A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

For all you creative types

McSweeney's Internet Tendency is having a writing contest:

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Several weeks ago we ran a piece by Dan Wiencek called "Thirteen Writing Prompts." As the title suggests, the piece is a list of 13 different writing prompts, such as this one:

A wasp called the tarantula hawk reproduces by paralyzing tarantulas and laying its eggs into their bodies. When the larvae hatch, they devour the still living spider from the inside out. Isn't that fucked up? Write a short story about how fucked up that is.

Soon, people were submitting stories they had written using the prompts as jumping-off points. We had no place to publish these stories at the time, but now we do, because we're having a contest.

Here are the contest instructions:

Write a story using one of the 13 writing prompts found in "Thirteen Writing Prompts."
Make sure the story is 1,000 words or less.
Send the entire story, pasted into the body of an e-mail, to 13prompts@mcsweeneys.net.

Send us your story by 5 p.m., Wednesday,June 21, 2006.

Mr. Dan Wiencek, author of the writing prompts, has graciously agreed to judge the contest.

Here are the prizes:

Grand Prize: A subscription to the McSweeney's Book Release Club, which will provide the winner with the next 10 books released by McSweeney's Books (including titles from Stephen Dixon, David Byrne, and Evany Thomas), and publication on McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

First Runner-up: Any three current titles from McSweeney's Books and publication on McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

Second Runner-up: Any two current titles from McSweeney's Books and publication on McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

Undetermined Number of Honorable Mentions: Any current title from McSweeney's Books and publication on McSweeney's Internet Tendency.
Please note that we will only be able to respond to the winning submissions.
Enjoy, and if you have any questions about the contest, please feel free to send them to 13prompts@mcsweeneys.net.
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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Poppin' and lockin'

I'm sure you've seen these before but I can't really write anything new after the LONG 3-day weekend. I feel like Pavel's dog. Except with a smidgen of freedom in place of the bell.

You can skip ahead like to about the minute mark and just watch the orange-shirted kid.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Welcome to Our Ool-- Notice There is no P in it

I haven't written anything in a while-- so how about predicting the group stage of the World Cup?

Group A: Germany, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Poland. Well, Germany's got to be a safe bet as the host country. Does Poland get a host-ish country boost? They finished second in an extremely weak qualifying group (Azerbaijan?); Ecuador's been tested against Argentina and Brazil. That said, Poland started a Nigerian last time around and I am nothing if not a friend of Africa. Prediction: Germany, Poland.

Group B: England, Paraguay, Trinidad & Tobago, Sweden. It's not obvious that the English will even need Rooney here. In the race for second you have two solid teams in Paraguay and Sweden. I was very impressed with Ljunberg in Arsenal's Champion's League defeat to Barcalona, and I love Sweden's fish, so I'm going with them. Prediction: England, Sweden.

Group C: Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia, Netherlands. You have got to be fucking kidding me. Prediction: Argentina, Netherlands.

Group D: (Ron) Mexico, Iran, Angola, Portugal. Portugal's main exports have become choking and whining, defying Ricardo. My 12-5 upset special pick is taking Angola, who will eke it out by half a $5 assault rifle. If Angola goes all the way, we could see the hammer-and-sickle raised over Berlin, instantly legitimizing dozens of pulp alternative-history novelists' lifes-work. Prediction: Mexico, Angola.

Group E: Italy, Ghana, United States, Czech Republic. Hear me out--Ghana's best player is hurt, and if there's any karma in the universe at all Italy will get burned for Serie A's endemic game-fixing. What better place than here; what better time than now? Prediction: Czech Republic, and the U-S-fucking-A.

Group F: Brazil, Croatia, Australia, Japan. I don't know who plays on Croatia anymore since I'm pretty sure Suker retired right after ISS '98 was released. Australia's a sentimental pick (they qualified through the proverbial back-door, which I'm sure has gotten Steve's attention), but I can't take Japan seriously since they all work for a mere 100 points a piece in Winning Eleven. Prediction: Brazil, Australia.

Group G: France, Switzerland, South Korea, Togo. France isn't getting any younger, but I can see them getting into the knockout as long as Barthez doesn't screw up too badly. South Korea was impressive last time, but how much of that was a spiritual bump from the home crowd? If I picked Angola, Togo sounds almost reasonable as another upset pick. Prediction: France, Togo.

