Thursday, September 30, 2004

Maybe you can find whatever you're looking for here.

I'm running out of energy here, but because I am now completely smitten with Lil' Stacy I am going to tenaciously perservere, just like she would do. Jenn C. learned the hard way what results from messing with this semitic spitfire. Jenn was much more delusional than Stacie J. ever was, a tendency which should have been apparant from her stalktastic SWFing of the Donald when they went to his apartment for dinner in Week One. She was treating Stacy R. as though she were an annoying child for the entire episode, saying something like, "This one, I don't know what I'm going to do with" at one point in the restaurant. BIG mistake, leading to my favorite line in the episode, after Mr. Trump had fired her with ease, "I feel good about it." So did I, though I don't think we saw The Cobra, which would have made things perfect (but from the highlights we saw that it will strike next week, which is going to be one super-duper moment to look forward to). Other delusions of Jenn's included saying that she was the one who brought people together and created a warm friendly atmosphere and then talking to some of the patrons in a totally phony and awkward way which seemed to sort of freak them out, and also saying that the other women were forming alliances when the only obvious alliance was between her and Sandy, who she refused to bring into the boardroom even after she flipped on her and recommended she be fired. Now, putting my personal feelings aside for a moment, I think there are only two female contestants who have what it takes, Ivana, Pamela, Sandy, and... whoever was boss last week and has competely broken down now having already shown that they do not. And between Jennifer M. and Stacy R. my current sense is that Jennifer M. is a little more calm and collected and will come out on top. Sorry, Stacy, but love has no place in the business world (and therefore neither do I, but this is a t.v. show I'm watching after all, and I can pretend with the best of them). My pick as the best of Team Mosaic is Kevin, who I was also glad to see was hinting around at what I think was the same point I was hinting around at last week when discussing the firing of Stacie J. And I think John could be an artist, why's he interested in the soulless banality of the corporate boardroom? Maybe the money, but did you see how you charmed that theater-going restaurant foursome was by you, John? If you could just manage to find a couple of gay gallery owners and art critics in the city (needle in a haystack, I know, but there must be a few) you could easily have a successful career that was much more fun and interesting. Though after later seeing John fawning all over Rudy Giuliani, maybe we just have different ideas about what is fun and interesting (plus John had that crazy attack on Raj's bagel craving 2 weeks ago... this hint of creativity on his part may be distracting me from his underlying idiot bastardness). Ok, there's my 2 cents, and I feel good about it; now I need to go collapse back on the couch and check out a little of America's Next President while enjoying some of my own Asian Fusion cuisine (Howard Johnson's macaroni and cheese with a splash of soy sauce - it's good, really).

Still not in the pink, but I'm going to attempt a quick rundown of last night's t.v. highlights. First off was America's Next Top Model, which in my weakened and still cranky state was mostly an annoyance. The three things that still stick in my mind are:
  1. Getting all upset that you can't room with someone and then crying that you love them and you're always going to be friends and they'll be at your wedding and all that, when you've only known them for a week or something and you're not very drunk or on ecstacy, is just crazy/creepy. I'm thinking that maybe Ann(?)'s complete lack of personality, demonstrated by her photo shoot deadness, has caused her to latch on so strongly to the contestant with the most personality, like a person with scurvy might crave an orange.
  2. If you contestants aren't already aware that modelling is one of the most destructive, evil, worthless professions in existence, and you're apparantly not, then maybe a close look at that hideous monster who looks as though she would be most at home bursting out of some victim's chest in a sci-fi horror movie but is apparantly America's Very First Supermodel will wake you up. But again, apparantly not. This must be what Tyra means about looking 'dangerous'.
  3. And third, a lesson in antonyms for Ms. Banks: the opposite of common is not dangerous. Your forehead is not dangerous. I've got a number of snarky remarks beginning with "the only thing dangerous about that forehead is..." but I will not sink to your petty, flaw-seeking level, cause it is all about the love for this man. So let's move on to The Apprentice and Stacy R.'s emergence from the underbrush into the open field.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused, but I was forced to call in sick at work today. I was very tired, run down, and muddled all day yesterday and was getting pretty achy and cranky by late afternoon. Then this morning I awoke in an incredibly dizzy and nauseous state, so I tried getting ahold of my back-up resource Wendy J. but she had not turned on her cell phone. Since I was already scheduled with some big important partner I'd never worked with before, I bundled up without showering and started off on a dazed trudge to the G train anyway, but soon after I turned the corner onto Nassau Avenue I got incredibly light-headed and threw up in the gutter, to the consternation of a henna-sporting pack of Polish ladies who were sitting on a stoop watching me with disapproval. Luckily when I returned to the apartment Wendy J. called me back and I was able to get everything worked out to the clients' satisfaction before passing out in a feverish heap. I'm still far from well, but I've gotten a hot tip from reader Andrea B. that needs to get out posthaste: the Torino Olympics now have mascots, and they are a great improvement over that crap they tried to pawn off on us in Athens (well, I'm just talking about the official 2004 mascots, of course). 2006!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I hate the fact that whenever I look back in the archives, a lot of the links in the posts no longer work, especially those from the early days when I didn't realize that Yahoo photos and news stories disappear almost instantaneously. So I was delighted to stumble upon that Bob Seger photo that reader Mike A. tipped us to many months back while searching around the web today. It's one that I've particularly missed, and I am now glad to be able to share it with you again. "I remember how he held me oh so tight, wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then". Posted by Hello

Ever wonder what a pika sounds like? Ever find a .wav file of a pika and then feel compelled to replay it every 2-3 minutes all afternoon long? Huh... well I guess it's just me, then.

