7/29/2002 10:55:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|funny.|W|P|79579292|W|P||W|P|7/29/2002 03:36:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|One good argument for not letting the computers take over... There's a quiz which is supposed to tell you your ideal city. It failed. (By the way, if you want to take the quiz, the site is veeeery nosy about your personal info...better go to spamhole.com and make a temporary e-mail address lest you get all kinds of wierd comeons from real estate agents.) Anyway, my personally selected Top 24, with snark. (Why 24? Because if it was 25, The Man would get nervous.) 1) Las Vegas, NV - The city that defined "Nice Place To Visit But You Wouldn't Want To Live There" is good for precisely one reason--rock-bottom taxes thanks to a steady influx of visitors who are bad at math. 2) Little Rock, AR - No, seriously. Little Rock. How the hell did this get in there? 3) Honolulu, HI - Tempting. Maybe when I figure out some way to eat ramen and shit legal tender. 4) Sacramento, CA - You know, when I was watching the NBA Western Conference finals this year, I saw the NBC camera crews trying desperately to find glamour shots of anything worth seeing in the greater Sacramento area. They managed to show an incredibly non-descript bridge and a half-empty yuppie brewpub. I'm not exactly obsessed with appearences, and I've been told that Sacramento is a pleasant but boring burg--sort of an overgrown Albany with a better climate, but yeesh. 5) New Orleans, LA - Grinding poverty! Horrific climate! Swarms of leering fratboys every spring! I've timed the interval between the time of the first sighting of some puppyish coed from, like, North Dakota yanking down her tube top and the time when I would get crushingly bored by the whole spectacle--it don't take long. I'll confess that I'm sort of intrigued by the unusual, and no one's claiming that Nawlins isn't unusual, but as I understand it, the only really interesting part of the city is, not coincidentally, the part where I'd have to call Animal Control to scoop up some doofus State U Phi Delt named Chad who's passed out in a pool of everything on my front step. 6) Long Beach, CA - I don't want to live in LA, why the hell would I want to live in its Mini-Me? 7) Los Angeles, CA - See "Long Beach," above. I'm iffy on the whole entertainment industry, I prefer air you can see, and I hate the friggin Lakers. Give me a $10m a picture deal, we'll talk. Until then--pfft. 8) San Diego, CA - Ludicriously unwalkable, divided between exasperating people with more money than I'll ever have and grindingly poor people who apparently haven't realized that they can get essentially the same experience for half the cost in, say, Albuquerque. Plus, the top attraction is a zoo without penguins. 9) Portland, OR - The first place on the list I'd seriously consider moving to. Too bad every boho goofus with a nose ring and a five-cup a day caffeine jones and a sheaf of unpublished poems got the same idea five years ago. Still, I guess the computer can pat its own cybernetic back for getting 1 out of 9 so far. 10) Washington, DC - I'll confess it--I have a weakness for DC, the result of an ill-timed visit in my formative years. Sure it's got a godawful climate and a crime problem from hell and a hideously corrupt and inefficent government--but when you're from Chicago, that stuff is just considered sort of homey. 11) Baltimore, MD - Baltimore I've always taken to be one of those places that people come from and move out of or come from and stay in forever, but never a place that people move to. Maybe I'm totally off base here. But if I'm moving to that area, I'm moving to Washington. 12) Albuquerque, NM - Phoenix without the glitter. I went to school in New Mexico for a year. Albuquerque was the only big city in the state. No one ever got the bright idea to go there for a weekend's jollies. Ever. No one ever even said anything nice about the place. I've literally heard more positive comments about Beirut. 13) Orange County, CA - I'm sort of torn about this one. On the one hand, every fiber of my being screams out in a desperate plea to never set foot in Orange County, Naperville-On-The-Sea. On the other hand--aw, fuck it. I'm not torn. I'm not moving to Orange County, and I'm not buying the new Celine Dion album, and I'm not wearing buttless chaps to work tomorrow. Standards. 14) Oakland, CA - I'm willing to listen to someone who can convince me that Gertie Stein didn't have the right idea about this place. Good luck. 15) Chicago, IL - Can't complain. 16) Hartford, CT - This is home to America's oldest state house. This is the single most inviting thing they can come up with on the website. There are Boston people and there are New York people. Hartford seems to have been created to teach them both the folly of compromise. 