April 29, 2002

Prizeless. A subject that has gotten a lot of discussion in my office recently is the case of the Big Game lottery hullabaloo between Angelito Marquez and his nursing home co-workers over the rightful ownership of a multimillion dollar winning ticket. The dispute was settled today when the ticket in question turned out to be worth a grand total of $2.
A lawyer for the nursing home workers had claimed they pooled their money to buy the winning ticket. The workers claimed co-worker Angelito Marquez had the winning ticket but was refusing to give it to the group.

Marquez insisted all the tickets he purchased were losers. Marquez's lawyer, Donald DiGioia, said Monday the co-workers ultimately suspected Marquez had the winning ticket because he called in sick for three days with the flu after the April 16 drawing. Marquez' absence and state officials' reports that the Big Game winner lived in Union County fueled the workers' suspicions, DiGioia said.
A smarter man than myself has already begun working on the movie version of this story.
Nothing here has changed. Just The Bleat. Damn, James Lileks mercilessly bashes the new Elvis Costello, in a track-by-track takedown:
Daddy Can I Turn This: EW said this would make me want to put on my Armed Forces T-shirt, and indeed it has the same instrumentation; it only lacks the lyrical pith, production clarity and inventive melody of that period. Other than that, sure, it's a dead ringer for an Armed Forces song, once you get past the fact that it sucks.
What makes this even worse is knowing that I'm still going to go out and buy the damn thing, if only because he's my all-time favorite musician and I've bought every single other thing he's ever done, including Kojak Variety Hour and that five-CD Steve Nieve box set. There's been some good stuff over the past decade, but I'll most likely listen to it a couple of times and then file it away with the rest of his dust-gathering post-King of America output.

On a side note, the lyric from "The Beat" off of This Year's Model (perhaps the greatest record ever made) that I've never been able to figure out is "I've been a bad boy with the standard leader. My neighbor's revving up his Vauxhall Viva." which would explain my difficulty all these years.

Update: Well, at least Jim Treacher is somewhat positive about the album.

Flipping through the cable news stations (I lost the remote) I was struck by the complete disconnect between the MSCNNFox world and the one I'm living in. In that world boxed in by weather reports and news crawls there's this utter capitulation to the Robert Blake case, as if after seven months of real news they finally got a story they know what to do with. And what they've decided to do is spend half their programming day discussing its relation to the OJ case, flooding the studios with crocodile tears bemoaning the inevitable OJ-ness of it all, all the while practically begging the media gods to make this another OJ.

Meanwhile, back in my world, nobody cares, even a little bit. I think I've heard a grand total of 15 seconds worth of Blake discussion, basically a conversational trial balloon that went nowhere. I suppose it's good for the news teams to stay in practice for the next worthless story we decide to care about, though.
I don't claim to be an expert on criminal law or the Roman Catholic church, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Cardinal Law should really think of another line of defense for his archdiocese besides "the six-year-old was asking for it." And as long as I'm down this road, could the Boston Herald perhaps come up with a more decorous headline for a story about a survivor of sexual abuse than "Judge refuses to gag alleged priest victim"?

April 28, 2002

The latest Smarter Harper's Index has been posted. We here at The Donk fully endorse anti-Harper's snarkiness in all forms.
The thing that makes the Mariners losing to the Yankees that much worse is knowing that I'll be hearing about it tomorrow from the damn Yankee-lovers at work. Maybe I'll just call in sick. Dammit.
Congratulations to Paul Frankenstein of Men Are April When They Woo or whatever the hell the title is this month, the Donk's lucky 25,000th visitor or whatever. His fabulous prizes will be on their way once I get an address from him. Paul joins an illustrious list of winners here at The Donk, including the Daily Pundit and the defunct Smarterpundit. Keep an eye out for the next contest!
Here's a little hint: if you're trying to finish a ten-page training manual for a shipping logistics company, don't head on over to Sand in the Gears, and especial don't read Tony Woodlief's damned funny grad school retrospective. Oh, and congrats, Tony.
Working on a freelance basis from the comfort of my home is one of those things that sounds great, until I realize that I've just spent most of the last hour-and-a-half watching the Celtics-76ers game, making travel arrangements for my upcoming trip to Seattle, and...um...staring blankly out my window at the Pulaski Skyway. I don't like my office, but I have to admit it does serve a purpose. MUST...PAY...ATTENTION! MUST...STOP...SCREWING...AROUND.

April 27, 2002

Talking about the weather. One of the many things I find amazing about the 21st century is how central a role the weather still plays in our lives. I imagine that a widely held belief of even 100 years ago was that by this point the weather would be almost completely irrelevant, or at least not a concern for the average person, what with our wonderful domed cities and our weather-changing satellite technology.

While such ideas have been filed away with the rocket jet-packs, it's still strange just how much energy is expended on the subject. A snowflake falls and the local news stations go on full alert. The temperature goes up or down ten degrees and my co-workers act as though the world's coming to an end. It's incredibly out of proportion, especially considering that some of them spend no more than 15 minutes a day actually outside of their home, car, or office. Still, it starts to drizzle and you'd think they were outside plowing the fields.

A lot of it is probably physiological, more than we realize. I moved to Seattle in September a few years back, and after about four months of glorious happiness a depression came over me, one that seemed to have no origin. After about a week I realized it might have something to do with the complete lack of sun for about two months, with the accompanying lack of desire to leave my comfy room. Everything got a lot better once I started drinking heavily, but that's a whole `nother story.

Anyway, what got me thinking about this was that when I woke up this morning to a beautiful, sunny day, the sun glistening off of the Pulaski Skyway, my immediate reaction was to throw on some clothes and run! Get out there, do something, anything! Whooo! (I'm waiting for an improtant phone call now, or else I wouldn't be bothering you folks with this.) So I won't be sitting around waiting to see which one of you reaches that magical 25,000 number, since I'll be out on the highway getting my car closer to 50,000. Good luck, folks.

Oh, yeah: GO NETS!

April 26, 2002

Yes, Mike Whybark, I know how easy it would be for somebody to manipulate the image to make it appear that you're my 25,000th visitor and win the below contest, but (except for you) my readers are honest and good and pure of heart and nice to puppies, and would never dream of using such nefarious means. Plus, the prize ain't gonna be that great.

April 25, 2002

Time for another failed contest. Since there's something lovely about round numbers, the 25,000th visitor to this site (or whatever the hell that counter over to your left means) will receive a patented Super-Special prize. Simply send some sort of proof, like a screenshot, of your 25,000thness to kengoldstein@hotmail.com, and that prize will soon be on its way to you. Good luck!
Via The Weigh-In, a link to the Chicago Sun-Times' excellent TV section, featuring "Will Your Show Go?," a comprehensive listing of TV shows and their chances for renewal. The bad news is that, according to the article, Fox will be choosing only one between Andy Richter's show and Greg The Bunny, two shows I like a whole bunch.
The Weigh In's angry, conservative Justin Sodano, who posts more in an average day than I do in a week, learns that online advertising creates some strange bedfellows with an Amazon link for Michael Moore's book prominently featured on his site.
Thanks to my friend Lisa for sending me this link to Forgotten NY, a loving, detailed tribute to the living past of the greatest damn city in the world.
While it's certainy nice that the damn-near contracted Montreal Expos have gotten off to a not-terrible start (13-8, 1st place in the nobody-wants-it NL East), the sports media's current round of anti-Selig gloating seems a bit premature, considering that attendance, the number that really matters, is down 27% from last year's already deflated numbers. The team is generally drawing about 4500 fans to its non-Opening Day, non-Mets games, and while that may pick up a bit if the team continues to win (which they won't), it's still absolutely nowhere near what a club needs to draw to survive, forget succeed.

