May 27, 2004
I think I would be happier if I had one of these.
May 26, 2004
Anyway, the big news around town is obviously the passing of Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham, who died of a massive heart attack last night. Cunningham lived in JC his entire life, and was a former Marine, police captain and homicide detective before entering city government. He served in various positions before being elected Hudson County's first African-American mayor.
I can't claim to follow local government too closely, but Cunningham always struck me as a very decent man who wanted to do right for his home city. Fellow Jersey City resident Tris McCall has a lot more about the sudden passing and the aftermath over at his site.
May 24, 2004
May 23, 2004
- After reading this extremely cool New Yorker article on the neverending search for the giant squid, I just had to take the C Train uptown to the American Museum of Natural History to check out their "Clash of the Titans" diorama of a sperm whale battling a giant squid. Some of those dinosaurs sounded pretty tough, but I think my vote for the most kickass creature ever would have to go to the giant squid:
- Following my squid-seeing, I headed downtown and enjoyed a drink with Little C-Za, a loosening-up precursor to the day's main event, my performance for my Level Two improv class. Unlike my Level One performance, this time I had friends in attendance to witness the spectacle. (I'm sorry you couldn't make it, but you were all very busy.) And once again, it went pretty well. We had a small class, so we were lucky enough to get to do two performances (rather than breaking a large class down into two groups), and both sections were reasonably successful. I had a few good moments and there were no major breakdowns, though I did learn one of the main advantages of performing in front of an audience: you learn exactly when a joke stops working.
My two main characters were a veteran who was having major trouble readjusting to civilian life despite having served in a Canadian supply outpost (which did inspire what I thought was a brilliant blackout line from a classmate: "Go to Hell, baby-ignorer!", and an online romantic who was accidentally marrying a man. My closing scenes weren't as successful, but that's one of the more difficult parts I've found in the whole Harold structure. Besides my main work there was some decent support work in a couple of other scenes and group games. For a Level Two class I thought we did pretty well: the friends-and-family audience was laughing most of the way through, and people did seem to have a good time. And one of my classmates made cupcakes! And there ain't never nothin' wrong with cupcakes.
- And to close out the evening, Keith brought a few of us down (on a subway car where we were given some fascinating literature regarding a worldwide conspiracy that includes Starbucks, the Vatican, Rudolph "the Red-Eyed Demon" Giuliani, and the Mormon Mafia) to some Tribeca bar where his company was having some sort of Nascar PR event. We enjoyed beer, nachos and wings, a non-fatal car crash, and an assortment of hot waitresses and hostesses. And there ain't never nothin' wrong with any of those either.
[Marine biologist Steve O'Shea] described its curious morphology: two eyes spread disconcertingly far apart; a parrot-like mouth concealing a raspy, serrated tongue; eight arms extending outward from a torpedo-shaped head. Each elastic limb was lined with hundreds of suckers, ringed with sharp teeth. The skin was iridescent, and filled with chromatophores—groups of pigment cells—that allowed it to change colors. A funnel near its head could shoot out clouds of black ink. The specimen also had two extraordinary-looking clubbed tentacles. (When a giant squid is mature, they can stretch up to thirty feet.)That is just completely kickass.
There are a few factors that have contributed to this explosion: the popularity of poker on television; the rapid growth of Internet poker (which makes it very simple to have low-entry-fee satellites to the main event -- say, 500 people putting up $20, with the winner getting the $10K main event seat); and a combination of the first two: last year's event being won by online player (he had never played in a live tournament before) and seemingly regular guy Chris Moneymaker, a victory that has been constantly replayed on ESPN over the past six months.
In order to accommodate the 2600 players, the first day of the tournament is actually being broken down into two days, with 1300 players taking part on each day, and the two groups being combined on Sunday. Among the notables who busted out on the first day are the aforementioned Moneymaker, winner of six WSOP events Men "The Master" Nguyen, #3 all-time WSOP prize earner T.J. Cloutier, and one of the best young players and poker writers, Daniel Negreanu. Which means that no matter how bad they do (and one poor guy yesterday managed to bust out of the tournament on the first hand!), those players starting play today can at least tell the folks back home that they outlasted some of the best.
