Friday, September 28, 2007

Cambridge, Oxford, Cardiff?

I am now fully registered, and on Monday I return to classes for my second year of university. It feels a bit momentous because despite years and years of previous university experience I've never been this directly focused, this likely to actually end up getting a degree.

That, the experiences of last year, and the fact that I need to do better than last year* has me feeling a certain amount of sickness at the moment. And I am brought back to the old feeling that at any minute someone is going to pull me aside and say: "Look, we're sorry for messing you about, but there's been a terrible mistake. We got you confused with JC Cope. Obviously, as even you must have figured out by now, you don't belong here at all."

And I feel even more pressure knowing that I am attending the British equivalent of an Ivy League school. Well, according to Wikipedia.

For our international viewers, U.S. colleges are broken into all kinds of groupings that are mostly used in sport. For example, the child bride's alma mater, University of Minnesota, is a Big Ten university. Very strangely, Big Ten has 11 members. The "Ivy League" is another one of those athletic conferences but the term is also (and perhaps more commonly) used to denote some of the traditionally best universities in the United States, e.g, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.

According to Wikipedia, the Russell Group of universities "is sometimes referred to as the British equivalent of the Ivy League." And Cardiff University is among them. What the hell am I doing here?

Of course, University of Southampton is also amid that "elite" group, and Southampton will accept anybody.

But I still can't shake that nagging feeling that I am out of my depth and that someone should pull me from the game before I get hurt.

*I passed and since the first year is pass-fail, I shouldn't really spend too much time fussing over particulars. But they don't send geniuses to summer refresher courses, which indicates that there's quite a bit of room for improvement. This is a key issue for me because I have visions of carrying on and earning a master's degree. But to do so, according to the literature, I need to meet a grade minimum of 2.1. For those of you playing along at home, that's not grade point average. The British university grading system doesn't really translate to U.S. terms; there are four levels above passing: 1st degree, 2.1 degree, 2.2 degree and 3rd degree.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mike Stonecreek reports

video
When I worked in local television news one of the things I hated most were health reports. More often than not, they were shockingly uninformative and the only reason the newscast carried them is because they were sponsored. In America's free press, the sponsor is king.

This video might not make any sense to international viewers, or indeed anyone who hasn't spent several years working (read: "suffering") in American local media, but Adam and my dad will get it, and blogging is all about targeting a narrow audience.

Were it real, of course, this report would be twice as long and even more useless. And because it would be sponsored we would drop actual news to ensure that it aired: "Oops. The show's running heavy, I'm going to axe this stuff about the crumbling American economy to make space for health."

I am particularly tickled with my choice of news guy name.

Oh Frenchy. Oh Lieutenant Steve

This video is so stupid it almost makes me wish I knew French.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

25-21

Twelve points down and only five minutes left -- why did we take a penalty kick over kicking for touch and attempting a try? My only guess is that the USA knew it was going to lose and decided that a nine-point loss was better than a 12-point loss.

As it happens, we only lost by four. The 25-21 final score is respectable but not what I think the USA was capable of. They didn't seem to start playing rugby until the second half. As usual, we suffered from a lack of experienced players and intelligent strategy (why did Ngwenya not get the ball more?). The USA seems to split between playing a game designed for two types of team -- a power team and an endurance team. It is neither at the moment. It's frustrating because our next and final match is against South Africa and only the most deluded fan would think we could win that one.

(Although, Tonga performed well against South Africa and we performed well against Tonga...)

I'm sure my neighbours will be looking at me funny for a while, because I was screaming at the television throughout the second half. Hopefully they were able to figure out that I was screaming at rugby and not just stomping around my living room in a homicidal rage.

I think the thing that frustrates me most is the number of guys in the United States who don't make the NFL cut who would make brilliant rugby players (assuming they improved their fitness and learned to check their egos a bit). I hate New Zealand so much and it just twists a knife in my gut to know that I come from a country that could present a team to destroy the All Blacks, but doesn't.

You cut me USA. You cut me deep

I am presently watching the USA lose to Samoa and I am in a rage. Why do we even show up to this fucking thing?

