Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Art Imitates Life, Which Pisses Life off to No End
I finally got around to watching this week's episode of The Wire today. It's really sad how things have piled up in my DVR. I'm taping too much shit. Do I really need to record Murder She Wrote reruns on the Hallmark Channel? (Well, yeah, actually. I do. I'm just that big an Angela Lansbury fan.)
Anyway, if you've missed the first three episodes of the new Wire season, you should know that Pres, a guy who was a bit of a fuck-up as a cop, has become a teacher in a Baltimore middle school. And, of course, he's teaching a bunch of students who aren't really interested in learning and don't feel the need to give him any respect or even allow him to teach a lesson.
Now, don't get me wrong here: my school isn't anything like the school on The Wire. For instance, nobody's ever been knifed in my class. But I do have a whole bunch of seventh-graders who absolutely could not care less about learning how to write a play. And a number of them felt the need to remind me of that today, in an attempt either to score Cool Points with their classmates or to make me wish just a little bit more that I was independently wealthy and didn't have to work there.
I had three seventh grade classes today and I'll be damned if they didn't all choose today to shove disrespect up my ass. And I didn't handle it well. I didn't explode or anything. I didn't freak out or walk out of the room or anything along those lines. But I did let their comments get me angry, which I should not do. Because it just makes things worse.
It just seemed today like even the good kids, the ones who've shown a real interest in theater in the past, now figure that I'm the teacher they can feel free to piss all over. And I didn't have an effective way to stop that today. So, when I watched The Wire and saw poor Pres get entirely overwhelmed by students who just don't give a shit; when he had to stand by while another teacher got control of the situation, it made me feel really bad. For him and for myself.
Again, my situation is nowhere near as bad. And every day is not like today. In fact, my worst class was actually pretty damn good yesterday. (Never mind that they behaved like the later chapters in Lord of the Flies today.) I shouldn't bitch. It's not as bad as all that. But when I'm already inclined to be in a bad mood, the shit just drags me down.
John Sadowski likes the junk food. In this week's Roundtable, which John is hosting, he's asking for all and sundry to share with him their number one secret junk food love. So load up a plate of Ding Dongs and head on over to John Sadowski.com and own up to the wretched crap you can't help but shove down your gullet.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Aries: You're horrified to discover that what you thought was a simple one-night stand has turned into a nightmare in which the entire nation can see Screech from Saved by the Bell giving you a dirty Sanchez. Solid judgment, there, Aries.
Taurus: Your date is not going to believe that your face is on the ten dollar bill. You'll need to come up with an alternate plan for impressing them.
Gemini: A barista mistakenly giving you a grande instead of a venti does not deserve to be called "Hitler".
Cancer: Your quick temper is doing you no favors, Cancer. In fact, everybody at work has given you a nickname: "That asshole who's pissed all the time." As nicknames go, it's no "Smitty".
Leo: The time has come to make a bold stand for what you believe in, Leo. So don't let that guy at the deli push you around anymore. When you say "sliced thin", he goddamn better well slice it so thin you can see through it.
Virgo: This week, you finally take a chance by giving your heart to someone. Who plays hacky-sack with it for awhile before rubbing it on the floor of a bathroom stall and handing it right back.
Libra: With so many exciting new programs on all the major networks, your cup runneth over, Libra! Your stupid, moronic, utterly-lacking-in-sophistication cup. Enjoy those new episodes of Two and a Half Men.
Scorpio: It looks like it's going to be a June wedding, Scorpio! Not for you, of course, but for someone who's not as loserish as yourself.
Sagittarius: Your adventurous side lands you in the hospital again. You really need to work on getting rid of that frigging thing.
Capricorn: People are impressed with your bumper stickers. Truly. You're widely admired by all who witness. Well done.
Aquarius: It's possible, Aquarius, for someone to like sauerkraut too much. Just something for you to ponder.
Pisces: Even if you can't afford to join an online dating service, writing your name and number on Men's Room stalls is really not a good alternative.
