Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at Flickr at Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court:

22 June 2008

She said. She liked. The Ocean.

Heading west for Scotty Connorso's wedding, y'all. Back on the First of July.
Have a fun week at work.

20 June 2008

In space, no one can hear you scream -- except the alien ice

Seems as if NASA is finally doing something worth paying attention to. To wit: The discovery of what may be ice on Mars.

Strike that ... it's the discovery of what may be "party" ice on Mars. So sayeth Jon Stewart and what appears to be one of the Olsen girls.

Euro picks

Getting ready to pack up and head out of town, so what better time to play the rest of the tourney out with some Hick's picks. Winners in bold (picks made after Germany's win over Portugal):

Portugal vs. Germany [Already complete 2-3]
Croatia vs. Turkey (2-2, Croatia advances on PKs)
Netherlands vs. Russia (3-1)
Spain vs. Italy (1-0)

Semis (featuring two rematches):
Germany vs. Croatia (2-1)
Netherlands vs. Italy (3-3, Italy advances on PKs)

Germany vs. Italy (2-0)

19 June 2008

Puff, puff, cross

Phillyblog comes through again! Today, it seems, the crossguards in Fairmount are toking some herb while on duty...

Pot-smoking Crossing Guard
So...this is kind of weird. I was walking down 18th by Mt. Vernon, across from the school playground and two women were standing on the corner, smoking a joint. One of them was wearing a crossing guard vest and checking for traffic.
For one thing, I thought that school was out, but there were kids at the playground, so maybe they have a summer program. Secondly, I'm all for legalization, but I have a gigantic problem having a hophead in charge of the safety of children crossing the street.
Any suggestions on the proper channels to report this?

So good, I needn't comment.

Um, yeah, just because Willie and Snoopy are on the same stage at one time

Carrell returns to the Daily Show

Bruce's satellite appearance at the Russert funeral

Got a bunch of work to deal with today, so won't be able to do much exploring, but over the next few weeks I'll be playing around with this Redlasso site which enables you to pull clips straight off the TV. Rather cool. Rather likely to be shut down within minutes, but hey, ride the wave, y'know?
In any event, here's Springsteen doing some acoustic Thunder Road in honor of the late Tim Russert.

Attack of the Thongs

18 June 2008

Blogless Wednesday

For I have an R6 to catch downtown, and a Broad St. Line south, for today's Phils/Bosox afternoon showdown. Have fun at work.

17 June 2008

Pacman strikes again

If I know anything about Vegas, and I'd like to think I do, lesson number one is this: Don't go strolling off-Strip with large amounts of cash and jewelry on ye. Former Broncos WR Javon Walker apparently doesn't know this.
To wit:

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker could be released from the hospital Tuesday, a day after he was beaten, robbed and left unconscious on a Las Vegas street after a night of partying, police said.
A large amount of cash and some jewelry were taken from Walker, who suffered "significant injuries," police said.
Police Lt. Clinton Nichols said detectives are retracing Walker's activities in the hours before he was found injured Monday morning on a street off the Las Vegas Strip.

If I might make a suggestion, LVPD: Take a look at Pacman Jones or Miss Morgan. They know things. I swear they do.

Vidal on Buckley, RS on racists, Chris Martin on breasteses and Topless Ladies Futbol (with photo)!

If it's the goal of some writers to be loathed, even after death, by their profession's peers, this is the late William F. Buckley's lucky week. Check out this nugget from the Sunday New York Times Magazine's "Questions For" ... Gore Vidal:

How did you feel when you heard that Buckley died this year? "I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred."

Makes me look forward to 2048 to figure out who I'll hold a 40-year-old grudge against...

Oh wait, I know exactly who I'll hold a 40-year-old grudge against. These kinds of "people," as portrayed by Rolling Stone's excellent Matt Taibbi in all their too-common-racist glory, talking about Obama and the coded language explaining why they'll never vote for his kind.

Even the briefest of surveys of the supporters gracing McCain's events underscores the kind of red-meat appeal he's making. Immediately after his speech in New Orleans, a pair of sweet-looking old ladies put down their McCain signs long enough to fill me in on why they're here. "I tell you," says one, "if Michelle Obama really doesn't like it here in America, I'd be very pleased to raise the money to send her back to Africa."
The diminutive and smiling old lady's friend leans over. "That's going a little too far, dear."
"Too far?" says the first. "Farrakhan is saying they were brought here against their will, and their bodies are still feeding the sharks at the bottom of the sea! I mean, really!"
"OK, sharks still eating bodies," I say, writing it all down. "Could I have your name, ma'am?"
"Janice Berg," says the first old lady. "And lest you think I'm Jewish, the name comes from Norway. Berg is 'mountain' in Norwegian. I'm part German, part French myself."

