Saturday, May 31, 2003

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday: I related something similar to what happened yesterday in my blog last spring. Maybe it's a seasonal thing. I was standing, along with a lady, at the bus stop outside my apartment yesterday waiting to catch my morning ride to work. A car pulls up and a couple of blank eyed jesus freaks slither out of the car clutching those pamphlets that tell you all the ways god will send you to hell if you don't submit to their brainwashing.

The lady standing at the bus stop with me is a pleasent lady in her 40's that uses a cane to walk. She's closer to the freaks and can't move too fast so she doesn't have a chance. They swoop onto her. As they start pulling out those goddamn pamphlets she gives me that look the wildebeast in the jaws of the croc gives to the one scurrying up the opposite bank. She's too nice to say no to these leeches and she gives them her time. After I catch her eye I immediately turn my bank on the horror and become very engrossed in the book I was reading.

Just as the bus is pulling up and they release their victim one comes over to me and says "would you like something else to read also?" You have to admire their unlimited gall in the face of obvious displeasure. I say, "No, thanks."

I allow the nice lady with the cane on the bus first. She is holding one of the pamphlets. She says to me, "You got off easy!" and she cackles jovially.

I say to her, "They pick on us at the bus stop because they know we can't leave."

Today

I got me a new bed a few days ago. It's a queen-sized behemoth that takes up almost one-quarter of the floor space in my bedroom. For the longest time I had a single bed and had forgotten the joys of a nice large bed. What a delight it is to really stretch out. I need to hurry up and get a girlfriend so I can break the new bed in.

This morning I woke up somewhere between 2 and 6 am. I was on my back and my orange cat, Gallagher the Invincible, was curled up in the crook of my left arm. He was using my elbow as a pillow. It was very cute but a little startling. I can't fall asleep on my back buy I always wake up there. Number one on a new list of ten things you may not know about me nor care to.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

A quote

"That spring - in the same month - Martin Luther King had been assassinated and Hair had opened on Broadway; the summer of '68 suffered from what would become the society's commonplace blend of the murderous and the trivial."

John Irving, "A Prayer For Owen Meany."
Poor guy

One of our regulars called today. He's old WWII vet that can't hear, has diabetes and has short term memory loss. He's a hoot, let me tell you.

He called today and wanted me to find out who his doctor was. He was seeing a doctor to get some tests and he couldn't remember the doctor's name or the clinic he works at. All he could remember was the street and block number the clinic was on and what floor the doctor's office was on. After a couple minutes of sleuthing I was able to determine the doctor he was seeing and give him a number. What was this particular doctor testing him for you may ask? Alzheimer's, of course.
Jimmy Santiago Baca

A quote from an interview from January 2003: "There are so many people who have secrets, but their secrets are all the same. I just want to tell them, I'm here to share this with you, and I want you to co-author a solution with me."

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Back to the ole drawing board

Don't you just hate it when you have a great idea for a book and some asshole beats you to it!?

Monday, May 26, 2003

A night at the dirt track, part II

Since there were about six series that ran on Saturday night I won't go into a lot of detail about them all. I'll just tell you about the featured series of the night which is called superstock.

The superstock series was the division that looked, drove and souned most like the stock cars you see racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup series. It also seemed to consist of the drivers that the fans in attendance were the most familiar and enthusiastic about. The final feature race had a purse of $2,000 that would be awarded to the winner. My informant next to me told me that the usual purse for the superstock in $700 and that may explain the chaos of the final race.

Before the finals of each series they had to qualify by driving in "heats." Depending on the size of the field they would hold two heats for each series and take the top drivers from each heat and put them in the finals.

The final race of the superstock event consisted of 16 drivers. Before the 30 lap event was over there were about seven cars. The attrition rate was very high. There was a lot of slamming and banging and crashing which raised the crowd into fever pitch. I have to give these drivers a lot of credit they were fearless. They would drive their cars hard into each corner and execute these amazing slides through the turns. The noses of the cars would be pointed toward the inside wall and they would be gassing the cars all the way through while leaning on the car next to them. I think there were more wrecks because the large purse was causing drivers to hang it out a bit more than usual. Maybe not, I'll let you know if they always drive with such abandon the next time I go.

As the race progressed it came down to two cars. One driver had the faster car but the driver on his ass seeemed to be a better driver. He had a daring pass with two laps to go and took the lead. He had the race one but lost control for a second coming out of turn 4 on the white flag lap and lost the lead on the final lap. For the last few laps the crowd screamed, howled and jumped around like it was the last lap at the Daytona 500. It was intoxicating and their enthusiasm was picked up and echoed by Chris and me.

