December 30, 2002
Happy New Year, Everyone!
We'll see y'all in Aught-Three!
Best wishes from your pals here at The Donk.
I Only Wish She KnewCalm down ladies; he's taken!
This is for Julia S...you will probably never see this...thats why i put it here.
her eyes remind me of a forbidden sunset
so beautiful, so calm, so serene
her look is beyond hypnotic
uncomparable to any dream.
her lips feel softer then satin
her kiss led me to this state
i cant help but wonder,
was it luck, or was it fate?
her voice compares to an angelic whisper
she is intelligent and smart
i wish i knew the secret
to this beautiful girls heart.
you were the worst boyfriend everAnd that's only three days! Bookmark it and come and join the circus of the damned.
You really were. i've had some pretty bad boyfriends, but you take the grand prize. if you ever want to have a girlfriend who will keep you for more than a few days, you'd better grow up!
M...reasons why I'm never talking to you again...L
Yes, I don't have my shit together. My apologies if I'm an artist and a dreamer, go eff the corpo types and be happy. I'm doing this world my way. I sound more stable now that I have a job? Wait, you were the one on Paxil. I was the one trying to give you support. I can deal with my issues myself, I've never needed anyone to lean on.
You said you’d finally tell me
In a note you’d never write
All the feelings you have for me
But didn’t have the right
And now that its over
I reel in the delight
Of dreaming of your face
And lighting up my light
Please do not allow me to get attached to you.
I want to see you again. I haven't felt anything like this since my last boyfriend. But you have major issues that you are dealing with and sorting through. I have major issues I am also sorting through. I'm afraid to love anyone because I always get horribly hurt in the end.
Please, everyone, stop sleeping with my ex-girlfriend!
December 28, 2002
[Unfortunately, Mr. Whybark began experiencing technical difficulties shortly after posting the above comments, and as longtime fans of Mr. Whybark are aware, technical difficulties means weeks of voluminous posts packed with jargontastic language, not to mention paragraphs consisting of one long sentence with two separate semicolon breaks. We also get little vignettes like the following:
[O]ur Apex AD-1600 DVD player died as we switched disks while watching the extended edition DVD of The Fellowship of the Ring on Xmas just before heading out to see The Two Towers. Fortunately, we were able to play the remainder on my G4 tower...which might just be the geekiest darn thing I've read since Mike and I were working together, answering e-mails from disgruntled anime fans.
Anyway. The article's an interesting state-of-the-language look at this transitional time for a number of tech terms. Each day we move further away from the origin of our nifty online universe, making the capitalization of web-related terms an anachronism, like "Base-Ball" or "Phonograph." But while I agree with Mike and Scot Hacker that "internet and "website" are logical and probably inevitable, I worry that it's a slippery slope from those changes to things like "email" and bizarre compound words with CapitalLetters floating around in the middle somewhere.
Of course, if an increasing majority of people continue to use the familiar, lowercase terms, then those will become de facto correct, no matter what the dictionary mavens eventually decide.
Update: the comments section of Mike's post on this subject is getting some play.
And Chicago is pretty damn good, and a friend of mine who normally hates musicals agrees with that assessment.
December 27, 2002
December 26, 2002
As you may or may not know, Venezuela is currently in its worst political crisis in memory. The country has been in a complete national strike for the past 23 days, in an attempt to force elections in the country, and get rid of a polarizing and destructive president — whose approval rating is less than 30%. Oil output is down over 90%, as is all economic and commercial activity. Civil war seems imminent, and there have been reports of the president having brought in FARC guerrillas from Colombia and mercenaries from Cuba.
I was asked to distribute this description of why this is going on, in English, written by a friend, in an attempt to get the word out around the world of what is going on there. The person who wrote this is no radical, rather a father (and grandfather), a trained professional and a patriot.
Please read this and forward it to anyone who may be interested. There is not much the USA can do at this time, but if the American citizens are educated about what is going on, they will be less likely to support an American policy to maintain Chavez in power. All the Venezuelan citizens are asking for is to be able to determine their own fate democratically.
