Free-Floating Hostility

Monday, July 31, 2006


Modern Milestones

We watched Jon Lemire on the Bravo show Tabloid Wars tonight, and it was pretty cool. I've seen Jon after deadline trying to unwind, but never really on his feet during the day. And that was fun. Lemire is now the second person that we know that has appeared on reality television. This is both exciting and a little scary. But I enjoy basking in reflected glory, which means that this was a pretty big thrill.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006


Taint your Wagon

The problem with Oregon Trail is that people in your wagon die. At first I was putting Mike in my wagon, followed by a selection of three of you lot, different each time. But Mike was unsettled by my periodically screaming "Oh no! You have dysentery!" and when my friends would die I would quickly lose interest in pressing on to Willamette Valley. Who wants to see Oregon if you can't bring your friends? Since you're not allowed to squat, sulking, in between Soda Springs and Fort Hall, I would usually quit the game, thus introducing a certain bias into my scores. So, like any good epidemiologist would, I have decided that only my enemies can join my travel party. Sure, it's a real drag to be stuck in a wagon for five months with Skinny Ho, Dr. Amazing, Judy the Slag and Ass Face, but it does make it easier to keep a stiff upper lip. Mike has been using characters from Rome. It's hard to get too worked up over the early demise of Titus Pullo when he's already been dead for 1900 years.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 31, 2006 9:44 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Hey Anna, it's Allison from CTY (in '93!) I followed Jess's link to your CTY article, but then took a while confirming that you were actually the Anna I knew and I was not about to frighten some poor girl by claiming to know her. You can find me as greyathena on Livejournal if you want to catch up!

    And I love Oregon Trail, but I was always the one who died when the oxen thingy broke and our wagon went into the water.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006


A Real F---ing Kapuchnik

I speed, okay? If and when I get a speeding ticket, I will take it like a man, because I deserve one. I speed because I want to get home before nine o'clock, but I understand that I am taking a calculated risk. However, with that exception, I abide all driving laws to the point of timidity. That's what makes it so maddening that I've received a $360 ticket for running a red light. I didn't do it on purpose, but the photos make me look like I was just thumbing my nose at the City of Berkeley.

On an unrelated note, do you ever get the feeling that a lot of my blog posts have the structure of the opening paragraph of a 7th-grade english essay? I'm thinking "What is a Gentleman? Is it someone with nice gloves or someone who never makes people feel bad about having crooked teeth? In Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, a gentleman is blah blah blah blah blah..."

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Thursday, July 27, 2006


A Voice for Radio and a Face for the Stage

We have been remiss in informing you that about two weeks ago Ricardo was on NPR. Follow this link and scroll down to "Civil Libertine" to listen. I wish I could get my voice to sound like his. It's not accidental, though. Few know this, but my dad and his mother had a short-lived local radio program when he was a boy, called The Mom and Art Show. It was a situation comedy, the major players of which were Mom, Art, a Swedish Cook and an Old Jalopy. Sadly, there were no permanent recordings.

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The Waiting Game Sucks; Let's Play Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Since July is national CTY Nostalgia month, I tried looking up some of our old compañeros, and stumbled across a blog called Working Title. I assembled the aforementioned quorum by email and we concluded that the blog was the work of our old friend Alex. No comments are allowed on Working Title, but I figure if I link to it, Alex is bound to stumble across this blog. Now we play the waiting game.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger jess at July 27, 2006 12:35 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • If she doesn't come by we'll have to register for whatever proprietary system her blog is using. You can comment if you're registered.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 27, 2006 12:45 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I tried. You can't register without an invitation, and they're not issuing invitations to the riffraff until they've finished putting on their makeup or whatever in a few months.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Good Manners are Invisible

Does anyone else find this excerpt from the daily LBL newsletter a tad ironic?

Don't Leave Visitors
Stranded at the Gate

While the Laboratory strongly supports an atmosphere of free intellectual exchange and collaboration within the international scientific and technical community, some visitors require special processing. Hosts should familiarize themselves with DOE requirements so guests from what the U.S. State Department deems "terrorist-sponsoring countries" (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria) are not inconvenienced.

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I would have Named it Flusies

The American Public Health Association has created a blog devoted to Pandemic Flu. They're still experimenting with it, apparently, but it's up. So, for those of you interested in a more comprehensive/accurate look at the flu situation than you get on FFH, check out Get Ready for Flu. It's on blogspot, ho ho.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Hostylefax Albuquerque:

I’m in town on a special assignment, which is almost as fun to say as it is to do.

The highlight of Day 1 was being drafted into a media softball game between the local print and broadcast guys. I wore a hideous Hawaiian-shirt style uniform with a pitcher’s number on the back. I played Right Center and spent most of my time demeaning my own performance to my teammates and others. But I also got a hit (an opposite field bleeder that fell in to break a five-year softball drought) scored a run and caught a line drive (two-handed) in the field. This led to a joke that what I really do is travel the country and play as a ringer in media softball games. There’s probably not much of a living in that. Press Box meal: Chicken Cordon Bleu. Outstanding.

It is strange being back in Albuquerque. I was here three times during our time in Southeastern New Mexico when it really was the beacon of urban cool (a positive city on the hill when compared with Lubbock). It strikes me now that Dallas was probably just as close as ABQ, but it was just too Texas to mean much to me. Driving around town today, I was struck by a vague nostalgia that I believe is fairly specific to me: geography flashbacks. I’ll see a group of signs, or a street name or a freeway exit and I’ll be flooded with memories. Today I drove past the burrito place that Alice took us to in our first visit to town. I drove down University Ave. and was flooded with the happy memories I had of covering events at The Pit. I crossed Central (Rte. 66, I believe) and remembered driving all the way up and down the boulevard, all the way into the foothills of the mountains.

