August 2006 Archives

the last super bowl post ever

I keep a list of topic ideas for this page. As time has passed, I've plucked out all the easy ones. Remaining are ideas like "write a post about your history with profanity, but don't use any profanity in the post" that seemed like a good idea at the time, that I've even attempted to write, but that have never made it to this page. Among those dregs is one last Super Bowl post. It ain't exactly getting more topical, so lemme slip it in before the next season begins.

• • •

Even before kickoff, the Super Bowl was my worst time ever at a football game. I missed the fans. The people of Detroit were lovely, but they weren't there to cheer for their team. Yeah, there were scads of visiting fans, but it's not the same. They didn't tailgate. They didn't focus on any traditional hubs. With nowhere to go, they hung out in the dozen or so downtown bars. For five days. If you were lucky enough to get a table, maybe it was fun, but I was never so lucky.

Worse, the fans were outnumbered by merchants and media. Think about the effect of that on pre-game buzz. They didn't care about us or the game; their focus was elsewhere. There was little atmosphere, nothing that suggested that even a high school game was about to be be played, let alone the biggest game in American sports.

I went to the NFL's main event, FanFest. I paid $15 admission and waited outside for an hour, only to discover that most of the exhibits inside were merely selling memorabilia. (Thanks. Most of the people outside are doing that, too.)

On game day, I got to my seat early because I wanted to see the ballyhooed Stevie Wonder/Joss Stone pregame concert. And there they were, standing around the 40 yard line. They stood there for a good 20 minutes, chatting with Teamsters. Strangest concert entrance ever. And then suddenly some music started, and they were introduced by the TV announcer, and they took to the stage to frantically play one song. The one song. When the one song was over, they abruptly stopped and strolled off the field as the Teamsters tore down the stage used for the one song. There was no applause from the 70,000 people present, nor did it seem like there should be. We were not there. It was a strange sensation, being ignored, but there was no denying that we were merely onlookers, an incidental audience at best.

When the game ended, the Teamsters rushed out on the field and constructed a celebration podium. 50 yards away from it, massive amounts of confetti soon fell from the ceiling. "Good planning," I thought. And then I saw the result on TV, and I thought it was the perfect microcosm of my experience being at the Super Bowl.

What I saw in the stadium:

super bowl xl 200.png

How it looked on TV:


Moral: if you want to be a part of the experience, stay home and watch the Super Bowl on TV.

whose eulogy is this, anyway?

I've been through my share of awkward conversations with friends. The "don't you think you might be drinking too much?" conversation. The "where'd this bruise come from?" chat. The "just because you've decided to stop being a lesbian doesn't mean I've suddenly stopped seeing you as one" potboiler. The "I'm not sure I'm cut out to be married" post-affair exposé. Heck, every other conversation with Dorkass leads to her asking "And you think it's healthy, not having any interest in a relationship?"

But nothing prepared me for what Lynn said to me last weekend, when she asked me to give the eulogy at her funeral. Mind you, Lynn is several decades from dying, so this was a bit unexpected. And a hideously unpleasant thought. I still can't bring myself to think about summing up my friend's life, not while it's still a work in progress.

I asked her why she was tapping me now. "Well," said my former boss, "I know how long it takes you to write something you hate writing, so I thought I'd give you a head start."

my renewal of faith

I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night, a candle glows.
I believe for everyone who goes astray, someone will come to show the way.
I believe, I believe.
I believe above the storm the smallest pray'r will still be heard.
I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word.
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry, or touch a leaf or see the sky,
Then I know why I believe.

when reality and blog collide

Dorkass and Frank Frank visited this weekend, and on their way here and back they suffered the drivers who, sadly, I deal with every day. Slow drivers. Weaving. Oblivious. Slamming on the brakes for no reason. "Stupid Metamuville drivers," Dorkass recounted later.

Thing is, she didn't use my town's real name. She actually said "Metamuville." I'm not sure what this means, but it ain't good.

survivors 14-20

"What's Survivor going to do next to crassly manufacture publicity?" I snorted self-righteously. "One tribe composed of children, the other of pedophiles?"

It was then that Katrina hit upon a pretty good idea, kind of a Survivor/30 Days hybrid in which traditionally warring camps take to the Survivor beaches. Pro-choice and pro-life tribes. Rednecks and crystal-gripping hippies. Israeli settlers and Hezbollah. Shiites and Sunnis. Red Sox fans and Yankee fans.

