Saturday, December 24, 2005

Nuggets of Distinction

  • I just saw James Spader. Huh.
  • Why SF is better than Stockton: playing liar's dice with Mark, the best bartender in San Francisco, in Chinatown at 2am, with zero customers other than me & DS.
  • Nice tune (someday I may get around to posting mp3s): Broadcast's "Unchanging Window."
  • Last post for a while; the Special Lady is flying out & we'll be ca-roozin' up or down the coast for a week. Oh, maybe I'll get a few more in before then. Peace on Mars; good will to monkeys.

The Road to 4-12, Week 16

Bye bye, love
Bye bye, happiness
Bye bye, Reggie Bush
I think I'm going to cry

Friday, December 23, 2005

East Coast, West Coast: we're all in the same gang

The great San Francisco v. New York debates have disappeared, mainly because they were boring, but also because most of my friends have shed their regional pride and lived in other cities for several years now. You can only generate so much wind with burritos & coffee & weather vs. nightlife & public transportation & pastrami.

All that said, tromping around the Mission last night & today provoked some thoughts, and now you're going to have to hear them. First of all, San Franciscans get just as apoplectic in traffic as New Yorkers. Just as rude, just as violent. But for different reasons. New Yorkers cut people off, and then the victim goes apeshit [footnote 1]. Here, two people aggressively motion for the other to go first, meanwhile mumbling to themselves, "Just go, motherfucker. Go. Idiot. Go." And then they scream, and motion, and eventually fistfight. Also: bicyclists do the old slam-on-the-hood thing much more here; there's more self-righteousness.

Hipsters: Williamsburg/Fort Greene/etc. hipsters are the peacocks, the poppinjays of hipsters, and therefore the most annoying and false. You just know they'd be wearing Banana Republic in Tampa. SF hipsters are more like cormorants. I'm not sure what that means, but it seemed to make sense to me last night.

Crazy people: wow. I'd forgotten just how many truly batshit crazy people there are in SF, the Mission in particular. I remember there was a guy here who painted his entire body red a few years ago, wandering around just being crazy. But just in the past coupla days I've interacted with some foax who are truly barking mad. Sure, NY is full of crazypantses. But as AH points out, crazy people from all over the world come to SF like moths to a flame; smartasses from all over the world converge in NY.

[1] You can go apeshit, you can be batshit insane, you can be happy as a pig in shit, you can talk horseshit or bullshit, you can be a chickenshit, etc. Cowshit curiously not applicable. Alert Safire.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

They tend to wiggle when they swim

I'm trying to start a National Conversation About Fish in this country; it's uphill hoeing. To spark some cracklin' dialogue about this elephant in the room, here are some possibly controversial propositions:

  • Fish are magical creatures that shimmer beneath the membrane of reality.
  • My staple dish, farfalle in a tuna/garlic/onion/tomato sauce, might cause pregnant women to have retarded babies, but there's no harm & no foul when I eat it, unless mercury is associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction.
  • One should catch & release using barbless hooks.
  • The Japanese art of Gyotaku, or fish prints, rocks the house.
  • The most exciting fish to catch is the striped bass, unless you're Ernest goddamned Hemingway and wrassle with tropical beaked fish in little chartered vessels operated by colored people while you swill Red Stripe and daydream of Joe DiMaggio.
  • One must gather up all the first graders and write "Trout Fishing In America" in chalk upon their backs.
  • If, as in Iceland, you must bury something before you eat it, better to just order Chinese takeout.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The amen corner

Really good post at Fitted Sweats. "Never mind that the shit Lovie is responsible for on a day to day basis already would blow my mind and make me crap my pants repeatedly, I'm gonna give him a paper route and a clipboard and a sack full of nickels. Lovie, you are in charge of these hams. Make sure they get to Toledo by Christmas morning and I will see that your wife can have that surgery she so desperately needs. Don't sass me."

This football season is testing my fandom. I don't think I've watched a game this year in which the team I'm rooting for has won. Brian Billick is winning tonight; 'nuff said. The Niners have to run the table to finish at 4-12. If they do, they can wave goodbye to Reggie Bush, but that's probably a good thing. Recreating some San Diego high school's QB-RB combo might be a nice idea, but it's not worth half the salary cap. God, watching Alex Smith yesterday was like trying to evaluate some supporting actor's performance in Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; when you're surrounded by shit, you'll smell too.

Grey ponytail update

Just a bit of closure regarding Saturday's horrible hippie cafe/bookstore experience: I was feeling kind of guilty for sipping a cup of coffee and squatting there all day. So I approached the owner of the place, who had a red bandana that partially hid the male pattern baldness on the obverse side of his grey ponytail. I asked him if he would mind my spending several hours there working. Of course, that was a stupid move: it was just a blatant attempt for me to ameliorate what was entirely unneccessary guilt.

He fixed me with a piercing gaze and said "Yeeeeahhh.... that's a really tough one. I don't want to put any guilt on you. That's not what I want this to be about. But you should really consider buying something more than your breakfast." Prick.

I needed to work there, since I was without transportation or alternative internet access, and I am by nature non-confrontational (read: pussy), so I looked over the crappy fiction section, sandwiched among rain sticks, worry dolls, self-help books, nonfiction about the ancient wisdom of brown people as interpreted by white people, and Putumayo CD sets. The most attractive of the meager lot was Kerouac's Dharma Bums, so there we go. But I may have to irradiate it to get rid of the taint.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

24 hours ago I was in New York City, sliding on my ass down the sleety sidewalks and awaiting the transit strike. Now, well... I kinda miss it.

To my left is a set of world music CDs in colorful display cases. To my right is a gentleman about to plunge murderously into his tempeh burger. Behind me are a series of nauseating self-help books with titles like "The Power Of Now" and "Start Where You Are" and "Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting." Grey ponytails abound, as do Trustafarians. The only fiction in the bookstore/cafe involves the names "Kingsolver" or "Lamott" or "Coelho." Earlier, I jest not, the weird bald guy sitting next to me was checking out some internet dating site on his laptop and simultaneously making some noises that implied (a) he was engaged in breathing exercises, or (b) he was having some diurnal emissions. The woman two tables in front of me has a coupla books she's preparing to take to checkout: "Cadillac Desert," the good enviro book, and "The Multi-Orgasmic Couple."

I'm at this particular place 'cause of the free interweb & all this work I gotta do. When I grew up here, I kind of blocked all of this stuff out. Little culture shock this morning. When I return in a few weeks, this site may undergo some changes. Is Hemp Chips & Pie taken yet?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell

It's interesting, no? The way people with poor social skills often gravitate toward teaching or child care? Here I must append an important caveat: by no means do I mean to imply that everyone, or even most... hold on, yes, I mean you, but especially your mother.

But of course the reasons for this are obvious. Unconditional adoration, at least when we're dealing with the real young'uns. I wanna be adored. And even if you don't get any adoration, there's a nice stupid little rush from standing up in front of a group pretending to be a font of wisdom.

It helps to blind oneself from reality, a technique that I can occasionally employ with surprisingly positive results. Like tonight. Reality: 50 bored & irritated grad students trying to pry a kernel of lucidity from the giant wad of incoherence spouting from their TA's jabbering maw. 50 angry and frustrated grad students stalking off to contact the university ombudsman to complain about the sinking level of pedagogy. Illusion: 50 adoring grad students marvelling at the wit, analytical rigor, and sartorial flair of their shockingly handsome TA.

Meanwhile: Milton Bradley to the A's. I like. I've always liked the guy, especially after he ripped off his Dodgers jersey in anger that one time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Son of a Nugget

  • Several people forwarded me Gothamist's map of the pan-Manhattan maple syrup smell. Being new to the blogo-world, I only realized recently that all right-thinking people despise Gothamist, but whatever. Nice maple syrup map.
  • One day I bitch about Steve Kline, the next day the Giants pick up Matt Morris. The uncritical fan in me likes this development. However, the always-perceptive McCovey Chronicles sez: "Wagering on Matt Morris to be worth $9M in 2008 is like betting on Howie Long to win a Tony that same year for starring in a Broadway adaptation of Firestorm."
  • Today's one of those everything-is-bleak days in the news: thousands of drunken whiteys clobbering Arabs in Australia, the state killing people in the US, secret laws (secret laws??) being invoked, and the 49ers deviating from their CC&P-ordained 4-12 trajectory. They're sinking fast, foax, and UC Davis is no longer a valid reference point. No, it's even worse: think Raiders.
  • Meanwhile, it's been ages since we've seen a show, and at least a week until we're likely to do so. Best city for the rock & roll on the planet, but lately, it's been nothing but statements of porpoise, a million deadlines, final exams, and procrastination with Google Earth. Seriously, that's the coolest thing ever invented.
  • The Year In My Lame Ideas, volume one: it's about time for the "vibration paradigm" to be supplanted for silent cell phone rings. I considered odor release, but finally settled on a little packet between cheek & gum that releases a flavor of your choosing when someone calls. Just set your phone to "flavor." You could have different flavors associated with different callers: anise for Sally, pork loin for Bob, whiskey for Mom. Insert increasingly crude series of jokes here.

Fever dreams

For a variety of reasons, I've flown quite a bit over the past few years. One maddeningly ubiquitous airline opiate is "Everybody Loves Raymond." I never spring for the headphones, more out of laziness than principle, but I end up staring at Ray Romano and his buddies anyway. I've never watched an episode of the sitcom (I promise I'm not feigning ignorance of popular culture to bolster my psuedo-intellectual cred-- "Who is this 'Harry Potter' of whom you speak? Was he a contemporary of Derrida?"), so I can't really infer any witty dialogue from the silent interactions of lovable familiars. No. I just stare at Raymond and his wife and his friends. And it's neither funny nor interesting. My memories of flight are conflated into a single, endless, three-camera inferno; it's like the kind of waking nightmare you experience when sick in bed for the day.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Maple Syrup Alert: Code Red

It's back. Washington Heights, at least, smells like maple syrup today. The Corn Chips & Pie Department of Neighborhood Security has moved the color-coded Maple Syrup Alert Level to red.