Group H: Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia. I bet Russia would actually have a very nice team if Shevchenko got bribed by the mafia into claiming Russian citizenship. Knee worries aside, I'll take the Big Ukrainian. That aside, this group is a joke, isn't it? I don't think that even Spain can choke this one away. Prediction: Spain, Ukraine

Most of these are obvious picks; the only ones with any bite are Togo, Australia, the US and, ahem, Angola. I'm not nearly up-to-date enough with the world scene to know whether I should be thinking, say, Tunisia, but what are you gonna do?

New Glasses


I can finally look through the front of my glasses instead of trying to look through the sides and avoid the impenetrable scratches that were directly in front of me.

Jesus christ, thank god.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Given the chance, he would kill you and everyone you care about.

I came across this photo in a story about the latest bird flu deaths and it absolutely chilled me. Just look in his eyes. He's pure evil. He's death. He's like the poultry Rasputin. It's like the mug shot of a serial killer.

His black, soulless eye seems to be saying, "I didn't want to kill all those people, but I felt I owed it to them somehow. All that time I wished someone would have done the same for me."

RIP desmond dekker

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The defining of qualities

Rhombus. Noun. From the top of my head it's got four equal length sides, all parallel to one another. What makes it different from a square? Who the fuck cares.

But if I absolutely had to hazard a guess, it would be that there are no, count 'em ZERO, ninety degree angles up in that piece. Which is a pretty cool thing if you think about it. Oh, and from geometry class in 8th grade something deep in the folds of my ganglia (gangliatic folds?) says that angles on opposite facing corners are equal. Or something like that.

Don't ask me why I wrote that previous synopsis. I'd just been thinking about rhombuses (or rhombi) for a few days and how they are pretty damn cool words to have floating in one's brain. A hell of a lot better than "non-PO voucher" or "triaged" anyway.

But another thing I'd been thinking about is music criticism, especially the online variety. I just made my first ever iTunes purchase, Belle & Sebastian's If you're feeling sinister: live at the Barbican. I guess that album is somehow associated with many memories of yore--a sort of timecapsule of college back in the day. Seeing the positive reviews it had been garnering on many of the MP3 blogs, I figured I'd give it a whirl.

It's a good one, to be sure. But I had to wonder at all the reviews of the record. Time and time again, critics noted that the original If you're feeling sinister was a flawed piece, recorded in haste and without the proper production values that it should have deserved. But, perhaps in the end, this is what endeared the record to its audience: its quirks and "organicness" (organiquismo?) sort of tied the listener to the record itself. The background muted cough on one track; the dropping of some unnamed object on another. Doesn't the transparancy of a recording count for something? It just seems to me that these reviewers were looking for an excuse to capitalize on the fidelity of the new recording rather than to interpret it as a mouthpiece for the band's current fetishes. That being, chiefly, a louder sound, more bombastic and full (as bombastic as B&S will ever get, anyway).

Now I'm not saying this isn't a good record. I really like the fuller, lusher sound. And it's always nice to know that one is listening to a live recording--it just lends itself to the authenticity of it all ("Hey, these guys can actually play their instruments and sing coherently at the same time outside of a studio!"). "Me and the Major," from my limited listening, particularly stands out. The orchestration is more fleshed out than the original and the cicada-like buzzing in the background is no longer present. And though one can't help but compare this one with the original, studio affair, it just seems rather unfair and counterproductive to base the entire critique on a blow-by-blow recap, a quasi he-said she-said analysis.

(I think I should have just stuck with the rhombus subject matter. At least they can be categorized as squares and parallelograms if correctly constructed.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Is there really any question that Frontline is far and away the best TV show on? And that no one watches it? I just saw an episode about the sex trade in Moldova and Turkey and it was like the most hard hitting TV I've seen all year. Seriously, last week they had an amazing thing on AIDs/HIV which was also great. We watched a five part series on these two hick guys going through high school in rural West Virginia, Country Boys, all about how rural American really is (fucked up is how it is). I don't think I've ever seen a Frontline that was less than amazing.

And something tells me I'm the only guy with "Frontline" at the top of his Tivo season passes. Anyway, Tuesday nights. Also, many episodes online for free: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/view/

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

'Stroke Belt' cuisine

From the Sun-Sentinal

One of the most popular items on the menu at Mulligan's bar in suburban Decatur, Ga., is the "hamdog,'' a half-pound of hamburger meat wrapped around a hotdog, which is deep-fried and served on a hoagie topped with chili, bacon and a fried egg. The bar also offers the "Luther,'' a half-pound burger served with bacon and cheese on a Krispy Kreme donut, and, for dessert, fried Twinkies, two deep-fried Kap'n Crunch-coated Twinkies topped with chocolate and cherry sauce.