Update: The estimated prize breakdown I gave above turned out to be incorrect, as I was basing them on an outdated table that accounted for a maximum of 1500 players. The final figures include a first prize of $5 million, the top five finishers each clearing at least $1 million, and the top 225 finishers getting the $10K entry fee back (which isn't a bad deal, considering that most of them probably got into the tournament through a satellite tournament, meaning they only put up a fraction of that $10K).
May 18, 2004
May 16, 2004
A) Join your manager and teammates in congratulating him on his amazing performance, orWe'll give you a few seconds to think about this before we check in with Milwaukee Brewers catcher Chad Moeller:
B) Cover your ass?
"This place, with day games, hitters can't see the ball," Milwaukee catcher Chad Moeller said. "I was proof of that, also."If you said you should cover your ass, you made the right call!
May 15, 2004
Well, it was a beautiful night and a horrible ballgame. The home team lost their third straight, 8-2, and the game was never in doubt. The man we came to see only reached base on a late walk, though we did get to see him steal a base (okay, he stole third base with two outs, which isn't really a great percentage play, but that's just Rickey being Rickey). Still, I figure as long as Rickey Henderson is till playing baseball it means I can't really be all that old, so it was worth us all heading on over to Newark to cheer the man on.
May 14, 2004
Hurray! Our Bronx festivities began with a fine dinner at the little Spanish restaurant a few blocks up from the stadium, the same one I take everybody who goes to a Yankee game with me. I had a Cuban sandwich, Gabe had porkchops and plantains, and we each had a couple of beers. Real damn nice.
Boooo! Seven freaking dollars for a program?!?! We called bullshit on that, as well as on the scarcity of the All-Star ballots.
Hurray! The game started off well as Ichiro led off with a double then moved to third on a single, bringing up Edgar Martinez. With this probably being Edgar's final season, this would be the last time Gabe and I would ever get to see this all-time Mariner great and fine comedic actor play, and we were hoping to see one last display of Edgar clutchosity. And he did not disappoint. After falling behind 0-2, Edgar worked the count a little and then hit a sacrifice fly, bring the run home. Because that's what Edgar does.
Boooo! And then the effing roof caved in. As you might have guessed, I have seen a lot of baseball games in my life. Major league, minor league, college, little leagues...and yet I have never seen a starting pitchers completely shit the bed like Gil Meche did last night. It started off okay, with Meche striking out Jeter, but hits by Williams and A-Rod put runners at second and third. Even then, it looked like the Mariners could hold their 1-0 lead, as a groundball led to an out at the plate. So there's runners on first and third with two outs when Meche falls behind 3-0 against Sheffield. Gabe mentions that the M's still have a base to give. Seeming to sense this, Meche walks Sheffield to load the bases.
And then...Meche walks Matsui to bring home the tying run. And then Meche walked Tony Clark to bring home another run. Up comes 36-year-old buck-thirty hitting John Flaherty, who not only was taking the first three pitches but I don't even think he brought his bat up to the plate, and Meche walks him, too! Game over for Meche, who had thrown 38 pitches with only 17 finding their way into the strike zone. Have fun in the dugout...dick.
Hurray! Well, Ron Villone relieved Meche and got out of the inning, the Mariners were still only down by two, Mussina wasn't looking strong, and it was a beautiful night for a ballgame.
Boooo! What kind of a schmuck wears his Red Sox cap to Yankee Stadium when the Red Sox aren't even playing?!?! You deserve to have a whole section of fans (including your girlfriend) point at you and chant "asshole!"
Hurray! Speaking of fans, every upper deck should have a few cute drunk Asian girls who are deathly afraid of heights but who must keep navigating the narrow stairways in order to get more beer. They're lots of fun.
Boooo! The Mariners did manage to take a 5-3 lead, but the stupidity continued in the bottom of the fourth as the Yankees put together a single, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a bases-loading idiotic reached-on-error to load the bases. And then...the Mariners pitcher walked in another freaking run! Following the sacrifice fly, the Yankees had managed the difficult task of scoring five runs without any of them being driven in by hits.
