great-grandfather's mistress, so how about it?"
    Come on, how can you not appreciate a woman like that? Sure, they're both socially awkward and generally unpleasant on the eyes, but how can you really be against their marriage? Get me drunk sometime and I'll give you my long and tedious explanation of why I think the British royal family is still relevant.

  • As soon as I figure out when Whorehouse Days actually takes place, I am taking a road trip!

  • I am very upset that my friends and I never came up with this idea.
  • Julie loves a kinder

  • This will be of interest only to Esther, but I learned yesterday that Julie of "Julie Loves a Blender" fame has a kid. She and husband and kid are living in "a cozy cape cod style home in north fargo."
    Julie and her husband share an e-mail address. Why do people do this? E-mail addresses are free. I still have six Gmail invites -- perhaps I will offer her one.

  • How to learn a language. Obviously, I suggest you learn this one.

  • This is my new favorite phrase: "To give a hot poultice for the Irish toothache." And this is my new favorite website.

  • Big gay airplane. That almost makes me want to fly somewhere.

  • "Like I was to blame, I'm worthless, a no-good mom or something" -- That's because you were, you are; you are. Nice hair, by the way.

  • On average, one person is murdered every day in Tijuana, Mexico. Call your tourist agent today. While you're there, be sure to purchase a leather hat.

  • Of course you're going to kill yourself when the police show up at your door -- that's a given. But you have to admire the ingenuity of this guy.

  • "Clement suffered slight burns to his mouth.." What?! I'm not even going to try to guess how that happened.

  • I think we all knew this guy in college (some of us were that guy).
  • Wednesday, February 9, 2005

    Happy birthday William Henry Harrison

    They're rocking out in Norway...



    Democrats everywhere are putting on their best suits...



    OK, well, best "dress casual"...



    OK, well maybe not their best...



    And somebody somewhere is warming up a chess board.



    It's William Henry Harrison's birthday!

    Happy birthday -- from your stalkingest fan.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2005

    Love And Welsh Hip-Hop

    My latest column is out, complete with a relatively obscure reference to MC Sleifar. When I was talking to my wife, I was actually talking about Pep Le Pew, but I was pretty sure that non-Welsh readers would think I was talking about a cartoon character.

    Beardy me

  • I learned something new today. According to my co-worker, the word "mayday" is simply a bastardization of the French phrase "me aidez," meaning, "help me."
    You're smart, so you probably already knew this. But I thought it was cool.

  • Lately I've been growing out my hair and added a beard, giving me a slight Badly Drawn Boy look. But last night, I got out of the shower and pushed my hair back, just to get it out of my face, and I looked like Steve Reeves (shout out to MST3K fans). I came very close to just shaving my head.

  • Esther's most recent post is easily one of the best she's written. That makes it sound as if I am reading her blog with a critical eye -- evaluating the quality of her writing and occasionally clicking my tongue in unison with the city fathers and debating whether she has become too commercial. That's silly. Her deal with T-Mobile made perfect sense.

  • Blatantly obvious statement of the week: "the man... should not have been drinking."
    But, you know, considering that he can no longer breed; it's probably for the best.

  • Hobbit celebrates record-breaking sailing accomplishment.
  • They make FOOD, for Pete's sake


    You get the sense that farmers all across America are just kicking themselves right now.

    Monday, February 7, 2005

    Gruesome death sells

  • Has anyone in Philadelphia ever heard of a no-huddle offense? Usually, that's what you would use to eliminate a 10-point deficit when there's only 4:30 in the game. Andy Reid may want to work on that for next year -- assuming he doesn't lose his job for failing to use it.

    There's not much to say about the game beyond that. It was a defensive game for three quarters and then the Eagles decided that they no longer wanted to be there. Perhaps they were sleepy, because the Super Bowl takes a one-hour game and stretches it over four hours.

