Saturday, September 27, 2008

Moor Google Nooz

I am the number one return for the search phrase
John McLaughlin is not a re-animated corpse
as of today! Isn't that great?!

Maybe that'll give people something to think about instead of Ethel Merman...

I do not understand this. Y'all are messing with me, right?

I just checked my Google Analytics to see if last night's liveblog of the US Presidential Debate made any difference in traffic. (It did not...yet.)

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I checked the keywords that brought people to the blog and found the following, still holding strong at #1:

How, exactly, has the search phrase...
"songs made even more hilarious when performed in the style of ethel merman"

sent 31 total visits to my blog in the last month?

The instant rimshot remains the most visited page on my blog in the last 30 days, but Ethel Merman is the most searched.

Anyone? Is this a real thing? Have I stumbled on some sort of Ethel Merman conspiracy? (A "conspiiiiiiiiiiracyyyyyyyyyy"?)

Or are you just fooling with me?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Liveblogging the First 2008 Presidential Debate

Hi! And welcome to my liveblog of the first debate between the candidates for President of the United States of America in the 2008 election. If you're new here, welcome! And if you've been here before, welcome back!

You may have previously joined me for liveblogging the
2008 Emmy Awards, (most of) the 2008 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies, the 2008 Oscars, Super Bowl XLII, and a 2007 meeting of the Longmont, Colorado, City Council. As you are aware, I'll add stuff LIVE AS IT HAPPENS! at the top of this post, so if you just got here, start at the bottom of this post and read up. Then, frequently refresh this page to get my latest insightful analysis and/or merciless snark.

God bless you, and God bless America.

10:41 p.m. -- I decide to bring the liveblog to a close, and another one's in the can.

10:39 p.m. -- I realize the debate is over, just like that. In accordance with the Commission on Presidential Debates's instructions, I turn off the TV and talk about the debate with Milo.

10:38 p.m. -- An anonymous commenter shares an observation about the pronunciation of "Pakistan." I wildly guess that this commenter is Sarah from Arizona, although I am not sure why I think this. Anonymous? Are you out there?

10:36 p.m. -- Obama doesn't think that people around the world think that America is that beacon of hope that attracted his dad in the '60s. I will say that my experience is that, around the world, folks' opinion of the US is on the decline (comparing Ghana in 2003, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2007, and India in 2008), but that America is still a touchstone around the world for Opportunity. I tell this to Milo, and he sings the national anthem.

10:35 p.m. -- Obama addresses his heritage.

10:34 p.m. -- McCain remarks -- again -- that Obama doesn't get it. Drink!

10:31 p.m. -- Have we spent any time talking about China so far? I'd say that's a pretty significant foreign-policy issue today, and I don't remember hearing about China in a question from Jim Lehrer...

10:29 p.m. -- Obama: "Al-qaeda is working in 60 countries." Crap! That's bad, man.

10:28 p.m. -- Obama: "We're safer in some ways, but not in others. Biggest threat to the US is a terrorist getting his hands on a nuclear device."

10:27 p.m. -- McCain: "We have to make sure we don't ever torture another prisoner again." (or something -- paraphrase, emphasis mine) So, have we been torturing up until now?

10:24 p.m. -- "What is the likelihood of another 9/11?" asks Lehrer. "Less than the day after 9/11," responds McCain.

10:22 p.m. -- Time for one more "lead question" segment, whatever that means.

10:21 p.m. -- Obama seems to have a lot in common with McCain. How many times has he said, "Senator McCain is right" tonight?

10:20 p.m. -- It kind of feels like the geopolitical name-dropping is over the top. "I can pronounce 'Pakistan' correctly!" "Oh, yeah? Well, I know where South Ossetia and Sevostopol are!"

10:17 p.m. -- Obama does not wish to return to a Cold War posture with Russia. But it's what we did well for lots of years...isn't it? Wouldn't it make sense to go back to that?

10:16 p.m. -- Apparently it is true about the height thing -- if Wikipedia is to be believed.

10:13 p.m. -- McCain: "The average South Korean is three inches taller than the average North Korean." What does this mean? And is it true?

10:11 p.m. -- Over an hour into it, I think they deserve a break. A glass of water or something.

10:08 p.m. -- "Ahmadinejad." "Perestroika." "Kissinger." Maybe McCain's dentures are loose.

10:07 p.m. -- My mind starts to wander. Milo and I talk about what we're doing the rest of the weekend. (Me: church clean-up and the Festival of the Turning Leaves tomorrow, a big day at church on Sunday. Him: laying around, eating salad and rabbit pellets, working on his memoir.)

10:03 p.m. -- Lehrer refers to the time with regard to the rules, which no one seems to have understood from the beginning. Channeling the re-animated corpse of John McLaughlin, Lehrer shouts: "NEW LEAD QUESTION!" (I'm paraphrasing, of course, and I also know that John McLaughlin is not dead, nor is he a re-animated corpse -- if Wikipedia is to be believed.)

10:02 p.m. -- McCain uses the word, "calamitous."