Monday, September 25, 2006
I'm Just a (Pissed-Off) Bill
Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton. Tsk, tsk. What are we going to do with this guy? He looked all sorts of flustered and pissy in his interview with Chris Wallace on FOX yesterday. While I agree with him that Wallace was slanting his questions to make Bill and his administration look as bad as possible--and I also agree with him that Wallace seemed like a smug, smirking little fat dude--I don't think Clinton did himself any favors by getting so riled up. I think he could've come across a lot more eloquently if he'd simply stood up, whipped it out and pissed all over Wallace's shoes. Now that, my friends, is how you handle an unfriendly interviewer.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Just wanted to apologize for my lack of activity here this week. I had kind of an incredibly shitty week, to put it succinctly, and I just wasn't feeling real funny.
As you may have noticed if you've been to the site before, we've got a slightly different look going on, for which I need to thank my lovely wife, who did some nifty HTML manipulation to get me away from my generic Blogger look. Thank you, sweetheart.
So now we'll get back to our regularly scheduled grouchiness. For anyone who missed the horoscope this week, just assume it was something awful and you'll probably be pretty much on target.
And let me take a moment to wish a Happy Rosh Hashanah to all of our Jewish friends. New Year in September? Why, those Hebrews are just so darned kooky!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Suzanne, over at Perfecting the Fine Art of Procrastination, writes this week's Roundtable post. And she's asking "What if...?"
Now, as a giant fucking geek, when someone asks me "What if...?", I automatically think of the Marvel Comics series from the 80s that imagined alternate realities for their canonical heroes, things like "What if Captain America was a hermaphrodite?" (Not an issue that was actually published, just something I've always wondered.)
Of course, Suzanne isn't asking about superheroes, she wants folks to share more personal stories. So have a couple drinks and head on over to Perfecting the Fine Art of Procrastination. And while you're there, maybe you can suggest to Suzanne that she get a briefer title for her blog, 'cause it's a pain to type it repeatedly.
Monday, September 18, 2006
The Pope is pissing off people who practice Islam. Pope Benny gave a speech a while back in which he quoted a 14th-century scholar who was disparaging of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims world-wide called him on it and, last week, the pontiff said that he was sorry...for the reaction to his words. Which is kind of like calling someone a douchebag and then saying that you're sorry that they're a douchebag.
So Muslims are still calling for a papal apology. The Pope doesn't seem about to budge.
But this week, he did issue a number of other apologies. The Holy Cheese said he was sorry:
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Is Being Forced to Watch a Jimmy Fallon Movie Torture?
I've been doing a lot of thinking this week about the Bush administration and politics in general. I've been doing this thinking because I'm seeing Bush all over the goddamn place and he inevitably makes me want to chuck a brick at the television.
His Rose Garden press conference this week was a prime example of why I loathe this guy. He seems to be utterly incapable of summoning up any sort of actual answer to a question. He just dives immediately back to his talking points and repeats those ad nauseum until the bad, bad reporters go away. And this fucking strategy of blaming Congress for torture? What the hell kind of schizoid logic is that? We're torturing people because the Geneva Convention is too vague? That's akin to saying, "Well, the law doesn't tell me exactly how many nuns I'm not allowed to blow up, so I had to go ahead and explode a van-full."
Now he's huffing and puffing and saying that, if his program isn't passed, we'll just stop interrogating prisoners at all. I would sincerely love to see him try that. I'd love to see him go into full-blown tantrum mode and, lip quivering on national TV, tell the country that, since we wouldn't do it his way, we won't do it at all. Then he could call us big mean meanies and stomp off to cry into his pillow.
Seriously, the Geneva convention outlaws torture and degrading treatment. Now, while I agree that it doesn't specifically say "You can't strip a prisoner naked and paint pictures of Mickey Mouse on his testicles with an airbrush," I don't think it takes a fucking rocket science to know when you've fallen into the degradation/torture end of the scale. Anyone claiming to need clearer boundaries has already stepped over them.
So part of me is glad that McCain and Warner and other republicans are stepping up here and opposing the mouthbreather-in-chief on this one. But there's another part of me that worries that this is all a big ol' Rovian plot to win the November elections.
Think about it: GOP candidates clearly can't win by sticking with Georgie B. He's like fucking rat poison in your soup to a re-election campaign. So maybe, just maybe, Rove and the other guiding lights of the party have arranged for Bush to toss something at them that they can fight against, so it doesn't look like they're quite so much of a rubber stamp. They keep the House and Senate, business goes right back to normal after the swearing-in. Personally, I think that sounds a little scarily plausible. I'd be much more at ease if all the fellas on the right were still tap dancing to Bush's beat.
