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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Speaking of Mom . . .

She’s back online. Holly and my other sister, Missy, and I went in together and bought Mom one of those internet-only computers for Christmas a few years ago. It was cheap in every way – price and quality – so I guess it shouldn’t have been too surprising when MSN two years ago told her the service was terminated. That’s right; the computer was only good for three years.

Anyway, Missy and I have since tried to get Mom back up to speed with new shit, and just a couple of weeks ago, I got a test e-mail from her. It was working, but of course she had misspelled her name when creating her e-mail address, which is fairly funny.

But now that she’s online, she reads this thing daily, so please keep the commentary clean.

And look busy.


This week’s CNN microphone gaffe reminded me of a similar foot-in-my-mouth situation.

My mom isn’t the savviest of those using the Internet, and a few years ago she sent me an e-mail that I replied to, but I was the one looking like the amateur. It’s been about five years, so I don’t recall all the details, but somehow it was relevant for my judgmental ass to make some critical remarks about one of my brothers-in-law.

Of course, my sister Holly was CCd on the note without me knowing. Surprisingly, little drama came of it, but it certainly was embarrassing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How's The Hitler Souffle Today?

A boneheaded restaurateur in India needed a week before changing the name of his establishment.

Hitler's Cross Cafe is now called merely The Cross Cafe.

The Mumbai joint drew understandably sharp criticism when it opened last week, and the owner, Puneet Sablok, finally succumbed to the pressure.

Not to be outdone, my friend Harvey Goldberg said he plans to open a joint here in Manhattan called Dotheads.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Thumbs Down

With all the hullabaloo surrounding air travel these days, not to mention Samuel L. Jackson's latest movie, I'd like to have a minute with that nimrod TSA security screener who let those snakes on a plane last week.

The airport should hire folks with better reading skills than third-grade level. Ten bucks he thought the pre-flight pamplet said "Snacks on a plane." Idiot.

UPDATE: Celebrity Plane Crash

I don't have a whole lot for you today other than an exciting addition to the list:

It's been nearly a month since I last updated the Celebrity Plane Crash passenger list, but two more have secured reservations:

  1. Paris Hilton
  2. Kirstie Alley
  3. Terrell Owens
  4. Denise Richards
  5. Janice Dickinson
  6. Chris Berman
  7. Carmen Electra
  8. Britney (but she can survive)
  9. Keanu Reeves
  10. Alec Baldwin (from brokedickdog)
  11. Gilbert Gottfried (from everybody with ears)
  12. Mace Windu (from brokedickdog)

I’ve resisted a handful of e-mailed suggestions to add Tom Cruise, but I’ve signed up for Scientology, and I don’t think that would be appropriate. Actually, that’s not true, but I’m not as anti-Cruise as everyone else seems to be.

However, I’m quite tired of news stories about that new baby of his, Suri. Which leads me to today’s discussion topic, keeping in mind that nominating a defenseless infant for a first-class seat on the CPC would be inappropriate so I’ll amend it some: Which baby would you most likely to see turn out to be a loser? Suri Cruise? Or Brangelina’s baby?


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Staring At Children

The Baton, who is half-filipino, and I had at least a handful of meals last summer at Whole Foods, her favorite place to eat. One time when we were there, she saw a Japanese girl who wasn’t older than 2 or 3, and referenced the child’s “little black hair.”

I’ve seen some of Jennifer’s childhood home videos, and she looks a lot more Asian as a child than she does now. Consequently, every time I see an Asian toddler, I think of two things – Jennifer and the words “little black hair.”

So I got on the train the other day, and across from me and down about 10 feet was a young Asian mom with her two kids, probably 2 and 3. The younger of the two seemed astute enough to be thinking what her mom likely was thinking – “My, that American man over there sure is handsome.”

The little girl kept staring at me, so I stared back, made a face, she smiled, I smiled, etc. She had little black hair, therefore she reminded me of my lovely girlfriend, who I haven’t seen in nearly three weeks since she moved to grad school in Virginia. So as long as the young girl kept making faces and smiling, I kept doing the same back.

Now I know it’s one thing to tell a stranger, “Aww, cute baby,” which I’ve actually never done, because, frankly, I think babies all look alike and they are not attractive. I almost feel guilty when my friends send me birth announcements because those baby pictures do absolutely nothing for me. I save them only because I’m a packrat, not because I’m ever going to look at them again.

