Friday, October 28, 2005

Tomorrow comes today.

I don't really understand why everyone has been calling the last week or two The Waiting Game. I understand that there are some serious things we might all still be waiting for--waiting for the night or a train, waiting around to die, or even waiting for the great leap forwards. We all wait for these things. Some of us must even confess that we have been rightly pegged as an accident waiting to happen.

But somehow, I don't think that's what all the cognoscenti are talking about. There seems to be some larger sense out there that something's coming and it's gonna be good.

But as for me, I have received all the fulfillment I could ever ask for. What my dedicated readers may not know is that I live for photos of people driving--or being driven to work.

And this is my big week!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hangin' with my best friend, Paranoia.

People, I know I just said no to political postings after the election, but I just can't help myself here. I am trying to figure out whether, as my self-declared paranoid friend suggested yesterday, we are being set up for a tremendous fall by the anticipation over the Fitzgerald investigations. My friend's sense is that the administration, by suggesting that Scooter or Karl or even Dick Cheney himself might be in Fitzgerald's line of fire, is setting us up to think that anything less is "nothing," not worth worrying about, not an indication of wrong-doing.

The trouble with my paranoid friend is that sometimes he turns out to be right.

Meanwhile, why are people not marching in the streets over Exxon/Mobile's profiteering from Katrina?

And I still can't figure out whether to celebrate that Harriet Miers is withdrawing from consideration for the Supreme Court or to shake in my boots over how this was also some scam on the part of the administration to rally support for an arch-conservative ideologue nominee?

Or should I have called this post, "When the world is running down..."?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Dynamic covers for your Tuesday.

Check out and Jonathan Coulton's cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot (who he notes is not a real knight, via Vreem) and rx's cover of Grandmaster Flash, featuring the hot hot vocals of everyone's favorite emerging artist.

You won't be sorry you did.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Oh sure.

Over at Michael Bérubé's blog, talk is a-fluttering about some vast right-wing conspiracy to break Penn State's undefeated streak. Harrumph. Luckily readers of this blog know better. It is hard, hard work to win a football game.

Next thing you know, he'll claim the FEMA director is UM grad, or that Halliburton got a special contract for the endzone restoration project, or that it's only cronies who get admitted to the law school.

Oh wait, scratch that last part.

Did I say harrumph yet?

Digesting my own liver.

Today's goal: take an essay that clocks in with 6,333 words and hack at it until there are fewer than 5,000 words. (i.e., 4,999)

It's a strange and lonely process: sure, there are some words that need to go, especially when you're as wordy a writer as I am. But others? The private pain of self-destruction!

So far I am down to 5,551--better than half-way. The bad news, of course, is that the obvious fat is trimmed away and in the trash.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Unbelievable: Penn State 25, Michigan 27.

[WELCOME NITTANY LIONS: Please read this.]

Readers of this fearless blog will remember that the PP had a bad tendency, until recently, to assert that North Carolina had a basketball game wrapped up, even though there were something like 5 minutes left on the clock.

So when, at the 3:11 mark during the Penn State v. Michigan game he claimed that Michigan was all set, I about blew my top.

Don't these patient people ever learn, that you never never NEVER say those things? Never?

He had a point, of course: Michigan had control of the ball, and they should have been able to wear down the clock. But of course they did not do that: they were going for it, and they blew it, and had to kick after 3 downs or something.

Then, as you may know if you just spent the last few hours the way I did, Penn State scored a surprising touchdown, much to the delight of the fans in the fuzzy Nittany Lions hats. I gave the PP one of those looks, and he pointed out that it was not his fault that I had such bad luck choosing schools to attend.

When Michigan got possession again with something like 50 seconds remaining, I really did not have a lot of faith.

But remember: this had been an amazing game, with a stunning interception, a pair of 2-point conversions, and surprise touchdowns a-plenty. There had already been at least two times when, despite fatigue from this morning's swim practice, I had lifted myself off the couch to express disbelief through some blasphemy or another.

