Saturday, December 30, 2006

Because it's bound to be a busy weekend...

... and, in fact, probably the only time I'll actually be sitting on my butt at home, relaxing, is right around midnight Sunday...

Happy New Year!

As someone I used to know once said, "May the coming year be rich in all that is good."

It wasn't a good year, that next one (1997, if you're curious, the year of my dis-engagement), but it's the sentiment that counts. I've never forgotten that particular turn of phrase.

So, my littlemunkees, have a grand old Auld Lang Syne, don't drink too much... Ah, hell, who am I kidding. You know what I mean. Don't do anything - or anyone - you'll regret. And don't drink and drive, eh?

(Another year gone, another year older. I feel like it should be a philosophical post, but you know, I'm sitting here listening to Body Count at 5:30 in the morning and it just ain't happening.)

Well, maybe I'll think of something more interesting to say before the weekend's over.

If not, see y'all in 2007!

Buckle your seat belts, it's gonna be an interesting year. I can feel it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Even a blind munkee finds a banana...

I helped my father out with something this week.

Now, that may not sound like much of an accomplishment for some of you, but for me, it's a big deal. My father is a very, very intelligent, very, very learned man.

And for about 31 years and 318 days of my 31 years and 320 days on Earth (give or take), I've found myself in the position of Padawan to his Jedi master, if I'm even worthy to claim that much credit.

My father was a college professor widely known for his fearsome grading. (I was rather proud when one of my friends referred to another professor's tough grades as making her a female version of my father.) He was the standard by which tough graders and intimidating academics were measured, from all I could tell. (Same friend talked all break about getting into one of my father's classes; he dropped it within days of the start.)

(Best thing about it: He drew the freshman comp rotation for my fall year in college, and many of my classmates were headed to Bloom U. Suddenly, people I hadn't talked to in years were inviting me to parties, asking about me off at college, etc.)

Anyway, I got a nice education, I've done a lot with my career, and I still find myself abysmally failing to measure up to his standards most of the time. (Not the standards he sets for me in the sense that I think I do make him proud, so much as the standard he sets with his intellect.)

My Dad and I didn't always get along as well as we do now. In hindsight, and somewhat at the time, I always sort of got the feeling that while he unquestionably loved me, it was a little tough for him to talk with a child nearly 40 years younger. You know, like he was waiting for me to get a little older so we'd have stuff to talk about besides baseball.

When I got home from college one semester, after taking my first (and only) Shakespeare course, he was asking me about my final in the car on the way home - I think I'd flown home - and I got the feeling he'd been waiting 20 years to be able to talk like that with me. A good, intelligent discussion about something - other than baseball - that we could talk about like adults. He was quite pleased with my answers, too. (I got an A in the class, thank goodness. Rest in peace, Professor Hart!)

Not too long after that came one of the proudest, happiest moments of my life. My parents took me to see a Broadway show, "An Inspector Calls," and afterwards, on the ride home, they were talking about something that happened in the staging of the play that they couldn't quite figure out.

For the life of me, I can't remember what it was, or what it meant, but I knew - I could interpret the symbolism, based on some stuff I'd picked up at school in my English and history classes. So I told them. And they hadn't thought of it.

I knew something my father didn't!

Who needs a bar mitzvah? I had become a man!

So anyway, back to the present day. My father writes scholarly articles - a man's got to keep busy in retirement, eh? - on various subjects, including mysteries. So he's working on a piece on the so-called armchair detective, and I pointed him in the direction of "The Bone Collector,"which I'd read some years back after seeing the movie.

And today he was telling me how he's going to work the author, Jeffrey Deaver, into his article because his detective is, in fact, quite relevant to the subject.

I guess it probably either sounds silly or incoherent to try and explain how his simple thank-you e-mail means so much to me. I mean, I'm a bright guy with a good job and a track record of success in intellectual endeavors of all sorts, right?

But my Dad's my gold standard when it comes to knowledge. I know trivia. Stuff. He knows information. Stuff you can use.

When you are that impressed by someone, and you love that someone so much, it means a lot. Even the little things like this. I helped! And it's like I'm 5 years old.

Except when I was 5 years old, I could make him smile, but I don't think I could impress him or surprise him.

I don't know if my being able to help him out here exactly impressed or surprised him - and it's enough to just please him, really. But it impressed and surprised me.

Oh, happy day!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holidays with blogs

Well, those of you who follow my comments have probably figured out I'm a big fan of Jin's food and Jewels' jewelery.

So they became part of my little holiday adventure!

(The food and the jewelery, not Jin and Jewels... well, them in spirit, but not in person... you know what I mean.)

Jin's latest yummy package became the centerpiece of the weekend dessert, though our gracious hosts had provided plenty of tasty post-dinner edibles, the brownies and cookies were a huge hit.

The sugar cookies were soft and chewy, which won many compliments, and the brownies were on the receiving end of several "delicious!" remarks.

And then, 'twas the night before Christmas and the moment of truth for my big gift of the year... the custom-made necklace I ordered from Jewels for my mother.

Well, she was absolutely delighted. Here she is, delightedly wearing her new necklace.

Those are glass beads in multiple colors, with a custom-made heart bead from one of Jewels' connections and a pretty silver toggle clasp you can't see here. It's on the other side of her chest, to balance out with her real heart!

(She did get a little camera-shy, so this is only her from the neck down... But still...)

It's absolutely beautiful. I love it. And more importantly, Mom does, too. That made it a wonderful Christmas!

Happy holidays, y'all!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to all my littlemunkee blog readers!

(Whichever one you celebrate. Even if it's over like Hanukkah and I was too lazy to post this back then. But whatever. We celebrate right around Christmas, so nyaa-nyaa.)

May your days be merry and bright. And may you get lots of good stuff.

Jin made me some wondermous brownies and cookies to take along to the celebration. The word "delicious" was used early and often. So it's been a good holiday weekend so far!

Hope you're having a good one, too.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

One more word...

I got this one from Freak, who got it from somewhere else.

I'm pretty sure this is different from the last one-word one. But maybe my brain's just shot again.

I feel like I haven't posted in a while, which probably means I'll post a lot suddenly like always. I've got something in mind, so consider this a delaying tactic.

You can only use ONE WORD to answer. No explanations.

1. Yourself: Munkee

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: Nonexistant

3. Your hair: Spiky

4. Your mother: Saintly

5. Your Father: Mellowing

6. Your Favorite Item: HDTV

7. Your dream last night: Forgotten

8. Your Favorite drink: Coke

9. Your Dream Car: Viper

10. The room you are in: Office

11. Your Ex's: Psycho

12. Your fear: Spiders

13. What you want to be in 10 years: Happy

14. Who you hung out with last night: Mookie

15. What You're Not: Satisfied

16. Muffins: Blueberry

17: One of Your Wish List Items: Books

18: Time: Magazine?

