Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Actual conversation between my parents

MOM: "Yesterday was pie weather."
DAD: "But you said yesterday that it was chicken weather."
MOM: "Well, it was. For me. I don't usually think about pie. I'm not in a pie mindset. For people who aren't me it was pie weather."

You're welcome

  • To the future residents of 1967 Grand Ave., Apartment 203:
    The child bride and I spent most of Friday and Saturday painting and cleaning your apartment. That's an entire weekend lost to making someone else's home spotless. And it was a little heartbreaking to do so. Previous moves have always felt like a bit of a step up, but now we are living in my parents' house and I have no idea where we will be living in Cardiff. I'm still at a loss as to how exactly I am going to secure a residence without physically being in Wales. I sent e-mails to a number of estate agents Sunday but have yet to hear back. Perhaps we will just go there and live at the Cardiff central bus station. The toilets there are top notch.

  • Rey Mysterio won the Royal Rumble last night. The child bride and I went over to a friend of a friend's house to watch the pay-per-view. Pro wrestling is just better when watching it in a room full of people; it makes the shitty parts not hurt so much. And there were plenty shitty parts in last night's show -- most blatantly the entire match between Mickie James and Ashley.
    OK, ladies, I get it. You're pretty. You have enormous breasts.
    Normally that's enough to keep me interested, but not when they are trying to wrestle. Cripes it was awful, and it reminded me of why I tend to lose interest in following wrestling.
    The stuff that I have always loved is the surreal, like Hacksaw Jim Duggan's totally random appearance shortly after Edge lost his title.

  • It is now officially the year of the dog, but I'll probably still be writing "year of the cock" on my checks for the next month or so.

  • Some red dyes are made of insects.

  • Super Bowl ticket prices start at $2,225 for crap seats. Insert shaking-with-rage anti-NFL greed rant here.

  • This makes me hurt for all kinds of reasons.

  • Feb. 28 is free pancake day.
  • Friday, January 27, 2006

    Not one of my best

    Chevrolet has introduced its new Camaro (mispronounced today by a BBC reporter as the "kä-mä-rO"), which I like the look of and secretly want, despite the fact that its 6-liter engine would suck up petrol like a small country and it will almost certainly be a flashy piece of shit.
    Although, allegedly American cars are not as shitty as we believe them to be -- they're just not as good as we expect them to be.
    It's probably a sign of American automakers' demise that many of the cars introduced over the last few years and at this week's auto show -- including the Chrysler Imperial and the Dodge Challenger-- are designed to remind us of a time when American cars were not worthless pieces of crap.

  • Kobe Bryant did not actually score those 81 points in a single game. It was Chuck Norris in a Kobe Bryant costume.

  • Ooh, classy. I wonder if he does those in velvet.

  • You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never sign a legally-binding contract with Vince McMahon.

  • Random rude thing I wanted to say to a girl wandering the halls of my benevolent employer: "Honey, with your long red hair and Pippi Longstocking braids, you're pretty much ticking every box on my fetish list. Do you have a Catholic school girl outfit?"

  • Random EastEnders dialogue:
    GARRY: Why can't we all just be happy with what we've got?
    MINTY: Maybe because most of the time what we've got is rubbish.
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Every time you speak English God kills a kitten

  • I think it's pretty well-known that I love me some Welsh language, so criticizing any effort to get people to speak it feels a bit traitorous to me. But a sponge has got to be the most half-assed mascot ever. It makes you think that there is someone at the Welsh Language Board who was assigned to think up a new campaign and put it off until the last minute.
    "What have you got for us?"
    "Well, erm... shit... car keys. No, wait. A chair. Uh, the floor."
    "The floor?"
    "Did I say floor? I mean sponge. Yes, a sponge."
    I found the link via Dafydd, who has named the sponge Sioni and suggests that it may become the stuff of Internet legend.

  • My coworker returned from London today. It was his first time there, and this was his assessment: "It was really cool. It was a lot like Atlanta."
    His biggest complaint was that restaurants put lemons in the glass when serving cola.
    "I sent those back," he told me.
    "Ah. Well, then you probably got a chance to taste British urine," I said.

  • According to this tool, I don't look like any celebrities. None at all. That's depressing.

  • My Wikipedia article has been deleted. That's also depressing. I am unrecognizable and non-notable. Woe is me. Woe.

  • Up until 50 years ago, in Britain "heroin was legal and widely prescribed for common ailments such as coughs, colds and diarrhoea, as well as a pain killer."

  • I learned today that Cardiff has a sizeable Somali population, with its roots extending back to the 1880s. Coincidentally, the Twin Cities area has the second largest Somali population in the United States. The best part about this article is that I now know where I can find Somali food in Cardiff.
  • The hell?

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006


  • Today I came up with the fun game of using the suffix "-eezy" (easy) to give people half-assed nicknames: Jeneezy, Daveezy, etc.
    In some cases, I found it was better to just use the first letter of the person's name, as in Heezy, or add a consonant to create conjunctions, as with Chrisleezy. Or you can combine both variations: E-Teezy.

  • E-Teezy was interviewed by another blogger recently. As with anything written by E-Teezy, it makes me giggle.