I have to say that this experience reminded me a lot of the trip Chris, Wendell and I took to a juke joint in Mississippi back in 1997. Like the juke joint it was rural, local, friendly, loud with a lot of energy and booze. I encourage anyone who reads this to contact me and come along the next time we go. You will have fun.
The most recent coolest thing ever or Ed goes to a dirt track race in Lancaster, SC

Chris and I had been discussing going to a dirt track race for a while. We realized that we enjoy major league baseball and we also attend the occasional minor baseball game so why shouldn't we take our NASCAR fandom to a local level also? After talking about going for a few months Chris got a Saturday off from work and we took a trek south to the Lancaster Speedway located in Lancaster, SC.

The Lancaster Speedway is a half mile high-banked track carved out of the Carolina clay. It's a bare boned facility which is probably running barely in the black but it is a very efficient operation. We were initially struck by how many people were in attendance. At one point in the evening the announcer mentioned that there were over one thousand fans in the stands. I think he mentioned later that the gate was 1,100.

After we arrived and the local police officer checked our coolers to determine we were not carrying bottles we grabbed a seat a few yards beyond the start/finish line. We ended up sitting about halfway up and a major thoroughfare of the grandstands was right in front of us. Most of the traffic consisted of children running back and forth to the playground and that was almost as entertaining as the racing on the track. I was constantly afraid I would stretch at the wrong moment and clothesline a four-year-old.

The first on-track action was a short testing session for each series that was referred to as "hot laps." There were around six series racing that night. Each series, or division, is determined by experience and type of cars being run. There is not much explanation from the announcer as to the difference between the divisions but you could tell some divisions had faster racecars and the drivers of the faster cars were obviously more experienced.

I was also able to determine the rules of the events by quizzing a guy sitting next to us with his handsome family and beautiful wife. He looked like Dale Jarrett was a petite and very southern blonde lady. She had that beautiful country accent that could have melted ice in the freezer. Before the night ended I was in love. Later when Chris and I were enthusiastically telling each other how much fun we were having he said "It doesn't hurt that the prettiest woman here is sitting next to you." I had to agree.

What was readily apparent as the evening wore on was that the whole affair is very local. People were constantly waving to friends as they moved through the stands, shouting out to their peeps and clusters of people who were sitting together were turning around to discuss the events occuring on the track with those around them. The community connections did not end in the stands. All the drivers were local boys and the fans knew who they were. The Jarrett look-alike with the handsome family told me that several drivers were friends of his and one was an employee that drove a tractor on his farm. He even told me he was a co-sponsor one of the cars in the featured series, called superstock, through a convenience store chained he partially owned.
Before I arrived I expected something like minor league baseball. Instead I witnessed an event that is more closely related to American Legion baseball that used to permeate the south. This was local men putting their asses on the line for the thrill of competition in front of their friends and family. It reminded me of the softball league in northern Michigan in which my father participated in the 70's. Hundreds of locals would show up then and cheer on local heroes also.

That's enough for now. Chris and I are settled in. We've watched the hot laps, talked to a couple of folks and we are very excited about watching the races to come. I finish this tomorrow.




Friday, May 23, 2003

Bonus blog entry

I wrote this review of an Iggy Pop show I went to in 2001. It was a form letter I sent to friends. It was also before I had a blog. I present it now for your enjoyment.

Iggy Pop
Monday Oct 29, 2001. Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte.

It's impossible for me to capture the vitality of what I witnessed Monday night but here goes: Iggy came onstage shirtless and bouncing like a child. He never stopped moving throughtout the evening. It was like every demon in his soul was trying to punch its way out through his skin and he had to keep moving to keep them off balance. He addressed the crowd as "fuckers" continually but the word did not have a perjorative feel to it. It was the same form of the word you use to address your best friend.

The first song they played was "Mask" which is the first cut off his new album. "You're wearin' a mask! Which mask are you?"
He played about four songs off the new album. They all went over pretty well except for a song called "Howl" which, as the
title implies, requires a lot of howling.

The highlights of the show were "Search and Destroy" and "I Wanna be your Dog." The second featured a stage diving Iggy and an improptu crowd sing along of the chorus while Iggy crouched at the front of the stage bouncing up and down on his haunches.

Like most high-energy performers there is the stigma of violence that surrounds Iggy. Violence had nothing to do with Monday's
performance. It was a celebration of just being alive and Iggy knows that nothing makes you feel more alive than a little danger. It's not his trips into personal oblivion that made his appearance an event, it was his eclipsing of that persona that was so powerful. It's health and the limitless joy at just breathing that is important. Not being a survivor. Not the "isn't is amazing that he's still alive?" pose. Iggy Pop doesn't consider it any particular miracle he's still around. He is and he's playing rock and roll and having a good
time and entering into the temple of rock and roll ecstacy and wants to "take you there with me" as Bruce Sprigsteen said in New York.