And here I thought that Kolaches were bad news...

The Da Vinci Code

80%--2 3/4 *s

Like everyone else, I went to see the Da Vinci code this weekend. I knew when it was Sunday at 4:30 and the theatre was nearly full that there was something going. When the black dudes with the fubu shirts and the doo rags came in and sat down to watch it, I also knew something was going on. Why is this book the only book that everyone in the country will read?

As the only member of the American population to not read this book, I came into with a kind of childlike innocence that most moviegoers did not. And I definitely think it helped my enjoyment of the film. Basically, it was a pretty average film overall. The big problem was that it was an entire book, yes, you guessed it, crammed into a movie like a fat chick in a tube top. There was lots of explication and back story about history and I knew when they went into the various councils (quiz for a cookie: what happened at the council of Chalcedon?) the Christian church held that yes, this probably was one of those things you just had to read. Also, Tom Hanks, as Rachel pointed out, is still not scholarly and bookish despite growing out his hair. It's like if they gave him a mustache and told him to play the role of a bond supervillian. No go.

Nevertheless, the thriller/mystery/puzzle element of the story is the draw here--the problem was that everyone in the audience already knew what was going to happen. As someone who didn't, that held up, it was fun to watch them solve all the puzzles. And that right there is why people hated the movie--there's little doubt that it probably did a lesser of a job explaining the same material than the book, but if you haven't read the book it still is pretty interesting. So for someone who had read the book it probably sucked. Thus explaining why a relatively entertaining film is dying with 22% on rottentomatoes, worse than RV or Poseidon. It's a pretty entertaining (if a little long) film if you haven't read the book, and I don't think fair that people come into it comparing it to the book exactly. Or maybe it is fair? I don't know.

Anyway, I'm also of the opinion that books should only be turned into movies once their creators are dead and can therefore have no say whatsoever in how it is slashed into a movie. I'm sure there have been good movies with their authors at the helm, but...

Monday, May 22, 2006

New awareness ribbon proposal

I don't think there are enough "Issue Awareness" ribbons and pins. Sure, everyone knows the red AIDS ribbon, and the various cancer awareness ribbons and wristbands, but I think it's time for a new one for a cause that's very important to me.

Please support obesity awareness by purchasing and wearing the obesity awareness ribbon. You can obtain one from the American Cancer Society, major retail stores or any Circle K.

Did I mention this ribbon is made of bacon? Because I want people to know that obesity is a real problem that can't be "wished" away, but to be faced, dealt with, and placed on toasted bread with lettuce and tomato.

Some real conditions and issues I found online that already have awareness ribbons:
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (which I have found you can pick at for hours)
  • Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome
  • Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome

It's all how you look at it.

Have you ever asked yourself, how much do me and my problems matter in this big ole crazy world?

Watch this video, and the answer will be revealed to you.


If, after watching the video and you still don't know, I recommend talking to your clergyman or get drunk or something.

Very informative piece

I usually read Pitchfork everyday to see what albums they review and who's touring, but their weekly features are usually just too obscure or some snarky interviewing of some snarky indie band for me to have any interest in reading them. Surprisingly, this week's feature, better than we know ourselves, is a very nice piece. Briefly, it investigates the use of internet 'music recommendation/radio' services like pandora and last.fm. It also talks about the services that are to come. I found it to be quite informative and would recommend reading it if you have the time for a 'longer' essay.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A bad day

You know you've got a bad day on your hands when you break the belt on your dryer and your car's windshield needs to be replaced because there's suddenly a huge fucking crack in it.

I Tivod Spoon playing on Austin City limits this weekend. They rock harder than I thought they would live.

Friday, May 19, 2006

This is Galactica-Actual

The power of the Internet brings you... somebody sketching the BSG cast as Simpsons characters!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Some Ghostface quotes

Here's some great Q & A from Ghostface Killah in the latest Onion A/V club

AVC: The Pretty Toney Album was credited to Ghostface, and Fishscale is credited to Ghostface Killah. What's the difference?

GK: It don't even matter. It's just names. People always get it twisted, you know, "Is this the Ghostface Killah?" Man, it's whatever-whatever, you can name me Shithead if you want. I don't give a fuck about all that. It's real, man. A name is a name, and I make music. My niggas know my voice even without the name. That's what it is.


AVC: You're one of the few rappers who have their own talking doll. How did that come about?

