Tuesday, March 30, 2004

At Least He Didn't Piss On The Alamo

But Ozzy Osborne would still be proud...

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Actor Jason Patric, who stars as Texas hero Jim Bowie in the new film "The Alamo," was arrested for public intoxication and jailed for several hours on Monday after scuffling with an Austin policeman.

Click here for the full story.

Patric has a long way to go before he catches up to Ozzy's Alamo-related antics. As you may already know, years ago the esteemed Mr. Osbourne was arrested after pissing on the Alamo while wearing one of his wife's dresses. He received a lifetime was ban from San Antonio, which, much like a life sentence in prison, lasted ten years.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Waking Up In The Darko

When I woke up this morning, my clock radio was playing the theme song from Donnie Darko. This was at 5:30 this morning and I was planning on going running. Instead, I was paralyzed by my memories of this movie. I lay in bed drifitng between dreams (mostly about hanging out with a giant, stuffed, bleeding rabbit) and being completely awake trying to piece the movie's narrative together. I think I saw this movie nine months ago.

So I finally got out of bed 45 minutes later having failed to run and having failed to put the Darko narrative back together again. Morning wasted.

I think another viewing of Donnie Darko is in order as soon as we're moved in and all the walls are painted. Um so that means I'll be seeing Donnie Darko somewhere between 2006 and 2009.

Now I'm off to solve all the world's speech problems. Or at least 17 of them, if no one cancels.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Everone Is Doing It, So Why Can't I?

I posted another Top 5 List (Top Eight to be exact) on my side blog, Top Eight States I've Never Been To. Click here to check it out.

If you go to www.world66.com/myworld66/visitedStates you can make a map of all the states you've been to. I first saw this map on the Notorious B.I.G. Fool's blog and have seen it on many others since then.

So I made a map of my own and used it to list rate the eight states I've haven't visited (or at least driven through). The much harder list to make will be the the top five states I have visited. Maybe that will be next.

I still need to finalize the top five movies of all time, but that is such an ambitious task. Years ago I had it finalized at LA Confidential, Raising Arizona, This Is Spinal Tap, Buckaroo Banzai, and Lone Star. I think enough time has passed and I need to reconsider the list. But for now, I'll worry about states.

When In Doubt, Mock Yourself

This has been GW's conventional wisdom since he was governor of Texas. Nothing like a little self-effacing humor to defuse a tense moment right? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Next time your significant other or family member is pissed at you and you know you deserve his/her ire, try out GW's strategy. Throw in a little self-effacing quip about how wrong you were. I say the odds are 50/50 this strategy will get you out of the dog house. It's a risky little game. Because it may reflect a lack of contrition and you'll be in bigger trouble.

It's one thing to try to use this strategy because you forgot to pay the water bill again, but it's another thing to do it when over 500 troops have died in a war you pushed on the country.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a decent summary from the The Guardian:

A slide showed Mr Bush in the Oval office, leaning to look under a piece of furniture. "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere," he told the audience, drawing applause.

Another slide showed him peering into another part of the office, "Nope, no weapons over there," he said, laughing. "Maybe under here," he said, as a third slide was shown.

Funny stuff.

He should have had a slide of him peering in a solider's casket and saying, "Nope not in here either," laughing the whole time of course.

My initial reaction is this is very offensive, but maybe I've lost my objectivity in my distaste for Bush. A case can be made that this line of comedy was appropriate, given the context of the talk. It was intended to be a light-hearted roast for journalists. But I'd be interested to hear from people outside the Anybody But Bush crowd to see if they found it offensive.

Bush really doesn't seem to appreciate the gravity of people dying. Keep in mind this is a guy who mocked the pleas for clemency of death-row inmate Karla Faye Tucker. Remember this gem?

Text from www.consortiumnews.com.

Early in Campaign 2000, Bush was traveling around with conservative writer Tucker Carlson, who was preparing a profile. Carlson later recounted Bush’s ridicule of convicted murderer Karla Faye Tucker as she pleaded for her life.

Asked about her clemency appeal, Bush mimicked what he claimed was the condemned woman’s message to him: “With pursed lips in mock desperation, [Bush said,] ‘Please don’t kill me.’” Carlson wrote in Talk magazine.

Does anyone else sense this man has a disconnect between real life and real death? Obviously I don't know the man, but you have to be worried about a head of state who mocks people he himself has sentenced to die and laughs off a war he sold on a premise he can't prove.