April 24, 2002

Via Jim Romenesko's MediaNews, a San Francisco Chronicle interview with Harper's editor Lewis Lapham (Harper's editor laments rise of corporate news purveyors), where he portrays himself as the only honest voice in the post-September 11 media.
Lapham is most dismayed that he has been accused of being unpatriotic, when he isn't. "In a democracy, the most valuable quality is candor," he said. "Democracy works best when people try to tell each other the truth. That's not what we've got. We've got a lot of cant."
Ah yes, Lewis Lapham: the unbiased voice of honesty in these hideous, Big Media days. Apparently Lapham's definition of "candor" includes printing reworked and distorted versions of speeches so that they better illustrate his incredibly narrow view of how the world should be run. Unreadable prig.
Why I Do Not Want a House, Reason 37. A friend of mine is in the process of closing on a house, and yesterday received this message from the current owners, passed along from the realtor:
"They are concerned that you will be daunted by the growth rate of the grass and suggest that you begin planning your lawn care strategy ASAP."
I wouldn't even know how to begin planning a lawn care strategy.

April 23, 2002

Hey, it's steal from my friends night here at The Donk. From the oft-plugged Mike Whybark, one of the greatest Captain Renault moments I've ever seen, in The New York Times (registration required):
Enron: Skilling "Agitated"

"When shown records that laid out the details of the financial returns during his testimony several months ago before the S.E.C., Mr. Skilling was said to have grown agitated as he described his opinion of the information. Had he known the magnitude of the profits, Mr. Skilling was said to have told the regulators, he would have immediately summoned Enron executives involved in the dealings and given them 24 hours to justify such outsize results."

WhhaAATTT! Why, THESE PROFITS are an OUTRAGE! EXPLAIN YOURSELVES or face the WRATH of... KENNY BOY!
Mike Whybark: if you can't hire him, at least go read him.
Thanks to my friend Jahna D'Lish for sending me this Discover Your Aura guide from Lifetime Channel's Horoscope Central.
Uncover the Secret of Your Aura

An aura is a light surrounding every person and it hints at the color of his or her soul. Psychic Carol Pate says, "You don't need special powers to see someone's aura. Let your eyes go blurry and you will see a light around them — a clear light. See your own aura by standing about three feet in front of a mirror with a blank wall behind you. You may see color surrounding your head, shoulders and body."

RED
Red represents sexuality. It's highly charged and suggests strong emotions and passions. A murky brown tint to it suggests a dangerous individual, very violent or psychotic.
ORANGE
Orange represents mental stability and clear thinking. Psychologists and philosophers often have this aura. A murky orange indicates insanity and nonviolent emotional instability.
PEACH
Peach is the color of anxiety. Actors who have stage fright will have peach auras, as will anyone experiencing a lot of stress.
And plenty more auras for the askin'! Now mebbe I can understand them pesky womenfolk.

And hey, as long as you're at Lifetime, why not ask Bea Arthur a question, take the "Which Designing Woman Are You?" quiz (I'm Charlene Frazier-Stillfield), or add a comment to one of the many message boards.

Great article (not available online, but I'll keep an eye out) by Richard Rayner in this week's New Yorker about Oscar Hartzell, the perpetuator of the Francis Drake inheritance scam in the 1920's. Hartzell stole and expanded a long-running scam based on a legend surrounding Sir Francis Drake's will. Hartzell claimed to have unlocked the secret of Drake's inheritance, making him the sole recipient of Drake's massive fortune, which had become unbelievably massive over the past 300 years (compound interest, ya know). All Hartzell needed was some investment money to cover the legal tangles, of which there were, of course, many. He got upwards of 70,000 individual investors, most of whom believed him for years.

What drew my interest about the scam was just how similar it is to the more-recent, ongoing Omega Trust and Trading bank debenture scam. The same massive fortune locked up in some sort of government entanglement, the same magicians with a convincing story of how they unlocked the mystery, the same large groups of people practically begging to throw money into the growing pit. In both cases (and in hundreds more) the scammed became the most rabid supporters of their crooks, forming clubs, protesting, doing anything possible to keep that appointment with the endlessly delayed money train. A cautionary tale definitely worth checking out.
Oh, Dear Lord, No. Just days after discovering that I had finally become Google’s #1 search result for Ken Goldstein (hey, there's a lot of them out there), I found out that The Illuminated Donkey is now the #1 search result for the word donkey. A sharp increase of late in donkey searches led me to realize that something was up, and the marketing department here at ID Inc. is feverishly working on a plan to cash in on the donkey-fan demographic.

April 22, 2002

“What’s that, Asparagirl and Megan? You’d like to hear another fascinating, insightful, and hilarious anecdote about my remarkable life? Well, if you insist.” Raghu of Sophismata has posted a batch of Big Apple Blog Bash pictures, and check out this snapshot to see your humble host with delightful referral queen Asparagirl and razor-sharp Megan McArdle, while Nick Marsala can only sit back and watch the charmage. Can you see why I can’t wait for the next Blog Bash?

April 21, 2002

Everybody's Doing It!




which "monty python and the holy grail" character are you?

this quiz was made by colleen


Wearing Someone Else's Shoes. Lane McFadden, the organizer-by-acclamation of the upcoming Big Apple Blog Bash 3 (coming soon to a sleazy dive bar near you!), today announced his retirement from warblogging — but only from the "war" part of it.
With a greater number of visitors and a greater number of links from people's blogs that are primarily focused on political and foreign policy issues, I've felt pressured to contribute similar content. Well, that experiment has been demonstrative of one thing, at least — such writing is not my forte. Thus, don't consider this a farewell — consider it a renewed statement of purpose.
I have to admit that this rang pretty true for me. There have been a few times over the past months when I've perhaps paid more attention to the the prevailing winds and the referral logs than I should have, and found myself trying to be somebody I wasn't. I got called on it a couple of times (mostly by my good friend Mike), and it was a touch humiliating, like getting caught in a lie always is. So I've tried to keep a watch out for that sort of thing, making sure I'm posting only about topics I'm really interested in. I mean, it ain't like this is my job or something; why do it if I don't enjoy it?
And hey, as long as we're here, there's no reason why you shouldn't read Mark Steyn's excellent-as-usual It's Time to Snap Out of Arab Fantasy Land.
In the last month, I've found as many Jew-haters on the Continent as in the Middle East, but the difference is that the Arabs are fierce in their hatred, no matter how contorted their arguments, while the Europeans are lazy, off-hand Jew-haters — they don't need arguments, they're happy to let the Arabs supply the script. Thus, the extraordinary resolution this week by the UN Human Rights Commission which accuses Israel of many and varied human rights violations, makes no mention of suicide bombers, and endorses the movement for a Palestinian state by "all available means, including armed struggle" — i.e., terrorism. The resolution could have been drafted by the Arab League or the PLO.