'Cause let's face it, it ain't like the democrats are putting on their own spectacular floor show. They're still keeping really quiet right now, hoping that Americans will vote for them by default. Sweet tooth-brushing Jesus, I can't wait until this administration is out of fucking office.
Friday, September 15, 2006
The Words of the Prophets Are Spoken in the Subway Cars
So I'm on the 4 train for my Friday afternoon ride home. Sitting there, reading the New Yorker peacefully, unaware that my life was about to change forever.
As I chuckled over a particularly witty cartoon (this is, of course, dramatic license; I find no New Yorker cartoon the least bit witty) the door between trains opened and a tall man in jeans and a flannel shirt stepped through. He stopped basically right in front of me and I braced myself.
Anyone who's lived in New York for more than a week can tell you what to expect when someone comes into your train from the door between cars: you can count on being asked for money in one of a number of ways. Often, the person is selling candy--when we first moved here, the candy-selling used to be "to raise money for my basketball to buy uniforms", even if the person was obviously thirty-five; now the invariable patter gives the reason for selling as "not for no basketball team, but for myself, to raise money to buy more candy and for so I could have some money in my pocket. If you want to buy some candy or make a donation, it will be gladly appreciated." Then they go on to tell you that, unfortunately, all they have today is Starburst, Peanut M & Ms and Jolly Ranchers.
Other times, it's a musician who's going to play for you whether you want them to or not and then act wounded if you don't want to give them money. Last night, I got on the 3 train just after a couple of drummers had wrapped up their bongo-thon and got the fun, fun treat of listening to the one guy practically yelling at everyone in the car (including poor bastards like me who hadn't even heard the goddamn music) for not appreciating. He stomped up and down the aisle, repeating variations on "You don't even have to pay me. Just at least say, 'Thanks for the music' or 'Your music's really good.'" Which I might have even taken the trouble to tell the guy, if I'd been on the train for his recital. As it was, I just shrank into my chair.
And, of course, there are always people just plain begging. Most often, they have a ten-minute explanation for why they're asking you for money. This usually involves the government screwing up their medicaid money or a psychopath who beat them up in the shelter and scared them so badly that they have to raise enough for a motel room for the night. That's fairly standard, I know. I saw variations on it in the subways in Paris and London. But New York beggars go that extra mile with their tales of woe. They really do. It's a point of civic pride.
Best of all, though--and this really depends on your point of view and/or proximity to the person in question--are the utter crazies. A lot of the time, they'll zero in on one person and just start berating them for no reason, accusing the now terrified commuter of everything from looking at them wrong to attempting to steal their gold teeth. The other night, I rode the 2 train with a guy who jumped in and out of his seat, laughed maniacally and then started yelling something along the lines of "You fucking cunt!" repeatedly. That one was more worrisome than entertaining.
Today, though, today was something special. The tall man in jeans and flannel stopped in front of me and then paused. We all knew he was about to speak and I'm sure we all readied ourselves to keep reading, no matter what kind of sob story he threw at us. But there was no sobbing. Instead, he said something along the lines of the following:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to talk to the men. God made us. He made men in His own image, but he also made women. And he gave them something men like. I am speaking of the butt. Now, butts are for two purposes. Sitting...And here he squatted down a bit to demonstrate how this was done.
...and excreting. These are the only two purposes of the butt. So why are men driven to look at the butt? What power does it hold on us? We should think of God and not look at the butt. It is not there for us to look at. Think of God instead.Such a simple message. And yet so beautiful. From here on out, I am going to take his words to heart. When I look at a butt, I will think of God. And excreting.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
A Little Vino Would Be Keen-o!
Steph over at the Incurable Insomniac has a very nice salute to wine for this week's Roundtable.
Personally, what I know about wine could fit very tidily into a thimble and still have plenty of room for Dick Cheney's compassion. I know it's tasty. I know you need to take the cork out before you can enjoy. And that's about it.
So head on over to Incurable Insomniac and read a few words from someone who knows their Shiraz from a hole in the ground. Salut!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Aries: You're absolutely elated over news that Whitney Houston is divorcing Bobby Brown. At last! At last you have a shot at romancing her and making her your own! Good luck with that.
