May 31, 2003
Update: Keith has informed me that the Meow TV auditions actually went very well, as it didn't start raining until an hour-and-a-half into the event and they had already gotten a lot of good filming in. He could, of course, be lying, however.
May 29, 2003
MEOW TV AUDITIONING NEW YORKERS TO APPEAR ON TV’S ONLY SHOW TARGETED TO CATS…AND THEIR PEOPLE!If, after meeting Julia DeMato, you'd like to meet FOD Keith, just keep an eye out for a 30-year-old guy with a goatee, wearing a Meow TV shirt, lying to everyone he sees.
— American Idol Finalist Julia DeMato Will be Talent Judge —
WHEN: Saturday, May 31, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
WHERE: Children of the World Festival: Ave. of the Americas (at 42nd St)
WHAT: Performances, which can be up to one minute in length, can consist of anything that would be of interest to a cat, such as adding a unique twist to the Meow Mix jingle, creating an original song, reciting cat poetry, or juggling balls of yarn. They can also be personalized renditions of popular cat classics. The top acts will be videotaped and posted on the official Meow Mix Website, www.meowmix.com/tour, where fans will be able to vote for their favorite performance. The winning act will appear on the Meow TV television special, which will air in late 2003 or 2004.
May 28, 2003
May 27, 2003
May 26, 2003
Students Involved in Hazing Get ExpelledUm...apparently the definition of "expelled" has changed a bit since I was in school...
GLENVIEW, Ill. (AP) — The 31 high school seniors suspended as a result of a videotaped hazing incident in suburban Chicago have been expelled, but will be allowed to receive their diplomas on time, school officials said. [...] The students will be banned from the school grounds and all school activities, including the graduation ceremony, but the school will freeze their grades at previous levels instead of automatically flunking them, said Superintendent Dave Hales.
The unbelievable swanky Black Hearts Party site is working on a daily calendar of misery and romance-gone-wrong, and we need your tales of woe. Get dumped on prom night? Left at the altar? Your sister sleep with your boyfriend during Thanksgiving dinner? That's great! We want to know! Just type up a brief description with the corresponding date and shoot it off to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use a pseudonym if you're a lousy coward, but what really counts is the cringeworthiness.
We're also collecting some less personal dates in the history of failed romance, such as the marriage of Ethel Merman and Ernest Borgnine and the birth of Bob Eubanks, so if you can think of any of those, please send them along. I can use your help, and isn't it about time you offered some?
The hotel that noted Friend of the Donk Keith hooked us up with was pure Victorian luxury, the kind of place that folks in the 19th century would stay at for a few weeks to put on their pantaloons and relax on the verandah while holding their parasols or some crap like that. The recently and expertly renovated Congress Hall in Cape May (Exit 0 on the Garden State Parkway) has beautiful rooms with big fluffy pillows and blankets, and is right across the street from the ocean. And it wasn't even that expensive (at least not for me, since I didn't pay dime one!).
Anyway, the reason we were down there was for Keith's PR work for Meow TV, the...um...first TV show designed just for cats, debuting on the Oxygen Network this Friday at 7:30. The Meow TV Caravan made its debut in Wildwood, with hundreds of folks (mostly kids gamely trying to remember the Meow mix jingle) dressing up in various outfits, taking the stage, and auditioning for the second episode of the show. I hung out with Keith for a while in the Convention Center before he finally managed to convince to give it a shot. And yes, folks, I worked up 60 seconds of cat comedy gold, dressed up in various cat accouterments, and took the stage. I've been meaning to try some stand-up, but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind, and it was mostly a nervous blur (I can only recommend to others that you remember to breathe...). I'll let you know if I make the cut, and if you'd also like to audition for this prestigious event, the Meow Mix Mobile will be in midtown next Saturday.
The rest of Saturday involved some heavy Skee-Ball playing and zeppole eating on the extremely excellent Wildwood boardwalk, which is unfortunately too darn far away for regular visits. Late that night Keith and I hit the town and checked out a swanky lounge bar and a pretty decent club with a pretty damn good band (they rocked out "Laid" and "Hot in Herre"!), both of which were conveniently located in Congress Hall. After a year of crowded PATH rides and cold, drunken walks home, I can't recommend highly enough the value of a short walk home (basically, two flights of stairs). And I even won $20 from Keith after he stupidly insisted that Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" was released after "Photograph!" Stupid, stupid Keith!
