Free-Floating Hostility

Monday, April 16, 2007

Shameless Crowing

I recognize that it is tacky to brag about one's parents' accomplishments but this is a big one, so, you know, tough rocks.

Check out the list of finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. That's my dad!

Click here to view, or re-view, his imitation of Tarzan.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at April 20, 2007 2:51 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Hey, Jon Stewart mentioned the author who won the award on the Daily Show - so close. Jon Stewart didn't think much of him. Maybe your dad can get invited to trash talk. Actually, maybe your dad should just say Colbert is "so hot" - that's more likely to work.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at May 04, 2007 11:08 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The winner in that category was a dame.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

In which the IRS Strains the Language

The IRS website features a certain link titled "What's Hot in Forms and Publications." Think that's chutzpah? It leads to this page, titled "What's Hot in Tax Forms, Publications and Other Tax Products." And it's, as Jeffy would say, hawt.

This year, we decided to stop flushing our money down the toilet and also to do our own taxes. As usual, we were able to negotiate an equitable division of labor: I agreed to do our taxes if Mike would locate our W-2's. He, it turned out, had been keeping our W-2s in a stack on my desk, so shortly after we shook on this arrangement, he appeared at my side, saying "Here you go. Vaya con Dios."

That was not really the end of his servitude. For one thing, he couldn't get very far away. My desk was the eye of the tax prep hurricane, and if he wandered outside it he was likely to be swept up in a maelstrom of "What's your social? What's our bank's routing number? Do you think we qualify for a Telephone Excise Tax Credit?" and occasionally "Where do you think you're going?".

We'll see if we get audited, but at the moment, we appear to have come out way ahead. Last year we paid about $100 in taxes, and $217 to get our taxes prepared. This year we got a four-figure refund and paid ten bucks for the privilege of sweating it out ourselves. We decided to voluntarily add a little extra to our state taxes to benefit certain funds for disease research, primarily so that we could round our remaining state tax debt to $34. I am a little nervous about the fact that the service we used misspelled "withdrawal."

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Bedside Manner for Boxers

Yesterday April took Quintus to the vet. She was concerned about two bumps that had formed around his hips. The doctor, who April informs me holds a Ph.D. in History from Yale in addition to her D.V.M., examined Quintus and pronounced the bumps benign. "It's nothing serious?" April asked. "No," said the doctor, "I think they're--" she leaned forward and whispered, "Love handles."

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Another Hit for Consumer Rights

Ever since Mr. Ollivander disappeared, bootleg magic wands have been sprouting up like shrooms after a rain. An outfit called Alivan's, if you please, is charging up to $50 for a magic wand. And here's the best part: a 15" Holly wand and an 11" Holly wand are the same price. That eleven-incher better contain one of Fleur de la Coeur's personal poils.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Big Dog, Little Dog

Dara encouraged me to find out what breed of dog I am, via this online quiz (I think you have to give them your email address so that they can spam you). Anyway, the results told me I was a German Shepherd. I was very excited, and spent at least two minutes trying to think of a way to work that onto my resume. I made Mike take the quiz as soon as I got home, and he took it personally when the quiz classified him as a Scottie. We sometimes refer to being smart as "being a German Shepherd," so now whenever Mike stubs his toe or forgets something he groans "I'm such a Scottie."

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Plums, Plums, Twiddling their Thumbs (etc)

I recently got a new pair of glasses to replace the taped up, bent up pair I'd been, much to my own mortification, wearing for two months. It is not easy to get an appointment at Kaiser, and if you miss one it is no easier to get a second. One afternoon in my boss's office the right earpiece betrayed me once again, slipping out of its sticky binding and falling to the floor. As I "repaired" it, explaining what I loser I am, my boss asked "You don't have the kind that bends every which way?" and took off his own to demonstrate how they can be practically folded in half without breaking. I thanked him for rubbing it in and explained that, no, I did not have that kind. I had cute purple Nautica frames not built to withstand the impact of a full grown woman stepping on them.

This time I was determined to purchase the sturdiest frames in the shop, and the devil with the cost. I communicated my desires to the kind man at the eyewear store, and he handed me something I am pretty sure I wore in the sixth grade. "Something less geeky, please," I requested, then hastily added, "I'm geeky enough all on my own." He responded by handing me a set of orange and wasabi green cat's eye frames. "More geeky, please." I came away with what I was assured were "trendy" specs, I guess cause they're hexagonal and rimmed only on the bottom. I had convinced myself at the time that they were red, but that's only the ears; the part you can see is a sort of bronze that's going to require me to step up my summer tanning as it currently clashes with my face. But the nearsighted among you will understand what I mean--getting a new prescription is nice. The world looks so beautiful and sharp that I go around compulsively touching the edges of things. I can't believe normal people see the world this way all the time.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