SS and I interviewed several people on the street today, who confirmed this. In fact, most people seem excited to share their thoughts and feelings on the matter. Some pointed fingers at Mike's Bagels. Others blamed the Washington Mutual home loan branch. Later, I spoke with a young woman who suspects treachery of some sort.

Everything Is Irritated

Everything these days seems like an obligation that I've failed to discharge. I feel them opportunity costs accumulatin' with every passsing moment. What have I failed to accomplish today? Even my Netflix queue is a source of insistent, chafing guilt. But today, today I dispensed with one red envelope staring at me obstinately from my desk. And I'm glad I did, Shaun Of The Dead. Hey, The Fog Of War, wait your goddamned turn. Wait for an empty evening when I feel like wallowing in moral outrage and geopolitical melancholy. And stop staring at me like that. It's been weeks and weeks.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tepid Stove

Free agents flying around like confetti. GMs legitimately dreaming of big arms, big bats, big moustaches. And the San Francisco Giants land.... Steve Kline. Basically, we're looking at the same lineup as last year, with Moises & Barry & Edgardo one year older, plus.... Steve Kline in the pen. Sabes, you're a genius.

Hey, did I mention the Warriors are 12-6?

Also, you know what's really good? Chevre. I could stuff my fat face with chevre all day long, and I wouldn't get tired. I fucking love chevre. Seriously, don't get me started on chevre, 'cause I'll talk your ear off. It's ok by me, chevre is. My hat is off to the Basque shepherds whose squinty gazes and sternly wielded staffs keep their goats in line, so that I may cram pounds of creamy chevre into my drooling gob. Let's all raise a toast to those part-time farmers who set up overpriced chevre tables at yuppie farmers' markets in the big city. Did I say overpriced? You can't put a price on chevre, asshole. I'm gonna buy fifty kilos of chevre and roll around in the stuff, coating my hair and body with deliciously pungent curd. I'm gonna cram fistfuls of chevre into every cranny & pigeonhole in the city, spreading goaty goodness from Staten Island to the Bronx.

This is what happens when you force yourself to post despite no ideas. I mean, chevre is ok, I guess. Whatever.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Remembering A Statesman

Some fantastic quotes from the WaPo story on Duke Cunningham, fallen member of Congress (more fallen members to come). So many possible jokes; I'm paralyzed. I feel like an ass caught between equidistant bales of hay.

"In one now-famous incident, Cunningham and Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) got in a shoving match over sending troops to Bosnia. Moran confronted Cunningham, triggering a partisan melee among other members -- and Cunningham fled. Moran found him crying in the cloakroom. "I thought he had been bullying too many people for too long, and I told him so," Moran recalled. "He said he didn't mean to be so accusatory. . . . After that, he would bring me candy from California.""

"In 1992, Cunningham suggested that the Democratic House leadership should be "lined up and shot." A few years later, a House debate over water pollution turned ugly when Cunningham said lawmakers backing a particular amendment were the same people who support "homos in the military." During remarks in his district in 1998 to a gathering of prostate cancer patients, Cunningham commiserated by describing a rectal procedure he had undergone as "just not natural, unless maybe you're Barney Frank.""

"On his first trip back to Vietnam, Cunningham sat down with Vietnamese officials for a formal dinner, and his first words of the evening were: "You gooks shot me down.""

The Road to 4-12, Week 12: What The World Is Waiting For

Parity is a funny thing. It doesn't mean, as I'd hoped, that the 49ers have a chance to win on any given Sunday. In practice, this is what it means: the teams that defeat the 49ers every Sunday are of similar skill levels, despite their records.

This is why the Niners played the Seahawks tight two weeks ago but resurrected Steve McNair's season last week. This is why it's becoming impossible to guess the margin of defeat: 2 points or 41? One has to wonder how badly USC or Texas would beat the Niners. For that matter, UC Davis matches up pretty well in some key positions. It'd be a dogfight.

Now that we're out in front of the Reggie Bush Derby, I should be content with merely sniffing the hind quarters of the bell curve. And I will be, once the season is over. But this week is my Super Bowl Sunday. This week is payback for the Thrilla In Distrito Federal. Arizona Cardinals versus the San Francisco 49ers: are you getting chills?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A world with no consequences

When push comes to shove, when it's time to get down to brass tacks, when it's crunch-time, go-time, showtime, when one must kick the tires and light the fires, when my offense is in the red zone, when it's time to step up, etcetera, I adopt a pleasingly familiar psychological avoidance technique. Namely: I waste time by imagining all the amusingly inappropriate ways I could behave. And so, instead of properly preparing myself for something important and impending, I giggle to myself, my wee head filled with juvenile nonsense.

Mind you, none of this is particularly funny. But it makes me giggle, so I offer it in the spirit of universal brotherhood. Job interview: I wear nothing but roast beef, squat in the corner, and take a crap. Then I rise and offer my hand, speaking in a crisp British accent. "Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." Speech in front of large audience: I carry a large box, and halfway through my speech, I open the box and release an swarm of angry bees. "Run! Bees!" I shriek. First date with woman: over dinner, I moan at the threshold of human hearing with my mouth closed. Etcetera.

This is on my mind because of these goddamned mutherfuking statements of porpoise I have to write for PhD program applications. There is nothing more odious, more pathetic, more hateful than a statement of purpose. And so instead of slogging through the process and regarding it as a necessary evil, engaging in the ritual self-aggrandizement and requisite false clarity, I instead imagine funny funny things I could write. Send help.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I remember seeing Beavis and Butthead marvel at this particular rock & roll video back in the day. My brother and I were similarly incredulous.

I hadn't thought of it in many years. I recently learned (by leafing through Stereogum's comments section) that it was Gary Young-- the Gary Young, the misfit hippie burnout behind the kit for Slanted & Enchanted and Pavement's early years.

Also, that's Thurston Moore in the tree costume.

Guess everyone knew this but me.

My own PhD application strategy: pretend I have nothing to do with this blog

Feel the pain.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

If I'm not having fun right now, you can't have any fun either

Presented without comment from this story. Also see this Dana Milbank column & try not to reach for the bourbon.

At another point in their news conference, Rumsfeld and Pace had an unusual exchange in which Rumsfeld corrected his senior military adviser, only to have Pace gently insist that it was the defense secretary who was wrong.
A reporter asked Pace what U.S. commanders in Iraq are supposed to do if they find Iraqi forces abusing prisoners. Pace replied that if inhumane treatment is observed it is a service member's duty to stop it.
"I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it — it's to report it," Rumsfeld said, turning to Pace.
Replied the general: "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it."

Monday, November 28, 2005


I'm busy to the point of flop-sweat panic at the moment, but there's plenty to keep you entertained tonight. Savor Duke Cunningham's fall. Savor Fitzgerald's further investigation of Rove. Savor Scanlon's flip. Savor the fact that 50% of the Republicans in Congress are tossing and turning at night, wondering if those free Wrestlemania tickets from Abramoff were really worth it. Mourn my dizzying fall from grace: I'm now 1-1 calling 49er games.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Royal "We", 5 Months; First Affectation to Walk on Moon

Corn Chips & Pie's royal "we" died peacefully in its sleep last night after a long illness. Survivors include "Preciousness" and "Using a Twopenny Word When a Halfpenny Word Would Do Just as Well." In lieu of flowers or donations, please observe twenty minutes of silence. Caution: accidental resurrection from time to time may occur.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Sue me Jack

Does being both secular and grateful make me a hypocrite? Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Mr. Geography Update

"Ok, my brother. The first country is Djibouti. The next country is Fiji. The last country is Togo."

Mr. Geography was indeed correct. These three countries are the only three in the world that share no letters with "mackerel."

Mr. Geography was excited to hear from me (it was mutual), and was even more excited to learn that I was calling from New York. A few months ago, he had sent a FedEx package to the White House that contained press clippings, a videotape of his appearances on television, and an apparently unsolicited application to be a "bridge from the Arab-Muslim world to the United States." He feels that he has been touched by God: "Knowledge is power, and I have this power. I have the whole world in my head. I want to help people and bring people closer together." Unfortunately, he received no response from the White House; even more unfortunately, some of the material he sent was irreplaceable. He was wondering how he might get his application back, given that they don't seem to be interested. I reluctantly warned him that the odds of getting his stuff back were vanishingly small.

I did promise to look for existing organizations that serve as cultural bridges, and to forward their info to him. The man would make a very interesting and committed cultural ambassador. Corn Chips & Pie will stay in contact with Mr. Geography. Readers who wish to contact him-- with advice or geography trivia questions-- are advised to contact our ombudsman.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Road to 4-12, Week 11

This feature is turning over a new leaf: no misty-eyed lamentations of receding glory days, no cheap jokes at the expense of a struggling team, no bashing of Mike Nolan. [Note: a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that two identical Google searches led readers here around the exact same time. The search phrase: "mike nolan is a fucking idiot". This was a few minutes after Nolan, after running Kevan Barlow up the gut for 1 yard every chance he got, decided to attempt a 52-yard field goal in the swirling winds of Soldier Field with time expiring before the half. This bold move resulted in the NFL's longest play in history: a 108-yard returned missed field goal for a touchdown. And it prompted two poor souls to scream into their search engines. Remind me to pursue a trend piece for the NYT Style section on Google as outlet for frustration.]

