Monday, February 28, 2005

Errant thoughts: A panda in hip-hop regalia called "Bling Bling."

A "Phantom of the Opera" mask with a big bushy eyebrow, half a pair of glasses and half a moustache - "Phantom of a Night At The Opera."

Who entertained the Council of Elrond?
Elvish Presley.

Mr. Brain's Faggots. Enjoyed by the Doody Family.
The Snow - She Is So Beautiful
But she is as treacherous as the viper in the pit. Like a bew-ti-fool wooman, seductive, enticing and then -poof- she leaves you undone.
OK, forget the fake accent (it wasn't working anyway -Ed.) but the point is that today was really a lovely day of falling snow. Which I have to shovel and now, at this point of the evening, I feel the old back tightening up on me. Tomorrow is going to be The Day Of The Big Ouch. I'll be an ouch potato. Ar ar ar!
Such is the life of the grotesquely out of shape.
Speaking of which, I went out to dinner with a friend last night - Romano's Macaroni Grill which is one of my favorite places: very good food and they bring a small loaf of rosemary bread to the table instead of breadsticks. That bread alone is worth the trip. So what did I have? My share of the bread (natch!), an apple martini, a side ceasar salad (dressing on the side because I have yet to find a restaurant that doesn't overdress a ceasar salad), and the February special of a seafood lasagne that was so amazingly rich I was unable to finish it. Yes I was unable to finish it. It made a most amazing midnight snack too.
Why does description of this Lucullan repast follow on the phrase "grotesquely out of shape?" Because with the exception of three shrimp, two pieces of cheese, two crackers and about half a cup of oriental beef, that is all I had for the entire day. My problem is overconsumption - I am less active than I should be, true, but it's my inability to stop the intake that's really the problem. So even with the drool-inducing dinner, I ate less yesterday than I've eaten on any one day in a while. This is a good thing. And today I ate less still (the day's not over -Ed.) Ed, if you weren't a figment of my imagination, I'd be beating you senseless now.
I am going to try to keep this going. Because if I don't, I will be a dead man.
Ugly Confessions
I absolutely love "salt-n-vinegar" chips. I tried "Route 11" brand not too long ago and now really wish I hadn't. They combine the best aspect of Grandma Utz (cooked in delicious lard) and the tang of excellently balanced salt and sour. 280 calories a bag. Thank goodness I can't find 'em in other snack-sized bags or I'd just crawl in there and snarl at passers by who tried to get me to come out.
Seriously- these are good chips.
UPDATE: Uh-oh. I see they have dill pickle flavored chips too. I am surely bound for hell in a foil bag.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Basketball Weakend
This has been a weekend of weak to poor college hoops unfortunately. Duke beat St. Johns on Saturday but not well. Georgetown is huffing a massive suck against Villanova on GU's "home" floor. Michigan State is having a hard time with a middlin' Indiana team.
I like to watch good, well-played games and haven't been seeing them. I hope this is not a harbinger of the tournament. Which I don't think it is as we have a week of finishing up regular season schedules then conference tournaments, then March Madness starts the real mouth-foaming action. Things will get back to normal shortly. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Shout Out To Rubies!
Sugarmama has posted a great pic of her canine companion. Diabetics beware - this is so cute you may get sugar shock.
Oh lawdy. I should figure out how to do the trackback. But "should" doesn't mean "will." I should be ashamed.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Museum of Bad Album Covers
Thanks to the Vodka Pundit for reminding me that all my old album covers really were not worth saving. I had always been one to romantize the loss of the LP and the album cover that many used to roll their muggles upon. Maybe I should really reconsider and just move on.
Two Martini Lunch
Kim Du Toit believes, "what we Americans need to do is grow up about the concept of booze." He goes on to clarify my previous opinion about The Three Martini Lunch, it should have rightly lamented the loss of two Martinis. I stand corrected:

(The three-martini lunch, incidentally, should be a two-martini lunch, which is quite manageable, and will achieve the proper result. Three martinis, especially as served in those giant American bathtub-sized glasses, serve more as a social anesthetic than as a social lubricant.)
Please check out the above link to read his whole posting. Here is a little more:

Let me be perfectly clear about all this.

I know that the fabled “three-martini lunch” has fallen into some disrepute in America, because of some Carry Nation notion that the Demon Drink affects work performance and is a personal risk not to mention insurance problem blah blah blah.

It’s all bullshit.

Booze (consumed not to excess) functions as a social lubricant, as a conversation facilitator, and as a means whereby the shy can be emboldened. As such, I think it performs a magic task inside business life, and does something which no other substance or structure is able to.

I also think that in a business context, booze creates cameraderie, and a means whereby individuals can become actual friends with their coworkers—no doubt a taboo in most companies, where the worker bees are not supposed to actually enjoy their job, just to perform it according to the standards set down by some faceless (and no doubt sober) O&M / finance trolls from their sterile bunkers.

Needless to say, according to said trolls, the concept of people working together to help others do their jobs better is not something which should be done from friendship, but by corporate diktat. Personal friendships, in the Corporate World, are not good; because when the next round of layoffs occur, the serfs are more likely to be outraged when their best friend in IT gets axed than if it’s just some faceless guy they’ve never seen outside company email.

That’s American business, in a word: joyless. And the absense of booze helps make it so. (And let’s not hear about how American business is driving the world economy blah blah blah—the Brit business world is not exactly a basket case, and they seem to function quite well with the occasional or even frequent lunchtime pint. There is a happy medium between rampant alcoholism and cheerless Puritanism.
The Pugs of Pug Acres North
These charming goobers are (from left to right) Fred (13 this month) and Chino (5). Spike (14 in May, the original pug of the whole pug experience) is on the left in the back row, then Panda (7, a puppy mill rescue) and Allie (aka Blind Allie - she's a special needs pug) who is 8.