Soldiers and Iraqi citizens are dying. Make fun of yourself when you forget your anniversary. Show contrition when you are sending Americans away from their families to kill and die.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Too Beautiful To Work

today was the first beautiful day of the year. As a result over half of my afternoon appointments canceled. Coincidence? I think not. I went for such a great run along the Mississippi River today. I truly feel blessed to be living in ahouse that it just three blocks from the big river. In fact here is a picture of the Ford Bridge, which I get to run across every day, if I so choose.

Image from www.phototour.com.

And I thought about how fortunate I am to NOT be running around the South Minneapolis chain of lakes. It gets so obnoxiously crowded around the lakes when the weather is nice. I'll take the trails on Minnehaha Parkway and River Road over Lake Harriett every time!

It's easy to spend my time wishing I still lived in Texas, especially during that stretch of -20 degree days we had in January. But on days like today, it's easy to argue that the Twin Cities is one of the best places to be in this country.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Sports Athletes

There are two redundant terms from the wide world of sports that I have always had issues with. And now is the time to get these issues off my chest. Why? Because I heard on the radio earlier today how one of the Minnesota Timberwolves may have "re-aggravated" his ankle injury. And that brings me to my first complaint. So away we go.

1. Re-aggravate. How the hell do you re-aggravate something? You might as well say the guy "re-re-injured his ankle again for the third time". See for yourself. The Merriam-Webster definition of aggravate is "to make worse, more serious, or more severe : intensify unpleasantly."

2. Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. By definition, tundra is frozen. I guess the "frozen" is added for dramatic effect. But I don't here anyone saying, "That snow is so ice cold!"

Sports reporting does more to change the face of acceptable English, I think, than any other form of communication, outside of music. Was "athelticism" even a word 20 years ago?

Sunday, March 21, 2004

They Might Be Annoying

A question to ponder (and hopefully answer):

What (or who) is the most annoying band, comedian, TV show, movie, magazine, etc. that you enjoy? It doesn't matter if it's a guilty pleasure or something you're ashamed to admit. What matters is that you are honest.

For me, the most annoying band I like is probably like They Might Be Giants. And I'm talking about the cartoon-style music that was on their first two albums. I have to turn their music down or off whenever Emily is within earshot. It's not that she'd make me turn it down, it's just that most humans would be annoyed by these CDs so I enjoy them in private.

And Emily also has a CD called "Hot Hits" or something like that. It's full of USRDA Grade A Shitloaf. Consider a CD so shitty it has the Barbie song (Aqua), "How Bizarre" (sung by something called OMC), and The Macarena. I secretly like this CD and am very sorry about that.

But this one is the hardest to admit. A year or so ago, Emily got sucked into Joe Millionaire and, by the last three or four episodes, so did I.

I guess I should also admit (thanks to Angie) that I really like The Apprentice.

And I think Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long are funny on the FOX NFL pregame show.

I used to watch WAY TOO MANY Saved By the Bell reruns in my immediate years after college. I can still name all the characters by first and last name (as well as the actors real names if pressed to do so).

I sometimes scan through Emily's In Style magazine to see what the stars are wearing.

I also will read a few stories in US Weekly if Emily happens to bring a copy home (she finds them on the bus sometimes--when the bus drivers aren't on strike).

I could watch up to ten minutes of pro wrestling, or one match (whichever is shorter), before stopping.

Weekend At Bernie's was pretty funny. So was Look Who's Talking, but Look Who's Talking Now wasn't.

I am not joking about any of this.

Okay, I've aired all my dirty laundry regarding pop culture. Don't make some snide comment like, "You have waaaaaay too much free time." Instead, return the favor and let me know what annoying pop culture artifact you secretly or openly enjoy. If you think America's Funniest Home Videos lived up to it's name, this is the forum to get that secret out from underneath the carpet. You think Yakov Smirnov is a comic visionary? Get that monkey off your back and on this blog! It's not like anyone else reads this.


My brother-in-law, Jake, don't wear no Stetson, but I'm willing to bet, son, that he's a bigger Texan than I am. All you need to do see his correction to my claim that Amarillo Highway was written by Robert Earl Keen. If anyone read the comments from the previous "Don't Mess With Texas" post (see below), you will see it was actually written by Terry Allen.

And this brings to my point (and my self-defense). Is there a more incestuous bunch than Texas singers/songwriters? It's hard to keep track of who's covering whom. Guy Clark covers Steve Earle's "Ft. Worth Blues" on one of his albums. This is a song about Townes Van Zandt, who is covered by every self-respecting Texas musician it seems. It's like a requirement. Look at "Rex's Blues." I've heard it covered Guy Clark, James McMurtry, and Steve Earle. Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett both sing "Front Porch Song." And this is just off the top of my head.