I also enjoyed my first look at the new baseball stadium. When I came to town for the state basketball championship in March 2003, I saw plenty of the outside of the building, which was as colorful as The Pit was forbidding. The designers took pretty much every opportunity they could to splash the place with color. That’s important, I think, in a town like Albuquerque, where so much of the landscape is brown and harsh. I thought the inside was even better. There’s just so much there in terms of interestingly shaped seating in the outfield. The sightlines are fantastic. It’s a really nice ballpark.

3 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Trixie at July 26, 2006 6:11 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • RE: your use of the phrase, "amost as fun." Remember what happened to Florence Zeo for a similar locution." What's wrong with the word "much." It's a perfectly nice little word, comes in handy, especially when it could prevent an abomination. But I love the idea of a Proustian moment created by road signs. Trixie

  •   Posted by Blogger Alice at July 27, 2006 1:41 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • When I was your guide to that beacon of exurban cool, I couldn't think of much else to show you and Anna besides Route 66. The inside of the Isotopes' stadium is really cool. Who were the other players in the media softball game?

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at July 28, 2006 10:31 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • There were some sportswriters from the Journal and one from the New Mexican, who I recognized from my days on the preps beat in town. I didn't know any of the broadcast guys.

    The funny thing about being here is that I've styled myself as the resident New Mexico expert among the travel party. I've taught a bunch of people about the state question and have even dropped Nob Hill into a casual conversation. It turns out that I have really warm feelings about this city. I'll be writing more on that later.

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Monday, July 24, 2006


Veni, Vidi, Coqui

Tonight our new box of vegetables will arrive. And I will be ready. I have cooked every single vegetable in the past two boxes. There is no produce in my fridge but parsley, basil and cilantro. I am satisfied.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 25, 2006 6:15 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • You are indeed the queen of vegetables. Or of vegetable use. Which is higher?
    Trixie

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Sunday, July 23, 2006


Ego in the Water

In Lady in the Water, M. Night Shyamalan plays an unassuming writer with ideas so revolutionary that in 50 years -- and through the vessel of a Midwesterner who grew up with books in his home (good luck finding that) -- they will reinvent the world. That Shaymalan plays that role in Shyamalan's own film suggests either that the best filmmaker of this generation is collapsing into a quivering pool of narcissism or that he's not quite sure where to go with himself after such a brilliant start to his career. I really hope it's the latter, although the signs aren't good. It's not that Shyamalan is Tarantino-bad in the acting department, because he's perfectly serviceable as an actor. The question is, how much do you punish the movie for that? Because I did find myself liking Lady in the Water -- in spite of myself. The characters are a little too quirky, the plot a little too fantastic and the female lead a little too helpless.

The question I have is just how Shyamalan got so angry at the film establishment (and if you don't think he's angry, watch who dies in the movie and how). I suppose it's difficult to carry around the mantle of "The Next Hitchcock," but it's better than, say, being a basketball player and carrying around the nickname, "The Next Fennis Dembo." But when people are comparing you to one of the greats, maybe you start believing you have to carry the assurance that comes from being a genius. In addition to making a movie, Shyamalan allowed a writer from Sports Illustrated to follow him around and write about the process of making the movie. It's good to have a vision and believe you are right, but you have to make sure that doesn't crowd out legit critcism. And maybe that's hard to do, especially in Hollywood when everyone is trying to take credit.

Shyamalan, I hope, will pick his spots better in the future. I mean, even Woody Allen finally stopped putting himself in his own movies after a while. And maybe that's a good way to evaluate this issue. But Allen's desire to have people watch him get together with impossibly beautiful women revealed a lot about Allen's character. The spot Shyamalan chose for himself, in his own film, suggests a different kind of wish-fullfillment. As a blogger, I'm certainly not going to come out against self indulgence, and I'm a little scared to criticize Shyamalan for fear he'll send a bloodthirsty CGI grass dog after me. But you can't cast yourself as a genius and look like one at the same time.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Reel Fanatic at July 24, 2006 2:42 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The best filmmaker of this generation? If I may, I definitely beg to differ ... I haven't thorougly any of his movies since "Unbreakable" .. give me Sam Raimi any day

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Turning Back Time

I never had a video game system at home. Still, I can (or used to be able to) recite the 30 lives code from Contra and remember the great fun that was NBA Jam. It seems, however, that my desire to play games ended in 1993, before all the really good systems came out.

I already have the NES emulator to play Super Tecmo Bowl and the SNES to play NBA Jam. Today, however, I took the next logical step. I downloaded an Apple IIe emulator in order to play Oregon Trail, which is probably a shared experience for most people our age. Well, I can report that it hasn't lost its brilliance yet. So far I've reached Oregon twice and left a pair of tombstones. I plan to keep going, because it's 112 degrees outside and we have air conditioning.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at July 25, 2006 6:25 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • My brother sent me this Tecmo Bowl link yesterday: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/2006/07/tecmobowl.html . I think it captures the spirit, or -- should I dare, yes I shall -- the zeitgeist of the Tecmo Bowl era.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006


Causal Inference; n=1

The temperature in Davis was 111 Fahrenheit today, a new and most unwelcome record. The local indpendent movie theater is bringing back An Inconvenient Truth for another week by popular demand.

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A Camp of Our Own

A few days ago Mike alerted me this article from Slate by one Meghan O'Rourke, all about nerd camp. My nerd camp! Jess got their first, of course, having posted about CTY months ago on Bee Policy. But it was still exciting for a number of reasons. O'Rourke apparently spent her CTY summers at Skidmore, and not at Franklin & Marshall college of Lancaster, PA where I did. But her assessment is 100% accurate. We didn't have a guy in an inflatable pink flamingo at F&M, but we did have a guy who wore a wizard's cap to breakfast-- before Harry Potter, mind you. Actually that was Jess's boyfriend.

