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Friday, July 29, 2005


You want to be treated like the rock star you are? Go here and you can! It's like the president entering to give the State of the Union! Like a conquering hero coming back from a quest! Like a Stanley Cup parade! It's AWESOME!

Don't Believe the Hype

I write this blog off the top of my head. I think of something, or I see something in my daily life, go to the computer and five minutes later I have a hastily written post about driving on the 405 or how hot it is outside. Compelling stuff, really.

Which leads me to Bill Simmons of ESPN's Page Two. I think he's sometimes okay to read, but everything he writes smacks of a first draft. (Though his NBA stuff is usually pretty good since he knows NBA basketball. But I hate the NBA so who cares...) He almost has something to say, but not quite. That kind of writing is fine for this crappy blog about what I ate for dinner, but not for a "real" writer on such a huge brand-name site.

And now in his most recent column about the new NHL, he addresses the question of the NHL draft. What happens with it now? Simmons: "Well, they skipped the one, but they get to make up for it with Saturday's "we haven't had a draft in a while, so this baby is especially loaded with talented players you've never heard of!" belated draft, which will be highlighted by Sidney Crosby."

Which is fine except they didn't skip the last one, asshat!

Alexander Ovechkin was the first pick last year, and Pittsburgh is excited because when they draft Crosby he'll play with Evgeni Malkin, who they drafted #2 overall last year.

That hack.

The Gathering

I have never, ever played Dungeons & Dragons or Magic in my life. I'm not even really sure what they are or how they're played. However, last night I was involved in a conversation about various blogs. I feel like such a nerd.

....and now I'm feeling self-conscious about blogging about feeling self-conscious about talking about blogging..... and now my head just exploded.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Yabba Dabba Doo-oh-who-cares

The Futon Critic has some info on a few of the guest voices for the upcoming season of the Simpsons. Among them is Dennis Rodman.

And here I thought the Simpsons was irrelevent these days. Welcome back, topical humor...

Politics of Language (or, What I Learned From Ferdinand de Saussure)

A sentence from a report on the IRA ending its aremd struggle: Some 3,600 people died during Northern Ireland's 30 years of "Troubles," half of them killed by the IRA.

I say, what's this? Half the people in a violent struggle were killed by one side? Really? That's shocking.

In the Civil War, half the people were killed by the Union Army. What monsters!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

No More Shorts

Man, it's like I drank milk instead of orange juice again.*

*a little random. Perhaps the two of you who read this will follow me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I'll Give You a Mike Greenwell rookie for Jessie Barfield and Billy Ripken

My grandfather died yesterday. It's not that big of a deal to me. He was my mother's father, and he was never around so this doesn't affect me in any real way. I mean, sure, it's sad when someone dies, and I guess a little sadder since he was family. But still, I can't say I really missed him when he wasn't around or will miss him now that he isn't around in the serious, hardcore sense of the word. He wasn't a bad man and I'm not bitter about him not being in my life. That's just the way it was. I had other grandparents who were a big part of my life, and other older relatives who filled in the niche he would have occupied. Taking your grandkids to an amusement park and spending $50 on us at Toys-R-Us once a year is hardly grandparenting. But it is a pretty sweet deal for a 10-year-old.

Though Grandpa O'Connell did buy me my first pack of baseball cards. A pack of 1986 Topps. I was into collecting baseball stickers -- where each team has a page and you fill in the player's sticker in the appropriate place. So I was incredibly disappointed when he brought baseball cards as a present. What was I supposed to do, tape them into the book? But there's something monumental in an American boy's introduction to baseball cards. It's a big part of any boys' life. Grandpa may have hated my Young MC tape and my skateboard, but he understood baseball cards the way his sons did and maybe even his father did, and the way I eventually did when I realized how lame the frigging sticker book was. And, despite not really ever being around, and me not knowing him, and me not even really caring that I didn't, he somehow managed to impact my life in a surprisingly profound way. Baseball cards.

And so for that I'm a little sad he died. Hopefully the afterlife is a little bit happier place for you than this world was.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Le Magnifique, Part Deux

Oh. Pittsburgh.

The (Next) Great One

OMG!!! Penguins or Ducks!!! Woo gets Crosby? The SUSPENSE!!!