If I'm wrong on any of this, I hope Jake will correct me. But you get the point. Is there any other music genre or group of musicians that cover each other as much as these guys do?

As an aside, James McMurtry has a new live album out. I wanted to buy this album and was curiously drawn to the Triplets of Belleville soundtrack. So as I was saying, I wanted to get these CDs today. But we spent too much time today at Home Depot and shopping for rugs to do fun stuff like buy CDs. Suddenly I miss the old house and all the non-Home Depot shopping we did.

March Madness

Is there some sort of a basketball tournament going on?

Normally, in March, I am your typical annoying basketball fan, consumed by the big tournament. This year, I have seen glimpses or watched a total of three games. I saw Texas beat UNC, and UAB beat Kentucky and get really annoyed by the announcer (sounded like Dick Emberg but I think he's on NBC) hailing this as a major David and Goliath battle. Give me a break. UAB is from Conference USA, which (I think) sent more teams to the tourney than the Big Ten. And they were a 9 seed; it's not like they're East Dickhead State A&M. Oh yeah, and I saw Texas Tech lose, rounding out the three games I saw either all or some of.

The reason why I haven't been able to partake in March Madness (I didn't fill out a bracket for the first time since 1987) is Emily and I have started some March (Moving) Madness of our own. We are in the process of repainting every room in the house and still living out of boxes.

This would explain the lack of posts lately, although I doubt the two of you who read this blog even noticed I've been gone. But I do plan to post more.

In the meantime, I am more excited about Spring Training (Win Twins!) and the Spurs/Wolves race for to the Midwest Division crown (GO SPURS GO!!), than I am about the NCAA tourney, but what the hell, GO UAB!!!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Don't Mess With Texas...

Or if you do, just make the rules up as you go along.

At least that has been Tom DeLay's operating principles for the last eight years. It looks like it's finally catching up to him.

My brother-in-law first told me about the campaign finance scandal that's (hopefully) about to engulf DeLay. This was a couple weeks ago and I dinked around the Ft. Worth newspaper waiting for more of the story to break, and it never did. Well, it never did until now.

Click here to read more.

As an aside, kudos to my brother-in-law for catching this story early on. He told me about when he was coming home from a Robert Earl Keen show and contemplating going to see Willie Nelson later that night. When I hear about I day like that, I really miss living in Texas.

And when I hear any mention of Robert Earl Keen, I think of his song Amarillo Highway. Specifically when he sings:

"I don't wear no Stetson
But I'm willin' to bet son
That I'm as big a Texan as you are."

I run those lyrics through my head and George Bush comes to mind. He may wear a Stetson and vacation at a Texas ranch he bought in 1999, but he is 100% blue-blooded East Coast royalty. But if you drop the ends of your words in a few campaign ads ("I'm askin' for your vote."), who will know the difference?

North Carisconsowa

As I posted a little over a week ago, I think Iowa is my favorite state that I do not live in and didn't grow up in. Last weekend I ran into the same lady who turned me onto to the idea of having such a favorite state. It turns out I was right: you can include states you once lived in, but don't anymore. That clinches it for Iowa, although Wisconsin and North Carolina are VERY close on the heels of Iowa.

And to keep the blog-reading public from thinking I am some control-freak, and a domineering husband, I never told Emily she couldn't pick Wisconsin as her favorite state. It looks like we miscommunicated somehow.

Next up: Favorite state I've never been to. I haven't put much thought into it, but an early straw poll shows Maine, Michigan, and Alaska in a dead heat!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Bill's Bored

Today is Wednesday and we move into our new house on Saturday. This means only three more days of commuting on the mess that is I-35W and the Crosstown highway! I have been dreaming of the day when I can just city streets to work, and I can't believe this day is right around the corner.

But I will miss the billboards. Okay not really, but yesterday, for the 1000th time, I drove by the billboard of a guy in his car underneath the heading "PARK CLOSER." The past 999 times this billboard has really perplexed me. What the hell is a "park closer?" Is it the same thing as a closer in baseball? Or was the guy in the car a politician who wanted to shut down all the Minneapolis parks, and this billboard was putting him down?

Then the lightbulb in my head went off yesterday. "Closer" in this context is an adverb, not a noun. The guy needs to park "closer" to the airport, which I drive by on my way to work. And to think my job is to teach other people the art of interpreting double-meanings.

There is also a marquee near our current house that escapes my interpretation. There's an auto body shop on Nicollet and 43rd Street that says:

YOUR FIRED!! [sic]

I get the Donald Trump reference, but can't figure out what the hell this has to do with free loaners, or auto body repair in gerneral. Can anyone else?