  • It seems a given that this blogger will be handed a book deal in the near future.

  • The Cutest Niece in America's mother (of pink bodice fame) is having twins. Again. The Cutest Niece in America is a fraternal twin. She has another brother, as well. That makes a soon-to-be five-child household for my sister-in-law.
    In typical 7-year-old diva fashion, the Cutest Niece in America announced that if both her future youngest siblings are boys, "I'm going to kill myself."
    I told the child bride that we should just offer to take her along with us to Wales. We would raise her until she stopped being cute then give her back. When she becomes a doctor, we will again claim her as our own.

  • Oh, yeah! The good times are back in Canada. Finally our neighbor to the north can return to the world power status it held under Brian "The Exciter" Mulroney*. Say what you will about Mulroney, but he made it OK to love Canada again.

  • "If I see my dad dead, lying there on 'Law & Order,' he did it. He lived his dream."
    "Don't quit living your dream. Never stop."

  • Sven is out. Everything is going perfectly according to plan for Sir Clive.

    *I have a very weird thing in that I think it is hilarious to make obscure references Brian Mulroney. I also like to reference The Dread Pirate Chrétien and Rhodri "Yr Arth Wen" Morgan. Opportunities to use these names in jokes are rare.
  • Fitting Into The Basement Mold

    My latest column is out. Please help me stay more Google-popular than the New Zealand Chris Cope by forwarding the column to all friends, family and Cardiff estate agents.

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Your ass is mine, Ford

  • Ford Motor Co. expects to lay off upward of 25,000 people as part of a restructuring plan that it has named "The Way Forward." In 2001, I wrote and copyrighted a short story with that same title. I wonder if I can sue them for copyright infringement.
    My co-worker suggested that I sue for a car.
    "But not a Ford. They suck," he said.

  • St. Paul's Ford plant, at least, was spared in this round of layoffs.

  • I feel like I am missing something in my total lack of interest in playing poker. On Saturday I found myself sitting down to play a game of Texas Hold 'Em. I was playing with a group of guys who knew all sort of nonsense terminology for hands, like, "the river," so I accepted early on that I was going to lose. I debated coming up with my own bullshit terms -- "Oh, yeah, baby, I'm holdin' the Kuala Lumpur" -- but I worried it would be ill received. I have learned over the years that some guys completely lose their sense of humor when they are gambling. A fraternity brother once threw me into a wall when I jokingly drew myself an all-new hand whilst playing poker for beer.
    Even though I dramatically won my first hand, I was out of the game first -- having chosen to wager all my money on half-assed bluffs. Generally, if you are trying to run an effective bluff, you probably shouldn't announce: "I'm just trying to cash out so I can go in the other room and watch wrestling."
    So, I got a chance to watch an episode of Total Nonstop Action's "iMPACT!" (they write it that way). I am renaming it Total Male-Pattern Baldness Wrestling. Great googly moogly, was it ass.
    A few years ago, when the child bride and I went to a WWE house show, one of the things that mildly surprised me was how far off a number of the moves were. Some punches missed by more than a foot. On TV, it looks much closer -- the WWE has become pretty skilled in its use of editing and camera angles to make moves look more realistic. But TNA and its stock of wrestlers are still struggling with such intricacies. The only highlights came in seeing wrestlers I hadn't seen on TV in years. Most of the episode I found myself shouting, "Oh, dude! It's that guy. Whoa, that guy is still alive?

  • Good name for a band: Techno Wonderland

  • I love this toy, which allowed me to create this.
  • Saturday, January 21, 2006

    Bloomington Rock City

  • Those of you with keen observation skills may have noticed that the city in my profile has changed. As of Saturday, the child bride and I will no longer be of St. Paul -- we are moving to Bloomington, Minn., for the next several months in an effort to save money.
    Bloomington is a suburb of the Twin Cities, home to the Mall of America and Minnesota's only IKEA. It is where I went to high school (with Lindsay). We will be saving money there by moving into my parents' basement.
    That's right, I'm almost 30 years old and Rachel and I are moving in with my parents. My wife certainly pinned herself to a winner, huh?
    There is good reason for this. Our apartment management requires two months' notice, and with the child bride soon to be looking for work in Cardiff, we want to be able to go when she finds a job. Also, there's that whole thing of saving at least $1,000 (£565) a month by not paying rent, phone bills or power bills.
    But still. Living with my parents. That fact has punched a massive hole in my fragile, fragile ego. It is going to be a long few months.

  • On Friday, Crystal leveled the greatest insult one can use against a Texan -- challenging my Texanicity. She based this attack on my correct spelling of the word "y'all," claiming that the totally nonsensical "yall" is correct.
    Not wanting to insult her clear and woeful lack of education*, I explained it away by pointing out that I am more of a city-boy Texan -- I was raised mostly in Dallas and Houston. That cosmopolitan upbringing means I know how to speak English. Also, I went to Spring Branch schools, which are among the best in the country. While Crystal was still learning how to wipe her ass without getting her hands dirty, I was memorizing the capital cities of Africa.

  • I think Osama bin Laden should recommend more books to the American public: "Allah willing, you will read 'Love Smart' by Dr. Phil McGraw."