Hurray! We did get to see Edgar get two hits (including double #501) and drive in that run with the sac fly. So that was nice.
Boooo! The Yankees kept pouring it on (including some insurance runs off of Mariners pitcher, and I am not making this up, J.J. Putz), which means that we didn't even get to see Mariano Rivera come in from the bullpen to the sounds of Metallica's "Enter Sandman." Even though I don't like the Yankees, I have to admit that's pretty cool.
Final score: Yankees 9, Mariners 5. Win 21 for the first-place Yankees, loss 23 for the last-place Mariners. The ugly season continues with no hope in sight, only massive rebuilding ahead. When does football season start?
May 12, 2004
May 11, 2004
So that's pretty much the last I thought about any of this until earlier this evening, which is when Christine sent me an IM asking if I had heard what happened to our old friend Jan. And what it turns out had happened was not only was Jan Lewan (real name: Jan Lewandowski) serving a five-year prison sentence for swindling people out of more than $2 million through the fraudulent sale of unregistered securities, but that in mid-April he had his throat slashed by his cellmate, a convicted murderer who had also set a fire in the prison that caused 20 injuries.
And while all this is happening, Jan's wife, Rhonda, remains tainted by news that she was the beneficiary of a rigged vote in the 1998 Mrs. Pennsylvania Pageant, claiming the title when she actually scored 20th out of 20th. Though Mrs. Lewan was forced to forfeit her crown, the Mrs. United States site still lists her as the winner, and she never handed over the prizes or trophy.
It just goes to show that you have to choose your heroes carefully, even in polka.
No, it's not a rock-cocaine supplier. The Crack Team's franchise units fix cracks in basement walls. Started by Mike Kodner — son Bob calls him "the Ray Kroc of Crack" — in 1985, it first sold franchises in 2001 and has grown to eight units.We just hope the Cracksteins don't forget us little people who knew them when.
The Crack Team charges a $15,000 franchise fee, which gets you training, access to "proprietary" crack repair products, and marketing help. Bob Kodner claims his franchisees hit the ground running: With its Web site and 800-number, The Crack Team "can support a franchise and really make their phones ring," he says.
A profitable catalogue line of apparel and novelty items featuring a SpongeBob-like mascot — Mr. Happy Crack — has "spearheaded name recognition," according to Bob Kodner. You can order tee shirts, sweats, even thongs, complete with Mr. Happy Crack spouting the company slogan, "A dry crack is a happy crack."
Kodner says the company does not offer any claims on how much franchisees can earn, but noted that franchises have low overhead and that an operation can generate sales in the low to mid six figures a year.
May 10, 2004
How Much Does a Grecian Urn?
We are seeking a copywriter to join our staff,
Looking for talented freelance proofreaders.
Initiate correspondence on department’s behalf,
Immediate income for Sales Reps/Leaders.
Temp-to-perm with chance for advancement,
Competitive salary and 401(K).
We offer a casual and friendly environment,
Marketing Assistant needed today!
Bilingual or multi-lingual skills a plus,
Financial services experience desired.
Please do not attempt to contact us,
Six years pharmaceutical experience required.
Send cover letter explaining how you qualify,
You must be presently employed to apply.
May 08, 2004
May 07, 2004
As for the show: Morrissey was very Morrissey; that's all I can really say. And I'm glad I got to sing along with the "and if a double-decker bus crashes into us to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die" part at least once in my life.
"Sure," I hear all of you great readers out there saying, "we're thrilled you're back, Ken, but frankly the site was feeling a little stale even before you spent the last three weeks hiding under your covers, weeping pathetically, emerging only to crawl over to the computer and type "desperate" and "will do anything" into the Monster.com search engine. What do you have planned to add a little zing into the whole Donk experience?”
I’m so glad you asked! All of us here at IllDonk Industries have spent the last few weeks in intensive creative brainstorming sessions, trying to come up with a few fresh twists and turns to add some spark to the classic Donk. And we think we have some winners! Your finger won’t want to leave the Refresh button when we unveil the following plot twists over the next few months!