I cannot really convey the importance of that program to my developing into a (reasonably) well-adjusted adult. It wasn't the classes, though they were good except for Genetics, but I mostly spent that class flirting with Chris-Who's-Cute-When-he-Falls-off-his-Chair-and-Blows-his-Nose anyway. CTY gave me a chance to play at being normal for a few weeks a year. It did more to socialize me than any other experience, including school. And I made friends there whose work is now populating the sidebar of this blog: bloggers Jess and Laura, not to mention Reader All-Star Isaac, and Debbi, about whom I've at least told you stories here if not in real life. I was really, truly happy there. When I wax nostalgic about my adolescence, that is the only place my mind ever goes. The rest of the period was gruesome.

But the best part of O'Rourke's article from my point of view was this:
...[T]he weekly dances were, as a friend recently put it, wondrous displays of group awkwardness. In our day, each concluded with either "Sympathy for the Devil," "Ana Ng," or "American Pie," at the end of which students chanted "Die! Die! Die! Die! Live! Live! Live! Live! Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex! More! More! More! More!" Delighted, we would go home invigorated and exhausted—a kind of clean high.

This post is one of the proudest moments of my life. Why? Because I'm the one who started "Sex! Sex! Sex!"

It was Slut Day. That wasn't a camp tradition, it was something I started on a whim, this being a period of my life in which I valued attention above dignity. To be clear, our definition of sluttishness was pretty mild; no one scored below a 70 on the Purity Test and most of us were lying. Anyway, shouting "Die Die Die" at the chorus of "American Pie" was already a long-standing tradition when I arrived at CTY, but the summer of 1994 something had happened--possibly a suicide?--that convinced people to tack on "Live! Live! Live!" afterwards in a flurry of PC-ism. Then as now I found the revision pretty lame, so on that particular day, Slut Day, since we had been talking about nothing but sex since breakfast, I threw in "Sex! Sex! Sex!" as a kind of musical one-liner. Well, it caught on like hula hoops. The next thing I knew it was part of the canon. The addition of "More! More! More!" followed hard upon, but I'm not sure who was responsible, possibly someone from a large and powerful clique known as Digi Clan. Cause its founders met in Digital Logic, obviously. I looked them up, and their website is actually still in existence.

It's a kind of corrollary to Margaret Mead's aphorism that one person with a really geeky idea can leave her mark on posterity. O'Rourke wasn't even at my site, and by the time she got there "Sex! Sex! Sex! More! More! More!" was already an anonymous tradition. I'm Virginia Woolf's Anon. I rule.

16 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Trixie at July 22, 2006 3:54 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Oh dear I think I'm going to rain on your parade but I know Meghan O'Rourke from Slate, she went to St. Ann's and she's older than you. That I'm writing this proves I'm a bad mother, the defintion of which is valuing the truth over your child's happiness.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 22, 2006 4:15 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • She might be older than me, all she had to do was join CTY second session 1994 or later. I remember, I was there. And we all now how much you love the truth, which is why you're incapable of repeating a conversation without embellishment.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 23, 2006 9:50 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I too was a CTYer, though I had thought that Hopkins had changed the name to the Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth.

    Memory is hazy, but I was something like '94-'96 at Dickinson campus. And Ms. O'Rouke said she attend in '88--which, if I remember the rules about sperm (first-years) and nevermores (last-years), probably means she could not have attended any session of '94.

    Not to doubt the veracity of your recollection. A commune of nerds like that is bound to eventually display some sort of eternal recurrence. We never shouted "Live, live, live," only the other three.

    -Ross

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 23, 2006 9:53 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • And I'm pretty sure Isaac and I attended together.

    -Ross

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 24, 2006 10:23 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Wow, this is really interesting. I am willing to swear on my life that my adolescent hijinx got the thing started at Lancaster, but as I said, it morphed very quickly into the full-fledged version. That makes sense if there was already a preexisting "More More More" custom at other sites. I must have just accidentally stumbled onto an ongoing tradition. Given that the word was Sex and we were fourteen it wasn't that improbable.

    So I'm not Anon, I'm just a half-assed Leibniz. I can live with that.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 26, 2006 9:36 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Well, I invented the llama sign. I think I also invented saying "We love you!" after the old traditional "Go home, nobody loves you!" though if I did invent it, it was in a moment of abnormal good feeling and emotional generosity, because it embarasses me now.
    They sing The Eyelash Song ritually after dances, at least a F&M where I RA'd. Jess and Laura (Steve) invented that when they were roommates.
    But that nobody remembers "Cows Are Freaky" is proof of the wickedness of the world. Still, when I was RA the kids spoke about John Rootabega like he was the god of some cargo cult. The silliness of the fathers is definitely visited on the sons. Unto, like, a mole of generations.
    P.S. I remember Meghan O'Rourke from St. Ann's but didn't know she'd gone to CTY.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 26, 2006 9:38 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • PPS - Ross, I think I remember your name, but I was never at any site but F&M either as a student or as an RA. Fat chance of my getting to be a TA or instructor, though I could teach those kids a hell of a Latin or Greek class.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 26, 2006 1:47 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Wow, Jess and Laura are Anon.

    I tried to see if I could find the lyrics to the eyelash song online, and I met with success.
    The oral tradition has transformed the line "Once I met a guy/and he didn't have any eyelashes" to "Once I met a boy...".


    Cows are Freaky is listed there, too, but the first verse hasn't made it. (If you see a cow/and he looks you in the eye/you say "Gosh! Gee! Wow!/ I'm a lucky guy)(puncutation mine). Of course they remembered the verse about the cow high on crack.

    If anyone's silliness deserved deification, it was John's. Does anyone know where he is these days?

  •   Posted by Blogger jess at July 27, 2006 12:45 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • We didn't have a guy in an inflatable pink flamingo at F&M, but we did have a guy who wore a wizard's cap to breakfast-- before Harry Potter, mind you. Actually that was Jess's boyfriend.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA awesome.