I've been thinking about this a lot over the World Cup. There are so many minnow teams who have to break their backs and their bank accounts just to attend a World Cup, only to get thrashed by a bunch of pro teams. I realise that there is a certain poetic justice to the USA getting slammed around in international competition, but you have to wonder: what's the point?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thank you, Barclays, for your vigilance against Chris Cope doppelgangers

Actual experience at Llandaff branch of Barclays:

ME: (Handing over cheque, deposit slip and bank card) Hello, good afternoon. I just need to deposit this cheque.
BANK TELLER: OK... (Types in numbers on keyboard) Oh, but this cheque says "Chris Cope."
ME: Yes...
BANK TELLER: Well the account is for "JC Cope."
ME: Right. (Quickly assessing that explaining the whole shortened-middle-name thing will be too much for this woman) "Chris" is my middle name.
BANK TELLER: But the account says "JC Cope."
ME: I know it does. And the "C" in "JC" stands for "Chris," as in "Chris Cope," as in the person standing in front of you.
BANK TELLER: But it's different from what I have on the screen, you see?
ME: You don't think my parents named me "JC," do you?
BANK TELLER: (Pausing for thought) Well. No.
ME: The "J" and the "C" stand for things. In this case, they stand for "James" and "Chris."
BANK TELLER: But a cheque is supposed to have the name of the account holder on it.
ME: But there isn't anyone named "JC Cope." Or, if there is, he's going to be upset that I have his cash point card, know his PIN and have been receiving his bank statements. And what a fool I've been for putting money into his account for the last year and a half. Why is it that no one has ever brought this up with me before?
BANK TELLER: (Flustered and wanting me to go away) I couldn't say. I've accepted it this time, but I was simply letting you know.
ME: (Making the rare decision not to carry on being a smartass) OK, fine. Thank you very much for your time.

I wanted to ask her how she would expect me to prove who I am if the bank really only accepts cheques payable to "JC Cope." My passport, my U.S. driver's license, and my UK driver's license -- the most official proofs of identity I have -- all state my name in full. If "JC Cope" is the only thing the bank accepts, they have made it impossible for me to ever prove to be that person.

Also, since I was the one with all the account information, she must have assumed me to be the infamous JC Cope and was suggesting I had masterminded the theft of a cheque written to Chris Cope -- that cheque having been written by Rachel Cope. Obviously, she was trying to prevent some sort of ridiculous Eastenders-style family fracas. As it stands, the cheque has been deposited and Chris Cope will now be unable to pay his £90 gambling debt to Javier Carlos Cope. Bwahahaha.

(It all reminds me of Henry Cho's story of JB Stuart [50 seconds into the video])

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Yes. And yes.

For 50 weeks of the year, I'm not really all that interested in going to Germany. But then Oktoberfest comes along and I am once again kicking myself for not being there.

Apart from lack of money, my main problem this time around is that I don't have anyone to go with. The child bride doesn't drink and she's not really a fan of being stuck amid a huge crowd of drunkards. Considering that some 6 million people are expected to take part in this year's German boozery, it's a good bet that Rachel won't be found anywhere near Munich over the next 16 days. If anyone out there is interested in going next year, let me know. My only requirement for a travelling companion is that you be able to lie convincingly -- you will need to do this when we return home and the child bride asks if I drank too much.

"No," you will say. "He was very well-behaved. To be honest, I think he missed you so much, he didn't really enjoy being there."

For those of you playing along at home, two devastating wars and countless soccer defeats have resulted in a general disinterest in Germany and German things here in Britain. Oktoberfest gets very little play. To be fair, though, Britons have their own massive beer-drinking festival -- they call it "Saturday."

For international viewers, as a big thank you for providing us with beer, sausage, pretzels and two ego-boosting wars, Americans host Oktoberfest celebrations in towns all across the country, including places where German influence is almost non-existent, like La Mesa, Calif. (it is from that city's Oktoberfest that this blog gets its name). These events are similar to our St. Patrick's Day celebrations in that the focus is on eating and drinking and reinforcing comical stereotypes. We also do this with Mexicans and Cinco de Mayo.

One of the best single-location* Oktoberfest celebrations I've been to is held at Gasthof zur Gem├╝tlickeit, in Minneapolis. A large tent is erected in the parking lot and then filled to heaving with people and a polka band that is loud and raucous on a Gogol Bordello scale. The band is so loud that you don't so much hear it as feel and think it; it becomes a constant, coursing through your skull, that, when matched with beer consumption, destroys your ability to string together coherent thought. Each time I've gone, I've walked away feeling that it was one of the best nights I've had all year.