Oh Janice, Janice, Janice. Don't worry. Nobody thinks you're Jewish when you're wearing your hood.
But wait, there's more...

A few paces away, I catch up with a man named Ron Saucier and a woman who would only identify herself as Mary. Ron says his problem with Obama is the integrity thing. "He exaggerates too much," Ron says. "He's not honest."
"OK," I say. "What does he exaggerate about?"
"Well, like that time he was saying he had a white mother and a white grandmother," he says.
I ask him how this is an exaggeration.
"Well, he was saying . . ." he begins. "As if that qualifies him to . . ."
Despite my repeated prodding, Ron seems unable or unwilling to say aloud exactly what he means. Finally, his friend Mary, a grave-looking blonde with fierce anger lines around her eyes, jumps in, points a finger and blurts out one of the all-time man-on-the-street quotes.
"Look, you either are or you aren't," she says.
"And he aren't," Ron says, nodding with relief.

And finally, in the same Rolling Stone, Coldplay's Chris Martin -- who is on what seems to be an endless loop of media appearances to drum up sales of their new album, which would sell just fine without all the non-stop beg-adry -- speaks truth to power in a way that has me heading to Center City in a few to pick up said album on account of his truth-telling. (The full interview, including this nugget, is not in the online version so I had to transcribe from the issue itself.) ...

Rolling Stone: I guess something convinced you finally that you were, in fact, straight.
Chris Martin: Well, I was swayed by boobs. Let's face it. They're fantastic.

No question, a solid theory. But [REDACTED: question as to whether Gwyneth is closer to "fantastically" endowed or carpenter's dream]. Fine, editor, you can take that one. So allow me to rephrase. If she wasn't a smoking-hot movie star, would she be invited to play in these games?

As an "appetizer" for last night's Euro 2008 games in Vienna, Austria and Germany fielded women's soccer teams with six on a side.
Austria won, 10-5, over their larger neighbor, but at the end of the game, they had to forego the traditional shirt swap. The reason? Both teams were clad only in thongs.
Judging from the pictures (which men worldwide were poring over last night) the "uniforms" were very tasteful.
The thongs were accompanied by white paint that looked like shorts, and everything above the waist was painted to look like a jersey.

16 June 2008

Showcase (story) Showdown

Time's short today, so here's a rapid-fire roundup of interesting nuggets from the weekend papers.

Click, click, clickclickclickclick: "After decades languishing in the trunks of squad cars, the Taser, the handgun-shaped device that incapacitates people with a pulsating electrical current, is getting a chance at a higher profile in the New York Police Department." [NYT]

Ah, Key West, how I miss ye: "More than 30 years ago, Mallory Square was just a wooden dock where the locals would come to drink, do drugs and perform as the sun dipped to dark. The nightly Sunset Celebration, as it is known, 'was just one of those island parties you happened to stumble into,' said Will Soto, who has been juggling here since the early 1970s." [NYT]

Their prices will be in-sayayayaya-ne: "Comcast said that it would expand on a strategy it uses to manage Internet traffic: slowing down the connections of the heaviest users, so-called bandwidth hogs, at peak times." [NYT]

So, we need to lie to the kids in Iraq then, huh?: “'The biggest factor in a man’s ability to perform credibly as a prisoner of war is a strong belief in the correctness of his nation’s foreign policy,' Mr. McCain wrote in a 1974 essay submitted to the National War College and never released to the public." [NYT]

Yet they still voted for his puppet candidate. Strange world, indeed: "The head of Pennsylvania's Ethics Commission says the allegations against State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.), if true, amount to wrongdoing 'grossly exceeding in scope' any past misconduct examined by the panel." [Inquirer]

More from the Obama event Bride and I attended: "On Saturday, Mr. Obama shed his tie for a campaign event near Philadelphia, where he first met privately with a local family struggling to pay its bills, and then spoke to supporters about rising gasoline prices. 'This is good, this is a relatively small group,' Mr. Obama said, his eyes scanning the room approvingly, 'which means I can get through a decent percentage of the questions that are asked.'" [NYT]

Michael Nutter, union foe?: Judging by his comments on Day One of the since-resolved SEPTA transit police strike, answer's yes ... "The transit officers mostly patrol the Broad Street Subway and the Market-Frankford Line. They want the same pay as officers in the Philadelphia Police Department; city police officers start at about $39,000 a year, compared to $30,752 for a transit officer. 'If you want to be paid like a Philly police officer, join the Philly police force,' Nutter said." [Inqurier]

And finally...
It's Tubes!: Vanity Fair put together a comprehensive oral history of the Internet's creation. You might not have heard about it on account of the fact that everybody was paying attention to Billy Boy Clinton's gripes with the (rather compelling and probably more accurate than he'd care for you to believe) piece about him in the same issue. As with any story about the Tubes, it takes its shots at the newspaper landscape...

