August 26, 2004

This is a Maintenance BULLETIN!


Annoying, non-removable Blogger navbar no longer blocks Donk-Signal! Donking to resume FORTHWITH!


Jersey Boy K. G. fails to note new New Jersey Film Blog! Has his head been turned, or is he sulking in a dark room? All the Vitos down the shore are chinwagging to beat the band in hot pursuit of the mystery!


Economic circumstances good, notes egghead report! Balloon ride continues! Hot air to blame?

THIS has been your Mupdenance AINTATE!

(Please note content of this blog post in no way affiliated with or approved by Illuminated Donkey Amalgamated. L'il Kay-Gee Holdings Inc., or the person, estate, or family of Kenneth Goldstein, the proprietor of this website. Thank you.)

August 23, 2004

I guess this means that I'm on end-of-Summer break. See you in the Hamptons, suckers!

August 17, 2004

Dammit, what's up with this lame new Blogger header? It's completely blocking my donkey! Make it go away!
It's a beautiful, beautiful day today, but I will be stuck inside faxing and filing and photocopying and other effing things. But at least I have X-Entertainment's Examining the Casino Arcade on a trip to Point Pleasant to let me live happily and vicariously.

August 16, 2004

Finally: An Official Explanation as to Why I've Always Been Broke! Sure, there's the heavy gambling, eating out almost every meal, and my collection of Fabrege eggs, but Forbes Magazine's list of America's Ten Most Overpriced Cities ("places with the highest cost of living, least affordable housing, and most modest job and income growth") makes me wonder how I manage to have any money at all.

To sum up: I am currently living in #10, spend just about all of my free time in #9, spent four years living in #1, and grew up in #5. In fact, other than a bit more than a year in lovely Plainfield, I have never lived anywhere other than a listed damned-expensive city.

So somebody buy me a beer.

August 13, 2004

Even More Jersey! Went with the Official Donk Brother & Sister to see the highly enjoyable Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, which definitely is up there with the Kevin Smith oeuvre on a list of great Jersey flicks of the last few decades. I saw it in the "New Brunswick multiplex" where my brother works and which is named (though not pictured) in the flick.

Plenty of Jersey action -- Hoboken, the Pulaski Skyway, New Brunswick, Freehold, Princeton -- all of which was much appreciated by the hometown crowd. Unlike back in 1995 when the crowd I saw Mallrats with didn't care one little bit when the mile-away, now-departed U.S. #1 Flea Market was shown, and it ain't like that place was in a ton of movies. Seriously, they were acting like they lived in midtown Manhattan and the Chrysler Building was onscreen. Yawn city.

Anyway, my only Jersey-related faults with HAKGTWC was the severe understating of the difficulty in finding parking in Hoboken, plus the completely insane representation of Cherry Hill as some sort of late-night hotspot. And these were more than made up for by the Neil Patrick Harris appearance and a fine Wilson Phillips sing-along.

On a semi-unrelated note, upon leaving the theater my brother had a worker cut the side panel off of a 35-pound container of "Creamy Liquid Frying Shortening." Why did I want this? The Nutrition Facts label, which lets us know that box of CLFS contains 1136 one-tablespoon servings, each bursting with 14 grams of fat, for a possible one-label record 15,904 grams of fat, a label that makes the Hungry Man XXL Breakfast look like a lettuce leaf topped with wheatgerm. But it is kosher.

August 12, 2004

Open Announcement to the Annoying-as-Hell 14-Year-Old Sitting a Few Seats Down from Gerard and Me at Today's Mets Game. Anybody still wearing a freaking Mo Vaughn jersey-tee to Shea has no right to tell anybody that he sucks, especially hard-working Supersub Joe McEwing right before he gets the game-winning hit. Go kiss a girl, as a certain baseball fan would say.
We Interrupt This Broadcast! It's been a busy week here at Donk HQ. The big doings have been the two job interviews, leaving me in that nail-biting limbo period that lasts from the time you go on the interview until you start stalking the HR Director's kids. P-Frank and I took a little trip up to Richie-Richville, AKA Connecticut, where Mike Wolf is living the hospital high life, mixing it up with lovely Eastern European nurses. And there's the Mets games and improv practices and other stuff.

But that all came to a screeching halt today when New Jersey experienced its biggest news since Bruce got back together with the E Street Band (or at least since Adriana got whacked): the shocking simultaneous coming out and resignation of Governor Jim McGreevey.