Oh, yeah, and happy Christmas.
Here's what my friend wrote:
MANIFESTO OF VENEZUELAN CITIZENS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD
Caracas, December 25th, 2002
Today Venezuela is living the worst political, economic and social crisis in its history, leading us to the greatest levels of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, violence and polarization among Venezuelans as we have never known before. To overcome this crisis democratically and pacifically, the majority of Venezuelans are asking Chavez to announce elections or simply resign. We Venezuelans are not seeking a military coup nor international interventions, nor anything else that could replace our democratic mechanisms. All we ask for is the execution of free elections.
Since 1999, Chavez unleashed a systematic attack against workers and their labor unions, political parties — including some that supported him — media and journalists, businessmen and agriculturists, the church, the government owned institutions when they declared themselves against him and other citizens. Chavez, instead of dedicating himself to solving the great problems the country is immersed in — mission for which the majority elected him — and which have worsened dramatically during his four years in term, has dedicated himself to dividing us into the good and the bad, to harass us through his offensive rhetoric and through his armed civil groups that operate with impunity with official support. By doing this he has centered all national, regional and local power on him and his followers, favoring the violation of laws and generalized corruption, ridiculing the opinions and proposals of other citizens.
Chavez is not a democrat: he uses democratic scaffolding to try and impose a revolution on us which the Venezuelan people did not vote for. The world must not be fooled by all this. Chavez and the reduced group that supports him want to impose a revolution over us that is not pacific as it has done nothing other than offend, assault, and disqualify. Said revolution is not democratic but totalitarian simply because it does not see members of an opposition, but rather enemies who must be destroyed; a revolution that cannot be considered participate because it excludes us and denies us all the opportunity to participate in the resolution of this crisis.
Since 2001 through the present date, different sectors have been undertaking legitimate protest actions that have gradually concentrated an immense majority of Venezuelans, as can be seen in the various marches and concentrations that are held almost on a daily basis throughout the country. On another level, opinion polls unsuccessfully demand the government's rectification, followed by an effective dialogue among parties, to the lead towards the electoral solution of the crisis. As of more than 20 days ago the Venezuelan people lead a National Civic Strike with the purpose of demanding a democratic solution to the current state of ungovernability. Despite national and international efforts, the government continues evading the arrival of a sincere negotiation in order to arrive at an electoral agreement.
This is not about, despite what the government may want to display in demagogic manner to the rest of the world, a media conspiracy organized by elite groups against a government at the service of the poor. It is about a country's struggle against an incompetent, lying, cynic and deaf administration that has lead us towards greater poverty, unemployment, anguish and despair than we Venezuelans have ever seen before.
WE VENEZUELANS DEMAND AN ELECTORAL SOLUTION NOW!
December 25, 2002
December 23, 2002
How Weebl Saved Christmas.
From producer Bill Melendez' site: "The Making of A Charlie Brown Christmas."
"It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank. An old man said to me, won't see another one. And then he sang a song, The Rare Old Mountain Dew. I turned my face away, and dreamed about you." On Christmas Day, raise a glass and toast one of our finest living songwriters, Mr. Shane MacGowan, who will be celebrating his 45th birthday.
And for my fellow Members of the Tribe: Judaism 101's "What Do Jews Do on Christmas?"
Well, The Helmet Project might be just what you're looking for. This admirably obsessive work in progress is one man's attempt to create an atlas of every single helmet worn by both professional and college football teams, current and defunct, from the Green Bay Packers to the Division III Hampden-Sydney Tigers.
Oh, the Sharks' helmet was silver, by the way.
An Anecdotal Top Ten for a Transitional Year.
- My Journey into the Heart of the American South, 4th of July Weekend. The solemn glory of Gettysburg, fireworks over the treetops of Virginia, the lovely Blue Ridge Parkway, minor league baseball and bar brawls in Tennessee, boiled peanuts — all just tame warm-ups for East Dublin, Georgia's annual Redneck Games: "Lee Surrendered, I Didn't," fried crocodile on a stick, thanking God I was driving American, and if anybody asked my last name is Smith.