Taurus: As the leaves turn from green to fiery orange and the chill of Autumn seeps into the air, you suddenly remember that you never got the elephant semen off of your fall jacket, so it looks like you're going to need to do some shopping.
Gemini: That secret you've been desperately trying to keep from your parents will not stay hidden much longer. You might be surprised at how easily they accept and support you once they learn the truth. After all, they were young once and may have occasionally had athlete's foot themselves.
Cancer: You will never successfully get your date to eat a roofie by wrapping it in a piece of cheese. You are just about the worst date-rapist ever.
Leo: Need to cut a piece of paper? Try scissors!
Virgo: Special to Newborn Virgos: Babies born during this September will be intelligent, beautiful and have an amazing aptitude for the accordion, which may come in handier than their parents might think. (Congratulations Carrie & Corey!)
Libra: Don't be lulled into a false sense of security. Elevator doors will not always reopen automatically when you stick your hand in between the closing doors. You keep doing that, you're just begging for a world of hurt, mister.
Scorpio: Yelling "I am a minion of the Dark Lord Beelzebub and he will rain fire and damnation down upon all of my enemies, smiting them without warning!" will not get your mom to let you stay up past your bedtime. Kindergartners need their sleep.
Sagittarius: Just to set the record straight: there is no "oatmeal fairy" who takes a baseball bat to your kneecaps if you don't eat all of your breakfast. Your parents lied to you and you've lived in fear for the last thirty-five years. You're pretty gullible, truth be told.
Capricorn: Your Naked Lacrosse league is just not signing up members as quickly as you'd hoped it would.
Aquarius: You're so incredibly excited about the new Anne Heche show on ABC that you forget to eat for a week and wind up in the hospital. Most Anne Heche fans do stupid shit like that a lot. It's really not the brightest demographic going.
Pisces: Contrary to your deeply held opinion, not all conflict in the world can be solved through pot and hacky-sack. Now take a bath and keep your ideas to yourself, please.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Bike Lanes=Good, Fat Laziness=Bad
I just heard, on my local NPR station, that New York City will, over the next three years, be home to an additional 200 miles of bike lanes. I think this is a fantastic idea, on a number of levels, and here's why:
First, any city that encourages bike travel is encouraging fewer cars on the road, which is nice for the environment. Second, if it was easier to bike places in town without worrying about semis being two inches away from me, perhaps--just perhaps--I'd be more likely to get off my fat ass and use my bike instead of just hopping on the train.
I love biking. I've only been doing it for about five years, but I love it. It's a little like flying, when you're zipping down a hill with the air blowing through your helmet. It's that rare thing that's both a practical way to get someplace and a form of exercise.
But my bike tends to sit for long stretches of time, unused, because I'm such a wuss about biking on crowded city streets. Now, rationally, I know that New York drivers, aggressive as they might be, are generally competent and will not run you over if you don't fuck up and weave into their path. But, on streets without a bike lane, it's still a little unnerving to have cabs riding up right on your ass.
So I applaud an increase in bike lanes heartily. Now, if we can get them to install giant television screens in the park, I might go running as often as I ought to. Let's hope they get to work on that soon.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Moments of Silence
My principal came on the intercom about half an hour before dismissal today to do what had been left undone this morning due to the rush and confusion of the beginning of the school year. He had two students do readings about September 11th and he spoke a bit himself about the way we mark the anniversary. And of course there was a moment of silence.
I was in a sixth grade class when the announcement came on and the sixth graders did what most sixth graders would. Most of them listened politely. Many of them doodled in their notebooks. When music drifted in from the street during the moment of silence, a couple of them started bopping a little in their seats. (A quick stern look stopped that in its tracks.)
After the announcements had ended, I talked for a minute about the moment of silence and what we're supposed to do during it. The kids thought that I was lecturing them about being fidgety or something, because I got the standard "sit still and listen" answers. Once they caught on that I wasn't telling them what they should have done, I got some students suggesting that a moment of silence might be filled with a prayer, which I said sounded like a good idea if you were religious. I had another student offer that thinking of the victims might be a good idea.