*As opposed to those celebrations that take up several city blocks and feature several vendors.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Spam poetry

This is the text of a spam e-mail I received today:

"A trio of soldiers guarded the
Roger was surprised by her que
Roger could not help smiling.
Elizabeth turned and walked in
There were several other people"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

'Everyone do stupid things sometimes when they're drunk'

Yes, they do Alejandro. But how do explain the bit where you were hit with a garbage can and pelted with bottles?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Female Army Lays Siege

My latest column is out and it's a pretty easy guess that I was going to write about my sisters-in-law. My favourite line this week is: "Westerners are bulls in a china shop where all the china has a little picture of a matador on it."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Green Card wanted*

Ya-Ya The child bride is enjoying so much having her sisters visit that she has decided one of them should stay. In light of the immigration issues that raises we've decided that the most expedient way to keep Ya-Ya here is to marry her off to a citizen of the European Union, mail-order-bride style.

But in this case, you don't have to be some wealthy fella willing to pay for false affection -- you simply have to be someone that Laura would want to marry. Which means that you should probably be Mike Phillips or Gordon D'Arcy .

Ya-Ya is charming young lady who enjoys dancing, singing, photography and verbally assaulting her brothers-in-law. She can speak Spanish fluently and is instilled with a cooking skill that, while not equal to that of the child bride, is certainly better than any of that takeaway crap you've been eating lately. Sure, you'll find yourself with parents-in-law who think Rush Limbaugh is too liberal (no, really), but the Atlantic Ocean provides a nice buffer from that sort of thing.

Laura plays to the home crowdIndeed, the only down side to this union is that occasionally your sisters-in-law will invade your home, shaking its foundations with their bunker-buster laughter. But fear not, you'll have me to commiserate with. We can drag a television and microwave oven into the attic and exist on frozen curries and televised sport until they go away. Assuming they do go away.

Oh, no. What if they don't go away?

*Admittedly use of the term "Green Card" in the headline is misleading, since that is something that allows a person to live and work in the United States. But that is indeed an added benefit of hitching yourself to the Ya-Ya Wagon -- she gets legal status in the EU, you get legal status in the U.S. It's a win-win situation.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Assaulted by train staff

Sisters and sheepTwo of the child bride's sisters are visiting the Cope estate at the moment, which means the days and nights are filled with the sounds of their virtually yelling at one another, punctuated by frequent explosions of cackling laughter.

The child bride comes from a large family, and the best way to be heard in a large family is to speak louder than everyone else. When the family members get together, the house reverberates with a noise that is almost physical; it pushes you around and makes you feel claustrophobic. Well, it does that to me.

And now that experience has come to my tiny house, in my tiny space on this tiny island. Rachel and her sisters seem to have lost any sense of the concept of "inside voice" and bellow at one another like excited deaf people. They quote lines from films they watched as children (almost always in that loud and high-pitched Queen Victoria voice that everyone does), gossip about so-and-so who lived down the street and is probably gay now, and cackle with laughter over every little thing.

It's that sisterly thing, of course. I know several guys who are very close with their brothers and they just don't act like this with each other. When my brother and I get together, we more often than not stare at each other until he asks me a question out of politeness ("So, how's that book going?"), and I accidentally answer in seriousness and he says, "Yeah. That's cool," which is Jon Code for: "I'm not going to make fun of you right now, but I reserve the right to do so at a later date."

Thursday found the sisterly triad and me wandering the streets of Bath, where the presence of other loud American tourists helped to lessen their effect just slightly. I was secretly happy when Jenny didn't respond to the text I sent her about our being there. For the sake of our friendship, I wasn't particularly eager to subject her and Chris to this mobile theatre of cacophony, but I felt it would be rude to visit their fair city without so much as a hello.

Anyway, we had an alright time, eating dinner at a Spanish restaurant in city centre that is effectively buried underneath the road, and were in good spirits as we arrived at the station to catch our train home.

As we walked into the station, I heard the announcement for the train to Cardiff Central and shot off up the steps. Now, I am one of those people who prides himself on being able to catch trains. If I had somehow been able to transpose my train-catching skills to rugby, I would have been Eastside Banshees RFC's top try-scorer, because I bound up steps, leap over things, break through crowds and run at shocking pace when trying to save myself 30 minutes of sitting around waiting for the next train.

For those of you playing along at home, most of the train doors here are automatic. They will all close at once but for one, that one being where the conductor stands. He/she leans out of said door while the other doors close, gets the signal from the platform conductor, shuts his door and signals to the driver that they are good to go. In that space of time that the other doors are closing, one can jump on the train via the conductor's door.

And so it was that I flew onto the 20:08 train from Bath Spa to Cardiff Central.