  • I checked today to see whether my Wikipedia entry was still there -- I won't bother linking to it because it's set to be deleted -- and it was. Someone had added this: "Chris has also been romantically linked with several British actresses including Keira Knightley and Lisa off of Hollyoaks." Brilliant.

  • OK, so Wikipedia won't allow me to create an entry on myself, but you can't be too upset at the Wikicollective, because it offers a list of pro wrestling holds.

  • My favorite phrase of the moment is "sex pest." I have been working into conversation all day.

  • It's that time of year again -- time for me to guess the people who will meet their end in 2006. Most of the people on my list are leftover from last year, though, so I likely won't be winning any fabulous cash and/or prizes this time around, either. Here's my list:
    Bin Laden, Osama
    Bolea, Terry (Hulk Hogan)
    Bush, George H. W.
    Calaway, Mark (Undertaker)
    Carter, Jimmy
    Castro, Fidel
    Coleman, Eldridge Wayne (Superstar Billy Graham)
    Douglas, Kirk
    Fliehr, Richard Morgan (Ric Flair)
    Ford, Gerald
    Graham, Billy
    Hart, Bret
    Heenan, Raymond Louis (Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)
    Hinkley, Gordon B.
    Pope Benedict XVI
    Queen Elizabeth II
    Sharon, Ariel
    Vonnegut, Kurt
    Wallace, Mike
    Yeltsin, Boris

    *If you're new to this blog, you might think I am being serious in insulting Crystal -- I'm not. Although, I should point out that I am not so cruel as to question how Texan she is.
  • Thursday, January 19, 2006


  • According to sleep-deprivation.com, "Without adequate rest, the brain's ability to function quickly deteriorates."
    After reading that, I spent five minutes trying to determine whether that sentence means that sleep deprivation deteriorates the brain's ability to function quickly, or brain function deteriorates quickly. Suffice to say, I am exhausted, y'all.
    I feel like I'm speeding down a hill in a shopping cart and I have one eye shut. I'm not even sure what that means.

  • "Skating With Celebrities" is my new favorite TV show. Did you see this thing on Wednesday night? It is so bad that, through complicated quantum physics that my exhausted brain cannot presently comprehend, it is brilliant.
    Todd Bridges on ice. Just that phrase is funny. Throw in wee fat-faced Scott Hamilton, cheesy music, the obligatory "American Idol"-style judging panel and a host of celebrities who left my wife asking, "Who?" with each introduction, and you've got yourself a bit of television gold, kids.
    I can't decide which is more funny-pathetic: defining Bruce Jenner as a celebrity, or Jillian Barberie taking herself so seriously. Jillian, honey, look down. Those massive things on your chest are the reason you're on TV; you have no other qualities.

  • Back in October, I had a conversation with Bonheddwr* Phin about the phenomenon that is Wikipedia.
    "I wonder what's to stop you from creating Wikipedia entries about yourself," I said.
    "Humility," he said.
    Well, I've got none of that.
    As it turns out, the thing that prevents you from creating self-focused entries is the community of Wikigeeks that was on my article within minutes.
    "Nonnotable blogger," wrote one of the administrators.

  • Affair? I have no idea what you are talking about. Personally, I think we've got bigger things to worry about-- out parrot is gay and having a relationship with someone named Gary.
    (Link sent by Welsh Heat)

  • This link was also sent by Welsh Heat, and reminds me of a relationship I once had -- extremely tenuous.
    "Gee, honey, things are OK right now. But I'm just thinking that at any moment it could go horribly wrong."

  • Good name for a band: The Slut Horses

    *It's Welsh for "mister."
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    You're the pride of all of us today

  • I received my confirmation letter from UCAS today. This is the letter that effectively serves as my UK visa, so I'm in a bit of a panic over the possibility of losing it some time over the next six months. But it is yet another bit of tangible proof that I really am going to Wales. I have some friends who remain skeptical as to the veracity of this whole thing.

    Copes!There are Copes in North Wales! Admittedly, according to a family surnames search, there aren't a whole hell of a lot, but there are some. The majority of people sharing my name -- 98.66 percent of them -- are English, and most of them are living in the West Midlands (that's the West Midlands, right? My UK geography is pretty shit). You are most likely to find my peoples in Stoke-On-Trent, according to the surname tool. Wikipedia lists ceramic artist Leslie Cope as a famous person from Stoke.

  • I think I've found a place for the infamous Welsh Heat to practice his skills.

  • I put a link to Hard As Chuck here Tuesday, but I spotted today that I had been out-Chuck Norrised by Sarah several days ago: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool Chuck Norris once and he will fuck you up."
  • Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Risking God's wrath

  • I almost killed Koss last night. She stepped into the road as my piece-of-shit car was still sliding to a stop. I suppose, though, that as a member of God's Chosen People, she can feel a little more confident in crossing the street on snowy evenings.