- When his down-on-her-luck cousin Betty (who he had never even met!) passes away, Ken discovers that he has been left something special in her will: six adorable toddlers and a mischievous ferret! What will happen when New Jersey’s ultimate bachelor is forced to deal with the responsibilities of fatherhood? We’ll give you one guess, and it rhymes with jilarity!
- Not a hoax! Not a dream sequence! This Fall, somebody in our blogroll dies! An evil genius is trying to destroy The Donk by striking at the blogs closest to it. Can Ken stop this mysterious force of evilness before he strikes again? There’s only one way to find out!
- Sure, you already knew that Ken’s funny, smart, insightful, and boyishly handsome, but did you know he can also sing and dance? You’ll find out this Summer during That’s Donkertainment!, a full week of all-singing, all-dancing, all-blogging excitement! Keep logging on as Ken welcomes special guest stars Nick Lachey, Leslie Uggams, and puppeteer Jeff Dunham (high-speed Internet connection recommended for best results).
- Paul Frankenstein, The Fat Guy, Mike Whybark, Mr. Happy Crack…isn't it true that The Donk is nothing but a boy’s club? Not any more, it ain't! The sparks will fly this June when we introduce sexy and sassy Mary Lou LaRue. She’s the new CEO of IllDonk Industries who tries her best to rein in her renegade star employee, Ken Goldstein, who has only one rule when blogging: there is only one rule! Sexual tension? You bet your sweet ass!
May 06, 2004
- Roger Clemens's "retirement" last October.
- Tonight's final episode of Friends.
- When the rest of my all-younger-than-me improv class were completely confused by my Journey "Open Arms" reference.
- Hanging out at Jahna D'Lish's brother's party over the weekend, surrounded by tiny little children who were all either getting married or talking about their children.
- When they stopped trying to sell me drugs in Washington Square Park.
- Reading about the rise of "classic alternative" radio, specializing in the rise of oldies from the 1990's.
- Wrecking my hamstring while going up for an overhead, a shot I've tried thousands of times before without crippling myself.
1. INT. NIGHT BEDROOM — Focus on digital clock at 3:29 A.M. Newsradio alarm sounds as clock shows 3:30; exhausted arm slaps at clock until alarm stops.
2. MANHATTAN UPPER WEST SIDE APT BLDG, LATE NIGHT / EARLY MORNING — PAUL FRANKENSTEIN (early-thirties, glasses, state of dishevelment) loaded down with large suitcase, garment bag, carry-on, struggles to hail cab.
3. INT. AIRLINE CHECK-IN LINE — Frankenstein far back in line populated by Asians, anxiously checking watch, looking towards front of line.
4. INT. 747, REAR OF PLANE — Frankenstein in middle seat on full plane, turning as best he can towards attractive young woman sitting in window seat. She is settling in, putting a book, gum in her seat compartment.
Window Seat Woman is half paying attention as she prepares for takeoff.FRANKENSTEINTwenty hours, huh? Whooo, this is gonna be fun.
As Frankenstein is talking POV switches between him (in charm mode) and WSW, whose eyes are darting around the plane.WINDOW SEAT WOMANWell, I guess I'm pretty used to it by now. I go to Hong Kong about three or four times a year for business. You just have t--
FRANKENSTEINOh, I'm used to this myself. I was born there, actually, and I'm headed there on business myself. Yep, heading back home [quote fingers] to help out the old family business for a few months.
WINDOW SEAT WOMANMmm hmm...
FRANKENSTEINYeah, my grandparents needed some help around the office — they have a publishing company — so I figured, what the hell, as long as I was...between positions, employment-wise, I might as well head out to Hong Kong for a few months, right?
Cut back to sheepish Frankenstein, looking around, reaching for Skymall Magazine.FRANKENSTEINKind of a working vacation, with some family time mixed in. So...how long are you gonna be staying there for? Think you'll have any free nights, or are you gonna be work--
WINDOW SEAT WOMAN(Looking over Frankenstein's head, waving hand.)