But it’s an entirely different thing to stare at a 2-year-old for the majority of a five-minute train ride. It suddenly hit me that had an outsider been observing my stare-off with the Asian girl, perhaps he could have thought something like “there’s a sensitive man who adores children.” More likely, I fear, he might have been thinking he was watching the next John Mark Karr.

Which begs the question, when does it become awkward for you when strangers are admiring your baby out in public? Please reply to this most urgent inquiry.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Incorrect Ham

This afternoon, I made my usual Sunday trip to Gristede's to pick up some groceries for the week. And about 15 minutes ago, I started making my lunch for tomorrow, and as I reached for the new half pound of Black Forest ham to make a sandwich, I noticed it had that feeling of having been in my fridge for a week.

So I walked around the corner back to Gristede's, where the Marlboro-fragranted manager needed five minutes to find Vivian, who was downstairs, perhaps coughing on her ungloved hands like she did during my first visit.

Vivian looked at my pack of ham, and I mean that only literally, and looked at me and said defensively, "This is what you asked for. A half pound of Black Forest. This is correct."

"I'm not saying it's incorrect ham. It's slimy and nasty and I don't want to eat it."

Then I thought about it. Vivian had opened the pack of ham and slid her index fingertip across the ham to confirm whether my complaint was legit. Had she found that the ham was as correct as it needed it to be, what would she have done? Returned it to me and demanded that I eat it after she'd pawed all over it?

"My deli's closed. You need to bring this back tomorrow."

Awesome. I'm going to go back after work and get that $3.77 and live it up on Monday night.


... the new Jeep Compass commercial (watch it here). In the last 12 years or so, advertisers -- some, at least -- have actually tried to make television ads entertaining. Dropping KRS One's "Steady Bounce" underneath fits perfectly with the bobble heads, whose never-ending movements reflect what Jeep hopes will be similar enthusiasm from new Compass owners.

Looking ahead, TBS has Kevin Nealon hosting "The World's Funniest Commercials" this week. That ought to be worth watching.

And remember this one? Turn your speakers up!

Let's Talk OSU Football

pittmanPierre, from the post below, is an Ohio State fan, just like you and me. He offered up an interesting take on why our beloved Bucks will not win this years's national championship, even though they've earned preseason No. 1 acclaim in most publications.

Everyone's talking about Heisman Trophy candidates Troy Smith and Tedd Ginn Jr., and for good reason. But getting lost in the shuffle is junior running back Antonio Pittman (pictured, above), who rushed for 1,300-plus yards last year, good for fourth on the all-time season yardage list by a sophomore in OSU's long tradition of excellent running backs.

But Pierre opines the running back position -- not the relatively inexperienced defense -- will be OSU's downfall. There's been lots of talk about incoming freshman Chris Wells, another badass running back who could be a Heisman candidate in 2008. Pierre thinks the two-back rotation could become enough of a distraction in Columbus to derail OSU's national title hopes. The last time a high-profile position was up for grabs week to week was about eight years ago, when Stanley Jackson couldn't separate himself from fellow quarterback Joe Germaine.

Do you think OSU will win it all this year? Why or why not?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Had To Have A Beer

I had a dry Friday and was aiming for an alcohol-free Saturday, but I made the mistake of calling my old friend, "Pierre," we'll call him, at about 10:30 p.m. Pierre is one of my old drinking buddies back from my days in Cincinnati. I don't talk to him nearly as much as I should, but Saturday's conversation reminded me that he's still as funny as ever.

Anyway, 20 minutes in, I still had no need for a beer. Then he told me about a recent mushroom trip with some of the old dudes who gathered recently in Cincinnati.

"(One dude) was puking, and I think (another dude) was puking too. I wasn't puking. And (another dude) was cool with it. It was a bad time."

Pierre recalled what made his trip so bad.

"I thought the government was shooting this ray inside my house," he said. "It was like a VibroRay."

I don't know if that's trademarked, but it sounds fancy.

"And they were shooting inside because we're liberals," Pierre continued. "The VibroRay is something that makes you incapacitated, like you're incapable of functioning properly."

"But there were a lot of times back in the day when we drank ourselves to a point where we couldn't function," I insisted.

"I know, but normally that didn't really matter. This time, I said, 'There's something wrong going on. Why can't I stand up and walk?'"

"How long did your bad trip last?" I asked.

