November 29, 2002

Mmmm...turkey sandwiches.
I just wanted to publicly announce that despite any grandiose claims I may have made at various gatherings and whatnot, and despite whatever a certain ruler of Blogistan may insinuate, I have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this. (If nothing else, I'd certainly update the blog more often.)
St. George I & II. Via everybody's favorite little vixen, Heather, a rather illuminating photo of our esteemed Commander-in-Chief, which bears a rather frightening similarity to this image of an early namesake.

November 28, 2002

Return to the Island of Misfit Jews. Well, I'm off to scenic Old Bridge for the extremely non-traditional Thanksgiving lunch (my brother works in a movie theater and needs to be in a 4, so we're eating early to accomodate). Thanksgiving has always been a bit of a quiet time around the Goldstein household; our main big family gatherings have always been centered around Rosh Hashanah and Passover, and neither us nor our Queens-based relatives are ever too psyched about battling TG traffic, so for the last few years it's been just the immediate family, when it's even been that. Nice, but not exactly Rockwell's "Freedom from Want."

Adding to the simplicity of the celebration is the fact that if we have an actual Thanksgiving tradition, it's a rather odd one. Every year for about ten years, up until I entered junion high, we would take a two-week holiday down to my grandparents' place in Florida, usually with a Disney trip as well. We would leave on Thanksgiving morning, so that our Thanksgiving feast was held in a Roy Rogers off of I-95, in Virginia or something. So while other families can think back on feasts of sumptuous turkeys and succulent pumpkin pies, my Thanksgiving memories usually involve my Mom maiking a salad from the Fixins' Bar, with a dressing of ketchup, mayo, and a dash of horseradish sauce.

Still, a tradition is a tradition, so I'll be picking up a three-piece w/biscuit from the Turnpike rest stop Roy Rogers on my way home. I have to admit to being a bit jealous of Mr. Fat Guy's massive spread, or even better, a feast served by a cute little monkey.

November 27, 2002

Happy freaking Thanksgiving. Well, I had this lovely Thanksgiving post all planned out for you folks, a touching, humorous, heartwarming little piece about what Thanksgiving means to me, some of my family's TG traditions, and a sincere wish for health and happiness for all of you and yours. Yep, I had sketched it all out on my ride home, and all I needed to do was travel the last few miles, go inside, type it all up, and sleep the sleep of the just.

Of course, turns out that there was this little accident on the Pulaski Skyway a few cars ahead of me. I wasn't involved, but it blocked up two lanes of traffic, two lanes on a two-lane highway with no shoulders and almost no way for emergency vehicles to get to the accident.

So how long was I trapped up there on the Skyway? How about TWO FREAKING HOURS! And now I ain't particularly thankful for anything, thank you very much! I'm going to sleep! Ppppfffthththt!!

November 25, 2002

Lame excuses? Yeah, we's got lame excuses! Um...I'm pretty much done relocating, but still need to set up a whole router/wireless doohickey system (jeez, I sound like Whybark here, albeit a Whybark who learned everything he knows about computers from the back of a Transformers-themed box of cereal) before Donk HQ is up and running again. In the meantime, I'm hanging out in a little shop on JFK Blvd., conveniently located near the White Castle, so it's all good. Hopefully, everything will be back to normal before I sit down to enjoy the traditional Goldstein Thanksgiving turducken. Until then, let's all try to love eachother, hmmm?

November 21, 2002

Please pardon our appearance while we relocate.

November 19, 2002

November 19, 1863

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

stupidjerseystupidjerseystupid Well, I couldn't find any air/hotel deals that wouldn't leave me broke before I even got to Vegas, so it looks like I'm going to be staying in stupid New Jersey and having stupid Thanksgiving dinner with my stupid family. What was once my sanctuary has become my prison; what was once my home has become my hell.

November 18, 2002

The world just got a little less tough: James Coburn, star of such classic flicks as The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape (and, okay, a whole bunch of stuff like Snow Dogs and Hudson Hawk) has just passed away at age 74.
Well, so far JetBlue hasn't gotten me any closer to Vegas, but they do have the best "On Hold" message I've ever heard.
"Everybody seems to think being on hold is a bad thing. Let's reexamine this, shall we? Don't look at it as being on hold; look at it as being held. Because we all like to be held, don't we? For example: when you're sitting in front of a fireplace with someone special, being held can be very comforting. Or when you're upset about something, being held makes you feel a whole lot better."
Now, don't you think that in exchange for this plug JetBlue should find room for me on their Sunday-after-Thanksgiving Vegas-to-JFK flight?
Bookworm? That's yesterday's news, Bucko: too many words, too much thinking, not enough bizarre Japanese narration. No, the hot new time-waster is DoubleYou's Sonar Challenge, packed with soccery goodness!
Latest interesting fact I've learned during my move: televisions rarely bounce.

