Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, November 26, 2004

One More Thing 

Before I go. Aside from the return of Chris Muir's Day by Day, December 1st is notable for the fact that on that day you will be able to contribute, through Sluggo Needs a Nap, to Spirit of America's Friends of Iraq Blogger Challange. I'll provide the details on Sunday night.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving Thanksgiving 

I'm off to Gettysburg for a couple of days for a second Thanksgiving. See you Monday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Early Christmas Present 

Glad tidings. Chris Muir's terrific comic strip Day by Day returns on December 1st. I've been looking forward to this for more than two months.

Be there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Servicing the Skee-Ball Community 

Save Your Tokens. It'll be Back Posted by Hello

I read a lot of historical fiction and have been enjoying Robert Harris' novel Pompeii. Here's one of my favorite lines so far, uttered to the hero on the afternoon of August 23, 79: "Here's a piece of advice for you, my friend: there's no safer investment than property in Pompeii." Of course, at the moment it was spoken it was perfectly true. About 24 hours later, conventional wisdom would be significantly revised.

The opposite is true, as well. Conventional wisdom prophesying doom is equally liable to be made foolish by events. Every few years you read about a group of investors hooking up with significant public funds with the aim of reviving Asbury Park. It's a sad, sad place, reminiscent of Beirut, circa 1985. The recent "gayification" of Asbury is just the latest round. I have a pair of gay friends who almost closed on property in Asbury a year ago. It was a gorgeous house and in pretty good shape. A real Jersey Shore gem. But the area surrounding it was forbidding. Unless you're a crack dealer. At the last moment they (wisely, I think) decided there weren't enough gay people with money and a gambler's instinct to make the town turn the corner. They moved to Budapest and opened a yoga studio. Doing very well.

But, you know, I bet that one day one of these initiatives is going to take off and some people are going to make monster money. The Shore needs a keystone and Atlantic City isn't it. AC is a thing apart. I don't know what the tipping point would be. If I knew enough to even speculate I would not, at this point in my life, be doing what I'm doing. I would be typing at my titanium keyboard and The Goddess would be fetching my Sam Adams and you would be peeling my grapes. Give me a moment.

Ah, better now.

So the smart guys say Asbury is dead and will stay dead. I say its coming back. This puts me outside the 'reality-based community'.

But then, I think Arab democracy is an idea whose time is fast approaching.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Go Green Dragons 

I moved from western Pennsylvania to the Jersey Shore when I was ten. One year in Lakewood and then Brick Township until college. In those six or seven years Brick changed a whole lot. It was growing like crabgrass, for one thing. Fast and random. No downtown, just a series of malls connected by downscale developments, senior villages and inadequate roads. The police department had a reputation for, um, heavy handedness. By the time I left there it was also starting to run some more and more impressive crime stats. Mostly redneck crime: titty bars, meth labs, break-ins.

Which is why I was surprised to read in John Shabe's The Jersey Side an entry that says Brick was named one of the safest towns in the nation.

Surprised and delighted. There must be a name for the fallacy that imagines the arc of events to be unchanged even after you stop observing them.

Update: I got a chance to look at the source Mr. Shabe cites. Holy gated community, Batman, according to the Morgan Quitno Awards, Brick Township is the second safest community in the U.S. of A. As I indicated above, I really didn't see that happening. I would have been as inclined to see Brick listed as having the highest per capita of Rhodes Scholars in America. On the other hand, as I said, I lived there from about age 11 to 17. What the hell did I know?

For you Garden Staters, Dover Township and Hamilton Township also made the top 25 safest and Camden is number one on the most dangerous list.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


When I was a kid in Tarentum, PA there was a yard we'd cut through just to get yelled at. We'd get half-way to the back yard and the old guy would come out with whatever was near him -- a baseball bat, a curtain rod, a colander -- and start sputtering and swearing at us. He was very old and only marginally mobile so we were in no danger. It was the swearing that was the point, of course. He had almost certainly been in the service (I'm talking WWI) and I'm guessing the navy. Blankety-blank blank for five or ten minutes and then he would go inside to call the cops and we would move on.

Then we'd go to our fort and discuss the possible meanings of some of the words we'd heard. Some of our misapprehensions probably persist to this day.

My point is, some days I feel thisclose to turning into that guy. Before I had my knee replaced last year I had the realization that most of the nasty old geezers I ran into as a kid were probably just in pain all the time. The Hospital for Special Surgery wasn't an option. I'm not a veteran, but I am getting older and more and more days I wake up feeling a little tetchy.

Which may explain something that I noticed yesterday. In just about every game that I was following I was rooting for someone to lose.

I have no interest in Ohio State, but I was hoping they would win because I always like to see Michigan lose. Same with USC, Florida State and several others. I really would trade a loss by one of these teams for a win by Pitt. This isn't an underdog thing, obviously, because I'm a Yankee fan but there are certain teams I just don't like and I can't tell you why.

Somebody send me a Care Bear. I'm turning into the Old Guy on the Porch.

Medical Notes 

The cataract thing went brilliantly again and I can now see what everybody's been talking about -- everything. It's just a little strange to switch from a life-long near-sighted Bartleby to a far-sighted eagle. Swooping to a neighborhood near you.
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