But as the seconds ticked away, and Michigan got closer and closer, and kept stopping the clock so they could get closer still, it really was amazing. I thought to myself, well, at least this has been an amazing game. Those Wolverines really gave it everything they had. Lloyd Carr even argued to put 2 seconds back on the clock at one point, but a little later it seemed they were performing their last play (3rd down) with 6 seconds remaining. That did not go so well, so they took a time out with 1 second left.

Then would you believe it? A touchdown, caught by Manningham, the same freshman who had caught an earlier amazing touchdown.

Fucking unbelievable.

But the really good news is that the PP is off the hook for his little comment. Everyone wins--except Notre Dame. Never assume the spiking fake.

Can I get a witness--I mean, an answer?

A friend--who has supplied me with blogarific material before--sent me a question, and since I find myself unable to devise a decent answer, I will bounce it to all of you:

A man holds a woman by the hand and dances with her in front of everyone. Does that serve the national interest?

Can I get an answer? Please??

Friday, October 14, 2005

Kick back, dig, while we do it to you in your eardrums.

In a continuing spirit of reminding me that the weekend is coming, the Cod has gifted me with tunes to funk my shit up. You people are out of luck, because you are not listening to this fine CD with me--the JB's, Jimmy McGriff, Maceo Parker (2% jazz, 98% funky), The Cat Empire. What? You haven't heard "Hotel California" funked in French? And if you are still wondering whether or not it is funky now, I can tell you in three different ways, yes it is.

Reminds me that old news is better than no news, so in the spirit of Friday gifts, I give you this from The Onion a few years ago:


CHOCOLATE CITY—After months of ceaseless debate, including last week's record 76-hour filibuster slap-bass solo from Senate Rubber Band Minority Leader Bootsy Collins (D-OH), the National Funk Congress is no closer to resolving its deadlock over the controversial "get up/get down" issue, insiders reported Monday.

Senate Rubber Band Minority Leader Bootsy Collins (D-OH).
"Get up-uh, get on up! Get up-uh, get on up!" shouted Getuplican Party supporters on the steps of the Capitol as the debate, as well as a massive 14-piece instrumental jam, raged within. The pro-up-getting demonstrators' chants were nearly drowned out by those of a nearby group of jungle-boogie Downocrats, who called upon all citizens to "Get down, get down!"

The bitter "get up/get down" battle, which has polarized the nation's funk community, is part of a long-running battle between the two factions, rooted in more than 35 years of conflict over the direction in which the American people should shake it.

The beaten generation.

An amazing thing happened here last night. Some grad students and former grad students and other students held a reading commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Six Gallery reading (there is some dispute over whether it happened on October 7 or 13), and people came. And they stayed. And listened. And some of them stood, and they listened, and they seemed to enjoy it. Can you believe it? Here?

Well, it's true.

No one organized this reading because some teacher wanted to, or told them to. Excuse me for effusing, but the poetry told them to, and they listened. And then we listened.

The reading was in halfs--first poets who were connected with the Beats somehow, but maybe later on, and who maybe spun off in their own directions. Then the things that were read at the famous Six at Six--Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Phil Whalen, Jack Kerouac, Kenneth Rexroth.

And don't forget Allen Ginsberg, who premiered Howl, written 2 weeks before, the story goes. Our guys made an exception for historial accuracy and read the whole thing, not just the first part.

I have heard Ginsberg read the poem, but you know, these guys did it justice. They were channeling something last night, and I don't think it was just the jug burgundy they had brought--for historical accuracy of course.

Their goal had been to memorize it, but the reader for Part I pointed out that there were something like 300 long stanza-like lines in that section that all start with "Who."

The readers who followed did not disappoint--part 3 was recited from memory, seemed to be born fully formed from its reader--and the poem was alive again, there in that surprisingly mod little sushi bar.

Some of you who were there haven't been here long enough to know how amazing this was. Here. Wish you could have come, and the jug wine was not bad.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Good reading.

While I go at my to-do list like a crazy person with blunt knives, you might have a look at the following:

A Small Cafe takes on the problems of National Coming Out Day in a seminary of a church that won't ordain gays and lesbians;

The Gurgling Cod makes pizza, letting us all feel a little better about our respective kitchen disasters;

150 mg of happiness assesses the limitations of the Jr. Roastbeef Sandwich.