Fred's from Pug Rescue of New England. Allie and Chino are Ohio Pug Rescue. Panda was a Kansas City rescue organization (now defunct, I think) called Pug Haven.

These wonderpugs are under the tender care of the XMBD (ex Mrs. BlogDog) and are lucky to be in a loving, caring household. I find it almost impossible to believe that Spike is still soldiering on as he was quite the chow hound (and it showed) but he's abviously well taken care of and I hope he fights on as long as he can. PoW salutes Pug Acres North!

No Wal-Mart in New York City
Looks like no Wal-mart will be built up the street from me in Rego Park, NY. The local citizenry with loads of help from the Unions have raised such a stink that the developer has given up. This
is not to say Wal-Mart has given up, just that they have to find a new developer and a new site.
I'm undecided as to whether this is a good thing. The prices are great at Wal-Mart, but the loss of locally-owned, smaller establishments might be too high a price to pay for the bargains. It's pocket book issues versus aesthetics. Kinda sounds like the Red State/Blue State election we had a few months ago.
School Busing
Lileks has hit the nail on the head today regarding the need for schools to be viewed as part of the local community. I share a similar upbringing to him:

I grew up five blocks from my elementary school, and it bonded me to the neighborhood in a way most people of my generation understand - at least those who grew up in smaller cities. It’s not crucial, but it’s nice. There’s something about walking home on a spring day – or, for that matter, one of those wonderful autumn afternoons where it's damp and misty and somehow very private, as though your only friend in the world is the world itself, the hidden mysterious world that revealed itself at times like this. It’s an integral part of childhood, at least as it was defined for me. I used to come home for lunch, too; is that even an option anymore? I came home to soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, “Noonday” on the B&W TV. No cartoons on that show. No hope of cartoons. Farm reports and LBJ; a dog from the pound if you were lucky. Then back to school.
I actually lived adjacent to my elementary school and could look out my bedroom window to see who was playing in the schoolyard. We would go home for lunch and watch Jeopardy with Art Fleming. I'll take Childhood Memories for $10, Art. (Chump change nowadays but that's what they played for in the 60's.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

If the Enigmatic Misanthrope would e-mail me his thoughts on faux Native American Ward Churchill, I will gladly post them to PoW.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Another Love Letter to Alison Krauss
I have said in my various mentions of the lovely lady that her ethereal voice lacked power. She contradicts me on "Lonely Runs Both Ways" in the song "A Living Prayer." It is not sustained, powerhouse belting a la Sandi Patty whose vocal power is nothing short of amazing. The ex-Mrs. BlogDog introduced me to Ms. Patty's singing and we even went to a concert that was, well, the term "nothing short of amazing" come to mind again.
Sandi could blow Alison off the stage and has incredible range, absolute control and gospel chops that just don't stop. But I will listen to the air-clear crystal voice of Ms. Krauss for hours longer than I will Sandi Patty. And, as I admit above, Alison does show she can pump the volume if it's really needed.
I Am My Own Punk-Ass Bitch
Today. Translation: I'm better than I expected but still feel like poop.
On the plus side, the bunny pug below was featured on Leno's "Headlines" segmant last night. PoW ahead of that curve once more.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Don't Expect Much
I'll be away from PoW for the next couple of days. I feel some sort of wretched sickness coming on. I know my temperature at this point is elevated. Just don't know how much. There will be no posting of fevered dreams.
Watching TV
Last night I watched Tom Selleck in the made-for-TV movie "Stone Cold" wherein he played a small town chief of police. He has always been a damnably good-looking man and now, naturally, he is aging well too. The SOB. He's craggier and, in the movie, shaggier but still the manly man so many of us would like to be. But that's not the point of this post.
The movie featured a serial killing couple who were always shooting digital video of their exploits and watching them on the computer screen at home. There was one scene wherein the wife shutdown the display by using a menu choice from the upper left hand corner of the screen. Ahem. That would be a MAC then. Yet the CPU sitting on the floor beside the desk was manifestly not a Mac. I'd say some stripe of HP machine.
C'mon people. Just show them using a Mac and don't annoy the viewer. Me. The viewer.
On the other hand, the movie did feature Mimi Rogers who is just way up there in my list of all-time babes. I wish I could explain why because I can't make the case that she's an overwhelming beauty but whatever "it" is, she's got it like Iraq got sand.
The New Agora
I love the Interweb. Yesterday I had one of those small crises that make our lives so ... so ... bloody annoying. I picked the coffeemaker's carafe out of the drainboard to get my morning round o' java jiving. And as I'm lifting, I feel the pot slipping, slipping, slipping into a future of shards on the kitchen floor. My contortion to catch it against the kitchen counter was not a success and a great oath filled the still morning air as the glass made its accomodation to the ceramic floor tile.
My first trip was to Bed, Bath and Beyond whence cometh the coffeemaker in the first place. But the model was new enough that they didn't carry the replacement decanter (to use Mr. Coffee's word for it). I must give B,B & B credit in that I was given excellent attentive help by a young lady with lovely green eyes. If I were smart, I would have made a note of her name and written a letter to the store manager saying how much i appreciated her help but ... well ... D'oh!
I figured that I'd try the Mr. Coffee website to see if that might be the solution. And it was. Kind of. The site showed the replacement decanter but offered no link to buy it. Instead, it showed that it was available at Target. Hmm. Good old Tarzhay is affiliated with where I'm all folded into their ordering system. Good. Go to the Target store at Amazon. Bingo. Click, click, click (not one to waste an Amazon order I bought a book and a CD - more on both later) and the decanter will be here in about 10 days.
In the meantime, I'll use the fargin' French press coffeemaker I bought at B, B & B as a stopgap. Can I call it a "Freedom press" coffeemaker?
Roundball Musings
I watched the Villanova-Pittsburgh game yesterday and was rewarded with one of the best contests I have seen all year long. This game mattered to both teams and both played to their best. Villanova's home floor 'upset' of Pitt is not a huge surprise as 'Nova has knocked off some fine teams this year despite inconsistency that has kept them out of the top ranks. But they must be a tournament team and I would not really want to play them in the first couple of rounds. Very much like George Washington. GW started strong and have had some weak games over the course of the season but they have the talent, when on their game, to beat anyone outside of, oh, the top five I'd say.
This year, Illinois being unbeaten aside, has been the year of the pumped team. Maryland did beat Duke twice which it really had no right to do except that the Terrapins just sky when the Blue Devils are on the court against them. PoW has looked at that before. But after beating Duke, U Md. has had some really atrocious losses. Clemson. NC State - though State should be a better team then they've been this year. Similarly, Duke was pumped for the Carolina game at Cameron and pulled off the one point upset. Last night the same thing happened - Duke was prepped and pumped for Wake to whom they'd lost the away game but then beat by 10 with their highest point total for the season and a career night (38 points) from J.J. Reddick.
The trouble is that this excellent win comes on the heels of a bad loss - by two at Virginia Tech. Clearly, Duke left its game on the floor of the Caroilina win and didn't "have it" for either Maryland or the Hokies. Wake, top of the ACC, was a different story.
I think, with the exception of Illinois, any team in roughly the top thiry have a very good chance against any of the top ten if the lower-ranked team is primed and pumped for that game while the "better" team is looking past the game. This could be the most interesting March Madness in years. It just keeps getting better.

