Archive for July, 2006
Tomorrow afternoon, I’m boarding a plane at O’Hare to fly to Seattle, and then Portland, Oregon for the week-long, triennial Lohrmann Family Reunion. A ton of people (like 70, I think?) from my mom’s side of the family are assembling on the West Coast to share updates, eat Uncle John’s famous Walla Walla Washington Onion Rings, go deep sea fishing (!), and generally have a great time.
So I’ll be out of town from tomorrow, Friday, July 21st, until Sunday, July 30th. It’s a long time, made longer by this fact: I am not bringing my laptop computer.
That’s right, for the longest period I can think of in the immediate past, I am going without access to the modern wonder of magic that is Internet.
Maybe ten years ago, this would not have been a big problem. I went without Internet access all the time. Email was fairly sparse, and good exclusive Internet content (blogs) were even sparser. I could still read the paper every day and get every little piece of news I need.
But now I read close to twenty or twenty-five blogs daily. I work all day on the Internet, writing for websites that report news from the Internet. When I go home, I write for my own website, and play games on the Internet. My day-to-day life revolves (but trust me, not in a creepy way– I take lots of walks outside) around being on the Internet.
So this should be interesting. And I plan to stay chaste on purpose as much as possible, just to see what happens. If a group of my family announces they are heading into town to find a library and check email, I’ll stay at the camp. I’m not even bringing (are you sitting down for this?) my Nintendo DS. I am, I feel kind of sorry to say, bringing my cell phone, but that’s only because I have a few responsibilities that I can’t get away from for a full week. But I’ve warned everyone that they’ll have to leave a message, because it’s very likely I won’t be in range anyway.
What happens to a man off the grid in 2006? I’m about to find out. See you when I get back.
I really am looking forward to those onion rings. They are amazing, seriously. Uncle John has that recipe down.
So apparently Clerks 2, which I was thinking about skipping out on (I wasn’t a big fan of any of Kevin Smith’s movies past, say, Mallrats), is amazing. And Lady in the Water, which I kind of wanted to see, is supposed to be horrible.
I saw Superman Returns and thought it was good, but it needed a real supervillian. I guess they’ll have to try that in the next one. And I saw Pirates of the Carribean, but as good as my hero Bill Nighy was, I thought it was too long, and the ending was total crap. On the DVD front, I just saw Hostel, and thought it was disgustingly fun. Tried a little too hard to be like Takahasi Miike (who even makes a cameo), but Eli Roth spilt a lot of blood and had a good time doing it.
Anyone seen any good or bad movies lately, or heard anything about Clerks 2 or Lady in the Water?Discuss this post over at The Board>.
So this past weekend I went to a freelance writers’ conference to learn how to be a better writer. Here’s two things I heard from a magazine editor there:
-You should never write anything for free. Ever. You’re wasting money.
-You should never write for your website. No one reads your website.
So I guess I’m never writing for this website again.
Q: Whoah! Lindsay Lohan is in a television commercial?!?
A: Really? Where’d you hear about that?
Q: From you. You just linked to it.
A: Oh, right. Yes, La Lohan is going to be appearing on a small screen near you (very near you– right past the coffee table with all the Cheetos and Fresca on it). She’s selling ProActiv Solution Brand Zit Cream, which is some new megascience that is guaranteed to make those zits disappear (as long as you apply it liberally every day and never stop, even when your little $20 bottle runs out and you have to buy more).
Q: Lindsay Lohan really uses this stuff? Does it work?
A: “Does it work!” he says. Of course it does! Didn’t you watch the commercial? Lindsay Lohan uses this stuff all the time, and it hasn’t just wiped out her zits for good, it’s also caused her to lose all kinds of weight, has turned her once freckled skin white and pasty, has caused her breasts to change size considerably, and has caused her to have a glassy look in her eyes and a slow wandering voice! Yes, all of this was possible through ProActive Solution Zit Cream, the only questionably legal substance Lindsay Lohan ever uses!
Q: Wow! Lindsay seems really excited– about this stuff, I guess. How much did she get paid for this thing?
A: Well, ProActiv realizes that Lindsay demands some attention, so they made sure she was well rewarded for her loyalty to ProActiv. We can’t tell you the exact number, but we can tell you she got paid even more than she did for her last commercial.
Q: Lindsay Lohan was in another commercial?