Hello, stewardess? Can I please get some headphones before takeoff? Thanks.
5. TITLES BEGIN: EXT. 747, LANDING IN HONG KONG
6. FRANKENSTEIN riding on MTR train into city.
7. FRANKENSTEIN arrives at luxury apartment building destination, looks up towards window.
8. FRANKENSTEIN walks into apartment building.
BLACK SHEETS OF FRANKENSTEIN
9. INT. APARTMENT BLDG HALLWAY — Frankenstein exits elevator with luggage and heads to Apartment 9H. He does not hesitate, as he has been here before. He knocks on the door and waits a few seconds.
He knocks again a few times and again waits a few seconds. This time he tries the doorknob which, to his surprise, turns. As he enters the apartment, the rest of the scene is from Frankenstein's POV.FRANKENSTEINHello? Grandma? Grandpa?
10. INT. APARTMENT 9H, FRANKENSTEIN'S P.O.V. — Focus on older Chinese woman (Grandma) sitting at the kitchen table, weighing packages of white powder. She jumps up, startled.
11. INT. APARTMENT 9H, FRANKENSTEIN'S POV — Quick cut to Grandpa carrying large stereo box near pile of 40-50 electronics boxes.GRANDPA(Offscreen) Paul! You said that you were arriving tomorrow!
12. INT. APARTMENT 9H, FRANKENSTEIN'S POV Quick cuts to, in succession, two attractive scantily-clad women thumbing through a rack of stripper's clothing; two large crates near the kitchen, filled with various high-powered rifles; a bound-and-gagged tied to a chair; a large pile of cash in the corner. Final quick cut to a heavily muscular Chinese man hurrying towards Frankenstein, hand raised, coming down towards him...FRANKENSTEINUm...well...I left a message and said there was a cheaper...
P.O.V. shot scans to the floor as the screen turns blurry, then fades to black.FRANKENSTEINUnggh!
TO BE CONTINUED
- Lemme see...well, the job hunt continues without success. I've had one-and-a-half interviews (one was with one them "employment services" agencies that I knew wouldn't lead to much, but I figured it would be good practice in putting on the suit and showing off the portfolio). I still have cash in the bank and a few months of unemployment eligibility, so life remains okay.
- I went with my friend Gerard from improv down to Atlantic City and managed to win a few bucks, plus I won a few more in a poker game or two, so while the gambling isn't exactly paying my way these days, it's covered a few dinners and my ticket to see Morrissey tomorrow night with Mike "License Plate: MOZFAN" Wolf.
- Taking a quick swing around the ol' blogroll (which I have also neglected during this lazy hiatus) I discover that Daniella now has a brand-spanking-new URL, with full-color photos of New Orleans cuisine (and by the way, her and John have a lovely home, and if you stop by they will fill you with cheese); Paul Frankenstein will indeed be continuing his regular blogging during his months-long stay in the Far East, which is wonderful news for those of us who want to stay informed on the worldwide expansion plans of Ruth's Chris Steakhouses; Edie Singleton is in fine blogging form, datin' up a storm (I'm halfway to a rap, there); and Mike Whybark still has way too much time on his hands.
- I've finished six of my eight improv classes, and I seem to have hit the same mental lull I did at this point in Level One. Actually, with my weekly extra practice session in addition to my three-hour class a week, it might just be that I'm a little improvved out right now. I probably would have ended up skipping tonight's session even if I hadn't, in fact....
- Completely wrecked my hamstring the other night at tennis, to the point where I still can barely walk. I spent an hour driving down to central NJ, changed and did my stretching (and yes, I did my stretching; you pull a hamstring and people line up around the block to give you crap for not stretching enough), and then three points into the game I go up for an overhead and feel a very painful pop. Heck of a fun night, lemme tell you.
- And just to wrap up...I went to a nice and low-key Mets day game, checked out the recommended (especially if you have an interest in architecture, though this isn't a necessity) My Architect, read "Things Worth Fighting For," the Michael Kelly collection, and helped my sister move into her swank new apartment. So I've been keeping busy.
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