  • As a member of the gay-loving liberal socialist conspiracy, I'm suffering a twinge of guilt over this, but I have absolutely no desire to see "Brokeback Mountain." None whatsoever.
    I take solace in the fact that I don't want to see it because it's proclaimed to be a tearjerker. I hate tearjerker movies. No, I despise tearjerker movies. I wouldn't watch a heterosexual tearjerker. I wouldn't watch an all-nude lesbian tearjerker in which they act out fantasies of having sex with me. Tearjerker movies make me angry, because I walk out of the theatre feeling that I have been manipulated.
    I want to start a fight with the director: "Dude, you just spent two-plus hours fucking with me. What was the point of that? I'm going to kick your ass."
    But I'll admit that there is also a part of me that doesn't want to see it because I'm just not buying the gay cowboy thing. If I'm going to actually like a movie, there is going to be a character in it that I sort of want to put myself in the place of (this is probably at the heart of why I don't like a whole hell of a lot of movies).
    Cripes, I just read the spoiler for this movie. Fuck, that's depressing. I am never watching that. Ever.*
    Why is it that every film set in the Midwest or West (excluding Chicago, California and Seattle) is so depressing? Life is not always that bleak out here, yo. I challenge Hollywood to set a cheery romantic comedy in Dickinson, N.D.

  • If you could be any character from TV or film, who would you be? Off the top of my head, I would be Dr. Perry Cox, from "Scrubs." He gets the hot wife and is mean to everyone. I am always trying to work up the balls to refer to guys I know by women's names.

  • Chuck Norris doesn't sleep, he waits.

  • Heavy traffic has been killing this website all day, so I don't know if it will trace my surname, but it sounds really cool.

    *Although, you have to give it credit for having a title that offers multiple porn spin-offs -- Brokeback Mountin' and Bareback Mountin'.
  • Am I the only one seeing this?

    Is it just me, or does Huw look just a wee bit like recently deceased WWE wrestler Eddie Guerrero?

    Huw's nickname henceforth shall be Welsh Heat.

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Crazy mother-in-law

  • Today I received an e-mail from someone who shut down their blog a few weeks ago, explaining that they had done so because their mother-in-law was pitching a fit over it.
    The hell?
    Since I wasn't expressly given permission to blog about it, I'll stay vague, but my memory boils down* this person's blog into:
    "Here's me hanging on my husband. Here's me cooing over him. Here are pictures of ultra-sexy me and my ultra-sexy friends. Here's a story about those ultra-sexy people drinking fancy drinks."
    Not exactly inflammatory stuff, yet her in-law "decided to insult and attack me, based on some of the things I’ve written." And the blog was axed.
    I don't really have any sort of intelligent commentary on her situation, except along the lines of, Dude, that's crazy. I know that loads of people have deleted their blogs in the panic of some sort of real-world repercussion, but I can't think of anyone else that has actually had something like that happen.

  • This is perhaps a bit too obscure for those who didn't spend hour after hour playing Nintendo's "Punch Out," but this amuses the hell out of me.

  • I'm not really seeing the resemblance.

  • Good name for a band: The Quartormemes

  • I learned an interesting fact today: The line, "They drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola," in the Kinks' "Lola" is there because of the BBC. Originally, the line was "Coca-Cola," but the BBC didn't want to be seen as advertising a specific product. Make of that what you will.

  • Generally, Gordon, if you want to make an argument in support of something, you shouldn't use the United States as an example.
    "We don't have rabid, ridiculous displays of patriotism like the Americans."
    "Yes. And?"

  • Right, because Kentucky should base its policy on the opinion of some Canadian big-breasted herpes-infected whore.

  • Spot the problem here: "The grandmother, Heather Thomas, 38..."

    *I hope that doesn't sound insulting. If you reduced my blog, it would probably be: "Here's a link to the BBC. Here's a picture of me drinking. Here's a story about my wife. Here's me being gleeful at the fact you are reading this crap."
  • Here's the game, fellas

    "Hi, I'm Jerome Bettis. I've fumbled twice in my career, but, here, Indianapolis Colts, you take the ball from me and run it halfway across the field. There you go, the game is yours. You're welcome. What? Oh, I see. You still don't want to win? Are you sure? You're not even going to try? Well, if you insist on DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING after I've handed you the game, I guess there's nothing I can do."

    I do not remember ever being so angry after a football game as I was yesterday. Despite some miserable officiating, the Colts lost and deserved to lose based on their play.

    I had made the mistake of thinking they would win. If it had been the Vikings, I would have expected the best quarterback in the NFL to struggle to get first downs throughout the game. But for some stupid reason, I ignored the Colts' playoff history and thought Peyton Manning would coast through all this and win himself a Super Bowl.

    I want back the four hours of my life spent watching you suck, Manning. Give me back my Sunday.

    I'm happy Grizzly Jake Plummer and the Broncos were able to defeat New England -- the genital warts of the NFL -- but I'm going to try not to watch next week's game. I may try to give up on the NFL for the sake of my health.

    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    Goddamn the Colts

    What the hell? There is still a quarter left in this game, but I can't take it anymore. Stupid Peyton Manning.

    Railroad tracks and coffee cups

    me really close
    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    If I had a folk album, this picture would almost certainly be on the cover.

    I was trying to take a close-up-type picture but they all came out looking as if I take myself really seriously.

    If this picture were on an album cover, what would you name the album? I was thinking it might be something pretentiously understated, like "15 Songs."