Sports I care about, since I slagged several in a previous post: college basketball, Australian Rule Football (Go Magpies!) and the Tour de France even if Lance isn't riding it.
I find something unsettling in learning on the same day of the deaths of Hunter Thompson and Sandra Dee. Yet there seems to be some karmic balance in those passings. Right?
I see that Thompson killed himself "with a gunshot to the head." I suppose if you can't write like Hemingway, there are other ways of sincerely flattering him.

UPDATE: Once again I am pipped at the post by a writer of greater range and ability. James Lileks speaks more eloquently to these mortal coil off-shufflings than I.

One of Those Things
Fired up iTunes this am to distract the sonic apparatus while surfing. I usually have the "shuffle" setting on but I'd listened to some Emm Gryner the other day straight up. Aaron Neville's version of "Crazy Love" from the "Phenomenon" soundtrack is the first song in the 2953 song list so it, of course, starts playing. But I don't really want to listen to that song so I stop it, re-institute "shuffle" and click play again. Any guess as to what comes up?
Yup. "Crazy Love." But the Van Morrison version from "Moondance." iTunes is messing with my mind!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Movie Dog says "Woof."
In a low-key, contented sort of way. Richard Roeper of "Siskel & Roeper" ripped into "Son of the Mask" in this weekend's show. The closest he's ever come to walking out of a movie. Movie Dog was way ahead of that curve. I said it about "Farenheit 9/11," and it applies to "SotM:" If I know it's dogshit, I don't have to step in it."

Then again, Roeper is paid to plant his foot in that steaming mound.
Jumped the Shark?
I watched the "gay marriage" episode of "The Simpsons" tonight. It is time to pack it in.

Yet it's remarkable that the entire range of human response to any happensatance can be summed up in two expressions from said show: "Woo hoo!" or "D'oh!"
I Want One Of These For My iPod Earbuds
CyberGuys has the sort of case I'd like. Of course it would have to be in icy iPod white and with a squared-off form factor. I'm tempted to spend the 8 bucks on the one in the link save for the fact that I have too much stuff as it is. I'll hold out for the perfect solution.

One other thing I like about my iMac: the wireless keyboard has an LED indicator for the caps lock key. Nice touch.

And as for CyberGuys I mentioned above, I just got this LCD monitor arm from them. It's forced a total desk re-design for which I am grateful. I have a lot more space and the iMac is now properly situated.
Melissa Etheridge Has Cancer
I find Melissa Etheridge's strident lesbianism annoying but her music is fantastic. It was interesting to see her on NBC tonight with a shaved head. She looks good actually. You see the face and the lack of hair just sort of fades out of sight. She has a very nicely shaped head, even, smooth. Not every bald person does. Her keeping (or painting on) eyebrows helps immensely.

I hope she has a complete and lasting recovery.
Baseball and Steroids
Sadly, a Google search will turn up 1,200,000 entries on this subject. Much worse is the fact that many High School and College athletes now believe this is how to get ahead in Sports and in Life. Too bad they fail to understand they'll have uncontrollable fits of rage as well as shrinking testicles from doing Steroids.

Am I still a fan of Baseball? Yes, it is the favorite game of my youth and the only one I can afford to go and see live. The best seats to me are in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium. You pay $8 to sit on a bench with a bunch of rabid fans who have a series of organized cheers that would make the Duke University student section proud. Their first cheer is my favorite. It occurs when the Yankees take the field to start the game. The "Bleacher Creatures" as they are called chant the names of each of the Yankees one at a time. Each Yankee will then turn around and leisurely tip his cap and smile. The sheepish look of delight on some of the Yankees' faces is priceless. I imagine they are standing there on the field saying to themselves, "I can't believe they pay me this much to play a game that so many in the stands would play for free." The more reflective players realize this adulation won't last forever so they soak it up while they can, and hopefully they bank most of the salary. I would be hard pressed to find anybody who, if given the same chance, would turn down the money and fame.