He ended the show with "No Fun" which confused me since I was having fun and so was he and all the people around me. Certain things may suck about this world and often it is "No Fun" but that isn't any reason why 600 devotees and one manic 54 year old
can't celebrate for a little while.
Field Day

We're in the open squad bay in a long narrow building. Cale and I are getting out of our camouflage utilities and preparing to put on shorts and ratty t-shirts so we can begin our field day. At the far end of the squad in an area occupied by our to corporals one of them, which we will call the freckled dork, is spouting silly marine non-commisioned officer nonsense. He saying pointless things like "let's go marines," " the sooner we get started the sooner we can finish," "let's get motivated and get this done right the first time" and "the company gunnery sergeant is coming through tomorrow and I don't want to be embarrassed."

As often happens, Cale and I had a new saying that just permeated our conversations. One of those childish and often crude phrases that get funnier for no other reason but repetition. We often bought lottery tickets and I claimed that if I won I would by a Corvette and my vanity license plate would have this phrase.

After the corporal finished spewing his nonsense Cale uttered our saying just loud enough for the freckled dork to hear. He said, "Eat me."

The freckled dork corporal shrieked like a spoiled rich girl who'd just been told her homely date stood her up. "Who said that!? Johnson, was that you!?"

Cale smiled like a ten year old pulling a cat's tail, "Wadn't me corporal."

The freckled dork stepped out from behind the press-board wall lockers that seperated the non-commisioned officer sanctuary from the land of the non-rates. He has the blouse of his utilities off and is standing shirtless with his cloth belt undone. Even his white stomach has freckles. "I know that was you, Johnson."

"Wadn't me, corporal," Cale says and he continues to dress. I'm trying not to crack up.

"If it wasn't you then who was it?"

"I don't know but it wasn't me."

The freckled dork is stumped. He stands where he is for a moment the turns back into his private chamber and continues to change his clothes. His lame utterances have stopped, for a while.
Reason #4,564,376,343 that when aliens arrive they will exterminate us

#4,564,376,343.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

the best catch I ever made

To offset the drinking entry from yesterday I will add a story about the season I spent on my company's softball team when I was in Okinawa. I was in the communications company of the headquarters battalion of 3rd FSSG. I think that's how it was set up. However you slice it, I was in the communications company and the camp I was in was called Camp Kinser. It was probably named after a dead young person. That's how the marine corps works. You ain't shit unless you're dead. Once you're dead they name all kinds of stuff after you. There's hardly an alley or building on any Marine Corps base that isn't named after someone who died gloriously for god and for corps.

I don't remember the specific game in which my best catch took place. I do know that it was a day game and I was playing right-center field. In case you don't know, slow pitch softball uses four outfielders.

The softball field was located on a narrow plain beneath a row of steep rocky hills. Home plate faced out towards the coral reef and the constant surf. Between the outfield fence and the sea was a small covered picnic area and a few tables scattered around in the manicured grass.

Before I joined this softball team I was a first baseman and it took me a while to get used to playing the outfield. In fact in the first few games I muffed a couple of easy fly balls because I was nervous and we were playing at night. Playing at night when you are nervous is a lot different than practicing during the day. Eventually I discovered that I could pick up the ball better off the bat in right center and that is where they stuck me. Eventually I got better and played all four outfield positions but the best catch I ever made happened with me in right center.

The batter was right handed. He hit a shallow pop up into right center, of course. I started running in as soon as the ball left the bat. Sometimes you have to keep your ground on pop ups until you can determine where the ball is heading. This time without even thinking about I just started sprinting forward to where I thought the ball would land. I remember thinking initially that it was going to fall in for a hit and I was just trying to catch it on the bounce and keep the runners already on base from advancing. There were two outs so I had to move fast and get to the ball as quickly as I could. As I sprinted in the ball seemed to hang in the air and as I approached where the ball would land I realized I had a shot at catching the ball before it hit the ground. I picked up my speed a bit.

Moving in toward the ball I waited for the last second and dove onto the ground with my glove in front of me. I fully extended my body. My face was in the grass. When the ball hit my glove my eyes were closed and my hand closed around the ball reflexively. Since I had committed by body so fully to the ground I had no way to stop myself and I slid naturally to a stop, on my face.

