September 29, 2002

This month's theme: Bowling and Pie. And this weekend's Special Guest Blogger: Paul Frankenstein!

The girl behind the counter was busy not paying attention.

The boy tugged the man's sleeve and smiled.

The girl turned another page of her magazine.

It had to have come to this.

The man remembered that once, the alleys had stretched as far as the eye could see. Rolling forever, amber waves of hardwood, polyethylene balls, proud white pins. And now they were underground.

"Yeah, 9 1/2. And a pair in 6."

The girl -- her hair pinned up, a retro look -- got the shoes. The boy thought she looked like one of those women in old-time magazines.

They put their shoes on. The boy had trouble picking up the ball. It banged on the floor. The other players looked around. Someone laughed nervously.

The man had forgotten how heavy the balls were.

It rolled down the lane; slowly, ponderously, as if it had all the time in the world.

The man watched it. It thudded into the gutter and rolled harmlessly past the pins.

"It's OK. We can do it again."

The boy smiled again, and picked up another ball. He put it back. He waited for the first ball to come back on the return.

Sirens suddenly sounded outside. Everyone inside froze. Then the sirens faded away to the accompaniment of squealing tires. The tension inside eased.

The girl slid back on to her stool. She watched the man and the boy. It looked like it had been a long time for the man.

The boy pushed the ball down the alley again.

The man thought back. Cotton candy days. Maybe he could have made the girl. Maybe. That was a long time ago. Days of cakes and balloons and ribbons. Those were, those were.

The ball rolled down the lane again, but with more purpose this time. The boy stood at the end of the lane, watching it, eyes wide. It hit the three pins at the right end.

It was coming back for the man. That was the six pin, and that was the 10 pin, and that must be the nine pin behind.

They high-fived. The girl looked at them. She thought that a piece of pie would be nice.

September 28, 2002

Yeah, I've been slacking, but I've been very busy this week with my incredibly active social life. Broadway shows, fancy dinners, bowling in bus's all just too darn much for one Donk, and I'm heading out the door again, this time to have lunch with Jahna D'Lish and friends. It hasn't all been uneducational fooferall, as this week I did learn the important news that if for some reason you need to see Madison Square Garden completely surrounded by limos and dickweeds, you should hang out there at 11 the next time the Rolling Stones play there. Basically, if any other bloggers or readers out there want to contribute a Frankenstein-like guest article for the weekend, now would be a great time to do it. This month's theme at The Donk is bowling. Or maybe pie.

Also, I notice that a ton of great blogs still have their Blogger banner ads at the top of the page. Remember, if there's one of these on a blog you like, you can spend a measly 12 bucks to have it removed. It's a good cause, it improves the blog, and that blogger will love you until the end of time. Click here for more details.

September 27, 2002


September 25, 2002

The Sopranos question was okay, but refusing to let her perform her talent until she revealed Hoffa's whereabouts was a bit much.
Miss New Jersey Condemns "Sopranos" Question

A Miss America pageant judge was wrong to ask Miss New Jersey about her views on "The Sopranos," the contestant and some Italian-American groups said.

The judge asked Alicia Renee Luciano what she thought about the show during an interview segment of Saturday night's pageant in Atlantic City. Luciano, 19, answered that people shouldn't take television shows seriously, and that good parenting should offset violence on TV.

"It was a question that I don't think they would ask of anyone, other than someone with my background," she told The Daily Record of Parsippany for Tuesday's editions. The Byram resident is believed to be the first Italian-American to represent New Jersey in the pageant. "I wasn't expecting that," Luciano said. "Everyone else was getting questions about how they felt about performance dance and the arts." Several Italian-American groups agreed, calling the question insensitive and insulting. Miss America officials did not immediately return a message left at their office early Tuesday.

September 24, 2002

You know, I need a freaking break.

September 23, 2002

I just saw Bob and David! It was pretty darn funny!

(Yeah, that's it. What do you think this is: Blogcritics?)
I'm off to see Bob and David!

September 22, 2002

Mike Whybark, a fine writer and a better man, has spent the last week sharing memories of his sister and of the horrible events of September 1988. It starts here and can be followed using the arrows at the top of the page. It has our highest recommendation.
Paul Frankenstein was kind enough to direct me to Travis Nelson, the Boy of Summer, probably the best baseball blog I've seen so far, though Travis does link to a bunch of other fine ones. From the BoS I learned that Brewer Jose Hernandez is only two K's away from Bobby Bonds' single-season record (though he has been wuss-benched for four straight games to avoid breaking the record at home), plus the truth about the Tom Gamboa beating that baseball doesn't want you to know!

Speaking of baseball, I've decided that the Mariners of the last eight or so seasons, a team that has boasted at various times such stars as Ken Griffey, Jr., Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro, and Edgar Martinez, and has made four playoff appearances without winning a pennant, may have supplanted the Aaron/Mathews/Spahn Milwaukee Braves as baseball's most underachieving team. I think only the fact that they've never won anything is preventing people from realizing that they probably should have.

Oh, and I ordered Yankees playoff tickets and had the distinct and rare pleasure of somehow paying more in shipping fees, convenience charges, and a "building facility charge" than for the tickets themselves! If you're scoring at home, I paid $58 for two $12 bleacher seats for the opening round. Now, my question: is the somewhat snaky-looking "building facility charge" a way for teams to get out of paying a full share of gate receipts to visiting teams?
(via Capital Influx and Christine) Thinking of moving to Europe? Choose your country wisely! Would you rather live in, say, Germany?
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans mulling joining the army may think twice now thanks to a new regulation banning soldiers from having sex while in active service. The Defense Ministry said on Friday it had issued a decree stating that sleeping with fellow soldiers of either sex, or indeed their partners, would be bad for morale, threatening "mutual trust and soldiers' willingness to help each other."

Women soldiers will also have to take down their favorite pin-ups, as one clause, expressly formulated to include both men and women, prohibits them from hanging up pornographic images that might offend others.
Or Sweden?
A politician running for a seat in Sweden's parliament has called for pornography to be broadcast on television all-day every Saturday to help boost the population, and thereby the economy.

