October 12, 2003
But the trees were really spectacular. I'm sure D'Lish will have more about this, but unfortunately no pictures.
October 10, 2003
In side notes before I go: Mr. Whybark has once again gone above and beyond in touching up the IllDonk logo to reflect Koen Vermandere's poor showing; if Murph is reading this, I was pretty excited to see that Entertainment Weekly used the expression "up in his grill" in relation to Mel Gibson and the Anti-Defamation League; Jahna D'Lish, who I will be road-tripping with tomorrow, thought that I didn't make it clear that the two bartenders making out by the light of the Statue of Liberty were both of the female persuasion (though it seemed pretty obvious to me).
October 09, 2003
- New Garrison Keillor novel that I was looking forward to: pretty blah. Decent in spots, mostly the New Yorker parody, but basically about three or four short story ideas squished together for no good reason and to no cohesive end. (The excerpt I link to above is pretty good, though.)
- New Lyle Lovett album that he actually wrote new songs for (!): eh. "My Baby Don't Tolerate" is a fairly pedestrian effort, with nothing particularly new or interesting going for it. It's not bad, just a somewhat disappointing retread, with a little "Road to Ensenada," a little of his gospel stuff, a little of his live honkytonking, but unfortunately no songs matching his work on "Pontiac" or "Joshua Judges Ruth." I was hoping for more heart on his first collection of new songs in seven years (and only the second since Julia), but maybe that damn bull knocked it out of him.
- While I don't feel as strongly about "Lost In Translation" as my compadre Frankenstein (I definitely preferred "American Splendor"), I would still recommend it. It's a lovely movie, kind of a short story or even an anecdote, with fine performances and an excellent use of the Jesus and Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey." See it.
Lewis finished 23 votes behind #134 Gene Forte, who last week hired a professional Arnold-impersonator for his public appearances and filed battery charges against a Schwarzenegger bodyguard. Democracy totally kicks ass.
October 07, 2003
- Can it be only a week ago that we heartily endorsed Koen Vermandere for the honored and possibly fictitious position of King Donkey of Kuurne, Belgium? Well, while we are happy to report that, with our help, Koen did garner enough votes to finish in the top two and advance to the finals, it was there that he lost to Frederick Tytgat, who almost certainly cheated. Koen promises to have a full report to us soon, but frankly, now that he lost and can't lavish us with political spoils on our next trip to Belgium, we're not sure if we'll run it.
- Everybody has their price, and ours is shockingly low. A few months back Mr. Bob Kodner, AKA Sidney Crackstein, AKA Mr. Happy Crack, sent us two 100% cotton t-shirts featuring the smiling, cracked Mr. Happy Crack, with the timeless slogan "A Dry Crack Is a Happy Crack." Well, we figure that two shirts is good for at least two plugs, so be sure to head on over to the brand-spanking-new happycrack.com for all of your foundation-repair and embarrassing-shirt needs.
- The fine new degenerate gambling blog Up For Poker continues to pick up steam, with the occasional post from yours truly, with hopefully more to come.
- Gordon Jump is still dead.
October 05, 2003
Yes, folks, it was exactly two years ago today that this here blog made its completely avoided debut. And while a lot has changed over these past two years — I was in a relationship then, I'm single now; I was stuck in the suburbs then, I'm living fancy-free in JC now; donkeys were allowed to roam free then; today they're subject to cruel discrimination and harassment — what hasn't changed here at IllDonk Industries is our commitment to bringing you folks the finest in inessential punditry and snarkyuks. We may get all the money and fame, but we know that without each and every one of you, we would be nothing.
And to continue what has been a longtime special-events tradition at The Donk...MONKEYS!!!
October 02, 2003
First, of course, is the indispensable PaulKatcher.com, which today is celebrating one of the finest moments in Yankees history (and one of the lowest in Red Sox), Bucky Dent's go-ahead three-run homer in the 7th inning of the one-game playoff for the AL East title. It doesn't appear that there will be a 2003 rematch, though, as the Red Sox are already down two games to zip in the best-of-five, while the Yankees have finally broken out the bats, scoring three big runs against the Twins as I'm typing this paragraph.
Continuing the baseball theme, Paul has put together a terrific World Series package for Time.com, with the ten greatest moments, an all-time starting lineup (though I would have liked to see more than two starting pitchers, which might have made room for Christy Mathewson, if for his 1905 performance alone: complete-game shutouts in games 1, 3 &5), the how-did-they-lose teams, and much more.
