Friday, December 15, 2006

Oh My God, We're Back Again, Brothers Sisters Everybody Sing, Gonna Bring the Flavor, Show You How, Gotta Question for Ya Better Answer Butt

I think I have been too generally upset with the weather to really get around to blogging, but I have decided my only chance to influence the meteorological ass is perhaps blogging about it explicitly. Being a person who at least tries to understand the beauty in well done versions of anything, I can agree that there are different types of beautiful weather. I understand the occasionally get the really hot beautiful dessert like days and who doesn’t love a spring evening or brisk fall morning. But the winter is really what its about--those mornings where everything is still glistening white, the nights where the limited visibility of the rapidly falling snow makes it seem like you are alone in the world, but in a brilliant and peaceful rather than lonely/desperate sort of way. I had one of those last Thursday, when I went to buy Katie a book late at night. Just watching the snow come down, driving those empty roads nice and slowly, enjoying, rather than worrying, the predictable ways a car slides and balances on the snow. I just love it.

Here is my point. It’s supposed to snow in the winter. That doesn’t mean that it has to come down in buckets killing our power and stranding us in our homes, but the ground needs to be white. There need to be nights where you can stand outside just amazed by the simple beauty of snowflakes in the streetlight. 50 degrees is not beautiful in December. I can get the beauty of a 50 degree sunny day in January or February, as a little reprieve from the snowy cold. But I have a damn hard time enjoying the delightful Bing Crosby and/or Frank Sinatra versions of Winter Wonderland when it feels like mid September.

Katie and I went out with some friends of hers from class tonight. There was some discussion of a class on pr0n that some woman was taking and this woman also used the word “wiener.” I don’t mean that she dropped a wiener-bomb once as a hilarious joke, but she like used the word as her default expression for male genitals. Two things on this subject. First one, serious. I find it really odd when people have default terms for such things which lie outside of the ones I typically encounter. It is notable that this person had no problem using explicit terms, it was just that her default here was not explicit. It was especially odd because it had the effect of sounding more obscene than my version, which would regularly be considered much more obscene. I’m a lingusitc variance dork. Second, is simply the fact that using wiener as such is awesome. She seriously had like the exact disposition which made it work. Very impressed by her coordination of attitude and wiener.

Hippo is more impressed by the coordination of chow and bowl, so I should probably get to that.



Thursday, December 07, 2006

We Wish You a Merry Christmas, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Butt

The fall finale (damn do I love that concept) of One Tree Hill is on at the moment, so I do not have to pay too much attention to the show to follow what’s going on. As a result I’ve been sucked down a fairly intense wiki-hole that lead me from the Invisible Pink Unicorn, through sex toys, Douglas Adams’ characters and ultimately to what my question concerns. Specifically, these two descriptions of religious experiences in relation to psychedelic mushrooms. The first of those links includes this sentence: “Almost all of the members of the experimental group reported experiencing profound religious experiences, providing empirical support for the notion that psychedelic drugs can facilitate religious experiences.”

Since I was reading this while basking in the glow of ANTM’s second ever successful finale and “watching” One Tree Hill, I didn’t read it carefully enough first time through and thought that it said something more along the lines of “this provides empirical support for the notion of religious experience.” My thoughts in response to that were a) “dude, are you really lacking support for the existence of religious experience, just head over to, you know, a church” and b) if I was giving them a little more credit “I think people getting lit up for God doesn’t have quite the demonstrative force Wikipedia is suggesting.”

My further reading clarified this fact, but actually led me to a somewhat prior question. That is, does the fact that hallucinogenic drugs seem to be causally related to religious experience act as proof for or contradiction of the religious thesis itself? I’ve only been thinking this through for the past hour or so, but my dueling thoughts so far.

First, this could suggest that all religious experience is analogous or identical to hallucinatory experience. I suppose this somewhat depends on making the assumption that the religious experience on psychedelics is analogous to the experience of watching an interview with Mark McGuire in the filter of your cigarette on psychedelics. Since religious experience is often considered to be defined by faith and faith is often defined by the exclusion or even direct contradiction of logic—the fact that you know that its not real doesn’t influence your experience.

At the same time, of course, hallucinations aren’t random incarnations with no connection to anything. One could make a pretty good argument that they have some connection to either mystical or natural experience, or at least to some level of consciousness which is not limited by logical experience. It seems a bit like that may be short circuiting the argument, but I’m not sure.

In psychosis as per the Freudian/Lacanian tradition, one of the aspects of hallucinations concerns address. That is, the subject may not be able to say what the hallucination means or why it appears that way, but they can say for certain that it is a SIGN and that it is ADDRESSED to them. When the hallucination is the result of foreclosure or a mental structure, this is not surprising, but what about when it occurs via an external substance? It seems that the best argument (which I have no intention of addressing or exploring at this point) would be that the fact of address guarantees an external subject and since in the drug is only interacting with one person’s consciousness, that address must be metaphysical.

Hippo thinks that my idea in writing this must have been inspired by stealing a pinch of her catnip, but I assure her I was sober. Some chow should convince her.



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No One You Can Save That Can't Be Saved, Nothing You Can Do, But You Can Learn How to Be In Time, Its Easy, All You Need is Butt

I don’t like to constantly go after the bulleted or numbered points theme, but sometimes its just easier to keep things in brief un-related paragraphs. I didn’t use numbers in my last writing, so I will go with the gimmicky thing for today. In no particular order:

1) Department store Santas need to suck it up and grow a beard. I mean, I get that you aren’t going to necessarily have a foot long Z.Z. Topp style Kris Kringle thing going on, but you at least need the dedication to stop shaving post Halloween so it’s not a complete sham. In today’s globalized hyper-competitive market place a cheap beard with a head strap is not gonna cut it. I remember the Santa we went to when I was a kid at the Minnesota Zoo. Not only did we have donuts and hot cocoa with him, but he came with reindeer. That is Santa dedication, but I suppose it should be attributed more to the Zoo having reindeer than this d00d’s personal dedication. Still, he had a real beard. You could tug it if you wanted. I had full faith (and credit) that my request for Fireball Island would be satisfied come the 25th.

2) I defended my doctoral dissertation last Thursday. I do not actually have my degree in hand or anything, but I have a PhD. If nothing else goes well in my life, I got married, got a doctorate and have a Persian cat. That’s better than most people can say. Also, I have season tickets to the Packers. And a hawt TV. And my couch has recliners. More relevantly, I have some good leads and advice about turning this into a book manuscript. I’m actually pretty excited to begin that process.

3) The John Carroll tournament, this past weekend, in Cleveland, had its ups and downs. The significant downs: we did not advance very far in outrounds (i.e. our only victory was a walkover), we did not clear some of the teams we expected to clear and arguably more importantly, John Carroll no longer has the soda fountain in the judges lounge. Apparently Pepsi no longer makes those big metal cylinders of soda-juice and I am sad. They did at least have plenty of cold Diet Pepsi on hand. The ups included having some great kids who haven’t debated together for a little while clear and some food related comments, for instance: there was a Chocolate fountain!! That’s right, I got to dip pretzels, bananas, apples, and DOUBLE STUF OREOS (the little things, like the decision to have Double-Stuf Oreos rather than the regular Oreos, is a sure sign that the people in charge think the right way) in a beautiful stream of chocolate. I could even load up a bunch of them and head back to my debates. I also got a van full of kids to join me for the CRAVE. ♦, who is an awesome kid who is simply better known by a symbol than he is by his actual name, actually went so far as to actually purchase a Crave Case. That meant that even through the Lake Effect blizzard and the Bills home game traffic, we had slyders to help us make the way back to the Roc.

I am not satisfied with a three item list and feel bad for having wasted such a delightful mechanism with so few numbers. I guess I will have to try and update regularly for a little while so I can get access back. Hippo suggests that I label all my next bullet points “meow,” but she does not understand how difficult it can be for humans to understand the subtle differences in print.



Monday, November 27, 2006

Walking on Sunshine, Whoaaa, I'm Walkin on Sunshine, Whoaa, I'm Walkin on Sunshine, Whoaa and Don't it Feel Butt

We went to see The Nutcracker this past weekend. My commentary is only on a couple parts of the show, because my only overall thought is: what’s with all the dancing?

First, there is this part where the evil uncle guy in the whacky cape totally rips off Hiro and stops time. But he doesn’t stop time to cheat at poker or so we get to look at a sweet frozen explosion or to prevent the nuclear apocalypse, but so he can put a sparkly green nutcracker under the Christmas tree without anyone noticing. I understand that it’s a popular show and I guess you want the ballet to appeal to the kids these days, but I was so busy wondering when Milo Ventimiglia was gonna come sailing across the stage that I didn’t really understand what caused the mice v. toy soldiers conflict to escalate to all out war.

I thought that dance war was generally out after the catastrophe that stuck the Jets and Sharks, but these guys raised it to an all new level. My second observation is this: if you are going to engage in a leader vs. leader dance war whose outcome seems to be the magical arbitrary chance for a dance date with the really young chick, I think you should opt out of wearing a giant foam head. Even if you are an enormous rat/nutcracker-come-to life (I am genuinely unsure as to whether or not the chick shrunk to the size of the rat/nutcracker, or if they grew to her size, maybe this isn’t relevant) I think part of your magical power should be dedicated to developing a real and non-bobbly head, cuz there is just no way that doesn’t affect your sword fighting skillz.

Hippo needs some help updating her blog, so I guess I will slide my computer to the middle of the couch so she can have access to the keyboard. We really need to get her her own cat-top computer.



Friday, November 24, 2006

I Need to Hear You Say, You Need Me All the Way, Oh If You Love Me So, Don't Let Me Be the Last to Butt

I won’t recap the Thanksgiving menu with any great detail, but simply refer you to Katie for this purpose. For the most part everything came off without a hitch, though I certainly learned some things I need to adapt the next time I make certain dishes. Overall a resounding and smashing success. Hippo jagrees, though she spent most of her stomach space on chow rather than the lusciously citrus brined turkey. Katie’s desserts were both fantastic and experimental, but the Maple Pecan cake took…itself, maybe. It pwnd is the point.