Teres Kirpikli, a Christian Democratic Party candidate, says pornography is the best way to get couples to have more sex and procreate. She wants erotica and porn on television every Saturday, all day, so people would feel like having more sex.
You make the call!
InstaPundit links to more evidence of "dropped balls at the FBI." Hmm...unlike Glenn I think that this would be a good thing since, if my high school health teacher was correct, it means that the FBI has finally reached puberty!

Thank you, I'm here all week!
Sheesh! Well, I'm still sitting in this stupid chair, staring at this stupid shipping manual (okay, I snuck out for a few hours yesterday to visit the quite interesting Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where I was called upon to help explain both Jewish burial rituals and cupping, followed by dinner and drinks with some kickass friends, including a rare visit from New York Gabe Vecchi...but other than that I've been working for doing this).

Anyway, Friday's Big Apple Blog Bash may have the best one yet, with more damned attractive folks, more pints of beer, and perhaps fewer drunken fistfights than any previous Blog Bash. I've created a special links section over there to your left to let anybody who couldn't make it play the home version of Blog Bash. Just open up a dozen windows with each of the blogs in its own window. Then, drink a couple of beers, spin around a few times, and read them all simultaneously. Oh, and always: if I met you on Friday and somehow didn't list your blog, that just means that I hate you.

Update: Paul has posted photos that were taken with his snazzy new camera!

September 21, 2002


(Um...more later...I have to write a training manual for a shipping company.)

September 18, 2002

Ugggghhhh...I just rolled in from a night with my sister at Little Italy's San Gennaro Festival, where the streets are piled three stories high with a million pounds of fried dough and meat. Dear Lord, there was a lot of fried meat. Anyway, I'm too dough-filled for any sort of thinking, so in honor of the unbelievable amount of meat that's currently lining Mulberry Street, I am proud to present Pork4Kids, brought to you by your good friends at the Pork Board.

(via Something Awful) Are you one of the millions of parents who want to tell your children about the miracle that is pork, but can't seem to find the right words? Well, be inadequate no more. The fine folks at the Pork Board have created an exciting, entertaining, and remarkably disturbing site designed to teach kids all about the other white meat, with activities, cartoons, a trip to the farm, and a maniacally-happy-especially-considering-his-fate pig. Of course, the cute little pre-sausage pig doesn't even begin to compare with the strangeness that is Peggy Pork Chop and her cartoon about the food pyramid. (It's all Flash, so I can't link to it directly, but it's burned into my brain if you want to check it out).

For added fun, your kids can test their Pork I.Q. or make and wear their own pig costume, but then the other kids will probably kill and eat them in order to fulfill the six recommended daily pork servings requirement, either that or Mike Whybark will create a site about them. In any case, your kids will enjoy many wonderful hours on the site, more than enough to ensure that they'll never bother with that piece-of-crap New Zealand Beef & Lamb Marketing Bureau Kids Corner.
If you're at all interested in casino poker, then you'll love this dealer's diary at Linda Geenan is a longtime player, manager, and dealer, currently working at the Bellagio in Vegas, home of perhaps the world's biggest games. Linda deals the lowest limits all the way up to games with a few million dollars on the table, and her diary lets us know what the job is really like, naming names on the nice guys and (more often) the biggest jerks.
I dealt to Johnny Chan on Christmas Night...please hold the ooohs and aaahhhs. All of the youngsters that have watched Rounders think that he's the best of the best; I do not agree. The best of the best don't steam or think the dealer did something to cause them to lose a hand, they just play it out because they know in the long run they will take home the bacon. Chip Reese has my vote here, no whining, no crying - just get the 'Mother' on.
Linda pulls no punches, and it makes for a fun and honest read.

September 17, 2002

Via noted socialist Clay Waters, Weebl Loves Pie! You know, The Godfather is on right now, and I have to say that Weebl Loves Pie ranks right up there with it as a groundbreaking cinematic achievement.
Some folks'll never rot in hell, and then again some folks'll...
Sure, it's getting a little chilly out, and the sun's setting a little earlier, and the leaves are starting to change colors, but dammit, this is New Jersey, and the summer ain't over until says that it's over!

Oh, wait, they just said that it's over. Carry on. But remember, until Labor Day:

There are no excuses! Party like a rockstar!

September 16, 2002

"No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice!" Speaking of the greatest movies of all time, this week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the film that marked the debut or provided breakthrough roles for Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, Nicolas Cage, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, Forrest Whitaker, and Bruce Springsteen's sister.

While I was too young to see Fast Times during its original theatrical run, the subsequent cable showings were watershed moments for an entire generation. Tony Ruegger has put together a massive and highly recommended fan site devoted to this fine cinematic achievement.

As though my entire world has been turned upside down... Joey Fatone of *NSYNC was an (uncredited) extra in one all my favorite movies, Once Upon a Time in America. Now I'll never be able to watch that movie without worrying that Noodles, Max, Deborah, and young Joey are gonna break out in a choreographed dance routine, like in Newsies. Dammit.
Laurence Simon over at Amish Tech Support introduces the concept of the "Blog Bitch," whereby whoever refers the most readers to his site has the honor of having Laurence as their bitch.

Now, it's been a while since I've gotten any major sort of A-list linklove, so of late I've been forced to settle for becoming somebody's Blog Grandbitch. Every so often I'll notice a sudden upswing in referrals from somebody like Asparagirl or Damian Penny, and since I know that nothing I've written here could be of any interest to them, it could only mean that some super-A-lister linked to them and I'm getting some downstream referral benefit. that I think about it, this could mean the existence of Blog Greatgrandbitches out there! Not that I'm mentioning any names! (And yes, Mike, I am doing some posting instead of this big pile of freelance technical writing I should be doing...)

September 15, 2002

Hey, I want my FREE BEER as well!!!

Okay, okay...whoever leaves Comment #8 in this post gets themself a FREE BEER at the BABB! Bloggers may leave a maximum of two comments. So there's strategy, you see?

