Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ann Arbor Photo of the Week

I encountered this guy just walking down Main Street one Saturday. It's a crappy, blown-up image because I didn't get my camera out until after he'd crossed the street. But, anyway, he wanted to let everyone know that the FDA is a corporate tool. I guess that's one way to spend your weekends.

And tell them to lift the absinthe ban, while you're at it!

Stupid (and Sick) Beer News

Caught with a DUI, this guy pulls off a hat trick in the back of the squad car -- then somehow thinks eating his own crap will allow him to fool the breathalyzer. I don't know about you, but I can honestly say I've never been that drunk. I don't think it's even possible for me to be that drunk. Anyway, I'm sure if his ploy worked, the cops wouldn't have thought he was drunk because, you know, maybe he eats his own poop when he's sober, too.

(Thanks to Greg for the link.)

I'm an Asshole and I Hate You

Both dedicated readers of this blog know of my ongoing, impotent attempts to interest girls on Internet personals sites. I've been puzzled by the whole thing because I'm pretty sure I don't sound like an axe murderer.

Well, thanks to Dr. Mandrake, the archduke of Ann Arbor hating, I've now discovered that that is exactly my problem. It turns out I need to sound like a psychopathic asshole, and then the responses will come rolling in!

I don't hate Ann Arbor, but I can probably come up with a substitute object(s) of loathing to obsess over in my new, improved profile. Let's see, this new profile should take the tone of Al Gore in the Onion's "Visiting Gore calls Pennsylvania 'A Hellhole'" article from a few years back. And certainly the threat of violence and barely controlled rage should be heavily implied -- nay, made explicit. Maybe something like:

Yo, bitches. If nice guys finish last, then I'm taking home the first-place medal because I am a total fucking prick whose wildly swinging moods vary from sullen anger to seething fury to fierce hatred.

So anyway, I despise dating and all that "getting to know you" bullshit that goes with it. Mainly because I'm so self-centered I'll never be interested in learning about someone else, particularly women, who are stupid. What I'm really looking for is some bitch to yell at, belittle, and ridicule, often and in public. In private, I'll mostly just backhand you across your face -- unless I'm having one of my frequent alcoholic episodes, in which case I'll probably burn you with the cigarettes I smoke constantly.

Here are my goods: I'm 33, single, average looking, and barely employed/employable. I have one dog I'll treat better than you, even though I usually kick him hard once a day for pissing on the grubby rug in my filthy apartment. Send me a picture of your naked breasts and maybe I'll talk to you. Later.
OK, so that might be more psychopathic than Mandrake's ad, but that just means I'll get twice as many responses, right? So what do you say, ladies? Ready for a prize catch to take home to mom (who I'll punch in the stomach)?

Oh, the Humanity!

Got a web site you just loathe? Blow it up with You can use everything from meteors to spilled coffee to disfigure the hated site. Don't blow up my site, though. My site is the best in the world.

Now, time to launch that Martian invasion on

Go Hoosiers!

A student at an Indiana college smacks neocon doyen Bill Kristol in the face with a pie during one of his tedious speeches. Anybody know if there's a video? That's something I'd like to see.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Time to Call in the Air Strike

It's been like "Leiningen vs. the Ants" around here as I've battled an infestation in my apartment for the past two weeks.

Finally, a few days ago I discovered the ant "mother lode" in the wall between my bathroom and my bedroom closet. Removing the panel that allows access to the plumbing, I put some Terro ant bait back there -- the idea being that worker ants will lap the slow-poison stuff up and then go off and feed other ants, until eventually the queen gets a nice spiked meal and dies, effectively ending the colony.

But no, apparently I'm dealing with some species of genius ant. Instead of eating the stuff, which is sweet and syrupy and oh-so-yummy, they deliberately cover it up with bits of plaster and dirt and, when it's fully covered, go back to their normal antly duties. If I didn't know better, I'd swear the little bastards somehow figured out the stuff is bad for them.

To make matters worse, today I noticed the tile on the bathroom wall appears to be separating from the plaster. I don't know if this is the result of ant activity, but I sure don't need to have the sumbitches flooding into my bathroom after the wall falls down.

So I'm going to give up my stubborn delusion I can handle this one myself and tell the landlord to call in an exterminator who can drop an ant-nuke on them before they start producing those annoying flying male ants.

They've won the battle, but they won't win the war....

Friday, March 25, 2005

Happy Blogday

It's actually Saturday as I write this, but I'm cheating and backdating this post to yesterday since on that momentous day this blog turned two years old. So sue me.

