September 30, 2004

Welcome to the Show, Kid.
Denney Suffers Gunshot Wound

Kansas City, Mo.- Rookie pitcher Kyle Denney was struck in the right calf Wednesday night by a bullet fired at the Indians team bus on the way to the Kansas City airport. The bullet went through the pants of outfielder Ryan Ludwick before striking Denney. Ludwick was not injured.

Bart Swain, Indians director of media relations, said the second bus in the Indians caravan was struck on the freeway about 10 minutes after leaving Kauffman Stadium. "Kyle is all right," said Swain. "He was in good spirits when he went to the hospital."

As part of a rookie hazing ritual, Denney was wearing a USC cheerleader's uniform when he was shot. The outfit included high white boots. "Our trainers said the boots may have saved Kyle from further injury," said Swain.
I guess this would be the rare example of adding injury to insult.

September 29, 2004

New, More Colorful $50 Bill Begins Circulating

(WASHINGTON) - The color of money is changing again. Tuesday's the day the new, more colorful $50 bills begin circulating -- sporting splashes of red, blue and yellow.

Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War general and 18th president, is still on the front and the U.S. Capitol remains on the back. But subtle colors are now added to the new notes, joining the traditional black ink on the front and green ink on the back.
Yippee, the Canadanization of the U.S. continues. Why don't we just save time and put on some parkas and pick three states at random to start talking French?

Of course, any true degenerate gambler knows you should stay far away from $50 bills anyway, since they're nothing but bad luck. Nobody knows exactly why they're considered bad luck (though theories abound), but I've stood behind several guys at the cashier's window who refused to take them. Of course, this usually happens when I'm standing there after an awful session, waiting to cash in my last three $1 chips so I can go out to the boardwalk and buy a slice of pizza before making that long, sad dawntime drive up the Parkway.
Getting Pretty Close. Good article in The American Prospect by reporter Tom Turcol detailing the reasons that New Jersey has become an unexpected battleground state in the upcoming election. The state, which has not gone to a Republican since 1988, was considered firmly in Kerry's column, with little money or effort directed towards it by either party. But the effects of 9/11 combined with a state Democratic Party in disarray after McGreevey's revelations have quickly closed the gap in a state that Kerry can't afford to lose.

September 27, 2004

A Public Service Announcement. If you're attending karaoke night with some friends and want to surprise/embarrass the one who isn't planning on performing by signing him up on the sly, for god's sake don't pick the Rolling Stones' "Emotional Rescue" as his song. Even if he knew the song well -- which he didn't -- the damn thing's almost impossible to sing anyway. At least give the guy a fighting chance rather than leaving me up on the stage like a lobotomized drifter holding my cack in my hand instead of a microphone.
258 Hits, 60 Wins. Since people keep bringing the subject up: while it's definitely pretty cool that Ichiro Suzuki is mounting a strong challenge to break George Sisler's 84-year-old record for hits in a season, the fact that my Mariners are closing out an incredibly hideous and hopeless season (their worst since their worst year ever, in 1983, and only two more losses away from matching their expansion year total) does take a lot away from my appreciation of the event.

I mean, not every record chase can be Maris/Mantle in 1961, but the team should at least has a chance for the playoffs at some point so that the record numbers are contributing to something, unlike this year's Mariners who opened the season 2-8 and have more or less matched that pace ever since. Well, at least the U.S.S. Mariner always finds something interesting about this lost season.
Irons in the Fire. Yes, the job search continues, but in about 12 hours things should be a lot clearer. There are three strong potentials I should hopefully hear about sometime tomorrow, two temporary and one permanent, all of them pretty acceptable at this point. As longtime readers may have picked up on, this whole looking-for-work thing had already gotten old back in May, and I'm ready to move on. Either that or head down to Atlantic City for a couple days.

September 22, 2004

News Roundup. I have to admit that this headline stopped me a little short when I saw it on Google news: How Will the General Use His Huge Mandate? Can't you just see that line towards the end of some euphemism-laden Harlequin romance? With lust in his eyes, General Goodbody strode across the now-empty ballroom towards the wide-eyed Deborah. With one hand he tore open her bodice and with the other he pulled Deborah towards him, kissing her passionately. As he lifted her from the ground and carried her up the stairs to the master bedroom, there was just one thought on Deborah's mind: How will the General use his huge mandate?