November 17, 2002

Oyyyyyyyyyyy, yeah! Looking to add a little funk to your next Seder, or just want a shirt that'll look good even if you spill a little Manischevitz on it? has got it all goin' on, Kosher style!
Paul Frankenstein: wit, bon vivant, entrepeneur, and guy who should be working on his novel rather than cavorting around all hipster-like talking about lady-things. I mean, sheesh, get back to work, Frankie.
In response to Jim's transparent attempts to gain fame as blogdom's least ominous, I drank a shot of J-Dub Black, retook the quiz and present my results below.

you have an ominosity quotient of

negative two.

birds suddenly appear every time you are near.

find out your ominosity quotient.

November 16, 2002

The Least Intriguing Travel Ad Copy I've Seen Yet:
Canton/Akron, OH: Pieces of History Await

The Football Hall of Fame, a museum dedicated to former President McKinley, and Kent State's touching memorial await in the Buckeye State.
From Orbitz's Last-Minute Getaways, which ain't helping me.
I am the least ominous blogger.

you have an ominosity quotient of


you are probably somewhat ominous. maybe.

find out your ominosity quotient.

Yes, I'm a little stressed. If I don't get the hell out of New Jersey over Thanksgiving I'll throw myself out this frigging window. I know I'm a little late in the game to take advantage of any supersaver websclusive triple-miles bonus fares, but at this point I'll strap myself to the undercarriage of a traffic helicopter if it's landing in a different state. Anybody know of any good deals, or suggestions about where to go?

I've been doing some searches for Vegas, but it's kind of a weird place to go in that I'd rather not go there by myself, but at the same time I don't necessarily want to go with anybody. I've been there with people who didn't really like to gamble, and while parts of the trip were a whole lot of fun, you can't really tell someone to go off and find something to do while I sit here and play cards for six hours. Maybe I'll wait until a non-holiday time to go for a cheap few days, but that still leaves the question of where do I go right now!

November 15, 2002

Papers signed, checks written, apartment mine! I just returned from the first floor of the Brunswick Towers, where I handed over a whole bunch of papers and check-money to my new housemate/landlord. What this means for our readers is that starting on November 25 you'll find a brand-spanking-new set and a whole new crop of characters, but you'll still enjoy the same Donk comedy and Pulaski Skyway you've grown to love.

Sure, we know that some folks in the media are accusing us of making a purely cosmetic move when more substantive changes are needed, slapping a fresh coat of paint on the walls and shuffling the cast rather than firing the entire writing staff and coming up with a new, stronger direction. And to all those naysayers and negative Nancys we, it's a cute picture of a kitten and a baby bird!!!

November 14, 2002

Mike Whybark has seemingly fixed his computer problems ("No, don't poke the server with a stick — smack it!") and is sharing his latest batch of Comix Reviews with us lucky readers. He lets us know that Los Bros Hernandez are recapturing their touch in the revamped Love & Rockets, fills us in on the latest Roberts Crumb and Williams retrospectives, and then lets us know about, well...
Let me just say this: Canadian clown porn.
If that doesn't get both us of some weird-ass search request referrals I'll eat my shoe.

Speaking of Mr. Whybark, he is, as of right this very second, less than 80 visitors away from #10,000, which is really very cute. To celebrate the rollover, he's giving away a choice of fabulous prize packages to Mister or Missus 10-K, so head over there early and often!

November 13, 2002

Yeah, I know it's cliched to link to this sort of thing and laugh or scream or chuckle or gouge your eyes out, but GODDAMN this be scary!
Hmmm...I just read over the last few days of this here blog and I wanted to say: jeez, sorry about that whole Blog Poker thing. I'm not sure what the hell I was thinking. Won't happen again. I mean, if you weren't involved, and perhaps even if you were, the whole thing was probably as interesting as...oh, I online museum devoted to the condiment packets of fast food restaurants.