And since I was already on the Parkway, it only made sense for me to spend the next day in Atlantic City (keeping in mind that I once convinced a friend of mine at Rutgers that since we had accidentally gotten on Route 18 (which leads to the Turnpike, which leads to the Parkway, which leads to the AC Expressway), we might as well head down to AC since we were "already on the way." I met up with my parents, watched my dad completely misplay a couple of poker hands, and had my mom comp the family a nice early dinner. The Taj was as crowded as I had ever seen it, or pretty much anywhere, and I worked my way back to even after a drunk guy at the blackjack table cost us all a lot of money with his dumb plays (theoretically a bad play could help the rest of the table as much as hurt it, but it never seems to work out that way). Late that night another idiot actually hit his 17 against the dealer's 9, taking the 7 that I needed (I had a 13), which busted me with the face card the guy next to me needed (he was doubling down his 11), etc., until finally the dealer drew a 5 for his table-killing 21. You should have seen the angry looks after that...
The highlight was a rollicking Omaha High/Low game which featured a couple of angry older women, a young kid with a "this isn't like they said it would be in the books" look, some older guys who were there for laughs, and two drinking guys looking to put the whole table on tilt. Omaha is a game that encourages you to play a lot of hands, and that's what we were doing, all right (except for the scared kid who hardly played any and lost when he tried — go back to Wisconsis, scared kid!). I finished a few bucks up, mostly thanks to a miracle hand where I hit the only card that could possibly help me on the river, a 2 that gave me four deuces against my opponent's top full house, after which I proceeded to tell him how poorly he played the hand, then ordered another drink. Pure delight.
Somehow I managed to get back on the Parkway with the same amount of cash I left it, and from there it was two hours until my hardly swanky or fluffy, but still appreciated, bed. Today will be pretty much taken up by the blood transfusions, and then it's sleepy-sleep until work tomorrow. Sigh.
May 23, 2003
May 21, 2003
Out of seven saloons which ran poker games, Monty's Place was the only clean one. The poker room itself was at the rear of the saloon and was about twenty feet square with two barred windows high above the ground and an iron wood stove at the end kept polished by the town idiot, called Dummy. The widnows had dark, drawn curtains. The walls were unplastered brick, the woodwork painted white, and the floor scrubbed. In the center was a large round table covered with green billiard cloth and surrounded by seven cane chairs. Others, for loafers, and kibitzers, were scattered here and there or were grouped by the stove when the weather was cold. The table was lighted by a single bulb, extended to the center by a cord from the ceiling and shaded against the eyes of the players. At the side of each chair was a spittoon; others were at convenient spots. — the opening paragraph of Herbert O. Yardley's "Education of a Poker Player"I thought that might set the stage for this midway report on the World Series of Poker's Championship Event: the $10,000 Buy-In No-Limit Hold `Em. After two days of play in this five-day event, only 111 players remain out of the 839 (an incredible 208 more than last year's — take that stupid recession!) who started Monday at noon. 63 of these players will be taking home at least $15,000, and one very lucky, very skilled player will walk away with $2.5 million.
In top position is Amir Vahedi with over $300,000; the proverbial "chip and a chair" position is held by Jon Hoellein, who came to the table today trying to build up his meager $2600 stack, not even enough for the blinds. Still remaining in the tournament are former champions Scotty Nguyen (#3 with $214,000), Phil Hellmuth (#12), and all-time WSOP money-winner Johnny Chan, plus rising New Jersey star Phil Ivey (#6).
The last two champs, Robert Varkonyi and Carlos Mortensen, bowed out on the first day, with the 2000 winner, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson (who won the event in the WSOP chroncled in James McManus's new Positively Fifth Street, expanded from the classic Harper's article) going broke on the second. I imagine they and a host of other poker legends will all be thrilled to read that they were outlasted by British shipping magnate Achilleas Kallakis, who has never played poker before, but was in town on business and thought he'd give it a shot. (If you're betting thousands a hand at the baccarat table, a $10,000 buy-in simply isn't that big a deal.) I'm sure you'll all be sad to hear that Gabe Kaplan is out, not to mention the too-busy-to-answer-my-interview-request Ken Goldstein, and the perfectly named Sam Grizzle.
For what it's worth, I'm predicting that Atlantic City's own Phil Ivey wins the coveted bracelet. Imagine: the NBA, NHL, and poker championships, all in a matter of weeks.
Update: Okay, at the end of Day 3 it ain't looking good for Phil Ivey.