    How did I not notice that the first verse of "Cows are Freaky" was missing? I was just looking at that wiki and being surprised that "Cows are Freaky" and the Eyelash Song were both represented. Laura was like, "who PUTS these things there?" I was impressed with the relative accuracy but I totally missed that "Cows" was truncated.

    We didn't write the Eyelash Song, btw. But we are better people than the girl who did, so that's a fine rumor.

    I loved that article, by the way, because it's the first CTY article I've read that was actually by a CTYer. The one in the New Yorker a couple years ago seemed to feel honor-bound to inject some kind of "but is it okay to isolate the smart kids?" spin in order to justify the fact that they wrote it. O'Rourke, on the other hand, is just like "hey, CTY! It ruled."

    I thought I remembered you starting "sex sex sex" at LAN, but she definitely said she went in '88 (first thing I noticed in the article, since Laura had read it as '98 and we were both freaking out). No shame in being a Leibniz though.

    I never remember who invented most stuff. I vividly remember hearing Anna and Debbie quoting something funny at a reunion, and saying "haha, who said that?" and the answer being "you."

  •   Posted by Blogger Laura at July 27, 2006 1:54 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Anna, I would swear that, too. It's possible that our new F&M traditions were actually imported from Carlisle, but I would swear on somebody's mother's grave that the sex/more phenomenon was popularized by you and possibly starts-with-j-ends-with-onwachter.

    Still, when I was RA the kids spoke about John Rootabega like he was the god of some cargo cult.

    This is the best thing ever.

    I miss you guys!

  •   Posted by Blogger jess at July 27, 2006 8:03 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • and possibly starts-with-j-ends-with-onwachter

    Oh yeah, this is another very good example of silly nicknames for people. Was I responsible for this one?

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 27, 2006 11:25 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I think I was the one who first said it, but I was just answering the question "who" or something, you may have been the one to turn it into a nickname. Reading it now it comes across as a little like He who Must not be Named.

  •   Posted by Blogger raalla at July 28, 2008 5:12 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Regardless of how complicated reading this and all its comments was, due to the fact that you all know each other and also are confused, This Post Is Really Cool.
    As a current CTY LAN-er with other CTYer friends who are bored and PCTYD'ing, and thus researching and posting on facebook links about the origins of the end of American Pie, the very fact that you still think about CTY and talk to your CTY friends is pretty much the best thing ever.
    I'mastalkerynerd, sorry. But all the old traditions are nameless now, and it's cool to see that people [think that they] remember where they come from.
    [/rambly comment]

  •   Posted by Anonymous jess at July 29, 2008 10:41 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • That warmed my heart, and I propose a slogan for the old-timer LLRT crew. LAN 94-95: We All Know Each Other And Are Confused.

    Also, there's a comment from Isaac on this thread holy shit.

    P.S. I'm still pretty sure "starts with J, ends with onwachter" was me. Boo-yah, etc.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at December 17, 2011 9:46 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • If you stated "Sex," as a current two-more, I amin awe. I love CTY. It's where I'm home.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at January 20, 2015 4:26 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I am a CTYer since 13.1 (2013, session 1) at Lancaster. I can tell you that "Orgy!" has now been added to the end of the "die die die die" chant. In addition to Eyelashes, we do several Afterdance chants. We still shout "We love you" back at the RAs. As far as I know, it's still "once there was a guy". Also, RealCTY is a student-run website (similar to Wikipedia) with every tradition and its variations from session to session.

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Iron Chef Organic

Our organic farm subscription has been a lot of fun so far. However, it has presented me with a new challenge: how to make Mike eat new vegetables. One of the pleasures of cooking for Mike is that he never complains. He is generally grateful to be fed, and not a real picky eater anyway. I've come to rely on this attitude, so much so that once back in college he suggested that I had undercooked some onions and I cried. I am a competent chef, and working with such a flexible eater I was confident, nay arrogant, that I could cook anything well enough to make him like it.

The first issue was Chard. I had never cooked chard in my life, swiss or otherwise. Earlier this year one of my classmates toured the Berkeley community gardens, and came back embarrassed that she hadn't recognized one of the vegetables on the tour. "What's char?" she asked me, figuring I would know. "Greens," I shrugged, "No one really eats them." My first attempt was a recipe for Potato and Swiss Chard Enchiladas that I pulled off the food network. Mixed reviews. The second time (there was a lot of chard) I just mixed it in with some spinach for a pasta sauce, and this went over better, with Mike taking seconds and assuring me it tasted good.

Squash, however, is another story. Mike is clinging to the story that he was traumatized by some spaghetti squash in his youth, and that he simply cannot like squash now. Nevermind that this was sunburst squash (I can't bring myself to say patty pan), a totally different species. He only recently managed to bring himself to eat pumpkin pie. This is one of the weirder food things I've encountered since we learned that Alex cannot stomach cold cheese. Anywhow, first I used the squash to make grilled vegetable kebabs in a cilantro dipping sauce. Mike said he liked the dipping sauce. Then I opted for the old garlic-and-olive oil route, using a basil-infused oil, and a touch of cinnamon and crushed red pepper. It came out very nicely, and I was feeling proud of myself, but Mike was clearly just choking it down for fear of my reaction if he didn't. When I looked reproachful he said, "Look, you've achieved something big. I ate it. I like it better than the squash I had as a kid." The newsletter enclosed with our vegetables warned us to summer for the next few weeks. I will let you know when Mike cracks.

5 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 22, 2006 11:11 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • A good Swiss Chard recipe which I know you have eaten at my table.