We could even issue the contestants a gun instead of a flint. Is it just me, or would this make for vastly more compelling television than seeing Asians take on Hispanics in a tug-of-war?

The latest Survivor, as I'm sure you've heard, is splitting tribes along four ethnic lines: white, black, Asian and Hispanic. For the last week, the media's been filled with producer Mark Burnett's desperate flame-fanning. It's the most controversial Survivor yet! we're told. We've always been criticized for not being diverse, so how do you like our solution?


Yeah, it's tasteless and probably socially harmful, but that's not what bothers me. Commercial exploitation of race and racism—that bothers me. Sensationalize something else for ratings, please. Not since record labels introduced us to commercialized pedophilia in the late 90s has something so cynical been foisted upon us in the name of entertainment. I didn't watch teenage Britney rub her crotch on a camera lens then, and I ain't watching the Survivors' inevitable, staged Month Two epiphany about "how people are just people" now.

oy vey, maria

jpgI humbly submit that Maria Sharapova forfeited the right to make proud substance-over-style commercials the day she covered herself with sand and posed with her elbows back for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Pity poor, misunderstood Maria. Truly a victim of us all.

Not that this ad can't be made—it just can't be made by an athlete who's shilled her own prettiness in Maxim. Michelle Wie or Sue Bird comes to mind.

Plus the kid in the elevator creeps me the hell out.

My dog, Ed, is nearly 12. She's a former athlete well past her prime, and I'd long since concluded that her adventures were behind her. This is, after all, a dog who can no longer get out of bed unassisted some days, let alone jump into the back of my Jeep. My lifting Ed around is something with which we've both had to get comfortable in her dotage.

I was wrong. Ed had one more spectacular in her.

Yesterday, Dirt and his buddy Jim came over to my house to fish for salmon. I remained in the house, preparing dinner, while they went to the beach stairs.

"No, Ed," Dirt told her as he locked the gate at the top of the stairs. "Not this time." And then he saw a black and white blur shoot past his side. Ed had decided to leap for the staircase.

"Krypto the Superdog there bloody launched herself off the cliff, trying to clear the railing and land on the stairs," Jim recounted later. "She missed by about eight feet."

edsleap_sm.JPGSo if one misses the staircase, you might ask, where exactly would one land? An excellent question, one I wish the retard in question had considered. It's a precipice. Straight down for ninety feet. No one could survive this fall.

Dirt and Jim didn't even have time to vocalize before it was over. Tumbling, scratching, occasionally grazing earth, Ed reached the bottom in seconds.

"How fast was she going?" I asked.

"About ((32 feet per second) per second)," Dirt replied, his eyes still wide with disbelief. "And then she landed in sand, shook it off, and started prancing around the beach like it was all a part of the plan. She was chasing our lures into the water for an hour. Which, ironically, is what I was closing the gate to prevent."

It's 14 hours later at this writing, and Ed is resting in her bed, which she needed help exiting just now. Goldbrick.

i completely forgot this travesty

No list of things I dislike about the Steelers could be complete without their hideous, asinine scoreboard. First of all, just look at the thing. That might look like the side of a Hoboken League race car, but it's a giant rectangular jumbotron, surrounded and dwarfed by ads. This colossal eyesore dominates the stadium.

heinz field scoreboard

It gets worse. Much worse. See the stupid ketchup bottles? Whenever the Steelers cross the 20 yard line, the bottles' caps open, the bottles tilt, and "ketchup" "pours" into the jumbotron, which fills with red and welcomes you to the "Heinz Red Zone."

heinz field scoreboard heinz red zone

Egad. Someone posted a clip of it.

Why in my day, you had to sweat buckets until Monday morning in order to get one of these magical things. Uphill, both ways.

dear stan klanders

For lack of any other inspiration—would W kindly speak off-script to some reporters soon?—I shall answer random mail from trolls.

David: yes, Dirt and I are still coming to Iowa for the Ohio State game. I canceled my Pittsburgh/Austin trip, though, as the whole point was to see the Steelers' ring ceremony, which ended up taking place in April. Little did I know that the other game on that trip, Ohio State at Texas, would end up being #1 against #2. Oops. Let's hope Ohio State is still #1 by the time I see them in Iowa City.