Unless your name is Gordie and you're from Canada, this won't make any sense to you.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I Should Have Worn My Mittens

It's about 100 degrees here in oppresively hot Burbank. Hot and humid and I have a cold. How does that work?

The Colonial Williamsburg of the West

A quick question: what, exactly, is "old" about Old Town Pasadena? Has that Gap been there since 1987? Is that it?

I'm From Buffalo, You're From Buffalo..... We're From Buffalo

Sure, he may be looking to overturn Roe v. Wade, and he's anti-environment, but at least John Roberts, Jr. is from Buffalo! .... erm.... right?

Friday, July 15, 2005

In the City (CIty of Angels)

The boss is in Belgium and he told me I could take some days off while he was gone. So yesterday, I took the day off. I ran in the morning, ran errands early afternoon, and then went downtown. I have lived in Los Angeles for 4 years, and this was my 4th trip downtown (jury duty; Kings game; drinking at the Standard Hotel; now this). A breakdown:

1) Went to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Got in for free (Thursdays 5-8 = free). Saw 2 pieces of video art -- a medium I usually find to be obnoxious and incredibly pretentious -- that I really liked.

2) Realized I need to go back and see the Basquiat exhibit that runs from tomorrow thru October.

3) Wandered around the Disney Concert Hall. I couldn't go in, but I was able to wander on it. There are walkways and stairs all over the outside through the undulations of the structure. And there's a park up on it, too! Also I'm pretty sure a guy was hitting on me.

4) Bought a Coke with Lime. Horrible.

5) Real conversation:
WOMAN (gets off bus, sees me walking past right away): Hi! Excuse me, hi!
ME: Hi.
WOMAN: Are you from downtown?
ME (skeptical of intentions, yet ready to give directions): No.
WOMAN: Oh. (beat) Where are you from?
ME (lying): Burbank.
WOMAN: Oh, Burbank! I haven't been there in awhile. The last time I was there Jet Blue had just moved to the airport. You know Jet Blue?
ME: Yeah.
WOMAN: Yeah. They had, um, promotional fares to New York, really cheap. And they were giving away free potato chips. Well, bye!

Then she walked away. ?!

EDIT: Forgot one other conversation I had:

HOMELESS KID: Hey, nice sneakers.
ME: Thanks.
HK: Spare some change?
ME (truthfully, I only had my debit card on me): Sorry.
HK: I bet those sneakers are new.

Are homeless people allowed to be snarky?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Yawn. er, Yay?

If the NHL and NHLPA reach a new CBA and no one cares, does it make a sound?

I am an Immature Dinophobe

Ha-ha, humans rule and lizards are reduced to mere pets or annoyances!!! What's that? The La Brea Tar Pits are terrible! So boring. You can see the barrels of tar they imported. It should just be called the La Brea Pits!!! 'Cuz it is! Ohhhhh, big bad T. Rex. More like T. Wrecked! Zing! Take that. Oh, you want some brontosaurus? Or should I say, bronto sore-ass!!! 'Cuz you're gay. And look at that, a flying pteradactyl? Pterrible, I say! Way to evolve into a stupid bird. Triceratops? Or Tricerabottom!!!! 'Cuz they're the worst!!! Hahahaha! LOL ROFLMA!!!!! Diplodocus? Diplodoofus!!! Who's next, jerks? Velociraptors? Toronto is the worst basketball team ever!!! They drafted Villenueve way too early. Oh, yeah!!! Allisaurus? That's a girl name, idiot! You pansy T. Rex wannabe!!! Bring it stegasaurus, you... um... er... haha you're extinct!!! Take that! Go back to Jerk-Ass-ic Park!!!

Piccadilly, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Bakerloo

So I never wrote about the London bombings. What should I write? I feel bad? Well, duh. But I still feel the need to write... something. I spent a semester in London -- the spring of 1999. It was the best time of my life, and that is not hyperbole. I really mean it. If I could choose anywhere in the world to live, I would hands-down, no questions asked choose London.

I lived on Westbourne Terrace Mews, a street whose name just oozes London-ness. It was located equi-distant between the Paddington and Bayswater tube stations. Paddington was the tube stop I used most frequently, and it is one stop from Edgware Road, which was one of the bomb targets. Edgware itself was within walking distance of my flat.