Vinod Khosla created Sun Microsystems with Stanford classmates Scott McNealy and Andy Bechtolsheim, and Bill Joy. He later joined the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s premier investment shops.
Vinod Khosla: The media people essentially did not think the Internet would be important or disruptive. In 1996, I got together the C.E.O.’s of 9 of the 10 major newspaper companies in America in a single room to propose something called the New Century Network. It was the C.E.O.’s of The Washington Post and The New York Times and Gannett and Times Mirror and Tribune and I forget who else. They couldn’t convince themselves that a Google, a Yahoo, or an eBay would be important, or that eBay could ever replace classified advertising.

Sports Quote of the Century

No, I'm not into golf. Never have been (but for one day out on a par 3 in Florence, SC and a media grand opening at some course off Route 9 between Sea Isle and Avalon; both stops proved I was better off on the tennis court.) Yet, I found myself captivated by the fourth round at the U.S. Open yesterday where everybody tried to hold Tiger Woods off and it worked to the point where he had one birdie putt left to tie things up and force a playoff with fan fav Rocco Mediate today. At noon. Which I'll hopefully catch some of since Tiger did as Tiger does, bum knee or not. (Photo from the L.A. Times)
In any event, after his Sunday round, Tiger did the press tent thang and was asked about what his final 12 footer looked like. The meed-gia person posited that it resembled a rather straight shot. But oh no, said Tiger. It remined him of something else:

"It was just like playing Plinko down there."

That's right, y'all. My man dusted off the old Plinko analogy to explain what it was like watching his putt bounce back and forth on an unpredictable line. Granted, it seemed a bit more like that game where the yodeler goes up the hill and, if the applicable Price is Right contestant guesses product prices in a faulty fashion, falls off the edge of a cliff with a sad, help-me yodel. (I believe it's called Cliffhanger.)

But I'll live. For any time Plinko gets some widespread respect, we're all a better people for it.

15 June 2008

The Sunday Funnies

His dreams were too big for that place. So why, oh why, did they capture him and take him back.

A spider monkey new to the [Michigan City, Ind.] Washington Park Zoo used a garden hose to scale the walls of a moat and make a break for freedom. Workers were cleaning the moat at the time Wednesday. Zoo Director Johnny Martinez says workers had figured the monkeys would remain inside their enclosure during the cleaning even though the moat was empty of water. However, one monkey made it past the moat, grabbed the hose and jumped onto the roof of a water filtration plant.
The zoo staff recaptured the adventurous monkey at a nearby boat dealership, where they found it perched atop a white and blue speedboat.

More of the Sunday reading recap tomorrow. Word.

Another audience with America's savior

Thanks to my main man Bobby Henon, Bride Hickey and I were able to snag a couple seats at Saturday's Obama townhall meeting at Radnor Middle School, where the press pool outnumbered the attendees. It was rather nice to be on the audience side of such an event for a change so I could, y'know, enjoy the 10:15 a.m. event for which -- and you'll understand why this is noteworthy if you've ever covered politics -- the candidate arrived a couple minutes early.
The Man Who Should Be Our Next President spoke for about 20 minutes, mostly about the dire need for a cogent energy policy, taking a few shots at Crazy Ole Coot along the way. Then, he opened it up for questions from the audience about healthcare, Iraq, the nation's oil-refinery capacity, tax policy and education. It was a frank discussion of the issues and Obama urged people not to take his word for anything but to check out any independent analysis to show where he stacks up against McCain.
Particularly humorous was the portion during which Obama discussed McCain's trotting out of former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who, on a mission to woo those bitter Hillary dames, went on television to say that Obama will not cut taxes for anybody in the country. It was humorous because Obama went on a 15-minute explanation as to how he'll actually cut taxes for "95 percent" of the population. And it was even more humorous because nothing says "power-to-the-people" like the Hewlett Packard CEO, y'know?
On hand were state Rep. Daylin Leach (who's running for the 17th District state senate seat) and U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, who Obama shouted out and involved in a couple conversations as his Washington vouch.
Two quick observations:
Obama looked a bit more tired than when I saw him a few months back at the AFL-CIO Convention.
I like the edge he's developed: Not gonna take crap from the opposition. In fact, he's going to beat them to the punch.
Going to be an interesting/history-making five months.