    The director of Fox's coverage was a total failure. He/she consistently failed to show replays of key plays, choosing instead to confuse viewers with unnecessary camera angles -- a trainer's ass; a center's knee. Beyond that, they kept forgetting to key in which down it was. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but in a game that's deliberately being dragged out, one actually lost track of where the game was. My friend, Bryce, said "What down is it?" almost as many times as I shouted "Go out wide" whilst watching Saturday's Wales-England match.

    The commercials, which are increasingly the only reasons that many people sit through the game, were substandard despite the strangely dark themes. Across the entire experience we saw: death, pedophilia, incest, bestiality, homoeroticism, and parental neglect.

    We counted four deaths, the first being the frozen corpse of a guy in the ad for the new Ford Mustang convertible. Nothing sells cars like a tragic and painful death. Admittedly, we may have been a little biased on that one, because the theme was very much a rip-off of the movie "Fargo," which many of us in the upper Midwest didn't quite find to be as hilarious as everyone else did. We had the capacity to recognize it as a well-made film, we just didn't really like it all that much because of its familiarity. Yes, the people in the film were caricatures, but it's still difficult to watch the brutal killing of someone who reminds you of your best friend's mom.

    Man, I hate that movie. I will never buy a Ford Mustang.

    Two people died in a Bud Light commercial: the pilot who jumps out of a plane without a parachute while in pursuit of a six pack of beer, and, presumably, the first-time jumper who couldn't convince himself to jump. At the end of the commercial he stands nervously and alone in a pilotless plane. The logical assumption is that he goes down with the plane and dies a horrific and fiery death. And never mind the fact that it was utterly predictable, how it got picked as one of the best commercials, I do not know.

    The fourth death may have been only local -- as part of an anti-smoking campaign. A grandfather fades into nothingness as his grandchild walks toward him.

    The pedophilia showed up in an ad featuring a talking baby hanging out pool-side with a beautiful woman. I think it was a Quiznos ad.

    The incest came in a deodorant ad for "men who take risks." I can't remember the name of the deodorant. It features an action figure doll called Mama's Boy and, at one point, the full-grown mama's boy is pushed in a shopping cart by his mother who is very clearly repeatedly touching his genitals. OK, so it's doll incest.

    The bestiality came from another Bud Light commercial, in which cockatoo with a Columbian drug lord accent chases away a woman's potential suitors.

    Subway had the homoeroticism, featuring two men eating sandwiches in a car with steamy windows.

    And the parental neglect appeared in a Cadillac ad that featured a father who was perfectly OK with his teenage daughter running away and marrying her boyfriend, as long as they didn't take his car. A previous Cadillac ad, in comparing the car to a bullet, seemed to encourage reckless use of firearms.

    Then there was the all-around failure that was the ad from GoDaddy.com.
    "Is there really such a demand to register domain names that it's worth it to do a Super Bowl ad?" asked Bryce. "Quick. Let's check to see if anyone's taken ArmyOfRobots.com. That would be cool."

    Fortunately, Paul McCartney upheld the standard of decency. Sure, he sung a song about a drug user and a transvestite, but in the song he encouraged them to "get back." Telling them that they need to return to family values and repress their sinful urges. Did you like the fact that everyone in the "crowd" around the stage was wearing a 50s-style sweater and collared shirt? It's as if this year's half-time show was put together by Mormons.

    "I'm offended that I'm not offended," said Bryce's wife.

    By default, of course, my favorite ad was the one that featured Gladys Knight playing rugby for England. I also liked the Fed-Ex ad featuring Burt Reynolds receiving a groin kick from a grizzly bear, because, as my co-worker pointed out, "a groin kick is always funny."

  • I had a dream last night that Fox was introducing a reality show that involved Sting dressing up as an old man and picking fights with people on the street.

  • I knew heads would roll over the miserable state of the pitch in Saturday's rugby match. It was tearing up worse than the totally untended pitches we play on in the United States.

  • Terror reigns in Colorado as cookie-wielding little girls are being allowed to roam free. And the Department of Homeland Security does nothing.

  • I think from now on, I should write everything in old-style Metallica font.