Now, it wasn't so much the resignation itself that was shocking; for months, McGreevey has been dodging scandal after scandal, the most damaging including an alleged shakedown of a Piscataway dairy farmer, with the Governor recorded on audiotape uttering apparent "the fix is in" code words, and a more recent situation where Charles Kushner, his confidant and biggest campaign contributor allegedly hired a $25,000 hooker to seduce and compromise his brother-in-law, who was planning to testify against him in a federal investigation.

And those are just the highlights. So when I heard via TM from the aforementioned Mike Wolf (I was at the Mets game) that McGreevey was planning to announce his resignation, I assumed it was related to some of the above. And then McGreevey announced his reasons for his resignation, effective November 15:
At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is. And so my truth is that I am a gay American.

[...] I am also here today because, shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affair with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony. It was wrong. It was foolish. It was inexcusable. [...] Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign.
Jeff Jarvis is right; it was a remarkable speech. I've gotten a few calls and e-mails from non-NJers basically wanting to know what the hell was wrong with us. He has to retire just because he's gay? Aren't we a progressive state?

Of course, the reasons for his resignation have more to do with the "circumstances surrounding the affair" than the affair itself. The "Breaking News" weblog on reports that the affair was with "Golan Cipel, an Israeli poet who worked briefly for the governor as a homeland security adviser despite having no security experience." The hiring of Cipel for the $100,000 job was especially controversial, and Cipel was soon shifted to a less-prominent post (the vague "counselor to the governor") after it was learned that McGreevey had exaggerated his credentials. This story obviously makes a lot more sense after today's revelations, though it's still a measure of McGreevey's poor political instincts that the high-paying gift job he gave his lover was in perhaps the highest-profile area of his administration.

According to several McGreevey administration sources, the situation came to a head recently when Cipel demanded millions of dollars, threatening a sexual harassment lawsuit if the money wasn't paid. This appears to have been the triggering event that led to today's announcement and resignation. And while only a complete political cynic (say, my dad), would deny that this was a difficult day for McGreevey, it doesn't take too much imagination to see it as at least a better-case scenario.

McGreevey's term very possibly was heading towards a premature ending one way or another. And while none of those ways could be completely positive, at least as of now he may be remembered as a noble and representative figure, or even a victim of prejudice. One rest-stop visitor was quoted as saying, "It's a shame. He brought a lot of passion to the governor's office, but the fact is that it's not accepted in today's society, and he's paying the consequences." I'm pretty sure that the "it's" in that sentence isn't referring to giving your lover an undeserved job, or encouraging bribes, or associating with hooker-hiring blackmailers. And, of course, we'll never know if his homosexuality would have been accepting without any of the accompanying "consequences." That might have been the biggest loss of the day.

Though his hand was forced, this may have been McGreevey's only chance to leave office on anything approaching positive terms. Heck, 20 years from now people might remember him being forced out of office for his sexual preferences, breaking ground for future gay major political leaders. He might end up as a kind of folk hero, with all the negative facts lost and forgotten along the way. So while it's true that what McGreevey said and did today was, as Jeff Jarvis wrote, remarkable and painfully personal. It was also many other things, most nearly not as brave.
Today I parked my car under a tree that was partially (though admittedly, not completely) obscuring the parking sign listing the street-cleaning/no-parking times. So when I returned to my car, not only was it covered in large splotches of bird crap, but I had a decent-sized parking ticket on my windshield.

Seems to me like that should really be an either/or proposition: piles of bird crap or a parking ticket. Either would have been punishment enough.

August 09, 2004

One down, one to go.

It went...reasonably okay. Not wonderfully. Now I wait.

August 08, 2004

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

Folks, can it be merely a coincidence that later today, during the 30th anniversary of the resignation of Richard Nixon, which prompted the newly sworn-in Gerald Ford to give the above statement, I will be on a job interview to very possibly end my own personal national nightmare?

Wish me luck, peoples.
You know, I've never though of Modest Mouse as a particularly romantic band, but I swear, folks at their Hammerstein Ballroom show tonight were hooking up and making out left and right. And good for them, I say!

Great, great show, by the way.

Oh, and as a side note, the Gawker to-do suggestions for Sunday were to go to the Singapore ChiliCrab Festival in Brooklyn and then to the Modest Mouse show...and that's exactly what I did do today! Am I eligible for some sort of prize?

