March 26, 2004

Yeah, let's just call this a one-week hiatus.

Update: Maybe a little longer.

March 22, 2004

Look in Your Heart! We are still a few dollars short of our $45 goal to get Mike Wolf an imaginary Canadian girlfriend, as detailed below on March 19. I guess technically we're still $45 short, since I haven't yet received any of the pledges (though I could put my $3 in an envelope, I guess), but let's not get tied up with details. Anyway, as before, please leave a comment with your e-mail address and I will send you the important details.
So I did end up taking the Level Two improv class, which started last night. I was satisfied with my Level One performance, but then spent few days afterwards thinking of things I could have done in the show, or at least could have done better, and determined that I wouldn't mind having another go at it. Plus, as I've mentioned, I enjoyed the class and spending time with my classmates, was really curious about what happens in a more advanced class, and besides, it ain't as it I have a whole lot else going on right now.

The first class wasn't all that exciting, however. We had a substitute instructor, and while he was fine, it was a bit strange to start off like that. It's also a completely different class makeup than Level One, with me being the oldest in the class, perhaps by a good five years, and with everybody scattering immediately afterwards rather than going to a nearby bar to have a beer or two. Still, it's obviously early, so I'm not forming any judgments.

I'd write more about it, but I'm still a little off-kilter from that whole Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind experience.

March 20, 2004

You know, some mornings you just can't get those pillows into a comfortable position.

March 19, 2004

While I'm certainly grateful and all, if anybody could possibly explain to me just how The Donk was chosen as today's Blog of the Day for, a Guide to the Greater Eugene/Springfield, Oregon Area, I'd be certainly interested to hear it. I mean, I've never even been to Eugene, though I have been to Portland twice.

In other random news, I spent a few hours with the lovely Jahna D'Lish today and am happy to report to all her fans that she's doing very well. We had a late lunch at Highland Park's own White Rose System, where I had a spirited discussion with two of the long-time employees regarding the major league career of Edison NJ's own Jim Stoops (there was an autographed White Rose paper cap up on the condiment shelf), the godson or something of one of the two. Jim's career consisted of only four innings with the Rockies back in 1998, but that's four more MLB innings than I'll ever throw.

Later on I met up with my sister to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, [this link might give too much away, but heck, you're all adults] which I thought was extremely good and is highly recommended, but I'm afraid I can't really comment on it objectively since the whole movie reminded me so much of my own life that most of it just seemed like a flashback. It was actually fairly disturbing for various reasons I don't really want to get into right here and I don't think I'll want to see it again, but you all shouldn't let that affect you.
Finally: A Noble Cause! You know, back in my day it didn't cost me anything to have an imaginary Canadian girlfriend; all I had to do was steal some of my sister's pink stationery and order some Canadian stamps from a mail-order outfit in Regina, Saskatchewan. These days, of course, with this whole Internet fooferall, everything's a heck of a lot more complicated and expensive.

Which is why the always-charitable Paul Frankenstein and I are asking all of our fine readers to help a brother out, and chip in a few bucks to get Mr. Mike Wolf two months of the imaginary girlfriend service he's always dreamed of. Personalized letters, phone messages, e-mails, maybe even a photo or two...all it's gonna take is $45 in American cash.

Now, Mike is too shy to have one of them PayPal donation tabs on his blog (not to mention PP's rather draconian rules banning people with mail-fraud convictions from conducting business on their site), so we're gonna have to rely on the U.S. Postal Service to get those dollars flowing. We're hoping to get 15 thoughtful and caring readers to each chip in three lousy bucks, and that's only 13 more after P-Dog and me.

If you have even one ounce of compassion in your heart, please leave a comment with your e-mail address, and we will work out the arrangements for you to send your pledge. Please hurry.

Update: You people disgust me.

Second Update: You people disgust me less! Three incredibly kind people have pledged $13 so far, which when added to the $6 already pledged brings us over 40% of the way to our goal! Let's keep it going!

March 17, 2004

What better day than today could there possibly be to give a shoutout to my old roommate, the still-honeymoonin' Patrick Murphy?!?! Whoooo! Now I'm off to get my drunk on!