While the official policy of The Donk is to unreservedly support Goldsteins in all of their endeavors, there's no doubt that Jeff Goldstein's Protein Wisdom would be at the top of my list this week even if he didn't have such a noble last name. Damn, that guy's been on an angry tear lately. It's all good, of course, but if you're in a rush you can check out this look at editorial lunacy at my old alma mater, U.N.-Civilized, about the United Nations' "Jewish problem," and for pure unadulterated crankiness, Fight the Power, Refuse to Shower™! Jeff Goldstein: he gets pissed off so you don't have to! (Though you probably should as well.)

The Illuminated Donkey: Plug-Friendly! Received an e-mail today from "the person who introduced karaoke to the English-speaking world." Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd write! Martin Roth is a 53-year-old Australian journalist and author who has lived in Israel, England, and Japan, and who has written books about Buddhism, sake, the Japanese stock market, and his own Christian spirituality. It's probably a safe guess that our paths would not have crossed if I didn't run The Donk.

Mr. Roth has recently started his own blog, A Weblog from the Christian Counter-Culture, and it's definitely an interesting addition to the blog world. This guy can write, has done enough cool stuff for four or five lives, and he writes from a point of view not often seen round these parts. Go check it out.
Ken resumes blogging, take two! Well, I feel a touch more verbose this afternoon (though those piles of paper haven't gotten any smaller), so I figured I'd take another run at it.

First off, just to ease back into things, I thought I'd spend a few moments clearing up a matter that has apparently been a source of interest and/or confusion: namely, the meaning of "The Illuminated Donkey." I actually wrote about this in one of my first posts about eleventy-million years ago (or six months ago in non-blog time), but since my readership at that time consisted of about two or three close friends on a good day, here's a brief list of what the title doesn't mean:To put it simply, the Illuminated Donkey is a hollow, plastic animal from a Christmas creche (see the left sidebar), given to me about seven years ago by my friend Anthony Russo. I brought it with me to Seattle, where it lived in our window, continuously lit, for over two years (until it...um...caught on fire). It guided my roommate Murph and me home from the bars on blurry nights, and therefore seemed like the perfect name for this here little blog.

And now, back to our regular blogging.
Time to get back on that horse! While I'm still looking at a huge stack at freelance work on the yonder corner of my desk, a boatland of bills, paperwork, and reservations to take care of, as well as some business of a personal nature, the extremely aforementioned Blog Bash has rejuvenated me a bit, so I've decided I need to start posting again. There's a ton of cool people out there who stop by The Donk, and I don't want them to go away disappointed. So with that in mind, let's get on with the show! Whooo!

Yeah, let's get some quality posting going! Here we go! Yeah....all right. Whooo.

Whooo. Yeehaw.

Hey, how `bout that...professional sports team? And what about this weather we've been having? Isn't it...cloudy?

Urm...maybe I should try this again tomorrow.

April 20, 2002

Big Apple Blog Bash Recap! (No pictures, though.) First of all, great big buckets of thank yous go out to the doubly effervescent Asparagirl and Orchid for organizing the shindig. It was even more successful than the first NYC Blogger Bash, and far more successful than the sparsely attended "Let's Help the Illuminated Donkey Re-Tile His Bathroom Blog Bash" last month. There were at least 30-40 good-hearted souls at the quite cool Musical Box last night, and there wasn't a rotten apple in the bushel.

Before I continue this rambling: to those of you out there who might not be near one of the big blogging epicenters, I cannot suggest strongly enough that you still try and organize your own blog bash, as you will not meet a smarter, friendlier, more interesting, or more wickedly cute group of folks anywhere. Where have all the good folks gone? Well, they're all blogging, meaning that they're spending large amounts of time alone...typing away...searching the web...which is a touch depressing when I think about it so let's just move on, shall we?

My evening did not get off to a promising start as an insane storm knocked my building's power out (still out when I returned home many hours later), forcing me to dress in the dark and halting my last minute blog-cramming ("Oh, Mike, of course I know who you are! You do that...blog about the...stuff."), not to mention precipitating an extremely wet walk to the PATH. Everything had calmed down by the time I made my way into NYC and over to Alphabet City, where I was met on Avenue B by a mischievously friendly face (and hat) from the aforementioned NYCBB1, Nick Marsala. If there's trouble happening, Mr. Marsala is most likely on the scene. Nick was accompanied by the dangerously delightful Ravenwolf, a charmer who made the evening a success before we even found the bar.

I finally made my way in, ordered a beer, put on my nametag (nice touch!), and discovered a few other friendly faces: Amy Langfield, Clay Waters, Raghu (I still owe you a drink, buddy), and of course, Megan McArdle, once again the center of attention. Let me just say that after spending several hours next to Megan and Asparagirl, I can totally see what drove Sean Penn nuts. I still see the flashbulbs when I close my eyes.

The night was spent talking, drinking, eating free pizza (well, free to me; thanks a dozen, Mr. Steve Kuhn!), rocking out to some 80's hits, meeting new people and matching faces to some long-read blogs. In the latter category were the mysterious Dr. Weevil (cue theme song), the dashingly sly Lane McFadden, and the extremely interesting Walter Olson of Overlawyered.com, which is a perfect example of what these blogs are good for.

Among the new faces (and blogs) I enjoyed meeting were the charming Sasha Castel, (sorry, ran out of adjectives) Ernest Miller of LawMeme, the Pigs and Fishes posse, Caryn Solly, Damien Falgoust, Paul Frankenstein, and many, many others who now remind me how bad I am with names. Feel free to e-mail me if you were one of the forgotten.

There were even a couple of non-blogging "lurkers" at the event, reminding us all that, unbelievable as it may sound, there are people out there who might be reading this and yet do not have a blog of their own. Shocking, I know. On that note, there's nothing cooler than somebody telling me that he reads The Donk regularly and enjoys it, and whoever that guy was I thank him heartily.

It almost goes without saying that I had a great time, and that all of these people are even more interesting and fun to be around than you would imagine by reading their sites. As for what I learned? I learned that you shouldn't trust the bartender when he says a beer is very Hefeweizen-like (at least not enough to put the lemon in), that if you have a specific editorial vision and goal then adding assistants might not be a good idea (of course, this means nothing to us at The Donk, but it's still interesting), that right now there a girl in her teens preparing to carry on the Megan/Asparagirl doppelganger line, that it's far more difficult to give away pizza to drunk people in a bar than you might imagine, that if you have enough beers you can pretend that all those flashbulbs are really people trying to take pictures of you, that Duran Duran gets the party started quickly, that just because a site may mention the word "Donkey" people think you're a Democrat, that if you wear your nametags out on the streets of Manhattan people will give you strange looks, and finally, that bloggers are good peoples. See you next time, kids!