19. The Last Thing You Did: Worked

20. What You Are Wearing: Jeans

21. Your Favorite Weather: Breezy

22. Your Favorite Book: Many

23. The last thing you ate: Bread

24. Your Life: Interesting

25. Your Mood: Overstressed

26. Your friend: Dave

27. What are you thinking about right now: Commute

28. Your car: SUV

29. What are you doing at the moment: Survey

30. Your summer: August

31. Your relationship status: Depressing

32. What is on your tv: DVD

33. What is the weather like: Clueless

34. When is the last time you laughed: Recently

Monday, December 18, 2006

Speaking of apologies...

If I've just left four of the same comment on your blog... well, sorry. My bad.

Well, probably Blogger's bad. But still. I'm not trying to do it. It's not some mysterious munkee mischief.

It's just sort of happening. I type my comment, I put in the word veri, I hit the button. Bap! Four!

They're not even great comments, for crying out loud.

And it seems I can't delete the extras on some blogs. Mystified by technology again, dammit.

Badmunkee. Sit in corner.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Speaking of Asian jokes...

Speaking of TV, a couple of important Asian-related announcements:

(This was going to be a brief aside on my last post. Then I got off on a rant. So here goes.)

First, Rosie O'Donnell gave a seriously limp-dick apology for her Asian ethnic slurs on "The View" a little while back. UNITY wasn't impressed, and frankly, neither am I.

Look, I'm the first one to tell a politically incorrect joke, but there's a difference between anything resembling humor and the kind of crap you see from elementary-school bullies.

Rosie's people first said "I certainly hope that one day they will be able to grasp her humor." Nope. Because it's NOT FUNNY. For somebody who's pretty goddamn sensitive about people maybe mocking her own particular minority group, she doesn't really give a rat's ass about anybody else's, does she?

Second, speaking of politically incorrect stereotypes, the smart, strategic, sneakily clever Asian won the million bucks on the latest season of "Survivor"tonight. No, I don't watch the show. But I did watch the last 10 minutes when I realized a) it was the season finale; and b) that meant "Cold Case" wasn't on.

See, by my way of thinking, good stereotypes - we're smarter than y'all white folks - are at least acceptable, if not encouraged. Bad stereotypes, on the other hand - we no speak-a Engrish good - are fighting words.

So, Rosie, you can't tell me nobody teased the fat, obnoxious lesbian in your elementary school, right? Well, in my elementary school, they teased the smart, undersized Asian kid with words like, "hey, Chinaman!" (even though I'm not Chinese...) and "ching-chong" and that little ditty of Oriental music that comes with bowing and narrowed eyes. I'da thought you'd be a bit more sympathetic.

Or maybe you went to that special elementary school, where being different made you cool.

In that case, I forgive you. I guess you really DIDN'T know any better. You ignorant bigot.

But Barbara Walters, you I'm not going to forgive so easily. A major journalistic organization or two are condemning your co-host, and you, a pioneering journalist - and something of a minority as a woman, no less - sit silent. Silent.

Shame on you.

Yellow men can't wrap...

An announcement: I have survived my holiday shopping.

As is my wont, I hit the mall like a hurricane for a day of hostilities, hypertension and entertainment.

(You may notice, on the Bridgewater Commons page linked above, a picture of a child holding a stuffed monkey not too different from my own! Bonusmunkee!)

And now, with presents for many, many people in hand, I can relax.

I'm too wiped out to do the remaining things on my monkey-do list, but that's sort of par for the course. I've gotten most of what I had to get done, done this weekend, but not most of the things I merely wanted to get done.

None of this is to say I don't like either a) shopping; or b) buying gifts for others. If I may say so without sounding disingenuous, I've reached the point in my life where I actually enjoy buying gifts for others probably more than I enjoy buying things for myself. That's not to say I don't spend plenty of my money on myself. I mean, duh, I'm human. But I do get a genuine joy out of buying something unexpected, and/or something special, for someone I care about.

This year's big gift, I think some of you know about, but I won't detail until after the holidays because, well, the recipient reads this blog and I want it to be a surprise.

But my mall and bookstore misadventures were generally successful and provided all the broad-shouldered shoving one little munkee can take on any given day.

I also got my holiday cards in the mail. In contrast, I rather hate doing those. Not because I don't like to think of the people I'm sending them to - and isn't that really the point? - but just because I lack whatever sort of skills are necessary to make them quality efforts. So it's more a chore to try and make them pleasant and fun, than it is a joy to send them and wish people well for the coming days and year. I wish there were a better way, or a better way I knew of.

On a more positive note, I have acquired every gift I need but one. So I don't have to brave the mall traffic, which this year was shockingly not too bad. Perhaps because I did my shopping late on a Sunday.

Which, on a more negative note, means I have to wrap gifts. Also something for which I, in some infamous words, lack the necessities to be good at. I can't wrap a decent package to save my life. So you can always spot mine in the crowd. It's the ugly one, but hey, it's what's inside that counts, right?

(Except maybe for Dave's kids, who really do like tearing the things apart.)

And really, it's the thought that counts. So, considering my antisocial tendencies, I'd like to think that whether it's taking the time to try to write something witty on a card, or ordering something custom-made in a foreign country...

(Speaking of which, did you know Polo makes its socks in not one, not two, but three different foreign countries? Yes, somebody asked for socks this year. And if you ask for socks, you're getting them!)

... I'd like to think that the people I love and care about know the way I feel, regardless of the lame note in the card, or the utter lack of surprise in the gift that's exactly what they asked for.

And hopefully, the two most important people on my list, my Mom and Dad, enjoy the gifts I carefully chose (or ordered) for them. Because they're the most important people in my life, the people who have done the most for me, and if it truly is the thought that counts, I want their gifts to be the best, and I don't think I could give them enough.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming, "JAG" on DVD.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Wow, I'm a jerk!

So my buddy JP did this one on his MySpace page. I figured I wouldn't do well, but I didn't think I'd do this badly.

Greed:Very High
Gluttony:Very High
Wrath:Very High
Lust:Very High

The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on

Friday, December 08, 2006

I think I sprained my eyes rolling them

Every now and then, I forget I'm from Redneck Pennsylvania.

Then something like this CNN story happens to remind me.

The Reuters lede:

A tiny town in western Pennsylvania could ask all of its residents to own guns, if a proposal under consideration on Wednesday wins approval from local officials.

Under the proposed law, residents of Cherry Tree, Pennsylvania, would be asked to own guns and know how to use them.

That's gotta be the most painful "head-smack moment" since the Dover, Pa., school district went to war over "intelligent design."

Meme of the day

I saw this on Aric's blog, and I wasn't actually going to do it, except that he said Freak would be among the most likely to do it, and she did it not because she wanted to, but because she basically got guilted into it and I thought that was funny for some reason.

Probably because I'm sick and tired. (No, there's no "of" there. I'm sick (sniffles) and tired (insomnia).)

Finish The Sentences...
1. I've come to realize that my family...
...Is right about everything. Damn it.

2. I am listening to...
...Kenny Rogers' "Coward of the County," which unlike the Chipmunks cover version I loved as a child, appears to involve a gang rape!

3. I talk...
...More than most, but less than some very, very annoying people I know.

4. I love...
...Most things about my life, despite it all, which surprises the hell out of me but probably doesn't surprise the companies that make my drugs one bit.