Erica: flyless boxers. At about two weeks without doing laundry, I wriggle into some high-school era tidy whities, which fit really interestingly now.

Beyonce: yes. Oh sweet God in heaven, yes.

Rachel asks what I do to combat depression. First of all, I don't drink. I figure the last thing your body needs when you're depressed is a depressant. I cut out caffeine, too, hoping doing so will help with sleeping. Then I pop in "The Ref" DVD. That gleefully hateful movie has never failed to snap me out of the bluest funk.

Browns fan Dan asks if there's anything I dislike about the Steelers. You might think this difficult to answer, but it's really not. I think monogamous sports fans spend almost as much time resenting their team as they do loving them. For starters, I dislike Heinz Field. I hate its dinky, crammed, mustard yellow seats. And who thought buffalo wings were a good football stadium food? Who are they, and where do they think all those bones are going? I dislike Steeler fans' zealous preoccupation with the quarterback. I hate whatever inferiority complex compels them to whine endlessly about not getting any respect from the national media. I could go on. I won't.

Sick of me writing about football? Me too. Ask me about something else.

30 days

At one level, it's impossible to dislike Morgan Spurlock's TV series "30 Days." It's warm-hearted. It's affirming. People can learn, it tells us; if only you nudge them, they will grow and change. When they're forced to live with their opposite for 30 days, their horizons will stretch, their bigotries fall. It's a great message. It gives me warm tinglies.

It's also a lie.

The first thing I noticed was a predictable pattern to the epiphanies. You will find a skeptic who comes to embrace alternative fuels, New Age philosophy, or the like, but you will not ever see, say, an atheist who lives with Christians and turns her heart over to the Lord. Despite professions to the contrary, the show is simply not interested in exploring neutrality. The deck is stacked to promote an agenda, and time and again, Spurlock deals himself a winning hand.

I actually appreciate "voice" in entertainment. The Daily Show, for instance, pulls it off expertly. Without self-consciousness, they imbue their work with an overtly liberal point of view, and it lends to their observations a philosophical candor and ethos that I adore. I can't recall ever thinking that the Daily Show strained to mislead me. My trust earned, I simply listen to the message. And when they criticize the left, it carries the weight of angry introspection. Their voice gives the material real depth and credibility.

30 days frank armida30 Days, on the other hand, feigns objective neutrality. Despite the fact that we can predict the outcome when we first hear the premise—gee, I wonder if the gun-toting border patroller will soften toward the plight of illegal immigrants?—Spurlock insists on going through the motions. Deception, however well meant, undercuts his message,

And the show flat-out cheats. I grimaced when, while demonstrating how hard it is to live on minimum wage for 30 days, both Spurlock and his wife "required" expensive emergency room care, for a cold and a sore wrist. Convenient, that contrivance. Thesis-affirming, even. Worse, though, are the cut-aways. Watch the epiphanies carefully. Look at how they're cut together. You'll find that the speaker is often off-screen and you're watching the "reaction" of someone else. If Survivor has taught me anything, it's that this signals a distortion. After the immigration episode, I was so suspicious of the border patrol guy's awkwardly edited change-of-heart that I went to the Internet and found interviews in which he accused the show of exactly the distortions I suspected.

Whether or not I was right is immaterial. As I tell my students, "if I have to go to the library to see if you plagiarized, you're already in trouble." I distrust the show. I distrust whether what I'm seeing is true. And that's a shame, 'cause the message is important and there's some great material in there. At times, the show achieves the critical-thought-as-theatre to which it aspires, and that's when it works best. The family of illegals, for example, is spectacularly loving and hard-working, a credit to any nation. Their plight needed no embellishment, but it was certainly diminished by it.

It's time for Spurlock to unstack the deck and demonstrate a little faith in his worthwhile convictions. His convictions will thank him.

• • •

I'd like to thank Mr. Spurlock for compelling me to search immigration-related web sites, which inevitably led me to the virulent, poisonous "anti" crowd. Yeesch. Those illiterate, hate-spewing bigots are truly the dregs of humanity, and I forever lost brain cells for being exposed to them. Thanks, Morgan.

removing a blockage

This page is at a bit of a crossroads. On the one hand, we have a page whose theme is "one misanthrope's discomfort in this world." On the other hand, that misanthrope has recently restructured his entire life, predicating it on his own comfort. What to write about? How beautiful the weather is? How beautiful it was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before? I liked Hornby's book okay. The grilled chicken I made yesterday was okay. The job is going okay. The Steelers looked okay. Ed the dog is okay. Okay, okay, okay.