"I don't know. It felt like three hours, but it could have been 10 minutes. That's what happens when you do hallucinogens," Pierre said. "(Another dude) had a real bad time too. He started sweating, then asked if I had a towel or a blanket. I was like, 'Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah, but I'm shrooming my nuts off so I can't up and get it for you right now.'"

Pierre, who was drunk during this Saturday conversation, decribed the scene when (another dude) showed up. This guy is 6-5 and about 250 pounds, and kicks everyone's ass even tho he's about 40.

"Oh yeah, and then (another dude) showed up. I looked at him and he was wearing that same red Ohio State shit he was wearing last time I saw him when we all watched the Michigan game last year. He looked like a lifeguard, and I thiought he was there to rescue us."

Wouldn't you have needed a beer after that?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Harbinger Of A Bad Rant To Come

I love how even really good journalists with whom I've worked over the years have agreed with my rants about bad writing that makes the papers or the newscasts, yet they still find themselves reading the shit on air because someone else wrote it for them.

When you write news for television, you can sound a little less formal than for print. "Make it more conversational," I was told a few times when I made the jump from print to TV. So I've since kept a keen ear out for not-so-conversational writing, and being the unforgiving, judgmental prick I can often be, I began a few years ago compiling a list of items often written for TV that are just straight up awful. I'll look around for the list and bore you with it one day, but for now, an example I like is "the battle of the bulge." Have you ever heard someone other than a television anchor say those words? It's often used in the first sentence of another yawny health story that tells viewers the same thing a similar story revealed the week before, something like, "breaking news -- exercise will help you in the battle of the bulge." I wonder if Geraldo had the "shocking new details."

Actually, I take this criticism back. Just a few short months ago, I remember being at a party and telling a friend about my then-current health situation with the summer right around the corner.

Partier: "I've got a trip to Mexico coming up. I can't wait. I just love the beach."
Me: "Yeah; the beach is cool. I wish I had a trip coming up. I'd have to do some sit-ups tho, as I'm currently losing the battle of the bulge."

Anyway, the reason I began this rant is because I wanted to talk about another piece of writing. I seem to hear the word "harbinger" in the same context every time. It's often when a television anchor or host is interviewing a guest, perhaps on-set or in a double-box via satellite (how's that for TV talk?).

For example, Lebanon and Israel had their own little war (greedy bastards) that began about five weeks ago. Once it started, market speculators had to weigh in on every news program with their thoughts on how this non-bulge-related battle would affect oil prices.

"Do you think this latest development in Israel is a harbinger of things to come regarding oil prices?"

Harbinger already has a "things to come" angle built into its meaning, so using both the word and the subsequent phrasing is quite redundant.

I can't believe I'm still talking about this.

I need to go to bed.

Canned (Not Very) Goods

I'm a little bit sick this week, and regardless of whatever ailment has bothered me over the years, I always run to the store and load up on chicken noodle soup, crackers and ginger ale.

I came home from the store with all that stuff on Monday night, and as I was stacking the soup cans on the shelf, I did something I should have done a few years ago. I threw out most of the other ones, particularly the ones with sell-by dates of 2002 and 2004. Those were the dates on the majority of the cans. And if you've been paying attention, you know I just moved here a couple months ago. So that would mean I packed old soup cans to take with me during my several moves in the last few years. Nasty!

Mark Schneider

When I was 8 or so, this kid from up the street was two years older than me. I reckon he still is.

His name was Mark Schneider, and he was really cool. I ended up telling people my middle name was Mark.

Is that gay?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Weekend Recap

Friday night, I had a date, er, I went out with the guy from my bank. He was pretty friendly when I first opened the account when I moved up here in June, and I'd see him every couple of weeks when I'd go in there. So we talked about having a beer and finally did so on Friday.

Even before my male friends weighed in with warnings about keeping an eye on my drink at all times and so forth, I had my reservations. Not because I thought he was gay, because I didn't and now having spent time with him, I don't. But it's the first time I've ever socialized with someone who has access to my Social Security number and money. Fortunately, I don't envision not being broke any time soon, so I'm not a target for him, at least monetarily. But there are still ways for this to become awkward. Ever seen "Cable Guy?"

Anyway, it was actually a pretty good time. We're about the same age and he knows enough about Ohio State football that I felt justified in making it the most prominent topic of conversation in our three hours together. We talked sports, beer and music and if I type any more about this, then I'll probably be the subject of warnings from his friends. One last thing -- we hung out at Dorrian's, which is known as being the 1980s meeting place for that rich college kid and his victim in what New Yorkers remember as the "Preppie Murder."