March 16, 2004

Scott Spiezio and Jamie Moyer playing poker with the Mariner Moose, Bret Boone offering some encouraging trash-talking, and the return of America's most-underrated comic actor, Edgar Martinez are just a few of the offerings in this year's selection of Mariners commercials.
It Just Made Me So Damn Happy! I just On-Demanded (gosh, how I love my On-Demand) this past Sunday's episode of The Sopranos, and discovered what was perhaps the greatest hour of television in the long history of Jersey City's majestic Pulaski Skyway!

[As I'm sure you already knew, the Pulaski Skyway's single-greatest popular-culture moment was its mention in Orson Welles's War of the Worlds: "A heavy black fog hanging close to the earth... of extreme density, nature unknown. No sign of heat ray. Enemy now turns east, crossing Passaic River into the Jersey marshes. Another straddles the Pulaski Skyway. Evident objective is New York City." A New York Times article on the ensuing panic noted that "More than 100 calls were received at Maplewood police headquarters and during the excitement two families of motorists, residents of New York City, arrived at the station to inquire how they were to get back to their homes now that the Pulaski Skyway had been blown up."]

Not only did Tony bring his newly-sprung cousin Tony Blundetto to eat at the Skyway Diner (probably not a great idea, especially considering that back in season two Christopher was shot in the parking lot), but the episode closes with Tony taking a drive on the Skyway, stopping mid-span (also not particularly recommended), and flinging something over the side. Sweeeet!

Okay...I don't really have a lot else going on right now.

March 15, 2004

Yep, it's a whole new beginning for me, starting right now! I can totally feel it! Whooo!

March 14, 2004

Lest We Forget. You know, I still get about a dozen searches a week from folks looking for that captivating banana dancing on a donkey. That just makes me smile, knowing that they've touched so many lives and that I've helped play a part.
Speaking of irredeemingly sad, am I the only one who feels sorry for the poor bastard who has to do the weekend and overnight traffic reports for New Jersey 101.5 FM? They make a big deal about have traffic reports four times an hour, 24 hours a day, but this really means that at 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday some poor bastard has to read a report that's basically "Things looking good on the Turnpike north and south, Garden State Parkway's clear, no trouble to report on 22 or 78, I-287 moving quickly at this time..." over and over again because 99.9% of the time there just ain't any traffic at two-freaking-a.m. For some reason this really bugs me.

And speaking of not a bit creepy, it has occurred to me that all you need to do to turn a near-porn magazine layout into a fashion layout is mention the price of the lingerie.
Possible Apology Regarding Friday's Mention of the Slate-Sponsored Whisky Tasting at d.b.a: I was originally under the impression that the tasting was going to be an event which anybody could attend and join some muckety-mucks in throwing down some whisky. While this might have actually been the case, the always-reliable Mike Wolf, with whom I today attended the Whitney Biennial, pointed out to me that the article actually seemed to be suggesting that readers instead buy some top-quality whiskies and try them at home, in front of their computers, while following along with the tasting notes and discussion and perhaps watching the goings-on using the bar's webcam.

Upon further reflection this whole setup strikes me as irredeemingly sad and not a bit creepy, and I apologize for bringing it up in the first place.

March 12, 2004

In today's Slate, David Edelstein sings the praises of my beloved Talisker, "one of the most glorious Scotch whiskies," and announces a Manhattan whisky-tastin' this Sunday with a whole bunch of culture muckety-mucks. Whooo.

March 11, 2004

Apparently Important and Previously Assumed Unnecessary Update Regarding My Posting of March 11 (See Below): Um...I meant for the day. It was a sunny day so I ended up heading down to Atlantic City with this guy from my improv class, fine fellow, you'd like him. Had a good time down there. Finished about even, maybe down a few bucks, nothing drastic. Ate at the buffet, walked the boardwalk, talked shop and other interesting stuff. I am back in Jersey City and am about to go to sleep, which should keep me here for at least another eight hours.

You are now requested to revisit the various comment boxes and disregard any comments which have been invalidated by the above information, not to mention those which are either incomprehensible or just sorta nosy. Thank you.
Screw this: I'm getting the hell out of this jerkwater town!

March 10, 2004

In your heart, you know he's desperate.