April 18, 2002

Big Apple Blog Bash!
big apple blog bash; click for details

April 17, 2002

If nobody minds (and now that I think about it, even if anybody does), I'm gonna go on a brief posting hiatus. I just need a few days to recharge the batteries, plus I still can't figure out how to work the AC in my apartment and it's too hot to think. There's plenty of good stuff over there on your left if you get bored. See you in a few days.

April 16, 2002

The New York Sun debuts today. I won't be in New York until at least Thursday, so I'm looking forward to hearing some reviews of this much-anticipated new paper.
What a difference a weekend makes. A few days ago the Yankees looked invincible, posting shutout after shutout, and generally looking like they may never lose again, Well, a team never looks as good as it does when it's winning or as bad as when it's losing, as the Yanks dropped three of four in Boston, with Pettitte and El Duque complaining of injuries. Meanwhile, my Mariners won their eighth straight.

April 15, 2002

You know, any Follow-the-Crowd Johnny can waste a few minutes being one of millions to vote for the new M&M's color, but it takes a true candy connoisseur to head on over to the Dum Dum Pops site to help them pick a new flavor! Yes, Dum Dum Pops: disappointing trick-or-treaters for over 75 years!
As I mentioned below, a good friend of mine has deep connections to Venezuela, and the current situation affects him deeply. He has sent me his thoughts regarding Chavez' return to power, as well as some biographical information detailing his connection to the country. Again, I hope you find these as interesting as I do.
I am in my late 20s, a professional living in the USA. My father is Venezuelan (recently naturalized to the USA, realizing that Chavez is a sign that there is nothing to go back to in Venezuela), my mother is from the USA. My family arrived to Venezuela following WWII, with nothing. My grandmother pregnant with my father, my grandfather fresh from finishing his engineering degree. He went to work with the sanitation ministry putting sewers and other signs of modernity through Venezuela, and naturalized. Venezuela was his new country, it gave him the opportunity to build a life and provide for his family.

My father was born a Venezuelan as was my uncle. My father left Venezuela at age 16 to study in the USA, and went back upon completing his PhD to work in his country. He brought me (one year old) and my mom along; we left when my father realized that he could not build his dreams or provide us with a future there. I lived there until I was 14. My siblings were born there. I was born Venezuelan by virtue of my father, and my formative years were there.

Much of my family remains there. I have many friends there. What I have been sending you is the distillation of reports I have from my friends and family, some actively involved, some pasively hoping for the ouster of Chavez. Their stories have so little in common with the news reports in the USA that it would be funny were it not sad.
My friend wrote today about the inaccuracy of what little press coverage he's seen, as well as the real popular uprising in the country.
What's driving me mad is how incorrect the press coverage has been.

They refer to the ouster of Chavez on Thursday as a "military coup" that led to an oligarchy, and they refer to his reinstatement as a popular revolt. It's sooooo wrong.

Chavez was ousted following a popular uprising involving business leaders, members of the church, labor unions, scientists, engineers, artists, etc. That is, people that work, have a stake in the growth of the economy, security, development of the infrastructure, freedom of speech, property rights, etc. They led a great big march — numbers estimated between 150,000 and 250,000 — in Caracas, it was peaceful, they were clanging pots, shouting, holding signs, etc; and they demanded that Chavez step down. This is very similar to what happened in Ecuador, Peru and Argentina very recently; and (ironically, you'll see why) is the way the current leadership of those countries is in place.

During this popular (and peaceful) uprising, Chavez felt threatened and retreated into the violence and murder that he is very fond of and predisposed to lean towards (see 1992). Members of the National Guard and other pro-government civilians started firing from above at the defenseless crowd - they killed 15 and injured 150. The crowd dispersed, because you have to remember there were children, mothers, priests, fathers, grandmothers in the crowd. People that have families and jobs and companies, people that would like to have something to live for, and have people that depend on them. These are people that can't afford to go get killed.

The military leadership, upon seeing these cowardly acts of murder, demanded that Chavez step down (since it was obvious that he - or his administration - was behind this). A new interim civilian government was installed that next (Friday) morning, led by able members of the business community. Venezuela is bleeding money, and everybody is doing worse economically day by day. The country needs to build sound economic policy, as it deals with its social issues. This new government gave hope that Venezuela would crawl out of the hole it has dug for itself.

Since Chavez has filled the judiciary and legislative branches of his government with lackeys, the new government dissolved these institutions, setting timetables for elections and restructuring.

However, following the depositiong of Chavez, all members of the OAS — save the USA - refused to recognize the new government, and called for Chavez' return. The previously alluded to irony is here: even Argentina, Ecuador and Peru called for Chavez' return (I hope Duhalde chokes on his steak tonight). Even Colombia — whose democracy and prosperity are threatened by insurgents who receive moral (and more?) support and justification from Chavez — called for his return.

Seeing the goings on, and seizing an opportunity to do what they do best — rob, murder, loot - all sorts of criminals from the slums, armed and equipped with motorcycles and cars by the Chavez administration came down to Caracas and raised hell demanding Chavez' return. They killed, they looted, they stole. Honest people, from the city and from the slums, stayed home. Remember these are honest people, like you and I, faced with the possibility of getting killed, they'll stay home. The military and police and national guard did nothing to protect the honest; all the activity the foreign press saw was that of pro-Chavez people. The army became divided and decided to reinstate Chavez. The new president and his administration were arrested. The military leaders that were so appalled by the murders on Thursday are either in jail or in hiding.

This is the popular uprising that the New York Times wrote about, that CNN reported on. A bunch of thugs, murderers and lowlifes, and the military.

All the media is affraid in Venezuela, the USA is silent, and the Latin American "brothers" are betraying. Yay.

The first leader to call and congradulate Chavez was Saddam Hussein. Then it was Castro.

Yay!
He also includes a link to the Spanish blog Información De Venezuela, featuring regular updates of the chaotic situation.
If I signed online petitions, I'd sign this one.
To: Nobel Peace Prize Committee

Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, to be awarded to Mohammed Jan Naziri and Jora Mohammed Korbani, and other colleagues on the faculty of Kabul University, for efforts risking their own lives in order to prevent terrorist use of nuclear materials in their possession.

In investigative and mitigation efforts of the International Security Assistance Force, led by the British Royal Army, nuclear materials remaining from medical devices and physics experiments were hidden in basements, protected with lead, and documents relating to their existence were destroyed.

The scientists and their colleagues risked exposure to radioactivity by unorthodox methods of moving and storing these materials. They also risked their careers, reputations, and possibly their freedom or their lives by refusing to cooperate with officials from the Taliban government of Afghanistan who sought their cooperation in schemes to attract nuclear weapons scientists to their country on behalf of the terrorist network Al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden.

