February 29, 2004

I missed about 95% of the whole Oscar shindig, so I just arrived home to discover the depressing news that in the only category I cared about, Billy Zabka, the quintessential 1980's bad guy in such classic films as "The Karate Kid I & II," "Just One of the Guys," and "Back to School," lost out in the Short Film (Live Action) category. There is simply no goddamned justice in Hollywood, I tells ya.

For more detailed blogging you'll probably want to head over to Mr. Frankenstein's, Mr. Katcher's, Mr. Finnegan's, or Mr. Silver's sites.

February 28, 2004

Special Ken Goldstein Guest Appearances! Now available for your perusal on some of our affiliate sites:And of course, you can always check here at The Donk to read me whining about something or other...

February 27, 2004

Lemme tell ya: I was this freakin' close to kicking that jerkface eye doctor's ass!

February 26, 2004

We Knew Him When! Our favorite pluggee, Mr. Mike Whybark, is prominently featured in this week's Stranger, the best darn paper in Seattle. The article is pretty much summarized in the title, so I won't bother any further: "Going South: Fantagraphics' Future May No Longer Be Grim, but Has Seattle Lost the Alt-Comics Crown to Portland?" Congrats, Bark!
Let's see...what's been going on with me these days... Obviously, the basics of human survival have been a pretty high priority for me, though I did take advantage of a relatively sunny day yesterday (and on that note, it would have been so much better to have been canned in June or July) to take my brother on a little roadtrip out to the Pennsylvania Dutch area. A delightful assortment of meats, apple schnitz, loud music, and the knowledge that my brother couldn't pinpoint the Civil War within a ten-year range.

Still, now that that's all done, it's back to my desk for further job searches, resume and portfolio tweaking, signing up for focus groups, health-insurance comparisons (damn, that COBRA is a friggin' killer), and eleventy-jillion other annoying things. But the big thing is the batch of income and money-making opportunities that have turned up over the last week:
    First of all, just a reminder for everybody to keep close track of all of their work vacation/person day info. I received my close-out check from work and would have missed out on about a week's pay (my last week's pay) had I not saved all of my paperwork. My old HR contacts were pretty quick about correcting everything, though.
  1. Thanks to Paul Katcher, I will be depositing my check for $13.86 to cover my share of the CD price-fixing antitrust settlement. That is cash money, my friends!
  2. In case I was looking for a new line of work to enter, apparently some assface used my e-mail as the return address for a mass mailing of penis enlargement spams, causing me to receive dozens upon dozens of returned e-mails. I've yet to receive any interested responses, but if one comes in, I'm sure I would get a cut.
  3. On a related note, one of those oh-so-accurate web skimmers was kind enough to list me and this blog in the "Clowns" section of their New Jersey Party Links site. It might be tough to stand up, though, since I'll be competing for party work with such noted entertainers as No-Treason.com, Dr. Arthur Janov's Primal Center, and National Review. (Memo to anybody hoping to save time by using one of these auto-web-skimmer things...they completely suck!
  4. No gummint cheese yet, but I'm refreshing my online banking balance screen every 45 seconds to see if my tax return has come through.
  5. And if all else fails, it's nice to see that the Nigerian E-Mail Scammers are up and running again (though this round seems to be coming from South Africa).

It's Thursday morning all across this wonderful country of ours more or less, and that can mean only one thing: it's time for my sister to fill up some space on this here blog with another startling edition of Nancy Goldstein's Monkeys, Donkeys, and Junkies: a regular foray into the latest headlines concerning three of our favorite things!

And here's a little bit of news for those of us who think that the monkeys are secretly plotting, in some sort of monkey language, to destroy us all.
Study: Monkey's Protein Prevents HIV.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS: Scientists say they've discovered how some monkeys resist infection with the AIDS virus, a finding that might lead to a treatment that blocks HIV in people. Researchers found that once HIV enters monkey cells, it encounters a protein that stifles its attempts to replicate. That stops the virus from spreading in the animal. "This is really important because it will help build a basis for hammering the virus before it gets started," said Paul Luciw, a University of California at Davis microbiologist who specializes in AIDS research.
Yeah, it's about friggin' time that those monkeys helped us out, after all we've done for them! Let's stay in the world of science and hope that there isn't any substantial difference between donkeys and mules!
Three Cloned Mules Said Healthy, Normal.

SEATTLE - Three young mules who are the first members of the horse family to be cloned are all healthy, normal and energetically enjoying life, say researchers who put them on display here Sunday.

Idaho Gem, born May 4, 2003, was the first successful cloning of an equine. He was followed by siblings Utah Pioneer on June 9 and Idaho Star on July 27. The clonings were a project of the Northwest Equine Reproduction Laboratory at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.
Cool, it's nice to see that my old home Seattle is still carrying on important donkey-related work. And for the final stop on the MD&J tour we head to one of our favorite locations: the public toilets of Edinburgh.
Junkies Beaten by New Blue Loo.