10:01 p.m. -- McCain gets bitchy. "When I'm subcommittee chairman, we handle the issues under our oversight."

9:59 p.m. -- McCain has a bracelet from the mother of a US soldier. Obama also has a bracelet from the mother of a US soldier. Where are these US soldiers getting all these bracelets?

9:57 p.m. -- McCain attempts other pronunciations of "Pakistan," then invokes the name of Ronaldus Magnus, appealing to Dittoheads throughout the nation.

9:56 p.m. -- Obama digs into McCain's "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb...Bomb, Bomb Iran" song.

9:55 p.m. -- Haha, Jon chimes in from Yuma: Pack-ih-STAN, Pock-ih-STAHN/Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to.

9:53 p.m. -- Even if I wasn't already going to vote for Obama already, I would vote for him because he knows how to pronounce "Pakistan" like a citizen of the world.

9:51 p.m. -- Obama mentions the Poppy Trade. I wonder why he didn't mention that that's relevant on account of the opium.

9:49 p.m. -- Lehrer changes the subject to Afghanistan, offering Obama yet another chance to look, sound, and feel more presidential than McCain.

9:48 p.m. -- Obama mentions Osama, and I wonder why we haven't gotten that guy yet.

9:46 p.m. -- Milo curls up right next to me on the floor, which I take as a sign of his willingness to put aside our political differences and be friends. It's like Ebony and Ivory, living together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano keyboard. (Oh, Lord.)

9:45 p.m. -- McCain actually just said "Two Fourths of July ago..." While probably technically correct, I have to wonder.

9:44 p.m. -- Obama starts talking directly to McCain. I think they should pull out those padded sticks to start hitting each other. Therapeutically.

9:40 p.m. -- Did you see this article earlier today? They accidentally jumped the gun and posted an internet ad that said, "McCain Wins Debate." I kind of think they didn't mean this debate, exactly.

9:39 p.m. -- Julmille, in the comments, questions why veterans > children, in terms of healthcare.

9:38 p.m. -- Obama suggests that what McCain said is hard to swallow. McCain says, for the second time tonight, that he was not elected Miss Congeniality in the Senate. Did he say that before during this debate? Or did he say that in the Diane Sawyer interview? And I really don't think Maverickness is a presidential qualification.

9:36 p.m. -- John McCain is blinking a lot.

9:35 p.m. -- Milo mentions that he and his friends think the fight against global warming is a good idea. You would, too, if you had to wear a fur coat all the time.

9:34 p.m. -- And McCain mentions his own history with global climate change, as an ally with Senator Clinton. Huh-wha? Who is he trying to court here, exactly?

9:33 p.m. -- Obama mentions Iraq. McCain gets all terrorists-and-energy in response.

9:32 p.m. -- Lehrer gets testy because the candidates are not specific enough.

9:31 p.m. -- Obama calls McCain "John." I predict this is the exact moment where the debate heads south.

9:26 p.m. -- I switch to watch the debate on the local Fox affiliate, on account of I do not have cable, and that is the clearest channel at this time. I realize that McCain's tie is really stripey. Honestly, I learned about the "Moiré effect" in high school TV class. Did no one tell the McCain campaign about this?

9:24 p.m. -- McCain uses the word "festooned." Really?

9:22 p.m. -- I notice that Obama has a red necktie on and McCain's is, I don't know, stripey. I wonder what kind of negotiations went into those decisions.

9:20 p.m. -- Dr. Phil Jim Lehrer encourages McCain to address something Obama just said, directly, to his face.

9:19 p.m. -- Milo, my unexpectedly conservative rabbit, scoffs at my seven-houses remark. He is incredulous at my naivete. I apologize to Milo for oversimplifying the complexities of the United States tax code.

9:18 p.m. -- McCain implies that Obama is the out-of-touch, too-rich one who doesn't understand the value of money. (Seven houses, much?)

9:16 p.m. -- Obama: "$18 billion [on earmarks] is important. $300 billion [in McCain-policy tax cuts to big corporations] is really important."

9:13 p.m. -- Lehrer asks McCain about the fundamental differences between his approach to the financial mess and Obama's. McCain calls earmarks a "gateway drug." Pork-barrel spending = marijuana now, I guess.

9:12 p.m. -- Jim Lehrer, more like a marriage counselor than a seasoned anchor, encourages Barack Obama to talk directly to John McCain about what he misses about their relationship what he hopes Senator McCain will do on the financial crisis.

9:11 p.m. -- John McCain invokes a military metaphor, and I lose interest. I spot a huge cricket in my living room and work to de-life it.

9:08 p.m. -- Jim Lehrer tries to start a fistfight between the candidates.

9:06 p.m. -- John McCain does not look well. I wonder if it was a health thing, not the financial crisis, that led him to suggest he'd be skipping the debate?

9:02 p.m. -- Tonight's debate is mostly about foreign policy, I guess. But the audience may not cheer or applaud, except RIGHT NOW! Clap, audience monkeys! Clap!