This is Cassius Clay. For the past week or so he has not wanted to leave the kitchen. Last night I was petting him and then went into the next room, and he really wanted more petting but as soon as he got about six inches from leaving the kitchen he suddenly stopped and looked all scared and then turned around and went back underneath the table. He's eating less, too, and has started trying to get into the upper cupboards to hide. I am very afraid that he is getting ready to die. Posted by Hello

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Massachusetts Dead Squirrel Phenomenon has finally hit the mainstream media, and the cause they subscribe to is one that had not come up before, namely an ominous Median Restoration Project. Meanwhile, down south here my new theory for the robust reshuffling this fall revolves around cicadas. See, I've been reading that young squirrels in Indiana were feasting earlier in the season on the tasty, nutty Brood X (behavior also seen by reader Rob C. in Princeton if you recall), but now they are gone and the acorn crop is reported to be lower than normal most places (though it's higher in Massachusetts), so I think that the squirrels are wandering far and wide trying to get their bug fix, not realizing that it's going to be another 17 years. And with that, I'm reclosing the case of the scampering squirrels.

I just took a walk around the block to clear my head after my workspace had become engulfed in some silliness, and while strolling a thought popped into my clearing head about that last Apprentice episode. Now, what's-her-name with the printing overage problem was getting all the blame for the budget woes of Team Apex, but when they were signing up Mike Piazza it had been mentioned that he asked for $20,000 and they had only budgeted $10,000, but he 'was totally worth it' and so they took him anyway. So why did everybody pin the blame on the extra $5,000 the printing cost when this item was twice that amount over budget? Shouldn't credit-grabbing, Trump-stalking Jenn C. have been made the scapegoat instead? Not that it really mattered with the scarifying Stacie getting booted anyway, but it's a little curious, right?

This morning I managed to unravel a mini-mystery that had been nagging at me since Saturday night. The case began on Friday when I was overwhelmingly hungover from the effects of an open bar coupled with some stressful circumstances onboard the yacting excursion the night before and threw a couple of ibuprofen tablets into my pocket when I was getting ready for work. I was so out of it all day, though, that I spent most of the afternoon wishing that I had some pain reliever handy because I could not drag myself all the way downstairs and over to Duane Reade to fetch some, completely forgetting that I had the necessary relief in my pocket the whole time. Even though I got plenty of rest on Friday night, I still had a bit of a headache when I awoke on Saturday, which I did not care for as I was stepping out on the town that evening. So when I was getting dressed and saw two caplets in the dish atop my dresser that I dump things out of my pockets into at the end of a day, I took them and soon my headache cleared up and I was ready for action. But as the evening progressed I found myself getting drunk a lot more quickly and completely than seemed proper for the relatively small amount I was drinking, and I was unusually talkative, babbling on and on in an inane stream-of-consciousness. Not really that unusual for a drunken night out on the town, but like I say I only had four drinks over four hours and it wasn't like they were big shots of tequila or something. Plus when I got home I just lay in bed for almost three hours unable to fall asleep. I was starting to worry that I was becoming too in tune with the squirrels and their manic autumnal reshuffling, and would soon find myself chittering frantically in an agitated manner while dancing in the middle of the road and then scamper off to leap into the Newtown Creek. A more prosaic explanation presented itself this morning when I put on the same pants I had worn on Friday and felt the two ibuprofen tablets still in the pocket. I had taken some allergy-sinus pain reliver that I had placed in the dish last month just to get them out of the bulky plastic encasement that they had come in, and in addition I'm pretty sure that the recommended dosage was only one caplet. So I was unknowingly mixing a double dosage of pseudoephedrine with alcohol, not losing my mind. The moral here is don't assume or you will make an ass out of you and me, or at least me. Really, I don't know that I was being much more of an ass than usual on Saturday, but it's catchier than don't assume or the next time you have a sinus headache you will find yourself lacking the proper medication to alleviate the discomfort effectively. The event I was all jacked up at, by the way, was a reading of sorts by the editors of Found magazine, who are currently in the midst of a 50 state tour; a link to their website is, as always, over to your left, and readers in other states should check to see if they are coming to your town too. One guy read and commented on some of his favorite found notes, and then his brother sang three songs, the first two of which were surprisingly awful and unfunny in a cloying style reminiscent of a male Jewel, but his third song was a cover of a booty bass jam that completely redeemed the performance. Also, female audience members pointed out that he was rather cute, which I know makes Jewel a lot more bearable for me and my male friends, and ladies may well find the whole set enjoyable. So that is highly recommended if you have the opportunity to check it out. For readers in NYC, I can also highly recommend the restaurant we went to before the show, Rice & Beans, it was very, very tasty. Anyway, I'm feeling rather Encyclopedia Brownish right now, so if any readers have a mystery of their own that they'd like me to apply my impressive deductive reasoning skills to, feel free to send it in to the tipline and I will get cracking on it.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Well, I've finally watched this week's Apprentice episode, though I'm not so sure that it was exactly the same episode you might have seen if you watched it on Thursday. See, there were 15 bonus boardroom minutes, but the show was still only an hour long, and I'm pretty sure that they accomlished this by breezing over the actual task part of the episode pretty rapidly, because the show I saw seemed to be almost all boardroom. Even so, I've heard from other viewers that the crazy Crest lady was not in evidence in the version they saw either, and though it's understandable on Proctor & Gamble's part to quash any mention of the incident, I am still extremely disgruntled about that ("New Crest Vanilla Mint: Feel the Seizure! " Yeah, perhaps it wouldn't have made for the most effective brand positioning , but it could have easily knocked off Wake Up With The King as my favorite ad campaign... well, maybe, I do really love that King. And this one.) Speaking of love, my warm and friendly feelings for Lil' Stacy went through some shaky moments during the course of the episode. She spoke much more than ever before this week, and that nearly caused her to lose my affection, as I did not initially agree with the words that were coming out of her wee mouth. I had been becoming somewhat impressed with Jennifer M. and her level-headed and persuasive attack on Elizabeth when from out of the blue Stacy R. went after Stacie J. , when Stacie hadn't done anything that really seemed to doom the project in any way this week. They didn't get the toothpaste the night before, but it seemed like they had toothpaste at the fairly lame event they put together, so no harm done as far as I could tell. I think that Jennifer has to go after Liz, though, because it is very hard to tell them apart, and she could easily end up getting accidentally fired for something Elizabeth does, or something Sandy does for that matter (who totally got her Mike Piazza suggestion snagged by Jenn C. without putting up any fight and then called Stacy R. 'Little Stacy', both of which earn her no points in my book, though I did enjoy when she said "I would not have a person like that working in my bridal shop" and I suppose I have been commenting on my honey's size constantly myself, but not in front of her, and that is an important disitinction, I think) . I have some suspicians that the name similarity may explain some of Lil' Stacy's desire to eliminate Stacie J., too. Before going any further, just so it is on the record, I still hate Ivana and Andy very much, and this week's most disappointing 'road not taken' was Pamela's terror-iffic idea to pump vanilla fumes into the subway system. Since the reports were that the homeless woman meltdown happned to the team in Washington Square Park, I'm going to speculate that Pamela was behind that idea, too, as long as I'm being forced to imagine what actually went down by the weak-willed, advertiser-bullied producers of this show. Back now to the firing of Stacie J. and why I've decided to stick up for my lil' darlin's decision to drag her into the mix and divert the attention from the people who actually screwed up the worst this week, the other 2 in the boardroom and Ivana. It's because the smallest contestant was looking at the larger picture, and deserving or not, Stacie J. was scaring the populace even more than Pamela gassing the MTA would have. It was one of Stacy R.'s 'most scary moments in her life' and no one gets away with scaring my girlfriend, even if she is being a little overdramatic, along with everyone else, about the level of insanity displayed in Week One by Stacie. Plus, she said, "I feel sad for this? Because I'm not sure if this is something clinical, and I am sensitive to that," and her sensitive nature could easily explain her getting most scared more easily than might otherwise seem believeable. Additionally, Stacie's resemblance to Scary Spice probably caused her to become associated with Scariness on some unconscious level, and first impressions are hard to shake. In any case, I am loyal, faithful, and true once I have pledged my heart to a woman, and feel terrible now for having ever wavered in my support for Stacy's brave decsion to bring this disquieting incident from the past out into the open in an attempt to heal her spooked team. Thank goodness Elizabeth was able to head off signing the controversial and equally spooky LL Cool J to shill for Crest, or this Apprentice episode would have had me cowering under my bed with a baseball bat right now. I see that the next episode is on Wednesday this week, so barring any more dinner cruises I will return on Thursday with 2 more cents.

