Friday, April 28, 2006


An image promoting the third volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim comic. If you haven't read it, it's kind of a must. Very funny stuff about a Canadian slacker and his love travails sandwiched into the form of a Western manga. The Shaun Of The Dead guys have optioned it for a movie, which would be a good fit.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Computer failures and food poisoning. That's it in a nutshell. Today feels like the first day I've gotten out from behind the proverbial eightball from a total systems meltdown that began last Monday. For the food poisoning, I have no one to blame but myself. I cooked some turkey burgers that were a little on the pink side two Sundays ago and by Monday night both Stevie and I were feeling it. And, oddly enough, it manifested itself in exactly the same way: Intense intestinal discomfort and anxiety dreams about work (although in my case, my work dreams merged with dreams of Battlestar Galactica.

The laptop failure has no explanation. It just kind of died a slow death, the final symptoms being a kind of high pitched, desperate whirring noise that must be the iBook equivalent of a soul escaping. Fortunately, it was a work computer so it's not my job to repair or replace it and I'm getting a new one on Monday. I'll miss it. It was the first laptop I ever loved.

What else? That's about it. Stevie and I saw Regina Spektor live last night, which was great, although Stevie started falling asleep standing up, which was our cue to leave. Oh, and we're babysitting Scott and Ali's new pug puppy Iris this weekend. Should be fun. Scott, if you're reading this, I'll only kick her if she's really, really bad.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


More stuff coming soon. I've been having computer problems and blah, blah, etc...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

'Tis... A PIG

I get a lot of nonsense in my e-mail. But sometimes I get a picture of Frank McCourt with a pig, which makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The best part about our trip to Tampa: The zoo. Below are some photos we took. Click on them for the full size. I recommend the baby elephant, who is amazing.

Monday, April 10, 2006


One highlight of the trip, for at least one of the senses, was a trip to the confoundingly named Ruth's Chris Steak House. Ruth's Chris is an 85-restaurant chain and let me get this out of the way first: The food is delicious. In some ways, that's hard for me to admit, as a former vegetarian. There's part of me that will always regret falling off the wagon. But better an honest sinner than a hypocrite, right?

But there's something about the experience that didn't sit right with me and it had nothing to do with the food, and it has everything to do with chaindom. I'm not entirely allergic to chains, mind you. But chains with pretensions really bug me. I hate, for instance, when I go to Big Bowl here in Chicago and the waiter asks, "Have all of you eaten here before?" as if the experience to come would be so fucking unlike anything we'd ever experienced that we'd need some guidance. It's not a roller coaster. It's a meal.

This wasn't that. And it wasn't a typical chain, either. If nothing else the price-point kept it off limits to families deciding at the last minute to eat out on Friday. There was dress code and a valet, too, all the trappings of an exclusive dining experience. But here they were just that: trappings. It almost has more in common with a Planet Hollywood or a Hard Rock where part of what you're being sold is access to a world more glamorous than one you normally encounter. The walls are lined with wood and covered in scenes of antiquity. The bookshelves have leather-bound volumes on them. The beef is corn-fed Midwestern stock. It's White Privilege: The Theme restaurant. Is it any wonder that their celebrity endorsers have included Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity?

I do heartily recommend the ribeye, however.

If you're a music fan, chances are you have a few fetishes. One of mine is songs about places, especially cities. Frankly, it doesn't even have to be a good song about a city for me to like it. And there are tons of them. I once considered a mix called B&O consisting strictly of songs about Baltimore and Ohio. (I should probably make that.) If I wanted to make a Tampa mix, however, I wouldn't know where to start

So how come nobody sings about Tampa? Maybe it's because it's the kind of place everyone wants to forget. Maybe I shouldn't rush to judgment. I spent Sunday at the Tampa zoo and loved it and I haven't spent that much time in Tampa proper. But I have spent plenty of time in the areas surrounding Tampa, specifically the Clearwater / Tarpon Springs / Holiday area and, good god, it's one of the worst places on earth. My in-laws live there. They're wonderful people and I enjoy visiting them. They also tend to find fun things for us to do when we're in the area. But I think I'm going to have to start blindfolding myself when we drive around an area I've come to think of as America's Greatest Misses.

Don't believe me? Take a ride down Rt. 19 some time and here's what you'll see. Strip mall, billboard for strip club, billboard for Mega Church, strip mall, strip club, strip mall, billboard for plastic surgery center, strip mall, tattoo parlor, Hooters, Outback Steakhouse, Wal-Mart, strip club, liquor store, church in a shopping plaza with a sign that also advertises a nearby fitness center. There's miles and miles of this and you can't get anywhere without driving past it for half-hour stretches. Is it any wonder that evangelicals think the world is ending when they swarm in places where skull tattoos and naked ladies battle it out with gospel radio stations and pro-life bumper stickers. Come to think about it, there ought to be a song in that somewhere.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Because a classic joke never gets old.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Indulge this little fantasy: It's late. You're a soul musician. It's the early '80s, you're wearing a blue tuxedo and you really want a burger. But, as far as you know, there are no drive-thrus operating way-past midnight. Au contraire, my friend. Au contraire.


So sorry. I've been catching up from New York all week. More soon.