April 14, 2002

One Last Chance. From The Idler, "Stupid White Men: A Selection of Editorial Commentary from The New York Times", a compilation of the NYT's editorials regarding what Yasir Arafat "must do." Also from the top of The Idler's story page, "Arafat's Secret Weapon: Media Gullibility" by Emanuel Winston. Really, there's about 100 great articles over at The Idler, so why are you wasting your time with this crap?
I just finished filing my taxes online, which means I can now preface all of my mindless anti-government rants with the phrase "Hey, buddy, I pay my taxes, and..." In an interesting coincidence (?), I checked my mail after filing and found six consecutive "debt consolidation" spams in my in-box. I broke about even, for what it's worth.
Alex Heard discusses an issue I briefly thought about as I flipped by The Masters on my way to the Lakers game: the experience of being a spectator at a major golf tournament:
Physically, going to a tournament is a pain. You'll swelter, get sore feet, spend $200 on Cokes, and wait in line forever to enter skanky port-a-wees. As the action unfolds, you'll either try to follow the leader, which means spending the day looking at the back of some guy's head and smelling a Very Large Array of armpits, or you'll "stake a claim" to a particular spot on the course and watch the same shot get played 100 times. Distant cheers and cries of "You de man!" serve as a constant taunt that something great is happening—somewhere else.


Many sports fans are familiar with one of football's sweetest traditions, involving the members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Each season the members of that team, the only undefeated team in NFL history, celebrate the continuation of that mark by popping open a bottle of champagne when the last unbeaten team in the league loses their first game.

What is not quite as well-known is baseball's somewhat less-prestigious version of that tradition. Each season members of the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, who began the year with 21 straight losses, open a bottle of key lime Mad Dog 20/20 and drink the whole thing down in one gulp when the last pathetic team finally wins a game. Well, that mass toast was put on hold for another day, as the Detroit Tigers blew a late lead in partiularly sad fashion to drop to 0-11.
An Unpleasant Interruption. I was just catching up on a few days worth of posts at U.S.S. Clueless, a blog I usually check two or three times a day and whose proprietor I have previously called the "best blogger on the planet," when I came across this closing bit, in a post about Princeton hiring Cornel West away from Harvard:
I would suggest that West had gotten his just rewards by being moved to New Jersey, except that his record suggests he probably won't spend a great deal of time there.
Ouch. Leaving aside the huge differences between the beautiful Princeton area and the industrial areas that can be seen from the Turnpike (and, um, my bedroom window), I am sufficiently peeved by this comment to drop U.S.S. Clueless from its #1 position in my links list at left. When his site traffic plummets, Mr. Den Beste will have only himself to blame.

Update: Not that he actually apologized, but I accept Steven's apology anyway. He returns to the top of the links! Ah, Stevie, I can't stay mad at you for long, not with that lovable punim!

April 13, 2002

A good friend of mine has deep roots in Venezuela, and is obviously extremely interested in the current upheavals surrounding Chavez' ouster. I asked him for his views regarding the events, and he sent me the following mail, an introduction to and forward of a letter he wrote to a friend.

Ken,

So a friend of mine (a socialist European type) sent me an email concerned about the recent events in Venezuela. He voiced concern about the “military coup” and about the loss of a strong “democratic” leader in South America, who was leading Venezuela on the road towards democratization and prosperity. I believe that many western liberals may be viewing the events in a similar light, and they are as wrong as it is possible to be. The change in power did not come about through a military coup, and Chavez was a friend neither of democracy and prosperity nor of peace. The change in power came from a clear and direct expression of the will of the people of Venezuela, and Chavez was a delusional budding dictator (and such a friend of violence, when you get dead ask the dead from his failed coup attempt in 1992). Here was my email reply to him:
Friend, the army didn’t take over. There was a popular revolt, led by the leaders of business and industry, trade unions and agrarian unions. It was preceded by months of attempted negotiations with a megalomaniac, power-hungry, delusional autocrat. There was then a four day general strike to protest his land redistribution (usurpation) programs, and his cronyistic and unwise policies in the energy, commerce, economic and foreign policy sectors, as well as many other failures on many fronts. There was then a peaceful march of over hundreds of thousands of citizens in the capital, demanding that “president” (dictator) Chavez, step down.

Neighborhood groups loyal to Chavez (and possibly also the National Guard, though it’s not clear yet) began sniping at the crowd, leaving 11 dead and dozens injured. The leaders of Venezuela’s armed forces, upon realizing the violence and death that was being dealt out by the “president’s loyal followers, demanded that the president resign and informed him that they would not “defend” him against the citizens of Venezuela. At 3:30 AM Chavez resigned and was taken prisoner to investigate his role in the murder of the innocent protesters.

The military remained in power for 6-10 hours, until a new interim government was set up with the leader of Venezuela’s business and commerce union (FEDECAMERAS) at its head. The military is still very attentive to stop any sort of violence and looting that tends to happen when there is a sudden change in power. Based on the facts, I would say that Venezuela (and the Venezuelan military especially) showed the world how to change a political system quickly, yet humanely. The world should learn from this, the world should shower praise on the people and the military.

Chavez brought this on himself. If he had used his vast popularity to install policies that led to real growth, prosperity and a meritocracy in Venezuela, and if he had followed foreign policy based on logic and recognition of opportunities and advantages, Venezuela would have moved forward in his tenure and he would probably still be in power (even have the support of business and finance leaders in Venezuela). Instead, he followed populist Marxist policies of land and wealth “redistribution” without any concern for their development, sustainability and fairness; and pursued a foreign policy rooted in some sort of revolutionary idealism (seeking closer relationships with Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Libya and socialists in France - even going as far as calling that murderer Carlos the Jackal a hero; and voicing strong support for the violent left-wing revolutionary forces in Colombia; while instigating most of Europe and North America with his rhetoric and economic policies).

This is a great day for democracy and democratic institutions in the world. The military has showed itself to be a friend of the people, and the people have showed themselves to be brave enough to stand against a budding tyrant.

It may be hard for budding revolutionaries in developed and prosperous Western Europe and North America to understand this, what with all the time they have to dedicate to bringing down the capitalist “oppressive” foundations that allow them to live a life of idleness, prosperity and faux-revolutionary masturbation. In most of the world, people want the ability to work to make their dreams come true, want institutions that will give them the stability to follow their dreams, and want to be able to pass on the fruits of their hard work to their children and grandchildren. Populist-Marxist policies don’t help that, they do make for posters and t-shirts to piss off the establishment and your parents. They make the hungry less hungry for a week, and everybody starves after that.

This is hopefully a new beginning for Venezuela. It’s definitely an averted end.
Obviously this was written before Chavez reclaimed his office amid continued violent protests. I hope to have more from my friend as the situation develops.

April 12, 2002

Despite all of the excellent reasons for the move, we here at The Donk are strongly against any efforts to eliminate the penny from circulation, as we would simply not be able to afford to facilitate our full site metrics system using nickels. Dimes are definitely out of the question for financial reasons, plus their smaller diameter can lead to an unhealthy rate of...stuckage.

April 11, 2002

You wanna hear some gumption? This Dave Copeland guy's been a blogger since frigging yesterday, and he's already sending out mass e-mails telling the world about his site. Two or three posts and he's blowing the horn! Hey world, look at me!