9:00 p.m. -- Despite Barack Obama's text-message-based advice earlier, I am watching the debates on NBC, not CNN.

8:59 p.m. -- In an effort to be less partisan, I will include commentary from Milo, my minilop rabbit, a notoriously conservative little guy with just the cutest little bunny butt you ever did see. I'll make sure his thoughts appear here now and again.

8:58 p.m. -- Ready for action.

8:57 p.m. -- Snack break. Must fortify with Just Pop In's cheddar popcorn and Diet Coke.

8:56 p.m. -- No. No, I did not invent the word, "blogojournalistic."

8:53 p.m. -- Having no notion of blogojournalistic ethics, I wonder: Do I need to declare that I have donated to the Obama campaign? Or will it be painfully evident in my writing? I also wonder: Did I just invent the word, "blogojournalistic"?

8:52 p.m. -- I receive a bitchy email from Joe Biden, who starts off his missive with, "Now that John McCain has decided to participate in tonight's debate..." Not classy, Joe. Not classy.

8:50 p.m. -- Famous Ole Miss alumni: Kate Jackson (my third favorite Charlie's Angel, behind Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd) and fictional characters Suzanne Sugarbaker (my fourth favorite Designing Woman) and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (my second favorite Star Trek doctor).

8:46 p.m. -- I do some digging into Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi at Oxford. It gets its name not as a derivation of "Mississippi" but from a term of respect slaves used for the wife of a plantation owner -- if Wikipedia is to be believed.

8:45 p.m. -- I lose interest in Diane Sawyer's McCain interview and wonder who the moderator for tonight's debate is. (Answer: PBS's Jim Lehrer)

8:39 p.m. -- I flip over to ABC and see Diane Sawyer interviewing Barack Obama and John McCain (separately).

8:35 p.m. -- I learn there are specific instructions for watching a debate, or at least for hosting a DebateWatch. Like, such as: "Consider making nametags" and "When the debate is over, turn off the television." And I am not kidding. But could they not come up with new questions for the post-debate conversation, rather than recycling the 2004 questions? I mean, I guess not that much has changed in the world of DebateWatches, but we wouldn't go around using the post-debate wrap-up questions from 1984. ("Which candidate reminded you more of Wham! and which candidate was more Bananarama?")

8:27 p.m. -- I do a little homework over at the Commission on Presidential Debates. Why is it and not

The heart of the matter

I've been doing a lot of thinking about forgiveness lately.

I seem to have found myself in a situation where there's some disagreement as to who is at fault, and even as I type those words, I realize how idiotic it is to try to assign blame -- both because it doesn't change anything and because even as I claim my own responsibility, the others seem committed to disavowing any role in this mess.

I'm pretty sure forgiveness is the way, kind of a concurrent process to follow while we extract ourselves from this quicksand as safely and simply as we can.

Forgiveness is the thing, right?

It's kind of ironic, because the Universe has raised a snarky cosmic eyebrow, offered a smirk, and said, "Hey, Scott, wouldn't it be just great if you sang an emotional song about forgiveness at this retreat in a couple weeks?"

Yeah. Just great.

So I'll be singing the song that I've embedded above, all the while trying not to feel too much like a hypocrite, since I'm not sure I have enfolded the pieces of my past (actually, my present) in Forgiveness's Embrace. I've invested a lot of prayer, meditation and self-reflection time in this issue, working hard to physically push out the fear and negativity so there's room for love and forgiveness. But I'm still working at it, doing my best, and some days feeling better than others. Time is the secret ingredient in this recipe, and it'll probably take a lot of that before I'm where I hope to be.

And until then, I'll just keep pushing forward, singing and praying, trying to love and forgive.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cleansing, healing, insane laughtercise

I find her straight-on look at the camera at the end to be chilling.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here's the thing...

Before you bitchily judge someone for "childishly picking up his toys and leaving," maybe you should think about the time about 18 months ago when you childishly picked up your toys and left.

This was a hell of a day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I know, but I don't know know, you know? (You: "No." Me: "Exactly.")

Ever since I was a little person, I have had a habit of knowing things I shouldn't have known.

Like, such as, things I had no reason to know: In Sunday School in third grade, we did Bible Charades. (Really. This, apparently, is a real thing.) One of the phrases my teammate was miming was "Something Wife Turned Something Something Something Something Salt." I have no idea how 8-year-old me knew to shout "Lot's Wife Turned Into A Pillar Of Salt!" like a Family Feud contestant, but I did.

Or like, things that I pre-knew: I knew my sister-in-law was pregnant before anyone told me. With both Madelynn and with Deuce (my new, on-the-way nephew).

And now I know a bunch of stuff that a bunch of people have asked me not to tell others, and, although each of the things is really an embargo until the individual tells the people he or she has to tell, it's just about killing me not to be able to talk about it. The thing about confidentiality is that it takes so damn much energy to keep track of who told me what and who knows who said which thing and who's allowed to know what. And, unlike some people (I'm looking at you, you know who you are -- I bet there's a reason I didn't confirm you as a friend on FaceBook/MySpace/, I don't do bullcrap Fake Confidentiality with knowing glances and innuendo. I keep it to myself, even though it takes a lot of energy and sleight of word and, you know, being the bigger person.