One of my assignments in a writing class I took was to write about some tiny, mundane section of London life. Take something that seems typical and boring and make it more. In other words, we couldn't write about Big Ben. I chose the Tube, and decided I would ride the Circle Line all day, around and around and just write about what I saw. So I sat there for 5 hours or so, and made two loops around London. As you may know, at each stop a voice tells you to "mind the gap," which in American means, "don't trip, idiot." There are two voices. One is a gruff male with a working class accent who yells at you -- "MIND THE GAP!" You certainly don't want to disobey such a mean guy. But the other voice... oh, the other voice. She is lovely. She speaks softly and sweetly in an upper-class accent. She cares for you. She comforts you. "Please mind the gap between the car and the platform." She says please. It will break her heart if you trip. I was in love with the Tube Woman. As I rode 'round and 'round London, from working-class neighborhood to upper-class and back again I saw hundreds of Londoners, ex-pats, and tourists. But mostly Londoners, and the Tube Woman sort of embodied all of them to me. That delicate voice welcoming me and taking care of me as I was thousands of miles from home. She was a guardian angel on my shoulder who picked me up in one place in the city and brought me safely to my destination.

And now she's hurt and I feel terrible.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Laugh Factory

You almost have to feel bad for Scott McClellan.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, phew. OK, more comedy tomorrow.

I Am Smarter Than Blogger

This got posted twice, and now blogger won't let me delete the duplicate. So, rather than leave it up, I am editing it and typing in a whole new post, i.e. this.

Take that!

Here's to the Sun Rising Tomorrow Morning

Have you ever picked up a glass of juice, taken a big ol' swig only to realize at the first gulp that it isn't juice, but actually milk? And you know how utterly confusing that is, where your brain is simultaneously saying "what the hell is wrong with this juice?" and "wait, this isn't juice," yet refuses to come to the obvious conclusion and rather, your brain deduces and tells the rest of the body, "this is the worst frigging juice we have ever tasted." And you nearly spit it out. And then you look down into the glass and see the white, foamy milk and your eyes send an impulse back to your brain, chiding: "you dumbass, it's the worst juice because it's not even juice -- it's milk" and your tastebuds chime in to support the optic nerve saying, "dude, we tried to tell you it wasn't milk, that the hell is wrong with you?" And there's almost a mutiny on board until the brain gets pissed off and says "oh yeah? Well the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, pi is 3.14, and Molly Bloom's soliloquy at the end of Ulysses is eight looooong sentences with no punctuation and represents Penelope from The Odyssey." And then the rest of the body is shamed and the king is once again entrenched in power, and the brain tells the arm to lift the glass back up and the mouth to drink the milk because the brain fucking told them to, is why.

In other words, you know when you're like, "HUH?"

It was like that when I went here and saw how different it was.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Most Important News Story Ever. Apparently.

Really, the jets didn't turn up anything?

This is absurd. Someone goes missing so they call in frigging jets?

There's a fly buzzing around in my office now. I wonder if there's a wrecking ball around I can use to get rid of it.

I Don't Know Lloyd, I Heard...

Talk radio and Fox and other right-wing types constantly rail about the liberal bias in the media, and how the various successes in Afghanistan/Iraq aren't covered with the same glee that the tragedies are. According to them, for every insurgent there are villages full of people cheering America on.

Well, perhaps we should cover the grateful Iraqis better. Like the Kurds. They were gassed by Saddam Hussein, right? What a monster he was -- gassed his OWN people (as if that's somehow worse than gassing other people). But the Kurds, they're such victims. So let's see how gracious and happy they are...

Oh, they're blowing up trains in Turkey. Huh.

The moral of the story is: no one deserves to be on the high horse. Everyone is an asshole. Americans are assholes, the French are assholes, Hussein is an asshole, the Kurds are assholes. I'm sure even the Swiss are assholes. A solid argument for why there's no God. That, or he's an asshole.

We're Sorry, but the Princess is in Another Castle...

A list with too many sports games. But these are the ones I played most.

