If I had a band, I would name it ALT-0246. That's the Windows-keypad ASCII code for ö.
Went to bed last night with the Phils winning 5-1 against the Giants. And in true Phils fashion, the bullpen pissed the game away. ESPN knows exactly how to screw with Phils fans: During this morning's SportsCenter, they made sure to show David Coggin throwing fastballs in the dirt on his way to walking in two runs. I dunno why I still care so much. I should follow Big Daddy D's lead and just give up on baseball as a whole. But in the meantime, here's my prescription: 1. Trade Rolen and Glanville now for some middle relief and a prospect or two. 2. Bring up Marlon Byrd to play center field and bat him No. 2 in the lineup. 3. Move Travis Lee to cleanup with Burrell batting behind him, or vice-versa. 4. Put Burrell at third and let Jason Michaels play left. 5. Trade 'em all except for Rollins and Abreu at the end of the season.
Today only got better when K called to say that she is being forced to take unpaid leave to attend our honeymoon. She works for a small business. She makes the small business lots of money. The small business has a shitty vacation policy. By failing to show her a little extra respect in turn for her hard work, the small business has sacrificed K's loyalty. Let that be a lesson to anyone running a small business.
April 30, 2002 at 17:51 | Permalink
Wanna know how much L.A. hip-hop has changed since the riots a decade ago? Try naming an MTV rap song (The Coup's output doesn't count) from the past two or three years that has overt political content. I can't think of any, and there certainly aren't any from the West Coast. Then throw on Ice Cube's 1992 disc "The Predator." It's a brutal combination of opportunism (you think he'd give up the chance to say "I f*ckin' told you so"?) and reportage ("don't hit the black-owned stores/but hit the Foot Locker"). But even Cube's career quickly veered away from all-out firestarting. There was too much money to be made promoting the good life, I guess. The only L.A. musical act these days with a distinct L.A. conscience is System Of A Down, and those guys are Armenian, and they play metal. (Rage Against The Machine never quite cut it.) The MTV "Cribs" episode with Ice-T explains it all: At the balcony of his Hollywood hills estate, he screams to the valley below, "I'm a rapper! Y'all can kiss my ass!" or something like that. Funny thing is, he doesn't scare anybody anymore.
April 29, 2002 at 14:26 | Permalink
April 25, 2002 at 16:00 | Permalink
Someday all entertainment will be like a utility: We'll be billed for what we see and hear by the second, at rates differing by the quality of A/V material that is consumed. Sure, that sounds like cable TV, but I'm talking about a 24/7 account of our viewing and listening habits. This, of course will require a massive bureaucracy to rate and manage all entertainment. Only A/V materials created in the home and not intended for public consumption will be free of the public utility system. People bored with seeing whatever they want, whenever they want, will lead a backlash. Without getting too far into Neal Stephenson territory, I envision the return of the Victorian parlor show, with mom, dad and the kids entertaining guests with homemade CGI films, robot tricks, pocket symphonies, etc. Families on tight budgets will prefer to make their own fun, in the same way that cookin' up some Manwich is much more cost-effective than a trip to Taco Bell.
April 24, 2002 at 14:06 | Permalink
The Chipotle Grill chain is part-owned by McDonald's. My absolute favorite burrito place in Washington is The Burro. It's probably one of my four or five favorite cheap-Mexican food joints in the world. Very near The Burro's DuPont Circle location, a Chipotle Grill franchise has opened. The Burro has now closed, my sources say. This, my friends, is enough to make me want to join all those goofy anti-everything protestors who are wrapping up their D.C. weekend of mayhem today. Full disclosure: I find that Chipotle food is not as good as The Burro's, but it is not terrible, either.
April 22, 2002 at 22:44 | Permalink
From the New York Post's Page Six:
CLOWNS are no laughing matter to Sean "Puffy" Combs.
The swaggering rap royal is widely reported to suffer from coulrophobia, an irrational fear of the red-nosed, oversized-shoe-wearing, greasepainted circus buffoons. There have even been reports that Combs has gone as far as demanding a "no-clown clause" in his performance contracts.
Puffy's mouthpiece, Nathalie Moar, insists that he's not a clown-coward - but we'll wager that the rough-and-tumble rapresario will get nowhere near the clown convention that's taking place in upstate Saratoga Springs. And it's a good bet that the baggy-costumed mirthmakers massing at The Clowns of America International Convention 2002 would mow down Puffy in their tiny cars if they had half a chance.
Convention chairman Paul Kleinberger, whose nom-de-clown is "Fuddi-Duddy," accused Combs of practicing discrimination by demanding a no-clown clause in his contracts.