November 12, 2002

"Every gambler knows that the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep.
'Cause every hand's a winner and every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep."
Blog Poker presents...the River! Let's recap, shall we? We've turned over four of the five cards, leaving just one to decide the winner. Here is the board so far:
4 of spades / 9 of clubs / Jack of spades / 5 of diamonds
And here are our eight players, with their down cards finally revealed! Whoooo!
  1. Marybu: 6d/7s/8s/Qc
  2. Mike "File Not Found" Whybark: 3h/4d/5h/As
  3. Paul Frankenstein: 4c/9h/Qs/Ac
  4. Mr. Fat Guy: 3c/6c/9s/Qh
  5. Allan "Big Daddy" Baruz: 2c/Jd/Jh/Kh
  6. Matthew Sheren: 3s/4h/8d/Ts
  7. Michelle Mindsketches:2h/5c/Ks/Kc
  8. Ravenwolf: 3d/7d/8h/Kd/
So here we long last...the fifth and deciding card! And it is...The Queen of diamonds! So who is the winner? Well, Mike Whybark, Paul Frankenstein, and Mr. Fat Guy all have two pair. Allan "Big Daddy" Baruz has a big hand, three Jacks.

But it's not big enough! The winner of the first-ever game of Blog Poker, taking his 8 and 10, and combining them with the 9, Jack, and Queen on the board to make a straight, is Matthew Sheren! Start racking them chips, Matthew, you're the big winner! Your prize will soon be on its way.
Via the poker-faced Marybu, a link to the very cool site Kokogiak featuring a nifty Seattle sliding time machine and The MegaPenny Project.

But, wait! It's supposed to be poker week here at The Donk! Um...err...oh, the heck with it.
The housing search ends...right here in the Brunswick Towers! Yes, folks, starting next month I will be living exactly three floors below where I'm sitting right now! I couldn't be happier! My room might even overlook the Pulaski Skyway! (Well, it's on the first floor, so it might underlook it, I guess.) Everybody be very happy for me right now!
Blog Poker presents The Turn! The Turn is the fourth card out of five...and here it is!

The five of diamonds!

Well, that doesn't make any straights or flushes, so it doesn't change things too much, but it does give Marybu an open-ended straight draw, plus it puts Michelle on the board with a pair. Of course, there's still those hidden cards, plus that last, all-important river card! Tune in later for the fifth and final card of Blog Poker, when a winner shall be crowned!

November 11, 2002

Blog Poker presents The Flop! Ready, players? Here are your first three cards!

4 of spades!  9 of clubs!  Jack of spades!

Remember: players will use two cards from their hand and three of the five cards from the board. Well, let's see what we have (see below for the hands)...Paul Frankenstein has two pair, Allan Baruz has a big pair of Jacks, Matthew Sheren has an inside straight draw...but what will those hidden cards reveal? And there's still two more cards to go! Tune in tomorrow for the next card in Blog Poker!
Oh, heck, let's just make it poker week (or at least day) here at The Donk. Selected and presented forthwith are a few fine articles, sites, and wild cards for your reading pleasure. (Note: some of these sites have links to various online gambling sites [go figure] and may not be safe for work viewing.]
I just looked at another apartment, and it looks pretty certain that one way or another my search will be over within 48 hours. Oh, the excitement is killing me!
Shuffle up and deal! Okay, we have our eight players, so today we're gonna deal out the hands!

To recap the rules of Donk Hold `Em, everybody gets four cards of their own, after which I'm gonna deal five community cards. You'll take two cards from your hand and combine them with three from the board to make the best possible poker hand. Now, I have the deck right here: it's a red, casino-used one from the Flamingo in Vegas. And here we go!
  1. Marybu: 6d/7s/Qc/?
  2. Mike "File Not Found" Whybark: 3h/4d/As/?
  3. Paul Frankenstein: 4c/9h/Qs/?
  4. Mr. Fat Guy: 6c/9s/Qh/?
  5. Allan "Big Daddy" Baruz: 2c/Jd/Kh/?
  6. Matthew Sheren: 4h/8d/Ts/?
  7. Michelle Mindsketches:2h/5c/Ks/?
  8. Ravenwolf: 3d/8h/Kd/?
The lower-case letters are the four suits, and the "T" stands for the 10. And just to keep things interesting, there will be one card left face down (though each player is receiving an e-mail showing all four of their cards). (Oh, and for the record, Ace through Five is a straight.)

