Drooling on the Pillow

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Kid 

Posted by Hello
I don't do the 'Kids say the darndest things' posts.

Just this once.

Grace was complaining of her lack of aunts. The Goddess is an only child and I have one sister Grace has never met. Lane explained what an aunt is and said that Baba, Lane's mother, had four sisters and one of them was named Grace, after whom she was named.

Grace goes "Baba's sister was Chinese?"

Friday, June 10, 2005

Comfort Food 

When was the last time you were in a restaurant and you ordered an entree that came with a salad and you were brought a wedge of iceberg lettuce covered with french dressing? Maybe there would be a choice of dressings, but none of the choices would involve the word vinegarette or the use of fennel. No sorrel, no arugala, no fancy fungus. Just a wedge -- a quarter to a third of a head of iceberg and nothing else.

Is that a Pittsburgh thing or has that ever happened to you?

I got it up in Canada, once, while visiting Campobello, and we had a lot of fun with it, but I do remember it as standard fare when I was a kid.

And I liked it.

Food with no secrets, no trap doors, no obligation to evaluate, no playfulness, no whimsy, no expectation of comment, no complexity, no attitude. No first, second and third act. No big finish. You don't need to give it an attaboy. It doesn't care.

True, it's not very good. I think about once a decade would be plenty.

But there's just something so cheerful about it.


While pee-flecked korans hold the media's interest like a pork chop held in front of Michael Moore a slo-mo genocide is unfolding in Zimbabwe that is going to blow up into an international crisis within the next few months. The death-spiral Mugabe has led his nation into is entering it's terminal phase.

It's a commonplace that famines are generally one quarter crop failure and three quarters political failure. This is something different. You can't really call it a failure of government, because the government is getting exactly what it wants.

Like the Ukraine in the '30s, China in the '50s and '60s, Ethiopia in the '80s and Somalia in the '90s this famine has been engineered to achieve a specific political goal. And, news reports to the contrary, this is not a black-white issue. Mr. Mugabe has nothing to fear from the white farmers he has terrorized and evicted. They have no international support, no power and they're not the ones doing the starving. It's the opposition parties that are facing the pointy end of this stick

Joe Katzman at Winds of Change discusses the situation in Zimbabwe and Darfur, the numbingly familiar reasons for this catastrophe and the reasons no one (U.N., EU, U.S., African states) has done anything about it. The term 'slo-mo genocide', by the way, is his.

He links to several interesting pages, one of which demonstrates that over the past century four times as many people died at the hands of their government than in combat. They use the term Democide.

Another interesting essay he links to is Zimbabwe and the Kitty Genovese Incident at The Adventures of Chester.

Reflecting on the situation in Africa has led Katzman to a position that he never would have imagined he would hold: that the right to bear arms is a universal right.

And he's Canadian.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Gods Will Not Be Mocked 

I have expressed the opinion that The Jersey Jackals would, or at least should, pay dearly for naming an Official Massage Therapy Provider for the current baseball season.

Well, they got off to a pretty good start this year, but are now spiraling downward and got thumped 14-2 last night by a team from Quebec.

I'm going to keep an eye on this. If they are not punished then they might as well play in thongs because the Baseball Gods have gone blind.

Or maybe they just don't read blogs.

Ix-Nay on the Atter-Chay 

You probably know someone who has no internal editor: if it pops into their minds, it comes out their mouths. If you don't I'd be glad to give you a couple of the ones I know.

I know someone who has an even more annoying verbal compulsion. She's unable not to finish a sentence. If she's giving you information you already possess or have no need to know, or even, would really rather not know, you can't say 'I know' or 'stop' or 'shut the *&%# up or I'll yank out your tongue and tie it to your pantyhose.' Actually, you can say any of those things, but it won't stop her. She'll just talk louder and faster till she gets to the end.

You can put your fingers in your ears and shout 'Na, na, na, na, na, na, na!' She keeps talking. You can (and I have) just walk away and, as you round the corner she's calmly rattling on as if you were hanging on every word.

I figure she thinks the words she doesn't say will stay in her brain and leak out on her pillowcase at night.

No, I don't. I don't know what her problem is, but if you see my name in a headline it'll probably be because I killed her.

Courthouse Rock 

Tris McCall, Jersey City Rock 'n' Roller, Blogger Plus and downtown wired guy is doing a show at the old County Courthouse on Newark Avenue, next Friday night (the 17th) at 7:30pm. Ten bucks.