Annette says my muse needs me to come in to Redmond more often and fill up on hostility. I think Annette is being self-serving, but that doesn't make her wrong. "When there's an endless flow of peachy-keen days, it's hard for even the best to come up with something to talk about," she says.

So this week, I travel to Redmond to conference-call with a team in the Middle East. That ought to do it.

• • •

Much has been written about Mel Gibson's recent psychosis, and far be it from me to pile on two weeks late. Instead, I'm going to express my grudging admiration for the man. Who among us, drunk off our butt and being stuffed into the back of a squad car, would be able to correctly identify the arresting officer as Jewish? His Jewdar is finely tuned indeed. Most impressive.

who's on first?

It started with an innocent question. She asked me why the announcer had referred to a player as a "nickel back."

"Well, on defense there's ordinarily four guys in the backfield, which is what we call the players who cover the other team's receivers. In situations where they figure the other team is going to pass the ball, they'll often add a fifth guy to the backfield. That's called a 'nickel' defense, and we call him the 'nickel' back. Five...nickel...get it?"

She got it.

"So a 'dime' defense is 10 players in the backfield?"

"No, no, they never play 10. A 'dime' defense is 6 guys. And a 'quarter' defense is 7 defensive backs."

"That makes no sense."

No, I suppose it doesn't. "So anyway, the sixth guy is called the 'dime back.'"

"Right. And the seventh guy is called the 'quarter back.'"

"No, he's only on offense. The seventh guy is just called the seventh defensive back."

"The nickel and dime backs are on defense, but the quarterback's just on offense?"

"Right. Entirely different position."

"That makes no sense. The quarterback's not in the backfield?"

"Yes, but he's in the offensive backfield, with the halfback and the fullback."

She sighed. I braced for the inevitable. "Is the halfback half as big as the fullback and twice the size of the quarterback?"

She's right. This makes no sense.

weekend off

I'm a shut-in this weekend. Reading, cooking, watching preseason football. None of these activities lend themselves to compelling posts, or even my usual quality. See you tomorrow.

stupid hollywood tricks

This Kevin Smith clip fascinated me. Here, the "Clerks" writer-director answers a student's question about his experience writing an early draft of the latest Superman film. As moronic as you think those who green-light films are, they're worse.

Note that Jon Peters' IMDB profile suggests that he's illiterate.

percy, we hardly knew ye

If I'm asked this once a day, I'm asked it, um, one time. "Where's Percy? Write more about Percy!"

Alas, Percy is keeping to himself this summer. I see him mow his lawn every three weeks, and the other day he brought me some mail that had been mistakenly delivered to his house. That is it. That's the sum of our interactions this summer. There's nothing anecdote-worthy to share.

Maybe I should poke him with a stick.

clearcut stereotypes

It just dawned on me that I've never pissed off Native Americans or Australian Aborigines in this space. Next!

• • •

My favorite means of travel is the road trip. One of the road trips I'm considering undertaking is enormous: circumnavigating Australia. If not circumnavigating, then at least criss-crossing the continent. Toward that end, I'm reading a book called Driving Tours: Australia. I read this passage yesterday:

Land to Aboriginal people is not something to be owned, but an integral part of life which is to be deeply respected and cared for. Europeans understood nothing of this.
It struck me that this is how every native people are characterized, regardless of continent. Not that colonial Europeans weren't rapists, and not that it's even untrue, but what are the odds that the natives in every continent but Europe uniformly walked barefoot in the grass, chewing granola and holding hands with Mother Nature? Weren't any indigenous peoples complete fuckers?

The book's saintly description could easily have been written about Native Americans, of course. That's what first struck me. And then I set down my book and drove into town, past the Indian casino. (A note for international readers: Native Americans still call themselves "Indians" when they're marketing themselves.) And I saw that in a single day, they'd clear-cut hundreds of beautifully forested acres abutting Metamuville Road. It looks like photos of Nagasaki circa August 1945.

Nauseous, I stopped at the reservation to ask what the devastation was about. "That's our new trailer park," a Casino-Owning American replied.