    Cut the stems so that the roughish part is off leaving nice smooth ends. Having sauteed a few whole cloves of garlic in Olive Oil, just put the swiss chard in with water to cover and cook it on a very slow flame till the stems are soft.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Trixie at July 22, 2006 11:11 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • anonymous was me , but I don't know my password. Trixie

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at July 24, 2006 10:21 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Back when I was still in Sea Gate my family did Urban Organic, which sounds similar. They let you list two items that you never want, which would be replaced by extras of something else. I always put down chard (it seemed to cover all varieties) and dandelion greens (which, if you've never seen a commercial where a young child runs through a field on a sunny day in a Downy-fresh shirt, stops to bend down and blow on a dandelion puff, and then proceeds to eat the stem and leaves from said dandelion plant, there's a reason why).

    I recently was given some chard that I could not in any politeness decline, grown in a small garden in a small town in upstate New York. As the anono-Trixie suggests, cooking it in olive oil with much garlic is probably the easiest way to be done with it.

  •   Posted by Blogger Laura at July 27, 2006 1:59 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I really like chard! I second the olive oil suggestion, but I'd add that if you throw on some rice vinegar, pine nuts, and salt/pepper at the last minute, you'll have a very yummy side dish.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at May 30, 2012 1:35 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • いま大人気なアメリカブランド品tory burch は君のために登場してきました!モダンでクラシック感がたっぷり溢れているものです!トリーバーチが欲しい。世界のセレブに愛用されているらしいブランドだとはあとで知りました。トリーバーチ ショルダー&ハンドバッグ セレブもそれほど高価なものを買っているわけではないのかな。

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Further Renovations

As you can see, we are trying another template experiment, wherein comments are displayed with the posts and you don't have to click through to a separate page. Our readers are really very clever, and deserve the limelight. Let me know if the effect is distressing.

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Alleluia! Alleluia!

This morning, our building manager came and replaced our Air Conditioning unit. The fact that it took two months to accomplish this is probably not his fault (though we feel inclined to point out that we have had fourteen days over 100 degrees since we first informed him that our air conditioner was broken). As we have mentioned, our building owners are tight assed and mean.

Anyway, this is good news for all of you, as it means we will return to blogging from home, and presumably improve our posting rate, which has suffered since it got too hot to turn on our laptops.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


To Dare is To Do

Early in the World Cup, and after reading the Guardian and Times sport pages and listening to the accompanying podcasts, I decided that I was going to follow the English Premier League this year. To do that, the best way would be to pick a team and follow it. My decision was based on the fact that I knew some of the players from the English national team (especially Aaron Lennon) and that Spurs was not a member of the G-14. If you haven't heard of G-14, it's the most audacious thing in sports. In 2000 some of the grand old football clubs got together and decided they would form an alliance devoted to making everything difficult for all the other ones to enter big club tournaments and destroying international soccer. It's sort of like if the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox and Dodgers got together and joined forces to both crush the Royals and Pirates and then stamp out the World Baseball Classic. Actually...

This morning ESPN's Sports Guy announced that he, also motivated by the World Cup, would be adopting Spurs as his team. I actually enjoy Simmons' work, putting me in the distinct minority among my professional bretheren. So I'm happy to welcome him to the growing number of Tottenham Hotspur supporters here in California. I'm just going to point out once that I was here and here first.

Now, go Spurs.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Get to Know Nancy

Lola informed me this weekend that she is now serving as director of events for Nancy Skinner, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Michigan's 9th district. This is big news. In my family, getting your first political job is to be jubilantly celebrated like a bat mitzvah or similar. I have never actually had a campaign job, but I did join a union once, which received a similiar reception. The job of the director of events, as Lola explains it, is convincing people to hold house parties. I'm not entirely clear about how this differs from her life in high school, but she assures me it does. I suggested that the campaign adopt the slogan, "Joe Knollenberg is a bag of shit: Vote for Nancy Skinner" Lola plans to run that up the flagpole.

Interestingly enough, the candidate used to be a radio host. Her bio says she was an early member of Air America, but in fact her show was syndicated nationally by a UAW-supported radio network. That network even reached our corner of New Mexico. Imagine my surprise one morning, when I heard something other than right wing blather coming from my car speakers. The afternoon lineup for our talk radio station went from Rush to Dr. Laura to a sports guy that has his lips affixed to Rush's ass. This description, I realize, doesn't set him apart from most other sports radio hosts.

Skinner was talking about Annika Sorenstam's plan to play in a PGA Tour event. Mostly Skinner was crushing Vijay Singh, who had said earlier in the week that Annika shouldn't be playing with men. I remember Skinner saying that she didn't know much about golf and soliciting opinions. Her only call came from Jason, my sports editor. Jason, who has hopes of his kid becoming a pro golfer, stayed on the line and explained golf until I crossed the city limits and cruised out of range. The following Monday, Skinner had been replaced by G. Gordon Liddy.

And speaking of radio, Jason had a wild night with the local radio newsreader at a birthday party for one of our colleagues. At some point in the evening, perhaps while they were in flagrante, she dropped her catch phrase ("This is (blank) (blank) with Basin-area News") only she said "This is (blank) (blank) with Jason-area News." When he passed this on to me, I mastered my impulse to run out of the office immediately and tell Anna, waiting instead until I got home. Months later, and during a drunken game of Trivial Pursuit, Anna dropped the line to Jason. His response: "Mike, you snitchin' motherfucker."

So you see, the circle remains unbroken.

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World on Fire, Part II

The point I wanted to make before is that neither "progressive realism" nor preemption actually seem to address how you address the non-state actors that are driving radical agendas. You could argue, and rather convincingly, that Lebanon has to pay for allowing Hezbollah to have basically annexed its southern provinces. But Hezbollah also ran for and won seats in the Lebanese government. Lebanon's prime minister could not condemn any of Hezbollah's actions, both the kidnapping/capturing of Israeli soldiers and the rocket attacks, because the government would fall. The party of god, of course, is no mere political organization. It it were, it wouldn't have that arsenal Iranian rockets it can shoot into Northern Israel. Perhaps that makes Hezbollah, in practice, the equivalent of a state, much the way that Taliban-controlled Afghanistan could have been called al-Qaedastan before the U.S. invasion. I'd agree that Iran and Syria are the metaphorical guys behind the curtain pulling Hezbollah's strings. But there's a reason that Iran and Syria are using Hezbollah to get at Israel.