September 14, 2002

Bush to U.N.: Take off the Skirt! With regards to Bush's comments today that the United Nations should "show some backbone" and that giving Saddam Hussein further chances to comply to U.S. demands was as much a test of the U.N. as of Hussein...well, as my old boss Bader could have told him, the correct move for the next few days would almost certainly be the old "silent close."
What's the next thing that you should do, once you've said, "You'll have to do better than that"? You guessed it. Shut Up! Don't say another word. The other side may just make a concession to you. Salespeople call this the silent close, and they all learn it during the first week that they are in the business. You make your proposal and then shut up. The other person may just say Yes, so it's foolish to say a word until you find out if he or she will or won't.
Yes, the silent close, generally far more effective than calling the U.N. a bunch of Nancy-Boys, at least for the first few days.
Did somebody say FREE BEER?! But since I just did, let's start buying people beers!
  1. The first person to leave a comment in this here post gets themself a FREE BEER at the BABB!
  2. The first person attending their debut bloggathering who shakes my hand gets themself a FREE BEER at the BABB!
  3. Whoever travels the greatest distance to attend gets themself a FREE BEER at the BABB!
This makes a total of three beers. You are all welcome.

Update: Um...I'm buying the free beers. In case that was somehow unclear.

September 12, 2002

It feels kind of weak to do these each as an individual post, so let me run through a bunch of bits real quick.
  1. Sure, she's abandoned New Jersey and now says we ain't never getting her back, but if the blogiverse gave out awards like baseball, Meryl Yourish would have my vote for Blogger of the Month, as she's been completely kicking ass every single day. Go read her annotated Nigerian scam letter, then read everything else she wrote.
  2. Okay, this is pretty damn funny, too: Dawn Olson interviews her Troll.
  3. Driving back from Old Bridge tonight I found myself behind a car with two or three bumper stickers and signs. The license plate? BLASFMR. [For some reason I just did a Google check on that plate, and discovered I was driving behind this guy.]
  4. The coolest thing I heard yesterday was on the Howard Stern Show, where Howard let a bunch of small-business owners hurt by the attacks call in and promote their stores. No charity, no pleas for donations, just some hardworking folks telling listeners that if they need some hardware or liquor or anything to head downtown and buy it there. From what I heard, K-Rock ran these clips for the rest of the day.
  5. I'm sure this must be some sort of mistake (and the ranking might change by the time you see this), but according to the Myelin Blogging Ecosystem I am currently tied in linklove with the excellent and revered Rabbit Blog. This makes me disproportionately pleased. (Update: it was a one-day anomaly.)
Okay, I guess that's enough for now.
(via Little C-Za) Hey, collectors! Do you love tennis and want folks to turn to you in case of a chemical weapon attack? Well, then this is the item for you!
Brand new, never worn, NYPD / US Open 2002 tennis C.O.B.R.A TEAM Golf shirt. C.O.B.R.A. is the acronym for CHEMICAL OR BIOLOGICAL RESPONSE ACTION TEAM. The COBRA team is present at major events as first responders to any chemical or biological threats. This shirt was made to commemorate the COBRA presence at the 2002 US tennis open in Flushing, Queens, NY. [...] Logo is of a cobra snake holding 2 tennis racquets.
On a scale of one to creepy, this is pretty creepy.
And so The Illuminated D'Lish has come to its touching conclusion. We've had a lot of fun, and learned a lot about both Miss D'Lish and ourselves, but the time has come for us to return to our regularly scheduled blogging. But first...
Hail to thee
Sweet Miss D'Lish,
You have fulfilled
Our every wish.
You made us laugh,
You made us think,
Made our knees weak
With just a wink.
But now our day
Has reached its end,
Hundreds of folks
Now call you friend.
And when you finally
Do come back,
You'll hear more jokes
About your rack.
Thanks a lot everybody! Drive home safely!
Now, what you've all been waiting for: D'LISHOUS PHOTOS!!! Huge thanks to the always-there-for-me Murph for setting up the album of his photos.
And we're back! After a few hours of relatively relaxing employment, away from the hectic nightmare that is Jahna D'Lish Day, I'm ready to resume the most magical day of posting ever! To get us going again, let's take a moment to honor those folks who made D'Lish the gal she is today. Sure, I said that she's like a sister to me, but those are just empty words. Let's devote a few moments to those most special of folks, her actual family!

Last night I directed you to a few links, but be sure to check out this link to the art of John Segreto, aka Dad D'Lish! There's some really good stuff in his portfolio, great paintings from an artist who does "not understand the interminably persistent drive to paint objects that can be readily photographed."

For further family fun, you'll definitely wanna check out the comments building up in today's links, where you can find piles of words from Jahna's older sister Allison.

And in an exclusive, we have deep insight into the early D'Lish and how she became the dynamo she is today, leaving a trail of dumbstruck men in her wake. The memory comes from her cousin Juliette, who has asked to remain anonymous, and concerns an epochal moment in the young D'Lish's life.
Ms. D'Lish's relationship problems with men began at an early age. At the tender age of eight the boy next door asked her to play the infamous "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" game. Up for just about anything, Little Miss D'Lish agreed. They walked to the side of the house, hidden from both houses but with a view of the road.

First he showed her his. She wasn't impressed. Then, in nervous anticipation, he asked to see hers. She hesitated, wondering if this relationship would really go anywhere, but then finally showed him hers. To her dismay the boy began crying hysterically, then ran away, never to be seen again! You see, at the very moment that she showed him hers, his pet cat was run over by a passing car. Jahna never knew just why the silly boy ran away, and could only assume the worst. Both embarrassed and angry, Jahna decided that if this was the way it had to be, then she would use her obvious powers for evil instead of good, and thus the Pussy Power of Miss Jahna D'Lish was unleashed upon the world!
Ah, family! If it weren't for them, we'd get a whole lot less stuff on our birthdays.