Sorry, got a little carried away there. In news a little closer to home, controlling the media my ass!
Debate Schedule Troubles Jews

Observant Jews are unhappy with the schedule for the televised debates between President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry, saying the dates put politics and religion at loggerheads. The first debate, to be held next Thursday in Coral Gables, Fla., coincides with the Jewish harvest holiday of Succoth. The second, slated Oct. 8 - a Friday - in St. Louis, falls on the eve of the Sabbath.
And, of course, the third debate is in direct conflict with the opening night of Jackie Mason's five-night stint in Evansville, Indiana.

And if I wasn't feeling a little depressed lately already, seeing ads all around NYC for The Awesome '80s Prom, one of them annoying interactive shows, that takes place at a 1989 high school prom. Something about seeing my own graduation year as the subject of a cheesy reenactment just makes me feel about 90 years old. It is worth clicking on the link just to access the photo of Kevin Bacon who, to put it mildly, is not caught up in the interactive hilarity.

September 19, 2004

Philippe de Montebello
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028-0198

Dear Mr. de Montebello:

It is with a heavy heart and not without some bitterness that I hereby renounce my membership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, effective immediately. I hope that this letter detailing my reasons for this action will help instigate some obviously needed changes in your organization.

Like most relationships, my association with the Met began in happiness before deteriorating into disappointment and rancor. I was thrilled to receive the membership as a birthday gift from my siblings earlier this month. Other than fairly non-exclusive classifications such as homo sapiens or U.S. citizen I had really not been a member of anything since my high school days on the Mathletics team, so to suddenly be a part of something as lofty and prestigious as the Met was truly humbling and I was just hoping to live up to my end of the deal.

As I mentioned, things started off great. The day after my birthday, membership card in hand, I entered your museum, strode up to the counter, and received my admission pin from the smiling cashier. Those were six happy and fulfilling art-viewing hours that day, I can tell you. As it turns out, the very next afternoon I found myself on the Upper East Side with a certain urgent and embarrassing biological need. When I showed the nice woman at the counter my card and told her that I only needed to use the facilities and wouldn't be looking at any of the art, she laughed away my concerns and said that I could use the facilities, look at the art, whatever I wanted. I was a Metropolitan Museum member, part of the Met family.

Well, the events of the last two weeks have proved those to be empty words.Maybe I'm just a naive Jersey guy, not used to your big city museum ways, but where I come from we treat our family members with a little more respect and understanding. If my brother needs a few bucks until payday or a Yuan Dynasty vase to brighten up his apartment, I help the guy out rather than getting all huffy and threatening to have him arrested even after he puts the vase back without even a scratch. So when you receive my membership card in the mail, I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on what I've written and realize just how much harder it is to replace a member of one's family than it is a 13th century Italian stained-glass window (I'm real sorry about that, by the way).

Ken Goldstein

September 18, 2004

Special Election Updates!
  1. In the Spanish Tavern Patron's Poll (last updated here on August 3), Bush has widened his lead over Kerry to 60%-40%. Obviously not too scientific, but if Bush continues to stay close to Kerry in New Jersey (which went for Gore 56%-40% in 2000 and for Clinton 54%-36% in 1996), then things do not bode well for Mr. Kerry nationally.
  2. But in more pressing news for us here at The Donk, Mr. Happy Crack has a comfortable 12-point lead over The Dirt Cheap Chicken in the St. Louis Dispatch vote for top local mascot. MHC still needs your support, though, so if you haven't yet, please click on the link and win one for the Cracker.

A Loss That Felt Like a Win Yet Obviously Wasn't! Spent a fine day up at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun with my sister and Mr. Wolf, and all I have to say is that after getting mercilessly smacked around by the blackjack gods time after time after time like I was getting, to finish anywhere close to even is a huge accomplishment (scariest hand: resplitting threes against the dealers five and somehow winning all three hands). So no, I didn't win. Unless you somehow count in the win column witnessing a scary bachelorette party drinking through penis-shaped straws, or getting to see the Foxwoods Hard Rock Cafe's incredibly lame showcase rock memorabilia collection (Lita Ford's guitar! Some guitar from a Counting Crows member who isn't the one I've heard of! A jacket worn by a member of Cinderella!), or not being the member of our group who was pawed by a creepy old guy in a big hurry at the buffet (sister) or pawed by a less-creepy drunk woman at a blackjack table (Wolf). In that case, we're all winners. Except for my sister and Mike.