And finally, my friend Keith and I would like to thank Paul and his friend Kevin for the invite to the splendid New York City Bartenders & Patrons Booze Cruise. What better way to spend a lovely autumn night than with a few beers, some pizza, a delightful boat ride around the East River, and a trio of naughty barmaids. It made us happy just to be alive.
- On today's date in 1950, Peanuts debuted in seven newspapers. And while it lasted long enough and became so unavoidable as to become almost invisible, it was a groundbreaking sensation when it began, and its reassuring kindness added a little warmth to my life during its final years.
I must have read and enjoyed my Peanuts Classics and Peanuts Treasury collections 50 times each growing up, and even today I'm amazed at how great a master Schulz was at that most difficult of art forms, the four-panel comic strip. Try writing a couple sometime, then try writing more than 15,000. [Oh, the first character to speak in Peanuts history? Shermy!]
- The lovely and relocated Jahna D'Lish informed me that today is Groucho Marx's 113th birthday, and the fact that it's not a national holiday is only more proof of our government's lack of a sense of humor.
And while I'm not sure that there was ever a truly great Marx Brothers film (even Animal Crackers, which I consider one of the five funniest movies ever, closes with an almost completely dead final 20 minutes), they created the funniest moments, and the former Julius Marx turned himself into perhaps the greatest comic character in history. In my heart, I am Groucho as well.
September 30, 2003
September 29, 2003
Folks, when you're in the blogging business you tend to get a lot of strange e-mails, so when one with the subject "For Donkey-Lovers" showed up in my Inbox I was prepared for yet another barnyard-related pr0nspam.
So imagine my surprise when I found instead a request from Belgian Beauhunk Koen Vermandere, asking my help in getting him elected King Donkey of Kuurne! I mean, how could I say no?! And folks, he needs all of your help as well. Koen and Ken need you to go to his personal bio page and click the "Stem" button. Koen has jumped out to an early lead (probably due to his snazzy marketing techniques), but every vote counts!
Now, I hear you asking: um, what the hell are you talking about? Excellent question, and one that I certainly had myself. For the answer to that question, let's hear from Koen himself, in the first letter he's ever written in English!
Hello, how are you? I have a favour to ask you. Would you please vote for me. I entered a competition in a local town. the competition is called the donkey festivities... If I wins this, I will become King Donkey, so I can be the ambassador of that local town for 2 years.Now if that doesn't sound like a noble cause we can all rally around, I'll just go shit in my hat. Now lets get out there, so to speak, and vote!
In the beginning the people off Kuurne were poor farmers, they don't be able to buy horses or trucks, so they have donkeys. When they go to the market in the nearest Big City (Kortrijk), the feets off the donkey's waked up the people of Kortrijk (tik,tak,tik,tak). Then these people say: "Oh now, there are the donkey's of Kuurne again. Then we also call ourselves donkeys and we are proud to be donkeys. That's why we have donkey-festivities.
To be King Donkey (contest every 2 years) there are a few tests in the afternoon and the evening, we never know before what exactly, but for this year we have to spare votes on the internet and on mobile phone (Saturday), race with vehicles they give us (go-cart, donkeys, childtricycle or something else, we don't know it), we also play-back a singer and have a little examination off Kuurne. The rest of the tests we don't know.
Every time of this contest the last test is with the two candidates with the highest points, they have to find the medal in the haystack, the one who finds it is the King.
September 28, 2003
Is today the anniversary of the day that those famously frigid pandas, Ling Ling and Tsing Tsing, arrived at the National Zoo? Perhaps it's the birthday of Yoko Ono, the patron saint of girlfriends who come between a guy and his friends. Or can it be one of the dozen or so Liz Taylor wedding dates? Just head on over to the Black Hearts Party site every single day to find out the scoop.
September 27, 2003
And what happened on July 24, 1993? Well, to start off, the Mets lost 5-4 in 10 innings at Dodger Stadium, with Anthony Young losing his record 27th consecutive decision. Following the game, perhaps to celebrate, Vince Coleman tossed a lit firecracker at some fans from his car window, injuring three, including a two-year-old girl. Now that's a low point!
And then they won the damn game.
In the bottom of the ninth, light-hitting outfielder walked, stole second and third, then scored on a wild pitch to cap off the amazing rally and ensure that the Tigers will do no worse than tie the record (though they had already clinched a better winning percentage, as the 1962 Mets went 40-120).
Tomorrow Mike Maroth, who earlier in the season became the first 20-game loser since Brian Kingman in 1980 (and he won't shut up about it), will try to help his club avoid loss #120.