GK: I don't know. Some people in California just wanted to do a doll. We agreed to do it, I told them how I wanted it, with the gold on and the robes and everything, and we made a commitment and both agreed, and the action-figure doll should be coming out soon.


AVC: Do you think that's changing? Is there anyone coming along right now that you're excited about?

GK: No, fuck hip-hop. I ain't feeling that shit right now. I don't even listen to hip-hop. I just do this shit because I gotta feed my family.

AVC: What do you listen to?

GK: I listen to shit. I listen to old music, man.

AVC: Like soul music?

GK: Yeah, soul music.

AVC: Who are some of your favorite soul artists?

GK: [No answer.]


AVC: What's your writing process like?

GK: It ain't nothin', give me some good music, give me some peace of mind, somewhere it's quiet and decent, and that's it. I'm ready to write.

AVC: You just need some concentration?

GK: Yeah, and a clean place or whatever. That's it.


AVC: What was your life like before Wu-Tang Clan?

GK: I don't know. I was just like any other street nigga. I was robbing niggas, knocking niggas out, shooting niggas. That's how it was before Wu-Tang Clan. I'll do it again if I got to.

I just love picturing some nerdy white dude from the Onion interviewing Ghostface Killah, asking "Who are some of your favorite soul artists?" and Ghostface just staring him silently, thinking, "I could rip you in half right now if I wanted to."

Austin in Sept. anyone?

Hey y'all.

I just bought my Austin City Limits music festival tickets (Sept. 15-17). Not cheap per se ($140 total including fees and shipping), but when you consider the sheer number of bands that you can see over the course of 3 days, it ain't too bad either. Here are the highlights, in no particular order. (Actually I just sort of went top to bottom, left to right.)

(click here for full lineup)

Willie Nelson
The Flaming Lips
Cat Power
The New Pornographers
Wolf Parade
OLIVER F'ING MTUKUDZI (this is going to definitely rock)
Okkervil River
Ted Leo
The Shins
Iron and Wine

So what're you waiting for? I can hook up a place to stay. There are free buses all day long. Let me know...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"I'm Looking for Hot Chicks on Probation!"

was the first thing I heard on an area hip-hop station when I got in the car just now. After interviewing a hot chick who is--allegedly--on probation, they played Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'."

Os Cabritos da Montanha

I'd just like to share with y'all my newest music obsession. I have absolutely fallen head over heels for The Mountain Goats. Very recently I received their latest disc, The Sunset Tree, which, though much more finely produced (seemingly) than some of their predecessors, is truly an accomplishment. You can go on the internet and find enough gushings about them elsewhere, but I wanted to make sure to share one of my favorite tracks in while from their album, "This Year." I just find it quite inspiring, and ready-made for any sort of road trip you might take soon.

Also, here are two sites with plenty of live mp3 goodness and picture love to go around:
Mountain Goats dot net

3 beads of sweat records; photo page

Standard bitter love songs

Anyway, that's all I really wanted to say. Oh and they caused me to make my biggest music purchase in months: 3 compilation albums of earlier works (Ghana, Bitter Melon Farm, and Protein Source of the Future...Now!). It's cool though...$3 bucks shipping and $9.50 a CD from Moops music. I'm kind of liking the whole smaller online stores that are popping up. Suppose one must be careful and all that, but it's nice to get reasonable shipping rates for a change.

Networking; Friendster kind of sucks

I've been a member of Friendster for a while now. I think I first joined c. 2002, when I first got back from the Peace Corps. At the time it was pretty cool: I got to see what music was now hip, what TV shows to watch (Survivor was all the rage), even the cool ways to describe oneself in the "about me" section.

I think I've lost my Friendster love though.

Not that I'm a hater per se; it's just that the site has gotten kind of boring these days. It could be a simple function of time/age--i.e., I'm entering the age group now where people are more concerned with stupid stuff like making money and raising families and whatnot than to update the latest movies they have watched. I just find, time and time again, I log onto Friendster and, lo and frickin' behold, everything is the exact goddamn same as the last time I logged in. Basically the changes in the network in which I am entangled consist either of a) a relationship status change; b) a new picture or two; or c) somebody added an extra sentence in their "about me" section, leaving it looking exactly the same as last time.

I need more from my online social networking people.

I need drama, action, hostile takeovers, obscure Stuart Scott hatings-ons.