A lot has changed since I wrote my first post in this space. For example, blogging has evolved to be much more than the pointless and vapid glorified diaries I called them. Bloggers actually now influence the news. They help organize the chaos of the web into viable virtual communities of like-minded folks. They freely share everything from opinions and knowledge to photos to music. Some of them make money from what they do. One dude even quit his job to blog full-time. And the possibilities continue to expand with improvements and innovations in technology, none of which I more than dimly understand -- but folks like the Rev. George do, and they are constantly coming up with ways to make blogging a more sophisticated, more powerful, and more fun experience.

My personal circumstances have obviously changed as well. I have a new job and live in a new city. More than five people now regularly read the drivel I post here. I've even met a number of cool folks through this blog (something that wasn't really possible back in the dark days of Midland), and I look forward to meeting even more.

Bottom line: two years later, my blog may not have evolved much, technologically speaking, but my experience of blogging has. It's not just a quasi-anonymous outlet for venting anymore, but also a viable way of interacting more with the world -- and an important one for a social doofus like me.

So I'll keep blathering on here, because some things haven't changed: I'm still self-indulgent and narcissistic.


Surfing Sumo-fari

Memo to spring breakers and all citizens of or visitors to the great state of Florida: Highway surfing in Sumo suits will not be tolerated by the Sunshine State's finest.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Of Theocrats and Illiterates

Today, in lieu of having anything interesting to say myself, I'll post links to the provocations of two of my favorite columnists.

First up, Joe Sobran contrasts the "theocracy" feared by so many of my left-of-center/atheistic friends with what we have today -- and posits that maybe the former would be an improvement. For example, he writes:

There is nothing in the nature of theocracy, however defined, that warrants the predatory tax rates that are now standard in the modern democracies. And in fact the old governments now considered theocratic imposed far lower taxes than modern states do -- though they still faced frequent resistance, sometimes violent, when they tried to collect them.
And then, Fred Reed deplores the decline of literacy he sees all around him in the age of television. A taste:
I just ordered a collection of Dorothy Parker's poetry and short stories, chiefly for the verse. Critics say that she hasn't "worn well." I suspect that the explanation is otherwise, that critics are idiots. This is always a good bet.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Would You Like to Supersize That?

According to a recent story in the Ann Arbor News, a truckload of food deemed to be contaminated was intercepted making its way to local restaurants including Dinersty, a Chinese joint on Liberty. This has some people worried, but I say menu item #69 should have tipped everyone off as to what to expect.*

But I prefer my crap boiled!

* This isn't really the menu from Dinersty, which as far as I know is a fine, upstanding establishment. I ate shrimp fried rice there once and it was all right. And to my knowledge, they don't even have a crap entree.

Stupid Beer News for Monday, March 21

Houston's famous Beer Can House gets a grant to restore it to its former glory, or something.

(Thanks to Verd for the link.)

Satanic Turtle Survives Fire

As part of its deal with the devil, a turtle that was the sole survivor of a pet-store fire has been imprinted with the image of his new Lord and Master. Heck, I bet the evil little bastard was the one who started the fire in the first place.

(Thanks to Verd for the link.)

Free Warez

Other old farts like me may also have fond memories of those ancient days when PC games were installed from floppy disks, booted from DOS, and played using the keyboard and not some joystick/steering wheel thing with 500 buttons on it.

"4D Sports Boxing," Day of the Tentacle," "Star Control 2" -- those were the games that made you put off your term paper for yet another evening while you farted around on your 3- or 486, drinking beers and beating the hell out of your friend or trying to solve a new puzzle by yourself. Ah yes, the good old days when you didn't need a Ph.D. and the entire computing power of a small nation to play warez on your PC.

Whatever happened to all those great games? Well, apparently a lot of them have found their way to this site and are available to download free. I was so happy to find this site, until it became apparent that Windows XP doesn't much care for running DOS-based games. So my enjoyment was somewhat curtailed, but maybe y'all will have better luck than I did. Happy warezing!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ann Arbor Photo of the Week

I don't know quite what this talk was about since I missed it. Damn.

Abolish 18th-century animal slavery!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Weird Scenes Inside the Free Room

Some interesting finds today.

The first is a CD called "Hotwalker" by Tom Russell. It's hard to explain, but it's a mix of music and narration that weaves a sort of patchwork tale about Beat-era America, and it includes readings from Bukowski, Kerouac, Lenny Bruce, and others. It would definitely be the perfect soundtrack for the next absinthe night at chez yours truly. "Little Jack Horton," one of the narrators, was a carny midget and drinking buddy of Bukowski's and he delivers a denouement that cracked me up so much I'll quote it in its entirety, even though it's not nearly as funny without his helium-voiced inflections:

This is Little Jack Horton. I'm just putting a coda or an end thing on this piece from my own thoughts in mind. America. I always it thought it was our America, as much as anybody else's, you know. Circus people and carnival freaks, prisoners and musicmakers, musicians, troubadours, minstrels, hobos, poets, and such. We can't let this goddam country go down to politicians and corporate madmen and college professors and media people, running it over and ruining it all. It's ours; it's our goddam country. We built the midway, didn't we? And we make the music that goes on the midway, from sea to shining goddam sea. You know, goddammit, Ronald Reagan dies recently and they fly the flag half-mast. Well, did they fly it half-mast for Ray Charles? Did they fly it half-mast for Johnny Cash? Declare a national holiday? Yet these people -- like, you know, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams -- these people moved and changed the daily lives of more people than these goddam politicians, who are just grifters and scum. We wouldn't even let them on the goddam midway. So let's now praise the real American heroes, the ones with the heart, soul, and character to change things for the good here. And leave the goddam politicians out of it, from sea to shining goddam sea. One nation under God, and Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Ray Charles, goddammit. Little Jack Horton, half-drunk on some very bad wine, saying, "So long, partner, and we'll see you on the midway!"
(Little Jack has since passed on.)

The other interesting, but anti-climactic in terms of this post, item is a DVD of a TV project by Krzysztof Kieslowski (of "Trois Couleurs" fame) called "The Decalogue." It's apparently 10 short films, each of which treats one of the commandments. (The DVD I snagged, unfortunately, is only the first three in the series.)

Meet the Bloggers

Tonight was my second "Ann Arbor Blogger Meetup," and I definitely felt like I was at a big disadvantage because a) I really don't know anything about Serious Blogging and b) I don't particularly care to talk about politics.

Apart from the Rev. George, whom I had met previously, there were Mark Maynard (of Crimewave USA fame), Brian Kerr, Srah, Ed Vielmetti, and Ron, whose last name I didn't catch but who runs something called None of whom had heard of this here fine blog (not that I expected they would have).

They then proceeded to talk about really geeky blogging stuff and left-wing politics. To be fair, I think Mark Maynard also suffered from a similar deficiency in geeky blogging knowledge, but as I was sitting kitty corner from him, I couldn't really engage him in a discussion without shouting over everyone else. Ergo, I exchanged all of three words with him all night.

I think next time I'll just show up really drunk in a leisure suit with lots of gold jewelry.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Oh. My. God.

In my previous life at a marketing communications agency, I helped produce any number of goofy corporate communications, but I fortunately never had to participate in the creation of anything as... infernal... as this particular abomination from Starsucks. And could they have picked a crappier song to start with? I will personally buy a beer for anyone who is actually able to listen to the whole thing.* (Warning: Not for those with easily upset stomachs or insulted intelligence.)

I have to add that I like the title of the book this blog promotes: "Why Business People Speak Like Idiots." The subtitle should be "And How to Make Them Stop Before We're Forced to Bash Their Heads In With a Lead Pipe."

* Not an actual offer, unless there's, like, two of you. And you like Goebel. Wait, what am I thinking? If you can manage to listen to that whole thing, I don't want to hang around you. You scare me.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Granola Conservatives Revisited

Here is the most recent illustration of the dilemma I face as one who experiences the left/right "granola conservative" split. There's a group in Ann Arbor, known as the "Living Economy Network," that seeks "to support and cultivate locally-owned independent businesses who are committed to making our community a healthier and more vibrant place to live."

Apart from the unnecessary hyphenation, that sounds great to me. I happily spend almost all of my beer-drinking dollars in local pubs. I purchase used books and CDs from local shops. And sometimes I even buy crap from the local yuppie boutiques. I certainly don't want Ann Arbor to become just another Anytown in the United States of Generica. Hell, I moved here mainly to escape that. So, sign me up for the rebellion against economic homogeneity.

But wait! This is Ann Arbor, so we can't stop there. No, the "living economy" concept has to be tied to excessive tree-hugging and anti-capitalist attitudes. As an example, the web site features a long screed from one David Korten, author of the tomes When Corporations Rule the World and The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, in which he puts forth many naive lefty views, such as the idea that democracy is "rule by ordinary people." He rambles about how when women ruled the world and we all worshipped the "goddess," everything was great. Then men apparently mucked it all up by developing empires and... well, I can't do justice to his ideas, so the link is here for anyone mildly curious (warning: it's a Word doc).

In short, I hate this kind of stupid shit. What's wrong with just being able to agree that maintaining a sense of local community is a good thing, and that encouraging independent locally owned businesses is a key component in this effort? Whenever they put their fingers on a real problem in need of a real solution (and bless them, they can be quite good at this), lefties always have to go overboard and include all this other economically and politically ignorant, irrelevant, and hare-brained junk in their approach.