Is the game of Baseball too slow? Yes, I admit I can't watch a game from beginning to end. Though I do find it reassuring that I can check back from time to time and not feel left out. And there is no other game that can be listened to on the radio the way baseball can. This is one of its most enduring charms.

In sum, I'll turn to Hollywood to help me define my love for Baseball. This is from "Field of Dreams" and is spoken by James Earl Jones to Kevin Costner near the end of the movie:

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Nudists Dine in New York Style?
Warning! Do not read this link anywhere near mealtime as it will nauseate you no end.

Now for my opinions on this matter. This is wrong for many reasons.

First of all, this is not New York style. It is, in fact, completely lacking in any style let along New York. When we go out to dine in New York we wear clothing, especially in the middle of winter. Enough said.

Secondly, who in their right mind would want to look at a bunch like this while they were eating? No one.

Thirdly, where was the Health Department? Yes, the wait staff had to wear clothing but the customers didn't? Sorry, this is unsanitary. Do whatever you want at home or on private property but when you visit a publicly licensed establishment please put a sock on it. Ok?

In conclusion, I would never recommend visiting this restaurant while in New York:

John Barry’s Restaurant

38 West 39th St., between 5th / 6’th Avenues (212) 398-0350

It might make you sick. I know the thought of it makes me queasy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Is It Even Possible
For Michael Jackson to play the race card? I mean, there are only two colors in the four suits. Michael has transcended such dualities.

Yawn 1: Baseball season is starting. (I leave the Yankee love to my co-blogger. Feel free to make them the Official MLB team of Pugs of War if you wish. I got no dog in that fight.)

Yawn 2: No hockey season. (Does this really require a note? ... I thought not.)

Yawn 3: "Hitch" appears to have been #1 at the box office last week. Conclusion - the American movie-goer does not recognize a crap-fest when it is flung by movie studio chimps directly at him.

Spend your Money
Not really. But I found an interesting site that deserves a look-see: It features one item a day at remarkably steep discounts that are available until the item sells out. It's possible you may never find anything you want there but I check it every day just in case something strikes my fancy. Today it features a handsome remanufactured Cuisinart stainless-steel blender for a mere 40 bucks. I'd buy one if I didn't already have a blender.
Honesty Compels Me
You've seen all my puffery/flackery about how much the new iMac is a wunnerful masheen. But today I did hit a snag. I was ripping some of the songs (the better songs!) from my one Time-Life music purchase (three discs of 80s music which seems to be no longer offered on the Time-Life website) (-snarky comment from Ed deleted-) into iTunes. And the final disc would not eject.
I poked around online and found that if I booted into Open Firmware, I could get the disc out. But this is a problem up with which I will not put. I'll get on Apple for the fix. A new drive unit maybe. I'll share as it develops.
Oh, of course it was the most awful of the discs that got stuck - "80s Grooves" - the club music. No, I will not provide a track listing.

And They Call It Art
The Associated Press reports: "A pair of paintings from the famed series depicting dogs playing poker fetched nearly $600,000 at auction Tuesday."
I may not know art (though my artist friends tell me my instincts are good), but I know what I like. I'd like to have the $600K some lackwit spent on the pictures. I think you could spend about $10,000 and physically stage the pictures yourself.
Yeah, and by the way - it would have been worth more if all the dogs were pugs.
Crustaceans In The News
A Norwegian study finds that lobsters can not feel pain. As the headline of the piece says, "No brain, no pain." Which doesn't explain the increasingly ancephalic Democrats but that's a story for another day. I just can't help imagining the researchers at the lobsters' necropsies (as watchers of "CSI" know, a human gets an autopsy, an animal gets a necropsy): "For the necropsy, I'll need a scalpel, a retractor, a nutcracker and lots of drawn butter."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Terriers Rule at Westminster Dog Show
With all apologies to The BlogDog.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Music and Housekeeping
I usually post about the "longings" when they go up and neglected to this time. A bit of explanation is in order. I'm getting two Cat Stevens CDs this month. And I very much dislike that I am because I do not want to put another dime in the pocket of self-styled "Yusuf Islam." I'll support Cat Stevens, I'll support Stephen Demetre Georgiou but I do not want to support the Islamic knucklehead he's become. On the other hand, both albums are extremely good - evidence of a popular musician at his peak of creativity. Dammit.

On the plus side, Jake Armerding is coming to my area! It won't be until June but he's worth the wait. I missed my chance to see him when he was at the Kennedy Center late last year which has bothered me since. But now I get a chance to see him again. Could not be happier. The only thing that would make me happier would be a new disc.

Emm Gryner, on the other hand, does have a new disc out. Here's a descriptive snip:
Recorded mostly in her living room in MontrĂ©al but also in locations as unusual as art galleries and hotel rooms, Songs of Love and Death, Emm’s latest record is a diverse collection of songs by contemporary Irish artists. The album includes songs by Thin Lizzy, The Thrills, The Corrs, Ash, and Gilbert O’Sullivan, amongst others.
Interesting. Her "Girl Versions" was a disc of covers that worked miraculously well (it's difficult to imagine that "Crazy Train" would work as a big piano ballad but damned if it doesn't in her capable hands). So odds are that this one will work too. It will lead next month's "longings" so I'll report on it later.