So I did the next logical thing: I joined MySpace. Now, I had long resisted MySpace's wares. All too often I would somehow find my ass, gone way link-awry long ago during a heated Internet surfing expedition, looking at MySpace user "BREAK U OFF SUMTHIN"'s profile and wondering how in God's name he ever got out of 9th grade with that grammar. It's almost an art form really; I think that internet 'speak' is a skill unto itself. Nonetheless, I can't read a frickin' thing on his page. Not only that, BREAK U OFF SUMTHIN has the most annoying background thing going on where the text bleeds indiscriminately into his background picture of him, shirtless, drinking a Miller Lite whilst flicking off the camera. And me.

But, I was restless in my Friendster-only state. I needed more. And my bro's fiancee invited me onto MySpace. Impetus enough, I say.

So now I'm on MySpace. It has its annoyances too, but I think I'm starting to dig on it a bit. I like the whole personalized home page background and it's much more inviting to actually COMMUNICATE with other users. The Friendster testimonial is a nice idea, but it doesn't cut it as the only way to publicly communicate with other members. Plus, those testimonials all follow the same damn format: either totally heaping on the saccharine and the bestest friend in the whole world bit, or nonsensical whimsy regarding the user's past as a secret agent or foray into menial labor. I suppose MySpace goes a little bit too much in the other direction with absolutely no emphasis on filtering or editing comments before they are posted. But at least there is actual communication between members. Which seems like the whole point in the first place.

I don't know. Maybe I'm getting too old for all of these things, but I find them to be somewhat entertaining and a decent way to spend a chunk of time each day. It just seems like maybe Friendster, though a good idea, sort of lost its edge with the whole younger crowd a while back. I also like that you can go to bands' websites and play their songs and whatnot. They certainly have the whole interactive element down much better than Friendster.

FriendSpace anyone?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mother's Day

A very positive, optimistic, and constructive feminine energy is washing over me this Mother’s Day, and I want to use this post to celebrate that force, give thanks to the parties responsible, and share it with whom ever may be reading.

This energy is most palpable in the actions, the behavior, the radiance and vibrations radiating from my wife. Everyday, as I watch her get closer to the birth of our first child, I am beginning to notice, not only the wonder and pleasure being a mother must be, but I am also beginning to recognize the power and significance of what it means to be a mother. And everyday as we walk the malls and see the hundreds of mothers and mothers to be, I feel like an overflowing cup filled with respect for what these women, have been through and what they will still do.

I think my awareness became most acute last week, as my wife and I sat through a seven-hour birthing class. I am a bit embarrassed to confess my ignorance here about the entire birthing process, but I think this confession maybe valuable, to readers, to empathize what a really immense act birth really is. I think too often we, as men, assume that since it is such a common occurrence that it is straightforward, simple and easy, and so we fail to give it the esteem and admiration it deserves. After years of watching Hollywood trips to the hospital, I assumed that birth was a three to four hour process that involved indescribable pain, as the baby made its way out of the birth canal, but that it was a relatively short process. You are in pain. You push, “Like shitting a watermelon they say” and it’s over. Sure that sounds painful and horrifying, but after the baby pops out it the pain is over. I didn’t realize how far before the actual delivery the pain began. You thought a few hours and that’s it? That is not the case! The average labor probably takes anywhere from ten to fifteen hours. As the labor contractions begin, the mother feels, as the birthing teacher said, “The most excruciating cramps you can imagine.” Each contraction occurs every three to four minutes, lasting about a minute each, for ten hours. There is not a single man I know, myself included, who has the maturity, the will power, the dedication to go through this process. So, next time you are walking down the street and you see a women with a child just imagine the unbelievable experience she has been through. I for one have a whole new respect for what we pathetically call the “weaker sex.”

Which brings me to my hypotheses: The world is so messed up because men have ignorantly taken the reins. And because masculinity is emotionally weak, insecure, afraid and jealous of the feminine strength, we rely on violence, machismo and juvenile, immature exhibitions of physical strength to try and prove that we are somehow more powerful. When in reality, I am beginning to see that most wars, most conflicts, and religions are rooted in the inability of men to respect and acknowledge that women are far superior to men. Period! At some point we men realize that women do not really need us. Sure we are vital to creating a life, but after that we could disappear and the mother would have no problem, at least biologically, raising the child. But give a man a newborn and ask him to raise the child alone in nature, and it is a nearly impossible feat. I think this realization, coupled with the fact that we cannot truly understand the nuisance of pregnancy and birth, results in men turning to violence to try and compensate for our insecurities and feelings of inadequacies.

