Saturday, December 31, 2005
But I wanted to start the day right - a bath and a trip to the "Doughnut store," or what adults would know as the only Krispy Kreme outlet in eastern Pennsylvania. The boys love it, and so do I, even though it is miles and miles from our house and is in an unspeakably crappy section of North Philly. We'd go perhaps once a month.
So, after a refreshing bath this morning (the boys, that is - I don't fit into the tub), we hauled our butts up to Cottman Avenue to discover something horrifying - the Doughnut Store is Closed. Not just closed, but out-of-business, up-for-lease, gone-for-ever kind of closed.
Now, according to the Krispy Kreme website, the nearest Krispy Kreme outlet is a mere 55 miles from my house, in a place called Brick, N.J., followed by one in Baltimore, just 81 convenient miles from home.
In the scale of things, this is not a major problem, of course, but it is sad. I grew up in the South, where Krispy Kreme was a way of life - none of these gleaming white and green, well-scrubbed outlets that you see in the mall. No - Krispy Kreme in the Good Old Days was a grimy, slightly creepy coffee shop, often open 24 hours, found along seedy industrial roads in places like Alexandria, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee. The coffee was good, the doughnuts were greasy and delicious, the green vinyl seats were cracked and stained, and the old guys drinking coffee at all hours of the night were extremely disreputable-looking. Taking my sons there, even to one of the new hygienic outlets, was a throwback to my youth.
Perhaps the doughnut gods will look favorably upon us and bring us a new Krispy Kreme outlet. Or perhaps allow us to move to a town with Krispy Kreme. In the meantime, no doughnuts for me - I just can't enjoy anything but Krispy Kreme. Yes, I know - they are heavy, oily and sweet. But that's what I like about them - that's the whole point. I can't stand the dry Dunkin' Donut variety. And I have tried making doughnuts myself, but they are really kind of a pain in the butt.
Happy New Year to me. Sigh.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
“We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom,” Jones wrote.
“Both defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption that is utterly false,” he wrote. “Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, plaintiff’s scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.”
“It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy,” Jones wrote.
Jones said the Dover case was the result of “the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy.”
He derided the school board’s decision “breathtaking inanity” and said the resulting “legal maelstrom” was an “utter waste of monetary and personal resources.”
Monday, December 19, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Undecorated, it looks like this:
When it is festively decorated, it looks like this:
But today at the grocery store, the boys and I hit on what we thought was a terribly clever idea - we would buy gummy bears and decorate the gumdrop tree with the bears as a hilarious prank on mommy.
We got home and broke out the bears. There was, however, an unanticipated problem. The material in gummy bears is so tough and rubbery that you have to completely pierce the little bear to get it on the spike. After a couple of bears had been mounted in this way, I realized the effect was entirely too creepy and we abandoned the project. Judge for yourself.
I decided to go with Spice Drops.
"you are right it is senseless and disturbing. there is a lesson in all this for the rest of us but i cant figure it out yet. any ideas?"
Which is a question deserving an answer. Or, lacking an answer, at least some thought.
I can't quite get my head around it. The flippant, easy answer, of course, is the lesson is to be careful who you help. The serious answer is that there seems to be a segment of society that has so little to look forward to, so little hope, and such narrowed perspectives that it seems perfectly reasonable to kill someone over a single lost paycheck (that he had nothing to do with anyway). What to do about it? God knows. If I had the answer I'd be running for office. Which I am not.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Saturday, December 03, 2005
To make it weirder, she was scheduled to make some remarks, but at the last second her people announced that she would simply pose for photos and would not take questions. She had to be helped up the steps to the photo area. She thereupon proceeded to wiggle for the camera in a most remarkable way, and for an uncomfortably long time. People eventually began to laugh and someone cried out "Feed the World, Anna." She grabbed her breasts, wiggled them invitingly at the audience of journalists and cooed "ooooh, feed the world." Moments later, her people escorted her firmly from the stage.
My question is, how could anyone tell if she was drunk or not?
Friday, December 02, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
But today is not one of those rare exceptions. I see today that Chris Whitley died at age 45 of lung cancer.
And this is a great pity. His debut album is certainly one of the best albums of the 1990s, but it got almost no attention in the public.
The music is wild, spooky, breathtaking and completely absorbing. It is at once intimate and huge. It's like driving across Utah on a bright, hot, sunlit day. It's hypnotic.
Of course, his later stuff was a little, well, offputting to put it politely. But the guy kept trying new things and wasn't afraid to put off his audience. He wasn't afraid to offend people. It probably cost him the public acclaim he deserved, but it marked him as a real rock hero, true to its spirit until the last.
You won't regret picking up a copy of Living with the Law. Give it a listen and you will see why I am sorry I ever opened to the obits this morning.
EXCLUSIVE: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey Announce Separation To Us Weekly 10pm EST
Now, officially speaking, I am terribly sad that my most-of-the-time employer People magazine didn't get the story first. For what it's worth, US claimed to have broken the news at 10 a.m., People at 11:30 a.m. Curse you, US Weekly.