Israel's goal may be to prevent attacks from Hezbollah, but it has to attack Lebanon to acheive that. Outside of the United States, there won't be much sustained support for that action. It would be as though the national guard invaded Michigan after the Oklahoma City bombing, because the Michigan Militia had planned the attack. Armies don't do law enforcement all that well, which is problematic because more and more it seems militaries are being given the task of tracking international criminal organizations. That, at least, is the Bush administration's big innovation. Unpopular wars, however, build resentment and errode cooperation. That's why we're not safer than we were five year ago.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006


World on Fire: Part I

We've spent much time on soccer over the last five weeks, but we haven't failed to notice that the entire Middle East is collapsing into a quivering mass of violence. Iraq remains Iraq, likely headed toward a Shiite theocracy propped up by Iran. And speaking of Iran, the rockets it sold to Hezbollah are currently raining down on Northern Israel. Israel is ready to go to war with Hezbollah, which would be fine if Hezbollah were actually a country. Sort of like how the United States would have been on really fine footing in the War on Terror, had Terror actual borders.

The Times ran a large op-ed today by someone named Robert Wright, touting a foreign policy doctrine called "Progressive realism," and suggested that the Democrats adopt it as a plank in their platform. The theory, as best as I understand it, is a rethinking of realpolitick that would blow Henry Kissinger's mind. Nations should rationally pursue their interests. But the definition of national interest is extremely broad, given that angry graduates of tiny madrasas on the other side of the world potentially can show up on our shores in the form of junior agents. A committment to international institutions and multi-lateralism is actually the best way to improve the standard of living worldwides, which is the only way to really make people safe. Wright touts this as the Democratic response to the GOP's muscular-sounding doctrine of preemption. As far as I can tell, this is a repackaging of what most people on the left actually believe, just with a cool-sounding name.

The people, and government, of Lebanon may not like Israel, but going to war with a nuclear power was probably not high on its to-do list.

Either Firefox or Internet Explorer ate the last half of this post, but it's late, so I'll just promise more to come tomorrow.

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Friday, July 14, 2006


Overheard on the LBL Shuttle

[Between two lab employees of European extraction]

Man A: Columbia is in New York, yes?

Man B: Yes, New York.

Man A: And where is Cornell?

Man B: Oh, it is very remote.

Man A: I thought it was in New York too.

Man B: It is near New York, but it is in the middle of a jungle.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006


Though a Goy, he is Endowed with Great Chutzpah

My mom left for a gig in Upstate New York last week and made it all the way there before realizing that she'd forgotten to return her videos before leaving. Since she wouldn't be back for a week, she was expecting hefty fines. So she put my dad on the case. He called up the good people at Blockbuster and told them in his best James Earl Jones/Santa Claus voice that there had been a family emergency. His wife's aunt was very ill, he said, and would they please not charge them a late fee. They agreed, and today he returned the movies. "I'm sorry about your wife's aunt," the manager said, "I hope everything's alright."

"It isn't," Dad said gravely. "She died."

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at July 15, 2006 7:26 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The trouble with killing off the aunt is you can't use her for an excuse again. Kind of like using funerals to excuse missing a final exam, pretty soon you run out of relatives.

    Fritz

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And Now, a German Shepherd with a Compost Bucket on her Head















There she was, innocently slurping up garbage, when the bucket attacked her. I'm told that every time Nisa passes the compost bucket now, she growls at it with every hair on end, as at an ancient enemy.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Piling on Zidane

More than anything, I wish I wrote for an English tabloid. I don't think I could get that story in the paper, especially not with that headline.

This is quickly growing into one of my favorite sports stories of all time. All of the principles can make anything up whenever they want to. It happened on such a big stage that every journalist in the world wants a quote for his or her paper to blow up into something huge. There have been lip-readers called in, as well. In the end, it enables the world's columnists to, in print and electronically, to become hysterically self-righteous.

The general consensus seems to be coalescing around the idea that Marco Materazzi, the head-buttee, called Zidane something like "a son of a terrorist whore." This is very interesting because FIFA is trying to stamp out racism, and this sort of accusation could actually bring some negative consequences down on the Italian player. So first Materazzi said that he didn't know what the word "terrorist," meant. That makes him either 1. a stickler for his postmodernism or 2. stupid. He's changed his tune a little bit, according to the Associated Press.

"I didn't say anything to him about racism, religion or politics," Materazzi told the Gazzetta dello Sport. "I didn't talk about his mother, either. I lost my mother when I was 15, and even now I still get emotional talking about her."
Zidane, meanwhile, is not apologizing.

Wednesday, he stressed he felt no regret "because that would mean (Materazzi) was right to say all that."

"There was a serious provocation," Zidane said. "My act is not forgivable. But they must also punish the true guilty party, and the guilty party is the one who provokes."



Zidane is in the wrong here, in that no indignity is actually worth getting dismissed during the World Cup final. I'm also curious as to the European attitude toward trash talking. Because it seems obvious to me that if you can get the other team's best player to take himself out of the game, you absolutely do it.

5 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 12, 2006 10:01 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The global population of whores outnumbers muslims and christians combined. If they've got a terrorist fringe now we're all in trouble. Well, men are anyway

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at July 13, 2006 4:42 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I'll have Adele look into it.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 13, 2006 2:10 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Do you mean actual whores? The combined christian and muslim population of the world is close to 50% of the global total, which would mean that about 50% of all women are whores. Not to say that I dispute it, just that I'm hanging around the wrong crowd.