"Alright, mate," said the conductor as I got on. "Let's go."

"Just a sec, my wife and her sisters are right there," I said, pointing to the three-woman hurricane that was now about 30 feet from the train.

"No time," the conductor said. And he pressed the button to close the doors.

"Whoa. Hold on," I said, putting my shoulder into the doors to stop them from closing. "I can't leave without them!"

"Well, get out, then," he shouted. And he pushed me out of the train.

By this time, Rachel and her sisters were standing outside the door, looking shocked that I had been forcibly removed*. I spun around and shouted back at the conductor through the half-closed doors: "Come on, mate. They're all here. We're all standing right here."

"No!" he blustered, frantically pressing the button to close the door.

But then karma kicked in.

The doors refused to shut. He had fucked them up by throwing me into them. When it became obvious that he was going to have to completely reopen the doors to shut them, he grumbled permission for us to get on. He was still fussing with the thing as we sat down.

Even though it was dangerous to shove me from the train -- my foot could have gone into the gap, my foot could have caught the door or I could have been turned and gone head-first into the concrete platform -- I've decided not to file a complaint with First Great Western. It's just as effective to blog about it and less likely to result in any kind of unnecessary disciplinary action for a conductor who was probably just having a shit day. After all, this train had come all the way from Portsmouth; I'm sure he had been dealing with charming idiots all night long. And besides, he was polite to us once we were seated.

Still, one has to wonder sometimes why I am such a Britophile.

*Well, perhaps Rachel didn't look shocked. My being attacked by someone wouldn't surprise her at all -- she would assume I had done something to provoke them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What you're missing

For those of you playing along at home, or even those of you on this side of the water with better things to do than watch television all day*, this is my favourite advert at the moment.

*In fairness, I'm watching rugby.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'm a winner

I'm not Welsh-American (i.e., someone born in the United States of Welsh heritage) or even Welsh American (i.e., an American citizen born in Wales), but somehow I've taken the prize for best Welsh-American Blog according to the Welsh Blog Awards.

You'll note that this is the first time the Welsh Blog Awards have been mentioned here. This is because I have a problem with the concept of blog awards. I think they are ridiculous, but I'm not 100-percent sure why. I think it partially has something to do with the personal nature of blogs, or, at least my blog. I just write a bunch of nonsense that comes to my head, which more or less reflects how I feel at the particular time of writing. If you like it, rock on. If you don't like it, I guess that's OK, too. But if you like me/my blog simply because someone else does, you're an ass.

Having said that, though, my self-righteousness crumbles if I am the recipient of such ridiculous praise. I am even willing to ignore the fact that I have won a prize for which I am blatantly unqualified. Accolades are accolades, bitches, and I am a shallow man. I'll take what I can get. If I had won a prize for being the Best Black Vegan One-Legged Veteran Blogger Living In Mandan, ND, I'd be displaying the graphic for that, as well.

My Welsh blog took the prize for Best Welsh-Learner Blog.

Annie, meanwhile, won the prizes for Best Blog, Best Personal Blog, Best Humour Blog (I came in second in that one) and Best-Looking Blog. To my knowledge neither of us gets any sort of actual prize beyond the right to feel special about ourselves for a year.

U-S-A

A while back, I suggested that if the United States could score a try against either England or South Africa, they could go home feeling that their campaign had been successful.

With only one match played, the United States' World Cup campaign has been successful.

A 28-10 defeat doesn't really leave one screaming "Do you believe in unlikelihoods?!", but today's USA vs. England match turned out better than I think anyone could have realistically hoped.

First off, we scored a try. Tongan-born Utah resident* Matekitonga Moeakiola trundled across the try line in the 74th minute, which leads to another reason to be happy. In the final, most exhausting minutes of the match, the United States, with only a handful of pro players, appeared more fit and into the match than England's all-pro squad.

Earlier in the day, Japan (the only team the U.S. has ever beat in the history of the World Cup) was clobbered 91-3 by Australia and New Zealand stomped all over Italy 76-14 -- it was generally expected that the United States would meet a similar fate. But instead they held England off and forced them to treat the U.S. as a legitimate threat (something France failed to do against Argentina the night previous). Even the blatantly pro-England announcers found themselves forced to extend respect to the U.S. team by the end of it.

The U.S. should now go into its match against Tonga with a tremendous amount of confidence. Tonga is beatable for them. Afterward, a win against Samoa is unlikely, but not impossible. If those two things happened, though, it would be the Eagles' most successful World Cup ever. Right now it feels just barely maybe possible.