August 06, 2004

And Now the Weekend. Heading off now to meet up with FotD Keith and see this guy perform, and then I assume there will be food and drinks and other fancy stuff with this fancy gal. Later this weekend I might head off to this thing before I go see these guys, and between all of that I'll need to prepare for my interviews on Monday and Tuesday.

Pre-Weekend Tidbit #4. DOOK! DOOK! DOOK! DOOK!
Pre-Weekend Tidbit #3. Introducing "And...Done!", featuring articles from the many magazines and newspapers I peruse and the exact moment when I had to stop reading. Today: a book review by Les Simpson in this week's Time Out New York:
Colors Insulting to Nature by Cintra Wilson

Cintra Wilson sliced and diced our country's obsession with celebrity in an essay collection, A Massive Swelling (2000). Her debut novel, Colors Insulting to Nature, once again shows off her gift for wordplay while hammering home the thesis that Hollywood fame is grotesque, and the pursuit of its shallow rewards pathetic and wrong.

Our hero is mixed up Liza Normal...
Pre-Weekend Tidbit #2. [Passed along by The Duck.] Somehow Gourmet Magazine managed to get David Foster Wallace to write one of those sprawling travelogues that he no longer writes for Harper's, this time sending him to the Maine Lobster Festival. That's the good news. The bad news (for Gourmet, at least)? Wallace spends about one-third of the article insulting the festival and devotes the remaining two-thirds to "a physiological and philosophical meditation on the bioethics of lobster boiling," obviously a subject that Gourmet generally doesn't spend a lot of time on.

To their credit, the magazine went ahead and published his article, "Consider the Lobster" in their August issue, though it's not available on the Gourmet website (but you can find a bunch of new ways to use celery). Read it in your local B&N over a cup of coffee, or hell, actually spend the $3.99 for the damn thing.
Pre-Weekend Tidbit #1. Introducing the Official Major League Mascot of this Blog:
A Toronto reporter was asking [Cleveland Indians DH] Travis Hafner about how he got the nickname Pronk. Hafner explained that it meant half project, half donkey.

Seeing how Hafner is hitting .324 with 21 homers and 86 RBI, the reporter said, "Shouldn't you drop the project part?"

Hafner thought for a minute and said, "But then I'd just be Donk."
I don't see anything wrong with that, Trav, but close enough. Thanks to increasingly-gloating-Indian-fan Scott for passing this along.

August 03, 2004

Thanks, Mike, that illuminating donkey looks pretty nifty.
Oooh, I Love the Legitimate Theater. A certain mystery blogger was generous enough to bring me along to a preview performance of Dracula, the Musical. While protocol states I shouldn't pass critical judgment on a preview performance, it might be okay to say that by far the most entertaining part came midway through the second act, when one of the actors was attempting to make his entrance. Unfortunately for him, the door was either stuck or had been accidentally locked, so after spending about 15 seconds rattling the doorknob, he eventually decided to just walk around the doorframe; the audience was, of course, thrilled, especially when the rest of the actors later exited the scene the same way.

The rest of the show was obviously a bit of an anticlimax.

August 02, 2004

Damn You, Storm Hen! Damn You to Hell! Spent a lovely Sunday afternoon at Monmouth Park with Little C-Za and the just-back-from-the-UK Jessica. It was a fine day at a lovely little track, a day only slightly marred by the fact that I didn't cash once, not even one teensy little place bet to give me a momentary feeling of winnerness.

But it was so close to being different.

After betting and losing on four or five races, checking out the horses on the walking track, and enjoying plenty of beer and ice cream, I found myself with only $3 left on my voucher from my original $20. It would obviously be all or nothing on the 8th race, and Jessica and I both had a good feeling about Storm Hen, the #7 horse that...well...had a pretty cool name. I figured it was time for a big play, so I decided to go for a big-money exacta (picking the first two finishers in order), pairing Storm Hen with the #4, Flame Song. Ideally I would play both 7/4 and 4/7, but with only $3 on the voucher that wasn't really an option. So it was all on the 7/4, which would pay about $120 if it came in, meaning plenty more beer and ice cream for all.