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Weapon of Mass Distraction

I found an WMD!!! It's here in Minneapolis. I was driving on I-35W and a Hummer limo was behind me. I have never seen such a beast before. I had a hard time looking at the road ahead of me; I had to keep looking in my rearview mirror. Consider it a fear-fascination phemenon.

Image from http://www.car.co.nz/

One of my safety rules when drving in congestion is to make sure I'm behind an 18-wheeler, rather than in front of it. I don't want to get smashed by a semi in the event of a sudden stop. I am now augmenting my rule, and am going to make sure that Hummer limos are in front of and not behind me.

As an aside, what the hell is I-35W doing with rush hour congestion on a Saturday afternoon?

There Is No I In Team (but there is an M and an E)

and other lessons student-athletes can learn

When I was in college my coach talked me into taking his "Sports Psychology" class. There wasn't a person in the class who wasn't on a varsity sport. It was a joke and I regret the waste of time and money, even ten years later. I can't remember a damn thing from the class except for when Coach got on the class for "not taking my class serious." And also when he also told us easily over 50 times that "ya'll need to learn how to write proper."

Sure thing Coach, what will our first lesson be, verb-adverb agreement? This is the same guy who I talked with a year later about how too many guys on the cross country team were showing up late to practice and not following through with all the work. I told him I was sick of getting on everyone's case, so he said he'd take care of it. The next day he did his best his to chew everyone out. He ended his sermon with this gem:

"If ya'll want to be on this team there's three simples to follow: don't be late, do all the work, [and then he shouted] AND BE ON TIME!!!"

So much for a motivating sermon to whip everyone into shape. Everyone was either confused or just trying not to laugh. I wanted to raise my hand and say, "Uh, Coach, that's still just two points," but thought the better of it.

Anyway, I now actually am feeling pretty good about the edumacation I got from the Sports Psychology (and an Athletics Administration class I also took). And this is because I just read a multiple-choice test Georgia basketball players took in one of their classes. It's pretty funny stuff.

Click here to read the story and view the quiz.

Friday, March 05, 2004


Required reading.

From The Daily Mislead

As the nation headed for war last year, President Bush "clamped down" on the media, extending and expanding a controversial policy that banned reporters from photographing flag-draped caskets of soldiers killed in combat. The White House said the policy was enforced to "spare the feelings of military families." Yet, in the very first television advertisement of his 2004 campaign, the president has blanketed the nation's airwaves with an image of "firefighters carrying a flag-draped body" from the 9/11 wreckage at Ground Zero.

Click here for the whole story (complete with references backing up everything you just read).

It's one thing to exploit the 9/11 tragedy in a cheesy TV ad. It's another to do so while contradicting your own, propaganda-driven, rules. Hypocrites. Manipulative, arrogant hypocrites. And the scary part is, I think they'll win.

By the way, I saw the controversial Bush ad this morning. It looked like it was produced by the same folks who do the Vioxx ads. Given the behavior of the Bush administration, I'd be embarassed right now if I were a true Republican. Then again, Bush (I mean Rove) knew he never had my vote so he doesn't give a shit what I think.

Thursday, March 04, 2004


I was at Emily's uncle's house over the weekend. One of the other guests there had just returned from Texas so I had the same conversation with her that I've had with the 90123489 other Minnesotans who runs into me and just got back from Texas. They tell me what a great frendly state it is, they can't believe how green it is, and are pleasantly surprised that the state has more to offer than George Bush. All of this smacks of elitism at times, but that is for another post.

My point to this post is the lady, fresh from her trip to the Big Bend said, "Texas is my favorite state now, not counting my homestate and the state I live in now."

And this of course got me to thinking. What is my favorite state that isn't where I grew up and where I live now?

And it's actually a no-brainer. IOWA. Now maybe this state should be disqualified since that's where I went to college. And I did live in Iowa City for two years after that.

However, I can list 100 reasons, easily as to why Iowa kicks ass. Don't worry, I won't. But from the Hawkeye cheer at football games (one side cheers, "I!" the other shouts "O!" and the end zones shout "WA!") to Secret Pizza, the Amana Colonies, and the replica of the Star Trek Enterprise in Riverside, I-O-WA gets my vote. Oh yeah, and I left out the now defunct Dr. Brown's Cookies--fresh-baked cookies delivered to your house a la Domino's.

North Carolina also is a mighty fine state and could easily unseat Iowa as my favorite if I found they deliver cookies to your home as well.

Any other nominations?