And thus I have nothing to write about.

Ha! A joke, merely. Actually, I've renooberated my expectations sufficiently to take pleasure in games like last Sunday's. The rookie left guard played well, Ken Dorsey threw well, Brandon Lloyd continued to make unbelievable catches, and the Niners found the endzone for the first time since Michael Scanlon ate for free at Signatures. And the San Francisco 49ers lost again, meaning that we are directly on course for a 4-12 season. Next week: "Broadway Corn Chips" guarantees a victory over the Titans despite the injury to Bryant Young.

Bumiller? I hardly know her

More disingenuous reporting from a usual suspect, Elisabeth Bumiller, at the NYT. "Cheney sees 'shameless' revisionism on war." Once again, she serves as an administration mouthpiece, with only limp caveats distinguishing her from the Platonic ideal of a water-carrier. Why does the Times suck so much compared to the Post these days? This is a prime example. While the Post (hardly free of problems) is doing some real journalism, the Times is regularly reducing the Iraq war fiasco to a "my word against his" story. At best, this false objectivity is criminally lazy & a disservice to journalism. Why not do some fact-checking and actual reporting, rather than simply parroting the daily assaults & responses of political gamers?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Great cabbies of Toronto, we salute you

The diversity of Toronto floored this ignoramus, who was apparently expecting a city composed entirely of pasty mopers and Vernon Wells. But oh no. Incredibly diverse, and the best cabbies too. We can't stop yakking with cabbies in any city, and Toronto gets an A+ in cabbie locquaciousness. Country of origin, in temporal order: Somalia, Ecuador, Pakistan, Iran, Kuwait, Jamaica, India.

Take this with a massive block of salt; we know this is probably entirely unrepresentative of the population & the generalizations herein are bullshit. But it makes a good anecdote. Within five minutes of conversation with cabbie #1, we'd already broached the topic of female circumcision/genital mutilation (depending on your viewpoint). Normally it takes thirty minutes and several rounds of Yukon Jack. Here was his take on the Somali male dating situation in Toronto: the men like to mess around for a few years, sampling the dating life. "We like to party and fuck, but we don't drink or do drugs. So the Caribbean women like us. Jamaican, Trinidadian, all that." Then, according to the cabbie, they return to the waiting arms of Somali women. He honestly seemed bothered by the notion that Somali women remained chaste while the men screwed around, regarding this inequality as an unfortunate cultural residue. This is the point at which female circumcision/genital mutilation ("35% of Somali women here," according to the cabbie) entered the conversation.

As soon as we entered cab #5, the driver posed a challenge: "I will ask you one question. If you can answer it, the ride is free." He then produced a business card, which features a photo of him next to a globe, and which reads:

Mr. Geography. "Ignorance is the biggest enemy." president of non-profit organization: Save the poor people of Mother Earth. Relieve poverty, provide clean drinking water. Fight Mosquitoes & Malaria. [phone number, mailing address]

We spent the next fifteen minutes firing geography trivia questions back and forth. He stumped us every time (perhaps not so hard), and nailed every question we fired his way... except one: the "mackerel" question. He was clearly excited and happy to be stumped, but insisted that this was technically a "language" question and not a "geography" question, so his undefeated streak of several years remains intact. We're supposed to call him tonight to see if he got it right by now.

Not that we question his authority. The guy is tops, and you've got to concede the validity of his quibble. He produced several laminated news articles featuring his profile (his civilian name is Mohammed Collins). We Googled him later and found this account of his glorious victory over a Canadian Geographic Society team in a quiz.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I don't want to go to Toronto

But I must, I must. Did you know that faceless children carry black balloons around Toronto?
Blogging will resume at normal levels next week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

No fundament ungingered

A coupla notes before a minor road trip tears me away from the computamer:

Sticking with a lie to the bitter end, despite overwhelming and possibly humiliating evidence to the contrary, often gives the best results for the liar. I'm not so sure, as Josh Marshall says regarding the Iraq "debate," that "it's an indictment of the state of our public discourse that it's even much of a debate at this late moment." Could be that no administration has stuck with the tactic so successfully before. Then again, it does seem as if torture and denial of habeas are now up for "debate" in this country. Check, please.

A phrase from an old Dervala post amusingly savaging "Freakonomics" is stuck in my head, and would be the CC&P slogan, if it weren't plagiarism: "no fundament ungingered." It's finally dislodged "con la Mega no se juega."

Duuude. Biiiiiiodiesel.

Brother in SF, chef, wants to purchase car that runs on vegetable oil from his restaurant's kitchen. Brother scoping out one car in particular, in Boston. Brother will fly out in December, pick up car, pick me up on the way back, and thus will commence Cannonball Run III. We will cruise westward over hill & vale, learning a lot about America and Christian Rock radio in the process. I will play Dom DeLuise to his Burt Reynolds. There will be crazy outtakes. There will be fat Southern patrolmen. There will be lots of stunt jumps. We will beg for free fuel at countless Burger Kings. We may deep-fry all kinds of shit in our engine just for the hell of it. Imagine home-made Funyuns. Double deep-fried fried chicken. Deep-fried beef jerky. If this is what the life of a hippie is like, maybe I should sign up.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Let's self-medicate.... with Corn Chips & Pie!

...eschewing the Brooklyn Lager for once. Make the pain go away by distracting yourself with the following medications found elsewhere (from the links to the left & other places in the Wide World of Web).

Pat, by Dervala Hanley.
Via Slack LaLane: so much funny it hurts.
Via TMFTML again: "Catch A Collapsing Star," by The Mendoza Line.
Found: on Donner, on Blitzen.
The thoughts of Maud Newton on blogrolling & insularity (an additional, personal defense of cross-linking: without the casual kindness of a few other blogs, literally nobody would read this).
A nice painting that makes me feel nice.
Not Don DeLillo. Yard Work.
Stereogum: Sonny Rollins inspired Blazing Saddles?
Temporary painkiller from TPM.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Revisionism can be fun

Bush hits two cute talking points: 1) criticism of the administration is harming our troops in Iraq, and 2) critics are engaging in "historical revisionism." I think talking point #1 may backfire, if only because of the general mood of the country: "Undermine Our Troops" bumper stickers are outselling yellow ribbons by a 2-1 margin.

But I don't really understand #2. First off, there is the obvious point that the administration's favorite pastime has long been revising the bare facts of the present to suit its needs. But second, I feel like it'd be a fair trade: Kansas gets to revise science, we get to revise history. And finally, I freely admit that I'd love to revise history. Here are some textbook ideas:

There would have to be a chapter titled "Rise of the Mollusks." There would be a look at the glorious two-term reign of President Roger Clinton. Then, my look at the Iraq war: an army of anthropomorphic polecats rides elephants into Baghdad, peacefully freeing the country from the Baath party yoke. Cheers, huzzahs. Then the polecat army turns its attention to the Bush administration, invading Abramoff's DC restaurant ("Signatures"), capturing and imprisoning Cheney, Feith, Abramoff, Wolfowitz, Libby, Rove, Rice, and whoever else I can think of. The prisoners are taken to CIA black ops facilities & treated in a manner that may arguably be inconsistent with the Geneva Convention, if you're nitpicky and into fine distinctions. If someone's gonna be tortured in my name, well, you know.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Con El "Corn Chips" No Se Juega

Got closely shorn over the weekend (about time, really-- we were talking '65 Ringo), and the Ukrainian barber proposed a shave as well. Now there was an idea. Certain of my male acquaintances who share with me a love of affectation swear by the straight razor. And I'd never tried it. So Mr. Barber Man gave me the whole hot-towel & lather treatment, which I'll admit was rather nice. Hey, sometimes you need to pamper yourself. You deserve it.

But the asshole-clenching part was yet to come. A giant fucking razor, probably not sterilized since it was last used to sever the digits of wayward Yakuza, was produced. And he cut the crap out of my face. I hid my lips and prayed. After pinching my nose and finishing my upper lip, he produced a spray bottle. It was, of course, alcohol, and I regret to report that my girlish screams shook the rafters. But my bloodied face was indeed baby-smooth.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A brief, half-assed appreciation of Julian Cope's Skellington

With so much to do & so little time, it would be stupid to write a blog post at the moment. Hence: A Brief, Half-Assed Appreciation of Julian Cope's Skellington.
The man is not always to my tastes. When speaking of his most recent (and surprisingly stable) incarnation as a druid-worshipping neo-hippie, this is an understatement. But the man is always interesting, and undeniably talented: he can pen a beautiful pop song in his sleep, he can write well (Cope's penned books on Krautrock & other topics), and he is truly funny. Plus he's somehow gone through punk, leather-clad glammy pop, eco-terrorist, and trance guru phases while being both patently ridiculous and somehow credible.
Legend has it that he made Skellington to purge himself of the overproduced pap he'd been churning out during the '80s. I suppose if you're interested, a cursory internet search would give you the truth, but I'm not interested in the truth, because I like this version. So, according to my story, he did more drugs than usual & churned out an entire album in less than 24 hours. The cover features Mr. Cope in the throes of what appears to be a simultaneously boring and frightening hallucination. The album bears countless listens.
Here we have mostly acoustic guitar and Julian's slurred baritone, some organ, some piano, one or two tracks with drums. The songs we loved long ago for their novelty appeal, "Robert Mitchum," "Little Donkey," and "Incredibly Ugly Girl," have held up-- but not as well as subtler pleasures like "Doomed." This latter song, for example, features forgotten & mumbled lyrics, out-of-tune brass, & a chippy little rhythm-- adding up to perhaps the loveliest embrace of fate imaginable. I want it to play at my funeral.
Postscript: thanks to my fiddly little clicks on the linkety things to the left there, in the margin (thanks, The Dust Congress), I found out that Julian Cope is an active internet presence, recommending an album every month on his "Head Heritage" website. Check out the latest installment: Harry Flynt & The Insurrections' I Don't Wanna.