  • Birmingham, Ala., Billings, Mont., Bogalusa, La., Minot, N.D., and Miami, Fla., all claim to be "The Magic City." Surely there can be only one. Perhaps there is only one, but it appears to be in so many places at once because it's, you know, magic.
  • Saturday, February 5, 2005

    Elvin Tibideaux, where are you?

  • Who was your favorite character in "The Cosby Show?" Mine was Russell Huxtable, Cliff's dad. I liked him if not simply because he played the trombone (he didn't really and Earle Hyman's attempts to mimic trombone playing was downright embarrassing, but hey, it's the thought that counts).
    A close second was Elvin. He's a bit of a personal failure with a hot wife; I can relate to that. Perhaps, so many years ago, I just sensed the direction my life would take.

  • It's sweeps time for those of us in the American division of the Global Media Conspiracy. That means that television stations are racking their brains trying to think of boneheaded ways to get you to watch. The most popular sweeps stories at the moment are about identity theft and (still) spy ware.
    Today my co-workers and I were sitting around thinking of less likely stories that stations could run. My personal favorite was based on the fact that at least once a week, some bloke is arrested in Ohio after thinking he was meeting a 14-year-old girl.
    Here's the tease: "You've finally found love on the Internet, but it could be a trap set up and paid for by your tax dollars. Find out why looking for love could put you in all the wrong places, tonight at 11."

  • My dad's home town made the news.

  • Good name for a band: Slain.
  • Thursday, February 3, 2005

    Livin'

  • Wisconsin's new tourism slogan is "Life's So Good." What?
    Is Wisconsin such a crap state that they have decided to simply make blanket statements that don't actually have anything to do with Wisconsin? Sun Shines During Day. Shoes Go On Feet. Fire Bad.
    Indeed, life is good -- far better than death. You put livin' and dyin' in a fair race and livin' always comes out ahead.
    Perhaps they mean Life the cereal. It is so good. Especially Cinnamon Life. Mikey likes it. Perhaps he would like Wisconsin, too.
    Or The Game of Life by Hasbro. It's better than Monopoly and not as infuriating as Clue.
    Or, it could be a slogan promoting the fact that Wisconsin does not have the death penalty. "If you're planning on doing any raping and killing, do it in Wisconsin. Life's so good."

  • Beth appears to have a feature called "White Trash Wednesdays." But how white trash is it to put things off for a day? For lunch today I walked down to SuperAmerica -- wearing a sweater I've owned for 14 years -- and bought two Polish hot dogs, a bag of Old Dutch potato chips and a 22-ounce (the smallest size) Cherry Coke... and a PowerBall ticket. Sweet. The Texas roots were showin' today, boy. If I had really been thinkin' I would have bought a pack of Marlboro Light 100s and replaced the Cheery Coke with a 40 of malt liquor.

  • Good name for a band: Basket Full Of Butterflies

  • Ugh. Stop it with the Doves. It's like the Cure, it's like Morrissey, it's like Morrissey and the Cure. I can't think of a way to make a band worse.

  • "Over-sell" is a term from pro wrestling slang that means a wrestler is trying too hard, thus making a fool of himself. I'm inclined to believe that the Coast Guard is over-selling its attempts to protect us from The Terrorists®. Honestly. Underwater terrorist demolition teams? Yeesh.

  • Weapon of choice: bird feeder.

  • As a resident of St. Paul, I would like my city to secede. Preferably to someplace good -- not just a neighboring state, or Canada. I wonder if Ireland would be interested in a colony? Spain?
  • Wednesday, February 2, 2005

    Sucks for you. Can I have your TV?