September 26, 2003
And for those of you out there are somehow both not Jewish and in the NYC area, be sure to head over to the Gershwin Hotel tonight at 10 to check out Christian Finnegan's "Portable Comedy" Spectacular. It's only $7, you get some vodka, and I understand that Finnegan's been saving up his classic collection of virulently anti-Semitic jokes and rants exposing the Zionist conspiracy for tonight's holiday event!
September 24, 2003
September 23, 2003
Trapped in AC, aching head,
My luck colder than cold.
I bet on black, it came up red,
They raised, I had to fold.
Again I hit the bank machine,
Once more into the breach ,
Dealer drew an eight to his 13,
Maxed out, I hit the beach.
Walked out the cool casino door,
Felt the losers' humid blast.
No joy had touched the Jersey Shore,
Until she sauntered past.
Cleveland cutie, Dayton dream,
Five hundred miles miles from home.
Her skin as lush as fresh-drawn cream,
Smile bright as polished chrome.
"Ditch your handlers, family, friends,
For once do something rash.
Run off with me to the earth's ends,
Wear nothing but your sash."
"We are both losers here tonight,
You: a pageant, me: two grand.
But we'll end up winners here tonight,
If you'll only take my hand."
But we played our separate roles,
So lonely I did stay,
I sold some blood for tolls and gas,
Plasma for the buffet.
A loser's memory often fades,
Soon back to AC I'll go.
And I'll play with diamonds, clubs, and spades,
But my heart's in Ohio.
September 19, 2003
September 17, 2003
The Illuminated Donkey Festival
*** September 19 - 20 - 21 2003 ***
Jersey City, New Jersey
Welcome. The third annual Illuminated Donkey Festival, a three-day celebration of arts and ideas, this year makes its (hopefully permanent) new home in Jersey City following last year's much-remarked-upon unpleasantness with the creditors in Manhattan. Those treasured guests returning to us from the first two Festivals can rest assured that IDF3 will offer even more in the way of cultural enrichment and intellectual nourishment, with the added bonus that you will most likely not again be repeatedly asked by us to feign violent nausea while rushing out the fire exits en masse. (One lingering consequence of last year's difficulties, however, is that several of the venues will be barring their fire exits; we ask that you please wear non-flammable garments and bring plenty of bottled water.)
But enough about the past; let us talk about the glorious now! This year's Festival program offers an exciting and eclectic series of readings, panel discussions, guided tours, unguided tours, kidnappings, performances, surgical procedures, panicked stampedes, and light housework — truly something for everyone and nothing for nobody.
And we are especially pleased to announce that Illuminated Donkey Editor-in-Chief Ken Goldstein will be returning to the Festival following his one-year hiatus. Last year, many of you registered your disappointment at his repeated, often unannounced absences, and we can assure you all that following a lengthy discussion regarding contractual obligations and the realities of the current editorial field job market, Mr. Goldstein has rededicated himself to the goal of making this event a success.
And now…on with the show!
Friday Night Roundtables
"The American Empire in the Age of Media Bias and Eurpoean Relations. Oh yeah, and Ashcroft." 8:00 P.M. Grove Street Meeting Hall.
Panelists: Eric Alterman, Ann Coulter, Christopher Hitchens, William Kristol, Paul Krugman, Lewis Lapham, Bill O'Reilly, Andrew Sullivan, and whoever else we can round up; Moderator: A Hungry Wolverine.
Some of the most outspoken and relentlessly insistent voices in the world of punditry attempt to score debating points against their toughest interrogator — a hungry wolverine — while the audience watches in safety via closed-circuit television. (By the way, if you see any of the panelists, please don't mention the wolverine. We'd like it to be a surprise.)
"Reformatting the Server Whatsits to Clear the Flibber-Flabber" 9:00 P.M. Brunswick Towers Conference Center. Panelists: Michael Whybark and Paul Frankenstein.
Longtime Illuminated Donkey contributors and associates Michael Whybark and Paul Frankenstein discuss the latest Internet technology and why it always seems to be crashing. Attendees are guaranteed that at least one-third of all words used will be intelligible to the general public.
"No…YOU'RE the Best!" 9:00 P.M. Loew's Theater, Journal Square. Panelists: A bunch of bigshot muckety-muck writers; Moderator: A writer of a slightly lesser muckety-muck status.
Join us in this beautifully restored historic site to watch a bunch of richie-rich writers fall all over themselves talking about how great they think everybody else there is and how they don't deserve to be in such esteemed company. Those in attendance are asked not to look directly at the panelists, lest you disturb the mood.