"Would it have killed you to have left, like, a tree?"

The Clearcutting American shrugged. "That's progress."

Maybe Native Americans walked with nature before Europeans got here. Maybe they learned about "progress" from Europeans. Maybe the white man forced them into an economic corner where they had to open casinos and devastate the environment. I'll grant all that. But the saintly, popular stereotype? Forfeited. To me, it's as dead as old growth timber.

the search of unintelligent life

AOL accidentally published the queries users entered into its search engine, right down to identifying groups of queries made by the same user. The results are at times offensive, at times hilarious, at times terrifying.

Me, I like the ones that tell a story, like the woman who went from a snoring husband to an online flirtation to a hotel room to an unhappy ending. And surely I'm going to hell for laughing at the girl who asks AOL Search if it's normal to make a guy breakfast after he date-rapes you.

With all due respect to the perverts and racists (who are clearly trying to use shocking language—for whose entertainment, I don't even want to know), for my money, the most offensive queries are from the people searching for evidence that God hates who they hate.

is [sic] hip hop and rap music a form of satanism?

is buddism satanism?

the bible doesn't approve a woman running for president

And my favorite:
the bible says that spending too much time on the computer is a sin
Here's your link. Be warned, this is offensive stuff.

Link courtesy of Jen.

"What the Fucking Fuck?" awards 

  peter bergen

Says historian Peter Bergen about al Qaeda:

"Like Tourette's Syndrome, they keep killing Muslim civilians."

the atlantic groan

My most trusted source of news makes me groan. The Atlantic is the most thorough, agendaless magazine I've ever read, yet when it arrives in my mailbox, I whimper. Why? Because I am a slow reader, and because this is a magazine in which articles end only when they're damned well ready, if not a good deal later than that. I groan because I know I'm going to be slogging through some brilliant but interminable articles.

These last two issues, though, I've laughed at the cover. The first arrived the day after al Zarqawi was killed, and the cover featured him as "America's deadliest enemy in Iraq." It's every magazine editor's dream come true to have on the shelves for two months a cover story that's been overtaken by current events. For an encore, they cranked out this week's prophetic cover:


It's actually a great article, about how al Qaeda's greatest victories are what we've done to ourselves, reactively, and how we need to wrap up the "war on terror" rhetoric. Pity no one will read it.

rss enterprise

RSS, for those of you who don't know, is a standard that allows you to subscribe to web sites. You fire up a program called an RSS reader and it displays all the latest posts from the web sites to which you subscribe. It's been around for a while. In fact, my painful refit 14 months ago was to make this site RSS-compatible.

But personally, I hated using RSS. I want to see content in the web site for which it was intended, not as plain text in some reader. I've recently changed my mind. Google changed it. They got RSS right.

As part of their excellent toolbar (which I installed for its spell-checking feature—it allows you to spell-check forms in your web browser, like blog or discussion group postings), they include a Subscribe button. When a web site is RSS-compatible, the button is active. Click it, and you subscribe to the site. This is nothing new. What is new: it shows you all the content to which you subscribe in newspaper headline form, on the Google web page. You can display headlines for news, sports, weather, stocks, movies, blogs, your own email—the possibilities are endless—any time you open Google. Which is a lot. I made it my home page, and it's completely changed how I surf.

queer as uppity

Speaking of "queer," I miss using that word. It's a fantastic, irreplaceable verb. I still try to use it, but people stare.

Honest to God, if you queer this deal for me, I'm never speaking to you again.
In this usage it has nothing to do with orientation, of course. It came to be synonymous with gayness, but I refuse to let it go entirely. Same with the adjective "uppity." A fantastic word. It got abused by racists, though, and now it too is ruined. This is tragic. Those uppity rednecks queered another perfectly good word. Would it kill them to co-opt ghastly words like "penal" or "prostrate" that everyone's afraid to use anyway?

• • •

Sometimes I wonder what would happen to this site if I were to die. It would stay up for no more than six months, and then it would disappear, and the url would eventually be purchased by some stupid gambling site. Not so with When its author passed, his sister (and probationary Stank troll) Val guessed his password and rescued his engaging, bristling blog. Those of us who had blogs a few years before 2004 feel a certain kinship, as do those of us who can't resist poking at hornets' nests. I wish our paths had crossed.

do kids still play "smear the queer?"