But back to me. I didn't get loaded like I often do on a Friday, but I drank four or five draft beers, enough to have a headache on Saturday morning. And afternoon. Since I started this new gig in New York, I've had to be on-call and add about eight or 10 fresh stories to the sites very early each Saturday morning. This particular one marked the third time this summer that I've sat at this computer -- splitting headache and all -- with a hand over one eye and squinting badly to read the awful wire stories I've had to edit. I guess you could say that's a symptom of being hungover, a condition that many would guess could be avoided by not drinking so much. My logic runs in a far different direction; another way to prevent hangovers is to drink a lot -- both in volume and frequency -- thereby increasing your tolerance. No pain, no gain, right?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Wheelchair Accessible?

Some guy named Tony who I don't know has a fairly entertaining blog, and his is the only blog on Blogspot to which I add comments, so maybe this is not the anomaly I think it is.

But when I add a comment, I'm prompted to type in the jumbled code for verification. The box in which I type the code is followed by a handicap sign. Does that mean that Tony's blog is wheelchair-accessible? Or are all of them that way?

If you're near your computer, please log on right now and let me know if that wheelchair symbol appears when you try to comment on my blog. Thanks.

Aug. 11, 1992

So I got my start in what would turn out to be quite a prosperous and surprisingly lucrative career in valet parking during this particular summer. Just a few months into the gig, 14 years ago today actually, I remember getting a message from a hotel co-worker after taking my dinner break to call home. Such a message was commonplace; it was often J.B. or Dave or one of the other roommates telling me which bar I was supposed to meet them at after I left work, or that there was a nasty seventh wheel over with her girlfriends, so I should consider taking my time getting home.

I picked up one of the hotel lines, and the operator apparently was waiting for me because she was preparing to dial from another phone elsewhere in the building. She asked the number, and I told her, adding that I was plenty qualified to make the call on my own, and if she stayed on, she'd probably hear something offensive in less than 60 seconds.

But I told her the number, and she asked what the area code was "up there," knowing that I was a Cleveland native at the time living in Cincinnati. I said "513; it’s like two miles up the road."

"No, John, you need to call home home," she said, making sure I understood the gravity of the call I was about to make by repeating that last word. "Your mom is waiting to hear from you."

It didn't take more than a second to figure out that Mom, who never called me at work, needed to tell her son that his father died after an eight-month battle with a deteriorating liver, initiated some 40 years earlier when he first picked up the brown-bottle habit.

So there it is. A dubios anniversary indeed. I miss ya, Pops!

One Click. Two Rants. What A Bargain For You.

Gay can mean happy, and gay can mean homosexual.

It can also mean this.

This video is five or six months old, but I'm showing it to you now because this girl is making a comeback. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal, but "Inside Edition" made it one this week, so now I'd like to offer my two cents.

And in case you're wondering what the worst thing is to feed an annoyingly spunky, maybe cute, college teenage cheerleader, the obvious answer is national television exposure. But the idiots at "Inside Edition" showed viewers "exclusive access" to the girl's recent workout and trip to the physical therapist's office.

Now, let me redirect this rant; there are two reasons why media outlets get an exclusive:

1) Because the news crew worked hard and earned it.
B) Because no other media organizations give two shits about this particular non-story.

If someone put a gun to my head and asked me to jump to a conclusion, I would lean toward B. Because of "Inside Edition," this cheerleader is flirting with a one-way invitation onto the CDP, even though I'm far from prepared to call her a celebrity.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Samuel L. Jackson Update

What happened to Samuel L. Jackson? I just saw a promo for his upcoming movie, "Snakes on a Plane." Are you serious?

It's like Awful Movie A met Horrendous Movie B and they had a baby, and "Snakes on a Plane" is the sequel.

Maurice Clarett -- Biggest Waste of Talent

I'm still not certain of Musing Chick's identity, but it's important that we figure out who we're dealing with here. A NASCAR proponent who needed nine tries and two fake screen names to send me her comments that are in the entry below. Initially, I thought it was Dave's girlfriend Kristin, but it's now clear that she's someone with an agenda far more sinister.

So Amy, I tell you this -- Maurice Clarett is indeed the biggest waste of talent in the history of professional sports. Though he never played one professional down, he, like Len Bias, had the potential to be dominant at the highest level. The world was his rooster.