5. My best friend...
...Has been my friend since first grade.

6. My first kiss was...
...Kristine Zabawa, at least my first real post-pubescent non-family on-the-mouth kiss.

7. I lost my virginity...
...In a basement, which beats the cemetery, which is where my best friend at the time lost his.

8. I hate it when people...
...Piss me off.

9. Love is...
...When you're willing to sacrifice for someone, but they would never dream of letting you do it, and vice-versa.

10. Marriage is...
...Something I got flagged for false start ("...on the offense, five yards, still first down!") on.

11. Somewhere, someone is thinking...
..."When the hell did I eat that? And why did it come out intact?"

12. I'll always...
...Have regrets, no matter how much I try to persuade myself to get over them.

13. I have a secret crush on...
...I have no secret crushes. The people I have crushes on are well aware of it, and have rejected me anyway.

14. The last time I cried was because...
...My eyes have been bothering me for days.

15. My cell phone...
...Is a shockingly effective alarm clock.

16. When I wake up in the morning...
...Yeah, like I wake up in the morning.

17. Before I go to sleep at night...
...I stay up well into the morning. You know, like now.

18. Right now I am thinking about...
...How I should be balancing my checkbook.

19. Babies are...
...Something my best friend is collecting. Four and counting.

20. I get on MySpace....
...Whenever somebody wants to be my friend. Even if she's a spammer.

21. Today I...
...Got to play security at the company charity sale.

22. Tonight I will...
...Not get home from work until after midnight. ("Tonight" being Friday at this point.)

23. Tomorrow I will...
...Travel to Cincinnati to cover the Oakland Raiders' game with the Bengals (seven arrests and counting!) for

24. I really want...
...To have time to sit down and read all the books I own, and want to read, and don't have the time to. Same thing applies to watching DVDs.

25. The person who most likely to repost this is...
...No idea. Clearly not Freak. Right now, my inner oddsmaker is leaning toward Jin.

Completely off-topic, if you've ever corresponded with someone you met on the Internet, does it throw you when you get that e-mail, only it's got their real name on it, and you're like, "Who the hell is that?!" before you realize?

Eh, Jewels?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You know you're...

You know you're a guy - and a guy who grew up in the '80s - when...

The outfit I order DVDs from put up a preorder for an A&E Biography disc titled "Biography: Tiffany."

My first thought: Why the hell is A&E doing a biography of Tiffany? What has she done lately? (Besides pose for Playboy - no, that link's not to the pix, pervs! - in early 2002.)

Oh, it's this Tiffany, the guy who founded Tiffany & Co., the jewelry place.

The Santa Hat Project

Some of you may be familiar with Jin and Jewels and their Santa Hat Project, which involves photos of Santa hats covering interesting bits of womanhood, plus a bonus picture of an adorable child (completely clothed, of course).

Well, in talking with Jin, she said it would be, and I quote, "INTERESTING!!!!!!!!" to see, as I put it, me "hiding my little munkee behind a Santa hat." Me and my big mouth.

But, what the heck. So here it is. My little munkee, hiding behind a Santa hat. (And to think, I'm Jewish.)

You ready for it?

Click right here!

But be warned, this is only safe for work if, well, you won't get in trouble for looking at my little munkee!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ah, New Jersey

A couple of weeks ago, had a Star-Ledger article about the development of a part of Northern New Jersey called Vernon Valley.

It brought back memories... back in the days when I was a young developer...

I mean, a young soccer player, and I paid my first, last and hopefully only visit to Vernon, New Jersey. Or as my teammates and I came to think of it over the course of a week at soccer camp, hell on Earth.

I'm not sure exactly where we were, though to my recollection, the T-shirt they gave us said Vernon, N.J. I don't really remember well, because I never wore it. Last I saw it, my mother was wearing it to garden sometime during my college years.

The point isn't really where we were, exactly, so much as the misadventures of the week.

It was the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, and I'd joined the soccer team after sitting out a year due to the perils of puberty: As a result of my late growth spurt (went from about 4'9" to about 5'7" in a year or so) my knees hurt so much, I could barely walk long distances, much less run.

So to launch my comeback, I joined my buddies on the team and headed off for their summer camp. Normally, they went to camp locally, but this year, for some reason, our coach had settled on this New Jersey camp.

I think it was the brochure. Nine fields, Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, scads of high-school teams all signed up for one particular week.

Well, at least they had the international coaching staff right. The pool? Maybe for the midget Olympics. The tennis courts had no nets - which, admittedly, made the game easier.

And of course, coach got the week wrong. And we ended up at camp, not with a dozen other high school varsity/JV teams, but with the Under-13 New Jersey state select team, a group of elementary school day-campers and the very sad older brother of one of the day-campers. More on all them later.

Our team divided into varsity and JV, for the sake of competition, and I wound up on the JV because I hadn't been on the team.

(I spent the season on the JV, too. Mostly because, although I was in line for a varsity backup spot - but probably wouldn't have played much - I got hurt in our final preseason game. Played the game of my life with a spot on the varsity on the line, then managed to bruise my spleen saving a goal. Cost me six weeks, about half the season. I played two minutes of varsity time all year, in an 8-0 blowout in the rain. I got into the scorebook the only way I could figure out how; I fouled somebody. I had another shot at a varsity spot the next season, but I tore up a knee playing AYSO in the spring - my good knee, no less - and missed the season. I like to say my teammates carried me off the field at the end of my final soccer game, and it's true. They carried me off the field to my car, and from there it was off to the emergency room.)

But before all that heartache and injury time, I had to survive soccer camp.

Did I mention the international coaches? Might've been why coach fell for the sales pitch. The camp's head coach was a German named Heinz, who used a styptic pen when he cut himself shaving, and promptly got dubbed "mole man" by our 14-18-year-old demographic, for reasons I still don't quite get. Our coach was a German. Insert your own joke.

Other counselors included Wilson, a Brazilian; Guy, a Frenchman (one of my teammates insisted on calling him "Gay" for most of the week, until they finally got into a screaming match one night; ah, to be 15 again); the captain of the Czechoslovakian national team; and Julian, an Englishman of about 21 who was nearly as unhappy to be there as we were, and spent most of his time sympathizing with us, impressing us with his accent and teaching us creative British curses, mostly aimed at the agent who thought he could make an easy couple grand coaching for a week in the States.

More on them later, too.

First thing you need to know about this camp: It's built on a swamp. All nine fields. And the first day of camp, it just pours.

Oh, wait, before we get to the rain, my buddy Turbo, a teammate - I was his backup, more or less - and my best friend growing up, brought some music, including Nine Inch Nails. My mother heard him talking about it and asked, "Did you say 'Nine Inch Males'?"

I'm not quite sure what to make of that. And I'm not sure I want to think about it, really.

But that tape also was the first time I heard Depeche Mode's "Blasphemous Rumours,"which remains a favorite to this day. But I digress.

So it's raining. And the fields - all nine - turn into what New Jersey as a state turns into when it rains. A swamp.

We got so filthy muddy, the camp people offered to do our laundry for us. I think by "camp people," I'm referring to the coach's wife. But whoever it was, it took so long, I got my shirt back the night before we left.