Overall, it's effing exhausting, is what it is.

Look, I get that there are professionals who have to carry around way more secrets than I do. (For example, clergy, therapists, attorneys, Bush administration officials...) But, honestly? They chose that line of work; I did not.

So, I'm thinking of adopting an Open Blog Policy, where anything anyone tells me -- or anything I think, for that matter -- is fair game for the blog. It would make my life so much simpler.

But don't worry -- for now, I remain, dear reader, your faithful confidant, willing to honor your request that I not share your private information with anyone.

Just, all I'm saying is, if my head explodes, you'll know why.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"I say we put MUSTARD on it!"

Or, you know, cut Human Resources.

Wait: Penguin or Duck?

I am currently laying in bed, with the door to the balcony open. The early (for me) morning sounds of the awakening pond lake loch waft in as geese splash-land and fish tails break the surface.

Alas, a clinically depressed emotionally stunted especially randy loud-as-hell duck has also found his way to the pond lake loch this morning, and the quacking is giving me the Loch ... Madness!


All of a sudden, the deranged duck who won't shut up reminded me of Burgess Meredith as The Penguin in the old Batman TV series. But then I wondered: do penguins quack? Because that was sort of the noise that good ol' Burgess made.

So, with a full 15 seconds of extensive comprehensive exhausting Internet research, I have determined that, no, penguins do not quack. Also, they neither wear purple top hats nor smoke cigarettes in long holders nor throw cream pies at Commissioner Gordon in an effort to be arrested as part of their diabolical plot.

My friends, I ask you: What kind of world do we live in? Everything Burgess Meredith taught us about penguins was wrong!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go re-evaluate my entire life.

Sticky Note Performance Art

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Snap out of it!

Well! These last few posts have been melancholy at best, depressing as hell at worst. (And to top it all off, my dad had medical issues today, too. *Debbie-Downer-style trumpet sputter: waaah, waaah.*)

Anyway, in order to get over this funk, I shall, in true Scott Semester fashion, disregard (or at least make fun of) the negative and focus on something that (at least) I think is funny.

Therefore, dear reader, I present to you...THE 50 MOST RANDOM E-MAIL SUBJECT LINES IN MY "RANDOM" FOLDER. My "Random" folder is where I put all my stuff (to me and from me) that doesn't fit anywhere else (Church, Work, Motus, Mensa, Writing). Currently, 4450 messages from the last three years populate my "Random" folder, and the following are some of the subject lines that, alone and without even reading the attached message (many of which are even hilariouser), make me laugh:

  1. You Yumans are in big trouble
  2. In-N-Out LAX Hack
  3. Re: You here four hour! You scare my wife!
  4. Martez: "It's another day, that's all it is...just another day”
  5. Class 8 CPDCAAA
  6. Directions to rescue your dog
  7. Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-NUH-nuh, nuh-nuh.
  8. Re: Breakfast is the most important deathtrap of the day!
  9. PERSONAL EFFECTS: One yellow metal ring intact on left ring finger, one marital aid
  10. RE: Most Ironic. Whale-watching Tour. Ever.
  11. "[The Christian radio station where he is also employed] issued a statement asking for prayers," indeed.
  13. Laurie is desperately looking for a Wii system
  14. RE: Horror hostess seeks minion. Advancement opportunities.
  15. Re: Bullzee-bullzee-bop! Ziddybop!
  16. Why is it always “Christine”?
  17. Joker! Joker! Potent Potables!
  18. RE: Wait -- "uneat"?
  19. RE: "If I have to watch one more episode of Storm Stories..."
  20. RE: I'm the only one working here.
  21. Citizens Academy 4: Asshats On Patrol
  22. Re: Count Blogula Strikes Again!
  23. Fw: "I've got a witness!"
  24. Safer Sex for Seniors -- It DOES Exist!
  25. Eddie Murphy Loses Mind, Gains Spice Girl
  26. “After a while, you get tired of deli food."
  27. RE: Birthdays, Key-Throwing Blind Dates, and Single Adoption
  28. Re: Going the Extra Mile in the Fight Against Breast Cancer (Click to see bald Scott)
  29. "There's a Japanese ghost in here, dudes."
  30. The new word of the day is... awesinine.
  31. Butt Naked In The Lincoln Bedroom
  32. I never would have guessed they would have poor parenting skills
  33. Very Important Duckpin Question
  34. Tastes Like Poisonous, Australian Chicken
  35. I'ma make make make you scream, make you scream, make you scream!
  36. Predilection for Porn from Parma
  37. RE: Ricky Martin cannot WAIT to pee on you.
  38. Wait -- Jesus was a vampire?
  39. Re: Why everyone else is stupid
  40. That wet, ploppy sound you hear...
  41. Wait -- "National loser"? And my junk.
  42. I can't tell if she's pissed or just a New Yorker
  43. The Arab Times Humorist of the Week -- It's a Contest!
  44. RE: Shut up and let me HELP you!
  45. RE: Han-Sook and her cousin-brother, Visitor
  46. RE: Disgusting Child Killers need love too. Can we please change this subject line?
  47. RE: Samantha FoxNews: Fair, Balanced and Sexually Desperate
  48. Roomba Reflections
  49. Re: I'm using you for connections AND for sparkling conversation...
  50. Re: War is not "neat," nor is that e-mail

The New Game That's Sweeping The Nation My Living Room

I see your Crying Indian, and I raise you three cuddly, yet suicidal, creatures

This ad is ridiculous.