Today we went shopping. Two malls, Target, Petco and Pier One. Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving is a lot like what I said about Manhattan, clearly it is counterproductive. The amount of people there make it impossible, or at least massively inconvenient to actually get any of the things you want/need. Thankfully I remembered to bring my Nintnendo and managed to win the Scottish FA Cup while sitting in one of the most overpriced recliners you can ever hope to find at the Bon Ton. I did somehow manage to get rockstar quality parking at each of the establishments we visited, some form of mercy visited upon me I suppose.

The random practices of stores on this most ricockulous of all days amuses me. JCrew, for instance, had a woman walking around with a tray of Christmas cookies. The jewelry stores just decided to all ridiculously overstaff themselves, apparently not understanding that an enormous majority of all jewelry for the holidays is purchased by men for their significant others and that this population makes up about .5% of the post-Thanksgiving shopping audience. Hot Topic was not as booming as you might think today; 5 am is probably too early after the post-turkey goat sacrifice-party. Not to mention that 100 moms racing to the display to pick up limited quantities of 2 for 10 dollar spiked dog chains might cause some injuries. The Hallmark store decided to have a woman stand at the front of the store holding a little animatronic penguin thing that was available at the low low price of 20-ish dollars when you bought like 3 random cards. She was holding it, as if it were a tray of Christmas cookies, but of course, it was not. If you had a table that could say “Hello,” you could outsource this job pretty easily.

Hippo is dying for some of the chipotle cheddar mashers, so I am gonna drop a spoonful into her next bowl of chow.



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How Come Every Time I Come Around My London, London Bridge Wanna Go Butt

Some observations from my first visit to New York City:

1) Manhattan is like any other big city, except 10 times as large. That is to say, there are the same people on the streets, the same stores, restaurants etc. But they go on freaking forever. I went for a walk and went for 40 minutes in one direction with no perceptible change in environment; it was still downtown area as far as the eye could see.
2) Manhattan has clearly grown beyond the point of diminishing returns. While #1 means that I am far less intimidated by New York City than I was before my trip, #2 means that I am even more baffled. There is some great stuff on those islands, but mostly there are just 200 times as many shitty apartments and Chinese restaurants. The amount of shit there actually impedes your ability to access or use any of it. There is simply no point to having a city that size. The existence of Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, Philly, etc. solves all your offense.
3) Olives in the W Hotel in Union Square is a quality place to have dinner. Yellowfin tuna tartare, Lamb porterhouse, and a butterscotch tiramisu makes for a quality evening, however you slice it. Mascarpone crunch, as indicated in the description of the dessert, is one of the most incredible dairy items I have ever eaten.
4) All debate tournaments should be required by law to have at least two sports bars (no less than one featuring the NFL Sunday ticket) within 100 feet of the front door of the tournament. To my knowledge, only the Blake School’s Edie Holiday Tournament and Baruch currently satisfy this condition. UNT comes pretty close. Five dollars for a beer is pricey at a sports bar on a Saturday afternoon perhaps, but I’ve paid more.
5) I’ve read several bloggers who were similarly surprised by the literal scattering of trash on the street, so let me just glom on to that list. Its not that there are empty Poland Springs bottles or half smoked Parliaments. There are piles of garbage bags on every corner. Like a block off Park Ave. And on every other corner in the entire damn city. Maybe the immensity of the area makes proper sanitation impossible (another arg for #2) or maybe people are just asses. Any city which makes me feel like Bree Van de Kamp needs to tidy up a bit.

Turkey day report coming tomorrow. Hippo is actually more excited than I am. Meowing with anticipation, literally.


Mike Baxter-Kauf

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This is What You Get, This is What You Get, This is What You Get, When You Mess With Butt

I am not going to pretend that I think I have been writing frequently enough. Possibly the most interesting thing about the process of blogging is how one creates blogs voluntarily and eventually feels a form of guilt for not writing in it. Anyway, my new goal is just to write shorter bits and hopefully publish them a couple times a week. Here is my bit for today.

There is a building being built (you’d be amazed how many buildings are actually built these days) right around the corner from our house. About two weeks ago one could only really judge the general size of the place, not even its full height or the internal composition of its spaces. By about two days after the election, however, its form had started to fit into some pre-designed patterns. There were very few external windows, it was only one floor, but a tall singular floor. That combined with a doorway that was a diagonal cut off from what was otherwise a square building convinced me that this was certain to be a Walgreens, CVS or other drug supplying retailer. I was pleased by this fact, because if nothing else it’s a gas-less convenience store only steps away.

Besides the existence of the Walgreens however, I relate this anecdote because when I drove by it on Thursday and recognized that it was in fact a Walgreens I did not say “hey, that’s a Walgreens.” Instead I said “MB-K is now ready to call this building for Walgreens.” Obviously I watched too much election coverage, but I also just think this is an awesome phrase. I was trying not to annoy others, so I have mainly restricted my use of it to my private dialogues while driving, but once the elections are far enough behind us that people will find it as objectively humorous as it actually is, I will incorporate it into my everyday vocabulary. I think it is especially a good thing to say when your predictions may be accurate, but have absolutely no rational basis i.e. calling a race with 0% of districts reporting and the “winner” being down by 20% of the vote. “MB-K is prepared to call this cheeseburger for awesome.” “And in a shocker, MB-K is now willing to predict that the Elmwood Ave. streetlight race will be won by the asshole driving a red Corolla.”

I am also willing to call this playtime for Hippo and she appears to be willing to call this catnip for delicious.



Sunday, October 22, 2006

Now Amos Moses Was a Cajun, He Lived By Hisself in the Swamp, Hunted Alligator For a Living, Just Knock Em in the Head With a Butt

Awesome or important or otherwise remarkable things that have happened since Wednesday before Wednesday last:

-tournament at the University of Rochester went down. It was extremely well run tabroom wise by my lovely wife and overall pretty successful. The lack of a number of folks I would have expected to show up meant that the divisions were not as big as they have been in years past, but certainly everyone had good eats, decent competition and at least tolerable weather. We got to celebrate Sunday evening with the coaches who stayed in town and while it was certainly the drunkest I’ve been in a while, I recovered perfectly the next day in time for a reasonably productive debate practice. I’m mackerel like that.

-Packers Win!! This was technically the first victory I have witnessed by the Pack this season, since I was driving back from Kings when they bested the Motor City Kitties. Everybody played pretty well, even, and I know this isn’t believable, the SECONDARY, who picked off Joey 3 times including running one back for a touchdown. Watched the games with Gordie and made a generally footballriffic afternoon.

-Apples and Kitties Saturday. That’s the official title of October 21st, 2006 in my book. We woke up reasonably early and made it to the fruit farm about 10 minutes away from our house. The place may not have the bells and llamas (whistles really don’t impress me, but llamas are another story) of Becker Farms back near Lockport, but it made up for that with a tremendous apple variety. We picked golden delicious, empire, Cortland, sun crisp, fuji, jonagold and idared apples. I didn’t include two varieties in that list, cuz I had literally never sampled them until yesterday: fortune and Northern Spy. Both of the last two varieties were enormous and the Northern Spy were among the best fruit I ate all morning. We followed up our app-stravaganza with a trip to the National Siamese Cat Show. I assumed, based on the title, that this show would be all the best Siamese cats. That would be really neat, cuz even though Siamese cats are far from my favorite kitties, they are still kitties after all. But I was wrong, and the show featured all varieties of cats, from the improbably perfectly coated Russian Blue, to the rare and beautiful Egyptian mao. There were a couple Scottish folds and some other really pretty cats, but most important were the incredible Persians which were in great abundance. One of them was the puffiest creature I have ever seen and simply adorable. There was also a four month old orange and white kitten who was so gorgeous and playful and a couple of grayish kitties who would have really enjoyed coming home to play with Hippo. Anyway, cat shows rule, even though you can’t pet the kitties, which is a rule that I both understand and judge to be electro-to-the-weak.

-Jericho is a pretty decent show and wow, has Skeet Ulrich grown up. I mean, he is still Skeet Ulrich and boyishly handsome in a slicked-back-Johnny Depp but not so indie sort of way, still, he has grown up. Not just in the way that everyone grows up when they return from their adventures around the country and while they are briefly visiting their tiny dusty small Kansas hometown the United States undergoes some sort of indeterminate nuclear catastrophe. More like in the way that your career essentially peaked in 1996 when you tried to kill Neve Campbell, who was totally hawt but somewhat overshadowed in Wild Things.

We bought Hippo a really neat sparkly bouncy cat toy at the kitty show to make up for the fact that we decided not to bring her home a Persian, exotic shorthair, or Scottish fold friend. She would like to play with it now, I believe, since she is throwing it at me and meowing. It is the cutest object I have ever had anyone throw at my head.



Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lay Your Head on My Chest, Come Feel My Heartbeat, We Can Park the Jeep, Pump Mobb Deep and Just Spark the Butt

So we are currently trying to struggle through the premiere of Brothers and Sisters, which we tivoed weeks ago but have not yet attempted. I like Calista Flockhart from her Ally days and Rachel Griffiths from Six Feet Under and there are certainly some other talented acting folks around. Based on the first twenty minutes, the acting is utterly failing to overcome two much more significant problems:

1. Calista Flockhart’s character is not only conservative, but seems to be modeled around the Ann Coulter-youngish-blondish-not uglyish conservative chick. I’m not sure I could get around the conservative part in the first place, but I’m virtually certain that I can’t get around the fictional attempt to render human and/or likable one of the most vitriolic skeezes around. All the Ann Coulter knowledge I need I’ll get from the Rude Pundit.

2. The writing is awful. Sorkin didn’t put a lot of conservative viewpoints on his show, but at least there was the occasional Republican who didn’t sound like either a straw-person fascist or unable to string a sentence together. The only piece of televised dialogue as bad as her defense of conservatism I’ve seen recently was Close to Home’s horrendous attempt to imitate CSI in an episode about sleeping beauty syndrome rapists.