A: Yes, it appeared in theatres a little over a year ago and it was called “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”
Q: But isn’t Lindsay trying to be a real, actual, really real movie actress? What’s she doing plugging a zit cream on TV?
A: Lots of “legitimate” movie actresses have appeared on television commercials before. Don’t you remember Dame Judi Dench in her classic commercial “Where’s the beef?” And what about Mean Frances McDormand’s commercial where she smiles after receiving that Coke from the young fan? And let’s not forget Lindsay’s hero Meryl Streep’s classic spot for Dingo Diapers.
Q: Oh yeah (high pitched Austrailian accent) “The dingoes cleansed my baby!” That was great!
A: Yes, yes it was. And completely true.
Q: So who exactly is this commercial aimed at?
A: It’s really only made for two groups of people: the people who sell ProActiv, and the networks that are getting paid tons of money to show this thing.
Q: Really? You don’t think it’s aimed at people who look up to Lindsay Lohan and have money to spend on zit cream? Like, you know, girls age 13-21?
A: Ha! “Look up to Lindsay Lohan!” That’s a good one.
Q: Well, when can I actually see this thing on TV?
A: Assuming your crazy “girls 13-21″ theory is true, it’ll probably be on during shows that demographic watches, like MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, Project Runway, late night airings of Spongebob Squarepants, and PBS showings of Keeping Up Appearances.
Q: “Keeping Up Appearances”? Why would American girls 13-21 be interested in a classicist Britcom about a social-climbing suburbanite starring Patricia Routledge and Clive Swift?
A: Oh, you’d be surprised.
Q: I guess so. Hey, so I’m watching the commercial, and I notice that they only show one zit on Lindsay’s chin, and later they only show her applying this stuff to the same part of her face, not all over like you’re supposed to apply it. What’s the deal with that?
A: Well, you might think that it’s part of Lindsay’s contract, and that they don’t want to actually imply that she gets zits all over her face like some “normal person.” But you’d be wrong. In reality, the reason Lindsay gets zits only on her chin is that she has a very rare disease that only gives her one zit, always in the same spot on her chin.
Q: A disease? What’s it called?
A: Ummm… it’s called Onezit.. o… rac… nia. Yes. Onezitorachnia. Poor thing. That’s also why her voice sounds like that in the commercial.
Q: What, you mean all scratchy? Like she’s been smoking five packs a day?
A: Yes. Exactly. It’s a disease. Although I should note it’s not one that will keep her away from “legitimate” movie roles, such as anything directed by Michel Gondry or Wes Anderson! Ha!
Q: Whatever. Anything else I should know about this new commercial?
A: Only that it’s really long. So long, actually, that I got bored, and couldn’t even watch it all the way through.
Q: You didn’t? But you did at least see the part about where she’s joking that she keeps some in her car, too, right?
A: Oh yes. Hilarious.
I have almost no compunction in saying that I think this is probably the best podcast we’ve done yet. It’s got everything– Luke and I fighting with each other, good music, The Amazing (and, we find out, line-drive hitting) Spitzer, and some real, actual comedy. Yep, it’s a good one.This post has related audio! Listen to the show over at Happy Time>.
(I thought today how awesome it would be to have the Hulk’s powers– to throw cars around at will and tear apart buildings. But then I realized I’d never be able to use them…)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Plaintiff Eugene Sloan, by his attorney, Steven A. Goldenstein, alleges as follows:
1. That the DEFENDANT did do harm to PLAINTIFF’s automobile by throwing it into a nearby structure. During the recent attack by THE LEADER (known hereby as ARCHVILLIAN), DEFENDANT did change into alterego THE HULK (known hereby as HULK), and proceed to toss various vehicles and debris (light poles, bus stop signs) at ARCHVILLIAN. Among this debris was PLAINTIFF’s 1986 Chevy Cavalier. HULK, PLAINTIFF attests, did grab PLAINTIFF’s Cavalier by the hood, and proceed to toss it at ARCHVILLIAN.
2. Whereupon PLAINTIFF’s car did bounce off of ARCHVILLIAN’s plasma shield and bounce indeterminately into nearby residential building.
3. Upon aforementioned toss by HULK, PLAINTIFF, standing nearby, does attest that he heard DEFENDANT scream “Hulk smash!,” thus proving damage to car and surroundings was completely intentional and avoidable.