"Thirst, Alcohol, and the Single American Woman: A Sequential Panel Discussion" 11:55 P.M. Journal Square Pub. Panelists: To Be Determined; Moderator: Ken Goldstein.
The drinking habits and practices of the American single woman have long fascinated American single male researchers (the subject's interest for non-American, non-single, and non-male researchers may be discussed in a future panel). Over the course of this unique evening moderator Ken Goldstein will enlighten the audience with his attempts to purchase alcoholic beverages for a series of panelists. Mr. Goldstein will then offer a series of follow-up questions and/or beverages, or move on to a new panelist. While the event may conclude at any point, prior experience suggests that Mr. Goldstein will be in attendance until closing time.
Saturday for the Young and Young at Heart
"Peanut Butter Jelly Time: a charming and memorable performance for kids 12 and under" 11:00 A.M. Grove Public Library Showcase Room.
After graduating from the world-renowned Sheboygan Conservatory in 1953, the legendary performer Pixilated Banana thrilled audiences worldwide for decades with his pioneering dance recitals and one-banana shows. It wasn't until he moved to the Lower East Side in 1978 and met up with Smiling Donkey (himself famed for his independent film "El Burro de la Diablo"), that he became a household name. During this rare appearance, the pair will teach children the wonderful "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" song and dance, after which noted contract law expert Valerie Woolley will teach children the negotiating skills need to extract expensive gifts and amusement park trips from parents in exchange for not performing the song/dance at home.
"Cirque Du Baudet" 1:00 P.M. Pavonia Palladium.
Direct from a three-month Las Vegas engagement in the El Cortez Casino's Midnight Lounge, this world-renowned acrobatic company makes a rare visit to the East Coast. Children will delight at the hilarious and thrilling antics of the clowns and acrobats, while middle-aged men will stare with slack-jawed wonder during the contortionists' routines. Truly something for everybody.
"Skee-Ball: Rising Above by Rolling True" 2:00 P.M. JFK Boulevard Skee-Ball Palace.
All-time Skee-Ball great and Hudson County native Jock Casey captivates children with an hour of lessons, tricks, and words of inspiration. [Parents and guardians in attendance should note that the terms of Mr. Casey's community service sentence do not require him to pose for photos or speak to any non-court-appointed personnel over the age of 14.]
Sunday About Town Events
Once again the Illuminated Donkey Festival offers an exciting array of unique excursions throughout the New York metropolitan area. Be sure to bring your imagination…and a good pair of shoes!
"It Happened Here! Walking Tour" Did you know that Jersey City was the site of one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles, the birthplace of legendary English monarch Richard II, or the home of the fields where Wilbur and Orville Wright made their earliest test flights? Well, frankly, neither did we, and now that we're typing it all out it does seem a little shady, but we went out drinking last night and got to chatting with some guy named Steve, and apparently we paid him a few hundred bucks to conduct this walking tour. If the tour isn't going well, have Steve tell you the one about the hunchback of Notre Dame's brother; it's a real pisser. [10:00 A.M. to Noon. $10. Meet at Pavonia/Newport PATH station]
"Vanishing New York" Noted adult entertainment connoisseur Jeremiah "The Claw" LaRue will conduct a walking tour of some of Manhattan's most beloved "blue" businesses and historic sites, past and present. Stops will include LaRue's "rare gems" amongst the Times Square emporniums, Midtown's sole remaining bulk hand lotion outlet, the former home of the film studio believed to be where the terms "money shot" and "sticky scubadiver" were coined, and an empty third-floor apartment on West 62nd Street with an excellent view of the aerobics class in the gym across the street. [12 noon to 2 P.M. $30. Meet on the 3rd floor of Port Authority Bus Terminal. Please bring a subway Metrocard and some hand sanitizer.]
"The Sporting Life" Dude, Jets are at New England, and if they don't win this week they might as well just pack it in. Damn, why the hell did Pennington have to get hurt?! [12:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. Ken's place. We have plenty of beer left over from last night, but we could use some chips…or a sub! A sub would be great!]
"Jersey City Splendor" Built by flugelhorn and Sousaphone magnate Chester Jehosophat Dobosh in 1896, the Dobosh Mansion is considered Hudson County's most spectacular private residence. Though the mansion has never been opened to the general public, the current owners' regular church attendance combined with their butler's recent cold streak at the track has created this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see how the other half lives! [10 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. Meet by the back door; bring a $20 for the butler.]These events are sure to sell out quickly, so order your tickets today!
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