February 2013 Archives

headline of the week

Longtime Stank troll John feels bad for finding this headline hilarious. I don't. He sent it to the right place.

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flatniss

When I was in high school, I was unceremoniously shipped off to St. Louis for a convention of high school-aged writers. I remember two things about that week. The first is who hooked up with whom. My name being in neither the Who nor Whom columns, that memory is sadly seared in place.

And then there was the competition. I sat in a room with 200 other high school writers and we listened to a soul-crushingly boring man talk about the subsidiaries of his record company. From this, I was to write a general interest feature worthy of Rolling Stone. When he stopped speaking, I was numb. No elderly relative with ass problems had ever bored me into such catatonia. I looked at my notes. They were unusable. So in my subject, I conjured a personality that did not exist. I made up a few quotes to buttress my feeble points. Surely, no one would check that tape just to prove I'd made up quotes. How badly could someone want to prove a kid a fraud?

Not badly at all, it turned out. When my name was called at the awards banquet, my schoolmates and I were in the very back of the room. I wound my way through the tables. It took forever. At one point, my path was obstructed by a breakfast cart, which I pushed to the side. It wasn't on wheels. There was the thunderous crash of silverware and breaking dishes. When I was accepting my award, I was hiding my face in complete humiliation.

I thought of this last night, of course, when Jennifer Lawrence stepped on her gown and face-planted en route to her own award. There were several key differences, of course. Her award mattered. Hers was deserved. She fell in front of a billion people. And her standing ovation wasn't hootingly sarcastic.

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And on either side of a post about genocide, we have me whining about soup. I offer no defense.

A forgotten detail in my story about Flo dumping her daughter's backwash into my soup bowl: it was matzo ball soup that I'd had delivered overnight from Katz deli in New York. As a treat. For Flo. I don't know what the most elaborate, expensive soup in the world is, but I have a nominee.

great reads: auschwitz

Browsing reddit, I came upon these fantastic, grim photos of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The last photo of the sequence, particularly, is nothing I will ever forget.

The worldwide conversations the photos inspired were gripping. Easily the most important, informative thread I've ever seen on the web.

plunk

My guests and I were eating soup when the youngest, Flo's daughter, decreed that she was done with hers. Without comment, Flo dumped the child's soup into my own.

Well. That, as they say, is that. I pushed my soup away. Flo launched into ridicule about my being a "germophobe."

You tell me. Who's rude?

hurricane flo

Former boss Flo is sleeping in my guest room as I type this. Even if I had no foreknowledge of her stay, I could deduce her presence from the state of things downstairs. Everything I own is out of its place, if not actually on the floor. I know the dogs appreciated sleeping on my couch pillows and blanket. Me, not so much. What did she use ramekins for? The meat cleaver? My cigar lighter? Why is my dining room centerpiece in the kitchen? Why is there an X-Box controller in the bathroom?

Flo is a marvel. Were she a dog, she'd be the mutt who instantly empties any toy basket she sees, flinging balls and bones willy nilly into every crevice of the house.

"Were she a dog," nothing. I'm pretty sure she did this as a human.

so, it's dorkass week

The Troll Nation keeps on giving.

Stank troll Peter points out that Dorcass is, like, a real name.

gratitude

Dorkass was troubled by yesterday's post.

"I had no idea that they sold these on Amazon! And dammit—they throw in a holder! When I got these early last year, I custom-ordered them on Etsy, hand-made in Germany and selected each coaster design. Um, I think I got ripped off."
Everything anyone ever needs to know about me: this made me feel better.

yeah, but i drink 8 diet cokes all the time!

41YU2NdcQZL._SX342_.jpg"I got you something," Dorkass said, passing a gift bag across the table.

Therein were four tissue-wrapped, Portal-themed coasters. Portal is a video game she and I played together.

I was delighted, and now the coasters protect my desk from relentless Diet Coke sweat. During a meeting, I searched Amazon for the coasters so I could show them to a colleague.

Wait. They come in packs of eight?

"Like he has seven friends," I hear her snorting in my imagination as she pockets half the coasters.

Reading an article about the tepid demand for Windows 8 in general and SurfaceBM tablets in particular, I somehow, against all reason, moved on to the comment area. Why do we do this to ourselves? No happiness is ever found there, yet we cannot resist the comments.

There was a vigorous defense of Windows 8 by someone I know happened to work on the product, a defense that amounted to "Here's why you don't understand how great this product is." A few comments after that was an anonymous attack on a critic: "Did you ever consider that you're not the target audience for Windows 8?" they sniffed.

I would bet my last cent that the second person, too, is a Microsoft employee. They teach that particular evasion at New Employee Orientation nowadays.

It was exhausting.

each ring represents a year of laziness

My mom worried about odd things. Wasting money on turquoise jewelry and dream-catchers, not so much. She instead worried about me sterilizing myself by sitting within 10 feet of the TV. Similarly, I wasn't allowed to use a remote control, lest its phaser beam ignite the curtains.

Mom was also a stickler for lint traps. You were to clean it both before and after running a load of laundry. The slightest residue would engulf the house in flames. This photograph, circulating amongst the tenants at my Pittsburgh apartment, would have made all the veins in Mom's head pop.

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fast-forward

This autumn, as I've previously mentioned, I'll be staying in a loft in Pittsburgh. I chose it carefully. It's in a cool neighborhood, and I can take a water taxi to games. I've already started planning my temporary relocation, and that includes signing up for emails from my Pittsburgh apartment. Oh, they torture me.

8:42am Feb 5 Join Duopimo In Our Mahogany Leather Cigar Bar Tonight And For Every Game Day To Cheer On The Pens And Enjoy A Select Cigar And Featured Cocktail For Only $12!
Now if you'll excuse me, I'll return to wondering if I should drive 15 miles for a McDonald's lunch or stay in Metamuville and eat tomato soup again.

nevermore

If you're looking for bile toward the champion Ravens, you're looking in the wrong place. I whole-heartedly congratulate them. And to the haters, I say remember: Ray Lewis doesn't have the only unsolved murder out there.

farooq update

He's still in the hospital and yet to be busted. The latest scuttlebutt is that the son will be made to pay his hospital bills, since the son had the audacity to put pot cookies within Farooq's reach. I'm also told he can't leave the hospital yet because he's "too high to walk," which makes me wonder just how long pot cookie buzzes last.

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