    -ross

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 13, 2006 2:12 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Or, on closer reading, that ALL women are whores. Even if you mean that metaphorically, that they're sexually promiscuous, well, my anecdotal evidence does not support the claim.

    -ross

    ps. it's a slow day in portland.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at July 13, 2006 5:07 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Who says all whores are women? No one who's spent any time with men does, that's for sure. If we mean "whore" literally then Ross is dead wrong, and if we mean it metaphorically then he is just a pratt.

    It's never too slow to start some shit.

    That being said, Ross is right about Christians and Muslims dwarfing the sex-worker population. Sex-workers are notoriously difficult to locate for study, therefore estimates of their population are scarce and almost certainly an underestimation. However, it is better to try and be wrong than not try at all, so long as you acknowledge your limitations (this, Mom, is why you don't like science). An article by Vandepitte et. al in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infection, which I have only just skimmed, synopsizes the population of female sex workers across different regions. The highest local estimate in their review was at about 12%, in Madagascar.

    2006;82;18-25 Sex. Transm. Inf.
    J Vandepitte, R Lyerla, G Dallabetta, F Crabbé, M Alary and A Buvé
    Estimates of the number of female sex workers in different regions of the world

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Statistics Decreases Humor Sensitivity by a Factor of 5.678

I mostly spend my days grappling with a program called SAS (Statistical Analysis Software perhaps?) and pronounced to rhyme with "grass." The program is endorsed, among others endorsers, by Bud Selig. Mike likes it because he considers it a font of puns.

"Anna can't make it to dinner tonight because she needs to finish her homework in the computer lab--she doesn't have SAS. I mean, I would have thought my wife had plenty of SAS." Wonh wonh.

"I'm not sure I want other people complimenting my wife's SAS." Zing!
For my part I have never found SAS all that funny till this afternoon, when I was reading a helfpful online tip on macro do-looping (yes it's real). I glanced at the URL of the Western Users of SAS Software: wuss.org. Well, I'll never forget it.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006


Mais pourquoi? Mais pourquoi?

I'm actually a little disappointed that Google News only turned up 219 hits for "Zidane headbutt," although it only happened seven hours ago. Actually, the search for "Zidane sent off," turns up nearly 2,300 articles, which could mean that the details were left out and Zizou's legacy won't receive the thorough trashing that it deserves. We'll see tomorrow, when the American papers come out and the Euros write their follows. I felt especially betrayed when Zidane fouled Marco Materazzi because I had answered Anna's relentless taunting about my support for France with the response "Zidane deserves to go out as a champion." And then he goes and does this:



Actually, Anna, who was working back at home while I watched with friends in Sac, called on the whistle to start talking shit. That was pretty cute. As she said on my return, "Look, I'm not saying that God is definitely Italian, but S/He obviously isn't French."

I attempted to take in the game at a charming little place in Sacramento called "Streets of London." It was packed. It was also 100 degrees. By the 42nd minute I had sweat through my France jersey and was on the verge of puking. So we took in the final 75 minutes and PKs at a co-worker's house. I have resolved to go back for some Tottenham Hotspur games and to try some food. Everything on the menu appears to be fried, even the sausage. How good is that?

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Easy Lola at July 11, 2006 10:46 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Parce que mon Français testosteron je dois frapper des choses avec ma tête. Ou était cela parce que l'italien était si sexy j'ai dû le toucher.
    Which means because of my Frenchman testosterone I must hit things with my head. Or was it because the Italian was so sexy I had to touch him.
    If I had to hazard a guess its the later reason.

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The Power of Advertising

I was on the phone with my mom yesterday when she asked me if she should see The Devil Wears Prada, because, obviously, she has not read the blog. Anyway, it turns out that my father asked her out on a date to see it. My dad's admiration for Meryl Streep is great, but still, what??

"Ask him how he heard about the movie," I prompted her.
"Art, how'd you hear about The Devil Wears Prada?"
"I don't know."
"Ask him if he even knows what Prada is," I persisted.
"Art, what's Prada?"
"I don't know."
"See, I told you." I am very smart.
"It's clothing," he amended.
"Arthur." Mom was affectionately scathing. "When a noun attaches to the verb 'wears' it's a pretty good bet it's clothing."
"Not necessarily," he defended. "It could be a smile. Or shame. Or horns."

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Friday, July 07, 2006


Neighborhood "Needs More Like it"

Mike and I have subscribed to an organic farm. July 1st marked the three-year anniversary of our arrival in California, and this latest gesture is a measure of how far we have come. Three years ago I assure you that the words "subscribe to a farm" would have sent me into a fetal crouch. Now, however, we have decided that it would be nice to get six to seven pieces of produce grown by people more knowledgable and responsible than ourselves delivered to our door. We got a flyer by email, which was exciting, but which also afforded us a glimpse at the Platonic idea of a run-on sentence.
Our farm, C---- Fruits and Vegetables, was founded by K----- B-------- in 1976, a dedicated pioneer of the organic foods movement, committed to growing the finest quality produce using only methods healthy for the environment as well as her farm workers, and customers.
It may be the pot calling the kettle black, but I find that last comma particularly outrageous. Like the author stared at the clause sprawling across the page like a grape vine growing in a cow patch ("committed to growing the finest quality produce using only methods healthy for the environment as well as her farm workers and customers") and decided that the part that really needed to be set off for clarity was "and customers." However, it is important to us that our new farm family be brilliant at agriculture, less important that they be brilliant at clause husbandry.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006


I'll Be Supporting France

I happen to own a French soccer jersey, and I'll be wearing it Sunday when Les Bleus meet Italy in the final. Here's why. Anna will be supporting Italy, in as much she gives a shit.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at July 07, 2006 8:07 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Italy has socialist government. That's why Fritz supported Italy over Germany, with a conservative government. France has a conservative government. Since winning the World Cup leads to good feelings about the government, Fritz still goes with Italy.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Data Entry: Comedy for a Tech Generation

I'm sorry I've been MIA for the past week or two. I really like my new job, that's all, and I get home late. I keep meaning to post on my lunch breaks, but then I always find myself doing something else, like returning a phone call, making up for a late arrival, or sleeping.