The USA-South Africa match, however, is almost certainly going to be brutal. I think the U.S. goal for that one should simply to avoid getting any players killed.

*Hmm, Tongan-born Utah resident. What religion's he then? Holla, Mormons.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The tragedy and glory of men

I've mentioned before that the Welsh love poetry. I've had a few people try to disprove me by pointing out that they don't like poetry, but that is simply because another thing that is true of the Welsh is that they are naturally contrary.

The fondness for verse was again on display this week. Where else but Wales would they have a television programme that mixes poetry and rugby?

On Tuesday, BBC 2 aired a programme called "Rugby: Poetry in Motion." Featuring poems by Phil Carradice, Gillian Clarke, Kathryn Gray, Paul Henry and Owen Sheers, it was little more than half an hour of slow-motion shots of rugby players set to dreamy voiceover.

What's strange is that it worked. It shouldn't have. When someone refers to the fullback position as "midwife and curator," and suggests that it is an allegory for Western culture, that should cause you to throw things at the TV. But I sat there watching and writing down phrases and thinking: "Ooh, I wish I had come up with that line."

The poems focused on the various field positions, the team, and the game as a whole, making it all sound as if rugby were a part of the eternal struggle. Having played rugby, I suppose that in a simplistic and ridiculous way, there is truth to that -- a lot of my personal philosophy derives from my short time of having my ass kicked on a weekly basis.

So far, I can only find two of the poems online: Sheers' "Flankers" and Gray's "Prop," which I think may be incomplete from what I remember of the broadcast. Neither of the poems have my favourite lines, one of which I used for the headline of this post.

I also like:
- The poem referring to the time in which a player stares into the sky waiting to receive a kick as "the dazzling light between birth and death."
- The poem that described the scrum as "the mud and bone." Seriously, how bad-ass is that?

But easily, the best was the poem that started with the line: "I felled a tree with my bare hands."

Fuck yeah.

I tried to imagine something similar being done in the United States; it would fail miserably. I suppose Quincy Troupe could pull it off*, but he'd be the only one and then he'd be dropped as soon as they found out he hadn't really played varsity in high school**. Troupe, by the way, is one of only three living American poets that I can name off the top of my head -- the other two being May Angelou and Henry Rollins. Unless you count Common, which you probably should, because he's the bloke who came up with "Doing all she can for her man and a baby/ Driving herself crazy like the astronaut lady."

For those of you in Wales who missed it, "Rugby: Poetry in Motion" airs again on BBC 2 Wales, Wednesday 12 September at 10 p.m.

*The camera work here makes me want to kill. Just close your eyes and listen to the poem.

** I doubt anyone will get that reference without a Google search.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Terrorist Local 247

The thing that amuses me most about this story is the reported name of the organization that was planning the attacks: Islamic Jihad Union.

Jihadists have a union? No wonder GW hates them so much.

This would explain, though, those boneheads who failed miserably in driving a flaming Jeep into the Glasgow airport. They were scabs.

It was better than Cats

It would appear that a major part of the writing process for me is spending several months telling people that I am going to write something, but not actually writing said thing.

Before I wrote The Way Forward (formerly known as Drinking Stories but still unpublished by any name), I spent about five months claiming that I was going to write it. In the case of my second book, that shit-talking interval has been reduced to four months and I am now in the process of very slowly crafting yet another story that no one will read.

I acknowledge the futility of such an act, but I still post myself in front of the computer every day, because that's my mental picture of what a writer should do. Much of the way I approach writing is wrapped in what I think I should do. That's a clear sign of a poseur, I know, but since that is indeed what I am I don't really know any other way to be. It's one of those logic puzzles: how does a poseur pretend to not be a poseur without looking like a poseur posing as a non-poseur?

So, I sit there in front of my laptop trying to look like a writer. If you were to set up a web camera in my study, perhaps I would indeed look like one. At almost any time of day you would see me sitting at the computer and you might think, "Gosh, there's a fellow who's dedicated to his craft," but on closer inspection you would see that I am more often than not checking Facebook.

"Do I have any new friends yet? No. How about now? Nope. OK, how about now?"

Yes, you can get e-mail alerts for such things, but what if there's a glitch? It's better to keep checking. Because, you know, the number of people I have listed on my Facebook is a direct indicator of my character. Your number of Facebook friends is directly related to how much Jesus loves you. Presently Jesus loves Al Franken a whole lot more than me, which is kind of unfair since Franken is Jewish. But Jews stick together, I guess.