4.. HULK later was able to defeat ARCHVILLIAN during battle when SPIDERMAN appeared to tie ARCHVILLIAN’s hands with webs. This face has no bearing upon lawsuit, and is included only for completeness.
WHEREFORE, PLAINTIFF respectfully requests that Court enter judgement:
a) Replacement cost of PLAINTIFF’s car, totalling, but not limited to, $4,000.
b) Medical and therapeutic costs for duress suffered by PLAINTIFF, totalling, but not limited to, $4,000, as defined by US MEDICAL CORP., INC.
c) PLAINTIFF also reserves the right to request mandated medical and therapy services for DEFENDANT, specifically anger management classes– as PLAINTIFF does not seem to show anger without growing large, green, and throwing cars around without apparent cause.
along with such other and further relief as this Court may deem just, reasonable, and proper.
Dated: New York, New York
July 14, 2006
Steven A. Goldenstein (SG-3948)
Attorney for Plaintiff
1239 S. Broadway Ave.
New York, New York 10017
Zini was four when his father first got out the white and black colored ball, with sections split into pentagons. His father retrieved it from the shed out back, then tossed it at Zini with both hands, who caught it with outspread arms.
“No, Zini,” said his father. “No hands. Use your feet. Like me.” And Zini’s father dropped the ball to the ground, and then kicked it back and forth between his feet. “Now you,” said his father, who kicked the ball towards Zini.
Zini’s foot stepped out to stop the ball in mid-roll. He regarded it for a moment, then pulled his foot back and kicked the ball as hard as he could. It rolled halfway to his father.
“Exactly, Zini,” said his father. “Just like that.”
Zinedine was in high school now, and his football coach was surprised more and more every day by his emerging talent. Zinedine loved playing, too– almost every day he was out behind the school, kicking the ball off off the wall and back to himself.
His coach walked out back to go over next week’s game schedule with him, and Zinedine listened, juggling the ball with both feet as his coach rattled off the dates and times to meet opponents on the pitch.
“… And on Friday,” said the coach, “we’re playing St. John’s again.” He looked up from the clipboard just as Zinedine kicked the ball with the back of his right foot, over his head, and caught it with his left. “But before we do that,” said his coach, “I think there’s something else you should learn about.”
Zinedine stopped, held the ball under his left foot. He couldn’t imagine what else he had to learn. He could kick the ball halfway down the field, farther all the time. He could juggle circles around the other students, moving the ball back and forth between his feet like magic. He could keep it in the air, or stop it on a dime, all with just his feet.
“There is another way to control the ball,” said his coach, but Zinedine couldn’t think what it was. Hands were out of the question, as his father had long ago told him. What else did you have besides hands and feet?
“Give me the ball,” said his coach, and Zinedine deftly kicked the multicolored sphere (this was a training ball) up towards his coach’s waiting hands. “Now step back over there, about two feet to your left. No. Yes, there.” Zinedine moved to the appropriate spot. Here, he was too far away to recieve a kicked pass, but he could still jump high enough to kick the ball down and dribble it. What was his coach trying to do?
“Ok,” said his coach. “I’m going to throw the ball to you, just like a throw in. Only this time, don’t use your feet to catch it. Use your head.”
Zinedine stopped for a moment. You could use your head? He’d never considered it. He’d always been told– in football it’s feet, feet, feet. He’d seen player hit the ball with their head on television, but he’d always figured it was a foul, an error, a mistake. You could use your head?
“Here we go,” said his coach. And he tossed the ball with a gentle lob towards Zinedine’s forehead. Zinedine aimed too low, and it bounced off the top of his hair. He turned to watch the ball bounce away behind him, then back towards his coach and laughed.
His coach laughed, too. “Don’t worry, Zinedine. You’ll learn it before long.”
Ever since then, Zinedine had practiced for hours upon hours every single day. He’d bounced the ball off his feet, up to his head, back down to his feet, up to his head. His forehead had hurt at first, but over time, it had hardened, like a thick shell, or a guitarist’s callus. His neck muscles tightened and strengthened every time the ball bounced off his cranium– the stiches in the ball’s leather left marks in his brow.
But he kept practicing, until his feet could fire like machine guns, and his head could explode forward like a grenade. He joined the team in France, and he won, and he won, and he won some more. His teammates looked up to him, and his nation loved him. French sportswriters, with their passionate commentary and their flowery verbs, said his feet moved like lightning, like sparrows in the spring. But Zidane, as he was now called, knew where the power was.