Top o' the mornin'

A rare morning that begins with good news. Kaine & Corzine won in Virginia & Jersey, respectively. All 8 of Arnold's propositions went down to defeat in California. Even Mike Dunleavy's Riesling Brigade beat the Bucks. Only one thing can make the morning complete: I must expunge the billboard slogan for local radio station "La Mega" from my head. Con la Mega no se juega. Con la Mega no se juega. Con la Mega no se juega. Con la Mega no se juega.

If you're gonna be flippantly idiotic, you might as well be in New York

If you're "edgy" for a living, perhaps you're bound to say something fucking stupid eventually, like this from Gawker: "Muslim-by-way-of-Portland blogger Laila Lalami celebrates the publication of her first novel... If you’re gonna be a Muslim blogger in this country, you might as well be one in Portland."

Who knew we had people from Muslimistan within these very borders? And what does that last part even mean?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Some afternoon musings on torture

Good post by Mark Kleiman.

The Road to 4-12, Week 9

As often noted, if you're named "Joe Montana," you're destined to be a Hall of Fame quarterback. "Cody Pickett," however, was born to rope calves & throw behind receivers.

It's just unfun to be a 49er fan. Unfortunately, I caught part of Sunday's game against the Giants in a bar here in New York. Excruciatingly futile. Like rooting for the sun not to go down. Like rooting for pi to end. Where's the fun in endless 3-and-outs and 8-yard Tiki Barber runs up the middle? You really can't blame the rodeo clown; passes were dropped and the O-line looked like they'd rather be making daisy chains. I think one camera actually caught Eric Heitmann braiding his chest hair as a blitzer flattened Pickett.

This is a far cry from the glory days of the Giants-49ers rivalry, the days of Walsh and Parcells, the days of a drunken Pat Summerall (confused and uncomprehending, playing it safe) simply repeating "Morris. Joe Morris." Even the Jeff Garcia-led playoff comeback of a couple of years ago now seems part of some bygone era of competence.

Maybe we can get Terrell Owens back. Didn't he say the Eagles would be undefeated if Cody Pickett were their QB instead of McNabb? By the way, when the Niners get shut out next Sunday by the Bears, watch Mike Singletary's eyes grow huge on the sideline. He might just sprint onto the field and flatten Pickett himself. Muscle memory.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Reflections with a Spastic Pulse

Back in the 1980s, there was a bit of music that, like a coelacanth, had somehow survived the transition out of disco into the New Age. It may have been in the public domain, or it may have earned considerable royalties for some composer (I imagine him with a thinning ponytail, driving a navy blue Saab, wearing a white turtleneck under a sports jacket. His friends call him "chief" but he hates it, considering it crass and possibly offensive to Native Americans. He is on his way to Asilomar for a Rolfing seminar. He's got a tape of Pachelbel's Canon in his stereo; he's chewing Wrigley Spearmint gum and half-wondering if he shouldn't have hidden his stash in the obvious spot under the passenger seat).

Anyway, you'd hear this music during sports highlights all the time-- especially during "This Week In Baseball." Close your eyes, picture Mel Allen's voice and a diving stop by Dave Concepcion, and you may be able to conjure up this tune. Disco drumbeat & synchronized bassline, minor key, vaguely melancholy despite the pace & cheese. Horns or synths would come in with the catchy chorus.

Find & download Stereolab's "Visionary Road Maps," part of the Kyberneticka Babicka EP; it somehow captures whatever good could come from the above (but of course throws in the requisite French-accented leftist nonsense, trombone, warm sugary dual mono, etc). They took "Mass Riff" from Instant 0 In the Universe, fried it up with some fresh garlic & olive oil, and made a tasty new song.

Nota bene: I'm a longtime Groop fan that'll follow them nearly anywhere, except some of their Cobra and Phases stuff. If you need an intro, start with Emperor Tomato Ketchup, I says.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Nugs? Bud?

Before we lose our bearings this weekend, some final thoughts:

  • You really can wear jeans for weeks without washing them. Nobody says anything.
  • There are only 3 countries in the world that do not share any letters with "mackerel."
  • This is great (and, let's face it, perfectly representative of the CC&P demographic): a preview of the upcoming basketball season, with each team's prospects proxied by a Malkmus or Berman song. Wrt "my" team: I pretty much agree, except that I really like The Hexx. I'm a Terror Twilight apologist, in fact. Come on: "the secondary stumbles 'cause the cadence of the count has led them astray"? And somehow it's made to sound creepy.
  • You know the whole "What's up?" / "Pretty good" mismatch? Alternatively, "How's it going?" / "Not much." Here's the way you avoid the risk of such a humiliating exchange: you follow the lead of Larry, who replies "All riiight" to absolutely any greeting that doesn't require a specific response (which, if you think about it, is just about anything). Larry wins. He's never wrong. You're wrong. All riiight.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Good stuff

Enjoy this peek at truly admirable insularity and sycophancy, which will undoubtedly make Friday morning headlines.
My favorite is the whole roll-up-the-sleeves trick. ("Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt... all shirts. Even the President rolled up his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this crises [sic] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working... ROLL UP THE SLEEVES!")
I've already perfected furrowing my brow to appear busy and serious-minded; I'd never thought to actually roll up my sleeves. So simple. Such genius.

Duck season. Mosquito season.

We here at Corn Chips & Pie have been dutifully watching the three-part PBS series on global health (final segment tomorrow). And we are generally impressed: good overview, only moderate kowtowing to pharmaceutical companies (Merck is a sponsor), nice balance between the appropriate focus on developing countries and the necessary focus on developed countries, comically grave inflections by narrator Brad Pitt during harrowing scenes. Perhaps more impressively, the segments chart a reasonably cautious route between the Scylla of fundraising-friendly alarmism and the Charybdis of Pollyannaish success stories.

But look: we know our place. Nobody comes here for public health punditry. The motto for CC&P should be "Come for the cheap jokes on light topics, stay for the cheap jokes on heavy topics." In this spirit, let's salute the vector control technicians. These are the dudes who go out & spray the shit out of standing water in order to kill mosquitoes. These are America's unappreciated heroes. Do mosquito abatement personnel get beefcake fundraising calendars? Hell, no. I knew some of these guys back in my hometown. If they hadn't been working for the county, they'd be doing whipits and playing Bloody Knuckles. But they were monomaniacally committed to Killing Skeeters. They were nuts. They were probably effective.

Here's what I say: let's harness the sociopathic and murderous tendencies of our adolescents in the service of a greater good. Let's get the acne-ridden dispossessed to focus their anomie at Anopheles. We cannot fail.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nihilist Assault Group

In many ways, this week is soberin' up time: from the schadenfreude fiesta of Fitzgerald's investigation, from the drunken stupidity of All Hallows' Eve and related excuses for inebriation, from baby niece-related giddiness over the weekend, from the pleasant illusion that I have nothing better to do than blog.

So: if for whatever reason you, too, feel the harsh autumn light today as a slap in the face, why not join me? Let's put on a pot of espresso, drink lots of fluids, perhaps take a multivitamin, spin a Clifford Brown record, and take a hot shower. Then let's don our unitards, do some leglifts, follow up with some kneebends, and complete a thirty-minute Jazzercise routine. Then let's all get cracking & tackle meaninglessness with our customary abandon.

The Road to 4-12, Week 8

I admit it. I panicked. I lost faith. Just when I was about to renooberate the forecasting model & rename this quasi-weekly feature "The Road to 1-15," our fellas in cerise came through. A glorious victory, without a touchdown, over a weakened team led by its second-string quarterback. Stay the course. Steady as she goes. 4-12 awaits, glistening on yonder shore. If you're interested, my prediction for next week: NY Giants 486, SF 49ers 3.

Neither funny nor sports-related

This is interesting (full seven-part series here), if overblown in its prose, and stakes out an arena for some fundamental contests: where is the line between patronization and negligence? What's the right price for a preventable death? Is there a difference between a libertarian attitude toward suicide and encouraging suicide, and if so, where does this difference become apparent? Is there a tradeoff between aesthetics and mortality? These answers are obvious to most people. But it's noteworthy that these obvious answers are usually in such stark disagreement with one another, even among reasonable, smarty-pants-type people.

By the way, Weldon Kees, who is mentioned in this article because he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in 1955, was an excellent poet whose depression-inspired work is among the most haunting I've ever read. Look him up if you feel like you're too happy for your own good. You know who you are.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Corn Chips and Pie: squint and you'll see Andy Rooney

Please note: the overuse of the auxiliary verb "do" among people in the service industry. Please also note: it is often overstressed when used. Seems to be favored by people who, in the course of their work, must give a rote speech to groups of customers (flight attendants, tour guides, bauxite mine safety instructors).

"In case you do require assistance, Sheila will be happy to remove your catheter."

"We do ask that you refrain from throwing uncooked pork into the centrifuge."

"The captain does ask that you not mock his lisp; it's congenital and in no way a reflection upon his masculinity."

Also common: weird stress on the verb "be," as in the following example:

"Chester, our naughty little rhesus monkey, is one of several feces-throwing monkeys in Dr. Blofeld's sanctuary."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Maple syrupy goodness

While Washington was atwitter over the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, New York City was similarly freaking out over a different matter. (At least, the three people I had breakfast with were freaking out along with me.)