September 11, 2002

The opening hours of Illuminated D'Lish Day wrap up (hey, some of us gotta work in the morning) with a pointer to the special one-day-only Luscious Links section over there on your left. The Illuminated D'Lish: it's just like taking an ocean cruise, except there's no boat and you don't actually go anywhere.
The aforementioned Murph checks in with some smokin' D'Lish Page Six gossip! A few months back the following article appeared in the New York Post's Page Six gossip section.
Hostess' Firing Blamed on Wrong Fit.

WAS A BUSTY 28-year-old hostess fired by the restaurant in the Nicole Farhi store because she was too big to wear the designer's $300 sweaters? A former high-level employee of the swanky Brit-owned 60th Street boutique says Eva Hoffman, a hostess who worked in the store's restaurant, was fired in June because she was too busty to fit in the designer's $300 sweaters.

"Stephen Marks [the CEO] was in town, took one look at Eva and said she couldn't fit into the sweaters and to get rid of her," the former employee tells the New York Post. "Soon after that, we had to start taking Polaroid pictures of applicants to see if they were good-looking enough to work there."

Hoffman was shocked by the alleged reason for her being 'laid off.' "I know my boobs have gotten me hired before, but never fired," she said. "I am wearing a Nicole Farhi sweater right now and get compliments on it all the time."
Murph has taken it upon him to reimagine the above incident, this time with our Miss D'Lish in the role of the wronged damsel.
Employee Firing Blamed on Great Tits.

WAS A BUSTY 28-year-old diva fired by Mirage Marketing because she was too goddamn sexy to wear the company's uniform; a thoroughly moistened, white, middle-of-the-road, men's cotton tee-shirt?

One former high-level employee of the locally-owned Smut Empire told PAGE SIX that Jahna D'Lish was fired this week because her incredible breasts were too much for management to handle. The CEO, Wendell Mirage (not his real name) who was in town on "business," took one look at Ms. D'Lish and said, "Holy freaking crap, check out the rack on you think she would slap me around with those?" the former employee claims. Mr. Mirage then approached Ms. D'Lish with his proposition. According to the former employee, Ms. D'Lish responded by "dropping that sumbitch like a two foot putt. Soon after that, we had to start taking Polaroid pictures of applicants in soaking-wet skin-tight tee-shirts to see if they were stacked enough to work there."

D'Lish, a phenomenally successful local filmmaker, was shocked by the alleged reason for her being "laid off." "I know my boobs are fucking unbelievable, but who does this fuckin' fuck think he is?" she said. "There isn't enough money in the company's entire budget to pay me to show these babies to some jagoff Richie-Rich. Not that I'm scared of showing off my spectacular set when I feel like it...I'm not wearing a goddamn thing right now and get compliments on these all the time."

Mr. Mirage, who is in intensive care, could not be reached for comment.
I guess now's as good a time as any to point out that on Illuminated D'Lish Day, the staff might be workin' a little blue.
Boy, that last post sure was long! Which means that it's the perfect time for a commercial break. What can be better than reading The Illuminated D'Lish? Reading The Illuminated D'Lish while wearing exclusive D'Lish clothes from lo Buck Industries! How much more would you be enjoying this day if you were wearing a D'Lish baby-tee, or this ever-so-scandalous D'Lish G-String?!?! Answer: a lot more!
So let's get started, shall we? I asked Miss D'Lish to send us a little info to help out those unfortunate wretches who might not be familiar with her life and work. She responded with a few quick facts and a longer bio, together offering everything you could possibly want to know about this dynamo. Let's kick off D'Lish Day with a little first-person action:
  1. Even though it is no longer considered a fashion faux pas, I refuse to wear white after Labor Day.
  2. "Some Like It Hot" is my favorite movie.
  3. I think Skee Ball is the greatest game of all time.
  4. I cannot stand Bleu or Gorgonzola cheese.
  5. If I could, I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.
I was born on November 1, 1971 in Hoboken, NJ; the wing of St. Mary's Hospital where I was delivered burned down a few years later. I lived in Hoboken the first year of my life, then in Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, Seattle, Bradley Beach, Brick, Wanamassa, Toms River, Old Bridge, New Brunswick, Highland Park, Manhattan, back to Seattle and currently in Brooklyn, NY.

I have three sisters and three brothers. Two older sisters (Gail and Allison) and one older brother (John) are from my father's first marriage. My younger sister and brother (Summer and Jay) are from my parents twelve-year union (and then my mother left my father for his younger brother, but that¹s another story entirely). I also have an older half-brother that I've never met. My mother became pregnant when she was seventeen (out of wedlock and by a ~gasp~ Puerto Rican). Being it was 1967 and she came from a strict Italian family, this was frowned upon. My grandparents promised my mother she could keep the baby but after the delivery, they signed him over to an adoption agency. I have never sought out my brother due to evolving circumstances and I'm not entirely sure I would have the resources to do so even if I wanted to.

My first job was at the Double D in Old Bridge, NJ (those who know me can insert boob joke here). In order to operate the slicer, I lied and said I was eighteen. I was actually thirteen. My jobs since have included cocktail waitress, receptionist, phone sex operator and personal assistant to Steve McQueen. One waitressing experience in New Brunswick, NJ is the basis for my first feature-length screenplay. It is also where I met my dear friend, Murph. We later discovered our fathers knew each other for twenty years, as they worked in the same Teamster's local.

I met Ken at Madison Central High School, where we were both on the yearbook staff. Here is his entry in my yearbook: "I appreciate anything that you said about me this year. I feel kinda left out that it took so long for us to actually become friends, but as I always say half a year is better than none. The yearbook came out pretty happening doncha think? Fabulous captions (sorry, strange tangent). You really are a fabulous babe, so keep on rockin'. By the way, I do consider being compared to Woody Allen to be a fabulous compliment." That was over thirteen years ago.

In 1995, I moved back to Seattle. After a tumultuous three-year relationship ended, I decided to attend the Seattle Film Institute. My first 16mm project, Pendemonium, played in several film festivals including The Seattle International Film Festival, toured the US and Canada with The Best of the Northwest Film Festival, and appeared on The Sundance Channel. An origami gag from that movie has been plagiarized by Starburst, but that¹s all my lawyers will allow me to say about it (if this is anyone but Steve Allen, you¹re 'stealing my bit!).