Whether or not you believe global climate change is a real thing (which I do, elevating it to Clear & Present Danger status), I think we can all agree that one need not depict a Hume Cronyn-like chimpanzee hanging himself, a refugee-from-the-Coke-ads polar bear jumping over a cliff, nor an Outback-parched kangaroo stepping in front of a speeding train to make the point.

BTW, the Portuguese at the end translates to "Global Warming: If you give up, they give up." (I couldn't find an embeddable English version.)

(With a tip o' the hat to @Chad Norman, who linked to this video with the observation that it is "one of the darkest global warming PSA's I have ever seen")

Sick Day (Well, Sick Most-of-a-Day)

I woke up in the middle of the night with massive stomach cramping, which evolved into exhausting gastrointestinal pyrotechnics, the likes of which I wouldn't wish on anyone. I've called off work today, but I have a couple of appointments that are uncancelable/unreschedulable (neither of which is a playable Scrabble word, I'm sure).

So I'll be joining David Officer and Doug Day for lunch conversation and also having coffee tea water? with the stewardship guy at another Indy church, as encouraged by Rev. Mike.

Therefore, I'll still be working noonish to 4ish, but the rest of the day is off.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh, Go Yearbook Yourself.

Over on, you can upload your photo and it will magically transform you into a high-school student from yesteryear (any even-numbered year from 1952 to 2000, I think).

For example, here's what I might have looked like in 1956...

And here's what I would have looked (actually: did look) like if I had been in 1988 (which I was)...

New York I Love You

Remember when I fell in love with Paris last year?

Well, the producers of that ill-fated, but delightful, fantasy have come up with an American version: New York I Love You.


Monday, September 15, 2008

A weekend of fun!

I know you've been waiting with bated breath, dear reader, ever since I shared with you that I would be out of town for a while. Well, I'm back!

Here's what happened while I was away:

Thursday, 3:00 a.m. -- Woke up. Cursed alarm clock and Myrna, in that order, for going off and for scheduling a 6:25 a.m. flight, respectively.

Thursday, 4:30 a.m. -- Picked up Myrna at her house, traveled to airport for aforementioned 6:25 flight.

Thursday, 6:25 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. -- Flight to Buffalo, NY, via Atlanta, GA

Thursday, noonish -- Stopped at the Sheridan Family Restaurant. From the name, you would not guess that the Sheridan Family was Greek, but they were. I had the turkey reuben, Myrna had the spinach and feta omelet. (And people think bloggers write about unimportant things.)

Thursday, 1:00ish p.m. -- Crossed the border into Canada at Niagara Falls. Female Canadian border agent tried to look stern and commanding, failed pretty epically. Checked in at hotel and, after being harangued by a TourNiagara woman for only planning one night in the greater Niagara Falls metropolitan area, made our way to beautiful Niagara on the Lake, Ontario.

Thursday, 1:30ish p.m. -- Made it to Inniskillin Winery just in time for the guided tour to start. Found out all about winemaking and grapes and whatnot. Tasting at the end included three wines -- the first two were Someyear Chardonnay Something Something and Someyear Merlot Something Something. The final one -- the liquid gold -- was the first wine I've ever liked. Viva la icewine! Inniskillin's 2006 Olympic Vidal Icewine -- yum! Now, we know...and knowing is half the battle.

Thursday, 3:00ish p.m. -- Well and truly wined up, yet not having bought anything, we continued into Niagara on the Lake, where we went to visit The Lake. (Lake Ontario, that is.) It was superwindy, but we enjoyed the view. Myrna took some pics, and if she sends good ones, I'll post them. After sitting on the lake and freezing our collective buns off, we walked into downtown Niagara on the Lake, which is like a mainstreet shopping area and touristy thing. So Myrna and I wandered, got some ice cream, did some shopping, etc.

Thursday, 4:30ish p.m. -- Back at the hotel, it was time for siesta, or whatever the French-Canadian equivalent is.

Thursday, 8:00ish p.m. -- Once I (finally) woke up from siesta, we went to Copacabana, a brazilian steakhouse in Niagara Falls. It was good -- literally endless meat (until you tell them to stop) served on swords by large men, whilst showgirls did their thing for a private party on the patio. Definitely worth the stop.