I remember the right fielder, Sergeant Sparks, helping me to my feet and he had a strange look on his face. I'd never seen such an admiring look from someone so much older and more mature than me. Heck, he was my direct supervisor in the shop. My catch ended the inning and the moment that means the most to me in relation to the best catch I ever made was when our third baseman, who had spent time in the minors and was one of the top three athletes I ever played with, came over to me as we trotted into the dugout area and told me "that was the best fucking catch I've ever seen! At any level."
Only in America in 2003

A guy actually got booed offstage in a liberal arts college because he spoke out against war.

Here's a quote from Hedge's speech which helps explain why World War II so dominates our thoughts: "As this feeling dissipated in the weeks after the attack, there was a kind of nostalgia for its warm glow and wartime always brings with it this comradeship, which is the opposite of friendship. Friends are predetermined; friendship takes place between men and women who possess an intellectual and emotional affinity for each other. But comradeship -- that ecstatic bliss that comes with belonging to the crowd in wartime -- is within our reach. We can all have comrades."

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

My second alcoholic friend

There was a guy I knew when I was stationed in Okinawa. His name was Michael Edwards. He was the unofficial leader of the non-rates in our platoon. He's one of those guys that brings people together. If you hear about racial harmony in the armed forces, you are hearing hogwash. One of the few times it actually occurred was in the first six months of my duty in Okinawa and it was directly due to the infulence of Edwards. He got along with everyone and we all used him as a bridge to connect.

One of the ways in which he brought people together was by getting everybody drunk. I was told when I arrived in Okinawa that I would become one of three things: a Jesus freak, a fitness screw job or a drunk. They left out one option: getting off base and meeting people.

I once witnessed Edwards give a rendition of his famous seven reasons to drunk every day of the week. It went like this:

Friday: It's the beginning of the weekend! You don't have to be up early for two days. It's time to start drinking.
Saturday: It's Saturday, you're just simply supposed to get drunk.
Sunday: It's still the weekend and what do you do on weekends? That's right, get drunk.
Monday: Mondays suck so you might as well get drunk.
Tuesday: The day after Monday, it's still fucking early in the week you might as well drink.
Wednesday: Hump day! The weekend is in sight so have a drink to celebrate.
Thursday: The day before Friday. Hell at midnight it will be Friday! Time to drink.
Friday: Start over.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Stealing more stuff

Found this on Phil Proctor's website:

"WMD-MINUS

Rich De Maio writes that a friend who works for the San Francisco Chronicle saw this come over the wire:

"Fox News has reported that an empty plastic bucket has been found in the Iraqi desert. 'The five gallon bucket could be used to mix chemicals,' a source close to Fox News said.

'This bucket may be a key find in the hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction. You can definitely mix stuff in one of these.'"

Fox news. Making up the news as it happens."
more anti-bush stuff

How about a fake resume?
Charlotte the pathetic

OK, the city is building a $300 million basketball stadium. Pretty ridiculous by itself.

The county is going to close six libraries due to budget restrictions. How much, you may ask, is the library budget? Oh, somewhere between $20-25 million a year.

It's a sad comment on priorities where building a play pen for millionaire basketball players is more important than your citizens' desires to read, do career research and educate their children.

I'm outta this burg first chance I get.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Ed goes to the new Matrix movie or Kaboom!, Part II

Man, Keanu Reeves can't act.

Watching this movie last night I can't but help compare it to the superiour Shaolin Soccer. Shaolin Soccer was a great action movie with characters you emathized with. The Matrix Reloaded is fair action movie with some truly inspired action sequences and two dimensional characters.

The only memorable acting is done by Hugo Weaving who plays the role of the ressurected and vengeful agent Smith who seems bent on trying to steal whatever power Neo has over the matrix.

I do reccomend that when any character starts talking that you call someone on your cell phone. I have never heard so much faux philosophy in my life. There are some very long circular and pointless discussions about the nature of whatever is supposed to be happening. Can we just get to the next fight, please?

Two sequences really stand out.

First there is a great fight between Neo and Agent Smith in an inner city playground. Smith seems to be able to transform other agents into himself and Neo is attacked by a literal horde of Smiths. It gets more ludicrous and fantastic as it goes on.

The best scene, which is up there with the truck scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark and the chase scene in the drainage ditch in Terminator II, is a chase that takes place on a freeway that left me breathless. This sequence alone is worth viewing this movie. I think they should show that scene twice. Just rewind it after it ends. It's just that good. Hell, it ends with to tractor trailers plowing head on into each other and then blowing up. What more could you want?

What the Matrix needs is a crossover appearance by Woliverine from the X-Men. Now that would be cool.