I’m pretty sure we’re moments away from erasing the other two episodes we have tivoed, since its not like we have enough time to watch even the TV we actually do enjoy. Oops, that did it. We stopped at about 40 minutes when Ally started explaining that she was only “6 blocks away when the towers fell.” There are limited times when talking about 9/11 in some melodramatic way are tolerated by me, but this was not among them. Besides the fact that Smith was canceled 3 episodes in, this makes Bros+Sis’s the first casualty of our fall season.

Had a long weekend in Lexington which included some pretty decent moments. One of our teams went 3-5, but had to debate Cal’s top team in a 3-3 bracket and then just missed ending up 4-4. That’s obviously not extraordinary, but it’s a good place to be at Kentucky, early in the year, when one of our debaters was probably at her 8th-9th tournament ever. The other team had a couple tough losses, but half of it started really getting involved in this season less than a week ago, so 2-6 is something to build on. I was amazed to see that I judged 7 out of the 8 debates I was committed for, which seems to be solely a result of the fact that Dartmouth doesn’t mind me around. When they don’t get to bring 5 teams to Wake, I might end up spending most of the weekend watching football.

The far more important part of being in Lexington was the food and let me tell you, it pwnd. We landed Friday and immediately upon starting out down the highway discovered that Kentucky is in fact home to THE CRAVE! I got 10 burgers and a sack of fries, which enabled me to enjoy riding in the van far more than I typically do. We got set up in the hotel, cut some cards, did some drills and made it out to a joint called Billy’s Barbecue in the Chevy Chase area of Lexington. The wings were incredible, the light cornbread (which the menu described as a sort of combination of cornbread and white bread) was outstanding, but the cheese grits were not as good as I had hoped for. The star of the night, however, was the mutton which I decided to give a try. I had actually never had bbq mutton before, since it is a sort of Western Kentucky pit specialty and I have very little experience there. It definitely had some of the taste of lamb, but also this almost game-like twang. The meat was not as fatty as pork, but still perfectly moist and pulled to exactly the right size. I highly recommend it next time you head to the University of Kentucky.

Lunch on Saturday was Qdoba, which I recognize isn’t anything extraordinary, but since they don’t fucking exist in Western New York for God only knows what reason, it and the trip to Chipotle on Monday were a taste treat as well. Saturday night we checked out a spot I found reviewed in a number of places called Bourbon and Toulouse. The food is cheap and good. Katie and I each got a full plate of high quality Cajun food and a soda, plus tip, for 16 bucks. The jumbalaya sells out within a couple hours of it being made, so I had to opt for the gumbo, which still ruled. Quality vegan and vegetarian options as well as a generally cool little joint inhabited and staffed by cool people. Also in the Chevy Chase area and rocking. Sunday night we were tired and made the classic run to the Waffle House. I have never lived anywhere where there were Waffle Houses available, and as far as my cholesterol is concerned, that’s prolly a good thing. Waffle House really knows how to hash a brown though, I’ll tell you that much.

Final Kentucky story before I grab a feather and start playing with Hippo. We flew through Newark on our way home, though our layover was only about 30 minutes long. I went in to hit the bathroom and walking out, as I was walking in, was this pretty significantly sized dude and another guy behind him, even bigger. I gave a brief thought to the fact that the original dude looked like Fat Joe, but dismissed it pretty quickly. When I returned from the bathroom, the subject of conversation was exactly the same question. Specifically, it was whether or not the dude who was walking out of the coffee place was Fat Joe. I was doubtful, but spotting the nearby posse wearing what were identified by others as Terror Squad pendants, we confirmed that it was in fact the Fat one. I know enough about him to think it was cool that we saw him in the airport, but not enough to care about getting his autograph, like Gunther did. It was a good, if fairly inconsequential celebrity encounter.

Alright, Hippo wants a feather, preferably on a stick, to be shaken nearby her kitten face and it continues to appear that the feather is not going to start shaking itself.



Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Close My Eyes, Only For a Moment, and the Moment's Butt

I cannot imagine that anyone could determine what this picture is without me describing it, so I will. Let me preface that description by saying that this was one of what I imagine are the moments which artists and intellectuals feel when they actually are "inspired." I don't know that anything will ever come from my experience of this morning, but it blew my mind and I loved it.

At the very end of the American and contemporary art wing of the Philadelphia Museum of Art there is a room featuring a great number of the d00d who is probably my favorite artist, Marcel Duchamp. I was amazed at the pieces this museum posessed, including the re-issued versions of Fountain and Bicycle, as well as Nude Descending a Staircase, and Etant Donees. The last of those is one of my favorite works of art period, and while the guy writing the description I linked to sounds like he might be kind of a tool, it is a pretty legitimate run-down of this piece, which is really something to behold. Anyway, what you sort of see in the camera-phone picture above is Duchamp's "Large Glass." (note, the second picture down in the Wikipedia entry is the work as set up in Philly)

The other notable item in the picture is probably much easier to decipher, that being the smallish children gathered around the works. They weren't just there by the way, they were scattered (quite literally) all around this 20 x 20 or so room full of Duchamp. They were there as a part of some art program, I would presume one sponsored by the museum itself, and it appeared that they were all practicing their drawing skills by replicating the paintings and sculpture near by. I am not sure what the motivation to use this particular room was, but I found it both brilliant and hilarious simultaneously.

Brilliant for at least two different reasons: 1) Duchamp had an incredible eye for lines and perspective, as the incredible cubist paintings from early in his career should indicate. The same is true in regard to Etant Donees, which works entirely because of what you are and are not able to see. 2) The entire point of Duchamp's "readymades" was the contrast between art and the everyday. What better way to drive that point home than by reproducing the object which, for its entire history, has been oscillating between art object and rubish object. Not only reproducing it again, but reproducing it without any of the trappings of "high art," or at least in the specific context of children's art skillz.

Hilarious for another reason altogether. That being that the whole point of Duchamp's art was in a way a criticism of what is being done in this class. That is to say, the institutionalization of specific canonical requirements that distinguishes art from non-art; the idea that by reproducing something that an artist of acclaim has already done, that you can learn the techniques involved in artistic creation. In at least two ways, Duchamp is directly responding to this practice. First, of course is the cerebral and intellectual aspect of his art, which makes it essentially un-reproducable. By this I don't just mean that the important aspect of his art is "the idea," though that is probably true. What I am referencing is the aspect of naming, the fact that a urinal or a bicycle wheel becomes art insofar as Duchamp assigned it that title and displayed it as such. If the artistic moment is in act of assigning a name, then the reduplication of these objects, however much they may be worthy of being drawn or good teaching tools, is by definition not art. Secondly, as the hilarious painting, which I believe is required to be the favorite of every postmodernism loving college student in the country for at least a moment, L.H.O.O.Q. , shows, duplication is always already an act of creation, and vice versa. Applying a moustache to the Mona Lisa and giving it a saucy title certainly does produce something new, but it depends upon the prior image, whose meaning it creates in reproducing it. That is to say, Duchamp articulates a vision of the Mona Lisa which he then is able to comment on. In a way each of those paintings that the three-year old's parents hung on the Frigidaire were original Duchamps, produced almost forty years after the man died.

Enough of that, I say, though I do quite enjoy the exceedingly brief forays into legitimate thought that occassionally take place here. Last night, Katie took me out for my birthday, which technically occurred last Saturday during the Cornell tournament. Katie gave me some awesome presents, including a new DS game, a really cute canvas printed picture of her and Hippo, and a phat #4 jersey. We headed out to the Crystal Barn last evening, a joint recommended by Christy and approved by Katie, since it had coupons available on The place was admittedly pretty cool looking, big ass chandeliers, old school barn job. The decor was nothing too fancy, but still very comfortable. We ate really freaking well, let me tell you. I started with a Maker's Mark manhattan, I guess because Katie decided it was a fancier and more respectable drink order than a Maker's on the rocks. Admittedly, adding a cherry and just a spritz of vermouth doesn't hurt anything, so it may become a thing. It also seemed to be bigger than your standard maker's on the rocks, so thats certainly a plus. Katie had a riesling, jobviously. To fulfill everyone's birthday fantasy of steak-lobster, we started with an appetizer of their "lobster dainties: three petite lobster tails wrapped in bacon and grilled, served with a roasted red pepper sauce which I sopped up every bit of.

The salad I had was nothing to write home about, perhaps, but the house made dressing was a "Creamy Cheddar Cheese," which was unlike any salad dressing I had previously experienced. Thats not to say it was necessarily the best, just that it was distinct and very very good. My birthday dinners are all about steak, and this was no exception: a 24 oz porterhouse served with a sauted mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes and sauteed veggies. The veggies were good if for no other reason than that they were distinct, carrots, rutabaga, and brussel sprouts (which I adore when well cooked). The potatoes were great, but tremendously overshadowed by the steak, which while cooked a little but on the actually rare side of rare, rather than the extremely rare side (I should have been more specific I suppose) was delicious. I won't go into my usual analogies for the porterhouse steak, but it blows my mind every time I enjoy it. Dessert was the classic Katie favorite flourless chocolate cake, AS WELL AS, a chocolate peanut butter pie which was without question the best peanut butter dessert I have ever eaten. We almost never order two desserts at a restaurant, but since there were four on the tray I was interested in, it seemed warranted.

Anyway, we got home, stuffed to the gills and very happy with life. Hippo was there waiting for me, she tossed the remote into my lap so I could pop on the newest episode of ANTM and see my girl A.J. smack the losers around and handed me a tasty bourbon on the rocks. She is the cutest and most incredibly talented 6 pound persian in the history of the universe, pwnz.



Monday, October 02, 2006

There's a Shadow Just Behind Me, Shouting Every Step I Take, Making Every Promise Empty, Pointing Every Finger at Butt

I have not had a great weekend, to be honest, and the debate that I am watching this morning is not making it any better. There is nothing wrong with the two teams I am watching, but for some reason they are embracing bad form for the sake of bad form, since they are both making arguments that are incredibly capable of being articulated in a more “traditional” debate sense. I fundamentally don’t give a shit how people choose to organize their debates or what they choose to do, I just don’t get bagging on “flow-centrism” and then running Agamben.