    Friday, January 13, 2006


  • Remember when you were younger and Friday the 13th had some tinge of stupid excitement attached to it? I remember being immersed in a feeling of know-it-all-induced drunkenness in the halls of Olson Junior High School*, with each of us shouting the obvious at one another in conspiratorial tones.
    "You know what today is, don't you?"
    "I know what today is."
    "You know what that means!"
    Actually, we didn't know what it meant, and it meant nothing. But we bounced around in the perception that it was somehow different from all other days, as if we were living on the edge simply by showing up for school.
    I was thinking about that this morning. The only significance Friday the 13th has for me now is that it is three days from pay day.

  • "Right now I'm going on about 1,000 milligrams of carisporadol, 1,000 milligrams of Vicodin, 1,600 milligrams of ibuprofen, and about 750 milliliters of sake." -- that's a classic quote from Landeros.
    Landeros (the efficient and level-headed producer mentioned in this story) called me last night amid a sort of "crisis of faith" (referencing job No. 13 -- the day after I walked out, the executive producer of the morning show turned to Landeros and said, "I understand your friend has suffered a crisis of faith"). He had cleaned out his desk at work that morning and had not yet decided whether he would be showing up the next day. After a long conversation about life and the soul-wearying nature of the news business, Landeros was able to solidify his sense that it's time to move on from this career. Now all he has to do is start his life over.
    Landeros is a master bull-shitter and he chose to lay it on thick in thanking me for serving as a sounding board.
    "Cope, I cannot think of one other person on this earth whom I could have called who could have helped me through all this," he gushed.
    "Landeros, I've told you to quit your job and walk away from you career."
    "I know, man, and I cannot thank you enough."
    "OK. But you're not sleeping on our couch."
    The residual effect of this conversation is that I had a lot of trouble getting out of bed this morning. Six months seems like a long time from that perspective.
    From the perspective of needing to save money, secure student loans, improve the quality of my Welsh, move my belongings across an ocean and find a place to live in Cardiff, however, it is not nearly enough time.

  • If you're interested, here's the wee bio I had to come up with last night. I still may use Goo's suggestion of describing myself as "delicious and nutritional."
    Chris Cope, once described as "the funniest person I know" by a high school friend, is a humor columnist for the Internet Broadcasting network -- a collection of more than 70 news websites in cities across the United States, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He is the recipient of several writing awards, most notably an entire bag of candy won for a poem written in 10th-grade English.
    Chris is a fluent speaker of Welsh -- also known as Cymraeg -- the native language of Wales. Chris is a sort of living party trick there because his Welsh is completely self-taught and he has no previous connection to the country. He has gained a degree of popularity through his Welsh-language blog "Dim Braidd Yn Diddorol, Ond Golygus" (Not Terribly Interesting, But Handsome). He has been mentioned in several Welsh-language publications and has been interviewed by the BBC on a number of occasions. There is even talk of a documentary. In July, he will be moving to Wales to further study the language at Cardiff University.
    Chris enjoys drinking beer and talking absolute nonsense for really long periods of time. He vindicates these activities by running and playing rugby. He is presently training to take part in the Cardiff marathon.
    Chris is wholly undeserving of his beautiful and long-suffering wife, Rachel, to whom he has been married since 1999. He also maintains an English-language blog: http://chriscope.blogspot.com/

    *Ridiculously tedious fact: Olson's school mascot was Loki, the Norse god of mischief. Loki's gate-crashing a dinner at Valhalla is thought by some to be the origin of the superstition over the number 13. Loki was eventually removed as Olson's mascot after local religious conservatives complained.
  • FAQ: The concubine

    The concubine is my brother's girlfriend, so named because my brother was dating her while still officially married.

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Hello person in Fargo

  • According to my wee stats thingy, someone in Fargo, N.D., checks this blog pretty regularly. Every time I see that IP address, I wonder if I know that person. That person should leave a comment.

  • Are you feeling a sort of general burnout as of late? Or is that just me? I am mentally worn down. Last night, I was so tired that I fell into a giggling, babbling exhaustion. You can hear me starting to come unglued on this Welsh-language audio post (I'm eating ice cream throughout the post).

  • I need to come up with a paragraph or two bio to go with some stuff I've written and I've hit a wall in trying to think of creative ways to describe myself. Any ideas?

  • I will be performing this experiment this weekend.

  • Boston's sidewalks of death.

  • Huh? Who would steal a two-legged cat?

  • Good name for a band: Jamaican Stick Fight
  • How's the weather?

    In a blatant attempt to see how many comments I can get, I am stealing an idea from Esther's blog.

    In the comments, leave the current weather conditions for where you are. For example, it is presently 30F (-1C) with 85% humidity in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    (You can probably find your current weather conditions here)

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Restack the show

    I was thinking today about one of the most incompetent people I've ever worked with. Ace was her name. Not really. Ace was a nickname that she had given to herself. Read that again: a nickname that she had given to herself.

    On Thursday, May 13, 1999, Charles Mapes Jr., erstwhile owner of the Mapes Hotel, took his final breath in a San Diego hospital.