I first heard about it from my alarm clock, which blares annoying news radio at me until I shuffle across the room to shut it off. But I'm not very good at separating dreams from reality that early in the morning (9am). CM corroborated my alarm clock, however, saying that she'd had a conversation about it in a Brooklyn bodega last night. And now I've found the NYT story that confirms this shocking phenomenon (if it's in the Times, it must be true): The city smelled like maple syrup last night.

While many phoned 911, others waxed nostalgic about the Old Country: "Joris Geeven said it reminded him of a Dutch cake called peperkoek, though he could not describe that smell."

There are so many possible explanations. SS suggested it was part of a plot to attract more lumberjacks to the city. Could have been a dirty bomb plot by friendly terrorists who substituted delicious Vermont maple syrup for radium. Or it could be a massive peperkoek, buried for millenia, only now emerging to complete a sinister plan for world domination.

New Yorkers demand answers.

Peeking under the wrapping paper

Maybe a better metaphor is shaking the gift & listening for a pony-like rattle. The NYT reports that Libby will get an indictment, but not Rove (though Fitzgerald will keep the heat on him for a while). We'll all find out tomorrow. Several thousand wonks will find it difficult to sleep tonight. Not to mention Libby & Rove.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


So I'm a-headed out to the Bay Area to meet my niece Francesca tomorrow, and lacking any meaningful baubles from infancy to give the kid (my folks must have burned it all in a cleansing fire), I went shopping for a suitable gift. Oh my God.

I'd hitherto been spared the world of baby commerce. This shop, named something like Baby Planet, or World Of Infants, or Drool Factory, was packed to the gills with useless crap. All the other customers were young rich women beaming and basking in the satisfied glow of new motherhood. They were all eager to point me in the right direction: I should get some "onesies" (basically t-shirts that strap around the crotch). No, I should get cute little booties decorated with elaborate designs. No, I should get a $3000 sport-utility stroller. No, I should get her a computerized bottle, or a special papoose strap & carriage, or somesuch. I'm miffed that they summarily dismissed my idea of a handgun. Francesca was born into a rough world, and she's gotta be able to protect herself.

By the way, I've seen pictures of the kid, and you better thank your stars that I was somehow able to resist posting them (I had to be restrained by a team of musclebound he-men). Nobody cares about other people's babies. That's a truism. But trust me on this one: she's cute as the dickens.

Prelinger Archives

If you haven't seen this, you should. It's a collection of several thousand "ephemeral films": public service announcements, commercials, documentaries, etc. In most, unintentional humor is the main draw: the blunt & clunky propaganda of 1950s Cold War films (Duck & Cover), the pipe-smokin' J.R. "Bob" Dobbs-style sex ed (from As Boys Grow: "this was all pretty new to Bill, this business of 'nocturnal emissions'"), the horrifying racial caricatures from WWII cartoons. But some of it is just fascinating, like a pair of films in which some guy filmed a fourteen-minute trolley ride down Market Street in 1905 San Francisco, then retraced his route immediately after the earthquake (think smoking ruins).

I haven't had the patience to explore this vast archive beyond the stuff on the main page, so please do so, and tell me what's good. Try to ignore the inane comments below each movie.

You like-a the schadenfreude?

While we're savoring the Miers withdrawal, and giddily anticipating the indictments, when will the goddamn indictments come, why is Fitzgerald holding back on us like a goddamn tease, ahem.... check out this lovely piece of pain-pleasure by Paul Begala at TPM Cafe.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Republican Party

I didn't know Rosie O'Donnell was still in character:

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, who, like Bush, had the political judgment not to dress in formal attire, took an innovative view of recent days. "This has been an incredible fall!" he announced, pointing to the approval of a constitution in Iraq, elections in Afghanistan, confirmation of a new chief justice and education reforms.
"Yaaaaay," a lone woman in the audience yelled.

(From the WaPo. I also liked this quote: "Only the wine selection -- a pedestrian Clos du Bois -- hinted that these are not fat times.")


How do nerds deal with crises? By milling around a lot, apparently. Last weekend we did something we've long wanted to do: played in the annual all-night-long puzzle-solving scavenger hunt around New York. This year's game was constrained to Brooklyn, and had a twist that involved an elaborate game of tag among teams. Basically, the idea was this: you're given clues that seem impenetrable but yield to various logical interpretations and/or manipulations, and thus you're given the rough location of the next clue. And so on, until you reach the finish line at dawn. There were four sets of clues: a subset of each team would be assigned to each, and the final clues in each set would combine somehow to form the final clue. In practice, this involved a lot of cab-riding, cellphone-gabbing, anagramming, and searching through garbage-strewn streets for a symbol or icon at 3am. A laser was involved in the final clue, which made it all worthwhile.

This shouldn't have surprised me, but it did: most teams seemed to operate with incredible inefficiency. (I should stress that I was pretty much dead weight to my team.) The actual solving of puzzles went pretty smoothly, but a typical interaction went like this:

Person A: Ok, I've got it! The next clue is inside the spleen of the fourth monkey we find in the bucket under the MTA employee at Borough Hall.
Person B: Ok, great.
Person C: Let's go.
Person A: Ok.
[mill around aimlessly for the next 10 minutes]
Person B: Should we get a cab, or what?
Person C: Sure. Or we could walk.
[mill mill mill, murmur murmur]

You know, in retrospect, this wouldn't have bothered me so much. But our team finished behind the first-place team by 15 minutes, which meant that I was treated to the spectacle of the new High Priest of Nerds raising his arms in triumph, crowing "That's what I'm talking about" several times, and making various "in-your-face" pouts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tomorrow: pony?

  • Indictments tomorrow? Murmur, murmur, murmur. Oh, the din of murmurs, washing over me like waves of ecstasy. Like the thrilling abandon I feel when I stuff my fat face with greasy meat by-products in the bubblebath (sometimes I just need to treat myself, because I deserve it).
  • "I believe it smells good in the building, and that's important," Nolan said Monday in the aftermath of his team's 52-17 loss to the Washington Redskins. "That smell in the building is one that gives me the greatest indication of where the franchise is headed."
  • Nolan is still shooting for the division title. Presumably, Nolan didn't have his face pressed up into Julian Peterson's sweaty crotch when he was quoted. "Head up his ass" is also a tantalizingly plausible explanation for the smell, but I think Nolan was referring to the delightful aroma of banana-nutella crepes that permeates the 49ers' Santa Clara headquarters. Every morning at 7 am, you'll find linebacker coach Mike Singletary whipping up a batch of the Parisian sidewalk treat for his boys in crimson, keeping the staff in stitches with his beret and Marcel Marceau impersonation.
  • Pros: 1917. Jermaine Dye, Tadahito Iguchi, crazy manager. Cons: A.J. Pierzynski, Jerry Reinsdorf, most of their fans. Trump card: they're playing the Astros. Go ChiSox.


for the slow & infrequent posts lately. I've been busy preparing my lineup for tonight's game and sacrificing ferrets; Sta. Barbara tells me to move Crede up to the seven-hole, but I dunno. Anyway, frequency and quality will resume at normal, mildly depressing levels shortly.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pony nuggets

  • Patrick Fitzgerald has created a sparse website; the term of the grand jury expires on Friday; liberals are hyperventilating; the administration is leaking and spinning and sweating and adjusting its package. My oscillating expectations for the Plame indictments have reached an equilibrium: certainly Libby, maybe Rove, and nobody more senior. I wonder how Ladbrokes pegs this. No Cheney, no "wider" investigation about the lies leading up to the Iraq war, no public pistol-whipping of Ari Fleischer. That's ok. I can deal. It's a wooden rocking-pony under the wrapping paper. That's fine. More than I thought I was getting a couple of months ago. Okeydoke. Dum de dum.
  • I didn't even bother with yesterday's installment of "The Road to 4-12"... given yesterday's performance, it looks like I'll have to recalibrate my predictive model. Next week: a prototype version of "The Road to 1-15." Wilbon, for a change, got it right: they're "paper-bag-over-the-head bad." Meanwhile, however, the increasingly delusional Mike Nolan still smells the playoffs. He likened the 49ers to the Astros, who started the season 15-30. The only real similarity lies in their ability to play football. But then, Nolan's always one to spot a crisitunity.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Washington Heights

Good article on my neighborhood. I see some of these guys a lot. No idea Gehrig played there.

Office Shirker

According to the New York Times, there's a positive relationship between the time spent playing "Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games," or MMORPGs, and the degree to which people suffer personal problems as a consequence. This is unsurprising, and may help explain why Curt Schilling is such a sorry asshole. But maybe it's just that people are playing the wrong games.

Because I'm still giddy over the birth of my niece, I'm going to give away the only marketable idea I've ever had. Go forth and develop it, business-savvy readers. Make your billions off my humble back. All I ask in return is a slice of pie once in a while. Oven-warmed, if you don't mind.

Here's my idea: "Office Shirker." It's a first-person-shirker game, in which you, the protagonist, attempt to loaf spectacularly while avoiding professional consequences (disapproval, termination, lawsuits, shame). You are given "work" involving "spreadsheets" or "documents" or "reports" or "projects." You then must endeavor to do as little as possible, instead "surfing" the "internet" while "emailing" and "instant messaging" your "friends," perhaps even "blogging." All the while, you must avoid the watchful eyes of your boss and your colleagues. The basic user interface is the keyboard (especially Alt-Tab to toggle back to your "work" when the boss strolls past your cubicle) and the mouse. But here's the key: it's linked to the internet, so you can play with an online community of millions. Sure, developing a simulacrum of the entire internet might seem daunting to a software developer, but I think it can be done.

I'm flexible; if catering to the masses means a "Schilling mode" option in which you can play as an elf or something, then sure, fine, whatever. But I believe, if done right, this game could be just as engrossing and just as rewarding as the real thing.