Holy fuck. You have got to be kidding me. I am literally, going to blow up the room in which this debate is occurring, because the 1NC just concluded with silence. Yep, silence. I would say that silence is the worst argument in the history of the world, but IT IS NOT A FUCKING ARGUMENT, IT IS, BY DEFINITION, THE LACK OF ANYTHING EVEN BORDERING ON ARGUMENTATION. I’m not pretending that discussions of silence, or even the real world function of silence, is not important. There is about a 5 page discussion of the concept of silence in psychoanalysis in my dissertation, but I (I think wisely) did not include 200 blank pages after that discussion to perform the value of silence. There was only just over a minute left in the 1NC when d00d stopped talking, otherwise I would have gone in search of diet soda.

Enough debate rants. I say that, but of course, I have no other rants to go on or anything else really to comment on. We are attempting to catch up on all the TV that we have not watched because of the ricockulous amount of debate work and such that we have been doing, but have not been entirely successful. If we could only afford (NO, NO, SERIOUSLY, THE 2AC IS NOW BEING SILENT. NOT ONLY IS THAT HIDEOUS, BUT I COULDN’T EVEN TELL IF SHE WAS BEING SILENT OR IF SHE JUST LOST HER TRAIN OF THOUGHT. MY BRAIN IS CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A TURF WAR BETWEEN STUPID IS AND STUPID DOES) DirectTV, a Slingbox, and 1-2 more tivos, I think we would be golden. That does not appear to be around any corners of which I am immediately aware. My favorite Survivor was booted last week, so at least I had only had 2 weeks to grow fond of CeCe. It would have sucked if she would have continued to be so cute and charming for 12 weeks before she was brutally assaulted by Ozzy and his hair-a-palooza of wad-ish-ness.

My van on the way down to Ithaca had an intense conversation about the potential distinction between Gwen Stefani’s “Holla Back Girl” and Fergie’s “London Bridge.” I personally like both of those songs, but maybe its just my love of foot-stamping rhythms for pop music. A love that dare not speak its name, I know, but a love nonetheless. I can fathom not liking either of these songs, prolly cuz you are an elitist snob who can’t ever enjoy the finer things in life and takes even more pleasure than most in the continual (THREE MINUTES OF THE 2NC ARE SILENT. THREE. MOTHER. FUCKING. MINUTES. I AM WRITING AN ALTERNATIVE TO SILENCE CALLED “VAGINA” WHERE WE JUST SAY “VAGINA “FOR THIRTY SOLID SECONDS, THEN ARGUE THAT AT LEAST SOMEONE REPEATING “VAGINA” IS FUNNY. EACH SECOND OF THAT TIMER IS A MOMENT OF MY LIFE THAT THIS DEBATE HAS STOLEN FROM ME.) ability of popular culture to fail to live up to your lofty and arbitrarily contrary standards. Regardless, its music so I get that your taste might not line up with mine. What makes zero sense to me is enjoying one of these tracks and loathing the other. The reason I like them both is that they are the same freaking song. Substitute the spelling of fruits with the reference to children’s rhyme-y things and you have a winner. Also correlatively decided in the van ride: whichever record producer or label was bold enough to sign off on a major lyrical moment in a multi-million dollar single being simply the repetition of a word which would be laughed out of a 2nd grade spelling bee.

Silence going on in the 2nr, btw. Katie brought me a Diet Coke before the 1AR, and clearly that has calmed me down, cuz I would be caps-lockin-and-loading like a horny toad on jimson weed if I was still thirsty. It makes me feel like perhaps I am not actually cranky in debate rounds, but rather that I have just been thirsty for a bit over a decade. (I thought I had mono for an entire year once, turns out I was just really bored.”) Anyway, the post round discussion was far better than the actual debate, and I don’t want to give the impression that I was mad at the debaters themselves. I think its primarily just that I really hate to see arguments not make it to their full potential and become so bogged down in the question of what we should debate about that we never actually engage in that debate. All the people in this round agreed that alternative forms of argument (i.e. parables or stories, not silence) were worthwhile, so lets have at it, not race to see who is the most tolerant of alternate arguments.

I’m missin my Hippo right now, but she is psyched that we will actually get to watch the Packers together this Monday night. She is excited to have a party with cream and nip while we are gone, but still, her philosophy is that football is always better with a lap to purr in. Sometimes, I can hear her softly purring the Monday Night Football theme song when that long Monday afternoon really gets to her (she has a small case of Garfield syndrome). And with the rampant discrimination against kitties practiced by the bars in Rochester, it is hard for her to join us in a booth at the Distillery for the NFL Sunday ticket. Anyway, hopefully I will be home for some Sunday Night pigskin as well, I can hear Hippo leap from her tower in happiness.



Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Want You to Want Me, I Need You to Need Me, I'd Love You to Love Me, I'm Beggin You to Beg Butt

AND WE’RE BACK!!!!!!! As I decided to dedicate myself to doing virtually nothing but debate work in the run-up to King’s I have obviously neglected to say anything here. I have, in all honesty, neglected virtually everything else trying to get us into condition to have some sort of argument on both sides of the resolution and, as expected, it turned out fine.

We didn’t clear any novice teams this weekend, which was unfortunate, but everyone won at least 2 debates, so I consider that victory. I know I don’t have the unmitigated love for debate that many people around me do, but those times when things start to click for novices are really pretty incredible. If we somehow figure out how to motivate these people to cut some cards we should have a pretty fantastic year. We lost a tough and controversial quarters debate in open and one we just didn’t adjust to correctly in JV, so it’s not our best elim performance. We’re gonna roll at Cornell though.

One of the most ridiculous experiences of my life occurred on the ride home, when we managed to sustain a single (though admittedly hilarious) joke for the entire drive. It started with a pretty basic pseudo-debate joke about substituting the word “vagina” for the word “counterplan,” but by the time we got off the thruway, we were just saying “vagina” and laughing. The fact that we didn’t scare off any of the novices who woke up somewhere during this three-hour stretch is pretty incredible, so mad props to their appreciation of humor.

Now that we appear to be in the full swing of the fall television season premieres, I would just like to comment on how fucking awesome Studio 60 is looking to be. Notably, they just moved The West Wing into a TV show. The graphics, the dialogue, the framing of the show—they are all pretty much identical. I was certain that I would enjoy pretty much any program written by Aaron Sorkin, any show starring Josh Lyman. But I admittedly was worried about the ability of a show about SNL to pack the dramatic or emotional punch that characterized Sorkin. That was a risk that was put to rest about 5 minutes into the show and has been repeatedly smacked in the face since. I actually feel kind of stupid for even having said suspicions, since Amanda Peet’s character is such classic West Wing-like material (think the congress-woman’s husband who takes over her seat or the origin of Will Bailey).

I never watched Friends regularly, probably only saw 5-10 episodes during the actual run of the program. But just from those few experiences, it was pretty clear that Matthew Perry constituted a strong majority of the funny. When he did show up on The West Wing to get rid of the VP, he was pretty awesome. So far, he is running roughshod over Monday nights and that’s no small accomplishment when you are paired with the inspiration for

Hippo, fresh off her first weekend alone, is excited to watch some Monday Night Football, which we tivoed earlier, so I will oblige her. She had some neighborhood felines over for this NFL Sunday to celebrate the Packers’ success. They cleaned up well, but she is excited to watch Michael Vick. Apparently, she informed me, he learned everything he knows about scrambling out of the pocket from watching kittens.



Sunday, September 10, 2006

Run Like the Wind, At Double Speed, I'll Take You Places That You've Never, Never Butt

Packers sucked today, certainly, but in all honesty absent special teams we only lost 16-0. That’s not good by any means, but it’s not as terrible as the score made it look. Ahman Green shouldn’t have gotten 100+ yards of rushing against this defense, so that’s either something positive about his condition this season or an unknown vulnerability in the Bears’ d. Regardless, hopefully it will be better next week, though I’m not especially optimistic.

I am going to skip over the Philly entry that I have remaining because this afternoon is not the serious writing mood. I would rather briefly sum up, in list form of sorts, the second trip of the two-trip swing, back to Minnesota. I left on Thursday afternoon, stopping for a couple hours in Detroit for lunch, and then heading straight through to the cities. I hadn’t rented a car at the MSP for a while, but it wasn’t as ridiculously inconvenient as I thought it would be.

--We got to eliminate one of the family functions on Friday, but there was still crazy too much family for my taste. It meant that Katie, Karly, Kari (so out of place without a “K” in my name) and I all stayed in one room sleepover style. Nothing else was extremely invasive, although I would have preferred to further enjoy the college football opening weekend. Drives were easy in both directions.

--On my flight from Minneapolis back to Detroit my plane landed early, but spent about 20 minutes attempting to solve the Konigsberg Bridge Problem on the various runways. I seriously would have smacked the hell out of the pilot if it wouldn’t have resulted in spending my layaway with Homeland Security. I suppose they would have also had to open the security door for me, but seriously, it milked the SkyMall for all it was worth.

--Ghetto dice is an incredible game. While I was not involved in any of the big (25 and 18 bucks, respectively) pots that gradually grew from our 25 or 50 cent pots, they were truly entertaining. We also played some ghetto craps for a while afterwards, which just involved the pass-line but should probably be supplemented with Yo-11, just for Maroney’s sake.

--My mom took me to the Longfellow Grill, right where Marshall turns to Lake St. across the river. It was a nice area and quite tasty dinner, especially notable were the deep fried green beans with a plum sweet and sour dipping sauce. This is before I started seeing the ads for them at TGI Fridays, which means that in two weeks I will almost certainly have them at the King’s tournament hotel. Alongside a couple-thirteen-fourteen Maker’s Mark’s.

--The State Fair pwnz. I ate far less this year than I have in years past and in fact did not even border on feeling overly-fully. I did manage to get my hands on a bag of mini-donuts, cheese curds, pronto pup, Sweet Martha’s, cotton candy, caramel apple, part of Katie’s cream puff, corn on the cob, 7 glasses of milk, a Summit, and some hot dish on a stick. The hot dish was pretty tasty and came with cream of mushroom soup dip. It is not something you need to get every year, but I was glad I tried it. We spent about 6.5 hours at the Greatest of Minnesota Get Togethers, got to meet AJ’s newly born son, and generally had a blast. It’s pretty difficult to maneuver a group of like 12 around the fair on a beautiful Labor Day, but I was glad I got to see so many people all at once.