But in real life, I must say: Thank God. Can we all stop talking about this now? Was there ever a story of romance and breakup that mattered less to anyone than this one? I suspect even Jessica's family is sick of this saga.
Am I wrong about this? Is there something about Jessica Simpson that I am missing, something that might make her matter?
Gosh, I wonder what Paris Hilton is up to this weekend?
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I bought this with an Amazon gift certificate my dad gave me. I logged on intending to buy some books and CDs I was behind on, but then I saw that Amazon has a category for "Musical instruments." That got me thinking.
And $250 later, I have everything I need to be a major league guitar player. Except I don't know how to play the damned thing.
Fortunately, there is software to help one do this, so I am learning slowly. If all music involved nicely executed G, D, and A7 chords, I would now be a Claptonesque guitar god. Otherwise, I may have a way to go.
I do hope this completes the midlife crisis.
Until this happened.
Now my poor friend is all torn up. I can understand, of course, but I told her she probably did a great thing for this guy. Had this happened without the People profile, he would have been lucky to rate a brief in the Inquirer, and maybe a short story in the Daily News. He would have died in anonymity, like so many guys in Philadelphia. Now he'll be remembered for the great thing he did, or was trying to do, in taking responsibility for his daughter. And his daughter will have a hell of a rememberance of her father, even if she never had time to get to know him.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Scott McClellan did his best, I suppose in responding, but let's face it - even Grover Norquist might be tempted to snort privately in derision at the idea that Michael Moore and John Murtha inhabit even the same corner of the universe.
Of course, Murtha and McClellan both could do with a close reading of the real master of speeches on war:
Don't write 'em like this anymore
Gosh, I wonder what ancient contest is on next. To hell with news. To hell with movies. I sure do hope it’s downhill skiing from the 1980 Olympics…
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
This recently came to my attention. It is, well, hard to describe. It seems to involve ancient children's songs with funky remix beats.
Leaving aside the embarrassing overtones of the band name (don't let your buddies see you buying this disc. And for God's sake don't download it on Napster. When the Feds finally come for your hard drive some geek at the FBI forensic lab will have a good laugh at your expense. Then swear out some sort of porn-related warrant), it is really sorta good. I think. In a kind of too-much-ecstasy at the rave kinda way. You will see.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I am told by a reliable source (i.e. someone who works rather close to Insight) that the magazine is not longer a serial liar (and believe me, it used to be. I too long ago worked dangerously close to Insight, as in downstairs at the Washington Times).
So what do you know? This may in fact be true.
Which leads me to wonder: What does the president do all day if he only talks with four people? What does he do with the other 23 and a half hours in the day? He cannot nap all the time, nor can he exercise all the time. And there is no brush to clear anywhere on the White House grounds.
So what does he do?
Ronald Reagan reportedly filled time watching movies, which makes sense given his former occupation. But it isn't as if George W. can fill his empty hours with governing
This sounds true. But Insight is known for making shit up.
From the Drudge Report:
Bush rarely speaks to father, ‘family is split’
Tue Nov 15 2005 11:23:51 ET
President Bush feels betrayed by several of his most senior aides and advisors and has severely restricted access to the Oval Office, INSIGHT magazine claims in a new report.
The president’s reclusiveness in the face of relentless public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr. Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity.
“The atmosphere in the Oval Office has become unbearable,” a source said. “Even the family is split.”
INSIGHT: Sources close to the White House say that Mr. Bush has become isolated and feels betrayed by key officials in the wake of plunging domestic support, the continued insurgency in Iraq and the CIA-leak investigation that has resulted in the indictment and resignation of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.
The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions.
I've considered what to do with it, but I kept coming back to an unmistakable fact - I had nothing interesting to say.
So, I thought, why not turn this into a virtue? Why not make the first blog about nothing, with nothing on it? Some kind of postmodern statement, perhaps. Or a surrealist statement. Or whatever. It seemed like a good idea and made for briefly amusing conversation with my friends.
But, as it turns out, the bastards at Blogger.com have already considered this and made sure it cannot happen. If there is nothing on your blog, nobody can see your blog. I am forced to retreat and perhaps craft a post or two.
Another great concept on the ash heap of technology.
And moreover, after yet another magazine assignment that will never see the light of day, I have realized that it doesn't matter if I have nothing terribly compelling to say. It hasn't stopped anyone else. You see, I was forced to spend several hours trawling the blogs maintained by a bunch of 13 and 14 years olds on a site called Xanga (if you haven't been there and you are over perhaps 20, I don't recommend the trip. If you're under 20, you're probably already there).
I assume that I was no more interesting or deep at age 14 than these kids, but I am deeply grateful that my inane chatter was not preserved in print for all time. I shudder for these kids on the day that they run for office, or are named to the Supreme Court, and need to explain their teenage blog entries.
So welcome to my blog. We'll see if anything interesting happens.