Thursday, 10:00ish p.m. -- We walked closer to the Falls and then into Casino Niagara, where I promptly dropped 50 bucks (Canadian), whereas Myrna, betting as little as one penny (CANADIAN) at a time, stretched her 20 bucks out for quite some time.

Thursday, 11:30ish p.m. -- We saw the light show on the Falls and then made our way back to the Marriott.

Friday, pre-noon -- Stayed in bed and watched Maury ("You are NOT the father!" and "The lie detector PROVED that you had sex with 9 women while your fiancee was in the hospital!") and other high-quality television.

Friday, noon -- We headed off to the wedding, but first had to go on the endless search for lunch. Holy crap, it's hard to find a place to eat between Niagara Falls and Buffalo! Ultimately, we got into downtown Buffalo and drove around until we found a TGIFriday's and then while we were trying to find a parking space, we found a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint called Prima Pasta Pizza or somesuch. It was good. I believe it was at lunch that we started talking about Myrna's aversion to horror films (whereas I grew up on a steady diet of Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween, etc.) -- this will come into play at...

Friday, 2:30ish p.m. -- ...when we can pretty much pinpoint where the trip went to hell. (Haha, just kidding. It wasn't that bad.) But we checked into the Colonial Motel (whose tagline, "Come...find rest," suddenly seemed more like a threat than a promise), a couple miles from the state park where our friends Jen and Isaiah would be getting married. If we hadn't been discussing such things as Psycho and Stephen King, the Colonial would probably have been a lot more appealing. However, comma, things being what they were, we were in for a bumpy ride. When we got into the room, we realized it was clean and smoke-free -- bonus! But then we heard a conversation going on and thought we were in someone else's room...until we realized it was a conversation happening at normal conversation level IN THE ROOM NEXT DOOR, but we could hear it as though they were standing right beside us. And also, they had a three-year-old who liked to scream. A lot. Also, as we explored the room, we discovered it was actually adjoined to two other rooms. One of the adjoining doors was locked from the other side, with no lock on our side...they could just flip the lock and come right in. The other adjoining door was "locked" on our side -- with a hook-and-loop mechanism used for securing a 1950's-era bar-bathroom stall. Later that night, we would debate whether it was better to use the chain lock on the entry door to our room, lest we have to fumble with it when the man with the chainsaw burst through from one of the adjoining rooms. (Having chosen the bed by the door, I chose to secure the chain lock, lest the man with the chainsaw come in from that way, um, unexpectedly.) Also, there was no phone in the room. Curiously: Coffee maker? Yes. Phone? No.

Friday, 4:00 p.m. -- The wedding! It. Was. Beautiful. Everything at Letchworth State Park was a little damp from the morning rain, but it quit raining just in time, and the cool breeze kept the humidity from becoming too bad. Jen and Isaiah and their wedding party all looked great, and even though Rev. Marty seemed to have some sort of blackout/stroke event for about 45 seconds during the ceremony, it was terrific. The readings the moms chose were beautiful, and the groom's dad even played guitar and sang a song.

Friday, 5:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. -- The party! We reveled in a tent for the outdoor reception, since the rain was threatening to return. Music was provided by Minnesota folk legend Charlie Parr.

Saturday, 9:00 a.m. -- Myrna and I had a heart-to-heart discussion about whether or not we should stay at the Colonial Motel any longer than absolutely necessary. Luckily, we were of one mind, which meant that once we left for the post-wedding brunch, we were never looking back. While I watched part of an episode of Million-Dollar Listing (it was good, but I really don't miss cable all that much -- come on, a college kid whose dad gave him a $1.5-million budget for a house?!), Myrna's mom helped us by accessing The Internet and booking us an alternative in Buffalo for Saturday night. Hooray, The Internet!

Saturday, 10:30 a.m. -- We went to brunch and enjoyed the world-famous Jen's Cheese Grits, which I would like the recipe for, as well as a variety of other brunchtastic foods.

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. -- We hit the road and shuffled off to Buffalo (again). We made it to our hotel around 2:30ish and then siestaed again.

Saturday, 7:00 p.m. -- Myrna had received a text message from her friends who just moved from Buffalo to Plainfield, recommending a place for dinner, so we went there. The Sterling Place Tavern is not somewhere we'd have thought to visit -- from the outside it looks like just another bar -- but the food was great, and the service was hilarious. The sign said "Please wait to be seated," but as we were standing there, this old (and I do mean OLD) man walked out of the kitchen and said, "What are you standin' there for?!" I pointed out the sign -- and also pointed out that we were following directions -- and he scolded us just to sit anywhere. Shortly after we chose our corner table, Judy the Waitress (and Bartender and Manager and etc.) came over and took our order (and also explained that Al, the OLD man, was 96 years old!). She was bubbly and fun and was even bubblier and funner when we told her that Hermen and Erin sent us. We had a terrific dinner and then headed back to the hotel.

Saturday, 11:30 p.m. -- Did you see Tina Fey as Sarah Palin? Awesome.