May 18, 2003
May 17, 2003
And I certainly don't know when Mr. Whybark will be able to fix his little problem and get that banana dancing again.
May 16, 2003
Tonight brought a brand-new episode of Sorority Life, MTV's reality series tracking the Greeky adventures of sorority pledges at the University of Buffalo. Always deeply stupid, the show outdid itself tonight, providing one of the greatest scenarios in the history of reality TV. After pledge sister Julia comes home with a new tattoo on her back--reportedly featuring Julia's cherished nickname, "JEWELZ"--the girls agonize over how to tell Julia of her tattoo artist's spelling error, which reconfigured Julia's nickname as the deeply unfortunate "JEWLEZ." Despite being neither Jewish nor lesbian, Julia did her best to make lemonade from the hideous lemon permanently inked onto her back. "Well," said Julia to the confessional camera, "I'm gonna be rich when I grow up, so I can just get laser surgery." That's the spirit, JEWLEZ.— from Seattle's The Stranger newspaper.
May 14, 2003
[Karl] Rove was an autodidact intellectual, and often talked about books. According to Edgeworth, he once told Rove about the dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis), and Rove called him a few days later and said — this was memorable because Rove does not readily admit that somebody else knows something important that he didn't know already — "You know that tripartite deal? Where'd you find that?" (Rove disputes this account, saying that he wrote an elementary-school paper on dialectical materialism and so did not need to be enlightened by Edgeworth.)Ah yes, who among us will ever forget having to skip Little League practice write that fourth-grade term paper on dialectical materialism. Those were truly the salad days...
May 13, 2003
Forget it; she's back.
May 12, 2003
The Quarterly In-House Newsletter of IllDonk Industries
Note from the Chairman: A Look Back…and a Look Ahead
Spring is a time of change and growth, both of which have been much on my mind as we close out a fiscal 2002 which, as I’m sure all of you are aware, was nothing if not eventful for all of us here at IDI. The Finance and Accounting teams have just finished up the year-end figures, and while some might say that our inability to have met even our absolute-bare-minimum projections means that 2002 was an utter failure without even the slightest hint of a redeeming quality, I’d rather that we instead think of it as a jumping-off point, since things can only get better from here!
Certainly we’re hoping to avoid the sales rep mixup from this past Summer, and steps have been taken to ensure that each region is effectively covered, and that no region is ‘flooded’ as it were. It’s still a mystery how Chris Woolley, our former Sales Director, assigned all seven of his reps to the Southwest region, an oversight which not only left most of the country unrepped during the all-important holiday buying season, it also caused frayed relations with our most important Southwest region buyers, who were understandably annoyed at the multiple phone calls and meeting requests.
Back at home, perhaps the area of IDI where we’d all like to see the biggest changes in fiscal 2003 (besides sales, of course!) is Human Resources. As I hope you all realize, the work of the Human Resources can be extremely trying and difficult even during the best of times, which fiscal 2002 certainly wasn’t. This unsung group of IDI team members has to deal with so much the rest of us would rather just not think about, so with that in mind it seemed almost natural to assign them notification responsibility for the series of Summer and Winter layoffs that came as an increasingly diminishing shock to so many of you.
While what’s past is past and there’s no use crying about water under the bridge, it does appear that this decision may have been a mistake on my part. One thing I learned last year is that an employee skilled in filing legal paperwork and insurance forms might not necessarily have the temperament needed to downsize up to ten employees in an afternoon. The “Shreveport Situation” springs immediately to mind, and while I can understand how it might be easier to tell people that they’re being transferred to a new branch office rather than let go, it’s inevitable that these employees will soon realize that there simply is no Shreveport branch office. Be assured that any future layoffs (which, of course, we’re hoping there won’t be!) will be performed by fully trained and responsible staff members.
(And should any of you still be in contact with these ‘transferred’ former team members, please remind them that while we are legally obligated to pay their moving expenses down to Louisiana, we are under no such obligation to cover the return trip, as it were. If they have a problem with this, just tell them about the horrible winter they missed up here!)
But these events, like so many unfortunate others from last year, are finally behind us, giving us all a chance to build and grow anew in fiscal 2003. We have some great new products on the horizon, and with a little luck and a lot of hard work from all of us, a terrific future is within reach. Let's go get `em!
Herbert R. Appleby, Jr.
Chairman and CEO, IllDonk Industries
Holiday Party Fun for Everyone!
