Saturday, December 31, 2005

I want my Krispy Kreme back.

My wife invariably works on New Year's Eve and this year she is in fact working all day - from 7 a.m. till whenever the last drunken customer staggers home. So this leaves me with a particularly long stretch of time to fill with the boys (two - ages six and two-almost-three). We're planning a party - the world's smallest New Year's cake ($4.99 at Superfresh. I coulda made it myself, but I am too lazy) and ice cream.

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

My own humble contribution...

From, my wee dispatch on the Intelligent Design dispute. I hear one of my colleagues is working on a companion analysis piece, which isn't up at this moment, but should be interesting.

The more I read it, the more amazed I am

The deeper I get into the Intelligent Design case, the more astounded I am by what a complete, slam-dunk victory this is for evolution. The judge didn't just rule against intelligent design, he killed it, buried it and did a little dance on its grave. It's clear that the intelligent design people didn't simply fail to impress the judge, they actually managed to make him angry. Try this on for unusually tough judicial talk (a few select excerpts):

“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.”


Judge smites intelligent design

The Federal Judge in Harrisburg has just ruled that the Dover school board was wrong when it required teachers to tell students about "intelligent design." The decision is a major victory for critics, but an astonishing defeat for intelligent design backers. The judge eviscerated them and their ideas.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I am trying to decide which I find more alarming

A president who knows what he is doing is illegal but just can't help himself.


A president who is blissfully certain that what he is doing is legal, cheerfully admits it to the public, and promises to keep doing it some more.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Horror. The Horror.

A couple of years ago, my wife's aunt gave us an odd little Christamas device known as a gumdrop tree. It is a stainless steel tree with small, artfully placed spikes on it. Onto these spikes, you stick gumdrops, creating an amusing and colorful (and edible) Christmas decoration.

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.

A question worth asking

One reader writes on "A Really Sad End Pt. II:"

"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.

More Playmates acting up

Just days after news that Anna Nicole was being sued for being, well, Anna Nicole, comes news that some of her Playmate sisters are arrested for being, well, just like Anna Nicole, but perhaps more hostile.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Just had to share this.

To paraphrase Dave Barry, however, I do think that "The Flying Lemurs" would be an excellent name for a band.

A really sad end Pt. II

The saga of Terrell Pough took a really weird turn this month. Cops have charged two young men with killing him, apparently over some kind of dispute over a paycheck. Turns out, if cops are right, that Terrell worked hard to get his friend Antoine a job at his fast food restaurant. The restaurant closed and the owners stiffed both of them. Even though Terrell had done many favors for Antoine, it looks like Antoine thought Terrell could have done more to help him get his last paycheck. So he and a buddy ambushed him and killed him. If there ever was a senseless killing, this one is it.

Believe the hype

As a journalist, I am usually reflexively suspicious of hype. So when everyone began talking about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah over the summer, I figured it was just another case of Polyphonic Spree or Terence Trent D'Arby, critical darlings that amounted to, well, critical darlings and not much more. And I heard a couple of tracks from them on the radio and I wasn't impressed. But I ran across them on Napster and figured what the Hell, It's free (or almost) and I downloaded the album. And it grew and grew on me. I'm not sure I can describe it - it's got bits of John Lennon, bits of REM, large chunks of Radiohead (which I really don't like, but works here), some Violent Femmes, some Velvet Undergound, a little well placed Kings of Leon, and I-don't-know-what-all. But it's really damned good. I'll warn you - it takes two listenings at least, so if you're one of these give-it-five-seconds-and-move-on-types, don't bother. But this album will reward some patience.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Feed the World, Anna

I happened to be covering the Live 8 event for People in Philadelphia and saw Anna Nicole Smith's bizarre appearance there. She was indeed scantily clad - her "shirt" consisted of two rectangles that hung from a string around her neck. Each rectangle was composed of a dozen or so overlapping plastic plates loosely stitched together. Naturally, the whole thing did little to cover her most distinguishing characteristics, which were swinging free without a bra. The only things that kept her from being completely exposed were two Playboy logo pasties over her nipples. The effect was, shall we say, dramatic.

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

Ah, that explains everything.

I was pleased to hear the president note the other day that "the will to power cannot overcome the will to live in freedom."

I am sure that comes as a great comfort to the late leaders of the Weimar Republic.