Why a bigger waste than Bias or Mike Tyson? Because Tyson already had fulfilled a lot of his potential concurrent with his legal troubles. He was a champ before doing jail time. He enjoyed moderate success after his time behind bars. Certainly his behavior the last decade has been freakish, but only after he was on top of the boxing world for nearly just as long.

And though Bias also was a superstar with nothing but sunny skies ahead, it took him a little while to develop. Not unlike Michael Jordan, Bias certainly was highly touted before coming into the ACC, but I don't think either entered that league with nearly as much hype as Clarett did before his first game at Ohio State. And Bias definitely didn't command the national spotlight in his freshman year.

You might remember, Clarett actually was in the Heisman race until the season's midpoint when he started missing chunks of games and even sat out a full game or two -- if memory recalls -- because he was banged up. Even still, he rushed for 1,200 yards and just under 20 touchdowns.

It didn't hurt that his friends on the other side of the ball shut down four other guys who were Heisman candidates until they squared up against the OSU D. Carson Palmer was the wise choice that year, but had Clarett played a full season, he might have pulled off a most unprecedented feat as a freshman.

Had the troubled Ohioan steered clear of trouble, the Buckeyes could have contended for a repeat title the following season and just for the sake of conversation, he certainly would have been enough of a difference-maker to turn the tables in OSU's two losses last year, in what would have been his senior season, though he obviously had no intention of staying in Columbus that long.

But now, all he'll be remembered for is his dead-on impression of Lawrence Phillips.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Urgent NASCAR Update

If the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have some sort of All-Star Game, what does NASCAR do to showcase its top drivers?

I don't follow it enough to know whether there's an off-season, but perhaps they have some kind of smash-up Derby where they can take their anger out from the season-just-past by demolishing their cars. You know Ernie and Joe Don were "tradin' paint" a few times in the Chase for the Cup -- especially at Darlington; did you see that race? -- or whatever the hell they call it. NASCAR suits surely will be keeping a keen eye on those two hooligans should such an all-star gala occur. And is "NASCAR suits" an oxymoron?

Rumor has it if Joe Don cuts him off on another left turn, Ernie is planning a rather large retaliatory effort. It's all about the manifold drive.

However this speedily growing sport chooses to celebrate its stars, you can bet your ass there will be thousands of Oakley-and-tank-top morons in the infield declaring "Runnin' good today" between gulps of Milwaukee's Best.

Dork of the Moment

My dude Dave who I reference here from time to time is somewhat of a music buff. I feel like I know a lot about music, particularly trivia about obscure 80s acts, but homeboy puts me to shame. When we worked together in Cincinnati, for every one time I would get some sort of trivia or reference before him, he would outwit me nine times.

Early this year when I thought I might have discovered something new in my girl K.T. Tunstall, I e-mailed him and asked if he'd heard of her. Not only had he heard of her. He replied with a 10-paragraph dissertation on how talented she is, and I know it wasn't some shit he stole from Google.

Anyway, he mailed me today that he was talking with our dude John about upcoming concerts around the Midwest. On cue, Dave received his weekly update about shows in Cleveland, and he noted that there was good news for ones of people across northeast Ohio -- on Sept. 15, All Four Original Members of Asia.

I haven't bothered to look whether that's how the show is really being billed, or if it's merely Asia. Either way, Dave ripped off the following note to John -- "Oh, you mean John Wetton, Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, and Carl Palmer?


Guy Who Manages To Get Laid Even Though He Can Name All Four Original Members of Asia"

I don't need to continue, as Dave's self-deprecation is more than enough. I think he enjoys knowing weak stuff and verbalizing it, thereby preventing others' smartass remarks by beating everyone else to the punch.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Don't 'Jerk' Off In Cincinnati

You've heard my complaints about Cincinnati many times, and now, the world's most conservative city just got a little more conservative.

If you go to see the ballet, er, the orchestra, er, an NFL FOOTBALL GAME, you must be on your best behavior. Otherwise, as long as the well-mannered fan next to you has a cell phone, you might get kicked out.

That's right, the Cincinnati Bengals have introduced The Jerk Line, which allows less spirited patrons to call a hotline to basically tattle-tail (is it tattle-tale?) on you.

It's an NFL football game for Siragusa's sake. There's supposed to be beer and swearing and farting and other symptoms of Male Sunday Syndrome. But in our too-polite modern culture of safety for, sensitivity toward and inclusion of everyone, we err on the side of being boring, especially in a city like Cincinnati.