At this Point in the Season it Could Still go Either Way

I was talked, against all my judgment, into playing fantasy baseball again this year. At least I had the sense to avoid any league that might involve the Goldman brothers, whose sense of perspective has sometimes been called into question. I had every intention of maintaining fantasy abstinence, until Ryan came calling. It's extremely difficult to say no to Ryan. I distinctly remember one occasion in 1998 when he came by my dorm room to talk me and Erin into a couple of Monday night beers, and, foreseeing our complete powerlessness to refuse him, we hid in the bathroom. Then a couple of alumni came by on a tour and we tumbled out, giving them much to ponder.

Ryan's is a head-to-head league peopled mostly by Harvard scientists. I constructed a dataset and came up with my very own metric of fantasy value. I determined that the peak age for a player's fantasy value is 31. Then I ran my regression models, and determined that last year's fantasy value is a weak predictor of this year's fantasy value, as is performance history of any kind. So I was forced to abandon that strategy, with a hearty cry of "Crap! I know nothing about baseball!"

I played Ryan last week. Yahoo offers a smack-talk feature, which Ryan used to send me the message, "So glad that we play first - I like your team. Thanks for joining the league!" I lost 1-12-2. Damn that kind, supportive reprobate.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Rich at April 10, 2007 6:39 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I think that constitution reflects more an obsession with the law than with fantasy baseball. But, that is just one man's humble opinion.

    It's a good thing that Ryan didn't invite me to his league, or he would have gotten his butt handed to him. He ain't no fool. I was invited to a random head to head league. I have no idea how it works - but I am in first place!!!

  •   Posted by Blogger Katy at April 11, 2007 8:00 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I'm in a rotisserie league that's about half Barnard and half nerdy MIT guys (I don't know why I felt the need to specify that they are nerdy when they're from MIT). There's not a whole lot of chest-thumping. I like it.

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No Ponzi Schemes for my Pop

My father does not share my sympathy for telemarketers.

On a recent morning, he got out of bed to make my mother some coffee, and while he was on the other side of the apartment, Mom thought of something else she wanted. Having earned a rest recently, she decided to call him up (he can't hear across the apartment) and ask him to bring it to her. When he answered, she purred into the phone, "Hello, we're calling you for National Indulge your Wife Day." Before she could get any further however, Dad interrupted.

"I will have you know that I indulge my wife every day of the year," he barked. "Do not call this number and take us off your list."

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When the Cat is Sat, Anna will Play

Last week we house/dog/cat-sat for Dara and David. These are excerpts from the notes they left us:

"Firearms: There are several in the closet. No need to worry, however, as they have all been disassembled."

"Cats: Eh...Dara can tell you about the cats. I hear they need food and water...and Zea will try to sleep on your face." Zea never tried it, but when Nisa wanted us to wake up she would simply stand on our faces.

"Catnip: if you're so inclined, you can give them each a little pinch of catnip on their catpole. Watch for claws thereafter, they get carried away when they're drunk." I drugged them whenever I couldn't figure out what they wanted.

"The vacuum cleaner has a belt issue; I recommend not using it to avoid explosion."

"World of Warcraft: You can play any of my characters or make your own. If you want to make Horde characters, you will need to change realms."

I actually did play forty minutes or so of Nerdcraft on principle. I thought my character should resemble me as much as possible, so I created a pink-skinned, brown-eyed, short-messy-brown-haired rogue gnome with no earrings. I was promptly dropped down into a snowy, woodsy world full of white people. I decided to call it Denmark. At first it was very intimidating, and when some blue dude circled around me looking like he wanted me to do something I panicked and quit. Then Jeff got Sheryl to join me in Denmark, presumably while he practiced self abuse, and the dwarf named TyraB and I played. Well, mostly we jumped up and down, actually, cause I couldn't figure out how to move (remember my trouble with Halo?). But then Jeff fixed it and I was able to pull myself together well enough to kill eight wolves; I no longer recall why I was supposed to kill eight wolves, but I was promised something like nice boots if I came through. My gnome stabbed them and made high pitched noises when she got bitten, while Tyra bludgeoned them with a large wooden mallet. I got my nice boots. Then came the dancing. The "dance" command produced a Michael Flatley type jig in Tyra, but my gnome did a booty dance with hip hop accents.

That, as far as I've been able to tell, is the whole game.

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A Belated Shill

Right, so I meant, many many many months ago, to post a link to my old high school buddy Alexia's new company, Meaningful Travel. If you're diligent, you can probably find in our archives a picture of Alexia flicking somebody off on her wedding day.

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