Oh, and we're bunking outside, in a big cabin. The whole team. In super-humid midsummer weather. In a swamp. We had to use the heater, too, too dry our freakin' cleats for the next practice session.

Let me put it this way: Our starting goalie was licking the bugs off the cabin ceiling for the added protein. And he didn't have to try very hard.

And, you smokers out there, explain this to me? How do a dozen or so pack-a-day smokers of several years (ah, small-town life: I had my first cigarette, thanks to my pals, at 13; but it didn't take) manage to bring about a pack for the week, on average?

Guys were getting twitchy by Wednesday, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of Guy, somebody on the team also managed to bring a bullwhip. Why, I have no idea, but when one of the 13-year-olds called one of our guys "gay," he went after the kid, in his cabin, with the bullwhip. Kid was crying in his bunk. Literally.

This was before one of our varsity guys, in a fit of pique, kicked in every stall door in the group bathroom... only to discover the poor big brother - who was playing on their team - was in one of them.

BAM! Metal door handle to forehead. Concussion.

That was before one of the 13-year-olds - you're thinking we're immature, you should've seen these little buggers - threw a brick at Wilson. A brick. At about the nicest counselor at the camp.

'Twas Friday night, the last night of camp. And we spent the last day running. It was Heinz's revenge for Wilson. He let Wilson make us run with him. Did I mention Wilson was a Brazilian soccer pro? Dude could run all the live-long day.

It's a wonder we didn't go back for seconds on the 13-year-olds with the bullwhip, but our folks were coming to get us.

In between, there I was, playing left fullback on the JV, against the 6-year-olds... and three counselors.

I got stuck as the only guy back on a two-on-one break by Speedy, the fastest of the 6-ers, and the captain of the Czechoslovakian national team. Just me at fullback and Merv, my buddy, in goal.

So the captain - a guy who must've been 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, just fakes me out of my shoes. I try the desperation slide tackle, get nothing but air. So I'm lying on my stomach, watching him do the exact same thing to Merv, who comes charging out to cut down the angle like his hair's on fire.

Cap'n Czech fakes him out, taps the ball with a bit of flair to Speedy, and presto. Me and Merv, on our bellies in the mud, looking at each other, and he says to me, "I just got beat by a 6-year-old."

You wonder why we wanted to go home.

Best thing of the week was that the seniors brought a boombox, and played nothing but Back in Blackall week long. I've had a fondness for AC/DC ever since, and I know most of the words.

Second-best thing of the week was that being stuck in that hellhole actually achieved one of the intended purposes: Building camaraderie.

Not just that, but building camaraderie in the time-honored small-town way of politically incorrect jokes and acey/deucy card games.

First, the card games.

The obnoxious freshman - there's one in every crowd - was the right fullback on the JV to my left, and we hated each other with the fire of a thousand sons. He gave me grief for being Asian (and thus, different; which was OK when the guys I'd known all my life did it, since they were just giving me grief like everybody else got it); and I enjoyed the fact that Merv accidentally elbowed him in the head making a save.

So the one time the dealer, Dingo, gets him to bet the pot on acey/deucy, on an ace-two, the best possible odds, he hits a double-two and has to pay double in. Boy, did that make my week.

As for the jokes, maybe they're the you-had-to-be-there type, but the three primary targets were Woody (the black kid, who was constantly accused of stealing things), me (the Asian kid, constantly urged to say "I drive a Toyota" in a fake Asian accent) and two twins (as opposed to three twins, I know, I know...), victims of the "your momma" jokes.

But when Woody tried to get me to say "I drive a Toyota," I shot back in my best F.O.B., "You stole my Toyota!"

Brought the house down.

Funny how such a miserable experience is really something I look back on fondly, and can tell great stories about. Kind of like that trip to Nice...

Monday, December 04, 2006

A meme to change the subject...

Stole this from Jin.

Open iTunes/iPod or Windows Media Player. Go to your library and answer the following questions:

How many songs: 3,223 (I just purged a bunch that were eating my hard drive space.)

Sort by song title:
First song: "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears (it's the ellipsis that does it, I think)
Last song: "Zlumber...Talkinmysleep" by Sanso-Xtro (I've never even listened to it)

Sort by time:
Shortest: "Red Queen," a snippet of dialogue from the "Resident Evil" soundtrack - 4 seconds
Longest: "Alabama," from the soundtrack to "Crimson Tide" by Hans Zimmer - 23 minutes, 50 seconds

Sort by album:
First song: "No Rain" by Blind Melon, off '90s Style (I think it's the apostrophe that does it)
Last Song: "Back 2 Good" by Matchbox 20, off Yourself or Someone Like You

Five most played songs:
"Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" by Cobra Starship (etc.) from the "SoaP" soundtrack
"Utah Saints Take on the Theme from 'Mortal Kombat'" by the Utah Saints from the "MK" soundtrack
"Land of Confusion" by Disturbed from Ten Thousand Fists (a cover of the Genesis song)
"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper feat. Puffy AmiYumi from the Body Acoustic remake album
"The Devil You Know" by Jesus Jones from the Loaded Vol. 1 compilation

First song that comes up on "shuffle":
"Water Music - Hornpipe" from the Idiot's Guide to Classical Music

Number of items that come up when searching for:
"sex": 21
"death": 17
"love": 152
"you": 333
"me": 928 (I think the search includes words with "me" in them, like "instrumental")
"cry": 20

Sunday, December 03, 2006

In Memoriam...

Rest in peace, Don.

It was a pleasure to know you and an honor to work for you.

No scoreboard operator left behind

Went to the Philadelphia Flyers game yesterday, and got myself disgraced by my fellow Pennsylvanians.

No, I don't mean the Flyers, who blew a one-goal lead - on the power play! - with less than two minutes left, and went on to lose via shootout.

I'm talking about the folks putting up the out-of-town scores on the JumboTron.

It's bad enough that when they posted the Rutgers-West Virginia Big East college football game's halftime score, they misspelled West Virginia as "West Virgina," but...

When they posted the New York Islanders-Pittsburgh Penguins score, they managed to misspell Pittsburgh.

Now, I'm sure plenty of people forget the "h" on the end of the "Pittsburg," but for crying out loud, the city's in the same state!

I got a better edjucatation than that back home, and it wasn't that long ago. Shameful, Flyers, shameful.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Words I never thought I'd see

This from the usually quite entertaining "10 Spot" on

8. Nextel Cup champ Jimmie Johnson has signed with Elizabeth Arden to be the national spokesman for the Daytona 500 Fragrance for Men. And this is practical for racing fans -- the cologne doubles as insect repellant.

I don't know how to take this.

Perhaps I should go outside and look for four big guys riding horses down Taurus Drive. (Or perhaps, riding opossums.)

This is a Nascar champion. You know, the keep-turning-left sport of beer-swilling rednecks. Not that I have anything against beer-swilling rednecks. Hell, I'm a beer-swilling redneck. I've even covered auto racing events, featuring real Nascar drivers.