I added that most of them probably knew someone who'd been affected by the attacks, either someone who'd had a family member in the towers or maybe someone in the service who's fighting today because of what happened. I told them that, even though they were only in first grade when the attacks happened, they might want to remember what had happened to them that day.
Personally, I did what I always do during silent moments in the remembrance of the day. I thought about where I was that day and I gave thanks for the people I was with. I thought about all of the truly horrendous things that have been done in the name of that day and I wished for it to stop. I thought about the people that died that day and I tried not to cry about all of the people who've died since. I thought about the changes that I've made since that day and I vowed to change further.
And in the end, I'll commemorate this day the same as I did last year: by saying Fuck George Bush.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
I Get Worked Up While Doing Dishes
Watching This Week this morning and George Will made a point that caused me to re-think (in part) the post I wrote yesterday. I've done a lot of reading in the last few days about this movie, Path to 9/11 (which I believe is showing on ABC as I write this). The articles I've read talk a lot about the content of the movie. And so I know things about it. But I have not seen it. I'm griping about it and calling the writer names and such...but I haven't seen the damned thing. Which was Will's point. So I'll go ahead and admit that I shouldn't have been quite so worked up about something I have not seen. That's kind of James Dobsonian of me, and I don't ever want to do anything that's even slightly like that cretin.
After This Week was over, I flipped to NBC and caught some of Dick Cheney on Meet the Press. My fucking God, I hate that guy. He's evil. He is just an evil, evil person. He's so evil that Zombie Ghengis Khan would stumble all the way to Washington just to look him in the eye and say, "Dude, you're fucking evil." (And Zombie Ghengis Khan is a busy guy.)
I couldn't take it. I couldn't take him telling Tim Russert that things are going well and the administration hasn't fucked up and anyone who's critical is wrong, wrong, wrong. Every single fucking thing the bastard said caused me to scream obscenities at the screen. I was doing dishes at the time and I was gesticulating so wildly that I was getting soap suds all over our dog. He wasn't pleased. Eventually, I had to leave the room to avoid a high blood-pressure attack.
I think if I was given one wish, I probably wouldn't use it for world peace. I probably wouldn't wish to cure cancer. I'd probably waste my wish having whatever genie was in my debt dump a square acre of pig shit right on Dick Cheney's head. 'Cause sweet Jesus, he deserves it.
Friday, September 08, 2006
A Crappy TV Movie That Isn't on Lifetime
Awake again, and I've just spent the last half hour over at Salon, slogging through letters responding to an article Joe Conason wrote about the ABC "Docudrama" Path to 9/11. And, like any comments section on Salon or Huffington Post or any sort of liberal site, what I found was a nasty back and forth between extreme folks on either side, many rife with name-calling and spelling errors. I'm not sure why I spent the entire half hour pouring over this crap, but it had a sort of train-wreck appeal, I guess. It wasn't so appealing that I read the last nine pages of vitriol, but I did make it halfway through.
For anyone who hasn't heard the details of this, allow me to summarize: ABC is airing this movie, which they have advertised as "Based on the report of the 9/11 Commission!" It was written by a gentleman who apparently shares some things in common with Rush Limbaugh, and it's not belt size or an addiction to pain meds. So the script "dramatizes" a number of incidents from the Clinton years--"makes up" would be a fair substitution for dramatizes--to make it clear to viewers that the blame for the terrorist attacks falls squarely on Bubba. It also makes no mention of a number of blunders from the early Bush White House.
ABC and parent company Disney have teamed with Scholastic to distribute "educational packets" (man, I'm quotation mark-happy tonight) to schools, which some have pointed out is a great way to make sure that children grow up thinking Bush and co. didn't utterly fuck things up.
Meanwhile, Democrats have gone on the offensive, kind of. They've made much hue and cry to the effect that ABC needs to pull this film, as it has so much bias and so many inaccuracies.
And this is where my uncertainty on this subject comes in. I'm a big believer in free speech. Any/all speech. This movie is a Bush-sucking piece of shit. But that doesn't mean that ABC shouldn't be allowed to air it. The first thing that popped into my mind when I read this story was the CBS biopic about the Reagans from a couple of years back. It starred Barbra Streisand's husband/bitch and supposedly was not very nice about Nancy. Right-wingers howled. They got out the torches and pitchforks. They demanded that it be pulled. And those huge pussies at CBS caved. They aired it on one of their cable channels, where it was seen by three people.