Hippo is glad for a great many things; including the fact that I am about to wave a feather encrusted stick just out of her reach. She always loves that one.



Wednesday, September 06, 2006

So, So You Think You Can Tell, Heaven From Butt

The final five on Rockstar are seriously incredible. I loved this show last year, I love virtually every reality show, but seriously, this is off the hook. Every performance last night was good and there were 5 rock songs I would love to have in full studio form. Last year I don’t think anything besides Marty Casey’s “Trees” fell into that category. Even though the show continues to bash Dilana like she dissed the new Macintosh operating system and is exposing her terrible songwriting, I thought she kinda rocked. It wasn’t as good as Storm’s original, but that’s like comparing a quality glass of iced tea to a DVD copy of The Cutting Edge where all the scenes featuring “TOE PICK” repeat like 3 times before moving on. That’s what I thought.

I am almost sad to see the end of this summer season, since CBS’ reality contributions have been superb. It was sad to see Dr. Will go, but even beyond the brilliance of Chill Town and Janelle (among others of course) the doohickeys and plot gadgets have ruled, capped off by the brilliance of Big Brother Fast Forward. I no longer get to have my favorite two competitors in the finals, but mebbe Janelle can still pull out a win. Its great to have the early birds at Fox pumping out some quality television as well, but Bones just isn’t at Rockstar levels.

I haven’t mentioned anything really about Philly and a blow by blow breakdown of three full days that were now almost two weeks ago seems not too entertaining. But at least deserving of some mention:

--the city is incredible, the architecture alone blew my mind. Not only the legitimately historical architecture, but the seeming commitment to large scale public art really makes a difference. Maybe this is a really trite observation, I have no idea. I am certain that I could live in this town, if for no other reason than its aesthetics line up pretty well with my own and its neat to read historical markers every couple blocks.

--I only had time for two cheesesteaks, but both were awesome. Hit up Campo’s on Friday night, which was tasty but not really the atmosphere or setting I associate with this style of eatery. Saturday afternoon we made it to Jim’s, listed by most as among the big three joints in the city. We got there around 5 and the line was out the door by about 40 feet. By the time we had our sandwiches and got out the door it was maybe twice that long. We waited maybe 40-45 minutes for something that was being produced at a rate of around 1 per 30 seconds and it was worth moment. Not only was it without question the best cheesesteak I have ever eaten, it was one of the best sandwiches period. It was Katie’s birthday weekend and since she is not really the world’s biggest cheesesteak fan I couldn’t justify not doing one of the things she had so meticulously planned to make a run to whichever of Pat’s/Geno’s isn’t run by racist fuckheads. Next time.

--The Philly Zoo was a high quality institution in addition to being the oldest zoo in America. The new big cat joint was hidef. The mountain lions, who I didn’t know were capable of such a thing, stole the show. All three of them were running around, play fighting, jumping off trees and through tires, smacking each other around. Best mountain lions evar, even if they have officially been classified as pumas.

In a sad Rockstar note, as I was typing this, Storm Large was sent home. Downside: no more incredible Sorm Large originals like last night. Upside: hopefully returning full access to her website.

I have at least one more significant comment about Philadelphia, but it is like whole entry significance, so it will wait. Hippo, on the other hand, cannot wait to have me wave this feather on a long stick around the living room.



Thursday, August 31, 2006

Times Have Changed and Times are Strange, Here I Come, But I Ain't the Same, Mamma I'm Coming Butt

I will try to update more seriously from the airport tomorrow, since I believe at least the ROC has free wifi. Until then, I just had to jump in to shout a public Happy Birthday to Katie. We’ve had a binge week or so of eating, shopping, spending, and general craziness. The Katie Birthday Extravaganza, if you have never experienced it, is really something to behold. It’s not low on calories and it’s not cheap, but you usually have coupons and it’s always been thoroughly researched. Ninety nine times out of 100 it will be cooler than you thought it was, whether you were skeptical or psyched.

Seriously, Katie’s Birthday (Birthday Weekend/Week/Month/evs) is probably my favorite time of the year. We do it better and better every time. Hell, even if we spend gangbusters for another week, we can’t spend as much this year as we did in 2k5. I have some things to say about Philly, cuz besides Donovan McNabb that is an awesome city. We ate well, we saw some beautiful stuff, we seriously relaxed.

Hippo missed us a lot, but she is so excited for Katie’s Birthday that she is still purring with contentment. I’ll be on my way to Minneapolis in the morning. Midwest homecoming.



Thursday, August 24, 2006

And A Fat Ass J, of Some Bubonic Chronic That Made Me Choke, Shit This Ain't No Butt

Don’t have a lot to say at the moment, but we are goin to Philly tomorrow, so I thought at least briefness was in order. Especially since we had an incredibly productive day, worked out, got stuff done at the ROC, and I believe I finished the entire first draft of the dissertation. Its obviously not done, but at least a version of it is written. Of course that meant I didn’t finish until 7:15, and it was sort of too late to start grilling, since dinner would have been at least 1:45 away and neither of us could last. That’s unfortunate for healthy food, but meant that we got Domino’s thin crust pizza and some brand spankin’ new Brownie Bites. My official review: pwnz.

Pretty awesome week for reality TV. It sucked for Howie, but at least he was entertaining on his way down. Janelle played well, got rid of James McFuckhead and set up a decent chance for the eviction of Danielle. Patrice rightfully bit it on RockStar and I believe that Katie and I were responsible for Storm staying out of the bottom three. They did decide to rename the Results Show the Screw Dilana Show, since the first half hour was just two reasons she was an ass. I mean, she dealt pretty well, and I understand that she is probably kind of an ass, but she freaking rawks.

This is literally the mildest August I have ever experienced. Admittedly, my August memories are tainted by years of two-a-days, but I characterize the month as generally equivalent to living inside a burning house made of blankets soaked in butt. The year I lived alone in Lockport I didn’t turn the a/c off until mid-September. This year, I bet we haven’t had it on more than 7 days. Its sunny but the highs are in the low 70s. Its outlandish and it rules.

I had something that I was totally gonna talk about for a couple paragraphs, but I lost somewhere between talking about it with Katie the other day. It was really good though, my take was like a warm Krispy Kreme donut, it was hot, but drew you in. It was sugary and delicious, but moltenly dangerous at the same time. Appreciate this analogy in its absence.

Katie and I did get into an argument today (about debate, no less, cuz we are some hardcore dorks) and it was one of these incredibly bizarre situations, which nearly never happens to us, where I was 100% absolutely freaking certain that I am right and Katie had the opposite opinion. There are lots of times where I express an opinion with some reduced level of certainty and Katie contradicts it. Very rarely though, do I believe something with a level of certainty that is simply unquestioned and find out that Katie does not. It could well be because I am an arrogant ass, but this comes as no surprise to anyone. That’s said, if the counterplan solves the link in its entirety, and the result of the permutation gets that solvency, then you vote aff. I mean, its not as obvious as the fact that running a counterplan concedes the harms.

I don’t know if anyone who didn’t debate reads my blog, but sorry. On a lighter note, I love the fact that Reese Witherspoon was in American Psycho. I want to go back and rewatch American Psycho like three times, imagining Reese as a different one of her three best roles:

1) June Carter (Walk the Line)—Rule number one, never propose to a woman on a bus. Rule number two, don’t kill her in a hypersexualized fashion.
2) Annette Hargrove (Cruel Intentions)—I don’t trust myself around you, Bateman
3) Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)—pink is the new stabbing prostitutes

Hippo is still too kittenishly innocent to enjoy Bret Easton Ellis, though she agrees that his specific strategy of revealing the violence of capitalist economics is engaging and productive. She is hella diplomatic on this question, refusing to put herself too far into the middle of intense debates between mainstream literary intellectuals. Classic persian kitty. I think she would like a kitty chow milkshake, so I’m gonna look into that.



Monday, August 21, 2006

Well I Guess It Would Be Nice, If I Could Touch Your Body, I Know Not Everybody, Has Got a Body Like Butt

It’s a bit rainy here in Rochester this afternoon. Or it was, when it was, you know, afternoon and raining and I was typing originally. Now its night and while perhaps still rain-y, not rain-ing. Immediately after I typed that first sentence Katie decided that a shopping trip had to begin and it had to be followed up by dinner at the Macaroni Grill. I only technically objected to one part of that sequence, but it went surprisingly painlessly. Had a pretty decent beef and arugala salad for dinner, a somewhat surprising choice for me, but tasty. We only had one crayon at the table, which is weak for the Mac Grill, but thankfully our food was ready very quickly and it was irrelevant.

Watching Tiger now, brwnzing and pwnzinig his way through the PGA. I guess that indicates yet another gap in the time between writing and posting. I could attempt to develop this singular post over a period of like 5 days, but that seems excessive.  Also, it seems lame—maybe a tad penis-like. I’ve been watching the Yankees and Red Sox a little bit this weekend, in addition to the golf, to get my sports watching back in tune for football season. It’s not like it really takes a lot of preparation for me to watch the NFL, but I suppose it helps me deal with commercials if nothing else. Live TV is such a bizarre concept.

Why, on the PGA Scoreboard, do they show the flags indicating country of origin for each of the players? That seems like something that is not at all relevant, seeing as how the players are not representing their country in any specific sense. It is not an international competition of any sort, so they might as well just display a picture of their favorite food or something.(“Ernie Ells, stepping up to the tee. He’s 3 under on the day, native of South Africa and he really enjoys banana splits.”) I just wonder if there was any discussion about displaying that information on the broadcast or if some assistant director just carried over the Olympic formatting without consultation.