Thursday, May 15, 2003

Roger Ebert does it again

On the new Matrix movie: "Part of the fun is becoming an expert in the deep meaning of shallow pop mythology; there is something refreshingly ironic about becoming an authority on the transient extrusions of mass culture, and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) now joins Obi-Wan Kenobi as the Plato of our age."
Ed goes to Bob Dylan

Last night I travelled to Asheveille, NC to see Bob Dylan, hence the bold print above. I went up there with Lenny, Jill and Mark Fed. We left out about five in Jill's car with Lenny at the helm. I guess he drove because he was the oldest of the tripsters. We managed to miss most of the rush hour traffic because Mark and Lenny grew up in Charlotte and knew some pretty good short cuts and we bypassed a lot of the I-85 west congestion near the middle of town.

We arrived in Asheville around 7:30 and we got inside the Asheville Civic Center early enough to mill around and find a good spot near the sound board. There were hippy girls everywhere. It was lovely. After we had staked out our spot David Childers walked with his wife, Linda. I had seen David Childers play music many times in Charlotte but this was the first time I really had a chance to converse with him. Both he and his wife are warm and friendly people and I like how his mind works. I was astonished to discover that he grew up listening to Detroit Tiger games on the radio, just like me.

The opening band was called the Waifs and they are from Australia. There a five piece with a drum, bass, guitar and two sisters on vocals and occasional guitar and one played a great harmonica. As opening bands go they were innocuous. It's hard to give a band a lot of your attention when you are waiting for Dylan. I was impressed by the Asheville crowd. They gave the band a lot of positive feedback. The young lady that played harmonica impressed me, it was very impassioned playing. There is a very fine line between good harmonica playing and god-awful noise. One song that they gave in into to impressed me a lot. It was about a train that ran the length of Australia after World War II that was called the "bridal train." It was called that because it transported women who had married American GI's to the eastern part of Australia so they could catch transportation to the states. It was based on the actual experience of their grandmother.

Before Dylan came out there was a new introduction. The previous intro used to be a simple "Ladies and Gentlemen, Columbia recording artist: Bob Dylan." The new intro, which he started using on his winter Australian tour, now consists of a parodical biography of Bob Dylan. It reads like a blurb in a music dictionary. It mentions his "forceful marriage of folk and rock," his iconic reputation, "he's the voice of a generation," "sunk into haze of substance abuse," "found Jesus and reemerged invigorated," "written off as a has been in the 80's," and "is now creating his most vibrant music ever." Something like that. It amused the crowd which is the point, I guess.

The show was fifth Dylan show I have seen and it was a solid performance all around by him and the band. As usual there were miscues which can happen when you have a bandleader that likes to change songs on a whim. It does proved an adventure for the band and the crowd. Highway 61 Revisited was especially fun, the dang song almost imploded but the band rescued it and actually fired it up and finished with a flurry.

The two highlights for me were two songs I had never heard Bob play live before. He played "Every Grain of Sand" which was recorded during his conversion to Christianity. The other song that was a great surprise was a song called "Blind Willie McTell" which is a brilliant song that was recorded during the sessions for his early 80's album Infidels. That song alone was worth the trip up there.

If it's possible to be disappointed by any portion of a Dylan show it's the two songs he plays for the encore. He always plays "Like a Rolling Stone" and "All Along the Watchtower" recently. I guess the songs are an allowance for the casual fan that is surprised that Bob Dylan is still alive and bought a ticket that morning. The performance of those songs was good and I am sure I would have enjoyed them more if I didn't have copies of recent shows and have studied set lists on the internet. Dang internet, it's ruining everything. But, it's alright. I am just glad he's still out there. Like Tom said once when Dylan came to Charlotte and Tom wouldn't go to the show, "I feel better just knowing he's in town."

If you read this whole thing, thanks.





Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Big life changing announcement!!

I am heading down to the grocery story to by kitty litter. Just wanted to let you know that I am not at work today and you are. Ha!

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Designer drugs in the house

Just a short while ago these two hot girls in their early 20's almost as tall as me came over to me at the reference desk with their bare bellies before them to ask me if I could show them how to answer an important health question. They also had some guy with them but who cares about him. They wanted to know what you do with the staples after you get your stomach stapled. Do you leave them in or do they come out eventually. Good god damn question. They actually couldn't get on the internet because none of them had their internet card or ID. I sent them over to the reference desk.

Judging from their goofy behavior and the male's mood swings I think they were on one of those exotic designer drugs. Probably that new one that makes you see the world in a pink hue and hear house music in your head.
Ever heard of Clenis

This is funny shit: "Clenis™ is Clinton's penis. It's the source of all evil. It was behind the Russian revolution, the Kennedy assasination, Watergate, and "Joe Millionaire." If you're not careful with it, it'll put your eye out.."