"That would be like me saying I refuse to entertain when a rapper is in the audience," Kleinberger fumed to PAGE SIX. "That's certainly discrimination. Just because Combs has been a high-profile entertainer for the past few years doesn't make it OK for him to include something like that in his contract."
Beverly Hills shrink-to-the-stars Carole Lieberman tells us that Puffy's condition most likely springs from a frightening clown encounter when he was a child.
"It usually has to do with adults assuming that all little kids love clowns and forcing their children to respond positively to clowns," Lieberman said. "To a child, looking up at this big painted face can seem kind of grotesque. There's also kind of a hostile edge to clowns that children can pick up on. I think that a lot of people who are clowns put on a happy face to hide the unhappiness behind it."
But Kleinberger charged that Lieberman was simply indulging in clown-bashing.
"Psychiatrists and psychologists say all kinds of things to justify their degree," he snapped. "Most of these people have no practical experience with clowns. Children are naturally drawn to bright, colorful characters. If the mother or father says the children are scared of clowns, it's usually the parents that have a fear of clowns."
While the clowntroversy may never be resolved, Puffy and his fellow coulrophobes can find a safe haven in ihateclowns.com, a Web site that boasts the motto "The No Clown Zone."
April 22, 2002 at 14:51 | Permalink
Arlington's Clarendon neighborhood has turned the corner, forever, away from what once made it tolerable. I ate at a relatively old-school restaurant there for dinner tonite, and I was struck at how busy the sidewalks were. Restaurants have always done well around the Clarendon Metro stop, but I've never seen a constant stream of young couples and happy twentysomething groups like I saw tonite. Yeah, that included me, I guess, but so what. The area used to be pleasantly dumpy to the point that most people didn't even think twice about going there unless they lived in the heart of Arlington already. Now, all of a sudden, it's like Capitol Hill South or Adams Morgan for Those Who Don't Like Street Hustles. Here's the rub: On a large lot that was nothing but flat blacktop for about a decade, a group of developers built one of those behemoth mixed-use self-enclosed 'hoods, with a Crate Apple Barrel Pottery Barnes & Noble uber-store surrounding a courtyard, and condos peeking out over the facades. You enter the shop-zone in the middle of the block. Only one side of the polygon is storefronts. The other three sides comprise townhousy/rowhomey things with RonHowardish/StevenSpielbergy front porches. There's no zoning board in existence that could turn down the monstrosity. It's like Celebration, Fla., with the sense that you're not really supposed to stay there for very long. But people eat that shit up. Clarendon, I hardly knew thee.
April 20, 2002 at 04:24 | Permalink
Watching the Milan plane-crash coverage on CNN, I'm struck by how bland the city's downtown looks, with its wide streets, faceless ground-floor storefronts and concrete everywhere. The Pirelli Building, although curiously thin, isn't all that exciting, either. All of the folks at ground level have a blank, slightly dazed stare, as if they never anticipated the shock naturally associated with seeing a skyscraper that's been stabbed by an aircraft. CNN, of course, keeps running the same series of clips, including a dude sitting on a stretcher with blood on his shirt & necktie. The guy stands up to cross the street with the help of some orange-suited emergency workers, and as soon as he's ambling, a journalist rams a microphone into his face. There's no sound, but I hope the guy said, "I'm alright, it sucks that my head is bleeding, I'm sorry that people died, now piss off."
On this side of the Atlantic, the authorities are warning folks to beware of IMF/World Bank/pro-Palestinian/pro-Israel demonstrations in D.C. this weekend, but I'm wondering if they'll even be close to the ones that shuttered downtown a couple of years ago. It's also clear that D.C.'s tolerance level for black-bloc mayhem is not nearly as high as it was. The natives just want to be alive here, y'know?
April 18, 2002 at 16:45 | Permalink
The latest Osama video is a hoot because it looks like the al Qaida boss and his deputies are sitting around, playing a board game, or something like that. Check it out, mullah-boy: That's 'MUJAHEDIN' for a Triple Word Score! I wonder if they make Scrabble for Arabic. In other news, the NYT had this about the Bush administration's involvement in and reaction to the Venezuela scenario. If anything, it confirms my "things that make you go wha-da-fuh" feeling about what happened.
April 16, 2002 at 15:14 | Permalink
CNET News.com says that Microsoft wants to release a PC before the holidays that could be used like a Tivo system for recording TV shows. Of couse, this will add lots of software to the system. Microsoft is calling the new module "Freestyle." Lord have mercy, bring on more software! Software! Software! Software! Jodie Cadieux, marketing manager for Microsoft's Windows eHome division, told CNET: "There will be a consumer name of some sort that designates this type of PC. This is a different software experience, so it will require more software."
