Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A story so hackneyed it would make Tommy Chong and John Kerry blush simultaneously

A few days back, a pair of friends of mine who will be labeled "Sheryl" and "Scott" (to protect their identities) were under the influence of a widely-available and non-lethal, yet illegal, narcotic often known for increasing one's propensity towards food consumption whilst under its influence.

Anyway, they were late on their way to a semi-important meeting when a stranger approached them on the sidewalk. It turns out that this stranger was actually the owner of the coffee shop they were passing and wanted to know if the two of them would be interested in judging a pastry competition.

While one of the pair depesrately wanted to stay and consume a large amount of free pastries, the other felt incredibly compelled to get back to the semi-important meeting and poured so much guilt upon the other that the ideas was dropped, and both went to the meeting with empty stomachs.

In the end, I have to chalk up stories like this to the my counsel's old theory that many of the events in our lives are far too cartoonish to be believable in fiction. I mean, imagine it. If I were to pitch a story to Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong in which two young people are baked out of their minds and receive an impromptu offer to be participating judges in a pastry contest, even these two veterans of illict substance use would be forced to share a knowing look, sigh loudly at the precociously false tales youngsters always tell, and state loudly that this has not and will never happen in real life.

But it did, and my ignorant friends turned it down in a move that could only be compared to say, someone running for president and losing against a guy with an approval rating of 30% who is widely regarded as the worst president in history even by members of his own party. Yes, my anonymous, hemp-smoking friends reached a new height of stupidity that can be described as only Kerry-esque.

And that my friends, is a completely true and yet completely unbelievable story.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Children ruin everything

I'm in no hurry to have children in life, mainly because they're parasitic creatures that do nothing but spend your money while ruining what little life you have. I mean, I'm sure I'll have one or two sometime as old-age insurance (much more relevant now that social security will be gone soon), but I'm certainly waiting on that for quite some time.

Case in point of how children ruin your life: Bat Girl is shutting down her blog in what could be one of the saddest days in the short history of blogs.

For those who don't know, Bat Girl (née Ann Ursu) built up quit a following in Twins territory for ehr exhaustive re-caps of every game (a pretty impressive feat for a 162-game season), as well as coming up with a great roster of nicknames, the concept of the Boyfriend of the Day, and of course, Legovision, the only true way to enjoy baseball. The greatness of her blog was pretty much summed up in her slogan "Less Stats, More Sass," the kind of slogan that could only make sense in a baseball blog.

How is this relelvant? Bat Girl has had to step down because her newborn child is simply taking up too much of her time. It's truly a sad day to see Bat Girl hang it up, because she was probably the most entertaining baseball analyst I've ever come across, and she created not only a great lexicon, but truly a familial feel amongst Twinkie fans. She will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A walk down memory lane...

In my anual retreating-from-the-world fest I always have at the beginning of summer, I journeyed back home to my folks place, which is pretty much like cutting off all communication with the world, especially with a 28.8 modem on dialup (it's perpetually 1997 in Fort Dodge). But currently, the folks are trying to get me to clear out the last vestiges of my stuff that is still stored there, which is actually pretty fun, because it's like looking into the deep recesses of my past, but all conveniently located in the attic.

For example, I found my most beloved child-hood stuffed animal, a unicorn named Mr. Unicorn (I wasn't a very creative child). For years now I thought he was lost to the ages, but this was a momentous find, for my love for unicorns cannot be overstated, but that's another post for another day.

But even more exciting was cleaning out a box of stuff from college in which I found my first-ever anonymous death threat, another great artifact I had feared lost. Not only is it the first, but I would argue it is the best, and not just for sentimental reasons. I found it stuffed under the door handle of my car one day. At that point in my life I was driving a very tiny Ford Festiva that I had festoned with all sorts of spray-painted messages against the war. I bought the car for $100, so I figured I might as well make it into a driving billboard of my political beliefs while I'm at it. Well, this letter came from someone bravely identifying themselves as "Anonymous USAF" (funny thing about death threats is that the cowards never have the guts to use their names, just further filling out the ridiculousness of their actions).