Friday, September 24, 2004

You're probably wondering how the big company yacht outing went yesterday, but all I have to offer are some secret messages directed at a few subsets of our readership. The first is for those readers who are familiar with my primary motto, "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" (and perhaps my secondary motto, "The Proof Is In The Pudding"): I've added a tertiary motto, "Third Time's The Charm". Next, for any female readers in the general area of 36 years old (i.e., 30-40): You know you're going to be all over it in 10-15 years, so why wait? Seriously, why? And lastly, for any readers possessing the inside information necessary to decode this post from last month, I can offer a capsule review of the cruise: Different cast, familiar plot. Very familiar.

For those remaining readers who are feeling left out now, there is also some first-rate breaking marmot news today that we can all enjoy together.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I've got too much work today and I have to leave the office at 3 to hit the high seas (as I mentioned the other day), so even though I did in fact watch America's Top Model last night, following the suggestion in reader Mike A.'s comment yesterday, I'm not going to have the time to put together the usual lengthy combination of humorous play-by-play and serious philosophical opinion that I like to bring to my television criticism. Briefly, then, I'm pretty disappointed that both my favorite contestant and the only contestant that I really found attactive at all both got cut in the second elimination that occured last night. By far my favorite was Amy (I think that was her name) the girl from the ghetto who was tired of fighting and then almost got into a bar fight with some crabby townies. I was expecting to easily despise all of the prospective models, but I actually found myself liking her and felt very sad when she didn't make it. Remember how Matt Dillion lost it when Johnny died in The Outsiders (I have no idea why this is second time in 2 days I've referenced The Outsiders)? I fear something along those lines occuring with Amy, though I suppose the show was taped a while ago and it would have made the news had she gotten gunned down in the street already. Now I atypically do not generally find models attractive (though I stand by my Jim Belushi/desert island musing from yesterday and am sure that if one of those freaky praying-mantises was nice, smart, funny, and was crazy about pikas that taste could totally be changed with a little effort... but that's how things stand right now) and like I said only one of them got me a little revved up just based on their looks, the one who also apparantly was on the last season and got cut in the 2nd round then, too. Totally don't remember her name and I guess it doesn't matter anymore. She got cut because Tyra Banks found it inexcusable that she did not have a most or least favorite supermodel. I wish I had the time to get further into that, and also to discuss how Tyra seems to fancy herself some sort of psychologist/therapist. But I do not. Of the remaining girls, I guess Norelle is ok, I like her eyes a lot, though not the braces. But my pick to root for out of the lame crop that they've left us with is going to be Eva. She was reportedly mean to everyone, but the only one we saw her be nasty to was that skeleton girl, and even though it wasn't at all nice to be going off on her like that, I did completely agree with everything she was saying about her. Plus she also has pretty eyes. So go Eva!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I put this fair photo into the folder for posting last month but neglected to put it up. The kite-shaped knothole may contain a squirrel, though it could just as easily be another blue jay, an owl, or a mildewy copy of Oui. Posted by Hello

I was wondering when someone was going to mention this.