We headed down to the track just in time for the race. Storm Hen started slow, but picked up the pace about halfway through, gaining ground as the three of us screamed, "Go Storm Hen, you magnificent bastard!" Heading into the homestretch it was Storm Hen on the outside, quickly catching up to the leader...Flame Song! And nobody else was even close! Yes! All Storm Hen had to do was to keep gaining ground and that little ticket of mine would be worth its weight in gold! GO STORM HEN! GO STORM HEN!!! GOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks a lot, loser. I hope you enjoy your trip to the glue factory.
Blogroll Roundup!
Speaking of my state of unemploymentness, guess what I did today? You'll never guess...give up? I went on an actual interview! That's right: wore a suit and brought my portfolio and a hard copy of my resume and everything! It wasn't for a permanent position or anything, but it would be four or so months of actual non-faxing-and-filing-and-other-soulsucking-duties-for-my dad employment in my field with that always-elusive "opportunities for advancement" to look forward to. Plus there's that little matter of the next rent check to consider. This bohemian lifestyle has grown rather tired.

Remarkably, I have another interview early next week, these being the first two I have had since this whole craptacular journey began way the hell back in February. Amazingly, both interviews were scheduled on the same day last week, which after over five months of deafening silence makes me feel like the 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If I do get one of these jobs, I owe some people some damn drinks, I can tell you that.
Politics? Yeah, sure, what the heck? I had planned to do some heavy DNC-blogging last week, but I ended up being busy pretty much every night and was in my most-not-feeling-like-the-blogging mood since DeWitt Wallace and I founded The Donk back in 1922. I did listen to Kerry's acceptance speech on the radio, so while I unfortunately missed him sweating like a hemophiliac referee at a porcupine fight (to paraphrase Elrod the Albino), I did catch both the most-proudly-told horrible joke I have ever heard (get it: the West Wing!) and his seven Vietnam references, which helped me retain my undecided state of being.

But anyway, I figured it was time to give an update on the Spanish Tavern Patron's Poll, and damned if I wasn't completely shocked as I drove up Route 22 over the weekend. When last we checked, Kerry had a 52.4% to 47.6% lead over Bush, and while today's USA Today reports that not only did Kerry not receive a bounce from the DNC but that Bush may have actually gained ground, I was still shocked to find Bush ahead by a sizable margin, 56% to 44%. As always, I have no idea how this happened or what it means and will instead link to that donkey riding a banana.

But getting back to the politicking: as anybody who's spent more than 20 minutes with me can attest to, I am incredibly and annoyingly skilled in the art of the convoluted sports analogy. No matter what the topic or event, I am able to bring it down to the level of "the common man" (basically my friend Keith) by succinctly comparing it to, say, the 1990-91 Cleveland Cavaliers.

So when bigshot blogger Mickey Kaus suggested that John Kerry employ a Moneyball strategy in his campaign...well, here was finally a debate I can contribute to. To put it simply, Kaus was suggesting that rather than try and "present himself as a dynamic leader who is more appealing than Bush," Kerry instead draw as little attention to himself as possible, employing a patient strategy not unlike his self-professed favorite ballplayer Eddie "The Walking Man" Yost. Yost was a hitter of average speed and power, but whose ability to draw walks (six times leading the league) put him regularly among the league leaders in runs scored.

It seems to make sense, but as I saw it, there was one fairly large problem with this strategy. As I put it in my letter to Mr. Kaus:
Not to get all sabermetrical on you, but the biggest snipe against Beane's 'Moneyball' strategy is that while it may help a team rack up regular season wins against weaker teams whose pitchers lack control (for some reason Howard Dean comes to mind here), it has little success come postseason against opponents who make fewer mistakes, as evidenced by the A's utter lack of playoff series victories. In other words, while it may win division championships (or primary/nomination victories), it doesn't bring home the title.
You see what unemployment leaves you time for?
So how has my luck been lately? Well, the other day I picked up the 16th and final collection of Cerebus, a 25-year-long comic series that just about everybody else in the world but me has given up on (and I've been pretty unimpressed by the last few books, but at this point I just wanted to see how it ended).

So I spent three nights rereading the first 15 collections in order to be fully immersed and in the right frame of mind for the conclusion. So I'm reading the final book, getting towards the end, the tension in the story is starting to build, and just ends. Or to be more specific, it goes from Page 214 (out of 240) right into the middle of the Author's Note. Or to be even more specific: A FREAKING PRINTING ERROR LEFT OUT THE LAST 25 PAGES OF THE FREAKING BOOK!

I mean, I called the store and I'll be able to trade it in for a good copy, but damn this is annoying!
Ken Goldstein, Reporting for Duty or The End of the Royal Wheeee! Okay...let's get back to work.

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