I can just see a rowdy Bengals fan the next time rival Pittsburgh comes to town:

"Hey, Roethlisberger, I know you're an Ohio native and I'm pleased that you've made a speedy recovery from your motorcycle accident, but stop leading your team down the field against my Bengals. I hope you throw an incompletion on your next pass you big poopyhead."

And it's not surprising that Bob Bedinghaus is behind the effort; he's the guy who, once Hamilton County voters approved the half-cent sales tax increase 10 years ago, took the money and said, "OK, thanks for the cash. Now you just sit back and we white men in suits will figure out where to build the new stadiums," without for a second giving those same voters a say in the matter. Jackass.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Miscellaneous Ramblings Today

  • I'm just tickled that someone thought Patrick Swayze should weigh in on the Mel Gibson saga.

  • And I’m not real crazy about the word glitch. It’s a non help-desk way of telling someone far less tech savvy that “Your Commodore 64 is fucked up.” Can’t we use more specific terminology? I enjoyed it when the gal at Burger King some weeks ago told me, “Our computers is down. There had been a glitch, but it’s coming up in a minute.” Now, I don’t expect the home of the Whopper to also be the home of the technically brilliant, but sometimes not saying anything at all would make the consumer feel more comfortable.

  • Fortunately for the producers of “Geraldo At Large,” there is a break in a high-profile murder investigation or some otherwise gruesome crime or story at least five times a week. Wanna know how I know that? Because there’s a tease each weekday morning telling viewers what’s on the upcoming show, and things seemingly always work out in a way that Geraldo, the self-proclaimed lightning-rod, is able to show us each day new video that in his opinion is “shocking.” As long as he says it’s shocking, folks will watch. Whether it actually is shocking is another story, but since misleading is far more important and acceptable than accuracy is practiced, we let him get away with it.

  • I’m usually among the first to jump on the bandwagon when athletes do wrong, but I’m not so convinced of Floyd Landis’ guilt just yet. I don’t know a whole lot about steroids, but my cousin and his wife, both health writers and avid cyclists, gave me some things to think about that make me wonder if the French press or anybody else, really, might have horsed around with Landis’ urine sample. Landis submitted a handful of urine samples both before and after the day that he submitted two tests that later were deemed positive. None of the others was positive, yet the one in the middle, which was submitted after the decisive stage in which Landis demolished the field and shaved nearly eight minutes off of his deficit, yielded the troubling result. Problem is, that’s not how steroids work. They don’t give you a same-day or next-day jolt, like, say, a Red Bull might, on a much smaller scale, obviously. There are other things that convinced me, but this was the one I heard before the Sapporos on Saturday, so I’m most clear on this particular piece of reason.

  • Friday, August 04, 2006

    No Twirling Zone

    JenGovCupThe Baton has left New York City. She flew home to Virginia today, where she'll begin grad school at Virginia Commonwealth University in a few weeks. Quiet days ahead here in the apartment, so feel free to drop a brother a line.

    In the year we've been dating -- we celebrated our first anniversary last week -- I seriously think I've taken about 2,000 pictures of her. Almost all of them are suitable to post on this Web site. But the one above is one of my favorites. It wasn't long after we started dating, and it was the first time I got to shoot the Baton in action. She was twirling at the UK-UofL football game on Labor Day weekend 2005.

    You'll notice the colors of both schools in the background, suggesting that the marching bands from rival universities were able to set aside their differences and participate harmoniously together for at least one day. That afternoon, though the scoreboard might have told otherwise, everyone went home a winner. Everyone went home a winner indeed.

    Bad News For People Who Love To Watch News

    Daryn Kagan, the uber-newsreader at CNN and former gal pal of Rush Limbaugh, announced that she's leaving the 24-hour news network at the end of the month.

    She said she plans to start her own Web site.

    Good for her. Bad for fans of CNN and good journalists. The entire staff at Primpin' Ain't Easy wishes her well.

    Thank You!

    Many thanks to all of you who sent books, CDs, photo stamps and other birthday gifts recently. I sincerely appreciate it.

    There's more good news with this note as well. I've actually extended the deadline on gift acceptance this year, and I've adjusted the list of items below to the right. So the window is still open. Everybody leaves here a winner today.

    Ridin' Bitch

    I didn't recap my Philadelphia birthday weekend for you last weekend. Much of it has since been forgotten because of brain cells damaged by alcohol consumption, but here's one thing I do remember -- Ridin' bitch.

