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31 May 2004

People are actually getting the message in VA...

In an earlier post, I got into a quick discussion with shari about the possibility of Virginia going Democratic in '04. I wasn't optimistic then, but if there was an outside chance, it would be due to the contrast of Mark Warner's excellent performance as governor with former Republican governor Jim Gilmore's horrible, horrible performance.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered a local editoralist eating his words in our rag. Charlottesville is liberal, but the Daily *chuckle* Progress is NOT. (Their motto: "bibble-bibble-bibble")

Seeing this mea culpa is making me hope against hope, but it is nice to see two truths confirmed; the Republicans here are the radicals, and if you want good government, reject the nutty wing of the Republican party.

28 May 2004

Well whaddya know? Howard Dean was right.

I know, big surprise. But remember when Dean said if you want to trust government with your money you need to elect Democrats?

Our Democrat governor Mark Warner was vindicated today when Virginia retained its triple-A bond rating.

Kudos to Warner and the Republican House members who broke ranks to vote with him. Warner's performance combined with former governor Jim Gilmore's fiscal incompetence has caused a lot of Repubs here to reconsider voting for Bush and his overly partisan supporters like Virgil Goode.

26 May 2004

Just thought I'd share a rainbow with you (after one of our typically violent Charlottesville thunderstorms)...
Posted by Hello
Support Al Weed for Congress

If you live in VA-5 and are fed up with Virgil Goode, you owe it to yourself to get over to Democratic challenger Al Weed's website. With his credentials, background, and policy position, Al Weed is a charismatic John Kerry. And since our local weekly recently stated Goode has a huge money advantage (check Local News, May 24), Al Weed definitely needs our help.

25 May 2004

Get well, you lovable lad...

Morrissey had to cancel his week of Craig Kilborn shows due to illness. Lots of tea, lay off the cigarettes, and you'll be up and about and snotty without snot in no time!

24 May 2004

Here's Monty lying in the corner; adorable, ain't he?
Posted by Hello
It's WSOP week!

I was so tired from this weekend's walkathon that I totally forgot that the World Series of Poker started this Saturday. About 2600 players are gunning for a $5 million first prize. The only news I've been able to glean so far is they've got it down to a thousand and Moneymaker is out. Does anyone know any websites that are keeping tabs on the tourney?
Oh my...

I couldn't take it and read the spoilers for last night's Sopranos. Wow.

I understand that with ownership of a pet comes certain responsibilities, and of course, I would never want to deprive Mr. Monty of his morning walkies.


Fortunately, Monty assails himself of all of his tricks to make sure I'm up by then, some not specific to his breed, like the shaking himself awake, and some breed-specific traits like THE PIERCING BARK.

He's also got odd cat-like qualities. I've often felt someone watching the back of my head as I thrashed in bed, only to turn around and find Monty's corgi face right up in my grill. Aaah. Don't do that...

I will say, however, that with this heatwave it's good to get the walkies done early, I'm already sweating through my shirt by 7. And I've started to walk a little extra in preparation for my participation in next month's Urban Challenge in DC. Stay tuned for exciting details! OK, details.
Another poker story...

I guess finally posting that first one got the juices flowin'...

One of the things that surprised me while I was playing was that players would call to the river with practically nothing. It got to the point where I thought I could be slick and semi-bluff with crap, only to get creamed on a couple of hands. Still, my inability to throw away decent hands did end up paying off. Example.

I get 9-4 suited on the big blind; I would have probably thrown it away if I had to pay more to see the flop, but there are only callers, and as Teddy KGB said, "Chyeck is goooooood", so I'm in.

Flop comes 9-J-4. I push my eyes back into my head and bet out, get three callers.

A 5 on the turn. I bet out, and I get raised to the player on my left. I immediately think, "Oh shit, he's got fives." The other two fold, but I call, figuring I'm beat.

Don't remember the river, but I check, player bets, I call, waiting to see the fives and resigning myself to being an idiot.

He turns over 4-5. I show my higher two pair and win. Whew! I don't think I would have stuck around w/bottom pair on the flop...

23 May 2004

A poker story...