The dogma of most major religions only emphasizes my point. The fact that the bible tells us that God is punishing all women for Eve’s need to educate herself would be comical, if it wasn’t so sad. Before there was one paternal God there was Gaia, the Mother of all creation. I say that we need to return to the celebration of the power of the feminine, and return to the worship of our mothers. It is in the womb of Mother Earth herself, and her ability to birth and nurture, where we will find our salvation.

It is in this midst of this fostering feminine force that I find myself these days. After seeing my wife getting ready for this tremendous feat, I have been looking back and reassessing all the mothers and women I have known, starting with my own. I now realize that she too was in a hospital for ten hours, sweating, crying, pushing and loving me as I made my way into this world. I realize that not a day has gone by since, that she hasn’t thought about me, not a day that she hasn’t loved me more than anything else in her life. I have been thinking about my grandmother and how she birthed and raised six children, one after the other, in a time and country where I can assure that the feminine was not being worshipped. (Since the arrival of Moses, Christ, or Mohammad there are fewer and fewer places where one can worship the goddess.) I have been thinking about my grandmother’s strength, as well as the strength of all the mothers I know.

So in closing, I want to say thank you to every mother out there who may be reading this. Thank you for your love, your dedication, your sacrifice, the pain you have endured- not because you are being punished by a vengeful masculine God, but because it is through this pain where we form the bonds that result in love. Thank you for the love you have given, your ability to put up with your husbands, your sons, your brothers, all the while knowing that you are our salvation. I see mothers all over the world, tired, mistreated, lonely, and under appreciated, and I say thank you!

On this Mother’s day, I want to say thank you and I love you, not only to my wonderfully brave and loving wife, but also to my mother, my grandmother, my aunts, my mother-in-law, Twinkle, Cort, Teresa, Lacy, too all women, and of course to Gaia, whose name is the root of the little mother growing in the womb that is partly made up of me…

I will sing of
well-founded Gaia,
Mother of All,
eldest of all beings,
she feeds all creatures
that are in the world,
all that go upon the goodly land
and all that are in the paths of the sea,
and all that fly:
all these are fed of her store.

--Homeric Hymn, 7th Century B.C.

Please feel free to share this with as many mother's as you can!
Don’t worry dad’s I will have an equally supportive post on father’s day!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Does anyone else find this press exchange between Hideki Matsui and Joe Torre odd? So he breaks his wrist in a game after playing a million straight games and in typical Japanese fashion, apologizes:

"Due to this injury, I feel very sorry and, at the same time, very disappointed to have let my teammates down," Matsui said in a statement. "I will do my best to fully recover and return to the field to help my team once again."

Now, to me, the sane move here by Torre in response is to say "Hey man, don't worry about it, you busted your ass for this team and you've got nothing to apologize for." Instead, this being the Yankees institution, he accepts the apology:

"It's all about responsibility -- what he thinks his responsibility is to this team, this organization, because the Yankees committed to him and he feels it's a two-way street in that regard," Torre said. "He's done that before here, where he's made an error, he's come up and apologized to me."

That's right Joe, I'm glad you accepted his apology for his error in selflessly sacrificing his body for the team. That's very good of you.

Get Your Cart Around This...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


You know what? The claims of their packaging aside, Seagram's Extra Dry is not, in fact, "The Perfect Gin."

Also-- fuck ESPN.com. Anybody worth reading is pretty much locked behind the Insider vault (I fully expect Bill Simmons to arrive there shortly). And even if I were willing to pay for that content, there's no way to purchase a subscription without *also* getting The Magazine. The place I lived last year had a subscription and the only thing really worth reading was Simmons column, which takes us back to the beginning of this paragraph.

In conclusion, Fuck the Man.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Random images from blogs

So I ran across THIS today, which, for me, is the ultimate intrigue-athon. Nothing like random people putting up really random ass pics. My favorites this morning were all the Garfield cartoons translated into Russian or some language with a Cyrillic alphabet. Now there are a lot of party pictures involving sombreros and confetti. So wake up early and give 'er a go is the moral, I suppose.

The next summer blockbuster

Movie idea:

The President of the United States is murdered by a serial killer at a fourth of July celebration. One by one, members of his Cabinet and Congress (according to the order of presidential succession) fall victim to the same killer: from Vice President, Speaker of the House, Secretary of Defense, and so on. All the while, the killer taunts the detective (and his rookie partner) with phone calls and letters to newspapers. This continues all summer long.

Finally, when the last successor is killed, the killings suddenly stop. The detective closes the case and retires.