Sunday, 9:00 a.m. -- After a nice continental breakfast at the Quality Inn, we headed to the airport, returned the rental car and hopped on the plane.

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. -- When we landed in Atlanta for our layover, we had a good three hours to kill. We did lunch at Chili's and then spent some time in the bookstore. I was looking at some Encyclopedia Brown collections and was totally shocked when I asked Myrna if she knew that Encyclopedia's real first name was "Leroy," and she said, "Oh, yeah. I read a lot of Encyclopedia Brown when I was younger." So I bought one of the ten-story collections and we turned it into a game. One of us would read the chapter aloud and then the other one had to try to guess how Encyclopedia had cracked the case. I'm not sure we kept score, but I'm pretty sure Myrna won. I'm also pretty sure the people around us thought I was, how do you say, "slow" on account of the reading aloud from the fifth-grade-level book, but whatever.

Sunday, 4:00 p.m. -- Right when we were supposed to board, we learned that the Indy airport was on a ground stop. Whatever that is. So we weren't going to be able to board, but then we were going to be able to board, but then we were going to sit on the tarmac for a while, but then we weren't going to sit on the tarmac. All told, our flight was delayed taking off by about 40 minutes, but we still made it to Indianapolis 3 minutes early. Which makes me wonder -- if you can speed up to make up that time, why don't we always fly that fast? But whatever, we made it here safely and our bags made it here safely, and after a quick trip to the Economy lot at 6:15 p.m. and a quick trip to Plainfield, it was all good and Myrna was home safely.

Sunday, 6:45 p.m. -- I stopped by Mr. Gyros on 38th Street to pick up dinner and was home by 7:00 p.m.

All in all, it was a terrific, action-packed, scary, beautiful, awesome trip!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Red alert! Shields up! I'm goin' outta town. :)

Dear reader,

I know you're out there, because one time when I hadn't posted anything to my blog in nine days, you let me know that you missed me my hilarious and insightful ramblings.

It is for you, dear reader, you specifically, that I post this notice that I shall be out of town and without internet access for four days. I'll be yukking it up at Niagara Falls, and also at a friend's wedding in a state park in upstate New York. We're staying at the Colonial Motel (tagline: "Come... Find rest." which sounds kind of final) and also the Marriott Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel & Spa (which, I kind of wonder about the Spa, but whatever).

Therefore, you may only begin to stalkerishly miss me starting Monday eveningish. I'll likely be tweeting (that is, microblogging, 140 characters at a time, to my Twitter stream in the left-hand sidebar -- or, you can follow it here) via text message throughout. So there's that.

Otherwise, if I'm not back to posting actual blog entries with my signature wit and wisdom by Monday or Tuesday, check the Bates Motel Colonial Motel in Portageville.

See you (hopefully!) soon!

Hey, good news!

The Large Hadron Collider was successfully activated.

AND! It's gets better! This didn't happen:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mary hadron little lamb, and collided its particles to re-create the Big Bang

Scientists will flip the switch on the world's largest particle accelerator tomorrow morning (Euro-time), potentially creating a black hole on earth and ending existence as we know it.

So, haha, you know, party tonight.

Actually, noted physicist Nerdly X. Geekleman Martin Rees (Baron Rees of Ludlow, if you're nasty) has calculated that there's only a 1 in 50 million chance that some sort of black hole or other global catastrophe will take place when the Large Hadron Collider is activated.

Which is, in fact, three times more likely than my winning Powerball on Wednesday night. Just saying.

Using a 15-mile-long tunnel under France and Switzerland (but mostly France), scientists are hoping to re-create the moments after the Big Bang, when the universe was (allegedly but not scripturally) created. Here's a diagram, which I do not understand (something about magnets, explosions and double-decker buses):

What do you think? Are we going to be black-hole-or-other-global-catastrophed tomorrow? Or is it just another day on that third one from the sun?

And what, I say, what is up with all these subatomic particles? And why haven't you bought me a plush theoretical tachyon yet?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dave Jong-Il?

It is alleged by some (credible? who can say...) Japanese dude that North Korean Head Wackjob In Charge Kim Jong-Il has been dead since 2003 and he has been impersonated by one or more doubles for the past five years.

While, in my heart of hearts, I want to give the North Koreans props for having the big brass wontons to employ a political strategy based on a 1993 Kevin Kline movie (which itself seems based on a 1988 Richard Dreyfuss movie), I do have to wonder: Was there really no North Korean Authoritarian-in-Waiting? Did they fall victim to the third most popular classic blunder: Failing to provide succession planning for their dictatorial hijinks?

(Classic Blunders #1 & 2, respectively: Getting involved in a land war in Asia, Going in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.)

The BarackRoll elevates internet political parody to artistic achievement

Friday, September 05, 2008


In the ten days while I was pet-sitting and living at my brother's house, the (mostly decorative, entirely forgotten) bowl of apples on my breakfast table became host to the D. Melanogaster clan, an uninvited, extended family of little fruit flies.

This is annoying.