But you know what? That's just the kind of moxie we here at The Donk admire! So go check out Dave's site. He's a Pittsburgh-based journalist who writes pretty darn well, is very interested in how cities live and die, worked in "lovely Jersey City" for nine months, and whose bio page features some hot puppet lovin'!
What do Keith Moreland, Glenn Davis, Luis Polonia, Rocky Coppinger and Matt Nokes have in common? They're all illustrious members of Baltimore City Paper's All-Time All-Useless Orioles Team.
This is about the players who got their cup of coffee, spilled it all over the manager's crotch, and went back for refills--players whose failures were profound and significant. The list encompasses a range of types: broken-down has-beens, no-talent journeymen, eternally unripe prospects, flashes-in-the-pan who outstayed their welcome. Some were bad everywhere they played; some were bad only in Baltimore. Many of their performances testify to organizational stupidity; a few testify only to the perversity of fate. What they have in common is that the Orioles invested resources, hope, and/or playing time in them -- and got burned.
Go check it out, and then write one for your own team.

April 10, 2002

Hits? Visits? Page Views? The latest blogger buzz revolves around the stats and math involved in figuring out just how many people are looking at these here blog things anyway. InstaPundit and Andrew Sullivan have had their say, and Official-Media-Guy-Who-Actually-Knows-What-He's-Talking-About Jeff Jarvis has weighed in.

Well, I figured it was timed to bring out the big guns, and explain the official Illuminated Donkey Conglomerated Media site metrics for determining traffic figures. The first step is, as Jeff Jarvis suggests, determining our daily page view figures using our handy GoStats counter seen on your left. Then, as each post is technically considered a different page according to Web-GAAC rules, we multiply the page views by the total number of posts. We then take that number and multiply it by our estimated “pass-along rate” of 3.15, this being the average number of people each of our readers tells about the site. At this point we add in our auxiliary page views, which includes a percentage of page views of sites which have linked to The Donk, plus an extra 10% boost if they say something nice about us. We then add 100 for each e-mail we get, and finally, we pull out my Game of Life from the closet, spin the clackety-clack spinner, and multiply the total by the result.

Then, we take one penny for each visitor, dump the pile on the bed, and roll around in it naked, laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing until we pass out.

I just finished wiping grapefruit juice off of my monitor, thanks to The Rabbit Blog.
I have been unspeakably lame, blog-wise, there's no way around it. And I can't snap out of it just yet, because I'm talking to a bunch of students at the College of Creative Studies at UCSB today, and I need to think about things to say, so I can forget them all and ramble in inarticulate circles like I did last year. [...] And, I have to be inspiring about the artist's life! I have to talk about how gratifying it is to make a living through your art, at a time when I would blow spider monkeys for $10 an hour if someone offered me the job.
Go there and read the whole thing. Put your beverage down first, though.

The best hour of television is back, and now it's an hour-and-a-half! Tonight's new Butters-centric South Park is followed by the first of four weeks of new episodes of Insomniac With Dave Attell. Dave goes to Phoenix tonight, but I'm really looking forward to Dave's first trip to Canada next week. And of course, you'll want to begin your evening of teevee hilarity with Greg the Bunny at 9:30! Seth Green?! Sarah Silverman?! Eugene Levy?! Dave Attell?! Cartman?! If anybody needs me tonight, I'll be sitting on my fat ass!
Damn you Jonathan Franzen! Damn your high-minded, ambivalent ass to Hell! All Oprah wanted to do was help people, and you ruined it. You ruined it for everybody! Ruiner! Why couldn't you understand? Why?!

Oh, and you've also apparently sunk the entire publishing industry. Nice going...DICK!

By the way, here's a great quote from the MSNBC article:
“Oprah is very big on giving of herself and doing loving things for people, but she expects a giving, loving reaction in return,” says one insider. “The Franzen episode was very, very hurtful. Her attitude was, who needs this, not just in terms of Franzen, but the entire endeavor.”
While I certainly admire the insider's restraint in not mentioning Oprah's heat vision or ability to bring sight to the blind, I'm even more impressed with the restraint in letting this massive suckup quote go uncredited. Five bucks says that the insider has already managed to drop a few hints regarding the source.

April 09, 2002

Special Site News, especially for The Fat Guy! When Mr. T.F. Guy wrote to The Donk to inquire as to why the posting rate here has slowed of late, he was sent the following reply by our crack Correspondence Director:

Mr. The Fat Guy: Thank you very much for your kind words regarding The Illuminated Donkey and its affiliated operations, which I will be sure to pass along directly to Mr. Goldstein. As for your question regarding his recent posting output: unfortunately, he's been so busy lately with his longtime hobbies of drinking, whoring, and $10-$20 Texas Hold `Em that he's only had time to plagiarize and post a few paragraphs from old Readers' Digest's "Life in these United States" columns before passing out in a pool of vomit. Fortunately the container ships are crossing the Pacific, and our shipment of cheap foreign punditry labor will be arriving soon. It's the same type that Glenn Reynolds and VodkaPundit use, so get ready for some big-time posting!
Well, we just heard that the containers have run into some transloading difficulty somewhere in Vancouver, so that shipment might be a bit delayed. Our overseas supplier did offer to send us 1000 monkeys and typewriters in the interim, but I'm not sure we have time for that.

Still, be prepared for some big changes here at The Donk, for with some much-appreciated help from my good friend Mike Whybark (whose own blog is so damn good that I can only read it one paragraph at a time for fear of quality overdose) I will hopefully soon be moving this site off of Blogspot and to its very own location. My understanding is that this will involve countless man-hours and an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys, so it could take a while. I tend to be pretty inertian about this sort of thing, so it would probably help if some of you wrote to me periodically and called me a goddamned shiftless layabout, or words to that effect. Thank you in advance.

Well, I'm off with my sister to see the White Stripes performing, of all places, at the Birch Hill Niteclub (formerly Swim Club) in my hometown of Old Bridge, New Jersey. This is very odd, as the club usually hosts things like Motorhead and Whitesnake reunion shows. More later.

The Later: Well it turns out that I need to take back my previous snarky comments, since the BHNC does now host better bands than I remember. It was a pretty poor venue, though: hot, sticky, almost impossible to see anything that was happening (especially for my little sister, who's at least six inches shorter than me). It made me feel old. The show was decent, not particluarly notable. Too many of the songs ran together for me, and a couple of hours later I can't remember too much of what happened. Still, you should definitely check out this video for their quite excellent song 'Fell In Love With A Girl,' as it's made entirely out of Legos!

April 08, 2002

"Get in the game, Blue!" While they will be no less frequent, my favorite angry cries towards the umpires will be a bit less accurate, according to Paul Lucas' Uni Watch in the Village Voice.
If you've got a gripe with the umpires, you'll no longer be able to yell, "C'mon, Blue!" because that color has been excised from the umps' outfits, ending a 120-year tradition. After last year's experiment with cream-colored shirts drew criticism from pitchers, who complained that the shirts were the same color as the ball and therefore made it hard to discern line drives hit back to the mound, umps are now wearing gray polo shirts with a hint of olive—similar to their trousers.

Honestly, I'm getting a little frightened. "The Yankees are starting strong again, winning their sixth in a row with a 16-3 rout of the Blue Jays." In the six games since their opening day 10-1 loss to Baltimore the Yankees have allowed a total of six runs while scoring 35. The starting pitching is just silly right now, with no weak spots at all in the rotation, though injuries are a risk. Still, even if Wells or El Duque goes down, a lot of teams would be extremely happy to have a #5 starter like Hitchcock or Lilly.