Friday, October 21, 2005


I have a niece. Oh, sorry, royal we: "We" are an uncle. Holy crap.
8 lbs. 8 oz. of pure intimidation. Francesca-- though I haven't laid eyes on her yet-- is the most beautiful person on the planet. I heard her cry over the phone; she has an incredible singing voice. She's already speaking French, Italian, and Japanese, and she was only born a few hours ago. She has a good shot at living until 2100. She will have a jetpack. She will kick ass.
Congratulations to K. and D.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

DeLay mugshot


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A nugget a day

  • An it's-funny-because-it's-true bit on Sarah Silverman by TMFTML.
  • In this article on David Berman, the Silver Jew notes that "Joe Montana threw soft because he couldn't throw hard," an acceptance of limitation that allowed him to play to his strengths. My philosophy is different: I curl up into a ball and weep because I can't throw hard. This would make me a somewhat ineffective NFL quarterback, but still pretty riveting, I think.
  • Josh Marshall has listed evidence from a bunch of sources, including a recent article in the Daily News, that Bush probably flat-out lied to Fitzgerald, and that Fitzgerald knows it. Yes, yes, this may not matter..... but now it looks like that pony under the wrapping paper is gold-plated, with laser beams for eyes. And a monkey somehow involved. That's what every child wants, right?
  • I promise I won't keep posting on this scandal. I promise. I... I... Watergate!
  • All right, enough. I know; it'll never happen. So, in the meantime, before the indictments, let's just enjoy this photograph of the Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen of public health and biostatistics: Mantel and Haenszel themselves. Sure, now that they're dead and their names are attached to equations and statistical techniques, one may be tempted to imagine them as Greek gods, striding around oiled and shirtless. And-- who knows-- away from conferences, they may well have done so. But in suits & name tags, they became merely frail mortals with (doubtlessly) the attendant personality defects common to all biostatisticians. God love 'em.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Junkies only

Now that it appears that John Hannah is the one talking to Fitzgerald, check out this 2004 UPI article by Richard Sale.

Daily nuggets

  • I dislike all things Astro with the notable exception of Charlie Kerfeld. I was thus happy to read about Pujols' dramatic home run last night, just after I and everyone else in the nation had stopped watching the game.
  • TPM points to a Daily News article that adds to the speculation naming Dick Cheney as the target of Fitzgerald's probe. Which makes me giggle a little bit, because here we have the juxtaposition of several funny words. But the real kicker is the suggestion of a "senior cooperating witness."
  • And so we scandal-gawkers edge forward in our seats a little more. We're nearly pissing ourselves in anticipation. Who will be charged? Who was the snitch? Some no-name? Or someone we've heard of (Powell/Matalin/Card)? Was it Divine Brown? A superintelligent dolphin? The point is, are we getting that motherfucking pony, or is it just a pony-shaped lump of crap under that wrapping paper? These are the days, my friends.
  • There's a dog missing a hind leg in my neighborhood. Its owner, who spends most of his time hanging out on the sidewalk, has outfitted it with a jerry-rigged set of wheels attached to its rear end. This canine cyborg is enthusiastic, but visibly taxed, as it scoots up & down the street. It's the coolest damned dog in the universe.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Katharine Hepburn, William F. Buckley, George Plimpton... where's the younger generation of Americans who speak with British accents? Is there a secret Ivy League compound where they're all sequestered? Or was there some kind of pogrom?

Sports as a metaphor for politics? What a refreshingly original conceit

The world of sports, worthwhile only as a distraction from war, poverty, disease, and the unexplained odor coming from my shirtsleeves, offers no solace these days. Bay Area teams are in the tank, with no hope until at least April (unless you really think "Riesling Fever" is going to catch on for the Warriors). Meanwhile, I'm in New York, and the initially pleasurable dejection of Yankees fans is beginning to catch. Thank god, then, for Judith Miller's Carnival of Delights. This stuff is fun, even if (as some have suggested) Dems should be staying focused on post-Katrina reconstruction. Sure, sure, but that requires actual critical thinking. Here, I can simply chew my beef jerky and cheer loudly as unlikely hero Patrick Fitzgerald subpoenas loathsome witness after loathsome witness.

Plus, in part because this scandal centers on journalism, the reaction of bloggers seems somehow more important, though of course it is not (save a few influential bloggers-- who, in the absence of blogs, might be writing columns instead). And thus, when we write about it, we have the entirely fictitious sensation of participation. Much like the way viewing posture influences the likelihood of a batted ball.

I promise to abandon this cliched comparison shortly. But I bring it up because the Plame affair and the Harriet Miers kerfuffle have truly filled the same void left by athletic diversions. I even have the same sense of fatalism about them.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Philosophy of the World

I resisted for so long. I thought the one-note joke of Harriet Miers' Blog would play itself out real quick-like. But this, like most of it, is pretty fucking funny.

Well I think this has gone on long enough!! Here's my philosophy, its simple really.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Chicken hawk nuggets

A big Judith Miller narrative just came out in the NYT. Arousing revelations!

  • First off, the Times comes off looking worse than it already did, which is difficult. I'm surprised they didn't put this story behind the TimesSelect curtain, just as icing on the cake.
  • Of the NYT publisher, Miller says, "He metaphorically and literally put his arm around me." He then metaphorically and literally held it there for an uncomfortable length of time.
  • John Bolton visited her in prison. I imagine that Miller's pent-up sexual energy curled the hairs of his moustache. I imagine a lot of things.
  • Libby seems fucked, unless he gets off on the technicality of calling her Valerie "Flame." Apparently, he also told Miller that someone named "George Q. Bush" had ordered his political operatives to deceive the country into invading Iraq.
  • Fitzgerald, like me, is interested in Libby's letter to Miller in which he waxes poetic about aspens turning in unison. But his interest seems to focus more on the conspiratorial than the purple.
  • This quote is presented without comment: "Ms. Payne added, 'Her paramount concern was how her actions would be viewed by her colleagues.' On Sept. 29, Ms. Miller was released from jail and whisked by Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller to the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown for a massage, a manicure, a martini and a steak dinner."
  • Miller's crowing speech upon her return to the NYT offices was met with "restrained applause." I would have eaten yellowcake to be a fly on that wall.
  • Update: The WaPo gloats, justifiably.
  • Miller plans an autobiography: "She said she hopes to cover 'the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country.'"

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Friend SS has these fine suggestions:

  • The A's should hire Dennis Eckersley as manager, as he could coach his players on how to cloak newfangled performance-enhancing drugs with good old-fashioned street drugs. "Coke is wicked fun," says the Eck, and you don't disagree with a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
  • The Hall of Fame should enshrine the Eck's mullet.

I once saw Dennis Eckersley strike out the side in the ninth, on nine pitches. Sam Malone never did that. Of course, Malone never appeared in a Richard Marx video, either.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sava the flava

If you're not a Republican, this is as good as it gets, right now. (And if you are a Republican, come back for football talk later this week. Corn Chips & Pie is a big-tent blog.) The moment before indictments are handed down in the Plame case. There's crazy-ass speculation going on right now, by ostensibly serious people. Libby? Rove? Iraq lies exposed? Cheney, for Chrissake?

The anticipation is always better, before the beautiful profusion of branches on the Tree of Possibilities is cruelly trimmed by the, uh, Gardener of Fate. Let me further analogize. If you're a rich little girl, this is like staring, wide-eyed, at the pony-shaped birthday gift still in its wrapping paper. If you wore Kangol hats in the early '90s, it's like the day the Stone Roses' second album was released, before you heard just how shitty it was. If you are morbidly obese, it's like stroking the carton of Chunky Monkey before the inevitable guilt and lactose intolerance ensue.

I'm free to imagine anything now. Fitzgerald indicts the entire White House, then parades a naked, shackled Karl Rove down Wall Street. Ticker tape parade, feces hurled, pandemonium. Bush and Cheney are sentenced to eat mussels and scallops until their stomachs burst. You know, the usual fantasies. Don't tell me how it really turns out.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Telephone = Guilt

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "senescence" as "(1) an obsolete curative powder for dropsy; (2) fancy pewter; or (3) a second-rate bildungsroman," I'm pretty sure. Whatever. In any case, I hope that my grandkids phone me a lot more often than I phone my grandparents (as long as they're not insufferable. Now, I recognize that I may very well be incredibly insufferable as a grandchild. But if I am, I believe it's my grandparents' responsibility to tell me. They can break it to me gently. Puppet theater, acrostics-- many options are available).

I have met other people's grandparents. Many of them are horrible, bloviating, palsied, evil people. Many of them I have not met, because they are no longer around. As such, I am confident in proclaiming that I am extraordinarily lucky to have such lovely people as my kin-- alive & kicking, no less. So whence my reluctance to call? What is wrong with me, besides the obvious?

Perhaps, 50 years from now, I will be in an old folks' home. My only entertainment will be the occasional "indie rock night" in the cafeteria, or maybe ironic golf. And-- sweet justice!-- my grandchildren will be far too busy "jet-packing," or posting scans of their reproductive organs on the HoloWeb, to give me a buzz. And I will deserve my fate.

People out there in the lonely world, phone your parents or grandparents. And tell them Corn Chips & Pie sent you.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Road to 4-12, Week Five

The Indianapolis Colts will beat the San Francisco 49ers very badly today.

Meanwhile, anyone with a working knowledge of latent tuberculosis treatment and/or Markov modeling is urged to send help immediately, as we here at Corn Chips & Pie Laboratories have pissed away the weekend despite some rather pressing deadlines.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Quien es mas Macha?