And Berwick, Pa.'s own Jimmy Spencer, "Mr. Excitement," so named because, depending on who you ask, he makes a race exciting by competing for first (well, in the AAA series, anyway) or he makes a race exciting because when he's on the track, somebody - and not necessarily Jimmy - is going to crash. I once had the pleasure of asking Jimmy what it was like to look through the windshield and see the infield skidding by as you slide along on the nose of the car. To his credit, his response was basically pray you land right-side up (which he did).

I haven't followed Nascar quite as much since Jimmy lost his ride.

But I've digressed from the point. Which is that the Nascar champion is going to be a spokesman for Elizabeth Arden.

You know, the perfume lady?

And believe me, I know a lot about Elizabeth Arden products, too. My ex-fiancee adored them. I've probably spent more money on Elizabeth Arden perfume than I have on Nascar stuff. And I love toy cars.

I often say that if I'd taken all the money I spent at Bath & Body Works, and just invested it in Bath & Body Works stock, I'd be a rich man.

The point is, of course, the two things - Nascar and Elizabeth Arden - just don't mix. I mean, read that again: Daytona 500 Fragrance for Men.

Who wants to smell like suntan lotion, barbecue and exhaust fumes?

And besides, if Elizabeth Arden wants to get into racing, why not go with a more obvious choice, like current fan favorite racing hottie Danica Patrick? Or even slightly less successful racing hottie Sarah Fisher? Even pioneering drivers Lyn St. James or Shirley Muldowney would work.

But much like Michael Jordan cologne, there are some olfactory things that just don't make sense. Elizabeth Arden thinking I want to smell like a car - even Jimmie Johnson's Nascar-champion car - is just one of them.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

That was freakin' weird

I'm glad I'm a creature of habit.

Most nights, when I get home from work, I check to see whether the nice UPS man left me anything out in front of my house - I leave through the garage, out the back.

Well, usually I flick on the patio light - there's a patio to the right of my front door and a little deck that runs along the front of the house - and see if there's anything out there. It's sheltered, so sometimes the UPS guy or mailman leaves something down there instead of in front of the door, which is more visible to anyone walking by.

Anyway, tonight, when I flicked the light on and looked through the glass door, there was something looking back at me. Something slightly larger than my dog. And furry.

I think it was a possum. But I've never seen a live one that I wasn't trying to swerve my car around before.

I stuck my head out the front door - CAUTIOUSLY! - and tried to take a picture with my cell phone, but it didn't turn out, despite the flash, and the possum, perhaps as surprised to see me as I was to see it - and possibly freaked out by all the exterior lights on my house going on at once, ran away before I could try again.

I'm glad I just didn't pop the porch light on and walk outside, like I sometimes do, because then the possum would've been trapped on the patio, with me in the way of escape.

And I'm pretty sure that's how the Crocodile Hunter bought the farm.

Would've been my luck, going for a second picture, to get bitten by a possum. I think they can have rabies, too. That would've ruined my day. And imagine calling in sick that way.

"Hey, Dave, you're not going to believe this, but I can't come in. I got bit by a wild animal..."


That was, as the title said, freakin' weird. I mean, I live out in the country, or at least former country - I've even seen deer in my cluster's driveway - but I've never seen a possum that close. At least, like I said, not without a ton of Japanese steel between me and it.

And it was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.

Still, picture a 200-pound Asian guy, leaning very carefully out the front door of a townhouse in the middle of a giant development, and trying to take a picture of a 20-pound (estimated) furry animal with a cell phone camera at 12:30 in the morning.

All I was going to do was have a snack, maybe write a column, then watch a movie or something.

Didn't plan on starring in "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I did it!

Official NaNoWriMo 2006 Winner

"Throne of the Living Dead: A high-fire melodrama in 50 parts" clocked in at 53,690 words this morning, ahead of the Nov. 30 deadline, making me officially one of life's winners!

What I'm going to do with it, I don't know. But I did it. I wrote a (short) novel.

I find myself thinking, given the structure, that it would make a great series of blog posts. After all, when I say it's in 50 parts, I mean it.

Before I do anything with it, though, I have to revise it and touch it up. I think I've put enough effort in, and it has become such a good thing, that it deserves at least that much extra work. I mean, at the very least, a spell-check. And figuring out if I've got stalactites and stalagmites backward.

But before any of that, I'm going to take a nice, long nap. And probably not write anything serious for the rest of the week.

(So, until next time: I did it! Munkee win-ded! Yay! Yay! Yay!)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!

I know. It's a little late. But Happy Turkey Day, anyway, my faithful readers!

I'm still working on my novel. I think I'm going to make it. Only five-ish more days to write about 6,500 words. And think I get screwed out of the last one, because it's like midnight Greenwich Time on the 30th or something, and I'll still be at work, so I get jobbed out of one night of writing.

Things I'm thankful for:
• My parents, above all else.
• My friends.
• My (relative) good health.
• My toys and my imagination, two things to keep me amused.
• My job (really! honest! I think...).
• And, of course, munkees and bunnies and bunnymunkees!

My dog died about a year ago now, and of course, I miss him. It's only the second time I'm home since he's been gone, and it's still weird not to have him curl up with me on the bed at night, wagging his tail and trying to lick my face before giving up and curling up near my feet. I stole my Mom's little stuffed dachshund from her office and stuck him on the bed last night. But it's not quite the same.

So I guess I'm thankful for my memories, too. If that makes sense.

I hope you all had a great holiday, and nobody ate too much food, like me, or ate anything they were allergic to, like my buddy Mike.

Aside, we went to see the newest James Bondflick today, "Casino Royale," and it was quite good. A bit long, but a lot grittier than the past ones. I was pretty impressed with Daniel Craig, actually. I've never really thought much of him, and he's sort of a one-note actor, but he fits the role as written, he looks good and he really does make a decent Bond. The movie itself is an interesting take, since it's based on Ian Fleming's first James Bond book, Casino Royale.

Think of it as "Bond Begins," a la "Batman Begins."

Not sure what it says about me that the two films I want to see involve a spy killing all manner of people, and dancing penguins.

But you know what may say the most? That I was very excited to see a big-screen version of the trailer for "Rocky Balboa," which looks a lot better than you might expect. It feels very much like the "Rocky" serieshas come full circle, and this could be a very original-"Rocky"-esque film. I just hope it's not another "Driven,"and heck, I like "Driven."

But I do love boxing, and that music gets me every time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Civil War "Do You Know Me?" of the day

Do you know this man?

This distinguished-looking gentleman won both the first and (arguably) the last major battles of the Civil War.

The first, of course, was First Bull Run, or First Manassas.

The last was in the "Western" theater, the battle of Bentonville,which is in North Carolina, and not the Arkansas home of Wal-Mart.

In between, he lost one major command due to wounds; gained, then lost, then regained another; and feuded with Confederate President Jefferson Davis over such regrettable things as seniority among full generals.

Figured it out yet?

A hint: It's not Albert Sidney Johnston, who also entered the Civil War with a sterling reputation, and left it with that reputation somewhat tarnished.

Unlike Sidney Johnston in the Peach Orchard at Shiloh,however, this man left the Civil War vertical.