This is one interesting dude and it should be very cool.

Mr. Snitch has more details.

The Times featured him yesterday and that article will give you a pretty good idea what you'll be in for.

UPDATE: Without an assist from Mr. Snitch I would have been there tomorrow night, enjoying my maroonitude, but not much else. Once again, Friday the 17th.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Zen of Skee-Ball 

My favorite boardwalk is Point Pleasant. As I crossed the hump of my mid-teens and my taste in mischief grew a little darker, I spent some time in Seaside Heights. But that really is a nasty town, or, at least it was in the late '60s and you could get in a world of trouble there without really trying. I'm not a hard guy, I'm not any more than more than normally self-destructive and I can be frightened, so I usually found myself drifting away to more family-oriented dens of iniquity.

Asbury, apart from the music, was already terminal. By the way, did you know Southside Johnny is touring again? July 3rd at the Stone Pony pavilion, some August dates at Martell's Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant. These are not exactly stadium dates.

I'd get up as far as Keyport and down as far as Beach Haven, but the vast majority of the time spent looking for drugs, girls and liberal carding policies was spent in Point Pleasant. Just enough carney, not too much carnage. And Jenkinson's is a great beach.

But the two summers I spent working the boardwalk were in Manasquan. Just over the inlet, it was a smaller, paler version of a boardwalk town. It was like a little town in Ohio had been transported to the beach and given a boardwalk and they didn't really know what to do with it.

I was a change boy. That's right, kids, they used to pay people to hand out change. And to do some of the simpler maintenance and fixes on the games. When the crane started picking up and depositing toys in the bucket with every nickel play, I knew how to loosen the slack so that every player was a loser.

Like I say, Manasquan boardwalk was not a happening place and most of our traffic consisted of people for whom Point Pleasant was too racy. Or were too dumb or lazy to find their way to Rt. 71. And when the weather was a little messy we had no traffic at all.

Which is how I became master of Skee-Ball.

Hour after hour, sometimes day after day I bowled those wooden balls, my arm swinging like a metronome. I heard it my sleep like this: rrrrrrummmm-punk, rrrrrrummmm-punk, rrrrrrummmm-punk. At the end of the summer Mr. Constantine was letting me lock up so I would stay an hour or two and practice.

50s are easy, 100s are hard. That's the main thing. You want to bank it off the same point on the side wall every time. At the same speed. That way you avoid the bubbles and bumps on the alley. But every alley is different. I would master one and then start on another. I found, though, that after I mastered three or four alleys I could go to any Skee-Ball game on the shore and my second game would be all 100s. My consecutive 100 record was in the low three figures.

The other thing is, it's not like riding a bicycle. I was humiliated by Grace not too long ago at a Chuck E. Cheese. I acted all happy for her and everything. But it hurt.

Thanks, Bret 

But from today on, I'm a Forrester guy.

The upside is, for a couple months you'll probably be able to get into PoliticsNJ without hurdling the most annoying series of ads ever.

Rocking a Vote 

PDC Ryan at If This Is Paradise, I Wish I Had a Lawnmower has a harrowing tale of going all Don Quixote on the County Board of Elections yesterday.

He wanted to vote in the Republican primary, they had him as a Democrat.

They won, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. It'd be nice if everybody took their vote that seriously.

I voted at 5:50 pm yesterday and I was the 11th Republican to vote at my polling place. I guess they assume if your name isn't Taft, you're a Democrat.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Insufferable Jackass Alert 

ATLANTA – Former President Carter on Tuesday called for the
United States to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison to
demonstrate its commitment to human rights.

"The U.S. continues to suffer terrible embarrassment and a blow
to our reputation ... because of reports concerning abuses of
prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo," Carter said
after a two-day human rights conference at his Atlanta center.
Talk about embarassment. We elected this turnip.

Hillary Comes Clean 

As reported in the New York Times, in a remarkably frank address to a partisan crowd at a "Women for Hillary" breakfast, Hillary Clinton explicitly confessed to many of the charges leveled against her and her husband over the years by Republican partisans. Her purplexed and stunned aides were frantically left to clean up the mess.

Her remarks touched on the nomination of extremist judges, unacceptable concessions to China and Saudi Arabia and lackluster security preparations that characterised her huband's term in office.

Mrs. Clinton reflected on her qualifications to be president in light of having won one election in her life to represent a state she had never lived in by saying "I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing."

In a statement sure to make for interesting dinner conversation at home she said, "There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda."