    I was working at the time as a weekend video editor at a Reno, Nev., television station (job No. 11 on this list). The news of Mapes' death didn't reach the journalistic backwaters of Reno's news wire until late Friday. But if you know anything about television news -- small market television news, especially -- you know that news magically stops happening at 5 p.m., when the assignment editor goes home. Ace was the assignment editor. Her job was to keep news crews organized and stay on top of what was happening in the region.

    In TV news, the process of building a newscast is sometimes called "stacking a show," a phrase derived from the process of building a newscast's rundown in an orderly stack on an Excel-like spreadsheet. It sort of looks like this; it is easy to understand, lives on a common server and is there for all to see. As was usually the case, our 11 p.m. newscast on Saturday, May 15, 1999, was stacked by 2:30 p.m., thanks to the extreme efficiency of our producer, Landeros.

    Ace wandered in at about 3 p.m. and immediately went into her routine of wearing a telephone headset and occasionally tapping on keys. This was supposed to signal that she was working. She was filling in for the alcoholic that normally worked that shift who was so incompetent that we had developed a sort of commune system of running the newsroom that went around the assignment desk. So Ace was ignored and we quietly went about our routine of putting together a newscast that was totally above the caliber you would expect for even a top news market.

    At about 8 p.m., Ace suddenly pounded her desk and shouted across the newsroom: "OH MY GOD! RESTACK THE SHOW!"

    "What?" we yelped almost in unison, snapping to attention.


    "Yes, Ace..." Landeros said, in his trying-to-talk-someone-off-the-ledge voice.


    "It's in the show, Ace."

    "THE MAPES IS A LANDMARK. IT'S... what?"

    "It's in the show. At the top of the rundown. I put it in first thing. We've got it covered."


    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Excavating The Closet

    My latest column is out. Random sentence: "The ability to make hot chocolate and macaroni and cheese, and a tool to stab some small, slow-moving creature that I can eat -- that's all a manly man really needs."

    Wayne Brady Akbar

    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    I slapped this together several years ago and it still makes me giggle like a maniac. I made it in reference to some discussion my co-workers and I were having; I don't even remember the discussion.

    What I do remember is that a few days later, I wrote a column in which I declared that the world should come to its senses and "install Wayne Brady as emperor of the planet.

    "Wayne Brady would bring peace to Northern Ireland with his musical stylings. Wayne Brady would develop cheap, clean-burning, renewable fuel in his garage. And he could cover the cost of international travel by booking cabaret shows in the countries he visits, thus freeing up millions of tax dollars."

    Cutest Niece in America

    Cutest Niece in America
    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    Behold! I have the Cutest Niece in America. Quite possibly, she is the cutest niece in all the Western Hemisphere.

    I kind of ruin the picture by being in it. Uncle Chris needs to get a haircut.

    The Cutest Niece in America's parents are expecting yet another child, which will mean a house packed with four kids. That's a lot of kids, man. Perhaps the Cutest Niece in America can be leased out to the child bride and me for a while. We would claim her as our own.

    Monday, January 9, 2006

    High horse

  • If you think about great journalists -- and admittedly, there aren't many to choose from -- one thing I think they all have in common is that at some point they took a risk. Whether it was in the form of their personal safety or in the form of their career, at some point they had to come to terms with the fact that continuing forward could turn out horribly wrong. But the kept with it because they felt that the story was worth it.
    In my personal code of ethics, a business has a moral responsibility to take as few risks as possible. One of its primary responsibilities is to exist for the employee, which relies on the business for stability -- as does the employee's family and the community to which the employee belongs.
    So, the news business is inherently fucked up. It is a sort of common-law marriage of necessity.
    I grew up running around TV newsrooms, so I've always understood the connection between capitalism and journalism and why journalism chooses to make that connection. But it seems to me that over the past 10 years, the past four especially, the journalism that I grew up wanting to be a part of has become a business with which I do not want to be associated.
    Add that to my list of reasons I am looking forward to moving to Cardiff.

  • Ooh, la-dee-da. Aren't I pious? Perhaps I should temper my blabbering with this: Magnets of death!

  • That's a good name for a band, actually: The Death Magnets

  • I received a valuable lesson on auto repair today -- if you get drunk whilst fixing your car, you may end up forking out $490.19 a few months later to have a sober guy do the same job.

  • I can't stop laughing at this.

  • Good grief, Nebraska's progressive legislature is going too far. Allowing whiskey in beer? Next they'll be setting up tables so homosexuals can recruit in the high schools.

  • You know, there's a special place in hell for you when you steal a girl's leg.
  • Saturday, January 7, 2006

    Happy Epiphany

  • Spanish kids have opened their presents, we're all nursing our Twelfth Night hangovers, and the holiday season is officially over. Fortunately, there is still cause for celebration -- Saturday is Crystal's birthday. Happy birthday Crystal.

  • Can we please deport Pat Robertson? Preferably to an uninhabited island off the coast of Alaska.
    It's not Sharon's being 77 years old and obese that has put him in such ill health but his attempts to, you know, get along with people, according to good ol' Pat. You make me hurt, Pat.

  • Mmm, tastes like burning.

  • "A souvenir poster featuring the C.F. Payne illustration, along with 'Who Dey,' printed in both English and Chinese, goes on sale Friday."