I am working through some half-assed home remedies -- I have made my own flytraps, but since I don't have wine, I have used balsamic vinegar and fruit cup in heavy syrup. I have made my own flypaper, but since I don't have corn syrup, I used maple syrup. So, it may or may not work.

Anybody have any other ideas? (Julmille suggested pickle juice down the drain, but my quick exploration did not yield any drain flies.)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

YOU SHOULD COME: One Night Brunch Only!

I mentioned in my bringing-you-up-to-speed post last night that I will be making my emceeing debut on Saturday during Sax in the City (teehee), a fundraiser to benefit a local seniors program called the Mid-North Shepherd's Center. It's a jazz brunch, and it's going to kick serious butt. And not just 'cause I'm emceeing. And not just 'cause of the awesome food from the Broadway Kitchen Ladies and other assorted home-cookin' volunteers.

There's going to be awesome music from the Carl Hines Band as well as a formidable silent auction: 50+ items, and you know how I love items. I actually got a great deal on some Indianapolis Symphony tickets at the last silent auction I participated in, so I'll be bringing my checkbook.

So, you should come. Here are the details:

Sax in the City
A Brunch to Benefit the Mid-North Shepherd's Center
Saturday, September 6
11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
North United Methodist Church
38th & Meridian, Indianapolis

Tickets are $25 and are available from my friend Ellie, one of the aforementioned Broadway Kitchen Ladies. If you want to come, send me an e-mail, and I'll get you in touch with Ellie. My friend Meana is coming, so if you've ever read her funny comments and wanted to put a face with a name, now's your chance! Also, it's your chance to see me emcee! Also it's your chance to experience the legendary breakfast burrito that damn near drove us all to drink!

I made it myself!

Photographed, written, produced, sung, edited, uploaded and embedded by me...multitalented, brilliant, delusional me!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bringing you up to speed

Here's what's happened in the time since I last posted (well, since I posted anything other than videos):
  • I took great joy at shutting down the door-to-door Comcast man who was desperately grasping at any opportunity to get my personal information and/or entice me to purchase Comcast. (Me to Comcast man who was incredulous that I didn't have cable: 'Well, I'm an unusual guy. You can ask just about anybody.')
  • I visited the Feast of Lanterns. Saw a pretty good young-person rap competition. Saw some pretty bad talent and some pretty good talent at a Gong-Show-type competition. Best quote from Gong Show judge, in defense of her refusal to gong very-off-key gentleman singing gospel: "I am not going to Hell for The Gong Show."
  • I pet-sat for my brother and his family: two dogs, two cats, numerous fish. Eleven days of loud dog-breathing, cat litterbox-missing, and inappropriately excessive doses of antihistamines.
  • I figured out how to follow through every time on my forehand.
  • On the way to work one morning, I realized that all my iTunes made me sad. Good thing I had downloaded the karaoke version of the theme song to "Gimme A Break" to turn it around. (I am not kidding.)
  • I had a middle-of-the-night epiphany that it's just not worth it; and also that it's not me, it's them. (See: Busted, My Give-A-Damn's)
  • With a friend and her two nephews, I watched the last Indy Indians game of the season and then saw (most of) Skyconcert from the outfield at Victory Field.
  • A friend whose marriage was rocky decided to move in with me and then decided not to.
  • I indulged in five episodes in a "Murder, She Wrote" marathon. I had seen them all before. ("M,SW" was a big part of Semester Family Sunday Nights as I was growing up. Kind of explains a lot, I'd say, as does the fact that the "M,SW" page I linked to is owned by an AOL user named meow103476.) (And I am not kidding.)
  • I sang a kick-ass version of "Getting to Know You" from "The King and I" in front of 80 people at the first meeting of a group at St. Luke's. Ken Who?
  • Barack Obama Himself texted me twice -- once at 3:05 a.m. to tell me he had chosen Joe Biden as his running mate, and once to encourage me to donate five bucks to the Red Cross. Neither exactly stirred me to action...
  • We had a great brunch at Broadway, but the Kitchen Ladies were ready to become a danger to themselves or to me by the end of the morning.
  • In exchange for the Broadway Kitchen Ladies' awesome work on Sunday, I agreed to emcee a jazz brunch called (*giggle) Sax and the City (*giggle) on Saturday, which the Kitchen Ladies are in charge of. You should come. Call me for ticket information; proceeds benefit the Mid-North Shepherd Center.
  • I received a very nice note from a reader named Cassi, whom I've never met in person, who was very concerned about my lack of posting for many days.

For my 800th post, a placeholder from the edge

My dear reader,

These last two weeks have been beyond the pale -- so far beyond, that I have not posted anything to the blog in nine days.

I promise there will be more blogariffic fun coming soon. I am finally back staying at my own home this evening, and other things that have been, shall we say, in flux, have reached a level of sanity I no longer give a dang about the things that have been, shall we say, in flux.

If you can stick with me for another few hours, I'll do my best to post some stuff about the last couple weeks, as well as share some other webstuff I've found.

Yr pal,