I hadn’t been watching a lot of Showtime recently, but that has changed this week. On the obvi-hand, Weeds has returned, bringing another 12 or so weeks of Mary Louise Parker deliciosity and Kevin Nealon-ish hilarity. On the less obvi, is the new series Brotherhood. I really only began it tonight, as Katie and I taped the pilot yesterday. We are gonna catch up with the first 6 episodes on demand. It’s an Irish Sopranos so far, but that sounds like a winning formula by all accounts. Hippo, though she is only honorarily Irish, agrees, at least so far. She is meowing for a classic HiDef episode of Life on a Stick, so I must oblige.



Friday, August 11, 2006

Life is a Mystery, Everyone Must Stand Alone, I Hear You Call My Name, and It Feels Like Butt

Ah, sitting down and watching my first hi-def NFL game of the season. Its preseason jobviously, but it still feels good. I am pissed that Fox is being an ass about this whole thing, and hopefully they will figure out their HD nonsense before the season is fully underway. Until that point, I will just watch the AFC a little more ardently than usual I guess. Packers play for the first time manana, but I won’t get to see what happens. Have to start reading my Packers blogs again I guess.

I’ve had some strong feelings about reality shows this week. It kicked off with Janelle winning the power of veto in a great competition that really made me pleased with the state of the game. I love Kaysar and am seriously pissed that he is gone, but it was inevitable I guess. They could always redo America’s Choice and end up making Kaysar the only person to ever get evicted 4 times. I think James has made a mistake, summarized best by Boogie’s admission that you need to be careful when you align with the villains.

RockStar went fairly well, sending home Josh (who sounded like Kermit the Frog and looks far more like a Maroon 5 cover band then a rock singer) and Jill, who in my mind is consistently terrible. My top three remain, without question, Dilana, Storm Large, and Lukas. I can’t deny that Magni is hella talented, but I’m a bit scared he will turn into this year’s J.D. Fortune. Certainly he’ll be cooler than J.D.

Project Runway went alright, Michael won the contest he deserved to win. More importantly Heidi for some reason decided that to mix it up, they would make the contest for the models resemble pull tabs more than, let’s say, a modeling competition. I like the “models choose designers” twist, but have some foresight huh.

Then we had Last Comic Standing, where Josh Blue won the contest that has really been his to lose from the beginning. To some extent I think Josh deserved to win, he really is a funny dude, though I think he sometimes suffers from Dat Phan syndrome—that is, taking a singular trait and making it the only punch line you have. Let me say again, I think Josh Blue is a far far superior comic to Dat Phan (they even performed on the same show and Dat Phan continued his unending streak of not making me laugh) but I’m scared about the prospect of a 1 hour Josh Blue special. For me personally, Ty Barnett was a superior comic.

Katie and I have talked a lot about a phenomenon that seems to underlie a lot of really popular comedy, the idea that it gives mainstream society the opportunity to laugh at characteristics they usually are not allowed to. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, for instance, was obviously funny, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it was so enormously popular because it was an outlet for ethnic jokes that remained “non-racist” since they concerned white people. Dat Phan is an obvious example, since his bit is pretty much just repeating stereotypes about Vietnamese and Southeast Asian people in general. There are some things that can moderate this, making fun of rather than supporting those stereotypes, let’s say, or the fact that someone is doing this self-consciously to make money. I’m not sure I think the latter is a good idea or politically acceptable, but it’s not really my place to decide, so I will leave it at that.

I talk about this more cuz I heard an interesting interview on the Al Franken show this afternoon with Juan Williams. This interview was interesting not only because it mentioned his son Toni, who I knew fairly well at Macalester, but also because there was a large discussion about Dave Chappelle. I read some of the material that came out when Chappelle took off and abandoned the show and it was really interesting to me. I support the guy—I would imagine he must have felt pretty significantly terrible to give up that kind of money—even though I wish I had more episodes of his show to watch. From what I understand, Chappelle began to wonder (I’m not sure how conclusive he was on this point, if he thought the show was moving towards this, or had reached it, or had been doing it from the start) if he was no longer satirizing stereotypes, but instead just reinforcing them. Juan Williams, whom I usually have agreed with, suggested that he was not satirizing them, going so far as to literally call Chappelle’s Show a “modern minstrel show.”

I am sure that there are people who took his comedy in the wrong way, that’s sort of inevitable. Even the “pixie sketch,” which has been so controversial, in my mind, was pretty explicitly mocking racial stereotypes (you can watch it on comedy central’s website, though I can’t link it). Isn’t the point, in virtually every one of Chappelle’s sketches, recognition of the gap between stereotype and reality or the lack thereof. The pixies sketch, for instance, is funny because of the way it relates actions that have nothing to do with race (if you want chicken or fish for dinner) to traditionally racist ideas (black people love fried chicken). I am not criticizing Chappelle for this, cuz I don’t know nearly enough about his situation, but I feel like Williams’ position at least is sort of giving up humor as a political strategy. Race, gender, class, etc. at that point are reduced to only negative categories, that is, they can only be used to hurt people. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad uses or instances of humor, but those occur regardless of positive political strategies to counter them.

Anyway, Hippo has not had the opportunity to see the Rick James episode of Chappelle’s Show, one of the all time classics of sketch comedy in my mind. She may end up preferring to watch something more up Katie’s alley, but regardless.



Sunday, August 06, 2006

Out Here in the Fields, I Fight For My Butt

After my last entry I was under the impression that I had cooled down from Dana’s being booted from RockStar. As I watch a tivoed rerun of CSI: NY and hear the Who’s “Baba O’Reilly,” the last song she performed on the show, I can say in retrospect that I was wrong.

I didn’t realize that I was wrong until we were driving home from an exorbitantly expensive Target run on Thursday evening. I quickly realized that the tire was flat and, after attempting to re-inflate it at the nearest gas station, was in fact punctured on the side. It was a pretty significant hole and apparently unpatchable. Thanks only to the fact that d00d at the gas station had a hydraulic jack, I was able to get the tire changed in time to get home and tape Big Brother: All Stars. I realized, as I prepared to throw a tire iron through the nearest possible window, that things had been building since Dana’s booting and I was furious. I usually deal with my anger by screaming obscenities at no one in particular and hopefully destroying something unimportant and nearby.

It was all very Josh in “Noel,” in a way, since I had no reason to believe that this was still explicitly an issue. Literally, as I was swearing and going through the process of preparing to change the tire I could hear Dana’s voice repeating Who lyrics. Kinda insane. Thankfully, the rest of the night was relaxing with a big ass casual Italian restaurant dinner, some cheap Pinot Noir, and high def reality TV in an over air conditioned house.

I went to see the Bills practice yesterday at St. John Fisher, about 20 minutes from our place. I was there for a little over an hour: 10 minutes or so within about 10 feet of the linebackers, who were doing pretty basic positioning drills and stuff, but the closest group to the fence and probably the most interesting group of Bills players anyway. London Fletcher-Baker and Takeo Spikes were right there and both pretty impressive looking guys. When they split up into line-work and 7-on-7 I went and watched the big guys. McCargo, the new d-tackle, looked pretty impressive, faster than I would have thought. It was incredible that they essentially have a brand new offensive line, I barely knew any of them and it was a little hard to say how they will look. I watched the scrimmage for a little while until I had to go. Holcomb and Losman appeared to be splitting the snaps pretty evenly; Craig Nall wasn’t wearing pads, but was tossing around on the sidelines. It’s pretty apparent that he has the best arm of the three, but shockingly, even less experience than J.P. Though I think he is the obvious choice for this season, since I just don’t believe Holcomb has the playoffs in his blood, I must admit his fundamentals are lacking, apparently even to me. Maybe it was just an off series. It’s pretty hard to tell I’m ready for football season, huh.

I think I am going to buy a bag of those googly eye stick on things and go into the grocery store at night. Then attach two of them to vegetables and fruits that are like one below the surface. Do you think someone would be freaked out when they pick up the top butternut squash and see the bottom one staring up at them? Maybe grapefruits are funnier.

I think I have mentioned the grocery combination fun game before, where you imagine lists of things that you could buy together at the grocery store that would cause the cashier/other customers to wonder (i.e. KY, a cucumber and adult diapers). I wonder if the same thing could be done at the dollar store, cuz that would be way more economical to actually execute. I tried to come up with something at the DSW yesterday, but no matter which pair of heels you buy, its hard to really get any more kinky than a mild foot fetish when you only have shoes at your disposal. You’d have to be a bit more imaginative at the Dollar Hut, but I’m sure that a pair of discount panties, a traffic cone, and 20 packs of generic minty chewing gum could strike some sort of chord. Even if no one gives you any looks at all, its only three bucks.

Hippo is currently making far more noise upstairs than is reasonable or prudent for a 6ish pound Persian cat, even one as adorable and fun loving as she. Hence I will answer her mews and bring a feather toy or two.



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Never Found the Words To Say, Youre The One I Think About Each Day, And No Matter Where Love Takes Me To, A Part of Me Will Always Be, With Butt

Fucking RockStar just jobbidied it hardcore. I mean, I understand that people don’t like Dana like I do, but come on. That is ridiculous. Patrice was boring, Jill is boring every week and Zayra is terrible/hideous/etc. to the nth degree. Seriously, if I didn’t like Dilana and Lukas so much, I would stop watching this show because of how bad this decision is. There has only been one 1.3-ish seasons of RockStar and there have been three (by my unofficial count) wretched elimination decisions. That isn’t explicitly meant to temper my enjoyment of the show, as mentioned only a few entries ago, but simply to question if the quality of the music and entertainment is not matched by the final judges. (By the time I finished typing this entry I had calmed down enough to realize that many of these statements aren’t really true, specifically the not watching RockStar part. Nonetheless, deleting them seems to overly moderate what was indeed a pretty serious anger, so far as I get seriously angry, so it stays.)

