Monday, April 29, 2002

Back Again: Just a brief note to tell you I'm back. I spent the last few days in Louisville, Kentucky with a brief side trip to Columbus, Ohio. Weeee. I'll probably write something about it but I don't know quite what because it had to be one of the dullest trips ever. With apologies to The Legendary KK who goes on an annual pilgrimage down there for the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks display, there just ain't a whole lot to do. Next week is Derby Week (as in The Kentucky Derby), so it may be bustling then, but what happens when that's over? The downtown area is truly dreary. The suburbs are identical to suburbs in any other city in the country. I had no terrible experiences, but I can't think of anything to recommend it. Anyway, more on that later. And more fresh content in a couple of days. For now there's email, and snail mail, and laundry....

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Later 'Gator: This'll be my last post for a week-ish. Do not fret, I shall return hale and hearty, and I promise to have some new material. For now, I leave you with some linkage, both subtle and gross:
  • The coolest thing about travelling into space is all the frequent flyer miles.

  • You know how when you were a kid and you got bored swinging straight, you angled yourself off to the side so you swung in an oval. Well, apparently that behavior has now been patented. Meaning, if you pushed your kid sideways on a swing, you may owe someone royalties. That's a real patent, I am not making that up. Be sure to read the part about producing "a Tarzan yell".

  • I saw this site and now I'm thinking my next car may be a station wagon.

  • A couple of years ago I had my eyes scalded with a laser, the result being my eyesight is perfect for the first time since adolescence. Lasik works well for nearsightedness, but the FDA has now approved a new treatment for farsightedness that uses radio waves instead of a laser. No more Dr. Evil jokes.

  • My continued fascination with design compels me to learn more about Great Buildings.

  • Art History is another source of fascination, so the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Art History Time Line is another keeper.

  • It is axiomatic in literature that mass-market books will sell better if they feature a cat. Is that also true for Yoga?

  • I haven't participated in a run in a while, but I'd do the James Joyce Ramble if I could. As long as I don't have to pretend I understand Finnegan's Wake.

  • Yeeeowch!.

  • Michael Moore is a skank - no, a BIG skank, and he's a chicken-butt, and he can't sue me.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Rated P.G.: P.G. Wodehouse is certainly one of my favorite writers ever. I have probably been through the entire Jeeves and Wooster cannon twice. Unlike many other satirists of his time, he never had an ounce of disdain for his caricatures (although I suppose he was more of farceur than a satirist). He wrote something on the order of 90 books, all of them characterized by florid sentences and unmatched vocabulary. This article in Slate does a decent summary of his life from the standpoint of explaining him as really more American than British, despite his birth and the Edwardian Country House settings that he is known for. Best line: "He himself liked to characterize his work as 'a sort of musical comedy without music.' " That about says it all.

I don't want to give the impression that you should run out and read P.G. It's hard for many people to get past the extraordinary Englishness of Jeeves and Wooster. And let's face it, a comedy of manners is not something that plays well to an audience with South Park sensibilities. On the other hand, a sharp observer would see the close relationship between Wodehouse and Seinfeld. The comedy is all based on the desire to follow social norms, whether they be real or imagined, and how doing this leads to complications and embarrassing farce. (Now there's a good topic for an essay.)

If you're curious about P.G. Wodehouse and you don't want to dig into the print, I highly recommend the Masterpiece Theatre serializations starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. They are spot-on perfect.
Funny? Funny How?: I have mentioned the novel Lucky Jim, by Kingsely Amis, before. It is the seminal post-war comic satire. I have vowed to re-read it after looking over this comprehensive analysis of what made it funny, by Christopher Hitchens in The Atlantic. One of the lead characters in my next novel, which may one day actually see publication, was named after the lead character (and the other by the lead in different Kingsely Amis novel, Jake's Thing). That will give you an idea of how highly I think of Amis' work. Best line: "Amis managed in Lucky Jim (1954) to synthesize the comic achievements of Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse."

And yes, you can get a good Masterpiece Theatre interpretation of Lucky Jim on video, too.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Dave via Dave: Props of Extraordinary Magnitude go out to weblogger Dave Lowe who doubles as a columnist for His Backwash page is titled Slightly Left of Center where the sharp eyed among you will notice a link to my beer essay. You go Dave.