Yesterday, though, I was actually writing my actual book and feeling quite pleased with myself, when I heard a little "tink-tink" noise just behind me. I turned around and saw a small orange and black cat just sitting there on the floor, staring at me.

"Hello, cat," I said. "What are you doing here?"

In typical cat fashion, it refused to answer. But I was able to guess that it had come in from the back garden. In these summer days I like to keep the door open to let the air in.

"I don't think Rachel would want you in the house," I told the cat, pointing to the stairs.

The cat acknowledged this and headed downstairs with me, where -- in true 1940s housewife style -- I put some cream in a bowl and set it outside in the garden. I'm sure proper cat owners will tell me that cats do not actually like cream, or that it is, in fact, bad for them. But this cat humoured me by licking it up and allowing me to pet it for a while.

"You're one of those damn cat diplomats," I realised.

Delegates from the cat community will occasionally try to persuade me to change my anti-cat stance. This tabby was very clearly trying to strike right to my core by showing up in my study.

Over the years, I have noticed that almost every author I like, and several that I at least respect, are cat people. Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Kate Roberts -- all of them had cats and their appreciation of the fiendish creatures was often worked into their art. In Islands in the Stream, Hemingway spends a good five pages yammering on about his cat.

Since I am more a person who wishes to be seen as a writer than an actual writer, I have long worried that I would need to adopt a cat to fit the caricature of who I am trying to be. I have also long lamented that I am doing very little, if anything, toward developing lung cancer or cirrhosis of the liver.

Indeed, if that cat shows up again with a pack of Camels and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, I will see right through its feline trickery.

But that's the thing, see. I haven't seen that cat since. After no more than two minutes of hanging out with me, the cat scampered off. That's the thing about cats -- they leave you. Which is at the heart of why I don't like them.

The purpose of having a pet, in my mind, is to have something around that will make you feel less lonely but doesn't have the ability to commandeer the TV remote. The purpose of a pet is right there in the name; it should sit there and be warm and pay attention to me and allow me to pet it. To that extent, I have never understood the point of keeping fish or birds. Pets should be mammals -- dogs, cats, bison, etc.

But a cat is a heart-breaker. It shows up and gives you a token amount of attention and then disappears to rub its fur all over your black shirts and make your house smell of its wee. Cats are bastards, dealing a kind of emotional crack to the weakest souls.

Here I am, wannabe writer, feeling a bit lonely in this faraway country where I still haven't mastered the language, and this cat shows up and makes me feel better. And then it pisses off, never to be seen again, making me feel even worse. Fucker. Little four-legged heart-wrenching demon.

Man, I hate cats.

*How many people get that headline?

Precious moments

I added a link to it a few days ago, but I want to draw your attention to my favourite blog at the moment: Overheard in Minneapolis.

It's actually a collection of things overheard in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, but that probably wouldn't have as nice a ring to it.

The quote that had me laughing this morning was this one, which I imagine is the sort of thing that Eric's wife, Kristin, would say if she had children.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

You Want Dessert, Don't You?

My latest column is out. My favourite line is: "Personally, I haven't trusted those nefarious soft-servistas since they renamed 'Mr. Misty' as 'Misty Slush.'"

Monday, September 3, 2007

I got love for you if you were born in the 80s

And suddenly Hilary Duff is my favourite manufactured pop songstress ever.

I know there are one or two gay guys who read my blog, so I won't have to tell them, but it's possible that some of you will not have heard of Hilary Duff, erstwhile star of the Disney-manufactured "Lizzie McGuire."

Like previous Disney spawn, our gal Hilary has broken free of her clean-cut image, developed an eating disorder and is now churning out simple pop songs designed to make it sound like she's not churning out simple pop songs.

None of that matters to me, though, thanks to her latest track, "Danger." Well, I assume it's her latest -- how the hell would I know? It is, at least, the most recent (and only) Hilary Duff track that I've heard.

I've gone to the trouble to upload the track*. Take a quick listen to it and see if you can guess what appeals to me about the song:



Yes. It's that first line: "Were you born in '74?"

As an individual born in 1976 -- and especially an individual born in 1976 who attends university with a load of people born in 1988 -- I wholeheartedly approve of Ms. Duff's decision to sing a song about someone 13 years her elder.

Hilary Duff, you naughty, naughty, lovely young thing you!

*But I will remove it as soon as possible if anyone representing Duff or her record label asks.