    I think I'm fairly down with the hip language of young people, but I don't think I'd previously heard this term used to describe riding in the backseat of a car, between two other people with very little shoulder or leg room. That's how the Baton and her girlfriend Tacia referred to it because they had to take turns on the road trip. Don't look at me; I'm 6 feet tall with long legs, so I had the window seat all weekend long.

    By the time Saturday night rolled around, Tacia had probably put in a little bit more time ridin' bitch, and she and the Baton opened a fairly entertaining conversation about it. Keep in mind that these two gals are fairly princesslike.

    Now I won't give you the play-by-play, but it ended in a round of laughter from all in the room when Tacia said, "I don't like to complain, but . . . " Whatever she was planning to say after that preface never made it out of her mouth because we all interrupted with laughter and subsequent calls of bullshit.

    And as you know, I determine the value of a visit with friends by how many pranks get pulled, and if I do say so myself, I had a fairly good one.

    Some dude who I don't know went up to the second-floor, where Nikki was using the restroom. He knocked on the door lightly; he had to go too. There was no reply after a few seconds, so as I was in a nearby room with the Tacia, her sister Zanaida and the Baton, I let out a feminine-sounding, "Come in," (think Fletch outside of Chief Carlin's office) and homeboy pushed the door open.

    The next thing we heard was, "Oh, shit, I'm really sorry."

    I always enjoy a good gag.

    But that night was actually outstanding. Zanaida and a couple of others at their house that night had just spent the previous week taking the Pennsylvania and New Jersey bar exams, so it was a lovely celebration of food, drink and friends. And Z's boyfriend, Todd, is on my new list of cool people. Excellent dude.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Arkansas Must Die

    TroySmithJust like any other college football expert, I look forward to having a lot of questions answered as the upcoming season unfolds:

    1. Will my favorite team, Ohio State, win the national championship?
    2. Will Brady Quinn be the next Notre Dame star to win the Heisman?
    3. How badly will Texas miss Vince Young?
    4. Is it a rebuilding year at USC?
    5. What the fuck is a Boll Weevil?

    It's true; the Arkansas-Monticello football team is called the Boll Weevils. I have no desire to look it up in the dictionary because either it won't be there, or if it is, there's a picture of a 17-year-old, spoon-chested white kid with a white tank top and baggy jean shorts, a crooked Raiders cap, a gold chain, a half mustache and some other yet-ripe facial hair, a pager on his waist and brand new, untied white Reeboks. That's what I think of when I think of Arkansas -- white trash. Perhaps my thesaurus has "white trash" next to Boll Weevil.

    But the Weevils aren't the only poorly nicknamed squad in that great Gulf South Conference. There are the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, the Henderson State Reddies and the Southern Arkansas Muleriders. I don't know where my Arkansas boner came from this morning, but after we clean up the Middle East and restore peace in the next couple of weeks, bring 'em home and bomb the shit out of that state.

    Looking Back: Thicke-Headed

    Just thumbing through the flood of electronic mail activity that often ensues for bloggers who post about Alan Thicke, and I came across a very clever one:

    "Dude, you didn't!

    And by that I mean, you didn't give a guy who's on the F-list credit for being on the C-list, did you?"

    This came from Dave in Cincinnati, who, if I ever upgrade from starving blogger/comic to one who's merely underfed, I'll hire him as a writer. Perhaps he can go to the lobby floor and escort my guests someday. He's a funny chap but remains skerrred to start his own blog, though he'd have plenty of material. And yes, this post serves one purpose -- to call his bitch-ass out. And while I'm at it, his boy Matt should blog too. Shoot, everybody blog. If you're not online right now, then log on and start your blog today. Just mention Erik Estrada's name and you'll also get a free trip to Arkansas.


    So a new role was added to my job description this week, and I executed it as well as could have been expected. Because I'm the first of our national team of editors to arrive in the morning, I had to greet the guests as they arrived for a two-day conference Tuesday and Wednesday. They waited in the lobby; I made two dozen trips from the third floor to pick them up, ride in the elevator with them to the seventh floor, say things like, "Hot one out today, huh?" and lead them to the conference room where fresh coffee awaited.

    Obviously, the faces were familiar by the time I went down on the second morning, but two new faces were seated next to them in the lobby. So I greeted them appropriately.

    "Are you here with the (our division's name) team?"

    That's when C-list actor Alan Thicke turned his head toward me and said, "Excuse me?"