March 09, 2004

They Should Probably Ask Somebody Else to Give the Eulogy. The saga of America's most publicly disfunctional family continues with the early passing of John Henry Williams, Ted Williams's son. The cause was leukemia.

Apparently not receiving the "don't speak ill of the dead" memo was John's brother-in-law, Mark Ferrell:
"Isn't it something that you're such a liar and cheat and a scoundrel your whole life that nobody even believes it when you're dead? People think it's just another one of your scams. Unbelievable. [...]

John Henry Williams spent 35 years antagonizing people. He was a cheat, a thief and a liar. He was just a miserable human being. The Bible says honor your father and you will live long. Well, he didn't honor his father, and God came calling."
Well, that sure is gonna be a fun funeral, if there is gonna be a funeral; there is some confusion as to whether John will be joining his father ('s head) at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona.

Of course, longtime readers of the Donk will certainly remember our chilling introduction to the Williams family, which I enjoyed so much I'll just reprint the money graf:
What would Ted Williams have thought if he knew his body would be hanging upside down in a nitrogen-filled tank with perhaps four other full bodies and five heads at a cryogenics lab inside a strip mall in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Williams' close friend, Buzz Hamon, said the last time he spoke with The Splendid Splinter, Williams said, "I need a lawyer ... Because I made a mistake."

Then the phone went dead.
God, I love that.
The Blogging World Needs More Goldsteins! And for that reason we are thrilled to announce the return of Jeff Goldstein's Protein Wisdom, following a four-year hiatus. Welcome back, Chief!
Boy, I had forgotten just how much looking for work sucks. Somebody please give me a job. Anything.

March 07, 2004

Boy, they just keep having to come up with ways to keep Dr. Melfi on the show, huh? And there's really no more brilliant move for Christopher than trying to get piss off Paulie Walnuts. Pure genius. And am I the only one who thought that the shooting of the dumb bastard waiter, played almost for comedy, might have been the most horrible act of the whole series (okay, I guess Ralphie killing his stripper girlfriend is up there, too)? And dammit, we were promised some Steve Buscemi! Robert Loggia looks like he's having the time of his (apparently extremely long) life, though.
Notes on My Improv Class: the Final (?) Chapter. Some of you may have noticed (I mean, it's possible) that I hadn't provided an update since week six of my eight-week improv class. I went to the classes, but was in a fairly blah and unenthusiastic frame of mind both times, and subsequently had the kind of classes that I didn't particularly feel like recapping. So I didn't.

But the calendar refuses to halt for even the blahest blahs, and so today, the day of our final class performance moved closer. A few of us got together for a practice session which made me feel a little more confident, but certainly not enough to want anybody to actually see me on stage, a feeling I tried to convey to anybody who inquired about the show. And, um...I'm sorry about that.

And after all of that worrying, I think that everything went pretty well. To explain the show format: one of our group introduced us and asked for a one-word suggestion to get started. From that suggestion, one of us did a brief monologue inspired by the suggestion, after which two people (though more could join in as needed or warranted) would perform a scene inspired by the monologue. After three or four scenes there would be a newly inspired monologue, then some more scenes, and so on for about 45 minutes.

I went into today with the goal of pulling myself away from the back wall and performing in at least one scene, which I did, though I probably should have tried harder to get into a second. The opening monologue was inspired by the word "haircut" and dealt with a scary experience one of us had at a kind of barber school where they were testing out a new clipping technique while numerous classmates gathered to watch. That made me think of other potential worker-training settings, and I ended up becoming a student surgeon who was trying to remove some poor bastard's appendix (because I wouldn't learn about fixing stuff until next semester). Nothing too brilliant and it did have a few draggy moments, but I heard at least a few laughs from the audience and I felt pretty good about doing it.

As I said, I only was the principle in the one scene, but I ended up in three or four others in walk-ons, adding little bits to help scenes that were already ongoing. I thought those went well, too, and I wasn't nearly as hesitant about joining in as I was in the last couple of classes. Surprisingly, performing turned out to be a lot less intimidating than the classes, since while I was on stage, with the spotlights and the darkened room, I couldn't make out anybody in the audience, while during the classes I had to look right at my classmates and the teacher.

