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?