So Ken Macha is out, and Billy Beane no doubt will be promoting the Oakland Athletic equivalent of Harriet Miers (that's a topical reference, kids) to the bench. You have to wonder if the whole "negotiation" was mutually agreed upon beforehand as a face-saving measure. Macha's counteroffer was ludicrous; he had to know it would be rejected. When Bush offered the nomination to Miers, she had the good sense not to ask for more: "Ok, but I'm gonna need a throne, a ruby-encrusted robe, a scepter, and a houseboy. And no more aerobics in the Supreme Basketball Court; I'm filling the entire place with tapioca pudding." No, she knows she's a hack & a puppet, and remained silently grateful. With all the criticism from the right, actually, this is an opportunity for Bush to ditch Miers and to nominate a proven winner with a distinguished record: Ken Macha.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

You know what? Go ahead without me

I feel like Alfred Russel Wallace. John Cook from Reference Tone has kindly pointed me to a website-- Rapture Ready-- that employs a perfect, unassailably logical, quantitative approach to determining how close we are to Rapture. He beat me to it be several years, apparently. You may already be familiar with this guy. For those of you who have questions, I can spare you the horror of actually visiting the site by excerpting from the (actually very entertaining) FAQ, with translations:

Q: How do you plan to maintain this site after the rapture?
A: It is unlikely any one domain will be able to service the massive traffic surge that will be directed at all prophecy sites. The best hope for achieving enough bandwidth to allow for millions of people to view Rapture Ready's content is for tribulation saints to mirror the site dozens of times.
Translation: I am a loon.

Q: Is masturbation right or wrong?
A: Because no one has reached the state of perfection, God's grace is [a] continuous process that is there to cover all the sins we commit.
Translation: I am a weak, weak loon.

Q: When Does Daylight Time Begin and End?
A: According to the good folks at the U.S. Naval Observatory, daylight time begins in the United States on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October.
Translation: According to the good folks at the U.S. Naval Observatory, daylight time begins in the United States on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October.

This is why I won't be writing about the upcoming basketball season

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Heaven Shares

People always ask me how I make money on Wall Street. I always tell them the truth, because I know there ain't no way they're gonna be able to apply it. They're hidebound, conventional thinkers. I can see it in their rheumy eyes. How, you ask? Simple, sport. I exploit inefficiencies in the market through the unflinching application of logic and maximization theory. You find an inefficiency-- usually an unquestioned assumption by the Mandarins of finance-- and you trade the shit out of it until that little inefficiency is flattened, spent, begging for sweet mercy. Then you walk away, strutting like a poppinjay, burnishing your shiny new coins. That's how Warren Buffett gets laid. That's how Billy Beane built the Yankees, Cardinals, Braves, and Orioles.

What's that? I can hear you whining. "Waah, waah, waah. Human interaction doesn't submit to quantitative analysis. People are not deterministic machines. Waah." Hey-- I sympathize. Being a fundamentalist Christian, I, too, believe that Jesus doesn't want to control us. Jesus isn't gonna decide who gets Left Behind. No-- but Jesus wants us to obey probability theory.

That's right. To fulfill the prophecies of the Bible, a certain percentage of us will be doomed to rot in the furnaces of hell on earth when the apocalypse arrives. But how do we avoid that preterite fraction? Don't know about you, but I'm going to apply maximization theory. Where's the highest marginal return? There are plenty of overvalued and undervalued Christian activities out there. The trick is sorting them out and getting there before other would-be heaven-bound assholes.

To begin, you've got to have some metric of success. That's the problem-- we don't know who's been going to heaven. So we need a proxy. Frankly, I can't do any better than being a white Republican man. Can you? So that'll do. Now we just need to correlate variables with our virtue proxy. I'll spare you the details, but using multiple logistic regression (i.e., explaining the log odds of going to heaven as a function of various virtuous activities), I've arrived at some results that may surprise you.

E.g., at the moment, I've got to believe that prisoner abuse is seriously overvalued. It's very hot right now-- as hot as Carlos Beltran was in the free agent market last year-- but it's about as effective as Beltran turned out for the Mets, providing a Heaven Share of only about 0.03. On the other hand, Bill Bennett (the Billy Beane of conservatism) has unearthed a veritable Scott Hatteberg of virtue: hypothetically musing about aborting black fetuses. What's the Heaven Share for this gem? A whopping 7.65. This is only slightly more effective than his previously overlooked tactic of promoting the decay of public schools. Just as Joe Morgan rails at Beane for his unorthodox moves, so do fools on both the right and left attempt to wash their hands of this revolutionary thinker. But me? I just hope everyone else ignores quantitative virtue analysis. I'll wave to them as I ascend to paradise.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Hey, should I put the beer in the fridge?

If you're one of the hardy souls who's been reading this blog since the month of its inception, you will have noticed that the list of links to the left has been slowly expanding. This is a good sign: it means my web habits are finally diversifying.

But I feel like I've arrived at the party extremely late. The apartment is mostly empty. Well-known bloggers lie naked and insensate on the floor. Somebody's snarked all over the bathroom tile; the entire apartment reeks of pith and bile. The iPod hooked up to the stereo system has become trapped in a loop of the Arcade Fire album. A couple of drunk Gawker types are chatting each other up on the fire escape. One particularly pitiable soul, either tripping or merely distracted, is staring into the mirror with boundless fascination. Everyone who's still lucid is remarkably unattractive. "This shit is played," I hear a studiously unkempt writer mutter as he exits. Even the NYT reporter is getting her coat and leaving. And here I am, clutching my sixpack of cheap beer, my eagerness looking increasingly pathetic. This seems to happen to me a lot.

But I'm in it for the long haul. I'm sitting on the couch, rolling up my sleeves, putting on a little Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66, and bringing the bottle of Jameson over from the mixed drink table. Let's party. Let's use "party" as a verb.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

"...her preference for prison work was the laundry..."

I just read the actual letter that Scooter Libby sent to Judith Miller; my curiosity was aroused/stimulated/feverishly rubbed by the excerpt quoted by Kevin Drum:

Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work — and life.
I don't really understand politics so good. But I can spare you Scooter's lip-flappin' and offer you my attempt at translation:

Dear Judy,
I don't get it. Well, I kinda do. You wanted to pretend like you're a real journalist. That's cool. Whatevsies. But we need you out here writing more lapdoggish stories about Iraq and likesuch. Plus, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be cool wrt Plame, so no worries there. Also, I saw a photo of you in a green prison jumpsuit, and I have to say, I was visibly excited. Do you understand where I'm going here? Visibly excited. Aspens. Roots. Are we speaking the same language? Come to me.
Yours, Scooter.

The Road to 4-12, Week Four

Beyond a few obvious, cheap, and decidedly unfunny jokes centered on the Mexico City location for tonight's game, I thought I would have nothing for this week's installment. The inchoate disappointment of millions weighed on me like... like... something very heavy. Perhaps a large bag of soil. The masses were starting to actually clamor (with the exception of most people who read this blog, who hate sports, and therefore themselves).

And then Jamie Winborn was given the heave-ho. And Mike Rumph was demoted, subsequently tearing some sort of crucial tendamon, or liganament, or in his foot. Mike Nolan will tolerate no dissent. Mike Nolan will suffer no nonchalance. Mike Nolan runs this sinking ship. Mike Nolan is a fucking idiot. Mike Nolan can stand with dignity on the sideline tonight, wearing a Reebok-festooned seersucker suit (can you think of those words without hearing Mick Jagger sneering "seeeeeahsuhcka sewt"? I can't), and he can trounce the Cardinals by ninety points, and he will still be a fucking idiot.

No matter what happens tonight, I promise you that the approximately 380,000 fans crammed into Azteca Stadium tonight will begin to rethink their excitement about Futbol Americano. Wait a sec, they will think, doesn't NAFTA have some provision barring Tim Rattay from crossing our borders? Wasn't screwing our corn farmers enough?

Friday, September 30, 2005

You can never please anybody in this world

When I found some of The Shaggs' music online, I went through a brief period of fascination with their story. The enjoyment derived from learning about the provenance of a given work of art (I use that term loosely) plateaus pretty quickly; it often reaches a point where it goes negative. If you push through that area of the curve, though, you've got yourself a nice little obsession. Thankfully, I never got there.

But enough time has elapsed since my Shaggs phase; I might be interested in checking this out. And if you're a Shaggs virgin & interested in learning about this freaky little story, click here or use your Google skillz. Here, I'll save you some time. I would post an mp3 if I knew how; anyway, that's why God created Limewire.

Spoiler alert: Her companion is, of course, her radio.

Late nuggets

  • I can't make up my mind if this is enjoyable or deserving of being beaten & drowned in a burlap sack. (Found leafing through Fitted Sweats.) If in New York Friday, mebbe worth checking out so you can take action either way.
  • When the history of the early twenty-first century is written, it is likely that no mention will be made of the sudden appearance and equally sudden disappearance of the phrase "not so much." This is for the best.
  • I can't get the song "Little Black Egg" by the Nightcrawlers (also faithfully covered by Tarnation) out of my head. I thought you should know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

No new giant squid news today

Year: 1987
Object of hatred: Jose Oquendo
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 1989
Object of hatred: Plate tectonics
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 1993
Object of hatred: Salomon Torres
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 1997
Object of hatred: Livan Hernandez
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 2000
Object of hatred: Shawn Estes
Resulting vow: We shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

Year: 2002
Object of hatred: Scott Spiezio
Resulting vows: We shall gnash our teeth and rend our garments. We shall wail piteously and lament our cruel fate. We shall drink to excess and take up Jazzercise. We shall abandon forever this infantile emotional attachment to grown men prancing around the field. We shall lay waste to the surrounding countryside, sparing not even the children.

Year: 2005
Object of hatred: Jeff Fassero
Resulting vow: We shall never again get worked up about a sub-.500 team. And-- oh, what the hell-- we shall never again speak of "Base-Ball."