Smear the Queer was one of the great elementary school playground games of all time. The rules, as I recall, were sublime. There was a ball. Whoever had the ball got the ever-lovin' crap beaten out of him by everyone else. That was the game. I had no idea why one would want to catch the ball, given rule of law, and I had less idea why he was called a "queer" when other words sooner came to mind, like "moron." But oh, in my chrysalis state I did enjoy whoopin' his ass. Very much. Yes.

Do kids still play Smear the Queer? Has it been renamed? Come on, parents. Tell me something I actually want to know.

• • •

Until I moved to Seattle, those childhood games of Smear the Queer constituted the sum of my experience with the gay community. Oh, I'm sure I knew lots of gays back in Ohio, but this was the midwest, and this was back then, and they would never have left the closet. When I arrived in Seattle and had an openly lesbian office-mate, it was a watershed moment for me. As I told Betty, it was exactly as odd as meeting someone from Atlantis. "Sure, I've heard of you people, but I've never met one of you before..."

Betty was a shrill malcontent and, not surprisingly, the first friend I made in Seattle. For my immersion therapy, she took me to the Wild Rose, a raucous lesbian bar situated between a tattoo parlor and leather shop. She was mortified when I stared at the women making out. I'm not even one of those guys who finds lesbians a turn-on, but it was so strange and new, I couldn't avert my eyes.

Funny to write about that now. After 12 years in Seattle, I could see twin sisters making out and I wouldn't even break stride.

Next up was Stan. And then I pretty much stopped noticing gay friends; they came and went like blond friends or tall friends or Episcopalian friends. Until recently, that is, when this small group became conspicuous by their continued presence. And then it struck me like a thunderbolt. An epiphany.

I am 100% against gay marriage.

This is the one demographic that can't have kids and suddenly drop all their friends, and I'll be damned if I give them the legal means of doing so. I will move mountains to defend the, um, sanctity of the, er, sacred institution of marriage. Yeah! Because I feel so strongly about its sacrednessity. The family is under attack, and all.

Sorry guys. You're stuck with me.

offseason conditioning

While football teams have sweated in training camp, I've begun my own conditioning for the season. Coach John is unmerciful. "Even though the Steelers won it all last year," he tells himself, "They were more hot than good. They didn't even win their division. They had to win four games at the end of the year just to get into the playoffs. Hell, even at 11-5, they still needed Kansas City to lose. And then once they were there, they won two games on two plays—Carson Palmer's knee injury and Mike Vanderjagt's slice."

"You don't know that Carson Palmer would have helped. The Steelers thumped Cincinnati on the road earlier in the year. And Vanderjagt never should have been kicking that field goal."

"Shut up, Logical John. There is no room for you here. Anyway, like I was saying, with Kimo and El and Hope and Bettis all gone, this marginal team didn't exactly get better. And everyone else in the division did. Face it. There's no reason to expect the Steelers to even make the playoffs. Start lowering expectations. Way low. Brace for them to break your heart."

I told Katrina about my preseason thought process.

"You're psychotic," she snarled. I find that Seahawks fans, especially, aren't receptive to my whiney-assed kvetching.

So after spending Thursday night tossing and turning and mercilessly lowering my own expectations for my pro team's prospects, Friday morning I spied my alma mater on the cover of USA Today:


No. No no no no no no no. I can so not deal with this season. Paxil might help. Maybe striknyne. Yeah, striknyne.

hall of fame

Certain things please me far more than they should. Like when I'm racing down rural Metamuville Road and glance at my Seattle traffic gauge and I see all the blockages my friends are dealing with—that pleases me enormously. Whenever Brian Griese breaks a metatarsal by simply walking down his driveway. Pure gold. When my former boss Ernest's wife leaves him and he starts to go blind. Money. When trolls write to tell me that I'm stupid, and they manage to misspell the insult. Thanks for that.

This list has a new member. When John Madden was being inducted into the football Hall of Fame, right before he was to be introduced, he and everyone else had to watch a clip of the Immaculate Reception. My grin was so huge, it was audible.

• • •

I was also struck by the contrast between two moments. When Raiders owner and all-around asshole Al Davis was introducing Madden, he boasted about how Madden and the Raiders were "color-blind." It didn't matter what color you were. "The Raid-ahs are about winning! And we wanted the best play-ahs!" Clap. Clap. Clap. Yay, you! Clear a spot on your mantle for an NAACP Image award.