September 15, 2004

Happy New Year, Members of the Tribe! And as always, for the next month I'll still be writing 5764 on my checks...

September 14, 2004

Oh Yeah, the Reunion. For some reason a whole bunch of people who didn't even go to my high school are all curious about how the reunion went, with one or two wondering if it was so traumatic that it caused me to go on my aforementioned 36-hour scotch bender. The answer is, of course, that the reunion turned out to be a pretty decent time. I had a couple of beers, caught up with people whom I hadn't seen in anywhere from two to 15 years, and even remembered some names. So the reunion went well.

It's just everything else in my life that has caused me to seek succor in that sweet, sweet scotch. I don't really feel like getting into too many details (okay, two words: "Benefits Exhausted"), so instead I'll just pass along a brief yet still impressively desperate message from a longtime friend of The Donk, Mr. Happy Crack himself, Sidney Crackstein.
I am shamelessly asking all the people I know (seven as of last count) to vote for Mr. Happy Crack as St. Louis's top local mascot.

We were nominated over the weekend and a vote for Mr. Happy Crack is a vote for......well I'm not sure yet. But it's good.

If you go to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch site there's a thing on the right column that says "vote" or "results". My name is Mr. Happy Crack and I am a vote whore.
I just showed my MHC support and can tell you that while running strong, everybody's favorite Crackhead is shamefully trailing something called The Dirt Cheap Chicken 52% to 38%. Now, I don't know anything about this chicken, other than it has something to do with cheap, possibly stolen cigarettes and alcohol, and it has never sent me any free boxer shorts! So let's lend our old pal a hand and put him over the top, or else we can just add this to the ever-growing list of disappointments in my life.

But you know, ever since that dancing banana filed that restraining order, I find that this little guy always cheers me up. And now, I'm off to watch the final table of the World Series of Poker.

September 12, 2004

You know, at first it's a bit depressing to sit in a dark room on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and get drunk on cheap scotch, but after a while those feeling just sort of drift away.

September 10, 2004

My Ultimate Nightmare Event. Snake-handling festival? Jazz marathon? Six hours on one of those amusement park rides with chairs swinging around at the end of long chains, round and around, until I get really dizzy and scream for my dad to let me off the ride but he things I'm happy so he and the operator just smile and wave back? Nope.

Those of you who know me personally will know that while I may have one or two decent qualities, a good memory is not among them. Names, faces, dates, name it, I can't. Which is why tomorrow night's Class of 1989 reunion for the now-defunct (it and cross-town Cedar Ridge were merged to form the two-campus Old Bridge High School) Madison Central High School fills me with such dread.

A high school reunion is pretty much about nothing but memory, so it's like an acrophobic going skydiving. I even tried to find my yearbook so I could do a little last-minute cramming, but I think it's in my parents' attic, dammit. I was even thinking of skipping out on it, but Anthony Russo (who actually gave me the original Illuminated Donkey about ten years ago) has cajoled me into attending, and has said I could stay close to him throughout the night so he could feed me names and events. Wish me luck.
Subject line of Spam received this morning: "Relax, you're in the Bahamas." Um...maybe more like "Look out for that frigging hurricane, you're in the Bahamas! Bad week to be selling those Caribbean vacations, guys...
So that was the whole summer, huh?
Authenticity of Bush Memos Questioned.
Documents unearthed by CBS News that raise doubts about whether President Bush fulfilled his obligations to the Texas Air National Guard include several features suggesting that they were generated by a computer or word processor rather than a Vietnam War-era typewriter, experts said yesterday.[...]

[T]he CBS documents raise suspicions because of their use of proportional spacing techniques. Documents generated by the kind of typewriters that were widely used in 1972 space letters evenly across the page, so that an "i" uses as much space as an "m." In the CBS documents, by contrast, each letter uses a different amount of space. [...] Other anomalies in the documents include the use of the superscripted letters "th" in phrases such as "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron," Bush's unit.
Among the troubling features not mentioned in the article was the use of the term "ROTFL" in a passage describing Bush's piloting skill, as well as tearful testimony from the widow of an animated paperclip who allegedly helped Killian write the memo.

In related news, John Kerry today pledged that, if elected, he would withdraw all American troops from Vietnam by early 2006.