Speaking of Hitchcock, to me, that's the real issue with the Yankees and their payroll. It isn't so much the guys like Mussina and Giambi that bother me, but rather the guys like Ron Coomer, John Vander Wal, and Hitchcock -- decent major leaguers who are basically picking up a couple million each to hang around the locker room just in case one of the superstars go down.
I Go Pogo. Continuing yesterday's comments regarding the greatest comic strips of all time, there seems to be a consensus of sorts regarding the worthiness of Pogo, Peanuts, and Doonesbury to be part of the discussion.

Lee Widener of the site Neverendingwonder.com also goes with Pogoas the top choice, describing it as standing "miles above all others." Widener's interesting shortlist of "The Greatest Comic Strips Ever" includes Peanuts, and Doonesbury, as well as Gasoline Alley, Thimble Theater (Popeye), Krazy Kat, and Will Eisner's Spirit.

In "Walt Kelly's Pogo: The Best Funny Animal Strip of All Time," Hal Higdon also tries to determine if any strip can match Pogo, bringing up recent entries like Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes (I was a huge fan of the former, while I admired more than enjoyed Bill Watterson's strip).

April 07, 2002

Via Gary Farber's Amygdala (which you should read because of his ability to combine sharp punditry and obscure National Lampoon references), a link to Brad Leithauser's New York Review of Books article "Lyrics in the Swamp," about the use of language and dialect in Pogo, perhaps* the greatest comic strip of all time.

*My opinion on this incredibly important subject changes pretty regularly, though I've narrowed it down to three choices: Pogo, Peanuts, and Doonesbury. I'm generally inclined to go with Pogo because its 1950's period was so superlative, though I haven't had much interest in much of what Kelly did afterwards.
Okay, Ozzy fans, let's all calm down for a minute. George Bush did not invite Ozzy Osbourne to the White House, as reported by the BBC and many other news outlets. Rather, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne were invited by Fox News' Greta Van Susteren to be her guests at the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner.

Though recent, the practice of inviting controversial guests to the dinner is fairly common, with past examples including Fawn Hall, Paula Jones, Marla Maples, and Larry Flynt. Of course, if the invitation falls through, Sharon could simply tell Ozzy that they did, in fact, meet with Bush, snap her fingers twice in front of his face, and the experience would be pretty much the same.

April 06, 2002

Presented without comment, via Little Green Footballs:Okay, presented with one heartfelt comment. Make that two.

April 05, 2002

Happy 25th Anniversary to the Seattle Mariners, who debuted on this date in 1977 with a 7-0 loss to the Angels. The M's lost 2-0 to Nolan Ryan the following day, and then finally picked up their first runs and their first win on the 8th.
Scott Ganz at...um...Captain Scott's Electric Love Bunker asked his readers what he should do with his half-box of leftover matzah, and received a dozen responses, including a recipe for scrambled matzah. Personally, I'm still looking at about a box-and-a-half of the stuff (though one's the very tasty egg-and-onion variety, so that'll go quick), and was offered a free case today with my $50 purchase at the A&P; I politely declined.
Meanwhile, 100 Years Ago. Via the always lively NJ.com Jersey City Forum, I found some great links providing the story and photos of the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (now the PATH system), truly an engineering marvel. Hudson City Center provides a complete history of the construction of the tunnel system, the operating history, and the stations, as well as a Sightseeing Ride of the current PATH system. There's tons of photos and historical documents as well.

Meanwhile, a gentleman named Terence M. Kennedy has reproduced some rare historical documents on his site, including a 1909 souvenir program presented at a dinner commemorating the fifth anniversary of the joining of New York and New Jersey via the Hudson tubes. Kennedy also presents web editions of the books "Tunneling Under the Hudson River: Being a Description of the Obstacles Encountered, the Experience Gained, the Success Achieved, and the Plans Finally Adopted for Rapid and Economical Prosecution of the Work" (they sure don't write titles like they used to) and "Tunnel Under the East River." The works are chock-full of cool photos, drawings, and ads, though the latter two are more technical than the souvenir program.

I found it all extremely interesting, but obviously your mileage may vary. Basically, to quote Abraham Lincoln, "People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like."
Welcome to New York! "Yanks blank Rays in Bronx opener; Giambi booed."

April 04, 2002

In the spirit of solidarity I present this link to Get Donkey!, a similarly non-donkey-related blog, this one from the Enron-ravaged fields of Houston. I must admit that I hope Rob gets real popular and posts a lot about p0rn, in order to siphon off a few of those...demographically undesirable search engine links from me. I'm not sure what his blog name means, but at times I'm not sure what mine means either.

In related news, I am proud to see that I've jumped up to #4 in Google's "Donkey" search results, passing "the largest and most comprehensive Miniature Donkey site on the Internet" and The American Donkey and Mule Society. And don't get too cocky there, Donkey Breed Society; I'm coming after you next!

I will die shortly after midnight on August 15, 2060.
In a development that should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, Mickey Kaus has written an excellent analysis of the constitutionality, or lack thereof, of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. I feel much smarter now than I did fifteen minutes ago.
Alice in TV Land sends me this link to a Broadcasting & Cable article explaining one of the big reasons why millions of Cablevision subscribers in the New York area are still unable to watch Yankees games.
Well, we have an early favorite for best injury of the year: Chuck Finley, scratched from start, attacked with high-heel shoe by Whitesnake video model.

April 03, 2002

There's been a ton of talk lately regarding the blogging vs. old media debate, some intelligent, some less so, but thinking about my own little effort here and how it relates to the big picture, one thing did come to mind: as far as I know nobody has ever picked up the Newark Star-Ledger or New York Times mistakenly thinking they were buying kissing donkey photos or pictures of naked teens in Pakistan. I could be wrong, though.
Just got back from a lovely day at the Central Park Zoo and the Frick Collection with my sweetie Rachel. Guess what we saw? No, not monkeys. (Okay, we did see monkeys, but guess again.) Penguins! Not to mention one of my favorite paintings in the world, Ingres' Comtesse D'Haussonville.

Comtesse

If you ever the opportunity, the Frick is an amazing little jewel of a museum overlooking Central Park West at 70th Street, and never fails to transport me back to a different era (granted, an era where a man can amass a fortune through brutal, anti-union labor policies, but let's just ignore that for the moment). The setting is a gorgeous mansion with a wonderul indoor garden/fountain, and the intimate rooms are filled with works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Vermeer, Whistler, Gainsborough, Titian, El Greco, and many others. Truly a small treasure.
We've all been so stupid, wasting our lives in endless cycles of pain and anger, when the answer's been right here all along!

April 02, 2002

I've added to an Islands of Quality link to Jim Treacher (of Get Your X On and Clip-Art Nonsense fame). He writes a fine blog, and connected me to this Comics Journal message board thread discussing Ted Rall's lawsuit against Danny Hellman. The thread features Treacher, Tony "Maakies" Millionaire, Sam "Magic Whistle" Henderson, and lengthy, bilious posts from Mr. Rall himself. It's ranterrific!