17) New Haven, CT - "The True Lower Intestine Of America" raves D.F. Wallace! Bring the kids! Yale didn't accept me, so fuck 'em. 18) Providence, RI - OK, I'm gonna look like a total tard for dissing one boring New England state capital and raising the roof for another one, but I liked Providence when I briefly visited this one time. It's cute, and it's in a cute little state. Plus their outgoing mayor is a major loon. 19) San Francisco, CA - To save time and prevent the possibility of an unintentional bit of homophobic hilarity, just do a little math: my San Francisco comment EQUALS my Honolulu comment TIMES two PLUS my Portland comment MINUS any indication that I really wanted to live there. San Francisco is a year round Mardi Gras for people too smart to join frats and prefer dank weed to Schlitz but still end up passed out on your front step. 20) San Jose, CA - Some latter-day Ozymandias really oughta come up with the epitaph for the future tech-boom ghost towns, but he'll probably save it in some propietary Microsoft format that we won't be able to read in 100 years, so fuck it. 21) Milwaukee, WI - Finally, a chance to work out my lifelong Lavergne and Shirley obsession. My question is--why Milwaukee? Why not any other utterly non-descript Rust Belt burg? I know myself. I'm a spleen-venter/dickhead by nature, and I'm just shouting down a well here. If some hidden dipswitch had been flipped somewhere in the findyourspot.com quiz process, I'd have gotten Cleveland instead, and I'd be search-and-replacing a virtually identical witless snap about the Drew Carey Show in place of Lavergne and Shirley, and I'd still be creaking through this same digression about my place in the universe and the capriciousness of fate. 3 in the morning is no time for self-doubt. 22) Boston, MA - My Boston story: I was in high school. I was visiting a small college in Vermont and we flew into Boston and the nice lady behind the counter who rented a car to my father not only called it a "caaaah" but committed several other offences unto the English language in the span of two clipped and businesslike sentences. I believe that this was my first real "wow, they really do talk that way" moment. I was born in Ohio, I was raised in Chicago, everyone around me spoke, you know, normally. Like John Glenn, say. There was this one guy from Mississippi or Alabama who went to my Junior High, but I don't remember him speaking appreciably wierdly, either. I'd can't remember having ever encountered a regional dialect before this rental-car woman. Not a bad thing, just wierd. I'd get over it, I suspect, if I lived in Boston, since it's actually one of my favorite places in America. 23) Monroe, LA - See "Little Rock." 24) Shreveport, LA - See "Monroe."|W|P|79541446|W|P||W|P|7/28/2002 04:21:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Rejoice! The world's greatest neo-traditional country band has a semi-comprehensive fan website at freakwater.net.|W|P|79505983|W|P||W|P|7/27/2002 01:12:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|McSweeney's Internet Tendency: On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor|W|P|79467989|W|P||W|P|7/25/2002 03:37:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|This is a test post to see if bloody Blogger has decided to start working.|W|P|79385277|W|P||W|P|7/23/2002 02:48:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Test|W|P|79293706|W|P||W|P|7/23/2002 02:45:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|You know, despite all evidence to the contrary, I sometimes can't shake the belief that the American far right is merely acting out an elaborate form of performance art.|W|P|79293654|W|P||W|P|7/21/2002 03:37:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|The (suddenly) late, and always great, Alan Lomax.|W|P|79214164|W|P||W|P|7/21/2002 12:16:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Long distance dedication to the Cali kids: The Objector: Home of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors |W|P|79209862|W|P||W|P|7/19/2002 10:55:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|The Empty Bowl - The Definitive Source for Cereal Info on the Web Comments seem superfluous in the face of this.|W|P|79176443|W|P||W|P|7/19/2002 10:11:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|True Porn Clerk Stories. Their world, and welcome to it.|W|P|79175167|W|P||W|P|7/19/2002 08:34:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Thirty days that shook the world ...and then that's it for World Cup retrospectives. But I can't deny that I love this one. Check out this choice bit: What do you mean that 'the terrible events in the Middle East put football in perspective'? It's the other way around. What football makes us see is what a load of shameful nonsense the Middle East conflict is, how low, silly, ludicrous and mean; how irredeemably banal are the likes of Bush, Arafat and Sharon and those fundamentalist Neanderthals who instead of dressing their baby dolls in Nakata and Ronaldo and Beckham football shirts, dress them up like suicide bombers. |W|P|79172528|W|P||W|P|7/19/2002 06:34:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|There is abosolutely no chance you will not disagree with something on this list.|W|P|79169503|W|P||W|P|7/18/2002 12:15:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|A friend just showed this to me...they're "offline while the details of the merger are worked out," whatever the hell that means, but it's well worth browsing the archives for quality, quality comedy.|W|P|79095707|W|P||W|P|7/15/2002 01:37:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Look kids! An actual reason to read the Chicago Sun-Times--the Quick Takes column just regularly chruns out some funny, funny stuff. Example: News Item: Chelsea Clinton signs on at World Health Organization as an intern. Stop whatever you are thinking. Stop it now.|W|P|78963628|W|P||W|P|7/15/2002 01:29:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I just need a straight one. Just a straight one, dammit!