- Best Concert. The Magnetic Fields' two-night stay at Alice Tully Hall: their wonderful 69 Love Songs in its entirety, everything I hoped it would be. Other fine concerts: Jason Loewenstein at Bennington (if you could have seen only one free show surrounded by stoned rural rich kids in a Vermont student center with dollar drafts, then this was the one!); Jason Loewenstein brings the rock at The Knitting Factory; Belle and Sebastian at The Hammerstein Ballroom (and if it wasn't for my friend Christine I'd never leave the house).
- Backhand Passing Shot, East Brunswick, sometime in October. Playing doubles, down 4-5, Ad-In, opponents serving to me for the set. I make a decent return, we're going back and forth, but after a few volleys I get caught leaning a little to my right and face a nice dropshot to my backhand side. I reverse course, dive back to my left, and catching the ball about two inches off the ground just push it down the line past the lunging net player who could do nothing but turn and watch as the ball landed perfectly on the back-left corner. It's hard to describe a tennis shot, but trust me, had you been there you would have rushed the court and demanded I have sex with you right there.
- The Sunday after Thanksgiving at Mohegan Sun. I'd like to claim that this day sticks out because due to the stunning casino or even the lovely seafood brunch I had beforehand in Mystic, but to be honest I could have been gambling in the boiler room of a condemned rendering plant and it would still make the list. Long story short: walked into the casino and put $20 on the roulette table, turned that double sawbuck into over $700 in profit (with the help of a lovely group of tourists who thought it might be fun to give poker a shot), not including the filet mignon dinner. Yes, I tipped large.
- Apartment D1 of Jersey City's Brunswick Towers, Overlooking the Pulaski Skyway. Because I am lucky, Ithe first apartment I looked at was perfect: large, furnished rooms, "roommates" who actually lived in New Hampshire, a fascinating view of an industrial wasteland, heated pool, exercise room, front-desk concierge, indoor parking, etc. It made me finally realize that there's more to life than mere material possessions — a place to keep those possessions is also important.
- The Few Bright Lights of the Idiot Box. My significant other and I almost never watch the ol' "boob tube" — we'd much rather read contemporary poetry and discuss the important issues of the day — but we do pull the black-and-white out of the closet when these three shows are on: "Insomniac with Dave Attell," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." The best guy in the world to hang out with, the worst, and a wad of meat.
- The Best Blogs of the Year. Of course, Girls Are Pretty, hosted by The Pretty Girl. It'll likely implode by mid-February or lay dormant when the PG overdoses on something, but for many brief shining moments it is Camelot. The consistently excellent NJGuido.com has taught us all a little lesson on why it's important to party like a rockstar. And also of note was my discovery of Mike Whybark's creepily delightful Ken Goldstein Project; at last, a blog that speaks to me! In a related note, my own little online effort allowed me to meet lots of fine and interesting folks, including a few who I even enjoy a drink or a game of cards with now and again.
- Jersey Pride Labor Day with Jahna D'Lish. Sure, the weather sucked and if you watched closely you could actually see boardwalk businesses going bankrupt, but that didn't stop me and the sassiest dame on both coasts from kicking it old-school, winning piles of prizes at Seaside then chowing down on the Tropicana buffet. Having her watch me make quad aces was a nice bonus.
- Best Magazine of the Year. In a fairly weak year for print, The Atlantic Monthly was easily the most consistently excellent magazine I readthis year, most notably William Langewiesche's illuminating, unsentimental three-part "Unbuilding the World Trade Center," (excerpts 1, 2 & 3) now available in book form.
- The Rise of the Swamp Dragons. Thanks in large part to Jason Kidd , my two decades of futile support for the New Jersey "Whoop-De-Damn-Do" Nets were rewarded with months of stylish excellence culminating in a trip to the Finals. One win against the Lakers would have been nice, though.
Honorable Mention (tie): A lovely wedding between two lovely people...in Canada! And that time I didn't get hit by that bus.