Even though this exercise is probably as redundant and unnecessary as telling you the plot of Hamlet or The Outsiders, there may be a reader or two out there who dwell beneath rocks and did not see last night's ATJ premiere, so here is a brief summary of what went down. Even though they already have three children, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith) wants Jim (Belushi) to plant yet another seed in her, so they are seeing a fertility doctor. Now apparantly drinking and smoking cigars lowers your sperm count, and Jim's is already dangerously low, so he agrees to cut these things out before he goes back to drop off another sample for testing. Predictably, he makes no attempt to honor this promise to his wife, and so he talks his even fatter friend Andy into masturbating for him. But Andy's sperm count is so high that the doctor gets concerned and oddly but conveniently does a complete round of DNA testing on the sample. Oh, and did I mention that Andy is Cheryl's brother? That, as you can probably see, is intregal to the hilarity. So she finds out and then pretends that since she was ovulating the doctor just went ahead and impregnated her with her brother's child. After the dust settles, it turns out that Jim is unconsciously sabotaging the whole thing because if he followed the doctor's advice and still couldn't get Cheryl pregnant he would not be a real man. The lesson learned here is that I really have to get one of these gigs as a sitcom husband; this show, Everybody Loves Raymond, The King of Queens, Still Standing, etc., etc., etc.... these unenticing slobs manage to consistently land themselves some peculiarly foxy wives. My problem isn't really with the disparity in physical attractiveness, because if these guys were nice, sweet, thoughtful, smart, charming, caring, shared similar tastes, something, then it might make some sense. I mean, if you just saw Kevin James and Leah Remini on the street you'd still wonder what that fine lady was doing with the walrus, but if you spent some time with them you'd realize, hey, maybe she's not so crazy after all. You sleep with somebody a few times and fall in love and it'll totally screw with your brain chemistry, even to the extent that someone could find Jim Belushi attractive, theoretically (though an extended stint trapped alone together on a desert island may have been necessary to bring about the sleeping together a few times part of that equation in this case). But these men are horrible, selfish, sloppy idiots who barely remember their wives' names, and the couples never have a single thing in common - the men find everything the wives like and do stupid and girly while the women find everything the guys like and do stupid and disgusting. So what possible reason could there be for the women to have ever fallen in love with the schlubs? The only convincing arguments would be looks or money, and neither are in evidence. So, if anyone has any leads on one of these sitcom husband positions opening up, the tipline address is to your immediate left (I Am A Friend Of The Squirrels would be a great title to add to the CBS Monday night line-up, too, I think).

The squirrels have been dominating our small furry mammal coverage lately, at the expense of the otters, who made the news themselves two weeks back by reproducing in Ohio. Free otters are probably wondering what all the fuss is about, but captive animals are a lot like celebrities, in that they can make headlines just by displaying normal, everyday behavior. I've also found some background on the proud parents of the pups, where you will discover that otters are like 'wiener dogs' but 'more slinky'.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Just a reminder that Andrew 'Dice' Clay's birthday is next Wednesday, and so as to avoid any embarrassing gift duplications, this is what I'm getting him. Don't you look, though, Diceman!

I promised you that we hadn't seen the last of our friend Mary West, and my word is my bond. I initially assumed that she was shaking hands with Donald Trump in this photo, but after closer inspection I realized that she is simply slipping him a tasty chicken foot to snack on. This is a perfect example of the sort of considerate attention that makes Mary the special lady that she is, and why stars swarm around her like flies.

Readers looking forward to another novella-length chunk of gibberish concerning The Apprentice 2 on Friday are going to be disappointed... I just found out that I will be on some sort of boat sailing out of Greenwich, CT that evening for a festive/mind-numbing work event. There will be free cocktails, steak, lobster, etc. BUT there will also be plenty of the sort of folks you would expect to see on The Apprentice, and they are not nearly as entertaining in real life as they appear on the television. Actually, as I was typing this just now I got another phone call arranging a car to pick me up here at the office on Thursday afternoon and delivering me back to my apartment after the sea snooze, could there be a TV in the car?? That would be absolutely perfect, so I'm going to assume no. But I see that the show re-airs on Saturday with bonus footage, so that might be better anyway. 'Heads up' on the delayed commentary, though. One show that I will thankfully not have to postpone watching is tonight's season premiere of According To Jim! What are Jim, Cheryl, Andy, and sister/single/screw-up/slut whose name I forget - you know the type - going to do about... whatever happened at the end of last season? Something pretty funny, I'll bet. Here is some sweet computer wallpaper to help make the next 7 hours slightly more bearable for you. Now that brand new Jims are back I really feel like fall has officially begun (the autumnal equinox being tomorrow doesn't hurt either, I suppose).

Monday, September 20, 2004

My colleague at the New Center for Short-Lived Phenomena reports in with word that the article on squirrel immersion is said to have appeared in The New York Times a few months ago. I have not been able to track down a copy of this article, but the timing does not seem entirely consistent with the results of my previous research, which indicated that these squirrel migrations or shufflings normally occur in September. So still developing... The report also reminded me that I had a neighborhood squirrel sighting this morning in Greenpoint that I should have mentioned before. A particularly lush and fluffy squirrel leapt directly in front of me from a porch onto a small tree, looking much like a tiny superhero in the process, then scaled the tree and jumped onto the roof of a van. The luxurious state of his fur would seem to belie the notions that malnutrition or flea infestation are culprits in this phenomenon, but maybe the situation is different in Massachusetts.

In addition to the obvious photography expedition, I also saw Napoleon Dynamite with reader Sarah A. on Saturday, and during this rendevous I found out an additional fact of interest from the squirrel report of 2 weeks back, which is that some of those squirrels appeared to be dancing in the streets. If you've read the Vagn Flyger report on the Great Squirrel Migration of 1968, this funky squirrel action should ring a bell. I still haven't heard any more about the squirrels jumping into the Hudson, though, so I'm reserving judgement on whether this is in fact a great migration we're seeing or just an unusually robust 'autumn reshuffling'. In any case, the movie was all surface with little depth, but the surface was a nice one, and I was especially fond of Deb. The IAAFOTS Rating: Worthwhile Rental.