|W|P|78963362|W|P||W|P|7/14/2002 02:42:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Eric Alterman: Altercation Notable not only for props to the Blasters (one of the great semi-obscure 80's bands) but also this very pithy description of the dilemma American politics for people of a left-of-center-but-not-THAT-left-of-center political philosophy: Both letters are true, by the way, but it wasn�t a �luxury� hotel back then. A few readers have written to ask why I say I disagree with much of what I read on MWO, Buzzflash, etc. The reason is, I don�t really like the Democratic Party, Al Gore or Bill Clinton very much. The Party has fine, admirable people in it, but it will need to be transformed-in a mirror image of what the Christian Coalition et al did to the Republicans-before it can become a truly progressive force in this country. � � � �The Naderites are working to prevent this by taking as many activists and idealists out of the party on a self-righteous trip to nowhere, so I find them infuriating. And while there are no doubt some honorable and intelligent Republicans, I find just about everything in their party platform abhorrent. � � � �And so I support most Democrats not out of love or even �like� but out of pragmatism. They are, in most cases, not as bad as their enemies. Real campaign reform might allow them to turn into a genuine progressive party, but real campaign reform is a check-egg conundrum that strikes me as insoluble. So in the meantime, because I view politics as a matter of compromise and coalition-building, I support the least worse alternative while holding my nose. � � � �But don�t ask me to get excited about these guys, or feel too bad when they are treated unfairly. Life, as I keep telling my kid, is unfair. And many Democrats, like James and like Al Gore and Bill Clinton, are part of the problem. I sympathize.|W|P|78929429|W|P||W|P|7/14/2002 01:43:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|We live in very stupid times. Giggles!|W|P|78928130|W|P||W|P|7/13/2002 11:15:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Kill the Presidential primaries! The theory seemed to be that having a series of binding primary elections before the general election would open the process up, make things more democratic, give power, as it were, to the people. The theory has royally flopped in practice. Exactly two candidates have won the nomination without being the de facto choice of the party leadership: McGovern in 1972 and Carter in 1976. Not coincidentally, those are the first two elections since the modern presidential primary system came into being. (Technically speaking, Dukakis was not the initial front-runner in 1988, but he was the winner of a brief but spirited battle royale among several equally "worthy" contenders for the mantle of Not Jesse Jackson. Since the choice of the Democratic leadership in 1988 was Not Jesse Jackson, whoever filled that role was the establishment candidate by default.) The trend, since this point, has for primaries to be more and more densely packed into a short period shortly after New Hampshire, thus ensuring that only a candidate with a massive war chest has a prayer of winning. Contributors, sensibly enough, want to back a winner, so being anointed by party leadership leads to more contributions, which leads to further endorsements from the party leadership, which leads to...well, you get the point.) Primaries, therefore, become the proving ground of the fundraising efforts begun years earlier. Bill Clinton's massive fundraising advantage made him the presumptive nominee in 1992 and warded off any potential challenge in 1996, and George W. Bush pulled off the same trick in 2000. Presumably, whoever wins the Democratic nomination in 2004 will seal up their victory in the next 12 months, if not sooner. It seems to me that we could save everyone a lot of time, money and effort by coming to the fairly obvious conclusion that the experiment has failed, and that it's time to go back to the old system of letting party regulars pick the candidate at an honest-to-God convention.|W|P|78924085|W|P||W|P|7/13/2002 10:52:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|For all you fans of antique computer games, here's the website for one of the best, Fool's Errand. The author is releasing his oldies as freeware. Good on him.|W|P|78923431|W|P||W|P|7/12/2002 04:05:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|I am a slob. I've always pretty much been the most egregious slob in whatever group of people I've been living in. Until now. I've found myself unexpectedly fussing over piles of dishes in the sink and dirty toilets in the house. I'm not sure if this is a simple function of growing older and less tolerant of stank (prolly not--my room's still messy, though in my defence it's inorganically messy) or if it's just that I'm a big hypocrite who can't stand it when people are as messy as I am when it's on my turf. There are currently three people living in the house. This fall, there will be ten. This aught to be fun. So, anyway, last night, I was cooking on what the Goddamned Electric Stove (so christened shortly after moving in; I loathe electric ranges) when the fire alarm went off. Our fire alarm system directly contacts the city so we had to sit and wait and endure loud buzzing until the fire trucks came since they are the only ones who can turn off the alarm, for some reason. The firemen arrive, I show them the stairs down to the basement, they turn off the alarm, and the Leader comes back up and asks me if I've been down in the basement recently. Well, no. I ask him what the problem is, at which point he begins to play that little game that is so beloved of authority figures (cops, teachers, whatever) where they refuse to just fucking tell you what their