You know, for a while now I've been meaning to chronicle my Atlantic City trip poker for the degenerate gamblers in the audience but haven't quite found the time...still, a couple of interesting hands stick out, I'll write one down while waiting for the Mrs. to return from NC.

2-4 Hold 'Em, I get 6-6. I'm not good enough to know exactly how to play medium pairs like this, so I limp in with about 7 others to see the flop. Three queens. Everyone chuckles/moans, I don't know WHAT the fuck to do, I check, it gets checked around. When a 3 shows up on the turn, and everyone checks to me, I suddenly realize, hey, I probably have the best hand now. No one would check with a high pair, the next best is probably someone who paired the 3. I bet, everyone but one folds. I pray the turn is lower than a 6, and it's a 2. I bet, the other player calls, I win. Not a big pot, but I'm happy for it.
911 dead.

I hadn't checked this site in a while...

22 May 2004

It's walkathon time!

Yes, everyone loves walkathons. Except me. I think it's the combination of altruism and exercise that I loathe. Nonetheless, with my wife away for the weekend on a scuba diving expedition in North Carolina, I could do what I usually do when she's away (gorge myself on Oreos and Cool Whip and cry myself to sleep each night) or actually voluntarily bring myself into contact with other people, which I'm pretty sure some French dude once accurately described as "hell". But what to do? Hey, the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA was running its "Walk 'fur' Paws"! (Motto: If the walkathon doesn't make you vomit, our unnecessarily cutesy name for it will!) So I strapped the Gentle Leader on Monty and away we went...

Raising funds was rather easy ("You're actually going to walk 3 miles? That entertainment's cheap at twice the price!") Turnout was decent, and lots of lovable pooches. A friendly, sweet pit bull jumped on me and almost knocked me to the ground; I chuckled as I patted her head, noting that she could crush my bones easily with her mighty jaws were she not just a sweet li'l puddin'.

The walk got started half an hour early due to the turnout, thank heavens, because once the Charlottesville sun peeked out over the rooftops it got hot, quickly. Halfway through the route I was hurting, which was fine 'cause I'm a lazy bastard, but the dogs weren't faring so well. The vanguard seemed to make an executive decision to cut the route short (doubling back from the Sam's Club parking lot instead of walking around the building) while Monty, who was being Mr. Picky at the start of the walk and didn't even touch the communal bowls, had no such compulsion drinking at the pit stop, dog slobber be damned. Fact was, the planners did a good job providing clean water, but the heat was really getting to the dogs that one pit stop for the walk might not have been enough. Monty and I stopped by a Sam's Club truck, the shadow of which seemed to be serving as an emergency station for black-haired dogs, who were panting heavily as their owners coddled and cajoled them to go the last quarter-mile to the end.

As we arrived at the finish, a giant yellow school bus was waiting to take everyone back to the parking lot. I was questioning the logic of putting 30 dogs and their owners on a school bus, but as it turned out, it was my fondest memory of the trip, as everyone was sitting quietly in their seats with their dogs panting either sitting on the seat next to them or on the floor. Someone noted that riding the school bus in real life would have been a lot nicer were we able to bring our dogs, and it was hard to disagree then.

Well, I got a T-shirt, Monty got a bag chock-full of treats and a lot of attention, and we raised $70 for the CASPCA. We earned our weekend; Monty has been relaxed all day and hopefully will sleep like a baby. And if you'll excuse me, there's a bag of Oreos with my name on it...

21 May 2004

Zoom in on the hero, riding into this lawless one-horse town on his Segway...

No, not quite that catchy, is it? Still, an interesting article here on a good citizen thwarting a crime with the help of his trusty Segway.

I was just thinking earlier in the day that I was surprised there weren't more Segways on the road around here. If there were going to show up anywhere, I thought Charlottesville would be the place. A university town with traffic issues, combined with a lot of rich liberals? I wanna see Segways on the sidewalks, dammit!