She wistfully and poignantly characterized her own motivations by saying, "Some honestly believe they are motivated by the truth, they are motivated by a higher calling, they are motivated by, I guess, a direct line to the heavens."

When asked how she and her husband were able to get away with this behaviour, she laughed raucously and blamed the media. "It's shocking when you see how easily they fold in the media today," Mrs. Clinton said. "They don't stand their ground. If they're criticized by the White House, they just fall apart."

When asked to comment, a tight-lipped aid said, simply, "She was drunk."

Early, Often, Schundler 

Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

Dan O'Byrne 

I like to give the heads up whenever Dan O'Byrne posts one of his too-infrequent essays.

This one is a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger reflection on the politicalization of the media, with special emphasis on the turgid imaginings and compulsive prevarications of CBS.
Nowadays, news is sold like any other commodity. We select
what we watch based not on the veracity or timeliness of the
reporting, but for the opinions espoused that may be more in
keeping with our own. This is a relatively new phenomenon,
and one that will have to complete its cycle of metamorphosis.
But it better do that soon.
And note the developing dust-up in the comments section.


I never went to sleepaway camp. In fact, I don't believe I ever spent a day in day camp. My impression, never entirely reliable and murkier every year, is that up until I was 14, I would be released from my educational responsibilities one Friday in June, would walk out the door (the boys door) and would live in the brush like a wolf-boy for the next three months.

I do remember each summer had a theme, but I don't recall how my fellow wolf-lads and I would arrive at it. One summer we spent the entire three months building a fort. One summer we spent every moment of every day playing wiffle-ball. The summer of swimming. The creek summer. That year was all about crawdads and dam building.

It seemed like three months was just enough time to thoroughly investigate these subjects before boredom brought out the latent trouble-making instincts. Any property damage or serious injury tended to happen in early September.

I just don't recall adults having any role to play in summer vacation. We would come in once a day to be hosed down, fueled and thrown in bed. Even then their presence was insubstantial, almost ghostly.

Starting at 14 I had some sort of job every summer. The first on-the-books job I had was as a checker at a local Shop Rite when I was sixteen. I've never been what you would call a whiz with numbers, but I was surprised and disheartened to find that my drawer was short a few bucks every single day. Every single day. Five dollars, ten, three. I was only making $1.25 an hour so the job was costing me money. I quit after about a month and they arrested the manager a couple weeks later. Bastard.

I was much better suited to being an usher in a movie theatre, which I did for a few summers. Come to think of it, they arrested that manager, too. But at least he wasn't taking it out of my pocket.

Grace has been going to a terrific day camp in Liberty State Park for the past three summers. She's likely to spend far less time in summer school than I did as she has an innate sense of obligation and duty that I marvel at. She'll always have adults around during the summer, though, as it's a nastier world we live in now. I'm glad, really. It's not a guarantee no harm will come to her, but it's easier to let her go for the summer if I know there's always someone responsible within the sound of her voice.

I do think there was value in my feral life that she will miss. But I can live with that.

Hijinks In The Hamptons Posted by Hello

Not That There's Anything Wrong With It 

Okay. I'm a little unhappy with following up my last few posts which were about going for a weekend in the Hamptons with one that discusses the Tony Awards because, well, I don't want to acquire a reputation.

But, seriously, does Hugh Jackman have it, or what?

The subject of it came up when the Goddess and I were watching the show tonight. We got back just as the show was starting and the first thing we saw was Christina Applegate doing her version of Charity. Bless her heart, the girl can sing, she can dance, she's not a bad comedienne, but from what I saw tonight, none of it got past her pancake. If I was paying $18 and ran into the show in Syracuse I'd be happy with the effort, but she ain't Broadway.

The broad from Spamalot, Sara Ramirez, on the other hand, she's got it. She's got it dripping from her wrists. I listened to the cast album over the weekend and was knocked flat by her. Judas Priest, there isn't anything, vocally, she can't do. Spectacular.

I stayed at the house this morning while everybody else went to the beach because I wanted to watch the New Jersey Republican Gubernatorial debate. That's how much I don't have it. I'll be voting for Bret on Tuesday, but, I'll tell you the truth, it was entertaining, but only Syracuse entertaining. A lot of Christina's, no Sara's.

We had a lovely time, by the way, and thanks. There was a bird that was shacked up outside our window and every time the bastard opened his beak the Goddess reached for her cell phone. Two days is not enough time to get past that, but I trust she would have adjusted given the time.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Listed on BlogShares