Blue lighting in a court's toilets has stopped junkies from shooting up. Addicts were sneaking into the public loos and injecting drugs under the noses of sheriffs and lawyers. But the blue lights installed at Edinburgh Sheriff Court's toilets stop addicts from seeing their veins clearly enough to inject.
Be sure to check back soon for another globe-spanning edition of Nancy Goldstein's Monkeys, Donkeys, and Junkies!

February 22, 2004

Boy, this sure was a long week.
Some Notes on Attending a Screening of the Documentary "What's Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A." at the Museum of Television & Radio with Mr. Mike Wolf. All that being said, as a general comment (and I think Mr. Wolf will agree with me on this one), despite what raves you may have read, I wouldn't really recommend "What's Happening" unless you're a total and complete Beatles freak who needs to see every possible minute of Beatles footage available. I saw this described as a "landmark verite documentary," which is another way of saying "near-raw footage." Basically it's about 45 minutes of the Beatles on their first visit to the U.S. -- in the limo from JFK Airport (renamed from Idlewild only six weeks earlier), their hotel rooms, the train down to D.C. -- engaging and occasionally amusing, but Mike and I were hoping for and expecting more information and background about the visit to go along with the footage.

February 21, 2004

Is It Safe to Jump Back on the Bandwagon? The Nets' current 12-game winning streak might just be the most normal thing to happen in what is perhaps the weirdest season in NBA history. To recap: a Conference Champion team celebrates its follow-up season by announcing plans to move the team out of state, observing the manslaughter trial [with assorted sordid details] of one fan-favorite ex-player and the early passing of another, firing a highly successful coach [following a win against the Celtics, which was also the last game for Boston's coach!] and replacing him with a guy who couldn't even make his high school team and whose only head-coaching experience was for a Catholic Youth Organization team, then watching said coach win his first 11 games...well, if you can make any sense out of it, you're a better fan than me.

But definitely not a better fan than those fine, fine folks at JoeNetsfan.com, the No Stranger to Frustration boys themselves! Head over right now to look back on all the craziness of the past few months, check out individual player first-half grades and second-half predictions , and learn why Keith Van Horn is like Brussel sprouts.

February 20, 2004

Advantages I've So Far Discovered to Being Unemployed:
  1. The gummint will send you a decent check every couple of weeks or so, for a while.
  2. Extremely fine people and their fiances (and the unlinkable Mo-Skee and David) will take you out for pity-related single-malts and Italian food.
  3. After drinking way too many scotches on a Thursday night, you don't have to worry after waking up early the next morning.
  4. Plenty of time to work on various writing projects I've put aside.
  5. A logical focus for all of those feelings of anger and resentment I've been harboring these past few months.
Oh, and in non-me-related links and such I've noticed over the past few days:

February 19, 2004

Celebrating 24 Hours of Freedom! Hey, everybody: thanks for all the kind words. I really appreciate them. I'm doing pretty well, all things considered. I mean, I have money saved up and some more coming in (accrued vacation time, tax return), and listen to this: apparently the gummint will just send me a check every couple of weeks I'm not working! How cool is that?! So cry no tears for Ken Goldstein. I figure this will finally give me the opportunity to catch up on this backlog of scotch and porn that I just haven't had time for.
Well, I'm off to queue up for the dole. I feel like a plucky pipefitter in a Mike Leigh movie.

February 18, 2004

And Then Things Took a Sudden and Dramatic Turn for the Worse.

So...um...was anybody else laid off today? No? So that would just be me?

Okay...just checking.

February 16, 2004


Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. Godspeed D'Lish, and thanks for closing it down before mentioning the latest horrible sabotage I pulled on ya. I'll see you in hell.

February 15, 2004

Studies I'm hoping to run as soon as those research grants come through:
Wheee! Does it make me a bad person if the fact that not everybody has off tomorrow has me feeling even better about my own day off? Yeah, yeah...don't answer that. Anyway, the Metropolitan Museum will be having a special Monday opening for the holiday, and I plan to take advantage of it.
Notes on Week Six (of Eight) of the Improv Class. It was a strange class, with the instructor and just about everybody in the class feeling like they just wanted to pass out and die. I was actually feeling pretty focused and happy (carryover from last night), but there was a definite lack of energy in the room, like everybody wanted to just go home and take a nap and try again later.

The other thing is that we've reached a point where we've accumulated a reasonably sizable number of hints, lessons, attitudes, procedures, etc. that we're supposed to use, and a lot of times there's a bit of a bottleneck in the act of trying to do so while actually performing the scene. A classmate likened it to coaching sports, where when we first started we were just going up to the plate and swinging wildly, whereas now we're standing there thinking "okay, right elbow up, knees slightly bent, lift that shoulder, step in a bit..." all while a fastball's coming in at 90-mph. Basically, we haven't absorbed it all so that it's a natural, fluid process.