I have been noticing, however, more and more Prii (I think that's the plural of Prius that CmdrSue and I agreed upon. Priusesesses?) Nice counterbalance to the SUV-driving assholes (NOTE: owning an SUV doesn't de facto make you an asshole, but you better be hauling at least four family members or a load of lumber w/each trip). And what's great about the Prius is it looks like a Jetsons car. In my imagined future, we were driving Jetsons cars, not fucking tanks. (Although I have driven a tank in certain future-based fantasies involving my high school which, given our post-Columbine society, it would be best not to detail.)

Someone's got to get on the ball w/ the cars, though, we've got a decade or so left before those Back to the Future movies look totally stupid.

20 May 2004

OK, I'm seven years old...

...but fellow bloggers, do you giggle too when you publish a post and you get the screen that says "This may take a few minutes, if you have a large blog"?
I actually DID click on this website for the interview...

There's a good Morrissey interview here. Yes, I know...

19 May 2004

"You Are The Quarry" - Initial impressions...

My audience (yes, him) has been asking for a review of Morrissey's latest, purchased by me from a dicky record shop sales associate yesterday. I'll need to listen another 100 times or so to see if it'll hold, but early listenings seem to suggest a damn fine album.

Early faves: America is Not the World ("You know where you can shove that hamburger"), The First of The Gang to Die, I Like You.
Holy shit...

I don't follow baseball that much, but even I know this is something special. Good for you, Randy.

18 May 2004

Swing the bat at, um, FOR Kerry...

OK, I've finally given cash to Kerry. Thank Dr. Howard Dean. Sure, it's only a symbolic thirteen bucks (for VA's 13 electoral votes) but that's Howard on that thirteen-dollar bill. Be sure to thank him for the cash you raise today, Johnny.
Doggie treats revisited...

Accolades for Pup-peroni(TM) notwithstanding, I try to support local businesses when I can (although "good citizen" often fights with "cheap bastard" when I shop). I'd be remiss, however, if I didn't give Sammy Snacks a plug, especially after my recent experience. My wife and I turned right on a street which we normally turn left and whaddya know? The famed Sammy Snacks headquarters, often heard about by us but never seen. A nice clean warehouse that smelled not-unpleasantly of dog biscuits with sparsely-decorated shelves, animal shelter literature laid out, bakery racks visible in the background, and a couple of labs lying down on dog beds. It was the canine equivalent of Willy Wonka's factory. After making a small purchase, my wife wondered what happened to the peanut butter treats they sold, and the young man at the counter said there weren't enough left for packaging, but he'd be happy to give her what they had left in the back. So we ended up with about 3 pounds of treats with an 8 oz. purchase.

See? Sometimes "good citizen" and "cheap bastard" can be the same thing. Right, Manhattan Transfer?

"Oh, make sure this prick pays you in cash..."

17 May 2004

"I won't share you/I'll see you sometime, darling..."

I rarely delve into local issues here, being scatterbrained and all, but here's a local issue that should also resonate throughout America.

Our Krispy Kreme is klosing, er, closing.

The blame isn't just on Atkins-diet nimrods, though, but the shitty location. Granted, it's off a major thruway (right next to, incidentally, my wife's real estate office), but I thought the recent opening of a Best Buy down the street would have been a huge boon. Computer nerds and Krispy Kremes? Well, the economy has hurt us all...

That's gonna leave a void much larger than doughnut-sized here, I assure you.
Damn you, Blogger!

If Blogger doesn't unfuck itself soon, watch for the nerdy-looking guy running down the street making bibble-bibble sounds...

15 May 2004

It's summer soundtrack time!

Yep, tomorrow is graduation day at UVA (and I'm gonna mosey on down to my little Slavic Department diploma ceremony to collect my degree) and with the students gone, we have four pretty sweet, quiet months. Since Charlottesville is known to get into the mid-800s with 47,000% humidity, summer's a time for kicking back w/a nice mint julep, and listening to tunes. Some early contenders for the summer mix:

The Cardigans, "For What It's Worth"

"Lovefool" was poppy and catchy, but this song makes "Lovefool" sound like "Bad Baby" by Public Image Limited. I'm so this song's bitch.

Gomez, "Silence"

Fuzzy guitar goodness. The end reminds me a bit of "Nightmares" by the Violent Femmes...