After graduation, it was either LA or NYC, and I think the choice was obvious. I spent that summer at my sister Allison's house, lounging in the sun. It was during that summer that I received the best compliment from a mook in my life: "your hair is so excellent; it makes me want to read a book or somethin'." On August 1st, 2001, I moved to Sunset Park, Brooklyn with my cousin, Jewels and her dog, Tosh. I landed a job with Corporation Service Company, just after Labor Day, who was located in the World Trade Center. I was actually in the building on September 11th and got out by the skin of my teeth, much to the relief of my friends and family.

Lucky to be alive, I decided to do everything I've been putting off, including writing my feature length and taking martial arts classes. Here I am, a year later: working for the same company (relocated to midtown), taking sixteen classes a week at Bo Law Kung-Fu, working on the fourth draft of my script, and involved with a swell guy by the name of Joshua. I love being me!

Welcome to the Illuminated D'Lish!

Welcome, welcome one and all to the shiniest blog in the world, at least for one day. For on this day we put aside everything you've come to expect from The Donk — the Golden Girls epsiode reviews, the Hugh Downs / Barbara Walters softcore fan fiction, the drunken rants against the Belgians — and instead focus on our most fabulous reader: Jahna D'Lish.

Feeling a little confused? Well, you needn't be. You see, last week we here at The Donk were fortunate enough to pass the 50,000 visitor mark, so we had a little contest to celebrate that lucky #50K. The grand prize: you're looking at it! An entire day of blogging excitement devoted to that reader, with posts by, about, that lucky winner!

[Legal Notice: two other readers also sent notice that their site meters read "50,000" (there seems to be some sort of bug with the counter), but Ms. D'Lish was the only one of the three to send the clinching screenshot. I offer my apologies to those two readers — the mysterious Mo-Skee and the also-mysterious-but-in-an-entirely-different-way Clay Waters — for the vagaries of the system, and invite them and their fans to simply read their names instead of D'Lish's as it appears, though in about 95% of those cases the result will be nearly incomprehensible.]

And just who is Jahna D'Lish? Well, she's my oldest and dearest friend in the world, just like a sister to me (which is really odd, since my sister is just like a D'Lish to me), beautiful yet deadly, and...well, there's no point in telling the whole story right away. We have a whole day to do that.

But yes, Scott, that is her real name.

September 10, 2002

A moment of silence, please.
In what is certainly one of the proudest moments of my blogging career, I have been invited to join the Yahoo Skee Ball Group by the illustrious Paul Kronenberg of Brooklyn, a Brooklyn native who is currently trying to track down information on Skee Ball manufacturing pioneer Morris Goldberg (though I would suggest to Paul that if you're looking for fascinating history about the game it's easier to just make up stuff).

Anyway, dual Donk/Skee fans (I'm looking at you, Mo-Skee) will definitely want to head over to the Group and join up. The current thread discusses how Skee Balls are made, and I just discovered this link to the $100,000 Skee Ball World Championship!
Jim over at Objectionable Content sings The New Post Blues, with a little help from noted blogger George Thorogood.
A Correction. We here at The Donk humbly apologize to Mr. Mike Whybark for an error that was made yesterday on this site. Unfortunately, one of our Fall interns did not thoroughly perform his fact-checking duties, with the result being that a transcription error led to us linking to this comical picture of a monkey instead of Mr. Whybark's "blog." He has graciously pointed out our mistake, and I can only placate Mr. Whybark with the promise that the intern in question has been removed from his position, and steps are being taken to ensure that he will never work in the publishing industry again. Once again, we offer our full apologies to Mr. Mike Whybark.
A shout out to Goldsteins mere and pere, who are celebrating their thirty-second-and-a-half anniversary in fabulous Las Vegas, holing up at the pirate-packed Treasure Island when they're not too busy gambling and whoring. When I spoke to my parents this afternoon my dad was up about $400, using a super-secret roulette system he promised to sell to me at a very reasonable price.

Actually, right now my parents are at the Siegfried & Roy show, where I would bet a million dollars my dad is sitting there thinking, "I could be playing 5-10 hold `em at the Bellagio, and instead I'm paying more than two bills to watch these two yahoos and some freaking cats."

September 09, 2002

Old, old, old, old, old. Paul Frankenstein was kind enough to point out this U.S. Open Finals recap, with the teaser that, "Hey, according to the NY Post, guys who are 31 are officially geezers," though I tend to discount sentences that begin with the phrase "according to the NY Post."

Among my other fellow bloggers who made me feel real damn good about my 31st were Marc Weisblott, Jumpin' Jim Henley, not-so-Jumpin', Clay "Muddy" Waters, and that damned Whybark character.

As usual, the only one who made me take my mouth off the exhaust pipe was the lovely Ravenwolf, who says more with a simple "Wheee!" and some sort of colon/capital-P combination than most people can say with actual words and sentences. R-Dub: I thank you.

Oh, and speaking of me: ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! But speaking of Jahna D'Lish, the winner of our somehow controversial 50,000th Visitor Contest (three people may have actually seen the 50,000 meter, but only one actually sent me proof), fans of this rising star will definitely want to check us out on Thursday, when The Illuminated Donkey becomes The Illuminated D'Lish! Dear freaking lord that's gonna be something!

September 08, 2002

Well, it could be worse...oh wait, it can't. Following hideous losses to Villanova and Buffalo by a combined 71-30 margin, my alma mater Rutgers is currently the lowest-ranked Division 1A college football team in the whole frigging country. Sheesh.
Continuing the theme of my out-of-control life: on Friday I noticed I was getting a lot of hits from the Moby message boards, where I have never been. Obviously, this piqued my interest, so I headed over there to discover the lovely news that a certain "ddonkey", who identifies himself as a 13-year-old boy and who has left over 7000 messages on the Moby boards (including such witty gems as "I MAKE FOR POOPY!!!"), has been nice enough to list this here site as his own personal homepage! Gosh, thanks, you thieving crapmaster!
Drug-Testing Scandal Rocks Bridge World! While the country's attentions have been focused on baseball's troubles, another sport has been having an even worse summer. Bridge has been hit with a series of scandals and disappointments related to its efforts to become recognized as an Olympic event.