Sidewalk in front of Syrena Bakery, Humboldt/Norman, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Posted by Hello

Mysterious new construction, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

Western Kingsland Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Posted by Hello

Friday, September 17, 2004

Continuing with part 2 of the unedited Apprentice brainstorming session. Having dealt with the question of whether Corbin should have been fired (the answer being yes for those with very short attention spans) I can turn to the more pressing issue of whether Stacy R. finally speaking has caused irreparable harm to our love and scuttled the plans to change her name to Stacy D. Interestingly, the answer is no. There’s still not enough evidence to really form a solid opinion of her, but she’s starting to seem like a person who contributes when she feels she has something to contribute and sits back and listens carefully when she doesn’t, she doesn’t keep tossing out random bullshit that serves no purpose just to get attention or dominate the discussion. And when there is a clear goal before her, she digs in and attacks that goal, as demonstrated when they were trying to push a cart through Times Square congestion and she was all “Okay, coming through, watch your back” in her big floppy straw hat. Also, though I was taken aback initially by that hat, it was a practical choice for standing out in the sun all day. Maybe if all of them had taken similar precautions someone would have realized that Broadway and 42nd is half a block from 7th and 42nd, which I was glad to see mentioned in the boardroom because reader Jay O. & I were all over that as soon as the word came through on the walkie-talkie that the missing cart was, in fact, on Broadway rather than 7th and the whole team started freaking out like they had said they were in Omaha (Omaha? Well they outta know what to do with them hogs out there for sure). In defense of my sweetheart, she is far too miniscule to have been able to see anything even 10 feet away in that congestion, but everybody else certainly should have at some point during the three hour period when cart two was AWOL. These people need all the focus and clear-headed lucidity they can muster, which is why John (? the majority of the men are such indistinguishable clones that it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart: Chris, John, Kelly, Wes, who knows... Andy looks a little different and seems to think he’s a hipper, funnier cut above the pack, but it turns out that is not at all true; equally mass produced are the blonde women of Apex, Jenn M., Liz, Sandy) going apeshit over Raj wanting to eat a bagel in the morning was another strong contender for stupidest moment of the show. Especially since he was saying he’d have to get by on PowerBars, which I think may be more expensive than a bagel to begin with. This exchange had the surprising effect of flipping my opinion of Raj and he is now the only man I like. He’s insufferable, somewhat retarded, and given to sticking his bottom lip out far too frequently, but he is at least something different and interesting to a degree, which completely outclasses the rest of the pack. Granted, becoming the bastard spawn of Leon Botstein and a dandy highwayman we’re too scared to mention might not be the optimal expression of that individuality – I think I’d go for 7 monochrome jumpsuits color-coded by day myself, but that’s why they call it individuality, readers. And one last observation, raggedy old Pamela who last week seemed as though she was perhaps the most level-headed and competent of them all, revealed all that to be largely superficial, first with her pointless questions on every single aspect of gelato manufacturing, and more egregiously with her sales technique. Who is going to buy a frozen treat from a business executive standing in Times Square quietly saying “Ice cream? It’s very good. Are you sure you wouldn’t like some ice cream?” while delicately holding the product as though it were a steaming pile of soft-serve dog waste? Major lesson learned on this episode, no one is too good for anything (and no one is not good enough for anything as well, though I’m not sure that half was demonstrated in the show… well actually, when most of the guys were acting like unsophisticated asses at the caviar tasting might be along the lines of what I’m getting at). That wraps up episode 2, next week I hope to see that crazy Crest lady rolling around on the ground, or I’m marching the two blocks over to Trump Tower and demanding some answers.

I was just getting ready to compose a thoughtful dissertation on the second episode of The Apprentice 2 when some actual work got dropped on my desk. So let me just toss out a few thoughts quickly and then run with them blindly without taking any time to judge whether they have any inherent worth - which, incidentally, is exactly what is so idiotic about these contestants' behavior so far. It's not just them, really, the more I am around corporate business types the more I realize that they never have much clue about what they're doing, but they think that simply being hyper-aggressive about whatever will lead to success, even if that whatever is actually an empty mess of gibberish. Which seems like it is probably and unfortunately true a lot of the time, at least until you run into some fellow jerks who are being hyper-aggressive about something of substance. I work around consultants, though, so nothing of any real substance or worth ever strays into my airspace. A perfect example from the show of the majority of people in the pods surrounding me right now is Ivana, with her writing of equations along the lines of "tasty ice cream + hungry people = success" and saying she thinks this is a powerful business model for the team or whatever. She is now my most hated contestant and really deserved to be fired last night. However, Corbin Bernsen did make an unforgivable mistake. At first I thought Donald was a bit crazy and just trying to do something shocking for people to talk about, but the more I think about it my opinion is changing. In business or anything else you need to take full advantage of any gifts you get, and arrogantly saying I'm so good I don't need the immunity (or, going back to Ivana, I am too good to use my feminine wiles to sell gelato and I do not want to win that way) is about the stupidest thing you could possibly do. It's as if a football team scored a touchdown on some bizarre fluky play and the coach said don't give us the six points, we don't want to win that way. If that ever happens, it should be considered a forfeit, and no matter what the score was at the time the win should go to the other team. Also, it is just atrociously bad manners to refuse a gift. Ok, I've got to do some PowerPoint now, check back a little later for the remainder of my brainstorming.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

This blog wouldn't have made it six whole months without the readers, so here's a fun and challenging game I call "Who's That Reader?" [This game is necessarily limited to the confirmed readers that I have photos of on file here in the office, no prizes are being offered since all my readers are already winners, void where prohibited.] Posted by Hello

I'm being given no time to write so far today, but it's the six month anniversary of IAAFOTS, and I don't think you've had the pleasure of meeting Filbert Brown (aka Ray Nutschke) yet. Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

A present, for me? I wonder what it could be... Holy crap, I think it's a nut. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

We're waiting for some further confirmation on this, but I wanted to get the word out that reader Andrea B.'s coworker Josie says "that her friend told her that an unusual number of squirrels have been jumping into the Hudson River lately." It is upon us, readers.