Morrissey, "Irish Blood, English Heart"

The more I listen, the more me likee. The quirky hard-rocking backing tracks reminds me of the Pixies, and I made my wife giggle when I sang the Oliver Cromwell line. Did Morrissey take those seven years off to grow some balls?

Any other nominations?
Zell Miller is a traitor and an asshole...

Fuck him.
"Uncorrected personality traits that seem whimsical in a child may prove to be ugly in a fully grown adult..."

CmdrSue has got me interested in the whole Myers-Briggs thing (we're both INFPs, you see). Through the use of a program CmdrSue bought where you type in various combinations (like, for example, my INFP self with an INTJ co-worker), understanding how humans see things differently has suddenly become clearer to me, almost to the point of eerieness. I just find it fun; it's like astrology, except it might not be bullshit!

If you're interested, take the test here.

13 May 2004

Of course.

Rupert won the million. Thank you, America's television viewers, for hopefully ensuring that annoying bastard never darkens the airwaves again.
Retarded Louisiana legislators redux...

I really can't believe this. My wife and I love New Orleans, it's probably our favorite vacation destination (that or Paris, and I'd throw in Las Vegas), but what the hell's going on in that state. I thought that low-slung pants bill was an obvious example of one nimrod exploiting his position to suit his own personal agenda.

And now I read that this idiotic bill has passed through its committee.

Here's more info:

State Representative Derrick Shepherd’s bill would make any violator subject to three eight-hour days of community service and up to a fine of $175.

That means the local teens on the basketball court are going to have to keep their pants up, too.

Shepherd told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, "There's a way to shoot hoops professionally. You don't have to shoot hoops with your pants below your waist."

He thinks the waistline location might even improve their behavior.

"Hopefully, if we pull up their pants," he said, "we can lift their minds while we're at it."

Just reading that sends me into Lewis Blackesque convulsions. And I'm the only one that overtones here?
Yeah, TV viewers are idiots, blah blah etc.

I'm glad this whole abuse of Iraqis thing is obviously over with, since the most important news CNN can find is someone getting screwed over on American Idol. I guess given the unimportant crap I've spewed venom about here, this should be big, but the only thing that comes to my mind is Al Pacino's line from Glengarry Glen Ross: "What do YOU fuckin' care?"

I'll save my outrage for Rupert picking up that million dollars tonight.

12 May 2004

Wacky corgi antics...

A semi-reoccuring series featuring my corgi, Monty.

CmdrSue and her hubby gave me a thoughtful little graduation gift, a remote-control Mini Cooper, about an inch tall. I was delighted; not only did my mind buzz with the potential for annoying people, I thought Monty would have fun chasing it around and it might actually be a toy he wouldn't rip to shreds in two seconds (after a little practice driving it, of course).

So, I take the car home, put it on the kitchen floor, and Monty, curious little dog that he is, immediately walked up to it. I make the Cooper move a little towards my doggie, and the coward backs up. As I move the car towards him so that he can play with it, Monty backs away and runs out of the kitchen.

So, I felt like a fucking asshole, but fortunately, I got back into Monty's good graces with the help of a delicious Pup-peroni(TM). I'm so grateful to this wonderful product that at considerable expense I brought in jazz vocal combo Manhattan Transfer to sing the Pup-peroni jingle with xylophone accompaniment! Take it away!

"Oh, when you inadvertently scare your corgi with a remote control car,
And you feel like a fucking asshole,
Get back in your dog's good graces with the help of a delicious Pup-peroni(TM),

Hmm. Maybe that's why Pup-peroni sales have been going down recently...
I apologize to McDonald's...

This is the dumbest fucking idea ever.

Free beer to hockey fans. Great.

And Blogger keeps eating my posts when I try to use the buttons. Hate. Hate. Hate.

11 May 2004

Now that I got my free crap, I can say with enthusiasm...


Thanks for the bumpersticker Johnny, you're going on right under Howard, because when I drive I want to convey the message, "Sure, Howard Dean would have probably been a better president and beat up Dubya like a schoolyard bully, but when push comes to shove, Democrats are cowards and pick the 'safe' candidate, but you can certainly take solace in the fact that Kerry will also give Dubya a few kicks as we throw his cracker ass out of the White House."
I'm no businessman, but is this the dumbest fucking idea ever or what?