As for me, I thought I did fairly okay tonight, though I had my own problems with the bottleneck, as well as a specific difficulty at being able to disregard the suggestions as opposed to the actual path of the scene. Another negative was that in the one scene where I was best received, I was a bit selfish, in that I didn't really leave a lot of space open to my partner, though it still all worked. Oh well, just yet another thing to think about when I'm making up a story and a bunch of people are staring at me. If nothing else, the drinks and conversation after class were a lot of fun.
Hmmm...how cold does it have to be and how drunk do I have to be to not feel guilty about taking a cab from the PATH station to my ten-minute-walk-away building? Apparently about one degree colder and one drink drunker...and now I am still all chilly and tired and sore-eared. Actually, now that I think about, that always-too-long train ride from Manhattan via Hoboken (to drop off all the drunk frat guys singing Neil Diamond tunes) to Journal Square always seems to sober me right up.
If Bitterness Is So Wrong Why Does It Feel So Right? There are some nights where everything just seems right with the whole damn world. Amazing party, terrific company, wonderful people, delicious drinks, hours flying by, the adventures of official FoD Keith, watching hard work come to a glorious result, finding a Truman Capote novel on the street to read on the ride home but not even needing it since I met up with a really interesting guy from Iowa on the platform...

But now I definitely need to collapse. So that is what I'll do.

Update: Dear Lord...it was all...just a dream.

February 14, 2004


February 13, 2004

Greetings from Cave City, Kentucky! The meeting is going really well, thanks for asking; in fact, we've been slightly ahead of schedule (the decision to invalidate all absentee and proxy votes saved a couple of hours right there), so I decided to take advantage of my hotel room's high-speed web access to post a few notes.

February 10, 2004

A Brief Respite. This blog will not be updated for a few days, as the whole IllDonk Industries team is heading down to Cave City, Kentucky for our annual stockholders meeting and shoo-fly pie bakeoff (don't think you're gonna make it a threepeat, Katie!). If you have any questions during our absence, please leave a voicemail message and our customer service team will get back to you ASAP.

Oh, and try not to do anything stupid again this Valentine's Day.

February 09, 2004

Those much-appreciated folks who pay the extremely reasonable $9.95/month subscription rate for the Illuminated Donkey Premium Gold Membership can switch on their DonkCams right now to witness the sight of me with a huge grin on my face. And why is that grin so huge? Because Bill Barol and his beloved Blather Blog has returned after a months-long hiatus, including a few weeks there when he was obviously just sort of phoning it in, not that we don't all do that on occasion, of course. Anyway, Bill has a new site design, a new URL, and a backlog of practically-writing-itself horrificness from the likes of Janet and Justin and David and Liza to catch up on. It's snarklarious!

February 08, 2004

Help a Brother Out! Can you take a few seconds out of your busy schedules to help wish my old Seattle roommate Murph, who was the best damn roommate a guy could have had and who I'm still stealing bits from, a happy birthday? Thanks a million.
Only Five Shopping Days Left Until Valentine's Day, which means there's still plenty of time left to visit the Black Hearts Party Crapeteria! Looking for that special something for that special someone? Why not send him or her a lovely "Thinking of You" dead-rat greeting card, an "Emotionally Unavailable" or "Needy and Clingy" t-shirt, or a teddy bear with a filthy word on it? In fact, why not stock up now for your next few failed relationships?
Notes on Week Five (of Eight) of the Improv Class. Bleh. Well, I guess that would only be one note, so I better amend it: Bleh Bleh. After what I thought was a step forward for me last week, tonight was a whole lot of nothing much, which is strange, since I came to the class really jacked up after an afternoon of creative activity. Last week I had to down a Red Bull right before class and still almost collapsed, yet I had a couple of really good moments; tonight I went to class feeling really awake and focused (and slightly buzzed), yet nothing. Strange and slightly disconcerting. A few people did some terrific work this week, and that was actually really good to see. They're some damn fine people.

It was an opposites kinda night for me in a few ways, since before one of my scenes I went up there with the idea of being really proactive and showing a lot of energy, yet ended up trying to focus more on reacting to my partner and being real, then the next time up I tried to focus more on the reality/reaction, when it turned into a (pretty much successful) free-for-all with a lot of energy and laughs. One breakthrough for me was that after my first scene, which didn't go well, my first reaction wasn't to grab my bag and coat and run out of the class forever, forfeiting my tuition.

We're also supposed to now be thinking about signing up for Level 2 classes, and as of this moment I have no idea if I'm going to. We'll see what happens next week, I guess. Gulp.

February 07, 2004

A Few Quick Notes on a Fine Jersey Evening.