Blame Clenis!

Monday, May 12, 2003

Never enough of these

You can never have enough anti-Bush quotes in a blog:

"I thought that the defeat of the odious Taliban was handled surprisingly well. But George Bush's identification of all trouble with a single abstract noun – 'terror' – is characteristically silly. The main way I have changed is in my attitude to religion. I used to think religion was harmless nonsense, entitled to at least some respect. I'd now drop the 'harmless'. And the last vestige of respect."
-- Richard Dawkins
Cool site of the day

Ever wonder what a website would look like if a voracious reader kept track of every book he read since he was a child? Go here to find out.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Random high school football memories

Yes, I actually played football in high school. I even started after the debacle of my freshman year. Of course, it's easy to be a starter on a team that had 16 players. The high school I attended was called Glen Lake High School in Maple City, MI.

As a freshman I was a running back which was probably one of the worst coaching decisions in the history of organized sport. I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing and our coaching staff didn't know how to teach me. The varisty coach, Sherman Greider, used to scrimmage the junior varsity against his varsity team because the team was so small they had no one to pummel but the JV squad between games. I remember one practice I took a hand off and hit the middle and the senior middle lineback, Cliff Both, who was a man gave this freshman boy a helmet to helmet shot that sent panicked messages of alarm to every cell of my body. Every time that horrendous memory comes to me I thank god I can walk.

As sophomore I once scored two touchdowns in one game while playing wide receiver. The first was a short pass that I turned up field and split the defense, the second was a bomb I caught over my shoulder and then I ran like hell. I remember the varsity coach (who was new that year and knew what he was doing and brought in a staff that knew what it was doing) came to me before practice Monday and told me that he might consider giving me a shot at the varsity squad. I think I must have looked terrified because he never brought it up again.

I don't remember a lot of particulars of my junior-year football season. I do remember a cool photograph of me that appeared in the yearbook. The picture is of our quarterback, Greg Atkinson, running outside for a touchdown. You see a wide receiver wearing the number 88 from behind and he's throwing block on the opposing team's defensive back so Greg can scamper untouched into the endzone. The wide receiver? Me, of course.

My senior year offered me the biggest heartbreak I have ever experienced playing sports. With a team of 16, where most starters played offense and defense, we made the playoffs. We played the game during a snowstorm against a team called Beal City. They beat us 8-0. Their only score was on a long run that shouldn't have happened. Because of the weather we couldn't move the ball and neither could they. It should have gone into overtime where each team gets the ball at the ten yard line and you play it like extra innings in baseball. But it didn't. A couple of missed tackles and, boom, your season and football career is over. It's been a while since I have talked to any of my teammates about that game but I am certain not a single one of us has forgotten the sickening pain of losing our first and last football playoff game.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Cool Neal Pollack quote

"I have an audience of about 10,000 readers a week on my website. What fiction writer need dream of more readers than that?

One more quote, same interview:

Q: So, Mr. Pollack, if you could or were forced to thrust or shove three objects (physical, metaphysical, or quantum) up the arse of Mister President what would they be and why?

A: A Bible, just so he can see what it feels like for those of us who don't "believe," a football, because it would hurt, and a bag of pure cocaine, for old-time's sake. Then I'd call the DEA and they could cart him and his coke-filled ass away.
Nature Explorer

Ever wonder how your favorite animal or region is doing? You can check here.
The motherload

I hit the Amy Acuff picture jackpot.
Why do they laugh so?

It happens occasionally, usually on the phone becasue people are ruder anonymously. Funny how that works. It's the ole George Carlin asshole equation. The farther away a person is physically the bigger an asshole he is. Today I was trying to clarify a question from a patron because she asked a simple question in a convoluted manner and I just wanted to be sure to answer her question correctly. In order to be sure I was looking for the correct information I stated her question in a simpler and more straight forward way. After I did that she laughed at me and said sarcastically, "Uh, yeah."

Thursday, May 08, 2003

400,000 souls scream to be set free

Is it just me or is the practice of freezing and saving human embryos just a little creepy. What if you were a soul and you get queued up to slip into an embryo and that embryo gets frozen? You could be stuck in limbo for years waiting for that embryo to blossom or to be destroyed. It's just not fair to those unborn souls. We need to protect the rights of our incorporeal brothers and sisters.
Captain Kangaroo's real name

For some reason I have been getting hits from somone and someones who want to know what Captain Kangaroo's real name was. Hey, kids, his real name was Bob Keeshan. If you want a second opinion look here and here.
Mother Russia statue

Are you familiar with this? There is just something about this statue along with what it symbolizes that I find very moving.