The only news that's fit to print

They laughed at me all those years when I maintained my giant squid news alert. Payback time, bitches. They got one on film.

As the late, lamented Fishing With John put it, the giant squid has eyes the size of beach balls. Beach balls!

You may be interested in some details. Here's the good stuff, without all the yappy yappy, and without the obligatory ad featuring Viggo Mortensen's giant head.

  1. They found the thing by tracking a pack of sperm whales.
  2. It is a "much more active predator than previously suspected" (italics mine).
  3. "The tentacles could apparently coil into a ball, much as a python envelops its victims."
  4. It lives in the "inky depths."

Ooh, more lurid details here in the Washington Post. After recovering a severed tentacle, the helpless scientists stared in mute horror as the tentacle was still functioning, "the large suckers of the tentacle club repeatedly gripping the boat deck and any offered fingers."

This eases the pain of yet another baseball-related heartbreak unfolding before my eyes. That and the booze.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ay, mi estomago

Last night was rough on the ol' nerves. Los Gigantes come back with two out in the ninth to stay alive, inexplicably and undeservedly, in the NL West. The Oakland Athletics of Oakland lose another gut-wrencher to effectively end their season (and to spoil the evening of my friend DS, who phoned me as he was smuggling into the Coliseum seventeen cans of Sapporo secreted in various folds and crannies. Sapporo is perfect for such a venture, he claims-- it's not the taste, it's the size and shape of the cans). If my primary team allegiance wasn't fixed permanently by birth, I would have switched over to the A's years ago. Although I do find Bobby Kielty a bit frightening.

Incidentally, I just saw a recent photo of James Woods, and I think he's inexorably becoming Bud Selig.

Monday, September 26, 2005

They also like blue jeans

Quote from Minneapolis friend re: a 21-year old French exchange student housemate: "He's at the Mall of America right now, buying a bunch of cowboy hats."

I've got the goose bumps

This is so fantastic. From today's NYT story on the Dalai Lama's visit to Rutgers:

Nearby, a former flight attendant, Kathleen Davis, squealed. She had been taking notes on a pink piece of paper and pointed to the words "attachment" and "compassion." "That's it!" she said. "It's one or the other. I've got the goose bumps."
Now, that's just gilding the lily. "Squeal" joins such other verb luminaries as "insist," "deny," and "ramble" as surefire ways to make the journalistic subject seem like a complete ass. I also like "clutch" and "jab."

"Clutching her scented pink stationery, the flight attendant pranced about, repeatedly jabbing at a pair of words scrawled in an unsteady hand. 'Attachment and compassion!' she shrieked, her eyes widening violently. She then delivered a lengthy, rambling speech about goosebumps."

"Mincing and prancing about, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff clutched his notes with fat fingers. 'There is no timetable for withdrawal,' he mewled, his tongue nervously moistening his palate. He continued keening and lisping before shuffling away from the lectern."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Road to 4-12, Week Three

Linebacker Julian Peterson has "guaranteed" a 49er victory over the Cowboys. Surely Mr. Peterson knows that a guarantee without consequences for noncompliance is meaningless. If the 49ers lose, then what? Will he cut me a check? Will he send me a personally embroidered pillow slip with "Sorry" written in a flowery font? In this spirit, Corn Chips & Pie guarantees a 49er loss, and guarantees that the Cowboy time of possession will approach a nice round hour.

Which is too bad, really. Cowboys-Niners has a proud tradition; this year, though, the legacy is tarnished by ineptitude and Bill Parcells' frightening bleach job. Who does he remind me of? A doughy, older McBain, maybe. Or Kent Brockman.

The Catch was nice. But my favorite Cowboy-Niner moment was in January 1995: the NFC championship game. Jimmy Johnson's Starlite Express had trounced the Niners in the same game each of the previous two years. I somehow managed to get tickets (still the only NFL game I've ever attended). After the Niners had wrapped up the glorious victory, my friend Dug and I, giddy on the volatile mixture of marijuana and Piccolo Pete's roast beef sandwiches, climbed onto the field. While Steve Young did victory laps around the perimeter of the field, screaming about monkeys clawing out his eyes or something, Dug and I played catch with a Nerf ball at midfield. At some point, cornerback Eric Davis wandered by, and I patted him on the shoulder pad, slurring something like "Good job, ace." Eric Davis is extremely short. He was only up to my waist. Odd.

Late update: "Broadway Corn Chips" makes good on the guarantee. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Blue Sun

I was in Mongolia last summer. There's plenty of time to discuss My Summer Vacation in subsequent posts, but this simply cannot wait, because I just remembered it.

Ulaanbaatar is a strange city, flat & industrial & post-Soviet with a fetal spirit of capitalism emerging amid the decaying apartment buildings. This is still a predominantly nomadic country: even in the capital city, the "suburbs" are composed of gers (traditional felt tents) by the thousand (recent emigrants from the countryside who are quite likely to return to livestock herding if city life doesn't work out). Many restaurants and businesses are not exactly in high-traffic areas; they're just as likely to be in a sheltered courtyard, far from any street or sidewalk.

One day I followed a series of hand-painted red arrows to the dingy basement of an apartment building in one such courtyard. This was the Blue Sun Mongolian Contemporary Art Studio & Center. Really, it was just a bunch of guys hanging out and getting drunk on freely poured Chinggis vodka. [Incidentally, unlike Chinggis vodka, Chinggis beer is not bad. Check out their "virtual testing Chinggis beer" website. Like a horde of warriors thundering across the corpse-strewn steppes-- a simile courted by the website developer-- it will rock your world.] Oh, and a coupla paintings. They were kind enough to get me drunk as well, a phenomenon that took perhaps seconds to occur. The fellas were friendly but bewildered: they'd been open a week, and I was the very first gallery visitor. No wonder they were getting wasted. Did I have art-loving Western friends? Could I please direct them to the gallery? I couldn't really solve their attendance problem at the time; I could only get drunk and sway back & forth. But I'm trying to make up for it now. Art-loving Western friends, go visit the Blue Sun Gallery. Follow the red arrows; it's near the UB Guesthouse.

Don't remember the guy's name, but I met someone who claimed to be Mongolia's first performance artist. He dressed up in a black suit & tie, smeared mud all over his body & head, and wandered around Ulaanbaatar. Thusly do Western cultures & values progress inexorably around the world, illuminating all dark corners with the gentle light of freedom.

It's A Very Rickey Day

Don't know how I missed it, but a friend just passed me the 9/12/05 New Yorker article by David Grann on Rickey Henderson's season with the Surf Dawgs (couldn't find a link). Made it seem more tragic than it probably is.

I fucking love Rickey.

Also: Yard Work on Rickey. Yard Work!

And this piece of bittersweet news that I read a coupla days ago, and meant to post: Billy Beane may offer Rickey a one-day contract with the A's so he may retire in the green & gold. Damn. Rickey wants to play every day. Rickey don't like it when Rickey can't find Rickey's limo.

And this bit of the funny that cites both articles.

Finally, Googling has unearthed photos from some guy's field trip to Rickeyville.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Content Solutions Facilitator

Fake headlines: easy target, I know. Since I'm thin on material today & feeling frisky, let's recycle an old chestnut from an IM conversation while we continue the tired conceit of CornchipsandpieSelect. Here's what you're missing!

Jim J. Bullock a Playwright? Yes, and Savvier Than You Might Think

Personal Shopper: Bling, Black, and Beyond [ok, this one's real]

The Hunt: A Couple Seeks The Perfect Home, Then Is Devoured By Tigers
Hard Truths: You Will Never Have Enough Money to Give a Shit About Real Estate

White, Chewy, and Meaty: Could It Be Pork? You Bet
Fortified Wine: A New Look at an Old Favorite

Topeka Journal: There Is Fat Between the Coasts
High vs. Low: Napa Valley Armed Only With a Shillelagh and a Fierce Sense of Class Injustice

Most E-Mailed
Op-Ed Columnist: George Bush Is A Bad Man
Whimsical Scientific Study Illuminates Aspect of Human Sexuality
It's Hard to Find a Good Nanny

If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, not funny.

Not-to-do list. Found on Old Hag.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

David Brooks' Personal Hygiene Diary

7:15 am: Brushed teeth, showered, evacuated bowels; not necessarily in that order. Some secrets will go to my grave with me.
8:00 am: Forestalled any incipient choad infection by rhythmic, abrading application of nylon rope soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Q: Can one be too careful with the choad? A: That's a layup. No.
8:05 am: Time to address the blackheads. Hello, Biore nose strip. Goodbye, waxy buildup. Before removing strip, pretended to be an athlete wearing a Breathe-Right strip. Made "intimidation" face into mirror.
8:10 am: Almost ready for productive day inserting my tongue into the asshole of President Bush and pointing out foibles of rich, white liberals. But first: groomed landing strip.
8:30 am: Go-time. Kick the tires & light the fires. Lock & load. Vamos a "do this thing."

[14-day free trial of CornchipsandpieSelect!]


Just saw Barry drive a pitch into the upper deck of RFK; I think it caromed off of George Will's Adam's apple. (Throw the ball, George!) Incidentally, what is it that makes Livan Hernandez so infuriating? Yes, he's fat, but I love fat people. Looooove them. No, I think it's the way he always smells of vinegar.
Barry on his critics: " . . . To me, anybody who has to go out of their way to say something negative about someone else, they're in a lot more pain than I am." Can this be true? Unfortunately, yes. I dwell in a constant state of suffering.

Note to CornchipsandpieSelect subscribers: inaugural installment of David Brooks' Personal Hygiene Diary coming tomorrow.