OK. All the musical dustbunnies have been swept, the bins emptied. I'm done.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Aftermaths and Explanations
I recently had a friend say to me that I should see "Farenheit 911" so I would know what the loony left believes. Not that he called it the "loony left." That's just my take.
My reply to him was that if I know it's dogshit, I don't have to step in it.
There will be no more discussion on this front in the culture wars.
Understanding the Blogosphere
No one in modern American journalism has the depth and breadth of understanding demonstrated by Michael Barone. No one. His "Almanac of American Politics" is simply the best publication explaining the American electroate available. It may be too 'inside baseball' for the average reader but I guarantee that you will find this book in every poltical office in the Washington DC area. And in every poltical journalists office as well. (Full disclosure: I worked with Barone at USNews & World Report and he is a fine person as well as brilliant and honest.)
His column on the blogoshphere demonstrates once again that he 'gets it.' RTWT. And do it now. True and brilliant his look at right and left:
The focus of hatred in the right blogosphere is not Kerry or the Democrats but what these bloggers call Mainstream Media, or MSM. They argue, correctly in my view, that the New York Times, CBS News, and others distorted the news in an attempt to defeat Bush in 2004.
The Democratic Internet constituency was and is motivated by one thing more than anything else: hatred of George W. Bush. ... It seethes with hatred of Bush, constantly attacks Republicans, and excoriates Democrats who don't oppose Bush root and branch.

UPDATE: Barone e-mails the Powers That Be at Power Line and further demonstrates his perspicacity. Do I really need to repeat RTWT? RTWT.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Gates
Not Bill and Melinda but "The Gates in Central Park." This "happening" was the brainchild of environmental artist Christo. He literally spent 26 years asking the City for permission and finally convinced the powers-that-be in New York City what a great idea it would be to let him install 7532 "saffron-hued" gates, spread over 23 miles of walkways throughout Central Park. He is paying for the entire $20 million project and that includes the extra police officers to guard the gates. I must say I ambled over there this morning for a look around and was very pleased. If for no other reason than on a mid-February day the park was filled with people admiring how colorful the whole place had become in the middle of winter.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, his wife and collaborator, were asked often yesterday to explain the meaning of the project. He replied:
It's very difficult. You ask us to talk. This project is not involving talk. It's a real, physical space. It's not necessary to talk. You spend time, you experience the project."
I can't say I know exactly what they meant though I am glad they had the gumption and money to stage this 16 day show. It's worth a look and doesn't need to be over-analyzed to be enjoyed.
Oh, It's So Sad
I'm watching the U.VA - VA Tech basketball game and a Tech player just missed a dunk. An uncontested dunk from directly beside the basket. These teams are kind of pitiful. I thought Cavaliers coach Pete Gillen was a good coach but he's had the time now to build his team and they're not appreciably better. Which is too bad. I like Gillen. U. VA hoops on the other hand can pound sand.
But about that dunk - (knocking on forehead) Hello! HELLO! Anyone in there? It seems to be the fashion now to hang on the rim when you dunk and play Cheetah swinging on a tree limb but it is dumb, dumb, dumb. If the Tech player had put the ball in for the dunk and not hung on the rim, it would have dropped. Instead he pulled the rim down and let it pop back up which bounced the ball out. Dumbass.

Ah. It's halftime and they're celebrating 100 years of Cavalier basketball. That would be how many national championships and how many ACC championships? None and one you say? Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner. Also, don't ever bring up the "Ralph Sampson Era" at U. VA. For his entire college career, his team not only never won a national championship, it didn't even win an ACC championship. You don't get superstar status unless you produce. Oh, it's so sad.
I think cows are like pot dealers. They turn grass into milk and meat.
OK: 'milk and meat' as a metaphor for money with which to buy things. But you get the idea.
I like cows. Giant field pugs.
I learned a new word today. It's what happens to you when you badmouth your company in a blog and subsequently get fired. You get "dooced" by your employer. There is even a website started by someone who was fired in 2002 for having a blog. Now I have no worries about this as I do not plan on talking much about my employer. Though it does make you stop and think they might call you in one day and show you the blog entry you had posted the day before. Denny of Grouchy Old Cripple fame was concerned enough about this happening to him that he didn't reveal he had worked for IBM until months after his retirement. He was rightly worried that it would jeopardize his chances of post-retirement consulting gigs with them.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Using the New Mac
I'm steadily working the iMac into the rotation and I'm digging it. Digging it severe. There is only one thing I really do miss - a scroll wheel on my mouse. Surely Apple could give its no button mouse a scroll wheel?
By the same token, there's one thing I want for my iPod - a proper case for the earbuds. Back in 1980 I got a set of Sony earbuds (I was in Japan at the time and them earbuds - we didn't even know to call 'em "earbuds" back then sonny - wuz fresh, wuz cutting the edge) which came in a plactic case with a little turntable. You could tuck the earbuds into their pockets in the middle of the case, close the case and reeel the cord right into it. That's what I want for the iPod earbuds. And no, the Sony earbuds are smaller than the Apple earbuds (which have better sound) so they won't fit. I tried.
Oh, and an iPod Shuffle. I want an iPod Shuffle too.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Deutsche Bank Seeks $45 Million To Clean Building Opposite The Trade Center
I'm not complaining about this request I saw in today's New York Times. I've seen the building and I realize they are just going to tear it down after they clean it. I point this out as one more example of how diabolical the planners of 9/11 were and why we shouldn't forget them for a moment. As a bit of background, if the building in question is not cleaned before it is torn down (it can never be cleaned and repaired so it might be of any use) then all of the decontamination efforts in lower Manhattan will have been for nothing.
Jersey City, NJ Gun Buyback
All told they spent $115,725 to buy bb guns, rifles, and automatic weapons. Is this a gimmick or did they accomplish something here? All told, 897 guns were collected. No questions were asked and cash was given in exchange. Yes, the guns are off the street but are the people any safer? I have my doubts. To set the record straight I don't own a gun but I do support a person's right to carry one.
Skype Me!
I've added a button down toward the bottom of the sidebar. I have been using Skype voice over IP service now and find it to be remarkably good. However! The button is not yet active! Do not click the button! Right now it has the generic Skype info which won't contact anyone. I'll do a little testing and in another day or so, I'll let you know when the link goes hot.
In the meantime, your assignment is to download and setup Skype (it's free for 'puter to 'puter calls) so that you will be able to Skype me when the link is up and running.