Allow me to repeat myself

In the last couple of days I have read three graphic novels. Well, actually two. One of the books I read was a collection of monthly comics bound into a book form but it read like a graphic novel.

I have to say that I am more and more impressed with the quality of writing and artwork in these newer comics. Some of them are stunning pieces of work that have involved a lot of imagination and effort.

I finished up today a graphic novel writting by Kurt Busiek that was illustrated with realism by Alex Ross called "Marvels." These names are new to me. Like I said, I am late in appreciating the artistry that has been occuring in comics. This book traces the history of the Marvel comic universe from 1939 until the death of Spiderman's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. I think this took place in the late sixties because I read the graphic novel with the original surprisingly boring of the Gwen Stacy death and it included a fairly disingenuous story of drug addiction. The treatment of the drug addiction in the comic reminded me of how the old TV show Dragnet treated the same type of storyline.

The graphic novel Marvels is an amazing retelling of the history of the Marvel universe. It works on the same level as The Lord of the Rings and the first Star Wars movie wherein all the action is viewed through the eyes of those deemed the weakest. The history of Marvel is told throught he eyes of a photojournalist who is just starting out in 1939 and is on the verge of retirement by the time Gwen Stacy dies while Spiderman is battling the Green Goblin. I have to give kudos to Busiek for giving the character of Gwen a much better treatment than she was given in the original story. In this graphic novel her death is tragic rather than a convenient story line. It's a masterpiece.
Fud for Thawt

"Father, I grieve- But I love your enemies very much."

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Kaboom

Wendell and I went and saw X-Men 2 on Sunday. I think "kaboom" sums up the movie best. It went "kaboom" quite a bit. The story was loose even for a comic book. Once again Roger Ebert has the ability to sum the movie up better than I can, "I tried to experience the film entirely in the present, and the fact is, i had a good time. Dumb, but good."

To me the best scene of the movie was the opening scene where the newly introduced character Nightcrawler breaks into the oval office in an attempt to assassinate the president with a knife. It had a lot of tension and action and was a sequence that Spielberg would have been proud of.

As with the first movie the focus, whether intended or not, seems to be on Wolverine, one of the greatest comic book characters ever. Like Ian McKlellen as Gandalf in the Lord of Rings, the X-Men franchise would not have the energy it does without Hugh Jackman playing the role of Wolverine. In fact if he steps down I will lose most of my interest in any future X-Men movie. There is a scene where government agents invade the headquarters of the X-Men in an attempt to shut it down. SOP for the government in movies and real life nowadays. During the battle I believe Wolverine kills over twenty people. I assume he killed them, it's not shown plainly whether or not the thugs he sticks with his admantium claws are dead or not but you gotta think most of them met their maker that night. I was a little surprised the film makes allowed such a high body count but it does follow the rage and combat training that make up the character of Wolverine.

I was also pleased to see Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in her role as Mystique given a larger role in this film. She has an allure and brattines about her that has nothing to do with her stunning body and her near-nakednes. The smugness she portrays on the jet as she relates to Magneto her attempted seduction of Wolverine the previous night is palpable.

Movie Guy was in the theatre that evening also and he was bitterly disappointed by the movie. Maybe he went in expecting a story. With the high expectations of an actual plot you couldn't help but be disappointed, I reckon. Luckily my hope were not that high so I able to enjoy the explosions and fights.
The Happiest Day of my Life

This is a new topic for my blog. I will list various days that qualify as the happiest of my life up to that point in time.

May 12, 1992

That day I discovered, at a Charlotte area Food Lion, that you could purchase jumbo-sized eggs.



Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Oh, Intervention

"Those of us who may be persuaded by the laughable claim that U.S. intervention abroad works should reconsider some of the brutal facts of history: By 1973, America's military adventure in Vietnam had done little to stop the advance of the Communists (who were instead transformed into heroic martyrs thanks to the persecution they suffered at the hands of the Americans and their South Vietnamese crony allies) and had cost that country dearly. The only thing they left behind was a monumental body count of nearly two million Vietnamese killed as a result of U.S. ambitions abroad. Among the other things they left behind were fields littered with landmines and laced with chemical poisons like Agent Orange -- till this day, Vietnamese villagers are giving birth to children that are deformed, born without arms, legs, eyes or other vital organs, thanks to the U.S. use of weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction."

By Dr. Farish A. Noor printed in Yellow Times.