Coming up next: the flop! (The Flop is/are the first three community cards.) You might think you have a good or bad hand now, but it don't mean nothin' until the flop.
Last Call for Blog Poker! There's still room for two more players before I deal out the hands tomorrow. Update: Too late, we have our players! (Don't worry R-Dub, we'll tell you how to play.) I'd deal out the cards right now, but it looks bad when I'm late for work with time-stamped proof that I'm running some sort of weird contest when I should have been creating a specification sheet for a shiny, pink alarm clock.

November 10, 2002 shower...whoo hoo. Wonderful old friends and it was great to see them and Geoff and Shannon are gonna make wonderful parents, but who's the genius who came up with the idea of opening up all the presents right there in front of everybody! I mean, it would have been nice if somebody had told me that, rather than letting me show up with a box filled with gravel and an I.O.U. stapled to the boxscore from last week's Rams/Cardinals game. (Speaking of which, can somebody lend me a quick $500 before kickoff tomorrow night?) Thanks a lot, readers!

On an unrelated note, on the ride down the Turnpike I realized that 2002 is the last really cool year we're gonna have for a while. I mean, 1999, 2000, and 2001 were extremely cool, and 2002 is a palindrome, so that's something, but 2003? 2004? It's all pretty bleh from here on out.
I'm about to head down to Philly with Sports Keith to attend a baby shower for my dear friends Geoff and Shannon DiMasi (and seriously, the more I think about it, this whole baby thing just seems more and more like and insidious cult; the marriage thing seemed okay, but this whole baby thing...). While I'm down there, I'm hoping that the last four seats for the big Blog Poker (see below) game will fill up. I'm gone through the prize closet here at Donk HQ, and pulled out, to start off, a gen-yoo-wine Las Vegas snowglobe and an extremely rare pocket comb and casino-used deck of cards from the now-defunct Silver City Casino, once located on the Strip. Ante Up!

November 08, 2002

Bust out that rabbit's foot, it's time for another exciting contest here at The Donk: Blog Poker! Have you always dreamed of breaking into the world of high-stakes poker but been held back by those bastards at the plasma center with their small-minded regulations and donation limits? Well, now you can! Blog Poker has all the thrills and intrigue of high-stakes poker, only without the cigar smoke and the savage beatings under the Atlantic City boardwalk. This is one hand, winner take all, losers hit the highway.

What's the prize? We can't tell you yet, but it's gonna be swanky! And why are you so worried about the prize, when you ain't even won yet? Quit putting the cart before the horse, Bucky!

The game is gonna be a little somethin' we like to call Donkey Hold `Em. Here's how it works: everybody gets dealt four cards (and yes, I'm going to do this with a real live deck of cards, right on the dining room table here at Donk HQ). Over the next few days we'll deal out "the board," five community cards that belong to everybody. You'll take two cards from your hand and combine them with three from the board to make the best poker hand. For example, if there are three spades on the board and you have two spades in your hand, you've got a flush. If you have a pair of aces in your hand and there's an ace on the board, that's three aces. Of course, the best poker hand wins.

It's gonna be a week of! To enter, simply post the words "Ante Up" in the comments box and I'll take it from there.
Via Max Power, a fine New York Times article: "Pizza 2002: The State of the Slice." (It probably requires registration, but what the heck?) It's filled with local, New York details and cheesy goodness:
Many pizza lovers credit the Ray's Pizza shop at Avenue of the Americas and 11th Street with popularizing the half-pound slice, though Columbia University students often cite the gigantic slices at Koronet, at Broadway and 112th Street, as the original good-value portion, at nearly 15 inches long.
I gotta stick with my Jersey roots and cite Seaside Heights' own Sawmill as my favorite jumbo-slicetaria, as anecdoted by Big White Guy in the tale "Old Barney and the Sawmill":
After Ronnie showed up, everyone piled into the car, and they took me to Seaside, to a neat little restaurant/bar called the Sawmill Café — literally a piece of their personal history. They were all excited to show me the place and explain the good times they'd had over many, many years of visits there. [...] They ordered a pizza for the six of us. I wondered if it was going to be enough, until I saw it. The thing was freaking huge! It had to be at least 24 inches in diameter. It was different than the kind of pizza I was used to: nearly flat, with lots of cheese and sauce over the pepperoni.
Mmmm...big pizza, big Skee-Ball scores, big hair...god I miss Summer down the shore. At least NJGuido saves all those memories for me.