  • Random co-worker IM conversation:
    CW1: i want to go to narnia
    CW2: check your wardrobe.
    ME: You can go to North Dakota, which has a similar-sounding name.
    CW1: i always tried to push through my closet when i was a kid. it never worked.
    ME: Although, if you are expecting to see Christ-like lions in North Dakota, I think you'll be disappointed.
    CW2: they do, however, have plenty of ice queens and fauns.
    CW2: and snow.
    CW1: i want a unicorn
    ME: I got yer unicorn, honey.
  • Friday, January 6, 2006

    Hook 'em Horns

  • My mother and father are University of Texas alumni, and, until certain academic realities became inescapable, I used to tell anyone and everyone that I planned to go to university there. So I am not jumping on the bandwagon when I say:
    Uhm... Well, it was a pretty good game, at least. Any game decided in the final 19 seconds is going to be good. I still think Vince Young is overrated, but there wasn't much to support that claim as he dragged Texas to a win.
    The person not living up to the hype was Reggie Bush, who wins the prize for Dumbest Act Ever when he pitched the ball to a player who wasn't looking. Way to turn a breakaway run into a triumph for the other side, dumbass.
    My favorite moment, though, came after the game was won and at least half the stadium was singing "Eyes of Texas." That made me tear up.

  • This is months old, but I only saw it today: Free Juan!

  • The No. 1 word for which people sought definition in 2005 was integrity. There's irony in that, I think.

  • I learned today that both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton played rugby in college.

  • Dumbest thing I've seen today:
    I was watching "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, and at one point Wolf was standing next to a wall of six TV monitors -- because, you know, there is that much shit happening in the world that you must watch six things all at the same time. The monitor closest to Wolf was showing "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer.
    "I'm Wolf Blitzer, in the Situation Room. Let's take a look at what's happening tonight. First off, you can see that I'm Wolf Blitzer, in the Situation Room..."
  • Thursday, January 5, 2006

    Having sex with horses

  • Anyone want to know why I'm eager to leave the news business?
    "As I look back at the year in news, it's clear I should have focused more on people having sex with horses."

  • If you are Hoss, who surprisingly remembers the rubbish that I put on this site, you'll remember a few weeks ago when I was trying to figure out to which Disney favorite I had managed to insult that it warranted an angry anonymous comment.
    I stumbled upon the answer today -- country music singer Aaron Carter.

  • In the words of Linus, "Songo!": This is my favorite band that I've heard this week.

  • Good name for a band: Shit Nog

  • One amusing thing about Wednesday's Rose Bowl game: I went to high school with USC's offensive coordinator. I can offer you no stories about him.
  • Wednesday, January 4, 2006

    I © memes

    Stolen from Hoss...

    How did you come to learn about blogging?
    Many moons ago, one of the masterminds helping to keep my benevolent employer afloat would spend a great deal of time telling people that blogging was going to change the world. Then, I would go to his blog and see that he had linked to a load of New York Times articles.
    "What the fuck? This is lame beyond my previous definition of lame," I would think.
    This March, that fella will be moving on to serve as a higher-up in Microsoft.

    How long have you been blogging?
    For a year and a half. I started in late May 2004, with my first post clearly establishing this as nothing more than a hollow tool of self-promotion.

    What got you interested in creating your own blog?
    For some reason that I no longer remember, I found myself Google searching a catchphrase from film. The phrase turned out to be the title of the blog for some fella about my age who lived in the middle of nowhere, lived with his parents, and worked full-time at a fast-food restaurant. He wrote a lot about how video games.
    Then I did that stupid egotistical thing that everybody does when they see a film or read a book that doesn't amaze them:
    "I could do better than this," I thought.
    Of course, as you may have noticed, I was wrong. Or, perhaps I could do better, but I don't. I am half-assed. Huzzah to my mediocrity.

    How many blogs do you have?
    Three, all of them mostly useless -- this one, my Welsh-language blog, and my blog dedicated to coming up with names of bands. My dream for that last one is that one day, a band will actually use a name from the blog and make it big and they will acknowledge me in NME.

    How has blogging affected your life?
    I have become lame beyond my previous definition of lame. For the most part, the affect has been subtle, but extensive. If the evil genius at my benevolent employer is right about blogging changing the world, perhaps it is doing so in an unexciting manner, similar to the way Kleenex has changed the world. You could live a full and rich life using handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex -- no one around you would know or care. But I tend to be a fan of Kleenex.

    What feelings do you associate with blogging?
    Uhm, good ones?

    How does blogging benefit you?
    I think it makes me slightly more tolerable in person. I have an overwhelming desire to talk about me, me, me. But the opportunity to promulgate myself on a daily basis means I can keep quiet and listen to other people for probably three additional seconds.
    My personal memory is now Google searchable. Hey, what was I doing 9 November? Drinking. How about 18 July? Drinking. OK, but what about way back on 26 August 2004? Drinking.
    And I have the ability to do a bit of international namedropping in conversation: "Oh, my friend in London was saying the other day that..."
    The benefits of my Welsh blog have been far more extensive, giving me focus and support in learning the language. Welsh blogging has gotten me a mention in a magazine and the opportunity to be on the radio twice. I am moving to Cardiff in July, but I already have a few friends there. In a very weird way, some part of me feels less that I am moving to an entirely new place (which I am), and more that I am going home.