This squirrel dispersal is gaining in momentum so rapidly that I haven't had a chance to address any of the other emails to the tipline, and there are quite a few for a change. In response to reader Kirra B.'s feeling that the Dutchess County Fair coverage would have benefitted from some discussion of the Jeanne Crain musical State Fair: my feeling is that it wouldn't be right to compare a county fair to the Iowa State Fair, it is the heavyweight fair champion and would have brutalized the poor little Dutchess unnecessarily. To make up for the slight, though, here are the lyrics to It Might As Well be Spring:

The things I used to like
I don't like anymore.
I want a lot of other things
I've never had before.
It's just like mother says...
I sit around and mope.
Pretending I am wonderful.
And knowing I'm a dope.
I'm as restless as a willow in a windstorm,
I'm as jumpy as a puppet on a string.
I'd say that I had spring fever,
But I know it isn't spring.
I'm starry-eyed and vaguely discontented
Like a nightingale without a song to sing.
Oh, why should I have spring fever
When it isn't even spring?
I'm as busy as a spider spinning daydreams,
I'm as giddy as a baby on a swing.
I haven't seen a crocus or a rosebud
Or a robin on the wing.
But I feel so gay,In a melancholy way,
That it might as well be spring,
It might as well be spring.

It's interesting that the last time this happened was in 1968, the year that all the shit went down at once. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Tet offensive
My Lai massacre
Johnson announces he will not seek reelection
MLK assassination
Paris student/worker riots, general strike
Paul Wm. Drew is born
Valerie Solanis shoots Andy Warhol
RFK assassination
Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia
Chicago Democratic convention
Feminists protest Miss America/beauty culture
Mexico City Olympics
Great Squirrel Migration (this link concerns the migration of 1811, which is described as a Year Of Miracles)

Now that another reader has written in to comment on the apparent high squirrel mortality rate this season I've redoubled my efforts to get to the bottom of this, and I now believe that we may be seeing a recurrence of The Great Squirrel Migration of 1968. It seems like this rare occurrence is a lot like lemming migrations, except that the lemmings start moving because their current home is running out of food usually, while this does not appear to have been the case in past squirrel migrations. The article cites overabundant fleas and 'psychological factors' as the most likely causes. In 1968 they were swimming across lakes and would not be turned around, and were reported to be 'dancing in the road' by some observers. Still developing...
[Remainders: I've also discovered that highway mortality accounts for nearly 100% of male squirrel mortality, this intriguing tidbit that was not explained any further: "High food availability with low squirrel numbers, harvest intensity may be too intensive", and this adage: "Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry, will cause snow to gather in a hurry".]

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

 Posted by Hello

Looks like I'd better hurry up and buy that new Apple I've been talking about for the past few months before the goddamned Beatles drive them out of business. They do have a point though, most people probably did initially buy their iPods because they assumed that it was somehow Badfinger-related, plus Paul and Ringo could really use a little more money.

Well, the New York Penn League minor league baseball season came to an end last night, with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers besting the Tri-City ValleyCats to take the title, Tri-City having knocked our beloved Brooklyn Cyclones out in the first round of the playoffs. In their honor, I've done some research on the question of where in hell is this Mahoning Valley and why are they so scrappy there? Mahoning Valley is the name of the greater Youngstown, Ohio metro area, and was chosen as the name of the city's team after the Murder City Mafiosos was rejected for only highlighting one aspect of the area culture, a fate which also befell the Youngstown Chronically Unemployed. To get a real sense of the place, I suggest traveling here to listen to It's The Spirit (4th song down, all are great) while you look over a few of the valley's scenic highlights. With the love that they're feeling for one another and the way that they really care for each other it is no great surprise that they ended up winning it all.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Workplace Signage #3: Click to enlarge, print, affix to cubicle or other work surface, and show 'em who's boss! Posted by Hello

There are further reports of the mass squirrel die-off which was first brought to light in this space last Thursday. Reader Andrea B. was in Massachusetts over the weekend and counted 20 dead squirrels on the roadways before she ran out of fingers and toes and had to stop. Her theory is that it is due to an autumnal nut-gathering frenzy that has them blindly scampering like furry little pinballs back and forth across the pavement with no awareness of the vehicular dangers. The question I have is this: why has this massacre not been noted in autumns past? Are the squirrels aware of some impending disaster that will require a nut cache far beyond their normal haul? I may have marked this case closed prematurely.

Setting goals and then working patiently to achieve them can give a real sense of accomplishment. Today's goal was to find photos of men with Budweiser Girls. Done. Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 12, 2004

"He was one bad monkey. And last week he was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes, inmate No. 13 at the country's only known monkey jail, where very bad monkeys are sent to live out their remaining years." This is a Yahoo News story and the link will soon be lost to you forever, so don't sleep or you'll be facing a lifetime of regret over what might have been (and it's always better to regret something you have done rather than something you haven't done).

Friday, September 10, 2004

Finally, a salute to our rapidly aging readership. It was really last week, but the party's tonight, so here's wishing a very Happy Birthday to reader Mike A. !!! Posted by Hello

There's a new website over in the Links section, thanks to a right-on recommendation in today's Cityrag, Fourteen Places To Eat. It is so good I can hardly believe it. Go, readers, go now.