Dave has is the proprietor of a stunningly well designed weblog, DaveDorm, which has me more than a little jealous. Of course, I should note compared to him, I'm a mere pup of a blogger. He's been at it since 1994.
Site Bites: You're probably guessing from the above that I am thinking of a site redesign again. Well, I'm not - so Neener Neener Neener. What I am planning on is reworking the links in the nav bar. I've decided it's silly for me to have links to popular sites that thousands of people visit everyday. Instead I shall link first to all the princely people who link to me. Since I don't really have time to sit down in my HTML editor and do that at the moment, I'll just pass along the results of a Google search for pages that link to me, and I'll make them permanent Real Soon Now:

If I've missed anyone you have my sincerest apologies. These are all that Google has at the moment. If you link to me and you're not listed above, email me and I'll set you up in short order.
Me: Right Now: First, you should know I working on a rant about going to the movies, how irritating it is, and how to fix it. Coming soon. I'm am getting a little fiction written - very very little. That's got to change. It will. I have been trying to refinance my house for a few weeks now. All my work is done but apparently Countrywide (who is going to provide me with thousands for American Airlines points for refinancing with them) has forgotten I exist. No such thing as service anymore.

I've also been exploring the possibility of seeing a chiropractor. A local guy came to my gym to give posture evaluations. I didn't have any problems, but I've seen myself slouched over like Joe Osteoporosis once too many times at the end of the day. It may work or it may not. It may just be something to write about.

Monday, April 15, 2002

That Was Zen, This Is Tao: Forwarded by The Legendary KK, Your Daily Moment of Zen (modified to reflect contemporary wisdom):
  • Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just leave me alone.

  • The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.

  • It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to to it.
  • Sex is like air. It's not important unless you aren't getting any.

  • Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

  • No one is listening until you fart.

  • Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

  • Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

  • If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

  • Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  • If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

  • Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

  • If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

  • If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

  • Some days you are the bug; some days you are the windshield.

  • Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.

  • Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment

  • The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket

  • A closed mouth gathers no foot.

  • Duct tape is like the Force. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

  • There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

  • Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

  • Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

  • Never miss a good chance to shut up.

  • We are born naked, wet, and hungry, and get slapped on our bum... then things get worse.

  • Worry is today's mouse eating tomorrow's cheese

  • The most wasted day of all is one in which we have not laughed.
Donuts Anyone?: Snagged from the forums at Ars Technica:
  • I can't reach my license unless you hold my beer. (OK in Texas)

  • Sorry, Officer, I didn't realize my radar detector wasn't plugged in.

  • Aren't you the guy from the Village People?

  • Hey, you must've been doin' about 125 mph to keep up with me. Good job!

  • Are You Andy or Barney?

  • I thought you had to be in relatively good physical condition to be a police officer

  • You're not gonna check the trunk, are you?

  • I pay your salary!

  • Gee, Officer! That's terrific. The last officer only gave me a warning, too!

  • Do you know why you pulled me over? Okay, just so one of us does.

  • I was trying to keep up with traffic. Yes, I know there are no other cars around. That's how far ahead of me they are.

  • When the Officer says "Gee Son....Your eyes look red, have you been drinking?" You probably shouldn't respond with,"Gee Officer your eyes look glazed, have you been eating doughnuts?"

  • What? You need a license to drive?

  • Wow, no wonder your wife sleeps around, with your breath!

  • Is your power a penis substitute?

  • Yes, I know my driving is not 100%, but you have to agree that it is still pretty good for someone who is completely drunk

  • Can you come back in 5 minutes? I'm in the middle of a telephone conversation.

  • Oops...I thought you were a prostitute.

  • Do I have any fruits or vegetables? I don't know. Is cocaine a fruit or vegetable?

  • A hundred dollar fine? Well, I think George Washington can change your mind.

  • Did you pull me over because of the drugs under the seat, the body in the trunk, or the burned out tail-light?

  • Whoops, that's the fake one... here ya go, this is the one.

  • Gee, that gut sure doesn't inspire confidence.

  • Is it true that guys become cops because they can't work at McDonald's ?

  • My gun fell off my lap and got lodged on the gas pedal

  • Hey, is that a 9mm ? That's nothing compared to this .44 magnum!

  • Do you have any idea how much of a hurry I'm in?

  • You're lucky this car needs a tune-up or you'd have never caught me

  • In California we drive like that all the time, what's the problem?

  • If you'd try the stuff I just had, you wouldn't be so damn uptight

  • Aren't there real crooks somewhere you should be catching?

  • Well, those two other guys didn't stop for that school bus either

  • Yes, I saw your lights on, but I thought you going to get a doughnut

  • Just had to try out that new siren, didn't you?

  • Do you have any idea who you're talking to?

  • There's no way I was going 85. I had the cruise set at 80.