13 June 2008

Ciao (for now)

The other day, Bride Hickey told me that "quitting time" in my temporary world of leisure isn't until 4 p.m. I hope Bride Hickey doesn't log on today and see this photo, then. (What can I say? It Lee's on now, and Holland/France will be on luego.)

UPDATE: It's 1-1 with about 30 minutes left. Charlie Dawg (and her inexplicable demon eyes) have taken control of the remote after each side struck within a minute of one another, Romania first, It Lee second.

Well, that's weird

Ok, for some reason, the old hit counter program told me that yesterday brought the fifth most views to this here blog since I started free-associating on it on 06.05.06. I'm thinking it's on account of just uttering the name, "Mitch Gaylord."
Actually, I'm really, really hoping it's because of that. But I have no idea why. So, visitors, would you be so kind as to drop a comment to let me know whether there was some sort of Gaylord-link that drew you here? Or, is it just that sarcastic wit is the new Bennie Hill? Lemme know. Grazie.

"How could you do better than world peace?"

This week's Sports Illustrated has a compelling, should be a movie within two years article about Glenn Cowan, a California hippie who, in the early seventies, managed to play a major role in altering world history -- all because of his ping-pong paddle. Seems that by ambling onto the wrong bus, dude made friends with some Chinese ping-pong players (who were forbidden from speaking to Americans) and set the little white ball in motion toward the Ping Pong Diplomacy that ultimately (albeit moderately) opened China up to the Western world.

... on orders from Chairman Mao they weren't to pose for photos, exchange flags or initiate conversation with Americans. Indeed, Mao had once said, "Regard a Ping-Pong ball as the head of your capitalist enemy. Hit it with your socialist bat, and you have won the point for the fatherland." As Zhuang says today, "At that time we were still in the Cultural Revolution. Any exchange with Westerners would be [attacked] with vicious labels, such as 'treason' or 'spy.' So when this American guy got on the bus, nobody dared talk to him."
Yet in the awkward space of those moments, Zhuang [Zedong, the three-time world champion] felt himself torn. What of the charge to the team to put "friendship first"? What of the core teaching of Confucianism, in which he'd been raised, which holds nothing more precious than harmony? For all Zhuang knew, this American had boarded the bus to offer a greeting, and as the team's most accomplished player, the Chinese star felt a particular responsibility to reply in graceful kind. "I was thinking, China has been well-known as a country of hospitality for more than 5,000 years," he says. "If everyone ignores that American athlete, it would be ironic. Then I looked at him and thought, He's not involved in issuing policy. He's just an athlete, an ordinary person."
Zhuang stood and started up the aisle toward Cowan. His teammates urged him to stop and one tugged at his shirt to restrain him, but through the interpreter he began a conversation. "Even now," says Zhuang, "I can't forget the naive smile on his face."

Uplifting, right? After all, who'd'a thunk these two would've altered history? Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Because this one doesn't have a happy ending.

About a decade ago Cowan briefly married, but the relationship ended after two months. By then, having discovered paddle tennis, he was hanging out on the courts at Venice Beach, hustling games. He lost his apartment, then spent several years living out of his car and on the streets, Lechtick says. "He'd be at the courts at Venice Beach, begging money. He'd be barefoot and borrow someone's racket and still win. Even when he was homeless, he always had a backpack with that Ping-Pong book he wrote."
Around 2000 Cowan underwent a bypass operation following a heart attack. He died of another heart attack on April 6, 2004, the eve of the 33rd anniversary of China's invitation to the U.S. team. He was 52. "He was like a comet," says Lange, Cowan's former doubles partner. "Flashed through the sky and then gone."
Or as Tannehill puts it, "After China, everything seemed to be useless." Then he poses a rhetorical question that could serve as Cowan's epitaph. "How could you do better than world peace?"

Suppose that sometimes those names lost to history are the ones that had the greatest impact.