So I can't sign on with all the rest of the "living economy" movement's baggage. There are certainly areas of agreement between me and them, and where they limit their focus to directly addressing the actual problem of local economic genericization (I know that's not a word), I'd love to count myself as their ally. But worshipping the goddess and being part of the "Global Earth Community"? Eh, not so much.

I'll have more to say on this in the future, but I'll leave it here for now.

Ann Arbor Photo of the Week

Even the graffiti gets more action than me.

Somewhere a Gay Whale Is Smiling...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Smile! You're on Ann Arbor Camera

Who knew Ann Arbor had its own streetcam (and "high atop the Hutzel Building" no less)? It's probably not quite as exciting as, say, New Orleans's BourboCam, but I bet if enough of us stand ass-out on the corner in front of the Parthenon restaurant and pull down our pants, we could make it kind of exciting. At least exciting enough to anyone else surfing ("your gateway to the unique culture and vibrant lifestyle that is ANN ARBOR") late on a weeknight. (I do like their "A3radio" streams though.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Back to Schizool

More proof, as if any were needed, that Hollywood is flatlining right now in terms of creativity: A remake of Rodney Dangerfield's finest achievement, "Back to School," is in the works. And who will play Thornton Melon? Since Cedric the Entertainer is listed as the star, presumably he will. (Man, talk about a misnomer. With a name like that, you'd think there'd be a requirement to, well, be entertaining.)

Let's give the studio execs some more ideas. How about a remake of "Blue Velvet" starring Keanu Reeves and Leo DiCaprio? Or "A Clockwork Orange" with Orlando Bloom? "In the Heat of the Night" with Martin Lawrence?

Who's got some other "ideas"?

Recording Industry: Give Us More Money, Just Cuz

Seeing the success of online music buying, some record labels are now slobbering for higher prices on song downloads. It seems they're pissing Steve Jobs off, though, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

I'm ashamed to admit I used to think the RIAA types had a point about file sharing. But their only point seems to be to dominate the production and distribution of music to a near-monopolistic extent so as to wring more money out of consumers at every turn, while providing no real added value. Basically, I say screw them.

(P.S., I know about supply and demand and I'm not a commie. But I'm increasingly of the opinion that so-called IP, as a legal regime requiring goonish thuggery to support, is incompatible with the premises of a free and creative society.)

Why You Shouldn't Drink and Play Chess

The Toronto Star reports on the "Open Fly Gambit," a new strategy from one of Canada's top gamesters.

(Thanks to Verd for the link.)

Monday, March 07, 2005

I Don't Know How I've Been Able to Stand It Without a Park

According to the Ann Arbor News, the city is talking about selling some parking lot space west of downtown and creating... another park?

"We see this as an essential element for a livable Ann Arbor and a livable downtown," [architect Margaret Wong] said. "When we think about creating these public parks for Ann Arbor, I think we have to do it with a sense of real generosity, as opposed to first and foremost, accommodating a neighboring parking structure."
Yeah, a park is what was missing. And maybe more yuppie apartments and shops, too.
Officials said boutiques and even a movie theater are possible uses for the lower floors of what could be up to a 10-story development.
Aha, good, looks like they're covering all the bases.

Ann Arbor Still Safe... for Now

As reported by the Eastern Echo last year, Ypsilanti is being overrun by zombies. Still no sign of them in Ann Arbor yet, but... ahhhhh, arghhghghghghgh, help! Help!

qlidadssi3w feiy


Friday, March 04, 2005

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Ann Arbor Photo of the Week

Maybe the loft brochures should use this image to market their places.

Bud Light, two dollarth!

Want to Know Why Americans Are So Fat?

Because they don't even have to quit playing their video games to order that extra large triple-cheese, double-meat, extra-grease, butter-garlic-lard crust pizza.

(Yeah, yeah, I'm just jealous warez weren't this sophisticated when I was 16.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Another Hipness Update (And Then I Promise I'll Quit)

RoboRanch has a PDF of the Liberty Lofts marketing brochure, including the various floorplans (scroll to page 5). Pretty... well, hip is the word that comes to mind, for some reason. By comparison, here's my apartment's floorplan.

Well, at least I do apparently live in "Ann Arbor's hottest neighborhood." (Though I would like to know where the grocery and drug store the brochure mentions are.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Maybe They'll Sell $8 Jars of Gourmet Ketchup

The Ann Arbor News has an update on the coming yuppie habitat known as the "Liberty Lofts," despite being located on First St. I can't wait for all my new hipster neighbors:

"These are sophisticated and hip, with high-tech finishes, designer lighting and expansive windows," said Ron Mucha, vice president of [developer] Morningside.
There may be good news, though:
A single-story building at the corner of South First and West Liberty streets has about 20,000 square feet available for retail, and could be a home for a small grocery store, Mucha said.
As they say (no pun intended), developing....