    Discuss some of the relationships you have formed through blogging and how they have affected your life.
    Jenny and the boy were among the first people to leave comments on this blog. I sent Jenny a coupon thing I found on the street, she sent me a poppy and a beer mat, and somehow this was good enough foundation that I suddenly had two really cool people that I'm able to visit when I'm in London. More recently, Jenny, in her professional capacity, sent me a load of financial aid information to help me prepare for Cardiff.
    Mona sent me a holiday card all the way from France, Heather claims that she would knit me a hat if I sent her the materials, and several folks have offered to share a pint or two or three with me should I be in their vicinity.
    The same sort of thing is true for my Welsh blog, if not even more so. In October, Mair, Geraint, and Rhys met me for a few drinks the day before I interviewed for the degree program at Cardiff. I somehow managed to drink for several hours and not pay for any of it (I should point out that I offered to pay, and I'm sure they will expect a few rounds out of me when I see them next), and the next day I walked into my interview with the confidence of having spent several hours practicing my Welsh the night before.
    A few weeks ago, Rhys, totally out of the blue, decided to help me find a place in Cardiff and sent suggestions, the names of several estate agents, and told me where I could post a sort of "flat wanted" ad online. And my knowing Mair might result in something really, really cool but I'm not sure I'm allowed to discuss it. Countless others have been ridiculously supportive and encouraging to the extent that I am constantly having to temper my ego: "I'm not actually this cool, these people are just really nice."


    Originally uploaded by ChrisCope.
    Here's the child bride on New Year's Eve. We went to a 1920s-themed murder-mystery party. The child bride was, appropriately, some gangster's child bride. I was one of many people suspected of killing him.

    My favorite element of Rachel's costume, not pictured here, was her comedy telescoping cigarette holder. I liked it especially because the packet it came in had the Engrish admonishment: "Be always happy with practical joke."

    Because I am cheap and not very inventive, I simply wore a tie and a flat cap. I made up for my lack of costume by faking an Irish accent the whole night. How an Irish accent is somehow 1920s-esque I do not know.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2006

    It's official

  • I made it official Monday -- I really am going to Cardiff in September. My friends tend to be suspicious of the veracity of any of my claims, so I'm sure that one or two won't believe I'm going to Cardiff until I'm actually living in Cardiff. Nonetheless, it's all official now.

  • My sister-in-law, Toni -- of whom I have no pictures, but whom I did once reference in an article -- is engaged. She has managed to snare herself a young male nurse. Expect endless jokes to follow.

  • Nominating for the 2006 Bloggies is under way. I am voting for Esther's blog in all applicable categories.
    Linus will go on my list of nominees as well, if not just for this sentence: "I don’t think there is an afterlife, although I'm totally willing to be corrected on this."

  • Goo was suggesting that Dutch and Welsh look a bit like Klingon and then wondered how one would say "Happy New Year" in the made-up language. Probably the best person to ask would be this blogger.
    Or, you could contact the people at the Klingon Language Institute, where a person can at least learn how to say "happy birthday" in Klingon. I think my favorite element is that there is an "about" page written in Welsh.

  • Mike Tice is gone, which most people have seen coming since the preseason. In my perfect world, Tice would have been given the job that Glen Mason doesn't seem to want. I'm pretty sure that Ticey could just as easily get the Gophers into a series of bullshit bowl games for less money.

  • There is something quintessentially Portsmouthian about Russian billionaire Alexandre Gaydamak's takeover of the club. The man's father has been tied with scandals and money laundering. Hooray.
    My favorite element is this: "Some of Gaydamak's cash will also be earmarked for the development of Fratton Park and the construction of a Chelsea-style 'Pompey village' with apartments, restaurants and shops."
    Suuuuuuuure. Pompey; city of unrealistic dreams.

  • I can't decide which guy is dumber: Jimmy Hall, for swimming with a 17-foot great white shark; or Maurice Clarett for effectively driving the final nail in the coffin of a potentially multi-million-dollar career in exchange for a stolen cell phone. Dumb. Ass.

  • Best George W. Bush quote ever: "May God bless those who are trapped below the Earth."
    (Unfortunately said in response to this considerably-less-than-funny story)

  • The Larimer County coroner pulls no punches. A recent ruling declared that a man's cause of death was "total morselization of body due to being pulled by a gloved hand into a commercial wood chipper."
    Total Morselization. That's a good name for a Gwar album.

  • "Hey, kids, wanna drive through that cactus patch?"*
    "Well, two against one."

  • "The Actroid... has been designed as an android 'bearing a striking resemblance to a woman,' with a command of four languages." That's right, while the rest of the world struggles with pollution, war, poverty, hunger, and disease, a load of lonely Japanese geeks is building scantily female robots. I have only one thing to say about this:
    Thank you, Japan. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    *Quick, what TV show am I referencing?
  • It doesn't stop being funny

    I cannot stop laughing at the picture of this kid. It becomes even funnier when you consider that it was used in connection with a story about photogenic babies. One expects laser beams to fire from that child's eyes.