December 22, 2002
Most of the time, however, that ain't the case.
From New York City: three fine New Yorkers — Elizabeth Spiers (who I've seen art with!), Jason Kottke, and Nick Denton — have joined forces to bring us Gawker, a fine and frequently updated Manhattan weblog magazine that's "got all of Manhattan's posh tongues wagging." It's packed with fun news and links about the greatest darn city in the world, and is definitely worth your time and effort.
And from New Jersey: Severed hand, foot found in Atlantic City alley.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- A man rummaging through trash cans behind a row of stores found a human foot and hand, the prosecutor's office said.
Authorities said the limbs were from a person who died in the last week, but they declined to say whether it was an adult or child.
December 16, 2002
December 14, 2002
December 11, 2002
It was exhilarating! The trainer guides you in your first shaky steps onto the Segway. Shaky in that you find yourself needing to trust something other than yourself for balance. I began by creeping forward in my first seconds on the machine. I was not quite fully centered so couldn’t come to a complete stop.The Illuminated Donkey: bringing you the future right damn now!
Then the trainer simply tells you "think forward." Ha. Sounds silly, right? But sure enough, you move forward. "Think backward" the trainer calls. Yep, back you move. Leaning (rather than thinking) is the key. But they don't tell you to lean because exaggerated motions aren't needed. A simple thought of forward is enough to slightly shift your center of balance & off the Segway zooms.
The hardest lesson was to "think stop." There are no brakes!!! I have only a basic understanding of the mechanics, but the Segway will stop when you are fully upright / evenly balanced. That's a tough concept to embrace, first as I was slowly moving towards a Segway sales representative who was standing directly in my path & calmly telling me "just think 'stop', just think 'stop'." But it worked! And while my worry for the sales representative was sincere, my first real fear happened when I found myself zooming near 6mph, needing a stop before crashing into an approaching wall. Trust issues. Instinct had me stick out my butt and pull my arms back — as if I could reign in the wild beast. Nope. You gotta have faith that standing tall and proud will really stop the Segway (and thankfully I accepted that premise before hitting the wall).
Dean Kamen was in attendance, of course on a Segway, entertaining us with facts and stories while we were waiting in line. He mentioned how most first time riders flash the "Segway smile" — the brain's delight at experiencing basic balance and movement differently for the first time since you learned to walk.
My favorite moment was gracefully spinning around 360 degrees.... guided by a simple turning out motion of my right hand. From completely still to a pirouette! Sure enough, I couldn't help but break out into a huge Segway grin.
December 10, 2002
December 09, 2002
December 07, 2002
December 05, 2002
Henry Louis Mencken was born in 1880, in Baltimore, of German stock. As he told it, he had a serene childhood, digging in the back yard and reading great stacks of nineteenth-century literature.Wow, I wonder where Mencken could have possibly acquired a taste for nineteenth-century literature...in the nineteenth freaking century?!
December 04, 2002
December 03, 2002
the black hearts party manifestoMy humble contributions are in the Restaurants Reviews section, specifically the "Places to Dump Someone" area, but you're gonna want to read the whole sordid site, and you'd better have a stiff drink waiting for you on the other side.
We the Black Hearts Party are waging a war of sanity. No longer shall we suffer to be the hapless prey of Cupid or the pawns of St. Valentine. Firmly we stand, against the army of fluffy white teddy bears that advance marching lock step from every convenience store and gas station. They pelt us with plastic-wrapped roses and shrill their shat-out love songs in our ears but to no avail. "Fax me" their candy hearts exclaim before they are crushed beneath our heels. Our eyes have been opened and no amount of Meg Ryan showing us her gums can close them again. We are the fed-up, the awoken, the free -- The Black Hearts Party.
This means that it's a few days after the third anniversary of my walking past my company's warehouse on the way to work only to discover that the building had been taken over by squatters in advance of the World Trade Organization hullaballoo. Ah yes, shipping out Christmas orders by flashlight (the police, whose HQ was frigging next door by the way, had shut off the building's power), getting eyed by angry squatters, having the building constantly referred to by the media as "abandoned"...what a time it was.