UPDATE: The button is live. Keep in mind that the odds of cactching me with Skype running are dicey but since I'm such a delightful conversatonalist, well worth the effort.
Not A Gay
"Desperate Housewives" star Marcia Cross comes out of the closet as a heterosexual. Stunned Hollywood gasps.

Kidding aside, straight men all over America cheer the news. She is one of those perfect expressions of a type - utterly hot redhead. If I watched her show, it would be to see her, not the other ones. Note that I said "if."

Also not a gay: Prince Charles. PoW offers its congratulations that he finally has the chance to marry the woman he loves (as it appears) even if his mummy will forever keep him from becoming king.
Great Cat Pic
Yeah, yeah, I know. It's a bloggy dog world but the Grouchy Old Cripple has one of the funniest cat pics I've ever seen. I couldn't resist commenting on it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

And a Hoops Late Update
Duke manages to eke out a one point win in Cameron Indoor Stadium against Carolina. I said it would take the game of a season for Duke to win because UNC really is damn good. Luckily, the Devils had it in them for this win. I predict a Carolina win in the Dean Dome but not a blow-out. Let's say an 8 to 12 point Carolina win.

Not only that, I'd like to personally thank UNC for bringing out the best in Duke.

And lastly, my favorite Cameron story. Not a Cameron Crazies story, just one from my files.
As an undergrad, I worked in the student labor pool. One of the jobs was cleaning Cameron. New floors had been laid down and the dust that was kicked up took a long time to fully settle out. Every single seat had to be cleaned along with the seating area floor. This was not routine janitorial cleanup which is why the student labor pool would do the job (cheap labor? -Ed.) (No flies on you, Ed.).
Keep in mind that Cameron Indoor Stadium was also the prime on-campus venue for concerts and back in '78 the Grateful Dead were on the slate. One day, I recall that it was a Wednesday though memory is a bit fuzzy after the passage of years, I am in the upper tier of seats, tack rag in hand, cleaning seats. A guy - picture a male Deadhead circa late 70s and you have the image - walks in, looks around, saks me, "Are the Dead playing here?" I say, "Yeah - next week." (emphasis in the original) "Oh, OK." he replies mildly and walks out.
Yes, I saw him a week later at the show which I was working as security. Man student labor pool had some good gigs!

New to the Blogroll
The Two--Four Blog. I won't explain the title. You have to go look for yourself. It's got great content, I admire the honesty and, face it, the man has sand. The treat is his "Guitarded" sidebar. I can't play but looking at the just ass-kickingly cool guitars he's extracted from eBay listings makes me want to learn. To paraphrase Johnny Carson, "Cool, cool stuff."
I Watch Reality TV
I'm not proud of the fact but I will admit to it. I have rather liked The Amazing Race which just ended on CBS (soon to start up all over again, rather like the Olympic Hide and Seek as presented by Monty Python's Flying Circus). You do get to know the teams over the course of the show and braise Jebus the megajerks did not win. In fact, two out of the final three teams would have been fine with me. Just not the pair with the helium-voiced, tuft-headed guy. Seriously dude, what were you thinking? But it's not reall all about the teams. The places they are sent and the challenges they are put through, appropriate to the locale of course, can be quite interesting.

But now we are being subjected to ads for the new round of Survivor. There is one thing I like about the show: the set design. The people who come up with things like the immunity idol and the Tribal Council meeting place always do a very good job. But once again, the bunwads who have been chosen to Outwit, Outplay, Outlast are the worst part of the whole experience. I really do like the idea that this cast of castoff...aways is said to be getting 'no help whatsoever' with their surviving. Please Jebus, let them all die! If you promise me that, I will watch.

Hey, if you call it "Survivor" shouldn't you be honest about it? I've been waiting for 10 years now.

Let Me See If I Understand This...
The world according to Hillary: Opposition to President Clinton - a "vast right-wing conspiracy." Opposition to President Bush - "patriotism."

But then she's never had any problems with hypocrisy in the service of her agenda.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Hoop Thoughts
Co-blogger Paul gives me reason to sports blog at least for the nonce. Yah mon. Colletch hoops. Roundball. Dook! Except ... I'm actually starting to get over it.
I went to an ACC school back when the ACC was the ACC and not the current hydra monster that keeps sprouting new heads without even having existing heads cut off. And before I went to college, I went to a high school that had one good sports program: basketball. And yet as a freshman I still didn't fully appreciate the madness that has been ACC basketball for the last ... I dunno ... forty, fifty years. Not only that, in 1974 and all the way to the '77-'78 season, Duke basketball basically sucked. Cellar dwellers. Bottom of the conference. Then there was that magic '78 team with Spanarkel, Banks and Gminski which lost the national championship game to Kentucky. What a fantastic tournament that was. Still the 'no national championship' monkey clung to the back of the Blue Devils until Coach K made the program his own. Now there are three.