As part of the campaign to become recognized, in 2000 the World Bridge Federation adopted Olympics guidelines, including random drug testing. Now, in the wake of August's World Open Championships in Montreal, American Disa Eythorsdottir was stripped of her silver medal for refusing to take a drug test. Eythorsdottir had been taking a prescription diet drug for a back condition and could not be told whether it was on the list of banned substances. Meanwhile, World Bridge Federation President Jose Damiani told members that he was "not very optimistic" about bridge's chances for admission.
Whoooo!!!! Last night's birthday bash at dba was a kickass blast, thanks to the best darn friends in the world, including 50K-Contest winner Jahna D'Lish and her agent Jewels, Sports Keith, Marc, Little C-Za, and Jessica (whose Summer daily comic strip you should definitely check out). Many beers were downed (the dba has over 100), many bachelor-partying-Fratboys were tortured (including one who may have been about one more word away from kicking my ass Broadway-style but I made it out alive), and many conversations degenerated as the night progressed. Other than the disturbing wrapping paper on one of my presents, it was a perfect night.

September 06, 2002

I'm 31.

Other momentous September 7 events include:

September 05, 2002

Jim Treacher reviews a bootleg video of Run Ronnie Run, the as-yet-and-maybe-forever unreleased Mr. Show movie, and compares it to an SNL movie and uses the phrase "It's just anvils thudding left and right for 86 minutes." This is an unfortunate development.
50,000: It Wasn't You! Unless, of course, you are the unbelievably alluring and persistent Jahna D'Lish!!! (Lemme tell ya — you wish that her name was hyperlinked!) Jahna's grand prize — the D'Lishification of The Donk — will go into effect sometime next week, so keep your eyes peeled, and thanks to everybody who tried and failed.

Oh, and here's your runner-up prize...DONKEY BASEBALL!!!

Um...wait a second...while Jahna is the only person who sent me the 50,000 screenshot, two other people have claimed (with no perjorative insinuation attached to that word) to have also seen the magic 50K Site Meter on their very own computer screens. Those two people — fellow Jersey Cityer Clay Waters and the blogless yet still kickass Mo-Skee — seem like honest folk, so I need to figure out what the hell is going on.
50,000: It Could Be You! Remember, if you are that lucky #50,000, simply send us an e-mail with a screenshot of the magic number (or without one, we're not that picky), and you will become the Donk Superstar for a Day! Keep checking in, Sports Fans!

September 04, 2002

What the hell is going on?!?!?! First I get my likeness and for all I know my entire freaking life stolen by some devilishly clever fiend (or fiendishly clever devil, perhaps), and now Matthew Sheren over at The Sardonic Subversive fills me on how Tuesday Morning Quarterback (formerly of Slate, now on columnist Gregg Easterbrook has written his NFL predictions in haiku form! Gee, where the hell have I seen that before?!

For Pete's sake, folks, why don't I just put all my comedy gold out on the porch and let you drive a U-Haul up and load it all in! Go right ahead! I don't care! Wheeeeee!


Wait, lemme catch my breath here...


Only 100 visitors to go! Sometime during the next 24 hours we will be receiving our 50,000th visitor, and the tension is mounting.
The Voting Has Ended! As you may know, we are being unceremoniously booted from our Pulaski Skyway home office at the end of November, so over the past few weeks we've run a poll to let our readers decide our next location. And in a stunning, come-from-behind victory, the results are:
  1. New York City (60 votes): 31%
  2. New Jersey (52 votes): 27%
  3. Seattle (50 votes): 26%
  4. Texas Gravel Pit (17 votes): 9%
  5. Witness Relocation (12 votes): 6%
  6. Dublin, Georgia (3 votes): 1%
It was a thrilling finish, with a late surge by the east-coast posse breaking the seeming Seattle stranglehold. I'd like to thank all my readers for their diligent and repeated voting, and I'll be sure to ask for all of your help the next time I have a tough dilemma the same week that hell freezes over.
In Greece, Use a Game Boy, Go to Jail. (via Jahna)
The Greek government has banned all electronic games across the country, including those that run on home computers, on Game Boy-style portable consoles, and on mobile phones. Thousands of tourists in Greece are unknowingly facing heavy fines or long terms in prison for owning mobile phones or portable video games.

The law applies equally to visitors from abroad: "If you know these things are banned, you should not bring them in," said a commercial attaché at the Greek Embassy in London, who declined to give her name.

Internet cafes will be allowed to continue to operate, providing no games-playing takes place. If a customer is found to be running any sort of game, including online chess, the cafe owner will be fined and the place closed.

The Greek government introduced the law in an attempt to prevent illegal gambling. According to a report in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, Greek police will be responsible for catching offenders, who will face fines of 5,000 to 75,000 euros (about $4,980 to $74,650) and imprisonment of one to 12 months. "The blanket ban was decided in February after the government admitted it was incapable of distinguishing innocuous video games from illegal gambling machines," the report said.

September 02, 2002

50,000 Visits: the Countdown Begins! One day this week, most likely Thursday, The Donk will receive its 50,000 visitor, and just as we did for #10,000 and #25,000, we're giving away a fantastic prize. The rules are simple: check the Site Meter counter to your left whenever you visit The Donk. If you see a 5 followed by a whole bunch of zeroes, just send me an e-mail, preferably accompanied by a screen capture, and you win!

And what do you win? Well, besides a commemorative certificate suitable for framing and a few assorted knicknacks, for one day The Illuminated Donkey will become The Illuminated...YOU! For one glorious day next week you and only you will be the focus of the 225th most-linked-to blog in the whole blogging ecosystem! Stories, anecdotes, commentary, poetry, and more — all of it about your interests, your hobbies, and just plain you, in all of your wonderful youness.