Sometimes toward the end of the day I get kind of punchy, and when I do little data anomalies just crack me up. Although I rationally understand when this kind of thing occurs that someone from the EPA just entered certain information in the wrong box, it never fails to amuse me when my output takes on the quality of a surrealist word game, such as:

Floor Identifier

Basement
3rd Floor NW
2nd Floor Mezzanine
1996

or

Cleaning Products, Specify Other

Mr. Clean
Shiny Shoe Gum Remover
SofScrub with Bleach
Racine, WI

As yet I have failed to amuse anyone else with this, but it usually sends me into hysterics.

Once when I was a high school volunteer on a City Council campaign, I was taking my turn cold-calling potential donors. You can imagine how popular these calls were even when we got the name right. But once I called up and, as per the spreadsheet I'd been handed, asked for Abraha Stein, to which the old lady on the other hand asked, astounded at the sheer stupidity of it, "You mean Abraham?" Of course there were also donors called Buttweisel and Beaglehole, and those turned out to be spelled perfectly.

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Remaking the Pistons

My lasting memory of the Eastern Conference semifinals has nothing to do with LeBron James. When I think of that series now, I remember watching a lanky center with funny hair come off pick-and-rolls for easy dunks, clean up the boards, beat everyone to seemingly every loose ball and provide a jolt of energy to his team whenever he was on the floor. The problem was that the center in question was Anderson Varajao, and he was doing it against Ben Wallace and the Pistons. So no, I'm not convinced that Ben Wallace heading to the Chicago Bulls is really that bad an idea. As the New York Knicks have proven, in the NBA you can always recover from the personnel move you don't make. By the 2008-09 season, the Bulls will owe Wallace $15.7M and he'll be 34. The following year Wallace's bill will be around $17.2M. This for a player who has relied on his energy to become an All-Star rebounder and defender in the NBA. It strikes me as risky, especially the way the season ended in Detroit.

Wallace's energy wasn't particularly noticeable during the postseason this year. Even though the Pistons won 64 games, Wallace's rebounding numbers were down (under 13 per game). This was perhaps a function of the improved Pistons offense and a team whose field goal percentage against was middle of the pack instead of the top. But he also refused to back into a game at one point and then played inconsistently in the postseason. Perhaps Wallace was so crippled by angst over his exclusion from the offensive renaissance in Detroit that he just didn't have the energy to jump out of the gym like he used to. Now he's leaving, which would seem to suggest that the Pistons' locker room wasn't the diva-free zone that everyone said it was.

The Bulls are a high-energy young team. Wallace at 27 and without a ring would be a tremendous fit. But now? Who knows. It's hard to get excited about doing the proverbial dirty work when you're 32, your knees aren't quite as springy as they used to be and you're fabulously wealthy already. Wallace's two best offensive seasons came under Larry Brown, who called plays for him and demanded that he be an entity on both ends of the floor. During the playoffs, ESPN told the story about how Wallace was the leading scorer on his JC basketball team, which only means that he, like, say, Doug Christie, found that defense can be a very good NBA meal ticket. Christie checked everyone's best perimeter players during Sacramento's run, showing up with the occasional jumper every so often. But eventually he turned 34, his offensive production dwindled, and Sacramento traded him to Orlando. Last year he played in exactly seven NBA games.

This is not a blanket indictment of 34-year-old athletes. After all, Dennis Rodman grabbed 14.9 rebounds per game for Chicago's 72-win team when he was 34. Rodman is the exception, not the rule. As they say, age gets to all of us, if we're lucky. I don't blame Wallace for cashing out on what probably amounts to his last chance. Even though they're both obscenely outrageous sums of money, there is a real difference between $48M and $60M. And maybe getting the smaller offer from the Pistons will be the perceived slight he can use to motivate himself for the next four years.

This is not to say that Wallace's departure is a good thing. The Pistons have gone from an elite team to a good one, especially on the defensive end. Without Wallace to defend the rim, Chauncey Billups' failings as a defender will become increasingly apparent. In the new NBA, with all contact on the perimeter whistled, shot blocking will grow increasingly valuable. And suddenly the Pistons don't have a great shotblocker, although it's early in the offseason, and people could become available.

It was probably a pretty tough day in Detroit all around, as both the Pistons and Red Wings saw their signature players announce their intentions. But as we're in the process of trading in hockey for Premier League soccer, we won't be discussing Steve Yzerman here, other than to say that we really liked him for a really long time.

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Monday, July 03, 2006


Who Says I Don't Have a Sense of a Humor

While out for a walk in the Arboretum Sunday, we saw a mother duck tending to some recent hatchlings. This worries us since our less-than-encyclopedic understanding of duck mating habits seems to be that the babies should appear in the spring. "Some of these mothers," Anna said sighing in mock condescenion, "You can't put it off forever, you know. All of a sudden it's July..." This was funny.

So is Meryl Streep, which meant The Devil Wears Prada, which we saw yesterday, turned out to be a great deal of fun. It was a little upsetting to see that the message of the movie was that our heroine (forgettably played by Brooklyn-native Anne Hathaway -- although this isn't really her fault, everyone except Streep is pretty forgettable) shouldn't care about being good at her job because it makes her boyfriend and her friends anxious. This is a fairly ridiculous notion. If she wants to climb to the top of the fashion world, why is that at all a bad thing? I can't quite figure that out. Anyway, it's an enjoyable movie with a dubious message.

Incidentally, also enjoyable will be Anna's reaction when she finds out that Hathaway is playing Jane Austen in a biopic that currently shooting.

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