Another year at IDI has come to an end, and with that comes another fun holiday party! Even though the unfortunate mid-December layoffs and the promise of reduced non-peak rates meant that this was the first IDI holiday party in my 22 years with the company to be held in March, we all put on our best outfits, sang a chorus of "We need a little Christmas, right this very minute!" and headed over to the surprisingly roomy Bud's Suds Hut for some good cheer.
It's no secret that this has been a rough year for IDI, and I couldn't have been the only one to look around the room and think of old team members no longer with us. But there was no time for sadness, not with the fine choice of chicken or beef (and again I offer my apologies to Patty in Sales; we were promised that there would be a vegetarian entree, and the appearance of the hearty and hidden pieces of pork in the garden salad were an unfortunate downnote on a fun day), as well as the musical stylings of Steve in Accounting! Steve's collection of CD's brought everybody out onto the dance floor for a touch of "IllDonk Funk." I'm still tapping my toes!
As always, Mr. Appleby did an excellent job "firing up" the team. While he wasn't able to perform his usual duty of dressing up like Santa and handing out the bonuses, for at least two obvious reasons, I think that everybody left Bud's Hut filled with the old IDI holiday spirit.
Let's all give another hearty congratulations to the big raffle winners, Heidi in the mailroom and Scott E. in Finance. I don't think any of us will forget the look of surprise on their faces when they opened the envelopes to find out that all of their food and drinks for the night would be free, though I know that many of you were showing your own looks of surprise as you realized that this meant that your food and drinks would not be. I think it would be good to remember the words of Mr. Appleby form that night, when he reminded us that "There's no I in 'team,' or in 'separate checks' for that matter." As for me, one of the many advantages to the noon-2 party time was that it wasn't long enough to work up too expensive a tab, anyway.
While it's unfortunate that nobody remembered to bring a camera, I know that my memories from that long lunchtime will live on in my head for years to come, and I look forward to dancing with most of you again at next year's bash. Yay team!
Assistant to Mr. Appleby
- First off, in Paul Frankenstein-related news: after Frankie swaggered back from Omaha into the big city, a swanky stewardess on each arm and one on his left leg, he was kind enough to add some of my award-winning photography to my already picturesque Las Vegas report. I don't wanna cause a traffic overload, but there is a photo of me holding twenty-five dollars cash money!
- And in other PF-related bidniss, despite the fact that nobody seems to care all that much, there will be one of these things: this Friday, and Paul will be buying drinks for everybody who squeezes his ass. Get there soon, before it's all red and sore!
- I'm a little late on this one, but my friend Keith and I (I'm the one holding the onion loaf) owe a huge thank you to the effervescent and photogenic Kambri Crews. Why? Because she effin' rules, that's why, and if it wasn't for her I'd never get out of the house. Plus, she's dreamy. Sigh.
- Why should I bother to write about my life when D'Lish does the job for me? Not only that, she tells several amusing bra stories (well, amusing to us).
- You cannot out-freestyle Uncle Ray. Do not even try.
May 11, 2003
- All those stuck-up Richie Riches and Mayda Munnys sitting in the outdoor cafes along Lexington Avenue sure get a grapefruit-sized bug up their asses when you ask them a simple question like, "Hey, Richie Rich, you gonna finish that Caesar salad?" and
- That Whistler fellow sure did could paint himself a purty portrait.
May 10, 2003
May 08, 2003
May 06, 2003
May 05, 2003
Well, I have to admit that I wasn't guessing Bill Bennett was behind those ropes. The former Secretary of Education, drug czar, and "family values" activist is reportedly an extremely big-time video poker and slots player, with six-figure lines of credit at four different casinos. There's no way of knowing Bennett's total losses, but there are reports of losses as high as $500,000 at the Bellagio over the course of a weekend last month. (Bennett himself claims to have broken even over the long run, prompting this charming quote in the Newsweek article: "A casino source, hearing of Bennett’s claim to breaking even on slots over 10 years, just laughed.")
Meanwhile, back at Binion's Horseshoe, Mickey Appleman, the latest World Series of Poker winner (the $2000 Pot Limit Hold'em event) is a New Jersey resident, a fellow Rutgers graduate, and really, really depressing.
I've been around gambling long enough to know that the euphoria wears off after awhile -- the honeymoon ends. Initially, when you are around gambling, there is a honeymoon effect. As time goes on, and you struggle to stay in money, you see the painful side of gambling. It ends. The honeymoon ends.And keep in mind that this is after the guy just won $150,000. Sheesh.
May 03, 2003
May 02, 2003
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