A Happy Meal for adults. A salad, water, and pedometer for (presumably) six bucks. They'll probably make millions.

Shit, Rupert's going to win that million on Thursday, isn't he?

Who, exactly, are we kidding? First of all, a real happy meal for adults would be a double Big Mac, large fries, and an XBox. Have you ever seen anyone jump for joy because they received a frickin' pedometer for Christmas?

And who does this help? People who go to McDonald's don't want fucking healthy food. They'll eat the salad once, and grab a Quarter Pounder with a cup of french fry oil as a snack on the way out. Like everyone in my generation, McDonald's used to be a treat, once a month tops, but now we go there every day because a) it's the closest place to our jobs and we only get half an hour for lunch or b) our jobs are so miserable and shitty that the only solace we get comes from the fond memories of scarfing down food I use to be able to eat without getting the trots.
You were outwitted, outplayed, outlasted...but here's a million anyway!

Another article handicaps the contestants who've got a chance in hell of getting the Survivor million from the American people. Unlike most articles on almost any subject, this one didn't annoy me. Sure, Rupert's called the favorite, but the writer correctly based this on the stupidity of the American-Idol-destroying audience, rather than merit on Rupert's part. Actually, Rupert's called the asshole that he is and the Television Without Pity campaign to get Rob M. the cash is even mentioned. C'mon, if anyone ever had a valid argument for deserving money from a reality show, it's Rob M., who utilized all of the arbitrary rules in a controlled setting to make the others his minions.

But if you didn't like Rob M., just remember this, it's not about giving a million to the guy who deserved it the most out of 18 possible choices.

It's about pissing off Lex, who's a complete douchebag.

10 May 2004

Not really feelin' the Blogger love right now...

The new, improved Blogger has to date only increased the # of obscenities I string together in one breath of air. I guess it's kind of pissy to complain about free ranting space not being convenient enough as if I were Mikhail Bulgakov and my pearls of "wisdom" were necessary for the good of society.

Then again, I'm a pretty pissy guy...
Kudos to Amber...

A couple of thoughts about the Survivor finale.

The article is full of shit. Rob did not "win" the game for Amber; Amber played such a brilliant game I bet the jury STILL thinks they "gave" the money to her. They're idiots.

Lex is a douchebag.

I have other thoughts, but until the "new" Blogger works out its 82352 bugs I'll defer.

09 May 2004

You've GOT to be fucking kidding me. (or, "Bush and Kerry are alike in some ways, but different in others...")

Every mediocre compare/contrast paper I've ever read has that sort of sentence in it; those papers invariably end up in the B-C+ range.

So to see that type of prose appear in an article makes me wonder how that writer has a fucking job.

Oh, and if the writer illustrated how Kerry would have started military action based upon spreading false information to the American public and the international community I might have bought his argument.

08 May 2004

This summer I'm going to party like it's 199...2.

It's about frickin' time the shit I liked in college came back in "style". Not only does Morrissey (I'm talkin' the Pope of Mope, the Prince of Pout, the Duke of Dour) have a new, long-awaited (by me) disc, he's headlining Lollapalooza (motto: "our music is too boring to make anyone riot!") this year. I'll be there in all my "glory", shoegazing, looking disaffected, and spending $8 for a cup of water. I wonder if my Slowdive tee still fits.

And if that weren't enough, the Pixies are reuniting. And with Kevin Shields finally staying sane enough to write some new songs, I almost feel charmed. Is it too much to ask Matt Johnson to get off his ass and make another The The album? What bands have you been waiting for to cash in on the alternative band comeback "craze"?

07 May 2004

Our president is a nose-picking idiot...

Don't believe me? Here.
Why do my students hate me?

It's hard not to think that after a day of grading research papers. The grammar...the grammmmmmmmmmmmmar. The approximately 40-50 10-page papers I read each semester (and yes, I actually READ them) invariably fall into the same ratio: 10% are good, maybe another 20% or so don't make me upset, and the rest...sheesh.