Who was the killer? We never find out. And that's the frustrating part about living in a bureaucratic morass like America.

Career Counseling

I just recently played through Killer 7 for the Gamecube. It's a total mindfuck that sees you, at various points, hang out with a decapitated schoolgirl (who gives you crucial powerups), play chess with Satan, foil a plot to use the US Electoral College to give Japan two Senate seats, and kill the world's biggest importer/exporter.

Yes, you murder Art Vandelay (which is actually a good idea, because right before you go after him he blows up a stadium full of people).

So that's all fine. The problem is that now I really, really want to be an assassin. I want to eliminate people in cold blood at the will of the highest bidder. I want to wear dark suits with pointy lapels and black ties. I want to have touseled hair. I want to carry an oversized revolver in a ridiculously anime pose that would probably result in me accidentally shooting my own head off. I want to be involved in conspiracies upon conspiracies upon conspiracies, preferably involving dark and sordid pasts that we'd believed all but buried.

Anybody hiring? I'm a quick study.

Monday, May 08, 2006

New summer 'dos

Summer has arrived, and I think you all know what that means: Just as fall signaled the new Rachel hairstyle, May 1 through Labor Day is your ticket to the latest Guy Tarkington cuts. This summer, the haircut catch phrases will be:

The "Arthur", aka the Beatles mop-top. Also, be on the lookout for hip urbanites like Guy Tarkington in Beatle boots. You'll be more popular than Jesus!

The Ivy League: All the gals at the office will just go ga-ga over this one!

The Crew Cut: All this world needs is a little delousing.

Side-locks: Popular among Orthodox Jews, but Guy Tarkington thinks it's time to share with the rest of us. Note to you machinery operators- you might want to tuck them into a hairnet before you report to work, I saw a guy nearly get his head pulled off by that sumbitch.

A letter to the editor

So we got a water delivery service where every two weeks or so, Sparkletts comes to our house and swaps out our 5 gallon empty H2O bottles for filled ones. It's a decent price: $6.29 per bottle, which is more expensive than the stores but I don't mind paying that for the convenience.

We get our first bill. It's too high. I wonder what the problem is. Seems that instead of $6.29 per bottle, they've been charging us $9.29.


I call and inform "Mary" that our contract stipulates that we're to pay $6.29 per bottle. Easy. I'll even fax you the damn thing to prove it.

So I send it Friday morning. I call late after noon and Mary still hasn't received my fax. OK...I guess it'll just get there Monday.

Today, Monday, I get a voicemail from Mary. She says, in essence, thank you for the fax. Can you please call me back to finalize out the details of this? I don't see why, but, hell, what's a guy to do but call her back?

So I call and give my phone number 3 times at different stages that I am who I y'am. Finally get ahold of Mary. She has to re-check that the price discrepancy was what I wanted Sparkletts to change.

Of course that's what I wanted to change. Did I have to call you back just for this? I ask her what would've happened had I not called back. Would my issue been solved?

She: "Oh yes, sir, it would have been solved. I just would have had to cross my fingers and hope that what I was processing was the right thing. Thank you for calling sir."

b) She wouldn't have done ANYTHING had I not called her this last time.

I know it's been like this for a while, but it always irks me when the customer has to be so ridiculously proactive to get anything done at all. And, usually, the errors are the company's fault to begin with! Ridiculous. How do we, as consumers, put up with shit?

Anger Management

Whenever I get really angry with someone, I find that it helps to sit down and write a letter to the person I'm angry with. In it, I give myself permission to feel the intense emotions that made me angry and confront the person with the most accusatory, hateful, and vile words I never knew I was capable of.

Afterwards, when I have calmed down, I address an envelope, affix proper postage and mail the letter to the person. Problem solved.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oh the hyperbole!

Some choice quotes from Bill Walton, starting about 5:00 2nd quarter, Mavs vs. Spurs. I'm not bagging on him--he just gives some great snippets:

BW: "I'm concerned about the inexplicable de-volution of Manu Ginobili."

Other announcer: "De-volution?"

BW: "That guy is one of the best players in the whole world and he's only got 4 points so far.


BW: Stackhouse is acting like he's the greatest player in the whole world; every shot he takes he acts like it's going down, and he's right!


BW: I'm perplexed though by Manu Ginobili; he's not a role player. He's capable of being a big player on the greatest of teams.


BW: (on Tony Parker) What patience; what deliberation; what talent!


BW: A turnover; carelessness for Dallas!