1) Super Mario Bros. -- Classic. The Nirvana to Space Invaders' Rolling Stones. Remember when you were so good at it that you had all the bad guys' locations memorized and pressed the jump and run buttons by rote?
2) The Legend of Zelda -- First of all, the cartridge was gold. Sweet. That's balls, but it walked the walk that the gold talked. Secondly, it was full of secrets. The first role-playing game you could save that I ever played.
3) Super Tecmo Bowl -- The original is more a classic, but this installment comes in higher because the Bills are one of the best teams in it (I could get a sack with Bruce Smith on just about every single pass play), and I'm a Bills fan. Sure, Star Wars was first and holds a special place in my heart, but Empire is a better movie. It's like that.
4) Tecmo Bowl -- See the above. The automatic interception drops this a little more, as well. But it's still awesome. The first game I'm aware of that used players real names. And how awesome are Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson?
5) Contra -- Plain fun. Just awesome. If you are in your mid-twenties to early-thirties, there are 2 certainties: You are in love with Winnie Cooper and you know the Contra codes.
6) Super Mario Bros. 3 -- I love the second one, but it was really easy to beat. This game should probably be ranked higher. I remember seeing that Fred Savage movie where they play this in the big climactic scene -- the SMB3 Debutante Ball of sorts. That racoon tail thing was the greatest thing I had ever seen.
7) Mike Tyson Punch Out!! -- When Iron Mike was bad ass, and even your little sister could beat Glass Joe. I knew the "tell sign" leading to Super Macho Man's spin punch, but I could never beat him. Thus, I never entered the ring against Iron Mike.
8) Excite Bike -- Simple, but fun. And you could make up your own ridiculously-impossible races.
9) Super Volleyball -- An underrated game. Incredibly fun. Russia is good.
10) Ice Hockey -- Skinny guys are fast, Fat guys have Al Iafrate-esque slapshots, and the Medium guys are just kind of average. This probably doesn't deserve a top-10, but I love hockey so have an affinity for this game. Better than Blades of Steel, imo.

Hon. mention to Double Dragon, Mega Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Double Dribble (the dunks!). I was never that into Duck Hunt.

A Little Anecdote of How a Kid, Even When He's Not Yours, Adds a New Dimension to Your Life

Went to Santa Barbara this weekend. Friday, actually. A group of us were hanging out Thursday night and realized we all had Friday off for whatever reasons and decided to take a day trip.

After eating lunch, we went to State Street and found a bar to have a drink in. A very typical Santa Barbara day trip experience for me, Justin, George, Matt, Martha, and Wilson. Except Wil is one. Now we weren't "drinking" -- we simply stopped in for one beer, but all of us felt incredibly embarrassed and worried about the other patrons' reactions to the whole baby-stroller-in-a-bar thing. Especially since there was a conked-out one-year-old in it. So, despite the fact we finished lunch a mere twenty minutes earlier, we ordered appetizers -- the spinach artichoke dip and mozzarella sticks playing the decoy so people wouldn't think we were in a bar drinking with a one-year-old. Which, again, we were, but like I said, we were staying just for one but no one else would know that. And as we left the bar, pushing the stroller in front of us, we received a few disgusted glances from people making wrong assumptions and judgements.

We were mortified -- more so than when earlier in the day a woman stopped us in a park, cooed at Wil telling him he was adorable, looked at us four guys and asked Martha which was the father, to which Martha replied, "I'm not sure. That's why they're all spending time with him."

Strangely, despite the obvious joke and the real answer given a split second later, the woman didn't think it was very funny.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I For One Welcome Our Alien Overlords

Wow, are Los Angeles television newscasters incredibly annoying. My understanding of TV news is that you start out in East Pudunk and slowly move your way up to bigger markets. Allegedly the newscasters in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles are the cream of the crop. But I'm beginning to think LA is a little different. Like they're all failed actors and actresses.

I'm trying to watch coverage of the London bombing. But these people who are trying to give me the information are really pissing me off. The one idiot reporter at LAX is going on and on about an arrest made -- the placement and tone insinuate some kind of link to the London story -- but it was a homeless guy panhandling. Maybe this is a you-had-to-be-there type story.

But still. These newscasters are dreadful. No wonder Kent Brockman is a great character -- the Simpsons writers have such wonderful material here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Secret of Life



Admiral Stockdale won't be coming down for breakfast this morning.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Destroy the Myth

I was thinking about allegedly classic moments in television, film, and music. A long time ago I posted that "Freebird" was, aside from not being great, actually really bad. I also mentioned that Bob Hope was not funny.

I have an addition: that speech in Bull Durham where Kevin Costner lists all the things he likes is really, really terrible. Just awful, but everyone seems to like it.