  • What's wrong, Ossifer? I swear to drunk I'm not God! And really, there is no blood in my alcohol
  • That uniform makes your ass look really big.

  • You don't happen to have any beer in your car?

  • I was going to be cop, but I decided to finish high school instead.

  • So what if I was speeding? Whatcha gonna do about it Mr. Hotshot?

Six Feet Going Under?: I'm very disappointed in the current season of Six Feet Under. The complex characters have gotten a good deal more single-minded. The delicately and intelligently handled homosexuality has become a gimmick. They've introduced a poor but precocious little black child and a crazy ex-hippie aunt who seem awfully cliche. What's worse is that it has become luridly sexual for no good purpose that I can see. A shame.

I think once the next Sopranos season ends I may have to write a follow-up to my HBO essay. I'd hate to have anyone stumble on it in the far future and think me to be tasteless.
Blogsnobbin': I've told you how to Blog-Snob before - follow the random blog link and the bottom of the right side column, check out what you see, and then find the similar link on that page. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Here's what I came across:
  • Groovy blog - striking design, a personal journal; clearly the proprietor is as fascinated with sharp looking web pages as yours truly.

  • My Views on the News - Commentary on current issues and headlines, said the Master of All that is Obvious.

  • Small Town Life - Personal journal from a guy just up the road at Albion College (or Alien College to the witty set).

  • Gnome Girl - Personal journal with techie twist by a fan of cyber-personality Lockergnome (Chris Pirillo).

  • What's He Thinking? - Sex and naughty language blog by a really really horny guy (or maybe just an honest typical guy). Don't visit if you are easily offended.

  • Neurotwitch - Original design. Personal journal plus links (remind you of anything familiar?)

  • nutz - teenage personal journal with lots of pics.

  • My So Called Life - Religion - You know how I am sometimes - all cranky and ornery? This guy appears to be like that 24/7. This is the section devoted to ranting about religion.

  • Telulah - Quintessentially personal journal. I'm guessing if I knew the author it would have more meaning to me.

  • hopeless romantics - Cool design with 3D box look. Personal journal.

  • Glossolalia - Active Personal Journal plus links.

  • Rocketwhores - Not as scary as the name implies, but avoid the staff pictures. Working hard to satirize Pop Culture. Sadly, the author seems to be a fan of Michael Moore (ack!).

  • Typical Situation - Thoughts and comments from a teen struggling with school and life.

  • Empty Bottle - Ace 'Blog! Lots of great links and snide comments. I will be eternally grateful for the link to The Dude's House.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Knock Yourself Out...: ...with these high-flyin', house shakin', hard rockin' links to keep you 'mused and confused.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Don't Touch Pete's Piece: Last night TNN replayed the first six episodes of a legendary, but short-lived, old TV series called The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. This was a western in the vain of the Wild Wild West (the cool TV show, not the lame movie), but the writer's must have been gagging from keeping their tongues wedged so deeply in their cheeks. Clever scripts, a good balance of campy action and comedy, excellent timing, and killer pacing (you know how I am about pacing) - it could be considered as a pre-cursor to all the hyper-ironic magic-realism that's so popular now, e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed.

A perfect example of what is wrong with TV. We can get 100 knock-offs of Everybody Loves Raymond, all the dire and bloated drama of West Wing or The Practice, and reality shows, well, don't get me started. Brisco lasted 27 episodes. Feh!
Stealin' Stones and Breakin' Bones: So once Brisco was over it was too late to start on anything productive so I surfed to HBO and landed on Snatch. I'd like to tell you what the movie is about but I can't. In fact, I could barely understand the dialog (which may have been intentional). But, I was riveted by the pacing (that word again) and the intensity of the acting. Not surprising since it was directed by Guy Ritchie who also did a similar and great film called Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels which was equally intense, but a bit more articulate.

Can you tell I spent last night sitting about like Jabba The Hut?
Demon Gasbag Plagarist: Not only is Michael Moore full of crap, it's not even his own crap. So millionaire now pulls stuff off the internet and puts it in his over-priced book, wherein he rails against rich folks who don't have to work for a living. Work, as in original writing?

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Flogging a Wet Horse: Flint, Michigan ain't a bad town. OK, it's not paradise. Crime is high in certain areas. It could be a little better off economically. But it's not like it's Gary, Indiana or something.

I have some minor connections to Flint. Miss Kate's relatives are originally from Flint (although I note most have fled). And, of course, The Legendary KK is originally from Flint. So it is important to remember that not everyone who is from Flint is grotesque and insufferable.

Just Michael Moore.