BW: I concur that Jawan is doing a much better job in this half, he's playing hard, saying: "I'm coming at you Timmy."


BW: They might want to tell the Dallas Mavericks that Manu Ginobili is left-handed and will continue to be so throughout the day.


BW: The old knee to the stationary defender--always an effective ploy.

ask why asshole

So I just finished watching Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. I was in the process reminded that Arnold Schwarzenegger is governer of California and that G. W. Bush still makes decisions for our country's financial well-being.

South Africa sounds nicer every day. No corruption, poverty, or racial inequity there!


I had a thought this evening. Not that interesting of one, but, hey. I was watching the Bravo presentation of Gangs of New York, which is a decent film but especially a good period piece.

It occured to me that the US psyche/media really only focuses popular culture historical pieces on the last 50 years or so (WWII being about the limit). Ok, so all you readers out there know that there are millions of books outside this period, but that's really not what I'm talking about here. Compare that to French, British and other films/TV and the like that are frequently set in vastly differing periods of their own history--we seem to have cut off the entire part of US history that preceeds WWII in our mainstream cultural presentations. Even what should be fertile ground for heavy pro-Americanism, the revolutionary war, is generally not tread too often (The Patriot?). I wonder why... While I understand that the Spanish-American war or our ass kicking in the war of 1812 are not really absorbing pop culture, there were plenty of cultural things going on at the time and the like.

Actually, nevermind. This whole post is retarded. I just remembered the fetishism associated with the Old West and gold rush in pop culture. The real question is do I go ahead with this totally inaccurate post and hit publish post?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Motorways and tramlines

I've been listening to OK computer all week. I was listening to Paranoid Android in the shower when it suddenly occured to me--this song actually had significant MTV rotation presence and also on the radio... I'm not going to make any bold pronouncements or anything, but Paranoid Android is an exceptionally non-radio song, even by radiohead or ok computer standards; the multipart opera thing going on, the unusual instrumentation and the lyrics in general.

It's pretty hard to believe this was on the radio and they had an (incredibly bizarre cartoon) video for this 10 years ago that people actually heard and saw.

Tim Burton groupies

I dreamed that I was at an outdoor music festival which Tim Burton and his band was performing.

When I came across Burton walking between stages, I stopped him to ask for a photograph with him. He was about six and a half feet tall and wore a bizarre mask of himself.

A teenager approached him and asked for a photograph. I remarked that he had a large following, and asked him what his groupies were called. He said they were called “Tonies”. I quipped, “At least they’re not called Burtonheads”, which he thought was wholly original and hilarious.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My dog

I love my dog.
He is so cool.
His name is Jack.
He is a ball of furry delight!
Sometimes, he barks.
Other times, he shreds my skin with his teeth!
Ouch! That hurt.
Bad dog!
Then I throw a ball.
"Go get it Jack!" I say.
He rolls around in some poop and comes back,
I tell him, "Good boy!"
He has a new dogtag.
It is red and shaped like a heart.
Because Jack is a pussy.



Help! I’ve lost my sense of humor. I had it just a few months ago, and now as I look around, it is nowhere to be found. My mind is filled with thoughts about the early Christian church and it’s lingering affects on today’s world, the war in Iraq, the revolution in Nepal, the immigrant boycotts, and the eminent bombing of my homeland (Iran).

But alas, no wit, no sarcasm, no creativity, if you happen to see what happened to my sense of humor, please send it to 05-06 Bayu Condo in Malaysia.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Great Googly Moogly!

By now I'm sure most of you have seen, or at least heard of, Stephen Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondents' dinner. It was pretty tight. [Ed. note: links here, here, and here]

All I wanted to add is this: Valerie Plame is hot! Does everyone in the diplomatic corps bat way above their weight?

Who is Guy Tarkington?

Some people are wondering who Guy Tarkington is. If you had read the press materials, you would know that:

When Guy Tarkington makes a decision, he stands by it.

Guy Tarkington wears Birkenstocks with white athletic tube socks.

When people laugh at Guy Tarkington for his choice of footwear, he laughs with them, and near them.

Guy Tarkington has had a lifelong struggle with weight issues.

Guy Tarkington thinks that national re-education camps are a good idea, if it's done right.

Guy Tarkington doesn't back away from a fight, unless it involves a bear.

Guy Tarkington, in money matters, uses a dollar sign, $ , in place of an "S" to drive the point home.

Guy Tarkington wants to fill the world with silly love songs. And what's wrong with that?