Want another hint?

Perhaps one reason this man isn't so prominent in history is that, although he was the first commander of the fabled force that would become the Army of Northern Virginia,a few things got in the way.

First, when he commanded the army, it was known as the "Army of the Potomac." A bit inconvenient, since the Union army it opposed was also called the Army of the Potomac.

Second, when he got wounded during the Seven Days' Battlesoutside Richmond, he was replaced by Robert E. Lee, a former West Point comrade, and he'd spend the rest of the war - indeed, the rest of his life - in Lee's shadow.

Third, and perhaps most debatable, is that this general, as a commander, was the opposite number of Lee - Lee being the ultimate aggressor, this man being the ultimate counter-puncher. He would retreat, and defend, and await the right time to strike - and not do so until that perfect opportunity. Critics watched as he retreated before the Union armies time and time again (he was, as most Confederate commanders, perpetually outnumbered), and indeed, when he commanded in the Western Theater, it seemed at times like he might retreat all the way to the Atlantic Ocean before firing a shot.

Supporters, of course, would point to such events as the battle of Franklin - when John Bell Hood (a disciple of Lee's aggressive Eastern style) got his Army of Tennessee obliterated - as evidence the South could not use such tactics in the West.

One last hint?

Our general became such great friendswith his enemy's commander, William Tecumseh Sherman, that he was in attendance at Sherman's funeral years after the war.

There, he stood in the rain with his hat doffed in respect, despite a warning that the old man shouldn't let his head get wet. He replied, a true Southern gentleman, that if the positions were reversed, Sherman would do the same for him.

As you might expect, the aged general took ill from the rain, and very shortly died.

Figure it out yet?

The answer is Joseph E. Johnston,one of the Confederacy's most important, highest-ranking, and yet often forgotten, army commanders.

(p.s. Those Amazon books that pop up off some of the links? They're ones I recommend reading, if you're interested in knowing more about Johnston or his battles. Not just a blantant attempt to make a little money on the side or increase my traffic. Honest.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Random observations from the Midwest

Three bits of oddness from my weekend in Kansas City, Mo.:

• Only in the Midwest could a place get its liquor license suspended over lap-dancing. More specifically, over lap dances the owners insisted the girls performed against rules and without permission.

Now, I've been to a strip club or two in my life, and the one phrase I can say I've never, ever heard is: "Now, I'm really not supposed to do this, but..."

I have heard, "You want sexy Russian bitch give you lap dance?" (The answer being, "not today.") But that's another story. And not a very pleasant one.

• On the talk radio at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. Midwest time, I heard someone say the only people who will watch the upcoming O.J. Simpson interview are the kind of people who watch car wrecks.

I live in Jersey, where watching car wrecks is almost a national pastime. And I grew up in NASCAR country, where watching car wrecks is a legitimate sport.

I'm still not planning on watching. But I am wondering if it would be crass to include an Amazon link to O.J.'s book here.

• Finally, to get off on a bit of a rant, Continental managed to screw up my reservation. I get to the gate at the ungodly hour of 5:25 a.m. Midwest, and they said my flight in - which was pretty much flawless - was flagged for a problem, as if I'd complained or something.

Then, they said I was listed as having flown Northwest through Detroit to Kansas City. Which I didn't. I flew direct. On Continental Express. They asked if I had my boarding pass. Like I need to prove I was on the flight I was on. Dude, I was there. I know where I flew. And it wasn't Northwest and it sure as shit wasn't through Detroit.

(I'll ask you the question I asked them: Who the hell keeps their boarding pass after their flight? Their answer: Lots of people. I call bullshit. Receipt, maybe; boarding pass, no. In fact, I sent my receipt to my boss at But I chucked my boarding pass last night when I was packing.)

They finally got me on the flight. In a different seat than the one I was booked in, after I apparently wasn't in the system at all. At 5:30 in the freakin' morning. I can't wait to find out if I'm in someone else's seat in an hour or so.

I'm going to write a strongly worded letter to Continental later, assuming I a) actually have a seat on, and subsequently survive, the flight back; and b) actually land in Newark, where I'm supposed to. I've never had a problem with a flight in my life. Hell, I'm pretty sure I've never been to Detroit in my life. Or, that I recall, flown Northwest.

And I know I didn't do it 36 hours ago. My memory's not that bad.

When they thank their OnePass frequent flier members like they do by rote every flight, I hope they won't be able to read minds.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Speaking of gratuitous plugs...

Some of you may recall some of my earlier posts, about my artist friend Peter Ambush. If not, go read the long one and the short one again, then come back.

OK, done?

Well, Petey finally has his Web site up and running, so if you need a portrait done, check it out. There are work samples, rate estimates and everything else you'd need for what, in the case of my family, has become a series of (future) family heirlooms. (I say "future" because I've got a space on my wall waiting for them, but I don't think my folks are going to give them up anytime soon!)

Speaking of artist endorsements, if you'd prefer photos to paintings - or better yet, could use some of both, my friend Joe Ripple, of Timewarp Films fame (shameless plug-within-a-plug: watch for "Dead Hunt," coming soon on DVD!), has gone into the photography business down in the Baltimore area.

Joe is focusing on portfolios for actors/actresses and models, but as he says, "I think you'd make a great model!" so even if you want something for your wall and not to pass out to directors and casting agents, check out his Web site or his MySpace page.

If you're more in the New Jersey region, I heartily recommend my pal Luisa Fernanda Pinzon, who shot the portrait of that handsome fellow you see on the upper right there. Luisa does wonderful photo art as well as shooting portraits and the like.

That should cover all your artistic bases, at least until my friend Carolyn Soltys has a Web site up for her prize-winning photography.

(And yes, I realize I should probably post images, but hey, the point is to get you to go check out their stuff, eh? So click the links. You know you want to.)

In a word...

OK, I think I've got time for a little mememememememememememe here while I do my laundry. I stole it from The Lesley and the key is, you're supposed to answer in one word, more or less.

1. Yourself: Munkee!

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): Nonexistent

3. Your hair: Fuzzy

4. Your mother: Saintly

5. Your father: Knowledgeable

6. Your favorite item: Monkey!

7. Your dream last night: Strange

8. Your favorite drink: Coke

9. Your dream car: Viper

10. The room you are in: Living

11. Your ex: Normal

12. Your fear: Spiders

13. What you want to be in 10 years? Happy

14. Who you hung out with last night? Co-workers

15. What You’re Not? Bored

16. Muffins: Blueberry!

17. One of your wish list items: PS3

18. Time: Magazine

19. The last thing you did: E-mail

20. What you are wearing: Sweats

21. Your favorite weather: Autumn

22. Your favorite book: Alabaster*

23. The last thing you ate: Pizza

24. Your life: Busy

25. Your mood: Frazzled

26. Your best friend: Dave

27. What are you thinking about right now? Writing

28. Your car: SUV

29. What are you doing at the moment? Laundry

30. Your summer: Far

31. Your relationship status: Imaginary

32. What is on your TV? SVU

33. What is the weather like? Raining

34. When is the last time you laughed? Today

* My favorite one with a one-word title, anyway. Today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

By way of compensation...