Another reality TV note comes from the world of So You Think You Can Dance, a show which I must say always turns out to be far more enjoyable than I would anticipate. Its certainly got some neat stuff, especially when the routines are trick filled and such. I still can’t take dancing seriously, but maybe that’s a character flaw on my part. Maybe it’s just some sort of fucked up family dynamic, since my uncle was a professional ballroom dancer for a while. I can’t think of a reason why his dancing would make me take it less seriously, since I always liked him, despite only seeing him once a year or so, significantly less since I entered high school. I could go off on other side notes regarding the fact that Eric took me to Hooters at the MOA when I was still in elementary school or that he drove a white convertible, liked to play with nunchuks and throwing stars and used some of the weakest old-person trying to sound hip insults even when he was like 20 years old. I think I always had the suspicion that he was not actually cool, despite believing as a 12 year old that he was, but that may be retrospection. Also to be noted, I have seen him I think for a grand total of 30 minutes in the past decade, so my evaluation, contemporary or not, of his relative level of cool should prolly be taken with several grains of very coarse salt. The point of this paragraph was So You Think You Can Dance, however, and my absolute favorite parts of the show are both near the beginning. Favorite part 1: introduction of the host, in this case, the perky blonde brit named Cat Deeley. Her name always makes me think of a brand of toy that hippo would enjoy, you know, playing with her cat dealey. Favorite part 2: Cat Deeley models Ryan Seacrest in introducing us every episode to “our judges.” Technically, she says “your judges,” but I figure you folks can make the transition in speakers pretty easily. Anyway, she says it the exact same way every week and it’s this hilarious but cute pronunciation that I can only describe as a combination of classic British accent, times nasally lisp, times Bill Cosby. That description does nothing, so just watch it and see how accurate it is.

Hippo got up from under Katie’s chair but appears playful, so I am going to divert my attention to her for a while. Her eyes widened (if that’s even possible) at the prospect of a feather on a stick.



Devil Inside-The Devil Inside-Every Single One of Us the Devil Inside Here Come the World With the Look In its Eye Future Uncertain But Certainly Butt

Meiches alerted me today to a very interesting article published by some crazy bastards over at Human Events. Just clicking that link probably made you shiver like the devil was gently fingering your butt in preparation for something that you suspect would be less than enjoyable, but as of yet, cannot be certain. Anyway, the website whose home page seems like it is desperately trying to convince people that there seriously are multiple attractive blonde female republicans, has decided to compile a list of what they call the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Century.

In the first place, what the hell nonsense allowed you to group the 19th and 20th centuries together randomly. If you just wanted to make sure that you got Marx and Hitler in the same list I suppose you succeeded, but why the random time selection? Is it like people who just really like to play suited connectors so they just chose the most recent consecutive centuries. I think my next move will be to make a list of the top 10 websites of 2005 and 1895.

Beyond that, who gave you the fucking right to label books as harmful. I hate to sound like NRA propaganda, especially in regard to this group, but I’m pretty sure the books were not the ones inflicting the harm. Thankfully, there is a pretty significant difference between the exchange of intellectual material and freaking firearms, so while Mein Kampf prolly didn’t kill anyone I’m willing to bet that AK-47s have. I agree that there are a lot of stupid/problematic/bigoted ideas that have been written down and published over the years and a lot of things that I have read which I fervently disagree with. The freedom to engage in these debates is fundamentally relevant, not only to democracy, but to the maturation and development of these ideas themselves. I seriously thought that the embracing banned books movement had gotten rid of this shit, but apparently we can pretty clearly identify the dangerous material, all we have to do is survey some conservative PoliSci profs and think tank directors.

The Communist Manifesto at number one is a pretty obvious choice, probably so when arguing with liberal/reasonable/intelligent people, the backers of the list get to trot out the “Communism killed more people than fascism, genocide, etc.” bit. I’m not even going to go into it for the moment, but have you fuckers even read Captial? That book is about 99% a description of capitalist economics and in the area of 1% proscriptive as to the course that economy will take. What exactly is dangerous about explaining commodity fetishism? Any explanation as to why the distinction between use and exchange value contributed to the gulag? I suppose its best explained by their shiningly accurate summary at the end of the blurb: “He could not have predicted 21st Century America: a free, affluent society based on capitalism and representative government that people the world over envy and seek to emulate.” Was that supposed to read “a free society for the affluent?” Do you think Hamas is more involved in the emulation or envy portion of that equation?

I suppose including Keynes on the list legitimates economics as more than just ideology for these folks. Possibly more interesting than the list itself are the items that didn’t quite make it. (That’s not to say that its not interesting to put the Kinsey report on this list). Maybe its just the cynic in me that thinks the ones that didn’t get quite enough votes were left off because they were trying to avoid its reading as a list of the “dangerous minorities” who at some point learned how to stick up for themselves in print. Fanon and de Beauvoir were a bit uppity I guess. I’m really sad that we didn’t get to hear why Darwin and Nader were so dangerous. I suppose it cost the lives of all those converted fundamentalist Christians who went to search for the missing link and the jobs of the Corvair designers.

I know that wasn’t particularly heavy on anecdotes or the word “hella.” Hippo thinks its even funnier that Madness and Civilization made the list, since it’s a pretty accurate description of the normalization process going on in this article. She adds, “purr.”



Monday, July 31, 2006

I'll Give You Candy, Give You Diamonds, Give You Pills, Give You Anything You Want, Hundred Dollar Butt

Had a big shopping weekend, we did. The highlights included a washer/dryer, which Katie found on craigslist and trips to two malls in two days. Things we did not buy, but probably should have, included a really really adorable black female pug puppy. We played with her at the pet store for a while on our way to mall number two. Mall number two is not that terrible, considering what I expected at least, and actually had a Dippin Dots franchise. And though the chick being on break prevented me from enjoying the ice cream of the future, it was heartening for future journeys. Katie got the awesome t-shirt below from Victoria’s Secret and if you are at that particular store, I suggest picking one up. That said, I have no idea what it means:

We also got some social time in, hanging with Ken and Anna at their place as well as with Ken for a little while after the somewhat harrowing washer and dryer delivery. I had never picked up a washing machine and though I assumed that they would indeed be heavy, I was not aware that they contained a cinder block of sorts for ballast purposes. We now own appliances, which seems bizarre to me, but also reassuring, assuming that they do in fact work with our set up.

I am making the same grilled pears tonight that I made for the first official dinner hosted by me on Elmwood Terrace, seeing as how Katie did not get to partake. I seriously intend to tweak them with a lighter sauce, but for tonight she gets the full Nutella inspired effect.

On Thursday and Friday the only thing I ate which was not a hamburger or french fries was movie theater popcorn. The clock appears to have stopped at 2:36 last night, I must wind it. I have never seen the episode of CSI which is currently on my TiVo. There was a woodchuck in my backyard this afternoon and it lead me to read the Wikipedia entry on woodchucks. I was unaware that woodchucks were groundhogs, I thought those were distinct rodent creatures. Whistle pig, however, should only refer to bacon wrapped hot dogs.

RockStar: Supernova is off with a bang. There isn’t anyone I love like Jordis Unga, but Lukas, Dilana, and Storm Large are all pretty incredible. I am not fully into the multitude of talent shows that are choking summer primetime, but I understand the networks motivation for doing them. I have seen Master of Champions once or twice, about the same for America’s Got Talent, but have not yet bothered with The One. American Idol is an incredible talent show, but its arguably just as much about the format and personalities. Regis, Hasselhoff, and Brandy don’t have the charisma to pull it off. One other television sidenote, I am so glad that I get the opportunity to watch Dr. Will play the Big Brother game. I still have not decided if I like him or not, but he executes a level of reality game play that I don’t know anyone has ever pulled off this well. I guess there are some comparisons to Rick Hatch, but as smooth as he was in evading his taxes, he doesn’t have that semi-gloss sheen that’s on Chill Town. Janelle and James might be as good in many senses, but they certainly aren’t as flashy.
Hippo is busy trying to take down a moth which she has not yet discovered to be outside of the glass patio door, so she cannot officially add a comment to this entry besides her typically adorable “mew.”



Saturday, July 29, 2006

I Did Your Partner Cuz She's Hot as a Baker, Cuz I'm Naughty By Nature, Not Cuz I Hate Butt

Just got back from Vermont this evening after picking up Katie yesterday. A couple random things both from the trip and elsewhere:

--we went to Chili’s, cuz Katie wanted something random and chain-like and that was the best option. They had this build your own burger thing going on and they gave you a little pad so you could check each of the toppings that you were interested in. Like, I checked how I want my burger done, my pepper-jack cheese, fried onions, etc. I checked the bacon add-on, of course, but my burger arrived totally sans-bacon. I wasn’t gonna flip about it or anything, but I fucking WROTE IT DOWN FOR YOU. There is no risk of it getting lost in translation, we have a written record of what I ordered direct from me and you still bonered it. I couldn’t get mad at the waitress, cuz it must have been the cook’s fault, unless they have some incredibly ass-stupid policy where the waitperson translates it into some other language for the cook rather than just giving them the note thing. Regardless, it was Chili’s so, yeah.

--our clock chimes every 15 minutes, in very old school grandfather clock style, and has different length chimes based on what percentage of the hour has expired. For some reason, the 45 minute chime makes me sad. Maybe it’s that it goes down on the last note. It wouldn’t sound right if it went up or anything. Maybe it’s the plight of quarter-till or something that I sympathize with.

--the city of Burlington has some great things. The lake is beautiful, some of the best corn chowder I’ve ever enjoyed and all the puppies on Church Street make it easy to ignore the more obnoxious folk. Two things piss me off: 1) air conditioning, seriously. I get that most college dorms aren’t ac compliant yet, but classroom buildings? Restaurants? 2) How does a state with a population only moderately bigger than Wyoming jam every street so it takes multiple iterations to get through a single traffic light from like 3-7 every afternoon? What is it like when school is in session? Sidenote: if you live in Vermont and were driving a purplish-blue Honda CRV down 22 earlier at approximately 15 miles below the speed limit today, I hate you.

--We went to go see a movie and when Katie did not want to sit through three hours of Cap’n Jack Sparrow, we both exclaimed for joy at the thought of watching the marquee advertised John Tucker Must Die! Damn theater apparently just updates their marquee early, cuz of course, that movie didn’t debut until today. Totally weak to update the marquee before the last show of the night has started.

--Instead we saw The Devil Wears Prada. Surprisingly good, on the advice of Katie (who had already seen it) and Pete. I really enjoyed the bits where they put Ms. I-Rubbed-Ice-Cream-on-Mandy-Moore’s-Breasts in her place about fashion and I’m pretty sure I will be referencing it in a number of my capitalism overviews this fall. It would have been a truly great movie if it would have ended about 5 minutes early, the moment Miranda leaves the car to be specific. Still, very good.