Digression: Earlier this year someone (You're too lazy to research it, aren't you? -Ed.) (Damn skippy Ed.) blogged or sports-wrote about Terrell Owens shenanagins and quoted some coach who told his players "Act like you've been there before." There being the end zone. When you do stupid and annoying things after scoring a touchdown, it's like you've never been in the end zone before. A class way of telling TO to put down the fargin Sharpie. End of Digression.

The prank reported in the linked article in Paul's post is moderatelty amusing but the Maryland writer acts like it's the biggest punk in creation. Sorry. Not even close. A truly great punk is one where the punkee is made to publicly display the immediately obvious punk. Like the Harvard "We Suck" prank. Additionally, to prank on the shady friends of Corey Maggette is weak. For several reasons: #1, he was drafted in 1999 - six years ago, that's waayy too long a period to count. The prank, at a college, has to be general (see Harvard above) or on a current player. Possibly on one graduated or drafted the prior year if he is sufficiently identified with the school. #2, given the Len Bias experience, Maryland should tread carefully around any reference to athletes and drugs. Yes, Bias was many years before Maggette but it is still one of the most notorious drug deaths in all of college sports. #3, the effort the pranker had to go through was greatly outweighed by how poor the stunt was. A good stunt would have been figured out by someone other than those who perpetrated it.

Now, to work that digression back into the mix - Maryland did indeed beat Duke in Durham. I'm not pleased about that but I've lived through worse things. In point of fact, Maryland has had a fair measure of success against Duke in Durham in the last several years. Contrarily, Duke has often returned the favor in College Park. That is, after several years of Duke beating Maryland like a rented mule. Which is why Maryland cares so much about beating Duke while the Maryland game is pretty much just another conference game for Duke: important but not crucial. Personally, I'd rather see Duke beat NCState.
How do the Terrapin faithful repsond to winning at Duke? 1500 fans stream out into the streets of College Park and disrupt life for other people. Oooooh! Impressive. Maryland has won a national championship. Once you win a national championship you no longer have leave to act bush league. Maryland - act like you've been there before. The only wins that allow for spontaneous street demonstrations are regional final wins and championships. Period.

Now, the aftermath of the Maryland win bears scrutiny. A follow-up win against Georgia Tech pushed the Terps into the top 25 again, reasonably so. Though home wins are less upsets than road wins. Duke loses to Wake, at Wake, by 3 points. Also not too much of a trauma since Wake is a damn good team. Since then, Duke has won big against its conference opponents and Maryland has choked off loses to the likes of Clemson and Miami. The logical conclusion: Maryland was sky-high pumped for the Duke game and came crashing back to their real level of play in the aftermath. Duke has fallen to 7th in the national rankings which is a pretty legitimate ranking for Duke. Unfortunately Duke has to play UNC this week and it will take the best game they've got to win it. Carolina is a fantastic team this year. It doesn't pain me to say that because UNC has a proud tradition which it hasn't lived up to of late. I do, of course, want Duke to win but I won't run into the streets if they do.
I've been there before.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Comment would be superfluous.
Crapity, Crapity, Crap, Crap, Crap
I have seen the future (television ads for "Son of the Mask") and it sucks.

And since I'm on the subject of crap: Jason Alexander's show "Listen Up" (or as discerning viewers say, "Listen! Crap.") Which kills me because the wife on the show is the lovely and delightful Wendy Makkena who was absolutely perfect as the shy young singing nun in "Sister Act." Oh well.

Psychic crap: "Medium" on NBC. Fiction was never fict-ier. What a show - a shite-filled Twinkie with the mega-annoying, ooogly Patricia Arquette as the star. I would crawl over broken glass for her sister, the gorgeous and amazingly sexy Rosana, so how can a female who shares the same DNA be so wretched. (You're one to talk. -Ed.) Shut up Ed!

The Three Martini Lunch
No, I have not decided to try drunk blogging. I'll leave that to the VodkaPundit. As some of you know, I was a restaurateur before becoming a tech-head and thus possess a super critical eye when it comes to food and drink. This has led me to consider on more than one occasion the loss of The Three Martini Lunch and its replacement by caffeinated cocktails like iced tea and soft drinks.

These ruminations usually occur when I have to go out to lunch for business with people who invariably lack the skill and grace of previous generations of luncheon goers. In this bygone era of Luncheon Clubs there were customs and routines people knew to follow, and if the client who was being entertained wanted a Martini then everyone knew to go along. Today's lunches have fewer conventions for people to fall back upon, far fewer Luncheon Clubs, and many more faux pas instead. The first predictable gaffe occurs when the waiter asks what everyone will have to drink. I always glide through this situation by ordering a club soda, unless of course it is a liquid lunch and others are ordering strong restoratives. Sadly, these sort of occasions are few and far between. Much more frequent are tables of uncomfortable people trying to decide between iced tea or cola.