I finally managed to gain possession of the squirrel who was to be the weekly squirrel yesterday, but I negelcted to photograph him before coming into work today, so he will be featured next week on our six month blogoversary. Then the weekly squirrel is going to be retired, with squirrel photos thereafter appearing whenever. It's a brave new world. This week, though, the feature is still active, and here you go.

Since I've been in the mood lately to go ahead and try things that I've traditionally defined as unacceptable (something all readers should give a whirl sometime, it's a new fiscal year after all, time to shake things up) I have decided to do something even more out of character than buying an umbrella and become a reality television viewer. The show I will be a devoted fan of will be the one I would previously have found the least scooterworthy, too, The Apprentice. One fact that is going to help me in this forced change of taste is my long history of ironic love for Donald Trump, first adopted back in the heyday of Spy magazine, and a second is the fervent hope that they will show ample footage from this incident. Everyone in the cast is a horrible, boring idiot, of course, but I have managed to adopt one contestant to be my special Apprentice girlfriend because she looks sweet and adorable, in contrast with the rest of the nasty ladies, and much more importantly she said absolutely nothing during the entire first episode. This is key, because while I have since found out from her Friendster profile that she is just as lame as everyone else, perhaps more so, I can ignore that knowledge and pretend that she knits sweaters for pikas while listening to Altered Images or something. I think it might also mean that she's not going to last forever, because she would have had some lines if she was going to become intregal to the plot, right? But at least until her true corporate lawyer colors are revealed (probably in the next few weeks on the show where she gets fired), Stacy R. and myself are very much in love.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Theory #4: The increased prevalence of vehicles combining an outlandish squirrel-striking capacity with a diminished ability to see things on the ground. I think this one is the most likely explanation and will now consider this case closed.

Theory # 3: Teen Wolf was playing last weekend on some Boston-area UHF station and many impressionable young squirrels thought it would be rad to "Be Like Mike (J. Fox)" and attempted to van surf, with tragic results.

Theory #2: Squirrel season just started, and our friends are frantically fleeing from packs of pistol-packing puppies.

Theory #1: The missing squirrels have gone to Montana, with the dead ones seen by Mike A. having fallen off the back of a truck, much like the demise of D. Boon. "The squirrels may have migrated from a town with a native squirrel population ... hitching a ride in the back of a truck. Havre Assistant Police Chief George Tate said he heard an unconfirmed rumor that the transplant was intentional ... someone trapped the squirrels, brought them to Havre and set them free."

Reader Mike A. writes in: "While traveling in the greater Boston area, we noted an unusually high number of dead squirrels. On one 20 minute ride we counted 14 dead squirrels hit by cars. Any explanations would be appreciated." I'm trying to get to the bottom of this as we speak, but I thought I should get the word out as soon as possible in case any readers can offer an explanation. Curiously, last weekend I walked all over northern Brooklyn with an eye out for squirrels to photograph and did not see a single one. Which is why you have not seen a weekly squirrel here today, among other reasons (and I think you reasons know who you are). Developing...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What does a virile young man like myself do on those rare occasions when I am not torridly blogging? Well at least once a month I'm in the habit of heading down to the local watering hole to swap war stories with 'the fellas', my well-known and equally sexy pals Kid Rock, Tom Selleck, James Woods, Geraldo Rivera, and Buddy Holly. And of course on Saturday nights there's always Ask This Old House.

While I'm working on that request to sex up the blog, here is a story about some strange queries received by McDonald's, "more than 50 queries from concerned people who had seen hedgehogs in distress because they had become trapped in McFlurry cartons."

This is the photo of Jerry & Gary Lewis that I spoke of yesterday; I'm not sure if that's a Playboy or a Loverboy in the background. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

These old-timey photographs made me wonder what was going on right now back home: in a word, PLENTY. For starters, it looks like The Nailmeister has some competition! That seems to be about it, actually, other than school starting, but this week's top story in the Ackley World Journal is a very thoughtful and in-depth look at one aggrieved and upheaved young woman's path to fulfillment. I would encourage you not to be thrown by the nearly incomprehensible writing style (I suspect that some stray methyl methacrylic has eaten the writer's brain and even pulled the byline right off) but to persevere like Domanic and read it all the way through.

I chef any food, it ain't nothin'. Posted by Hello

Slide scanning was also on my hectic holiday schedule, and one of the results is this picture of my sister, Beth, who actually shot a squirrel once and made my mom cook it for dinner. Though Beth will not admit it, Mom thinks that she had a hard time forcing it down, but to be honest, my mom is not the best cook in the family - and Hey, that segues nicely into another scanned slide, let me find it here.... Posted by Hello

I have a nice picture from off of the TV of Gary Lewis sitting on Jerry Lewis' lap right before the telethon threw me into a deep, deep sleep, but I forgot to bring my camera in to download it. I did download something that Jerry said onto a piece of paper that I have here, though. He was complaining that the total after 3 hours or so didn't really make him happy, and he was sorry if he was bringing the show down or turning people off by saying it, "But I've got a funny feeling I just might turn you on." I'm going to be back out on the town this Friday night, and ladies, look forward to hearing that line.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