February 06, 2004

Hey, Buddies and Buddettes! Still dateless for that little holiday coming up on February 14? Well, you still have one last chance to find somebody, though that somebody happens to be in St. Louis. Presenting...the Win a Date with Mr. Happy Crack Contest! Just answer the seven simple questions and you can be on your way to true crack-filled love!

February 05, 2004

Severe Weather Alert from the National Weather Service in effect from 12 AM to 1 PM Friday. Damned wintry mixes...every other freaking day it's another freaking wintry mix...seriously, is there anybody out there who isn't in one of those I-should-be-out-doing-things-and-expanding-my-horizons-and-maybe-meeting-new-and-exciting-people-but-hope-only-leads-to-disappointment-and-it's-easier-to-just-sit-here-and-play-that-smack-a-penguin-caveman-game kinda moods? And if there is, can you please bring some snacks to my apartment?

Oh yeah, there's also a Flood Watch in effect.
Look, I don't think it was too much to ask that one of the three clerks who watched me wander around the discount shoe store and try on various pairs of shoes for a good 20 minutes tell me that it was exclusively a women's shoe store (because with a lot of the styles it was hard to tell!), rather than let me figure out for myself when a snot-nosed teenager pointed at me and began laughing. Stupid clerks.

February 03, 2004

Recess Is Over. Okay, so we all saw a boob for half a second. I think we can all move on with our lives now.

Oh, and I know that I'm supposed to disguise my posted e-mail address with an -at- instead of the @ so that Spam-scoopers or whatever they're called can't pick it up, but if I did that there's a good chance I would never have received the following request from the webmaster of "a spiritual web directory:"
Hello, I am creating a web directory and would like to include your website Bleak.blogspot.com under the "health/massage therapy and bodywork" category.
I mean, it's about time that somebody's recognized what I'm really trying to do with this site!
Just When You Thought It Was Over. The recap has been posted, the worst bar in New York has shut down, so what else can be left to say about the Big Apple Blogger Bash?

Well, Belle has just one more thing to say about it: ASS! Or actually: ASS ASS ASS!
I wonder where I'll be in five years.
One part of the other night's class that I forgot to mention was experiencing the ultimate reward of comedic performing: getting back at somebody in my life by ridiculing him/her while strangers laugh viciously. One of the exercises was to perform a suggested scene as a character who we knew personally (as opposed to an earlier exercise where we did scenes as a famous real-life or fictional character). After considering a few family members and friends, the obvious choice sprung to mind. I'm not going to get specific about who this person is and why their every utterance and mannerism makes me cringe and gnash my teeth and pray for a just deity to crack open the ground beneath this person's feet so that they fall down to the fiery pits of the earth's core, but I can say that it felt incredibly fulfilling to stand up in front of the class and recreate those cringe-worthy traits, and the laughter assured me that everybody else would feel exactly the same way were they ever unfortunate enough to have to spend time with this particular person whose name I am still not mentioning. So that felt good.

February 01, 2004

Thank God I Don't Bet on Sports. Because of the unfortunate and unswitchable meeting time of my improv class (which again went fairly well after an extremely rocky beginning; I obviously need to start doing something to prepare for class earlier, so that I'm not completely off-kilter and blank-minded for the first hour), I was only able to catch the last eight or so minutes of the game (we got into the bar right after the Brady interception deep in Carolina territory), but all I can possibly say is Sweet Holy Mother of Pearl! Touchdown after touchdown after touchdown, with a half-dozen great catches and non-stop excitement.

Of course, I had been telling everybody around me that it would be a rather low-scoring, low-key game, with New England taking an early lead and shutting down the Panthers the rest of the way. And while I guess it was low- (actually, no-) scoring for about 25 minutes, after that both offenses just went completely ape-shit and reminded me why I should never, never, never bet sports, including maybe even grid pools. I just apparently don't know nothing, not that I could beat the vig even if I did. Which I don't.

And can somebody tell me just what the heck happened at halftime that the NFL had a statement out within minutes?
Statement by NFL Executive Vice President Joe Browne regarding the Super Bowl halftime show:

"We were extremely disappointed by elements of the MTV-produced halftime show. They were totally inconsistent with assurances our office was given about the show. It's unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime."
An all-star musical recreation of the Paris Hilton video? Folk music? Cannibalism? Now I'm sorry I missed it.

Update: I shoulda known...the Gigglechick has the straight dope on the disturbance, complete with close-ups! Oh dear.
Wouldn't it be great if the military had all the money it needed and schools had to hold a bake sale to buy a textbook? Maybe some day that dream will be a reality, but for now, they have to rely on ArmyBakeSale.com: Exporting Democracy and Delicious Baked Goods since 2003. And remember, a new Patriot Anti-Missile Battery is only 300,000 cookies away!

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