I thought the people who called for the movie to not be aired were wrong then and I think that the people who are calling for ABC to not air this one are wrong, too. The letters I read on Salon took up this same subject right from the beginning. The GOPinheads wrote in to point out left-wing hypocrisy on the subject while lefties differentiated this episode from that one by saying that that one was a "fluffy biopic" about someone whose presidency was far enough in the past that it was no longer relevant, while this movie touches on events that are still happening today and, in fact, could be seen as a Republican attempt to sway feelings about the War on Terror in the year of the mid-term elections.
But, y'know, I don't give a shit what the movie says, ABC still has a right to broadcast it. People who are calling for it to be scrapped are promoting censorship. Freedom of speech is one of the rights that our soldiers are supposedly fighting for. Do we want to erode that right the way Bush and his gang are eroding so many of our other rights?
The answer to this is not to censor the movie or whine like a toddler. The answer is to make sure that more truthful accounts of the "path to 9/11" get out there, too.
Good God. Are we ever going to get back to a time when we do more in this fucking country than partisan bickering? Fucking Republicans.
[insert snoring sounds here]
And so the first week of school comes to a close. I am drained. I am drained like a keg at a frat party. This was not, mind you, a bad week. Yes, things are disorganized. We got our schedule right before work on Tuesday and it's been changed every single day and we still don't have the finalized copy. But I can cope with that. And, yes, I had to deal with all of the classes that I bitched about last year, complete with kids that call me "Gringo" or ask if my wife has left me yet. But I had these kids last year and I can work around all that. (Plus, they've been mostly okay for these first few days.)
No, it's not been that bad a week, but it's still been exhausting. It could be that I just got too used to not having to fucking work. It could be that it's just always tiring dealing with kids at the beginning of the year. Whatever the hell it is, I'm feeling it.
So, after this brief little bitch session, I'm gonna go pass out for a little while. Have a pleasant evening. Or don't; at this point I can't care that much.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Prego, over at Rustbelt Ramblings, is hosting this week's Roundtable. He's pissed off at panhandlers.
What do think? Are the people asking you for change on the street/subway/business class plane desperate souls who need our help? Or are they defrauding bastards who deserve a brick shoved up their asses sideways? Do you give 'em your money or do you give 'em a wide berth and a sneer?
Head on over to Rustbelt Ramblings and add your two cents. If you can spare it.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Aries: You're very relieved that George W. Bush has finally acknowledged that the CIA has prison facilities, as it means you'll finally be allowed to put a return address on the letters you write to your family in between sessions of torture-like behavior which isn't actually "torture", because the U.S. doesn't do that.
Taurus: It may be time to do your laundry, as you're now down to nothing but a teddy bear novelty thong and a pair of moon boots.
Gemini: Finally, you've got a valid reason for not wanting to stay at Bed & Breakfasts besides your utter disdain for making small-talk when the owner sits down and watches you eat the stewed figs he's just served you.
Cancer: Your suicidal ideations should go away entirely now that Katie Couric is coming into your home every night to give you a sense of perspective.
Leo: The clouds in the sky mirror the darkness that hangs over your soul. You weep; weep tears which flow from your eyes like water through the broken dam of your heart. Your mind has turned the darkest shade of obsidian. This is what happens when you're out of mustard. You need some help, you teary-eyed putz.
Virgo: Peanut brittle, si. Anchovy brittle, no.
Libra: This is not the time to move ahead on large purchases. Of course, in your case, a pack of gum constitutes a large purchase, so this is especially harsh.
Scorpio: Hey, wouldn't it be awesome to spend today at the mall?
Sagittarius: If the Senate were to vote "No Confidence" in Donald Rumsfeld, it might have some political impact. If your bowling team does it, most people probably won't give a shit.
Capricorn: Now that you've finally seen Suri Cruise, your life has meaning again.
Aquarius: Nobody wants to see the "tribute to Chaka Khan" you have tattooed on your ass.