So this lonely little holiday of mine is not turning out to be quite the ceiling-staring affair I had originally made it out to be. I got in some practice with my new camera walking around Greenpoint and playing around with the various features, and accomplished a good deal of shopping, with two new pairs of pants, some tennis shoes, and a shirt to show for it, plus a large mound of groceries (as a brief aside, I bought some of that Pom Wonderful, and what is up with them trying to play like they created pomegranate juice and it has to cost that much? You've been able to buy it in your more healthy organic type of stores for years and it's $3.49 for a big 32 oz. jug, not $3.99 for one of those tiny globular 15 oz. bottles... of course, being in a supermarket and wanting some of its antioxidizing power, I did get some, but at least I knew I was being totally ripped off). Today I've done a lot of cleaning and organizing, but now that I'm tired of that and it's still another hour or two until the Labor Day Telethon starts up, the overwhelming boredom has caused me to once again break my self-imposed ban on placing musical lists into the blog and I have concocted an IAAFOTS Top 40. Don't worry, you can easily stop reading now and it won't show up again for at least another month or two, or whenever I start listening to a sizable number of different songs from these. It could be years, because these songs are SO good.
  1. Lynyrd Skynyrd – On The Hunt
  2. Queen – Coming Soon
  3. The Stranglers – (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
  4. Frankie Smith – Double Dutch Bus
  5. Elis Regina and Adoniran Barbosa – Tiro Ao Alvaro (Hit The Bull's Eye)
  6. Kid Creole and the Coconuts – Bogota Affair
  7. Divine Horsemen – Snake Handler
  8. Wreckless Eric – Tonight (Is My Night)
  9. Nation Of Ulysses – Today I Met The Girl I'm Going To Marry
  10. ZZ Top – Pan Am Highway Blues
  11. Albert Brooks – Party In Outer Space
  12. Fur – Not Coming
  13. Molly Hatchet – Gator Country
  14. Brett Smiley– Va Va Va Voom
  15. Slayer – Show No Mercy
  16. Miss Kitten – Professional Distortion
  17. Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
  18. Iggy Pop – Pumping For Jill
  19. The Allman Brothers – Little Martha
  20. Van Halen – Hang 'Em High
  21. Flying Lizards – Suzanne
  22. Drive-By Truckers – Outfit
  23. Iron Maiden – Wrathchild
  24. Pure Prairie League – Early Morning Riser
  25. Young Gunz – Can't Stop, Won't Stop
  26. Billy Squier – Don't Say No
  27. Bob Dylan and The Band – Apple Suckling Tree
  28. Foreigner – Dirty White Boy
  29. Ruth – 87 Sundays
  30. The Ohio Express – Try It
  31. Flesh Eaters – A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die
  32. Queen Cobra – Bad To Worse
  33. Mott The Hoople – Death May Be Your Santa Claus
  34. Norman Greenbaum – Skyline
  35. Duncan Browne – Ninepence Worth Of Walking
  36. Joe Walsh – Meadows
  37. Buffy Sainte-Marie – He's A Keeper Of The Fire
  38. Boston – Peace Of Mind
  39. Nation Of Ulysses – Love In A Bull Market
  40. New York Dolls – Jet Boy (ROIR version)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Someone has got to pass along the news to the people I'm working for that overtime is for suckers, and, as long as there's news being passed, this exclusive scoop: I AM NO SUCKER. Though given the fact that I have to complain about this matter, that second point may be open to debate right now. Anyway, on the plus side, I thought I was only going to have one brief summer vacation this year, but it now turns out I am going to have another, starting right this second. So don't be suprised if this is the last new reading material to land in this space until next Tuesday, because there are numerous square feet of apartment ceiling that are going to require a thorough staring-at, and I'm only going to have four days in which to get it done. You can check out some of the links over on the left there for amusement until my return, that scamp Mark Trail is always getting himself into mischief. L8RZ.

Plenty of other people have been covering the protests and convention non-stop this week and I haven't seen the need to add the squirrel-friendly perspective to the dogpile, but I do really like this protest a lot, so I'm going to break down and link to some pictures of it from Bluejake.

Originally, this Steve Perry Special Edition came out on Sept. 11, 2002 (and preceded the episode I posted yesterday) but I still haven't completed the final regular strip, and the 11th is on a Saturday this year anyway, so here it is. Posted by Hello

This weekly squirrel is from out my back window on Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

It was never the intention of this blog to spend very much time covering the squirrel beat, despite the name, but squirrels turn out to make news a lot more frequently than you'd think. In Pennsylvania there is the case of Nutkin, and in Germany there's an unnamed squirrel that I'm going to call Georgie Porgie. As usual, though, their news is completely blown away by the antics of the raccoons.

Steve Perry returns; click to enlarge. Posted by Hello

The trip to the fair on Saturday made me forget completely about the news from Friday night until I was riding in on the train this morning. As mentioned here on Friday, I attended my second Brooklyn Cyclones game down at Coney Island, a pitcher's duel which resulted in the Cyclones beating arch rivals the Staten Island Yankees 1-0. After the game they were interviewing the winning pitcher and showing it up on the big screen, but about halfway through the interview they cut away to display an image of Relish, the racing hot dog instead, and we all went crazy. See, they have a hot dog race (among many other races and bonus entertainment which make minor league baseball the family fun fiesta that it is) where they show the hot dogs (or maybe people dressed up as hot dogs) emerging from nearby Nathan's on the big screen, and then they come running into the ballpark by the visiting bullpen and race down the third base line to the cheers of the fans. Evidently whenever they play the Yankees the Yankees' bullpen goes over and throws cups of water on poor Relish, who we later found out has a long history of screwing up somehow and losing every race; they showed him as 0-31 on the big screen before the race, but reader Mike A. heard that he had, in fact, NEVER won a race. On this night, however, when he got in front of the Yankee pitchers he pulled out a super soaker and thoroughly wetted them, to the delight of the crowd, and then sprinted quickly past Ketchup and Mustard to end the losing streak in dramatic fashion. Plus there were fireworks after the game, and then we went over to Coney Island proper, where I won enough tickets for a bottle of bubbles AND a ping pong ball. Here are two stories I've found detailing Relish's previously sorry career: here it's the 2nd story down, and this one even has a photo of Mustard instead of our hero... the guy just couldn't catch a break, until Friday night. Tonight the Cyclones finish up their series against the Batavia Muckdogs and then close out the regular season with three games vs. the Hudson Valley Renegades, and with the Renegades only 1 game back the pennant race is going right down to the wire. Go Brooklyn!