By way of compensation for my lack of blogging, I'm sending you off to check out another blog.

This is Jewels, who leaves comments on Jin's site. She makes jewelry out of beads and sells it at Le Beadoir in Canada.

She, like Jin, has a sort of "unplugged" site, too.

So after reading her comments for like years on Jin's page, I finally wandered over to see what the fuss was about. And I was pretty impressed.

I don't know that I'd wear bead necklaces and bracelets (and my earring hole grew in years ago), because a) I'm a boy; and b) big jewelry only looks excellent on certain people, of which I'm not one.

But, like any good munkee, I'm attracted to shiny, pretty, colorful things. And so I wound up paging through most of Le Beadoir and the blogs, looking for something to buy my Mom for Christmas/Hanukkah/Munkeemas. (Because she'd look much nicer in a pretty beaded necklace than I would. I have a 19.5" neck.)

Because Jewels' stuff is definitely shiny and pretty and colorful. It's even in a book, so it must be excellent:

As Joe Bob might have said, if he were into beads instead of horror movies, check it out!

Too... much... work...

Between NaNoWriMo and stuff I'm doing for HorrorTalk and, plus my "real" job and all the other stuff I have to do, I just haven't had time to do much here.

Hang in there. It'll get back on track, eventually. I'm more-or-less on pace for NaNo, so keep rooting for me!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

State of confusion

As the world awaits the decision on the senator from Virginia, with Democratic challenger Jim Webb leading incumbent Republican George Allen by the slimmest of vote margins, I find myself somewhat torn.

Not so much because Allen is the brother of former Raiders senior assistant and de facto general manager Bruce Allen (who clearly got the brains in the family), but because during his campaign, Allen brought a lot of attention to monkeys.

That's a definite plus.

On the other hand, he misused the monkeys.

And frankly, misuse of monkeys is an offense I deem punishable by defeat, if not worse.

The End of the World as we know it...

Britney Spearsis getting divorced.

Donald Rumsfeld has resigned as Secretary of Defense.

The Democrats actually managed to not choke away the election.

It's been raining so hard for about 18 hours that I saw an old guy lining up animals along Route 78.

I see a single locust, I'm going home to await the End of Days.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Civil War trivia of the day

With the election near, and so much criticism during the Iraq/Afghanistan fighting targeting politicians who (critics claim) would send other people's children off to die, but not their own, I figure it's time for a little bit of patriotic "Did You Know?"

Did you know:

Sen. Edward Dickinson Baker of Oregon, a close personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, is the only sitting U.S. Senator to be killed in combat?

Indeed, Baker, for whom Lincoln's second son was named, was a colonel - and soon-to-be general - in the Union army during the Civil War. He had the decided misfortune to preside over the disaster at Ball's Bluff, when several Union regiments found themselves atop a cliff, with the Potomac River at their backs.

Needless to say, it was an awkward retreat: More or less, the Confederates atop the bluff, shooting ducks, or rather blue-jackets, in a pond.

Baker didn't live to see it. He was killed atop the bluff rallying his men against a flanking maneuver.

I'm in the midst of a fine book on the subject, Ironclad Publishing's "A Little Short of Boats,"which is part of that publisher's fine "Discovering Civil War America" series.

"ALSOB" is the second book in the series, following "Protecting the Flanks,"about some little-known cavalry fighting at Gettysburg, and preceding
"No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar,"about Sherman in the Carolinas, and the upcoming "The Battle Between the Farm Lanes,"which is also about a portion of the Gettysburg fight.

So if you're out there today, voting on the war (as many people are, according to polls), remember that once upon a time, at least one politician really did put his money where his mouth was.

Of course, the Rebels put eight bullets where his mouth was, but that's not really the message I'm trying to get across here.

Baker, if you're curious, was, like his friend Lincoln, a Republican. Back when the Republicans were the liberal ones and the Democrats the conservatives, what with Lincoln freeing the slaves and all.

So, depending on your point of view, you could say that even back then, it was the Republicans who knew how to fight - or, given Baker's abject failure to get his men off of Ball's Bluff, that even back then, the Republicans had no wartime exit strategy.

Don't forget to vote!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Day!

Tomorrow's Election Day.

For crying out loud, get out there and vote. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, a Bush basher or staunch supporter, this is a day thought could alter the course of America for the next two years.

Republican? You've got a majority in both houses of Congress to protect, a majority that can and will back the president's policies and decisions.

Democrat? You've got a shot at winning majorities in both houses of Congress, a majority that could check the power the president has been happy to take advantage of.

Whatever you think of the war, whatever you think of "spreading democracy," let's remember that here, in America, we have a power in the political process unlike in almost any country in the world.

We have rights that people have died to create, have died to defend. We have a right and privilege among the greatest in the world. A choice in our representation in government.

So, stand up and be counted. Vote.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Today's episode of insomniac opinion theater...

OK, between the insomnia and NaNoWriMo, clearly I'm in the mood to spew something out.

So let's open with a shout out to T-girl, who wandered over from Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper, one of my regular blog-reads. (For those who've never been, it's like the Mother of All Not-A-Mommy-Blogs.)

Anyway, earlier in the insomnia, I was perusing the blogs I read regularly, including the aforementioned BIDP (I can't bring myself to just call it "Boobs" like some others do). And there was a big firefight over an off-color joke - which, it must be said, made fun of rich white people - that led to someone dropping the dreaded "r" word.

That's right. Racism.

OK, everybody, before we go on, y'all take a look at that photo over on the right there.

Done? OK, let's begin.

Without rehashing my rant of a response over there (even though that's what got T-girl here), I just want to offer up some more of my feelings on political correctness.

See, for those who don't know me, I'm an adopted Vietnamese Jew of mixed racial background, raised in redneck rural Pennsylvania.

Which really means one of two things: a) I was destined to be the most politically correct person in the world; or b) I was destined to be the most politically incorrect person in the world.

I think you can tell how it turned out.

So one of what I suppose you could call my defense mechanisms is humor.

After all, I get to tell both the Asian jokes and the Jewish jokes.

And it doesn't help that I'm a redneck at heart, too.

I mean, I'm like the Jewish equivalent of the Mormon porn star from "Orgazmo " ("I'm a bad, bad Mormon.")

You know, like when I've got a mouthful of ham-and-cheese omelette at a family gathering, and I'm like, "Mmph? What? Why are you all looking at me?"

(For you goyim, no cloven-hoofed animals, AND no mixing milk and meat.)

And then there's the Asian in me. After all, nobody complains when the stereotypes are good things.

You know, you never hear black (African-American, etc.) men complain when everyone assumes they have big penises and can dunk a basketball. And you never hear Asians complain when everyone assumes they're smarter than all you white folk.

Hey, Jimmy (God rest his soul), the only black kid in my grade, did his part. He was also the only kid in the grade who could dunk. And when the guidance counselor read off the qualifications for the NAACP scholarship before we took the PSATs, when he got done, Jimmy looked around and yelled out, "I won!"