Sons o' bitches

I wrote a letter to the opinion page of the Observer yesterday so I could thank the organizers of a Taste of Charlotte for my 1 1/2 hour bus ride home Friday. They printed the letter but in doing so chopped it all to hell and now it has no personality at all. It had lots of personality in its original form. Sons o' bitches.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Nothing should be done in secret

Here's why. What a dick.
Lost Weekend

Friday: played guitar with the fellas. Chris came by and we were set to do a serious recording session. A occasional player and old friend came by after expressing a strong desire to "lay down some tracks" over the phone. He comes by, he's already half drunk and he proceeds to get shitfaced and belligerant. Outcome: ruined recording session and one pissed off Wendell.

Saturday: Nerdfest II. Not quite Hedonism II but just as exhausting. Dutch was kind enough to let me come along to see Bookpimp's new homestead for a marathon session of Axis and Allies. We actually played two games. Michael ran Germany into the ground quicker than we thought possible and then we played another game where I controlled Germany. I lost, of course. We've all taken a turn losing as Germany. There's got to be a way to win as Germany. I'm thinking an early amphibious assault on England along with a big wolfpack sub force might do the trick.

Sunday: Holy shit, my room is filthy. This is what I thought Sunday morning. I was up fairly early. I went to the store for eggs, cooked me up a nice breakfast and then cleaned the hell out of my room. It took a couple hours but after I finished it went from looking like a high schooler's room to looking like a college student's room. Diana was in town and she and I went to birthday party this couple we know was having for their 2-year-old. Other couples brought their two-year-olds. I haven't been around that many toddlers in a very long time. The experience did allow me to play my favorite two-year-old game: the toy trader. You have two or more toys and spend the next ten minutes exchanging the items back and forth. You give her the plastic ball, she gives you the counting toy. You give her the counting toy back and she gives you the plastic ball. Repeat. It's good bartering practice for the child.

Friday, May 02, 2003

My step brother, the boy with silver in his eyes

I won't go into my convoluted childhood history. Let's just say I had a step brother. His name was Scott Mcleish. For a while we were bestest friends. There was a couple year period where the every other weekend I spent at my Dad's place was the highlight of my week because I got to hang out with Scott. I have always remembered the ache I felt as a child not having access to another boy my age. Play dates that parents arrange makes sense to me after my childhood. When my father remarried and his new wife had a son two years older than me I was probably happier than my dad.

One of the first things I that comes to mind when I think about Scott was his uncanny talent for spotting money on the ground. We could be walking around the softball field at Craven Park in Bellaire, MI and he would ston in mid stride and pull a nickel or a dime or a rare quarter out of the dirt the surrounded the clumps of grass that surrounded the playing field.

His talent became an obsession and he when he walked his head would always be on the ground. I never found money that way. I think I was too busy looking around, a talent that often got me in hot water in boot camp at times you were supposed to be staring straight ahead. Eventually you learned to look around by only moving your eyes. Scotts obsession led him to request, as a Christmas gift from his maternal grandparents, a metal detector. He loved his metal detector. Initially he wanted to find money and then he learned you could find items other than mere coins. You could find Hot Wheels cars, rings, watches and soda can tabs. You could find enough soda can tabs to build a car with.

Scott let me use his metal detector on occasion and I remember one time at a beach I found a silver coin that was about the size of a quarter. Scott got very excited, "You found a quarter, Eddie!" Quarters were hard to come by in 1979, they was worth something then. Then we noticed from the polyhedral shape of the object that it wasn't a quarter. From the sand I pulled a shiny new Susan B. Anthony dollar! My goodness, not only was it new and special, in 1979 you could by two comics with a fucking dollar, man.

I remember how thrilled we were to pull this dollar coin out of the beach sand and Scott being as excited about the find as I was. He did desire to demand the quarter from me since it was his metal detector that alerted me to its location but the rule was whoever was holding the detector got to keep what was dug up. I don't remember what I spent the dollar but I do know I didn't have it for very long.
Looking for content

That's it, I'm out of ideas. I have used every single one of my life's experiences for this blog. I got nothing left. The well is dry. The tide is out. The moon of inspiration has been eclipsed. This meteor has meteorited into the sea. This bird has flown. It's been a long time coming. Teach your children well. Third stone from the sun. The glacier has receded up the mountain. The leaves have fallen from the tree. A brush fire took the leaves. The fire has byrned itself out. The smoke has dissipated. The elastic waste band has unraveled. We're at page 2421 of a 2422 paged thesaurus. We have emptied our nuclear stockpiles into enemy lands. The last man at Little Big Horn has died and his pecker has been cut off and placed on a string and is now worn around a warrior's neck. My brain has double faulted. Game, set, outta here. It's gone from downpour to drizzle to dry.