Thursday, September 28, 2006

Exchange rate

In denying that Terrell Owens tried to kill himself yesterday, his publicist Kim Etheredge said "Terrell has 25 million reasons to live," a reference to the size of his contract.

This means that a super chicken burrito from El Castillito on Market & Church in San Francisco is about 4.95 reasons to live. This seems about right.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And Introducing... Joe Don Baker

If I ever find the man responsible for preventing me from seeing Cool Hand Luke until now, I will make him pay dearly.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

No question

There's no question. There's no question.

Late Update: there may be some question. Remain alert.

The Wide World of Sports

Sunday musings on matters relating to athletics:

  • I love Milton Bradley and I also love Ken Macha for putting him in a bear hug and carrying him away from a possible manslaughter charge. Though the photo doesn't show it, Macha actually lifted Bradley off the ground while Bradley's legs kicked in comical fury.
  • Worst, least compelling SF Giants team since 1996. I root for the uniform, not the men inside. Shea Hillenbrand, Steve Finley, Armando Benitez, Lance Niekro, Randy Winn, Jason Ellison, several others: please go away next year. Pedro Feliz, please stick around just so I can affectionately hate you.
  • Wrt the road to 7-9: life is nothing but a series of self-improvement efforts, right? I feel like I'm not an attentive enough football fan, so I'm thinking about joining a fantasy league. I want to have an effortless understanding of stuff like Philly's D-line rotation so I can predict the effect of Jevon Kearse's injury on the pass rush today. Only then will I be tolerated by my associates at various water-coolers of which I might choose to avail myself. My ascot, velvet pants, and pince-nez set me at a considerable disadvantage when attempting to "rap" with the "fellas," and I need every trick I can muster.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blog is void

Two monks were arguing about whether their train was moving. One said: “Our train is moving.” The other said: “The train on the tracks next to us is moving.” The Sixth Patriarch happened to be walking down the aisle. He asked them: “Would I look good in short shorts?”
-Red Boldface

[Wu-hsin] is a state of wholeness in which the mind functions freely and easily, without the sensation of a second mind or ego standing over it with a club.
-Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

Corn Chips & Pie is nothing if not a manifestation of this club. But all this regulating and grasping exhausted me & left me at a breaking point. At first, I tried to drop all self-consciousness and pretense, all stratagems and striving, all purposeful thought. In a classic blunder, I redirected my endeavors toward the pursuit of spontaneity. But then I realized that I was like the monk riding a horse in search of the horse. I am Buddha-nature already. There is nothing but CC&P, and CC&P is nothing. It follows, of course, that everything is former A's outfielder Dwayne Murphy. The reader can easily see that Dwayne Murphy can only exist in relation to his opposite, Frank Bruni critic Jules Langbein. If Langbein is the Antichrist, then we must fight her with everything we've got. But frankly, I don't have the stomach for a protracted fight. So I think I'm pretty much gonna stay the course; there's too much uncertainty in all this philosophizing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quick hits from a crab-shell pipe

  • Tableau: a Baltimore city bus crosses an intersection. The intersection appears to be within a disaster area: boarded-up houses, trash, homeless junkies. The side of the bus has an ad for The Wire, which is set in Baltimore and is a source of not inconsiderable pride here: "They fought a war on drugs. The drugs won." Above the intersection, mounted on a pole, the word "BELIEVE" adorns a 24-hour security camera with a hellish, blinking, blue light.
  • Never wash anything. Washing only ruins things. Vibrant colors fade, elasticity is lost, length is contracted, midriffs become exposed, phone numbers become blurred beyond recognition. Filthiness is integrity.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Riding with the rich

The Special Lady lives in NY, and I live in Baltimore. Hence: travel. From my previous stint in DC, I have become achingly familiar with all modes of transport from this region to Manhattan, and I can assure you that they are not equal in quality.

Worst: Greyhound. Not even close. Do you like hanging out in the DC Greyhound terminal? Do you like delays & defective buses? Do you like being slapped in the face by a defective restroom door? Do you like inhaling vaporized urine while your seatmate crashes from his methamphetamine high and starts to angrily poke you with his erect penis? Do you like bus drivers who take breaks from driving on I-95 to grab a pack of smokes at the Chesapeake House rest stop? If so, Greyhound is for you.

Second-worst: Chinese/Jewish bus. Can be good, but quality is highly variable. Taking the bus from Baltimore is a serious bitch, however, as it requires hanging out in the "Travel Plaza."

Third-worst: Driving. And here we're talking about driving my 1989 Honda Civic with 243,000 miles on it. Music/radio options are technologically limited to my lone remaining tape (R.E.M.'s "Eponymous") or Mike and the motherfucking Mad Dog. You see the problem.