Pisces: Remember, it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. This is a good thing to tell the police officer who arrests you for setting fire to a grocery store.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The Name Game II: Name Harder
Two of our friends, who have a wonderful fifteen-month-old son, are about to have another one. And, as they did last time, they are asking their friends to help them whittle down their choices for the kid's name. This is, of course, a lot smarter than just asking for suggestions, which would likely net them something along the lines of Opie Stinkledinger Schwilke.
While, just like last time, I'm not going to post the names my friends are considering--because, as nice as anyone who reads this blog is, there's still something just not right about getting name suggestions from people you don't know--I would still like to celebrate the whole naming process by asking folks to give me names that my friends should avoid.
Toward that end, I'm asking you to post a comment, giving me what is, in your opinion, the absolute worst first/middle name combo. The above-cited Opie Stinkledinger would be a good example. I don't know if you guys have ever met anyone with the middle name Stinkledinger, but let me tell you from personal experience, it's a major albatross around a kid's neck. Poor little Opie never got over that one.
So, to kick things off, here's my offering for worst first/middle name combo: Osama Adolph.
You name your kid after one mass-murdering psycho, that's one thing. But when you give them two genocidal names in a row, that says something about the kid. And now...name on!
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Old, Bald and Tired
So my wife and I did, indeed, get to see Andre Agassi play today. And it was a heartbreaker.
You could tell from the start of the match that he wasn't feeling in top shape. And then, in the third set, it was obvious just how little he had left in him.
I managed to keep from tearing up when he gave his goodbye speech after the match, but I was one of the few.
I mostly just felt bad for his opponent, Benjamin Becker. Can you imagine how bad it must suck to have a stadium full of people who want to see you lose? I mean, it would be bad enough if you were, say, the Red Sox coming to Yankee Stadium. Then, you're definitely in enemy territory, but at least you've got the rest of your team with you and you can look at it as an Us vs Them situation. But Becker was alone out there, with the crowd cheering when he hit a shot into the net; with constant shouts of "Andre!" Not once did I hear anybody yell, "Becker!" I did my best to help him out once by yelling, "Cheese!" I figured that it was one shout that was, at least, neutral.
And so an era has come to a close. No more Agassi. Now, we can all carry on rooting against Nadal. (At least I will.)
Saturday, September 02, 2006
So a couple of the big things in New York this weekend have been rain and tennis.
We've been getting pissed on pretty much non-stop since last night. Thanks, Ernesto, you rotten putz. This means that all of our Labor Day fun is happening not outdoors. Well, that's not entirely true, I guess. My wife and I went for a very nice run around the reservoir this morning. Got fairly wet.
And then there's the tennis. If you follow tennis at all, then you've probably seen at least some of the second round match between the aged Andre Agassi and the youthful Cypriot, Marcos Baghdatis. My wife and I watched it on Thursday, but both had to go to sleep before the finish. We were mighty glad to hear that he'd pulled it out, though, 'cause he's as old as we are.
It's nicer still because we've got tickets for the Open tomorrow morning. Arthur Ashe stadium, 10:30. Thanks to today's rain, Mr. Agassi will be taking on Benjamin Becker right in front of our eyes. So, this past week, I got to see Meryl Streep on stage, now it looks like I'll get to see a match in Agassi's last open, which, if you're watching CBS today, you know is roughly equivalent in importance to the Kennedy Assassination. Overly hyped or not, though, we're looking forward to it.
Now, I don't want to give the impression that my wife and I are die-hard tennis fans from way back. We're not. We're very much Johnny-come-latelys. During some crappy weather on our trip to the Bahamas, we sat in our room and watched some of the French Open. And for the first time, we really kind of enjoyed watching two people hit a ball back and forth over a net for hours. We've been paying attention since then, closely monitoring the Federer/Nadal rivalry at Wimbledon and seeing whatever games we can of this year's U.S. Open.
We've even been tempted to try to play ourselves, something we haven't done--literally--in a decade. Yes, we attempted to take up the sport not long after we'd moved to Seattle. We bought a couple of second-hand racquets and headed down to the court that was in our neighborhood. We popped open a new can of balls and started trying to hit them to each other and we discovered that the game isn't quite as effortless as it looks. Not liking effort, we gave up and have shlepped the racquets with us through every move since then, knowing, somehow, that the day would come when we'd decide we wanted to try again. And that day...is now.
Or, more precisely, whenever the hell it stops raining.