And do keep Jarrett in your thoughts. He's having rather more than his share of despair today.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Dear fans,

I just came across this, which perhaps was not intended for me, but fuck it: I'll jump on it. After all, I think the flaming puck suits me, don't you?

I hope that by this time next week you will all be wearing FURY thongs. Yes, all of you.

2 weeks running.

The cinetrix keeps coming through for me when I most need it. Can it possibly be that I have had two not so hot weeks in a row? Well, maybe.

So just in case you are with me on this, and in the spirit of giving that the cinetrix so finely models, I gift you with this.

Don't say I never gave you nothin.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The suspense is over.

The qualifying times for the 2006 US Masters Swimming Short-Course Yards Nationals in May have been posted!

I know, I know--you were as eager to see them as I have been. After all, how do you know what your goals are if you don't know what the time standards are?

Perhaps you have already done the math that I did when I finally saw the QTs, and so you already know that my 100BR time from this past weekend--1.19.80--qualifies me for that event--and by 9/100 of a second. How about that?

So I am all set for May, with QTs in the 100 and 200.

Which of course means that I'm looking at the time for the 50BR. Right now my best time, when all I'm doing is racing the 50, is a :39.07. And the QT is :37.28. But but but, if you count the first 50 of a 100, which is a perfectly legal way of getting a time for a 50, my best is :38.01, only a little more than 1/2 second too slow. Attainable, I say!

And if you're wondering why I can swim a faster 50 when I have to swim another 50 right after than I can when all I have to do is swim a 50? Don't ask. I don't know.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Meet Report #2

On our way to Saturday's competition at the Clemson Classic, the PP and I parked our car beside what seemed to be an intramural cricket tournament. Not a usual sight here in the upstate!

This was a multi-day meet, and I competed in two days of the meet. (Thanks, but I'll pass on the 500 free.) The team goal was 65% best times, and I am proud to say I exceeded that goal, just barely, securing 4 best times from 6 swims, one of the non-bst-times was a new event for me, so there was no way that one could be a best time, by our coach's rules. (I tend to believe, on the other hand, that just by swimming it I got a best time! But no no no he says.)

One of the officials, a parent from our team, pointed out how easy it is to find me in the heat sheet: just look down the age column until you see one starting with a "3."

Started out Saturday with the 200 free, which I was reluctant to push since it is a longish event and it just preceded the 100 breast, where I am trying to get a national cut this year. But of course I was nervous, so I went out pretty fast on the first 50, and then dialed things waaaaaay back. After the swim, the coach pointed out how the splits for that race SHOULD look, which, need I say, was not how they DID look, and one day I will have to come clean about dogging the race.

Then on to the 100 breast, where I cut a little less than a second from my last season's best time--bringing me halfway to the national cut. Or, I should say, last year's national cut. This year's times have not be released yet, so I am estimating. That was an OK race, but my advice to you is: during a breaststroke race, do not breathe in water.

Then the 50 free, which is a hard race to settle into, because just when you do, it is over. But I certainly powered through it as fast as I could.

END OF DAY ONE: Time for calzones, TV crime, and lounging on the couch.

On Sunday I started off with the 100 free, which I was treating as my target event for the day. Went pretty well, and I felt strong and fast throughout. I need to bring the second 50 back faster, though, I learned afterwards. Best time!

Then the 200 breast, which I figured would not be a best time, since I had put everything into the 100 free. But every turn was perfect, and I felt big and strong throughout, and I managed to knock 2 seconds off my best time from last year (the national cut).

Then the 100 back, which, please people, don't laugh so loud! I know, I know, my backstroke is a misery, and it does not help that I can't do a start worth a darn AND that I got 1.5 goggles full of water! So back off me--at least I swam it.

The coach says that steak times get steak dinners, and the PP was kind enough to provide. I added that that Ridge zinfandel times get Ridge zinfandel, so we popped a cork on that too.

Then I slept 12 hours. Ahhhhhh.

200 FR: 2:33.63
100 BR: 1:19.80
50 FR: :30.59
100 FR: 1:07.12
200 BR: 2:52.59
100 BA: 1:23.67