Meanwhile, when former Giants linebacker Harry Carson gave his induction speech, he did something I've never seen before: he thanked an owner other than his own. Specifically, he thanked Steelers owner Dan Rooney for his efforts to make the league more diverse.

The contrast in substance and egoism was striking. (Just in case Al Davis googles his own name and finds this: egoism is when morality stems from self-interest.)

"What the Fucking Fuck?" awards 

  john updike

"Only people who were in the Holocaust are entitled to write about it. I don't feel that's the case with 9/11. I think most of the people who were there can't really speak now."


It turns out that I misquoted the God quote a few days ago. The sign does not read

I love you.-
I love you.-
I love you.-
- God
as I said. The actual punctuation is
I love you-
I love you-
I love you-.
- God
I thought I should set the record straight. Because my way would have been, you know, stupid.

anti-aircraft sparrow

Okay, so this is too "in" an in-joke. I call my dad the "inventor of the anti-aircraft sparrow" because the zenith of his engineering career was leading the design of the B1 Bomber. Which is a plane that has been known to crash when it hits small birds.

As a taxpayer, I wince every time one goes down, but as a son? I laugh myself incontinent.

double your pleasure

Praise be. The Kingston Christian Church has taken to putting a different message on either side of their sign. Today, they're God's press agent.

I saw that.
- God
reads one side. Sayeth the other:
I love you.-
I love you.-
I love you.-
- God
Now I'm not the Kingston Christian Church, so I can't really speak for God, but if I were Him—and Me willing, someday I will be—I'd prefer to speak for myself. Or failing that, I'd at least choose to be "quoted" on a vessel a tad less, well, white-trashy than this roadside sign. This got me thinking. What would be the penalty for falsely attributing quotes to the Almighty? I'm no theologian, but I hope it's an everlasting fate with the words "toes" and "Cuisinart" in it.

ID thief revisited

If you click the link in my original post, you'll find that our heroine has removed her myspace.

Invalid Friend ID.
This user has either cancelled their membership, or their account has been deleted.
Fortunately, I planned ahead and saved a copy of her front page last night. Ah, but the public domain is a beautiful thing.

Who's your buddy? Who's your pal? I am, aren't I?

Here's our heroine once more. All those years in finishing school really paid off, didn't they?

maria bergan

In the immortal words of The Bard, "go. fuck. yourself."

look guys, she's single!

Maria Bergan of Rust RecordsDid you hear about the Nobel Laureate ID thief who, carded in a bar, handed the waitress her own stolen ID?

23 years old?

A moron?

Surely, I thought, this woman has a home on myspace.

And voila, here it is, in all its misspelled glory. Her Bachelor's of High School degree was my favorite part.

intellectual whacking material

"Do you ever read x?" someone will ask, even though I know the answer before they mention x. No, I don't. I am a snob. Snobs do not read what you read.

"Why not?" said recent houseguest Marie, clutching her New Yorker to her chest.

"You know that scene in the original Airplane! where the camera pans past the magazine rack, and one of the sections is labeled 'Whacking Material?' I think of that gag every time I read the New Yorker. It's left-wing whacking material."

"Well," she scoffed as she went back to her magazine,"I like it because they take shots at Bush."


"So do you ever listen to y?" Dirt Glazowski asked just last night. No. I don't listen to right-wing whacking material, either. "He's really good. You should check it out."

"If I ever do, kindly and repeatedly exercise your beloved second amendment rights on my skull."

"Ha, ha. Which amendment is that, again?"

• • •

Dirt and I spotted a brown pelican, which are brand new to the Seattle area, having made their way up the west coast from islands off temperate Southern California. "Why are they moving up here?" he asked.

"Oh," I braced, "Because the climate is getting warmer. As the planet warms, some species are fanning out to where it used to be too cold."

"Well." End of conversation. He shut me down. He's doubtless heard of people like me, always wanting to refute dogma with evidence. I was best avoided.

Frustrated, I recounted the conversation later to Katrina. "No, Dirt, one day they just decided they were sick of the California heat and they up and moved someplace colder."

"No, that's no good either," she replied. "That'd be evolution."

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