Keep watching this space for more details regarding this once-in-a-lifetime prize, and keep checking the Site Meter for your chance to win.
100 Things About 100 Bloggers (via Paul Frankenstein)
  1. I was born in Brooklyn, New York
  2. I have a mother, father, brother, and sister, all of whom I like a great deal.
  3. I had a younger brother, Robert, who died at five when I was six.
  4. My family moved to New Jersey when I was under a year old.
  5. I have lived in New Jersey for 26 of my 31 years.
  6. I would consider myself a Jersey guy no matter where I moved to.
  7. I am proud of this identity.
  8. Then again, when I lived in Seattle I would often answer “New York” to the question of where I was from.
  9. In New Jersey, I have lived in Parlin, Old Bridge, New Brunswick, Plainfield, North Brunswick, and Jersey City.
  10. Not counting family or relationships, I have had five roommates; all the arrangements have gone well.
  11. I think that I am an easy person to get along with.
  12. I consider myself very fortunate regarding my friends and family.
  13. If I think somebody is upset with me, I need to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
  14. I have had three full-time, salaried jobs, as well as about at least ten hourly/temp positions.
  15. I have been fired once.
  16. It wasn’t that big a deal.
  17. I hate job interviews.
  18. I think that I am very good at what I do for a living.
  19. The most valuable lesson I have learned at work is that nobody ever wins an argument.
  20. One of my proudest achievements was my Employee of the Year award at my last job.
  21. I have a terrible nail-biting habit, and constantly bite and pick at them as if they done me wrong
  22. I have a systematic method for eating corn-on-the-cob, removing each row to eventually leave a clean, stripped cob
  23. I prefer almost all vegetables raw, including corn-on-the-cob
  24. My specialty dish is deviled eggs.
  25. I used to like sushi, but seemingly overnight I completely lost my taste for it.
  26. I much prefer vanilla to chocolate.
  27. I don’t care for cheesecake.
  28. I have ordered the soy burger dinner with swiss at Dojo’s at least 25 times.
  29. I have worked in a Burger King, Roy Rogers, and a small diner.
  30. Given the choice between being evicted from my apartment and working in food service again, I’d have to think about it.
  31. There are two foods and only two foods on which ketchup is allowed.
  32. Tabasco is a gateway condiment to far more dangerous sauces.
  33. During the Gulf War my friend Keith and I created a mixed drink called the Wolf Blitzer, consisting of Yoo-Hoo and amaretto.
  34. I wish that I drank more in college.
  35. I have probably smoked less than 20 cigarettes in my life.
  36. I have lost a fair amount of weight twice in my life.
  37. I now need to do this again.
  38. I had bright red hair as a child, but it has progressively darkened to its current brown.
  39. My best feature is my calves.
  40. I have really bad teeth.
  41. I have had three root canals and countless fillings.
  42. The sickest I have ever been was my two-week sinus infection during the L.A. riots.
  43. I have never had any piercings or tatoos.
  44. Wearing any sort of jewelry or accessories really annoys me.
  45. My favorite baseball team growing up was the Phillies, mostly as a backlash against obnoxious Mets fans.
  46. My favorite player was Mike Schmidt.
  47. Baseball is my favorite sport to watch.
  48. Tennis is my favorite sport to play.
  49. I have never beaten my dad in tennis.
  50. I once bowled a 201.
  51. Despite my being pretty bad at baseball, my Little League teams won championships all six years I played.
  52. Despite my being a fairly good player, my soccer teams lost every game my last three years.
  53. I was the team scoring leader my last year of soccer with one goal.
  54. I have never been to an NFL game.
  55. I have been to minor-league hockey and indoor soccer games.
  56. The most exciting moment of my life was watching Jim Leyritz hit a game-winning 15th inning home run to beat the Mariners in the 1995 playoffs.
  57. I realize that this is fairly sad.
  58. I’ve spent way too much money in my life on sports cards and comic books.
  59. My dad and I have a baseball bat signed by every living Hall of Famer
  60. I’ve stopped buying things like action figures just because they’re cool and I think they’d look good on my desk.
  61. My favorite place in the world is the Guggenheim Bilbao.
  62. My favorite place that I visit regularly is Manhattan’s Frick Museum.
  63. Either that or the Lower East Side in general.
  64. I have visited seven countries, though three of those were for less than a day.
  65. The first Joseph Heller book I read wasn't Catch-22.
  66. I’m not sure how, but I drive an average of 500 miles a week.
  67. Driving 70 on a sunny day, windows down, music blasting, is one of my favorite things in the world.
  68. I’ve been in three car accidents, two of which were my fault.
  69. I much prefer cold weather to hot.
  70. I like shoveling snow.
  71. I can do fairly complicated calculations in my head.
  72. The most money I’ve ever won at poker was $1100.
  73. The most I’ve ever lost was $700.
  74. Those two sessions were three days apart, which proves something or other.
  75. Within minutes of browsing in a book or record store I’ll need to use the bathroom.
  76. During college I essentially wore nothing but t-shirts with cartoon characters.
  77. I felt very good the day I realized that I no longer had any of these left in my regular wardrobe rotation.
  78. I rarely get worked up over things.
  79. My sister thinks that my biggest problem is that I refuse to admit when I’m wrong.
  80. I think she’s mistaken about this.
  81. When compared to the films and music of the last two decades, TV has nothing to be ashamed of.
  82. I’ve never been in a fistfight.
  83. I’ve appeared onstage in front of thousands.
  84. The first record I ever bought was Joe Jackson’s Night and Day.
  85. On the other hand, when I was 12 and my grandmother let me pick out any cassette I wanted at Kmart, I chose Olivia Newton John’s Greatest Hits.
  86. I own everything Elvis Costello has ever released.
  87. I think at his peak, Woody Allen was the funniest stand-up comedian ever.
  88. I am neither a cat or dog person.
  89. I subscribe to far too many magazines.
  90. I have fairly neat handwriting.
  91. I should paint and write more.
  92. I normally prefer listening to talk radio as opposed to music while driving.
  93. Someday I’m going to think about all the time I’ve wasted and need a stiff drink.
  94. That drink will likely be Johnny Walker Black.
  95. I automatically check everything I see for spelling errors or typos.
  96. I’ve only been in one strip club.
  97. I have spent an insane amount of money attempting to win stuffed animals on boardwalks.
  98. I don’t think I make a good first impression.
  99. All things considered, I think I’m a pretty decent guy.
  100. I really should have spent the last two hours working on freelance projects instead of this silliness.