Update: Um...the link to the message thread seems to be down, and I can't find it. In the meantime, amuse yourself with this sea otter cam (7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Pacific) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Yep, more baseball, and a whole lot of it. With apologies to the Village Voice's long-lost yet long-remembered "Bob Dylan Baseball Abstract," I present my 2002 All-Haiku Baseball Preview Spectacular!
AL East:

1. New York Yankees
Five out in August?
"Yawn," says Mr. Steinbrenner.
"Buy Walker and Bonds."

2. Boston Red Sox
Not quite another
Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.
Try Pedro and floods.

3. Toronto Blue Jays
The hitting is there,
But something just seems missing...
More than two starters!

4. Baltimore Orioles
Lots of young hitters
Mixed with a few veterannnnnzzzzzzzzzzz.
Sorry — dozed off there.

5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
My fantasy league:
Every Yankee was drafted
Before the first Ray.

AL Central

1. Minnesota Twins
Every hard-fought win
Is a glorious, shining
F.U. to Selig.

2. Chicago White Sox
They'll win 85.
If the Big Hurt can stay Un-.
That could be enough.

3. Cleveland Indians
Colon and C.C.
Replace the lost superstars:
Gain eighty pounds each.

4. Detroit Tigers
When will they fire
Randy Smith and Phil Garner?
The ballpark's nice, though.

5. Kansas City Royals
Lose Damon and Dye.
Gain Hernandez and Neifi.
And for your next trick?

AL West

1. Seattle Mariners
It can't happen twice!
There's regression to the mean!
Fine. Ninety-nine wins.

2. Oakland Athletics
Giambi's gone, but
Hudson, Mulder, and Zito
Are the game's best three.

3. Texas Rangers
They backed up the truck,
Signed a dozen free agents,
But still lose 10-8.

4. Anaheim Angels
Not really awful,
But need two or three pitchers
To escape last place.

NL East

1. Atlanta Braves
Someday, years from now,
Maddux and Glavine will lose.
And we’ll have jetpacks!

2. Philadelphia Phillies
Old Mariners fans
Would rather poke out their eyes
Than watch Mesa close.

3. New York Mets
Too tough to predict:
Could win or lose 95.
Let’s say .500.

4. Florida Marlins
The baseball fans ask,
From Jasper to Miami,
“Is Cliff Floyd hurt yet?”

5. Montreal Expos
If a team loses
And nobody comes to watch,
Does it make a sound?

NL Central

1. St. Louis Cardinals
Forget all the hype,
They’ll succeed for one reason:
Best uniforms ever.

2. Houston Astros
Wins like Enron stock,
Dropping from high in 90’s
Not quite down to zero.

3. Chicago Cubs
They’ll win through July,
Then a mass realization:
“Oh yeah, we’re the Cubs.”

4. Milwaukee Brewers
On hot summer days
Milwaukee fans cool down, with
The breeze from the whiffs.

5. Cincinnati Reds
Off to Cinergy?
Be sure to get there early:
You might get to start!

6. Pittsburgh Pirates
Sure, they’re small market,
But I can’t feel too sorry:
Derek Freaking Bell?!

NL West

1. San Diego Padres
Do I really think
That they’ll win the division?
Hell, somebody will.

2. San Francisco Giants
Bonds slugs 100,
Finds bin Laden, cures cancer.
Still misses playoffs.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks
Bottom of the ninth,
Rivera to Gonzalez!
Now back to the pack.

4. Colorado Rockies
Move in the fences,
Fill the balls with helium,
The hitting still sucks.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers
Don’t worry, Shawn Green,
You can sit out Yom Kippur,
The team's 14 back.

April 01, 2002

Feeling small and helpless, so all I can do is link. Howard Feinberg's Kesher Talk continues to be a valuable resource for news and opinion. Justin Slotman of Blogistan compiles a selection of responses to the ongoing ... situation (I've tried several words here and they all look equally wrong and stupid), and Kathy Kinsley presents an all-Passover Massacre version of Blogwatch 2.5. Blogger extraordinaire Asparagirl eloquently and angrily describes the sequence of events that turned her from an assimilated All-American girl to a Zionist. In a far more dangerous place than my Jersey City apartment, Tal G. in Jerusalem offers firsthand reports and reactions, and best blogger on the planet Steven Den Beste continues his neverending string of amazing and insightful commentary and analysis.
Time begins on Opening Day. Ah, it was a beautiful thing to finally see real baseball, even if only on television. And while I don't care too much for day baseball (since it would pretty much keep me from watching or attending games the majority of the time), for me Opening Day pretty much has to involve sunshine, as well as a home team victory. There's few things sadder in baseball than a big O.D. crowd watching their team get smacked around, and that didn't happen this year. Seven of the ten home teams won, and the three that lost didn't lose by more than two runs. Unfortunately, one of the three hometown losers was my Mariners, which made me only slightly less jealous of my old roommates Murph and Juli for getting to be there.

Speaking of old, I have to admit I felt a bit old when I watched a bit of the Cardinals-Rockies game and saw that Jose Oquendo was coaching third base for St. Louis. I know I haven't been following the N.L. too closely in recent years, but I have to admit that I thought he was still playing somewhere (a quick check of the record showed me how wrong I was; he hasn't played in about five years). Anyway, it's a little jarring for me to see players like Lee Mazzilli, Alan Trammell and Robby Thompson patrolling the lines, but the following lines from Rob Neyer's Opening Day diary made me feel a little better:
For me, the highlight of Opening Day 2002 was hearing Rickey Henderson had finally put his "John Henry" on a major-league contract and that Tim Raines made the Marlins' roster. As long as those two old leadoff men are still playing, I'll consider myself a young man.
As long as Rickey's still being Rickey there's a little hope for all of us.
Via Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom, a link to the Museum of Hoaxes’ Top 10 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time, including George Plimpton’s 1985 profile of Mets’ pitching prospect Sidd Finch (who I’m pretty sure I drafted for my fantasy team that year).

March 31, 2002

From The New York Observer: Honoring a Picket Line At the Jewish Museum by Ron Rosenbaum, about the author's experience with the much-maligned Mirroring Evil exhibit at New York's Jewish Museum, as well as some interesting observations about the duty of art in the face of evil.
KNIVES, TANKS, WHALES — AIRPORT SCREENERS NOW FAILING TO CATCH ANYTHING
Federal Investigators, Meanwhile, Accused of Enjoying Work a Little Too Much
Washington, D.C. (SatireWire.com) — In a troubling sign that investigators may be getting bored with their success smuggling guns and knives onto airplanes, the U.S. Department of Transportation today disclosed that its agents have recently cleared airport security checkpoints with an M1 tank, a beluga whale, and a fully active South American volcano.

An undercover DOT investigator attempts to sneak a beluga whale past security at Kennedy Airport. DOT investigators also boasted that they have repeatedly slipped past screeners with a six-burner Viking stove, the Field Museum of Natural History, and actor Sidney Poitier, whom they had gagged and, for some reason, painted bright blue.

Not much posting over this past weekend due some freelance work and my much-anticipated fantasy baseball draft. Due to some computer difficulties the damn thing took longer than the Oscars and was just about as successful for me. I won't bore everybody with the details (I'll post my team as a comment if anybody cares), but I essentially mistimed every player I really wanted. Ah well, it's gonna be a long season.

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