Fourth-worst: Flying. Gone are the days of the cheap & quick DC-NYC shuttle, sadly.

Least Worstest: Amtrak. So easy. Silky-smooth. Penn Station to Penn Station. And so damned expensive. Seatmates are drawn from a different social stratum than are Greyhound seatmates. It was almost parodic. My seatmate on the way up was a headshrinker who was writing her keynote speech (about "countertransference") for some headshrinker conference. On the way down, it was a amiably roly-poly opera lover of Chinese descent who spoke with a thick Jamaican accent. He was a Kingston-raised NIH biochemist who jets up to NY every weekend to catch opera. He kept forcing me to listen to his Bose noise-canceling headphones & then he explained the plots of Carmen and Parsifal to me. He nearly wept when quoting scenes of particular emotional content. Now: compare him to Mr. Poky Poky on Greyhound.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I run for half an hour to catch rabbit. Cunning rabbit.

I was watching Down By Law the other night (and, by the way-- the "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream" scene gives me more unbridled glee than any other scene in movies, except for perhaps the occasional Jackie Chan stunt). Anyhow, there was a knock on my window & it was a blogger pal, whose visitation was one of the odd, geeky, & pleasant consequences of having started this blog. But upon hearing the knock, I assumed it was a crack addict. I live in an alley; in fact, I am the only person on my block, and thus a focal point for the streams of homeless guys who flow up & down my alley like ions along a copper wire. They forage through garbage & mutter to themselves & to me, also much like ions along a copper wire. So you see, the simile is excellent.

When I moved in, I threw away many items, among them a spiral notebook with a pretty picture of a pony on it. I'd bought this notebook in Kampala, Uganda, when I needed something for a journal, but never used it. The cover said something like "Dare To Dream." One of the homeless guys wandering up my alley was clutching this notebook several days later. I know it makes no sense, but I felt an odd start & then a kind of kinship with this guy, since we'd both picked out the same item in vastly differing circumstances.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Pop quiz: what is the relationship between these two items? 1) In Jonathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude, the lead characters bear the ponderously laden names of Dylan Ebdus (white Jewish wedge for gentrification) and Mingus Rude (promising black student turned crack addict prisoner). 2) Near the end of Fortress of Solitude, Lethem says something like "Things are what they are, no matter how many names they have." Write your answers in strict mathematical notation and present them to me after class along with your phone number and a nude photo.

Here in Baltimore, symbolism is outré. Right? How else would you explain a bar called exactly what it is: The Drinkery? Before I moved here, DR talked up The Drinkery, telling me that if it still exists, I must check it out. And so I did. Before entering, I remembered a few of her desciptors of the place: "sleazy," "shithole," "place where a dozen men sag from their barstools in a stupor that transcends mere drunknness and achieves a kind of freedom from the cycle of grasping and desire." Of course, I'd forgotten "gay," which lacuna in my memory was immediately filled upon entering the place. My ear was also filled, but with a red-nosed man's tongue rather than with anything from memory's well. Once is enough, thanks. And besides, Baltimore is not exactly lacking other dive bars to explore.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Road to 7-9, Week 2

I didn't get a chance to watch yesterday's 49ers-Cardinals game. Most respectable football fans would not couch it in those terms, but would say something like "I eschewed yesterday's 49ers-Cardinals game." Nonetheless-- and notwithstanding the billion-to-one odds given the Niners to win the Super Bowl-- I predict respectability for this year's squad.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Keeping energetic & healthy

Main Ingredients: Rye, purple yam, pumpkin seed, red unpolished rice, pasture, grape seed, ginseng, pearl barley, snow lotus, pearl, green unpolished rice, spinach, blueberry, wheat germ, red flat bean, rapeseed, wild rice, burdock, green lily flower, oat, black bean, pearl rice, osmanthus, black sesame, lotus root, astralagus henryl, red berry, seaweed, bitter melon, lily bulb, green tea, red pearl barley, black fungus, gingko nut, cranberry, chrysanthemum, laver, apple chip, red berry, buckwheat, and glucose.

Additives: Soy lecithin, vita yeast powder, Chinese caterpillar fungus, calcium lactate, etc.

I call bullshit. Everyone knows you're not supposed to mix astralagus henryl and Chinese caterpillar fungus. And what's with the "etc."? Is the remainder of the series meant to be self-explanatory? "...magnesium difulsurpantsinate, tortoise sweat, apricot, yellow no. 7, meat."

"The addition of milk or juice will make it have a unique flavor."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


A natural conclusion to draw from a) the recent silence here and b) recent news would be that I am/was Steve Irwin. Coincidentally, I did just remove a stingray spine from my heart; however, I am alive and well. Blogging will resume in good time, in good time.