problem is because they want to be coy and catch you in a lie. I can see where this might be potentially useful for a police officer trying to extract evidence from a street hoodlum, but it's less useful in the case of dealing with the tenant of a house who (as it turns out) has a pool of raw sewage in his basement. I go, I look, I see, I come back, I get told by the fireman that it's going to have to be cleaned up. I vigorously agree. The fireman then informs me that it will have to be cleaned up. I agree again. Exactly what in God's name does he want from me? I don't own the house, it doesn't cost me anything to get the pipes fixed, does he honestly think I'll maybe wait on the whole getting-the-lake-of-turds-out-of-my-basement project for a few days? Sheesh. It didn't really bother me at the time, mostly because I was too busy figuring out the best way to clean out the basement and gagging over the present state of things, but in retrospect, I'm quite irked by the attitude I got from this yutz. I neither wanted nor needed the fire alarm to go off, I didn't install the damn system that calls the fire department automatically whenever the smoke detector gets tripped off, so it's really not my fault that they had to come out here on a pointless trip. I'm having a lousy enough afternoon without having someone lecture me about the necessity of cleaning a toxically flooded basement like I'm a freaking grub-eating savage. Anyhow, the plumber shows up tomorrow, and I really hope some snotnosed health-department inspector shows up tomorrow afternoon so I can give the fire brigade a piece of my mind by proxy.|W|P|78856566|W|P||W|P|7/10/2002 10:10:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|July 9, 2002 - The Daily Prospectus: A Sense of Entitlement Jesus. Three baseball articles in one day. I must be losing my mind. Anyway, I agree with this guy.|W|P|78801880|W|P||W|P|7/10/2002 09:53:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Two other All-Star notes: 1) Some are saying that the game should have been decided by a home-run derby. I've gone one better--I flipped a coin. It came up tails. National League wins! 2) The greatest fiasco of the weekend, from my vantage point, is those hideous yellow jersies they wore for the Home Run Derby. Attention MLB uniform people. Few things are enshrined in Holy Tradition, but this pretty much is: American League is red, National league is blue. We're not strictly sure why this is, it just is. Please respect these boundaries.|W|P|78801228|W|P||W|P|7/10/2002 09:42:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|CNNSI.com - 2002 MLB All-Star - All-Star Game ends in 7-7 tie after 11 innings - Wednesday July 10, 2002 09:57 PM Ordinarily, I'm first in line when the call goes out to dogpile on Bud Selig, but I really don't get the criticism here. Yeah, the game ended in a tie, which is an offense unto the Lord. But come on. How, precisely, are exhibition matches supposed to end? The teams really were out of pitchers, the fans did get 11 innings for the price of nine, and it wasn't like the game was some kind of somnambulant pitcher's duel. The irony of it all is that the practice of making sure that every single member of the roster plays only came about because of, you guessed it, fan criticism. Before, the party line was that some fans were being cheated out of the opportunity to see their favorites. Now, when the only realistic remedy for that situation is applied, the Law Of Unintended Consequences kicks in and we find a way to pin it on Bud Selig. Yeeesh.|W|P|78800808|W|P||W|P|7/08/2002 02:23:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Nick Hornby, author of two good novels and one I haven't read, is also a soccer fanatic who wrote the definitive soccer fan's memoir. Now he's written a nice piece on the World Cup for The New Yorker. It's good. It doesn't suck. I like it.|W|P|78678151|W|P||W|P|7/07/2002 04:58:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Oh, dear.|W|P|78660476|W|P||W|P|7/05/2002 02:52:00 AM|W|P|PJ|W|P|Satire!|W|P|78579366|W|P||W|P|7/02/2002 12:36:00 PM|W|P|PJ|W|P|A Brief Digression About The Meaning Of Life: Imagine you are kidnapped by persons unknown to you, and locked in a room with no windows and one (unbreakable) locked door and a table. On this table is a large and complex jigsaw puzzle. The room is otherwise blank and bare. You have been given no instructions as to what to do, and no one can come to rescue you. I think most people would conclude that you were put in the room to solve the puzzle. But there's not really any reason to assume that. You could have been given the puzzle to amuse yourself while your kidnappers decide what to do with you. You could have been just coincidentally locked in a room that was previously used for storing puzzles. It could be that you were kidnapped by a group of anti-puzzle fanatics who will kill you for profaning their Holy Room by daring to play with a jigsaw puzzle in it. It could be that the puzzle is a cunning booby-trap designed to explode when you finish it. Maybe it's not a puzzle at all, but a random collection of pieces from 100 different puzzles which will never fit together in any coherent form. Some people think it's egotistical and short-sighted to believe that the universe does not inherently have meaning. I say it's far more egotistical to assume that everything that's ever happened to you happens for some greater purpose. At least those of us who are skeptical aren't assuming that you're in that little room to solve the puzzle.|W|P|78470448|W|P||W|P|