So if there are any college-age students reading this, a few tips when you hand in your paper...

*Read your paper out loud, to yourself, before you hand it in. Do your instructor that favor, OK?

*Papers get Googled now, don't try to buy them.

*I hate this sentence: "In order to analyze [ostensible topic of paper], it is first necessary to summarize [entire work]." NO, IT'S NOT NECESSARY! You think we don't recognize filler when we see it? I swear, sometimes I think oatmeal and sawdust are going to fall out of the pages.

*For the last. fucking. time. The apostrophe is used to indicate possession. Possession. POSSESSION! I tell my students this every semester, and they still do it. One semester while I was a TA I remember correcting one paper discussing "The Brother's Karamazov"; this told me that not only couldn't that student be bothered with correct grammar, s/he analyzed a novel without bothering TO LOOK AT THE COVER OF THE BOOK.

Deep breath. Calm blue ocean. OK.

06 May 2004

The answer're an idiot.

You are, that is, if you complete this inane "Which 'Friend' are you" poll that's on, surprise,

I knew I was going to be annoyed before I clicked on it, and I was right...
Hilarious AND delicious...

I give you Kamikaze Kumquat. This girl's craaaaaaazy...
Look, Kerry may be a dickwad, but he's OUR dickwad...

There have been Daily Kos diaries here and here about how the Kerry campaign is so lackluster and dull that we've got to cut our losses and put someone, anyone else in there. Too late, fellas, Kerry's our guy, sink or swim. I feel for all of you, I really do; I still remain unconvinced that Kerry is the better candidate or will be a better president than Howard Dean. I sure as hell would have liked to see Kerry try to endure a tenth of the shitstorm Dean took from Repubs and fellow Democrats (and does anyone honestly believe that Bill Clinton, a man with a dubious draft record, would have survived the same thing in 2004?), and I think the whole "Kerry won the primaries, therefore he's the best" argument has a lot of holes. Let's face facts, OK? I'm too lazy to Google news articles on primaries, but I seem to remember a lot of articles about Kerry's victories including a poll indicating voters chose him because they thought he could beat Bush. So a lot of voters liked someone else, but they thought others would like Kerry. Ever buy a present you THOUGHT your wife or kid would like that they hated? Just saying, that's all.

And with all the annoying Dean-bashing going on in the Kos diaries YET AGAIN, I'd just like to say that I'm supporting Kerry hard. But since Kerry was picked because Dems thought he could beat Bush, he owes it to the Democrats, hell, he owes it to America, to beat Bush and save us from ourselves. And if he can't do it, it's not on the Deaniacs, or the Naderites, it's on HIM. Now go be fucking electable already; the new ads are a great start.

05 May 2004

Did you ever see that cartoon where Daffy Duck is up on stage with his trained pigeons, and after setting up a series of elaborate stunts for the pigeons to perform, he releases the pigeons, but they all immediately fly out the window, so he tries to play it off by dancing off the stage, only to peek out at the audience and get smacked in the face by a tomato?

For some reason, I thought of that cartoon when I read this.

04 May 2004

I love my fat, my fat loves me...

Good news if you put half-and-half on your cereal like I do, a new study suggests a low-fat diet may not be the best for your heart. Even if it's technically true, do you REALLY want to give Americans information that could be so easily misunderstood?

"That isn't to say we think everyone should be on a 50-percent fat diet," study co-author Dr. David R. Pendergast told Reuters Health.

Sorry, what were you saying, Dr. Pendergast? I was busy enjoying my clabber smoothie.
NOW they fucking tell us!

OK, I kinda knew that job prospects in academia tend to vacillate between slim and none, but this Village Voice article was still disturbing. Oh, "thanks" to C. Franz for pointing it out to me.

Still, it's not like I didn't have some idea, I live in a city where all the bartenders have humanities MAs.

Прощай, Валя!

My mother-in-law, after a wonderful six-month visit, headed back to her native Russia yesterday, leaving behind saddened family members and one devastated corgi.

Мы тебя любим!