September 09, 2004

Whoops, almost forgot to change my age in my semibio over there on the left. It's my only ritual, like the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, only without so many big furry hats.

September 08, 2004

I didn't write much about my annual trip to the U.S. Open, so I never mentioned my biggest disappointment: not getting to see my dreamgirl, Vera Zvonareva, in action. Longtime readers might my becoming instantly smitten with Vera while watching her play Kim Clijsters. And how could I not have been? She's a fine tennis player, shares my birthday (for youse astrology freaks out there), and is completely crazy-go-nuts.

And while I thought perhaps the craziness I witnessed might have just been youthful exuberance, this report from Sunday's action settles the issue:
In perhaps the day's oddest match, 10th-seeded Vera Zvonareva burst into tears repeatedly on the court and slammed her racket to the ground during her loss to her Russian compatriot Elena Dementieva, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. Zvonareva even sobbed when she won the first set. The outburst was not unusual for Zvonareva, who is one of the most emotional players on the WTA Tour. "I think when you're in the fourth round of a Grand Slam, you can't not get emotional," she said. "When I'm comfortable with my tennis, I don't get like this."
How can you not just want to wrap her up and put her in your pocket? One big difference from two years ago is her current #10 ranking, which can only mean that the WTA has taken my advice and added Crazy Points to the calculations.
Trapped, trapped like a rat! After a fine Manhattan evening spent drinking tequila and listening to Neil Sedaka (along with an audience who simply could not clap at all), I woke up this morning to the sound of my toilet...gurgling, really. That remarkable Jersey City infrastructure was working its magic, directing the excess rainfall to seek an escape route through my bathroom. I then spent a good half-hour trying to escape the completely gridlocked four-block radius surrounding my apartment, finally giving up and inching back here until things clear. Oh well, perhaps I'll register a complaint at the City Council meeting tonight, part of my continuing effort to become a better citizen of this fine city that some call Chilltown.

And with a nod to oceanographer and fellow yesterday-birthday-haver Gabe Vecchi, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Guide to Naming Hurricanes, though it doesn't include the hurricane world's biggest honor, the list of retired Atlantic hurricane names, which happens when a hurricane does a huge stinking pile of damage.

Okay, let's try going to work again.

September 06, 2004

Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Frequently Takes Extended Breaks AKA When Jesus Was My Age He Was Dead.

So unless an extremely untimely runaway bus hydroplanes off of the Pulaski Skyway and crashes through my window, it looks like I'll be turning 33 in Wheeee. So since it's the end of my early 30's, the holiday weekend, and Summer, I might as well continue the theme and end this lengthy (though Whybark-interrupted) hiatus. And what a hiatus it's been! Cue the flashback SFX/Music! Roll the montage!

Um...or maybe not. I'm too frickin' tired for a full montage. But in case you were wondering, I somehow I still find myself more or less unemployed. That really promising interview I had way back when was for Toys 'R' Us, which seemed like a sure thing until they announced some major restructuring, including possibly selling off their toy business and focusing on their Babies 'R' Us line. In any event, it couldn't have helped me, and I continue to pay the rent with menial office work and a few freelance writing gigs.

Little C-Za and I made our annual trip to the U.S. Open on Saturday, and the highlight was definitely #100-ranked Olivier Rochus, who at 5'5" was the shortest player in the men's draw, who played an inspired match to upset #3 Carlos Moya. Rochus couldn't do a thing with Moya's serve, but the tiny little Belgian, who Christine thought was adorable, put together a series of great passing shots and perfect drops to outlast Moya. Unfortunately, after taking the first two sets today from Dominik Hrbaty, Rochus couldn't overcome leg cramps, ultimately losing the match. A damn shame.

Then yesterday the best damn group of friends any guy has ever had joined me for a kickass day of fried Oreos and Skee-Ball down at Seaside Heights. I had planned to continue on to Atlantic City for some more expensive fun, but then somebody started ordering tequila three shots at a time, and before we knew it we were being dragged out of the Sawmill and dunked in the rough seas of the Atlantic. Still, a good time was had by all, friends and stalkers alike.

So what's coming up here at The Donk? Well, how about my high school reunion? Or the debut of an exciting new magazine? Perhaps a little journey into the dark heart of local Jersey City politics? Stay tuned!

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