As it happens, KK has actually had a close encounter with the demon gasbag in the flesh. As she puts it:
Michael Moore is the backwoods cousin who rarely takes a shower and has eyes that are set just a little bit to far apart.

You think I'm kidding about the "rarely takes a shower" comment, don't you?

Trust me, I've sat WAY too close to that man in the movie theater before.
Wet horses smell better than he did...
There you have it.

The above comments came in comparing the horrendous Moore to another Flint-oid, Andrew Heller, "Flint's Golden Boy," who is a clever and funny journalist.
No Disk Can Hold Me: Well, I finally got my interview digitized. I'd post it, but sadly, it's about a 380 meg file (no comments on the size of my ego, please). I know you love me and all, but even with a broadband connection that's a loooooong download. So now I'm trying to gather information about video compression and so forth. Once again, everything has to be complicated. Anyone got any good ideas?
You Gotta Have Art: I managed to get to the Toledo Art Museum this weekend. It's nice little trip only about an hour away from me.

It appears to be located in a ghetto. Seriously, I wouldn't want to be spending a lot of time walking around in the surrounding neighborhood. But you park just across the street and immediate area seems safe.

The museum is nice, if unspectacular (yes, I'm a museum snob). There are Monets and Picassos and plenty of Renaissance stuff; a nice ancient art exhibit; lots of glass work from throughout history. There was a special exhibition on industrial design that I was looking forward to, but it turned out to be only industrial design that had a connection to Toledo, which naturally limited the scope. Still not bad.

It's not a large place. You can cover most everything in an afternoon. There are events running regularly. Free admission (although they charge for special exhibits). A nice way to spend a rainy day.
This Just In: From KK, the intrepid reporter, we hear that the Ann Arbor Lone Star Steakhouse has packed it in. I prefer to believe it was due to the great influence of this review.

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Pits and Bieces: For you weekend reading pleasure.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Yet Moore Lies: Ben Fritz took the time to verify the world according to The Demon Moore and found it to be highly imaginary. Not surprising. Sadly, Fritz makes the mistake of taking Moore seriously to being with and so doesn't take the opportunity to call him any fun names.
Nobel Prize for Slap-downs: My favorite, P.J. O'Rourke, has taken a moment to dismantle a stunningly pompous statement, signed by a gaggle of Nobel Prize winners, designed to seem charitable and noble while solely serving the purpose of inflating their bloated self-images. All I can say is "heh, heh, heh."
RIP, Billy Wilder: I'm late to the line on this one. Billy Wilder was an amazing director. He is regularly lauded for some classic dramas such as Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend and Sunset Boulevard, but his comedies were even better. Some Like it Hot, The Seven Year Itch and The Apartment are universally renowned as some of the best movie comedies ever. My favorite: The little known comedy One, Two, Three - James Cagney's second to last role and the best Cold War movie ever. Here's the full list of credits. Never has the phrase "They don't make 'em like that anymore," been more true.
Mail Travails: The mail account I use for this site - - used to be a freebie I got as a benefit for having an Amex card. No more. Amex isn't sponsoring it anymore so the folks at are going to charge me thirty bucks a year to keep my free account. It's a shame. I love that account because the spam in minimal and I could reach it from any browser anywhere, and if I got fired or changed ISP I still had it. So, as a result, it has become my main e-mail face to the world so, as a further result, I am over a barrel as far as letting it go.

I paid the fee. On the one hand, it chafes me, and I blame Amex for ditching out on the sponsorship. On the other hand, if it's so useful, I really can't complain about thirty bucks a year. I spend more than that on Diet Coke every week.

The other issue is my hotmail account. The only place I use that is on, and it gets easily 100-150 spams a week. So I think I'm going to axe that one and maybe try a Lycos account. Suggestions for quality web mail services are welcome.
Summer Music: Soak up the Sun, by Sheryl Crow, is making me think of summer when I need it most.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Wow: I am truly and deeply honored by this award. A heartfelt thanks to the committee and especially to my wonderful readers.

Monday, April 01, 2002

I'll Be Right Back: Well, I did have nice weekend. I didn't do much of anything productive, but that was kind of the point. You see, my weekends are pretty much like my weekdays. I go into to work to get a head start on this or that, and then at home I sit in front of the computer and work on whatever projects I have going - my web sites, query letters, writing projects. Mix in time to go to the gym and that's pretty much my whole life. This weekend I did all of that, just less of it. I took a long walk in the arboretum, I watched a bit of TV, I slept in.

In any event, I'm going to take one last night off, then I'll be back tomorrow with some actual content for you.