This all leads me to wonder if we would have ever put anybody on the Moon if it hadn't been for The Three Martini Lunch. Consider this: a table full of people who have had a Martini or two to begin their midday repast and one of them suggests putting a man on the Moon. His fellow lunchers with feelings of bonhomie would slap him on the back and tell him the idea was brilliant. That is how I imagine it actually happened. Flash to today’s lunch and ask yourself could the same conversation occur today? I think not. Anybody suggesting such an idea would be reminded of the costs, the possible loss of life, and the tremendous amount of time and effort it would entail. The idea would quickly be dismissed and everybody would rush back to their offices after wolfing down a quick lunch. I realize this is all an oversimplification but it’s how I often feel during these lunches. The bottom line: we could never have put a man on the Moon without The Three Martini Lunch to lower our inhibitions and to allow our minds to ponder the previously unattainable.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Boondocks
If you don't read Aaron McGruder's comic strip "The Boondocks" then you probably should start. According to their web site,
"It is the story of a group of African-American city kids adjusting to life in white suburbia."
Today's installment has one of the characters pondering how future generations will view this current era of Black History. He asks his friend, "Will there will be anything to speak of aside from slain rappers, circus trials of spoiled celebrities, and lackluster,
co-opted leadership?" I'll let you read the punchline from this 6 February 2005 installment.
Privatized Social Security?
Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speech writer, has presented both sides of this issue very well this week in the Wall Street Journal. To read it in its entirety you have to buy online access so I will quote the best part:

"Here I raise a question about human nature that I cannot answer. Republicans tend to assume that everyone hungers for more investment accounts to handle. This is because Republicans like personal autonomy and authority, and are good at math. Others might reasonably wonder if life isn't complicated enough. The beauty of the Social Security system is its almost idiotic simplicity: They take your money from your paycheck and then 40 years later when you are old they start giving some back each month. Personal accounts are less simple. "

I tend to side with the folks who believe that most people will be better off without the responsibility of having to manage all of their own investment accounts. Nobody can tell you for sure when Social Security is going to run out of money. It is, as Bill Gross of Pimco points out this month on his web site, more a problem of demographics than of ownership. If more people contribute either through a combination of immigration, higher birthrates, and/or a higher retirement age then there is no problem. This could also be accomplished via higher taxes and reduced benefits. I favor some combination of all these options rather than privatization, and believe life is complicated enough for most people.

UPDATE: Taking liberties, I blockquoted in Paul's post. I hope it's acceptable to him. I think blockquotes help. My apologies if I overstepped.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Appropos of Nothing
I love mushrooms. I could eat mushroom omlettes for breakfast every day for a year. I could eat treble mushroom pizza for dinner everynight for a year. I could have Trader Joe's Mushroom Risotto for lunch every day for a year. Or a Trader Joe's Wild Mushroom Quesadilla for that matter. Button mushrooms sauteed in some olive oil and sprinkled with salt. By the way, button mushrooms are what Papa John's (pizza places) calls "baby portobellos." GMAFB.
Even better than olive oil - butter. Too caloric. Bummer.
Stir fried vegetables with about 2/3 shiitake mushrooms - sounds about right. Cream of mushroom soup - enh - if nothing better is around.
Is it any wonder that I appreciate the way Costco sells beautiful, white "stuffer" mushrooms in large quatities? Guess what I'll be having for breakfast?

Duke Basketball
If you want the BlogDog to sit up and take notice just mention Duke Basketball. His alma mater
has long been known for having a well organized and extremely witty student fan section at their basketball games. The BlogDog was an active participant while he was enrolled and has regaled me with side-splitting stories of how they would get on their opponents' nerves. I'll let him tell these stories because he can do it much better than I can. Though I would like to know what he makes of the latest news of the Cameron Crazies.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Look what just burst from the chest of the Democrat Party!
An Iraqi Election Joke
What did one Iraqi say to another Iraqi?
"Poll my finger!"
Ha ha ha ha ha! It's not even a fart joke and I'm laughing.

Real Estate Bubble, Anyone?
I've been calling the US housing market a bubble waiting to be popped for 3 years. It just goes to show what I know. Then along comes a Philadelphia Eagle football fan and I feel somewhat vindicated. He basically is doing what people have always done at the height of a speculative Bubble's popularity, whether it was the Dutch with their Tulips or Americans with their Internet stocks in the late 1990s. They have all shown the same wretched excess in their spending decisions that you don't know whether you should laugh at them or feel ashamed for them. In either case you have to ask yourself is this the only person throwing financial caution to the wind. I don't believe he is and I believe we are getting closer everyday to the end of double digit yearly gains in the value of houses. We may even see a leveling off or a decline in the value of homes in the next few years. If I'm wrong then this Eagle fan has little to worry about. Though if I'm correct he might be left with only a memory of a great weekend in Jacksonville, and that won't keep him warm and dry at night the way a home will.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

My Puggy Valentine to y'all.
And One Thing Before I Sail for Nod
I'd really like to thank the Democrats for setting Ol' Screamin' Howard Dean up for their party leadership. Another decade of Republican dominance has become vastly more likely. YEEEAAAGGGHHH!
Maybe I Shoulda Said Sumpin
I hope none of the literally dozens of regular readers of PoW are suprised by the addition of the estimable and highly esteemed Paul to the (now) group bloggers of Pugs of War. I value his future additions to this ongoing conversation immeasurably. We don't agree on everything but we agree on enough to make the conversation well worth having.
He is a man of taste and sensibility and I am delighted that he accepted my invitation. Welcome!

Medical Marijuana
It's all too ironic that the latest AARP poll finds that its members are in favor of using Marijuana for medical reasons. These are the same people who were telling us Baby Boomers not to smoke the stuff when we were teenagers. Who would have guessed that all we would have had to tell them when they caught us toking before school was that we were conducting medical experiments that they would one day stand to benefit from?
A New Team Member
No, this blog has not been hijacked. It just has another contributor.
BlogDog calls me the Brother-from-another-mother and that's alright
with me. He has graciously allowed me to post to his Weblog and it looks like
it will be fun! That is, as soon as I learn the ropes.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

This Guy is a Serious A-hole
Yet it's one of the funniest stories I've read in a while. I expect lawsuits.

I would never do this to any dog, much less a pug. With the lone exception of those clever leather boots sled dogs wear when they're mushing.