--Hippo is very very happy to have her Katie home. She tells me that I am purrtastic to hang out with, but there is no way to replicate Katie’s lap as she checks her email. Now we can go back to the routine of Hippo working with me during the middle of the day and book-ending on the middle of the couch.



Sunday, July 23, 2006

There's a Whole Floor Before Us, Just For You and Me, So Follow Me Lead and We'll One, Two, Three, Pull Butt

Though I must admit I originally stole it from Hatesexy and that Pete blogged about it before I, but nonetheless, The Pipettes rule. I remain obsessed with this song and cannot figure out why Katie hasn’t become instantly appreciative. I would strongly join in the Teen Tycoon of Rawk in suggesting that you would like to hear them too.

I have noticed, while sitting here, that there is a woodpecker just outside my comfortable well set up living room. I am both amazed by how much like a woodpecker on television this particular woodpecker sounds, and how much I would say that the sound is more accurately bonking then pecking. I wonder if there was some odd prejudice involved in naming them woodpeckers rather than woodbonkers. Is the phrase “woodbonkers bonkin on some wood” more suggestive than “woodpeckers peckin on some wood?” I genuinely have no answer to this question.

HDNet, which Time Warner has only recently successfully achieved for my particular cable box, apparently shows single episodes of random Fox sitcoms that were canceled in a season or so. I am currently enjoying the food court related mischief of Life on a Stick and am really excited about the prospect of A Minute With Stan Hooper later today. Television has been rolling pretty well, even  through the summer. The cable system here is just under infinitely better than what we had in Lockport, even though it is still lacking Fox in HD, a tragedy on which I will save my commentary. RockStar is good, but still warming up. There is no one who strikes me like Jordis did, but certainly some rawking to be had. I wish whiny Diane would have bit it over Nokomis, but it was inevitable I suppose.

I was going to start this paragraph by describing what was on my TV at this particular moment, but the phrase “I cannot help but think, as I stretch on my lovely green sectional couch, watching Jason Lee fellate a stuffed falcon…” simply seems more fit for the opening of a chapter in my upcoming fictional work “Woodbonkers of the Parallelogram.”

Katie has been gone for a full week and Hippo has had about enough of that, I believe. She does appreciate getting half the bed to herself if she wants to nap while I am asleep, but in all honesty I think she finds sleeping on Katie altogether more enjoyable. As she was watching the birdies through the screen door yesterday she was explaining to me her theory regarding catnip and Henry Kissinger, but I cannot possibly reiterate it.



Wednesday, July 12, 2006

She's a Lady, Whoa Whoa Whoa, She's a Lady, Talkin About That Little Lady, and the Lady is Butt

Currently in the car on the way to Nebraska. I have listened to far too much music that is either really depressing, really too James Taylory, or really too country. I had prepared for the fact that my musical tastes are the drastic outliers in this situation, but there is about 2% overlap at best, between the shit I can even moderately enjoy and what is being played. I have played a couple games of FIFA and in the looking forward to the Sonic experience was distracted. Now we have the crazy ass drive to nowhere, that is West of Des Moines, which I don’t think becomes interesting again until Denver, at the very least.

Sonic was rawking as per usual, the SuperSonic jalapeno cheeseburger and the coconut cream pie shake especially notable today. Afterwards I just couldn’t handle the Tracy Chapman so I have switched to brief blogging.

Obviously that was about a week ago. We are in Rochester now, set up for the most part, and rocking pretty hard. We have what must be the greatest couch in the history of the universe and as of today, an actual functioning wireless connection. In that vein I extend my apologies to Shankar, whose network we have been slowing down since our arrival.

Just as we are beginning to get back into the routine of TV watching, laptop usage, and rolling with the homies, Katie has to prepare to depart for Vermont. Because of general ineptitude on the part of certain people, she is only going to be gone from Hippo and I for two weeks, which, while sad for her experiences and our finances, certainly carries with it a way more rawking return date of like July 29th.  I suppose that’s two weeks that I can get a lot of TV catching up done and get re-crack-a-lackin on the old dissertation (which has been too neglected too long). I also would really like to start writing some less formal pieces to send to e journals and the like, which I don’t have any rationale for besides vita-boosting I suppose.

Our townhouse/apartment is pretty awesome, I must say, despite not being fully set up. We now have a dining room table and chairs, almost all of our stuff on the premises and lighting available for most tasks one would perform at home. There are other things which I will leave it up to Katie to describe, specifically all the textiles we purchased for somewhat ridiculous sums.

We’ve spent two great nights here with our friend/boss Ken and his girlfriend Anna, who recently bought a house on the Genesee River about 10 minutes from here. The house is pretty cool but the backyard is incredible. Literally, ON the river, with a great porch and a nice landing to sit on, fish, or light a campfire. I have a great fondness for campfires from my mid-late college days at my rents place on Cobbler Avenue. There is really no better way to spend an evening outdoors. Two hilarious things about this: 1) Everywhere besides Minnesota, for all practical purposes, does not have mosquitoes. I have never really been a target of the skeeters in the first place, but near a lake around twilight in the summer, even I get sick of it. Katie will get mad saying that I am trivializing her bug bites, but you could walk around a swamp naked covered in pigs’ blood and get bitten less here than you would in a full snow suit in the Boundary Waters. 2) These people down the street from Ken have a pig. I mean like a full big old hawg. There was some debate about its potential pot-belliedness, but I believe that debate is settled. This is the type of pig which is one wrong turn into the driveway away from being slow smoked over mesquite coals.

Hippo has had a great number of adventures recently, but she is far too tired to relay them now. She merely adds a sleepy meow and returns to her rest.



Friday, June 30, 2006

I Need You, More Than Anyone Darlin, You Know that I have From the Start, So Build Me Up, Buttercup, Don't Break My Butt

I lied about the possibility of an increasing frequency to the whole posting on the blog thing.  I could say that I have been busy, and this is true. I have been cutting cards, assembling my own cards, and generally debate-camping my way to fame and fortune. I recognize that this isn’t the DDI, but I am pretty impressed with the increase in quality that has occurred in most of these kids. We’ve put out some good files and had a hella lot of practice debates, drills, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that a couple of these teams will be elite squads if they decide to stick with it, cuz they are all smart and most of them are wickedly determined. On the final day of the institute, I am somewhat unsure about only the decision to have a tournament with wins and losses, since after two weeks (a long time for a group mostly composed of sophomores and first years), hearing that you lost a debate on an argument you worked to develop for a week seems to be somewhat devastating. I don’t really understand that mentality, but I can imagine that it would not be the best way to spend a Friday in the summer.

Katie and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary this previous Monday. We stayed that night at the Minneapolis Hilton, at least a small step up from 312 Sorin Hall. More important than that, we had dinner at fucking Manny’s. I know that there are those who do not consider Manny’s the best steakhouse/restaurant/place in Minnesota/the world. This is in no way to diss those people or the Silver Butter knife Steak. In my mind, however, there isn’t really anything you can do to get better than this joint. I recognize that in many ways the place is exactly geared to the things I value. The d├ęcor is classy but not fussy, dark woods, clean lines, aprons and jackets on the waiters. The place is comfortable, always busy but rarely so jacked that you feel hot or out of place. The menu cart is so awesome, the fact that each of the servers get to do their own bit is brilliant, and that doesn’t even get to the generally impressive hugeness. I have never gotten to enjoy either the double-porter or the $125 Australian lobster tail, but someday they will make the ultimate surf and turf.

I didn’t even mention that we were dining virtually free on a gift from Kari and Karly, which got us each a couple glasses of wine, a very very rare porterhouse for me, a nearly charred (but still delicious) baseball steak for Katie, an order of the world’s best hashed browns, and some legitimately enormous asparagus. If there were downsides to eating at Manny’s (and I’m not so much saying there are) there would be two that are possible: 1) The rest of the world just seems like someone turned the volume down. Food pretty much seems like gruel for the next week, cuz how do you match that up. 2) Its hard to eat dessert. I pretty much eat steak, potatoes, and vegetables until I no longer feel physically capable of doing so. Its usually shortly after that point that your snappy looking wait-person comes around to offer you the enormous brownie sundae, the ricockulously large slab of cheesecake, etc. etc. This is a tough position, because while you are hella certain that you should not follow up a steak as large as what you just ate with a brownie as large as what you see on the next table, you are also hella certain that the brownie on the next table is ex-fucking-actly what you need to follow up the steak with. So you can either overeat a second time in the course of one meal or refuse one of the best desserts you are likely to see for a while. We got out of this dilemma with a delightful surprise, that being Manny’s providing us with complimentary dessert for our anniversary. I guess I had mentioned that it was, in fact, our anniversary when I made the reservation, but it really did surprise me when they did so. I had never had this particular dessert before, but it pwnd Manny’s style: it was a brownie, topped with a thick layer of chocolate mousse, topped with a thick layer of whipped cream, which was then dumped upon by a classic gravy boat full of hot fudge. The crazy thing was that, enormous as it was, it was still small by Manny’s standards. We managed to put the whole thing down, though I like to think I was responsible for about 90% of that. Brownie French silk pie: ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Manny’s and the Minnesota State Fair are pretty much my two favorite places and this meal pretty much put any hierarchy (which would have previously had the fair strongly in the lead) in question. More importantly, of course, was that I got to spend a wonderful 24 hours with Katie. She got me an incredible tapestry like woven thing which features both a bunch of really cool colors and textures, as well as kitty cats. Considering we have like 25 times as much wall space in our new place as we do now, having some things to hang there would be hawt. We got to watch some TV that wasn’t just recorded World Cup games (not that there is anything wrong with that) and enjoy some wedding cake redux, courtesy of Wuollet’s.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with Hippo the next day, cuz she wanted to say congratulations and all, but we didn’t get to hang out long. She sent me an email yesterday, meowing about how she missed us. She is really ready to go back to New York, but likes having the stairs to race up and down—little does she know….