November 07, 2002

Well, I looked at an apartment over near the Grove Street PATH station, and it looks pretty decent. Wish me luck.

November 06, 2002

Great, I gotta get to sleep, and E! is showing the Saturday Night Live episode where Elvis Costello suddenly cuts off "Less Than Zero" and bursts into "Radio Radio." I've seen clips, but I've never actually seen the whole show, so it's extra coffee for me tomorrow.

Here's a guaranteed stumper: who was the host of the show on which the above infamous incident took place? Answer: Mrs. Miskel Spillman, winner of the "Anyone Can Host SNL" contest.

Update [1:58]: Oh, yeah, that's the stuff.
Mike Whybark's Meltdown: a terrible, seemingly neverending technological nightmare, or a pathetic excuse to use the phrases "quincuncerian epistle" and "tertian edition"? You make the call.
Dear Lord, this might be the greatest comedy event of my lifetime!
To help benefit the McCarton School for Autistic Children and UCSB Austism Education Program, Bob and David will join Kids in the Hall, Janeane Garafalo, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog for the "CLASH OF THE TITANS", a four-way BATTLE ROYALE of comedy. This special event is one-night only at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles.
That is a Hefty 50-gallon trash bag filled with comedy goodness, my friends. Somebody out there buy me a ticket to this thing, and then fly me out to Los Angeles, I guess...maybe put me up in a nice place...hmmm. This is starting to get a little pricy. If only I were an autistic child, then I bet I could see it for free!
The Apartment Search Continues. Yep, nothing better than standing around in the cold, waiting outside an apartment building for a landlord who never shows up (okay, I found out later that there was some sort of family emergency, but still). It was in a good part of the city and looked pretty decent from the outside, so I'm going to give it another shot. In the meantime, I'm looking for two fine folks out there to help me rent a three-bedroom apartment that was used as a location in The Sopranos.

November 05, 2002

Usually the TV's just some kind of background noise while I'm reading or working on my model boats, but then that Toyota commercial comes on and my ears prick up, and I start thinking, Yeah, what about now? Why should we wait? And then I'm focused on the TV, ready to start chasing my dreams down the interstate and be long gone 'fore the world moves on and makes another round when some voice interrupts the singer and starts babbling about financing and warranties and whatever, and it's at that point, when I'm drifting off and I've started to turn back towards my desk, when the singer returns with a joyous Yeah! that shatters the air and I grab my phone and call my local Toyota dealer and tell them to send over the newest shiniest truck that they have right now please please please please!
The official Acupuncurist/Nutritionist/Spitfire of The Donk, Juliette Aiyana, has posted her latest article, "What Consumers Should Know About the New USDA Organic Labeling Standard." It's informative and filled with surprising info. For example: Whopper? Non-Organic. Whopper with Cheese? Organiriffic!
Oh, in case you're wondering, the search for a new place to live: going slow and crappy. I've looked at a number of places, both share situations and solo one-bedrooms, and I've discovered that lots of folks pay a whole lot of money to live in ratholes. And not just ratholes; ratholes without a washing machine or air conditioning. I'm looking at another place tomorrow, and hopefully it won't make me imagine endless nights in my dingy rathole, staring out the window at the adjacent rathole-packed building a few feet away, trying to work up the energy to slash my wrists.

God, I hate moving.
I'm not sure why it took me two weeks to remember this, but anyway. On October 20, following the "unanimous" presidential referendum, Saddam Hussein issued a near-complete prisoner amnesty, emptying Iraq's prisons (those accused of spying for Israel or the U.S. were exempt from the amnesty). Numerous questions were asked regarding motive, but the news did remind me of a Nancy deWolf Smith Opinion Journal report from Afghanistan, writing about Afghans' dreams of the country "the way it once was and they would make it again."
A country where the fruit hung so heavy on the trees, an old man once told me, that when it fell to the ground nobody bothered to pick it up, but people simply walked through carpets of mulberry slush, like the rest of us wade through mud or snow at certain times of year. A country where there was crime, to be sure, but where a kind-hearted king pardoned every convicted murderer except one, a case where the family of the victim refused to grant permission for a death sentence to be lifted. These memories, gilded with nostalgia, sustained Afghans for so long.
I can't find out if the story is real or apocryphal, but it did make me wonder if the idea of a general amnesty might have some popular precedent in the region, more than it certainly would in the west.

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