So now what? Well, I got into this because I'd always wondered what it would be like to perform, and I definitely performed today, even if only for a few minutes. However, I ended up finding the whole improv process and philosophy to be pretty interesting, and my classmates turned out to be some of the best damn people I've met in years. So right now I'm trying to decide whether to sign up for level two, which I need to do pretty quickly as most of the next cycle of classes are already sold out; more details to come, perhaps.
More Fun With Fast-Food Loiterers! So I was walking by the semi-bootleg Gray's Papaya on 23rd Street when this guy asks me if I had "change for a hot dog," and for a second I thought it would be really funny if I pulled out four cocktail wieners, but really, what are the odds I'd have those on me?

March 06, 2004

It might be cold and rainy outside and it might not count for anything and it might be the pitiful Mets, but damn, it feels good to listen to some baseball on the radio.

March 05, 2004

Own the film equipment that Vincent Gallo used to make The Brown Bunny! "All in all, Gallo put more effort into this production package than the whiny Wes Anderson, the sputtering Spike Jonze, the un-darling Darren Aronofsky have put into their whole lives."

March 04, 2004

A Brief Play.

The Characters: A Disheveled Man Carrying a Large, Unwieldy Bundle of Christmas Lights and Ken Goldstein.
The Scene: The Sidewalk Outside of the JFK Blvd. White Castle.
The Time: About 10 minutes ago.

DMCALUBOCL: Hey, buddy!

KG: [Walking past] Um...yeah?

DMCALUBOCL: You wanna buy some Christmas Lights?

KG: No thanks, I'm good.

DMCALUBOCL: C'mon! Big string of lights, five bucks! Everybody needs some Christmas lights!

KG: Well, actually, I'm Jewish.

DMCALUBOCL: Oh. [Pause] Well, happy Chanukah, then.

How many points is a three-pointer worth? That was just one of the 20 challenging questions on the final (and only) exam in University of Georgia assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr.'s Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball class. Classmates testified that the three men's basketball players in the class received no special treatment from Harrick; this is almost certainly true, as every student in the class received an A.
DJ Mike C is on the air in Hoboken Rock City! The rise of online radio has been a godsend for those of us in the NYC area, the heart of crappy radio (excepting WFMU, especially Seven Second Delay with Andy Breckman and Ken, and 92.3 K-Rock of late, surprisingly enough). <cheesyDJvoice>But no matter where you are you should check out the latest set from Hoboken's own DJ Mike C. I'm listening to it now with toes a-tapping!</cheesyDJvoice>
Some Guys Just Don't Know When It's Over. We've all known people who just couldn't or wouldn't see that an ex had moved on and that a relationship was over. In some cases, those folks become embittered drunks, in more severe cases, crazed stalkers. And occasionally, they become law professors at NYU.

Back in 2000, Stephen Gillers argued in a New York Times editorial that Bill Clinton should have remained President past January 6, 2001, for as long as it took for the Bush/Gore vote-counting issues to be definitively settled. Using an interpretation of the 20th Amendment, Gillers suggested that Congress declare that nobody had "qualified" for the office and keep Clinton as President until matters were settled.

Well, that didn't happen, of course, and Clinton left the White House, seemingly forever. But in another editorial in yesterday's New York Times Gillers was at it again, suggesting that Kerry's strongest option for a VP would be...Bill Clinton.

Now, you might be thinking that Clinton would simply be unable to hold the office, having already served two terms as President. To that, Gillers answers:
The Constitution does not prevent Mr. Clinton from running for vice president. The 22nd Amendment, which became effective in 1951, begins: "No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice."

No problem. Bill Clinton would be running for vice president, not president. Scholars and judges can debate how loosely constitutional language should be interpreted, but one need not be a strict constructionist to find this language clear beyond dispute. Bill Clinton cannot be elected president, but nothing stops him from being elected vice president.
Except...maybe...I dunno...the 12th Amendment, which states that "no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States." (Thanks to Dwayne Murphy on the Paul Katcher message boards for pinpointing this.) Now, I obviously can't claim to be a Constitutional scholar, so is there something very obvious I'm missing (is there really a difference between being eligible for the office and being eligible to be elected to the office?), or did Gillers and the Times just drop the ball here in an attempted groundswell to get their Clinton back?

Update: The Times has printed possible corroboration, and from another Goldstein no less!

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