And I did my part. After all, I finished first in my class. But that was sort of to be expected. I'm Asian. And I was voted "class brain" in 8th grade. (As I once pointed out to my friend Dave before our 10th reunion, I was NOT voted "most likely to succeed." That was his problem.) And let me tell you something, part of the reason I was class brain probably was the same reason Willie Horton helped cost Mike Dukakis that election back in '88: Pigment.

The ethnic humor does backfire from time to time. I always joked I was the only Asian in my class whose parents didn't own a Chinese restaurant (because hey, June Yen's parents, they owned a Chinese restaurant). So at the reunion, when they insisted I wear my nametag, and I snarked, who are people going to think I am, the other Asian? The class president went around introducing me to people as June Yen, "post-op."

Strangely, since the joke over on BIDP involved rich white people and country clubs (and black people, thus the race card was played), earlier tonight I heard Alec Baldwin remark that, at the height of the AIDS crisis, someone told him that if you could get AIDS from gripping a golf club, we'd have a cure by now.

So what's wrong with making fun of the rich white people? They get all the other advantages, we can't bust their (golf) balls?

(Yes, I realize some of my relatives are rich white people. I look like the waiter snuck into the family photo. Me and my cousin, Jorge. Everybody else, Eastern European Jews. You should see me trying to wear a yarmulka over spiked Asian hair.)

I realize I'm doing exactly what I didn't plan to do, and repeating some of my jokes from my BIDP comment. But hey, this is good material.

A few years back, at my last job, I got invited to lunch at a country club by some of the upper management at the paper. Needless to say, I went. So one of my buddies was ragging on me about selling out to The Man and kissing up, and I was just like, dude. I'm a Vietnamese Jew. When am I ever going to get another opportunity to see the inside of a country club?

Without carrying someone else's golf bag, that is.

By the way, I don't mean to suggest that because someone black complained about the joke, that all black people lack a sense of humor. Just that one. I mean, I work with three black women, and the other night, one of them remarked that we were working like "Hebrew slaves." I asked her if she meant because I was Jewish and she was black. That cracked her up.

So maybe humor is subjective. But I think we can all agree, as the comedian Mike Binder once said, when you're on a plane being hijacked, never, ever raise your hand and ask for the kosher meal.

Oh, and for me, the argument at BIDP was over when somebody pointed out the girl who was claiming the moral high ground could be found dancing nekkid at some Web site I couldn't find.

Speaking of moral high ground, to borrow and embellish a joke from Don Imus:

Remember the 2000 election? When all the Florida Jews accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan in that hanging-chad debacle? And they all felt really, really bad.

Well, maybe they'd feel better to know Pat Buchanan also had a relative who died in the Holocaust.

(Wait for it...)

An uncle fell out of a guard tower.


Completely off topic, and yet kind of on-topic, at work the other day, the subject of ethnic slurs came up, vis-a-vis an Eastern European. So I was looking up lists of ethnic slurs online, trying to see if the particular one under discussion, well, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya, means what he thinks it means.

And I couldn't find it, but I did find that "monkey" is an ethnic slur toward black people. I knew that. In fact, it led to a rather awkward moment a few years back when I was waving the Rally Monkey I used to take to games (don't worry about the waving; stuffed monkey). So I'm waving the monkey after a fight, and I realize the Flyers' then-enforcer, Donald Brashear (the one in the fight) is black. Oops.

(One old joke about hockey is that it's the last sport for middle-sized white guys.)

Anyway, so we know "monkey" is an ethnic slur against blacks.

Well, in one of the glossaries I found, it listed "mookie" as an ethnic slur against blacks as well.

Great. And I named my stuffed monkey Mookie.

I swear it had nothing to do with black people. I just think Mookie's a cute name. I used to call my (now ex-)fiancee Mookie, and she was a white, Catholic suburbanite. Hope that's not why she left.

To come full circle, I'll bet her bleepity-bleeping-bleep of a father is in a country club. And he hated me because I wasn't white, or so I was told by people who knew him. Heh.

Mookie Wilson, the Met
Mookie Wilson, the defunct band
Mookie Wilson, the name

Finally, for those following my NaNoWriMo adventures, I'm almost at 10,000 words - 1/5th of the way there! - and I still haven't figured out how to work in a munkee.

Campers vs. zombies! Scientists vs. zombies! Soldiers vs. zombies!

Death! Mayhem! Sex! (Not in that order. Yet.)

Plus, a Viking or two for good measure (the Norse explorer kind, not the Minnesota-football kind.

And maybe an Indian (the Washington-football kind, not the Bollywood kind).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Food porn, technical difficulties and beyond!

Today's story is about blog-vergence, as it were.

Stewie came up to visit for the (as usual, dreadfully crowded and disorganized) Chiller Theatre convention the other day. We do this from time to time, despite the fact that every time we go to Chiller, we vow it's our last.

However, this was the first time the Stew's been up since we began our blogstalking misadventures, and thus his first opportunity to meet his Bizarro World alter-ego, The Lesley.

Me being the adventurous soul that I am, I figured, why not get as many of my favorite blog-types together as possible?

So I ordered some desserts from Jin. That's them up at the top.

And, might I say, after months of sadly pondering the photos of her "food porn," when I finally got to eat some, it was worth the wait.

There were raspberry brownies, berry crumble bars, the famed mint "Oreos," peanut butter cookies and more. Munkees like berries!

The Lesley got the nut cookies, Stewie got the molasses cookies, and me and the Stew pretty much scarfed down as much as we could on the weekend.

The co-workers got the rest (as pictured above), and while it's true that journalists will eat anything, there were many spontaneous remarks of "delicious!" and a few obscene words muttered my way by those trying - and failing - to watch the calories.

Frankly, not being a regular sweet-eater, I ate so much I felt thoroughly bloated, so was forced to share, lest it go to waste. I don't think I'll eat anything with sugar for at least a few days, if not weeks.

But for those of you with a sweet tooth, order something from Jin. Tastes as good as it looks. (The food, I mean; can't speak for Jin.) And she ships!

So, the blog-vergence total:
• Stewie: Present
• The Lesley: Present
• Me: Present
• Jin: Present, in the form of dessert
Real: Present in spirit, at least

Not bad, for a get-away day lunch.

And now for a few asides, blog-related:

First of all, I've been experiencing technical difficulties for days, so this is the first I've actually been able to post. I apologize for the delay in food porn, though you may not have realized what you were missing. Blogger apparently had some issues, then there were some issues on my end, which were of course solved by the magic of writing to tech support. As soon as I hit the send button, presto! Everything worked again. Of course. Ain't that the way of the world?

Second, as some of you may realize, in about 14 hours (give or take), it's National Novel Writing Month. And I'm going for it. That may result in a reduced amount of blogging for November. Of course, every time I say, "hey, I'm going to be busy, don't mind the lack of postage," I wind up writing like a dozen posts in a week. But really, if I've got to churn out something like 1,750 words of fiction per day, and work, and sleep, and eat, etc., there may not be a whole lot of time for other pursuits.

But, as is the motto of my novel-writing adventure, "What the hell, you only live once." So I've got to go for it. Apologies in advance.