December 02, 2002
Speaking of getting credit for a blog I have nothing to do with, Rick Bruner repeatedly jumps up and down with glee regarding his accurate prediction that a certain all-American icon and her friends would have their own blogs. (Though Chelsea really needs to update her blog more often; I'm on edge wondering what happened to her after she tried the new color for her toenail polish!)
Player #1: Ah, Joey, I can't buy a hand. I'm gonna go get some dinner.Yes, I had entered a world where steak was implied, and that's a world that's okay in my book. My trip began with a tour around the insanely massive Foxwoods, then it was off to the poker room for the 10:00 a.m. Limit Hold `Em tournament. I did fairly well in the tournament, finishing 20th out of 88 entrants. I was far out of the money but did get to play almost three hours for a few bucks, after which I enjoyed a long lunch in the brain-numbingly excessive buffet.
Player #2 (apparently Joey): Okay, what are you getting?
Player #1: (incredulously) Steak.
Player #2: No, no...I mean what kind of steak?
That was actually the highlight of Saturday for me, as I became a reverse Midas, with everything I touched turning to crap. My double-down blackjack bets drew deuces, the ball avoided my numbers in roulette like it owed them money, and if a player needed a card to beat me, then by God, that card was gonna come. I fought back late into the night to avoid a total disaster, but headed to my overpriced hotel room a nearly broken man.
Well, tomorrow is another day. I woke up late, grabbed a cup of coffee in a rundown luncheonette (where the proprietor spent ten minutes of my life extolling the virtues of soy milk and stevia, only to then ask if I wanted an apple fritter roughly the size of a puppy. I headed to the Mystic Seaport, which ain't exactly hopping in the bitter cold of early December. I picked up a pressed penny for my sister, grabbed a fine lunch of lobster bisque and a crab melt, then went for Round Two, this time at Mohegan Sun.
Now, if Foxwoods makes the Atlantic City casinos look like some low-rent stripmall out on the edge of town, then Mohegan Sun makes it look like the alley behind the stripmall, perhaps with a pack of mangy dogs rooting through the dumpster. The place is truly incredible: gigantic, stunning, and as I was soon to find out, the luckiest place on Earth. I had planned to just play for an hour or two, but events soon conspired to keep me in Connecticut until nightfall. I spent an hour walking around before I finally decided to try some more roulette. I figured I'd put a $20 down and see what happened. Well, on the first spin I hit a little something, enough to keep me going. Well, I hit something on the next spin and the few after that, and after about 15 minutes I had taken that $20 up to around $250. I figured that it was a good time to leave the table and check out the poker room.
With my $250 in hand I sat down at a $5-$10 Hold `Em table with a kill (meaning that if a pot is over $90, the winner of that pot has to put up $10 and the next hand is played at $10-$20. As I said, I had only planned to stay for a couple of hours, but the player to my right, an annoying know-it-all who had apparently accumulated so many comp points at craps so that he'd never have to pay for another meal as long as he lived, told me that I'd be an idiot to leave before 9:00, since I'd just end up sitting in traffic on I-95.
Well, I have to admit that I was in a mood to be convinced, so I stayed at that table for another five hours and proceeded to kick everybody's ass. It helped that three of players were casino poker rookies with deep pockets, but I was just getting the cards and/or getting lucky. One big pot came when my King-Jack in a kill pot was greeted with a 9-10-Queen flop, giving me a straight with callers all the way down. I also eked out some lucky ones when a Queen hit the flop as I was taking my King-Queen up against pocket Jacks and Ace-King, and when my pocket 9's backed into a straight on the river. Basically, there was an hour when I could do no wrong, and when the table finally broke I found myself with almost $700 in front of me. That original $20 had gotten me all the way back from the previous day's hole, paid for all the trip expenses, and put me well into the black for the trip.
On my way to dinner I played a little craps (not really my game, but I wanted to throw the dice and ended up making five points before sevening out), then had my first ever filet mignon. It tasted like victory.
December 01, 2002
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