Highlights of the letter include the author claiming that "I die so people like you can bitch about things you don't undertsand" (which again makes this one of the best threats ever, because it apparently came from a ghost) and a great number of factual innacuracies, such as "SADDAM HUSSEIN [sic] has killed millions of people including Americans on Sept. 11th," although to be fair, this was only a year into the war, so the fact that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 was information only a year and a half old.

By the end of my undergrad years I ended up getting a good number of death threats, but none are ever as special as the first, which now sits in a beautiful frame next to my computer, reminding me that I must be doing something right with my life...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Art imitating life?

Recently, Ted Mondale, son of local hero and former vice-prez Walt Mondale, just plead guilty to durnk driving charges. As his punishment, he has suggested community service coaching little league baseball.

Now, at first I was tempted to rant on about how crazy it is that the wealthy and powerful not only get such slap-on-the-wrist punishments, but the even more ludicris notion that they get to set their own penalties as well.

However, this got me thinking of a similar situation in which a powerful Minneapolis businessman was sentenced to coach little league hockey as a slap on the wrist punishment. He knew nothing of coaching, but he and a ragtag band of kids with nothing but spunk and moxie on their side won not only the local little league championship, but went on to "sequel" such wins by taking the junior olympics and later a state high-school championship. That man was of course Gordon Bombay, and his team even went on to the Stanly Cup playoffs this year, although Bombay has long since retired from coaching to run a sporting goods store founded by an old family friend.

Now, I have no idea if Ted Mondale is haunted by the fact that he failed to bring home the championship on his vaulted little-league baseball team, but it certainly seems like he's setting the stage for something great. It certainly makes one ponder if we soon could be witness to the rise of the Mighty Nazca's. It also makes you think Ted Mondale should work for a company with a more marketable name, like Duckworth or something to that effect.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Capitol campout today

If you're in the Twin Cities area today, head on over to the steps of the state capitol where those plucky Youth Against War and Racism kids will be camping out to raise awareness and try to re-energize a flagging peace movement.

It'll be good times, with music, speeches, games, food, and all sorts of general activism-type things going on, there, or risk missing the anti-imperialist event of the year.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Comedy is for flops and dandies...

Illustration provided by the Father of Frances

On the bottom of my paper grocery bag, it has a stamp of approval from the "Paper Bag Council."

This is beyond my ability to make a joke.

A group of wealthy business associates get together once a month in high-powered meetings to decide the agenda of the paper fucking bag council.

What are they deciding in there?

Chairman: "Well, gentlemen, as you can see from the numbers, paper is once again king for the proper carrying of light items!"

rest of council: "paper! paper! paperpaperpaperpaper!"

Chairman: "But gentlemen, it must finally be decided: handles or no handles?"

half of council: "handles! handles for e'er! handles or DEATH!"

other half of council: "Nay! Handles be the plaything o' the devil!"

And that is the story of the great Paper Bag Council Split of 1782. It was exactly 200 years later that the council was finally re-convened under the gentle but stern guidance of John Papercouncil the IVth.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The most impressive award I've ever won...for anything...ever

So a couple of weekends ago, the department had its annual Sociology Research Institute. SRI is a great time where folks in the department present their ongoing research, undergrads get a chance to present, grad students get a chance to be discussants, and all other sorts of wonderful things, but mostly it's a time when at the end of the day we get to get drunk on the department's dime.

But while we're getting our free booze, there's always a little ceremony of departmental awards. Well, I'm pretty drunk by this point because, well, free booze, and the band is just about to go on so I need that rock n' roll edge only whiskey can give. So I'm mildly paying attention as the chair goes on and on about some grad student who helped out with something or another, but really I'm only paying attention because I'm an attention whore so I want to make sure that I hear my name if called, because there's no drug I need more in life than the attention of others.

But lo, to my suprise, my name actually was called. It took me a minute to piece it all together, but it turns out if you remember the crazy recruiting party in the snow that I threw, that was the reason I was getting the award.

Now I would love to think that I actually got the award because of service to the department or some such thing because of all the things I do to help out around here, but in all reality, it's a gag award for allowing people to get drunk in my apartment.

But hey, I'll take it, because this li'l piece of recognition, be it a joke or not, is still by far the most impressive award I've ever won for anything:

Pictured: "Award-winning" party-host Jesse Wozniak and unidentified, well-coifed gentleman