His feet were strong, as was the rest of his body. Running around on a soccer pitch for years professionally will do that to you. But every time Zidane practiced, he felt where his real power lied. It was in his forehead. When he clenched his neck and sprang his back, and the ball bounced off of that sweet spot just above his eyebrows, but slightly below his hairline (former– he’d shaved his head by now, in pursuit of the Cup), he knew the ball exploded forward with a force his feet could never match. His feet were lightning, maybe, but his forehead was the thunder; shaking buildings, frightening children, and echoing throughout the plains and mountains.
Materazzi had been giving him crap all night. He’d had enough of it, and so had his teammates.
But Zidane was on the cusp of winning. He remembered his father, how he’d pulled that ball from the shed and trained Zidane in its use. And Zidane remembered his old soccer coach, how he’d shown him what real power was– how it came from the heights, not from the depths.
But when Materazzi opened his mouth for the last time, Zidane couldn’t handle it. Cup or not, M needed a lesson.
And to teach it to him, Zidane knew where he had to go.
Feet wouldn’t be enough for this plebian, this moron, this stain on the face of sportsmen everywhere.
Zidane went where he knew the real power was. He went with the head.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the new taste sensation that is sweeping the nation: Peanut butter hot dogs, custom made by Palumbo’s Meats in DuBois, PA. My friend Jason and I called up and ordered some, and this last Saturday we decided to have a grill out and see if they were all the hot-dog-crossed-with-unusual-condiment they were cracked up to be.
The sun was shining and the flowers were in bloom in my backyard…
So it was time to fire up the little grill I bought about a year ago. After a little newspaper, charcoal, and copious amounts of lighter fluid, we had a flame!
Here’s the label of the famed hot dogs, lovingly shipped to us all the way from PA– they came with an ice pack, but by the time they reached us they were pretty soft. Not to worry, though– we threw them in the freezer until early Saturday morning when I pulled them out to thaw. As you can see on the label, the first three ingredients are pork, water, and peanut butter. Yum-o! (Apparently Rachael Ray says that all the time. I just learned it).
But before we went at it PBHD Style, we had a whole spread of food to get grilled up first. I had a group of D&D players coming over later in the day, so Chris showed up early and brought some veggies, some brats, and some incredible pork chops with him.
There’s those pork chops. They were tasty! There was also some corn, but I don’t know if it was tasty or not, because I don’t roll that way, yo.
(the corn eating way that is)
But I do eat brats.
Boy do I love eating brats.
Finally, we’d cooked everything, and it was finally time to crack open Palumbo’s PBHDs. The smell of peanut butter failed to fill our nostrils at the point of package opening, but we were very heartened at the sight of the hot dogs actually dripping when we placed them on the grill.
“They’re sticky,” said Jason repeatedly, as he had the honor of actually placing them on the grill. Mostly because he paid for them.
But you’re probably wondering– how did they taste??!? After a few minutes of grilling, Chris took the first bite.
“Not bad,” he said. Gene tried to find the peanuts inside the hot dogs…
But alas, there were none. Palumbo’s used creamy peanut butter to make the dogs, so the weiners were far from.. well.. crunchy. Jason registered his slight confusion.
As for me, I have to say I was a little disappointed…
I’m sorry to report that it doesn’t seem like Palumbo’s used the highest quality peanut butter to make their dogs. I’m a fan of crunchy PB, and while these hot dogs did taste a lot like peanut butter– it was almost uncanny to be eating a hot dog and tasting peanut butter– they didn’t taste like very good peanut butter or hot dogs.
Now, I realize that we weren’t eating them under the ideal conditions. They’d been shipped across country, and I have to report that I wasn’t present at all times during grilling, so we have to trust that Jason and Chris grilled them to their best ability. And Jason later suggested that when we ordered, Palumbo’s was probably swamped with things to do, so it’s possible their minds were not concentrating as much as they usually are on their meat (as they say, “you can’t beat” it). But I have to say that, even though it may have just been my high expectations, I was a bit disappointed.
Nevertheless, I did have a lot of fun grilling them. And after a few bites, you pretty much are so happy that you’re eating peanut butter in hot dog form that you can’t help but break a smile…
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