  • The other day I mentioned in a comment on Meaghan's blog that despite being a married adult-type person for almost six years, I still do not own a proper television.
    That may soon change.
    Several months ago, my brother's wife had an affair, thus driving a stake into their then 4-month-old marriage. Fast forward several unpleasant months and my brother has now moved into an apartment with his alcoholic best friend who once tried to pick a fight with Kevin Williams.
    Despite working for the Tile Shop (if you're doing any remodeling in your home, I can get you a great deal) his friend draws interior decorating inspiration from bars, filling his home with televisions.
    "We've got four 19-inch TVs and a 55-inch in the living room," my brother said.
    He's also got a 32-inch TV in his bedroom, ditto for his friend. As a result, my brother has a spare 27-inch TV that he said he'll give me.
    "I don't really want it, but she's taking the stereo; I gotta take something," he said
    And they say nothing good comes of infidelity. I get a free TV!

  • What could be more fun than calculating your risk for disease?

  • Washington, D.C. -- Now with fewer juvenile deaths! Is there any other developed country whose capitol is as much a dump as ours?

  • Best. Police. Sketch. Ever. Apparently there is a killer Muppet on the loose.

  • DEAR GOD, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! HEAD FOR THE HILLS! AHHHHH!
    Uhm. Oh. Wait. Never mind. We now return you to "Oprah," already in progress.

  • OH CRAP. FOR REAL THIS TIME! EVERYONE OUT OF THE HOTEL! SHUT DOWN THE STREET WE'RE ALL GONNA...
    What? Oh. Mmm. Curiously strong.

  • This threat, however, appears to be all too real.
  • Generation gap

  • I don't think I've ever mentioned that my benevolent employer is also my father's benevolent employer -- a situation that creates undue stress for me when I think about the financial strength of my benevolent employer. Usually I wouldn't care about such things; I have the sort of personality that will keep me relegated to the bottom tier of any employment structure. So, the success or, lack thereof, of any given employer don't confront me, long as I get my money. But when they also sign the paychecks of my dad, the guy I would ask to bail me out if my employer went under, it makes me nervous.
    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, I see my dad every damn day -- but one plus is the fact that I haven't had to buy a new car. My daddy takes me to school work.
    Today as we were crossing the moat to reach the fortressed gates of our benevolent employer's headquarters, we had one of those moments that show the separation in thought between my father and me. Behind us was a short bloke who was keen to demonstrate how much more important he was than us by muscling up behind us with that stereotypical "I'm more important than you, so I walk fast" gait.
    My natural inclination was to slow down and try to occupy more space, thus forcing Self-Important Bloke to either calm down or make a boob of himself in squeezing past. My father, on the other hand, stepped aside and opened a door for him.
    "Go ahead," my father said, full of charm.
    This behavior is at the heart of why my dad has never been fired and I have to rely on him for transportation.

  • Despite my poor attitude toward my role in the Global Media Conspiracy, I stay in The Business for the sake of being able to occasionally write headlines like: "Millionaire Stepson Hires Transsexual Trucker To Kill Mom."
    Besides. There are worse jobs out there.
  • Tuesday, February 1, 2005

    Dancing The Polka With Miss El Cajon: The Soundtrack

    If this isn't already a meme, it is now. On Kari's blog she's listed the songs that would be featured on the soundtrack of her life, if her life were a film. So I'm stealing that idea and running with it.
    Here are 15 tracks that would be on my soundtrack. It is by no means all-inclusive and only covers my life to this point.
    1 - "An American Trilogy" -- Elvis Presley
    2 - "Blue Skies" -- Willie Nelson
    3 - "Texas Playboy Rag" -- Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys
    4 - "Helter Skelter" -- The Beatles
    5 - "You Didn't Need" -- Rollins Band
    6 - "Friday I'm In Love" -- The Cure
    7 - "Little Wing" -- Stevie Ray Vaughan
    8 - "Freebird" -- Lynyrd Skynyrd
    9 - "Have You Seen Her?" -- Chi-Lites
    10 - "Cold Beverage" -- G. Love and Special Sauce
    11 - "I Would Have Left You" -- Reef
    12 - "How'd We Get So Good At Sayin' Goodbye" -- AJ Croce
    13 - "Tupelo Honey" -- Van Morrison
    14 - "Oxygen" -- Willy Mason
    15 - "Beauties Can Die" -- M83