The summer season officially ended yesterday for me as my friend Jahna and I took one last trip down the shore. The weather was horrible, Seaside Heights was near-empty, but did we let that stop us? Hell, no! What are we, a bunch of damn farmers, worrying about the rain?! Giant slices of pizza, beers, Skee-Ball, and stuffed Spongebobs were eaten, drank, played, and won, respectively, along with plenty of Frogger and air hockey.

Following Seaside we decided to take an ill-advised trip down to A.C., where we dined on meat, meat, and more meat at the Tropicana buffet, followed by some light gaming and spectating (including the last throes of some kid's roulette meltdown, playing the remnants of a $35K stack of black $100 chips in big piles around the layout). We learned about pai gow tiles and dropped a few bills into the slots. Lady Luck is a filthy slut.

Summer in New Jersey kicks ass, but now it's all over. Sniff.

September 01, 2002

Highlights from the U.S. Open: More Tennis than You Can Possible Imagine! Boy, that was a ton of tennis fun. Before I run through our day, here's a little background on the logistics involved at the Open, definitely my favorite sporting event, more like a county fair than a spectator sport. The grounds in Flushing consist of 18 courts, including the Arthur Ashe Stadium (where the main events are held), the Louis Armstrong Stadium and connected Grandstand, and 15 other courts of various seating capacities (ranging from full bleachers to a couple rows of seats), plus the practice courts. Other than our reserved seats in the upper regions of Ashe Stadium, we could sit anywhere we wanted to watch any of the nine or ten matches taking place at any time. Scoreboards around the grounds keep you updated, letting you head over to check out a good match in progress.

We led off with the Kim Clijsters (7) vs. Vera Zvonareva match in the Grandstand, a train wreck of a match in which the high-ranked Clijsters played about as bad a first set as I've seen, including double-faulting break points in two straight service games. In the second set, Clijsters regained her composure and started playing well, while at the same time Zvonareva, a fiery young Russian (who was born on my 13th birthday), just completely lost her shit, taking a questionable call and a few bad shots and weaving them into a display of racquet-smashing, heavens-cursing anger and self-loathing that made me fall instantly in love with her. In-match coaching is banned in tennis, and you had to think that a few calming words might have settled her down enough to help her take a match she was obviously capable of winning. In any case, we left after Clijsters took the second set in a match she would eventually win 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.

We headed over to watch Venus Williams (2) thoroughly demolish Martina Muller, a 77th-ranked German who no chance of giving Venus any sort of challenge. I know about the whole "on any given day" credo that makes sports worth watching, but with the entire stadium rooting on every one of Venus's terrific shots, watching as she returned every one of Muller's best-hit shots with almost no effort — well, I'm surprised Muller won the three games she did in the 6-1, 6-2 match.

After that, we headed to our not-all-that-terrible seats in the main stadium to watch the rematch of last year's controversial Lleyton Hewitt (1) vs. James Blake (25) match. It was a psyched crowd watching the American take on the defending champ, with large contingents of both face-painted Americans and Australians cheering on their man. Blake took advantage of some uncharacteristic late lapses by Hewitt in an exciting first set to take the first-set tiebreaker. The next two sets weren't nearly as good, as Hewitt wore down Blake to go up two sets to one. Watching this match really made me understand the decline of the serve-and-volley game; it wasn't so much Hewitt's booming serve that made Blake's visits to the net so unsuccessful, but how when Blake did go to the net Hewitt would either hit a remarkably hard passing shot down the line for a winner, or directly at Blake, leaving Blake no time for anything but a reflexive, soft return. Blake made something like six straight unsuccessful net approaches before abandoning the strategy in the second set.

I wanted to see some doubles, and a glance at the scoreboard showed that the New York Times front-page coverboys Amir Hadad of Israel and Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan had taken the defending champs Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe to a third-and-deciding set. Now, here's part of the Times's report on the match:
Hadad and Qureshi drew another warm welcome from a near-capacity crowd. The fact that Hadad, a Jew, and Qureshi, a Muslim, could play together despite all the nationalistic and religious implications earned them as many fans in New York as it did in London.
As I said, I can't vouch for the kind of welcome they received, but when we arrived for the deciding set there might have been 200 people in the Grandstand (far less than there had been for the earlier Clijsters match), and we were able to walk down to two of plenty of open lower-level seats in the third row. The crowd may have been somewhat for Hadad and Qureshi, but it a low-key, casual crowd, and the only indications of anything of interest about the match were a higher police presence and a sardonic cheer of "C'mon guys, do it for world peace," after another poorly played point. Black and Ullyett won the error-filled set 6-2.

In a bit of a surprise , Blake had taken the fourth set, so we rushed back to the stadium for the fifth, but by the time we got to our seats Blake was down 5-3 in a set he would lose 6-3. After that, we caught a couple of games of Martina Navratilova's doubles match, as well as a little mixed doubles before we were completely tennised out, as I imagine you are by now as well.
Happy Zeptember everybody! I was at a Plainfield party last night that was celebrating Zeptember in style, kicking it up old school, blasting "Rock and Roll" at the stroke of midnight accompanied by frenzied screams and the thrust of devil horns. It rocked.

Oh, you didn't celebrate Zeptember? You say that you wait until Rocktober to really start busting loose? I guess that's just the difference between us true rockers and you rockers of convenience, only rocking out on the really big concert days and special Two-for-Tuesdays. I guess it takes all types, man.

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