April 15, 2002 at 19:33 | Permalink
OK, let's sort this out: The U.S.-friendly president (Hugo Chavez) of a major oil supplier (Venezuela) is arrested by his country's military after anti-government protests leave more than a dozen people dead. The demonstrations are partly in response to the president's decision to install some of his loyalists in the management of the state-owned oil company. The military commanders say they had been planning a coup of sorts for about six months. The interim government makes all sorts of decrees (i.e. abolishing the country's legislature, the supreme court and the constitution) that piss off much the public and the elite. Two days later, some of the same military commanders who ousted the president are responsible for restoring him to power. If I wrote spy novels, this would be a goldmine of ideas.
April 15, 2002 at 16:43 | Permalink
From the Wall Street Journal:
At La Fleur en Papier D'ore, the oldest bar in Brussels, retired shopkeeper Jean-Paul De Boek boasts he can down five Stella Artois beers a day, since it's easy on his stomach and costs only $1.10 a pint. In New York City, even if Mr. De Boek could get past the bouncers at the hip bars where the Belgian beer is on tap, he would go broke keeping up the pace. A glass of Stella there costs as much as $8, which Mr. De Boek and his drinking buddies think is hilarious. "In Belgium, Stella is a beer fit for old peasants," Mr. De Boek says. "Americans must be insane."
April 12, 2002 at 14:44 | Permalink
What happens when two people who really suck have a conversation? The answer is this: The Creed guy tries to prove why he doesn't suck, while the O'Reilly guy tries to prove that he can determine, for himself, when something doesn't suck. Sorry, fellas. Because you both suck, the equation cannot compute. I never took symbolic logic, but I'm almost positive that words such as "null set" and "fallacy" apply here.
April 10, 2002 at 17:43 | Permalink
Graduates-to-be in top MBA programs this spring are having a tougher time finding jobs than graduates from a year ago, according to the Wall Street Journal. At Penn, NYU, MIT and Northwestern, for instance, the placement rates are averaging about 65 percent -- way down from the 80 percent to 90 percent rates a year ago. My analysis? This is God's way of telling us the world has too many management consultants. I know one person in an MBA program, and he's doing it the right way: Somebody else is paying for it, and he's simply protecting his job security. I doubt that he would ever become a management consultant. If I were a management consultant, I would give seminars on the horrors of corporate jargon. This would make me unpopular, I think.
April 09, 2002 at 14:59 | Permalink
Avid readers of the Cesspool know of Sayed Jafar Naderi, an Afghan warlord who kicked around Allentown, Pa., during part of his youth. Later in life, the bushy-bearded Belushi look-alike settled in his family's northern Afghanistan homeland, became an anti-Taliban military commander and was immortalized in a National Geographic video, "Warlord of Kayan." I haven't seen anything about him in months, so I did a little research. The most recent report I could find -- from the BBC's monitoring of the London-based Radio Voice of Afghanistan -- said he tried to wrest control of the northern town of Pol-e Khomri after the Taliban had been defeated, but his forces apparently were beaten back. The report, filed on Dec. 18, was based on an interview with another Afghan commander, so its accuracy level may or may not be high. The news database available to me offers nothing else about him after Dec. 18. Somebody needs to do a followup story on the guy.
April 03, 2002 at 19:17 | Permalink
The last time I gave blood was in 1994, and it gave me one of those cold sweat/light head reactions that caused the nurses to keep me in check an extra half hour. Today the bloodmobile made a stop at my company, and I was prepared: I ate a bigass breakfast this morning, and I went in with a positive mental attitude. The result? No sweat, no runs, no drips, no errors. I even noticed a slight bit of euphoria about halfway through the session. Free euphoria, now that's American! The gyro sub I gormandized after my drip-drip was quite pleasing, too. In other news, I've been listening to an advance copy of the new Wilco disc, and I'll only say that it's immediately pleasing. Somebody's paying me to review it, so you think I'm gonna spill the goods here?
April 03, 2002 at 17:22 | Permalink
Spent most of the weekend digging holes, planting azaleas, ripping up weeds and sweating profusely at K's mom's place in Richmond. Those who have lived with me know I get off on that kind of thing -- at the Edison St. house and the 13th St. dump, I spent a lot of time digging around and pruning crap just for the hell of it. To master nature's bounty is in my blood; I can think of a long line of gardener-Polacks in my dad's family, and quite a few on my mom's side as well. One of my great uncles had a massive backyard plot that had been farmed for decades. The soil was as dark as tar, and it had a vegetable-ish/chocolately smell that I'll never forget. My own dad grew everything from corn to grapes at one time or another, even making his own wine. There's a bottle of it in the garage somewhere, I'm sure. And a great-grandfather on my mom's side had a semi-subterranean hothouse of sorts behind his row home. I wish I could remember more about that setup -- it would be cool to look at some pictures of it now.
April 02, 2002 at 16:06 | Permalink