Somewhere, the Rainbow (Account) is Over

Full disclosure: One Wednesday night a few years back, the Philly PD's Citywide Vice Unit let me go out with them on a raid of a massage parlor atop Westy's, the pub sitting directly across Callowhill Street from the home of the Inquirer and Daily News. We mustered in a nearby parking lot and waited until an undercover officer who'd gone inside sent word that he'd been propositioned for more than just a shoulder rub. Then, the flashing-light cars descended, and officers flocked inside where they proceeded to lock up mamasan, a few of the ladies and an unfortunate chap who'd been unable to get his pants on in time. (His buddy, on the other hand, had just, um, finished up, so I hung in the parking lot as he asked the overly-kind officers whether his boy was jail bound. He was.) Would've made a hell of a story, probably.
I mention all this today on account of the fact that, although I never wrote the piece I wanted to on these human-trafficking fueled dens of sin, another spot seemingly got busted last night. And the Inquirer was kind enough to point out that Rainbow spa at 1235A Race St. used to pay my bills. To wit:

"We will have zero tolerance for this type of activity," [Chief Inspector William Colarulo] said, "and in light of Welcome America approaching, you will see frequent raids of these houses of prostitution that are thinly disguised as massage parlors."
The target of the 1:40 p.m. raid was a nondescript, gray, three-story rowhouse at 1235A Vine St. that houses Rainbow, a business that advertised "body shampoo and total relaxation" this week in the Philadelphia City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly.

Anybody else shocked? Fine, me either. How about appalled? Ok, ok. Can we settle on mildly surprised? (Psst, yo vice, you might have missed a few down the street, BTW.)

12 June 2008

Cubs baseball

Ah, God bless you, leisure time. Just got done watching a nice 2:20 p.m. Cubs/Braves start. Nice, in that the Cubs tied the game 2-2 on a Jim Edmonds HR in the bottom of the ninth. It was 1940s-ish throwback day, so they had graphics as such ...

Then, with no outs and bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th, Skipper Lou sat Edmonds for Reed Johnson, whom the Braves' Jeff Ridgway proceeded to hit in the leg with an 81 mph slider. Game. Sweep. 43-24.
Did I say something earlier to the extent of being worried about Soriano-less Cubs baseball? Nah, didn't think so.

Did The Goat rear its ugly head?

I think it was either 1995, 1996, or 1997. A fuzzy era, cut me some slack. In any event, I was over in London visiting an old college roommate on spring break. It was about a 20 minute train ride from downtown, going right passed (what I think was) the factory over which a pig flies on Pink Floyd's Animals cover, as best I recall.

So, the roommate had some flatmates over there who all happened to be South African. Good dudes, on first blush. Well, like we did every single night of the trip, we went out to the pubs one night, and the South Africans came with us. There, they decided they were going to share a little culture with us Americans.
Hence, they wanted to show us how to play a drinking game of theirs called GOAT. It worked like this:
Phase 1) Somebody says "Goat."
Phase 2) All players must, how do I say this tenderly, oh, screw it: all players must attempt to piss their pants on the spot, which happened to be in the middle of a packed bar.
Phase 3) The loser, the last person to do so (or refuse) must buy a round.
From that day forward, I've known, in the pit of my heart that South Africans are the craziest people on earth. (Full disclosure: I lost.)

But why do I bring this up today? Oh, because of the Chicago Cubs of course. Everywhere I've gone lately, people have found it necessary to comment on how great the Cubs are looking. And everytime, I've said, "Yep, but it's all going to come crumbling down, believe me."
Well, some might be saying that the curse of a different goat reared its head last night when Alfonso Soriano broke a finger after getting hit by a pitch from Atlanta Brave Jeff Bennett last night. (Remember that name, jinxsters.) One of the biggest sparkplugs on the squad, Soriano's out for about six weeks it seems.

So, is this the end of the road for the mighty Cubs, who have the league's best record at 42-24 going into this afternoon's game?
Man, I don't know. I doubt it. I mean, they have a heck of a lot going for them right now, as they hit on all cylinders whether it be hitting, pitching or clubhousing. But I'm worried.

Gaylords, Cougars, FatOnes Gone Wild

I'd be utterly remiss if I didn't, before getting into the earth-shifting news of last night, touch on a fine piece of Letourneau-esque drama straight from the Philly burbs.

On April 11, [45-year-old Lynne] Long-Higham [on right in photo] hosted a coed teen party at her home on South Dove Road, according to the complaint filed against her. About 20 teens attended the party. Six boys - five of them at the time were 15 and one was 14 - stayed the night.
[38-year-old Angela] Honeycutt began a sexually explicit conversation with the boys and "stated something to the effect that 'men have to take control to get something they want,' " court papers said. She then allegedly began kissing one of the boys.
Three of the teens later accompanied her to a bedroom, where she asked, "Who wants to take a shower?" authorities said.
One of the boys got in the shower with her and engaged in sexual intercourse, the court papers said. Long-Higham and two boys listened at the bathroom door, the documents said. One of the teens noted that Honeycutt "could get into trouble for this," and Long-Higham told him "that's why you can't tell anyone," the court documents said.
Later, Honeycutt allegedly engaged in sex acts with a second teen in the bathroom, and she also was accused of exposing herself and doing a dance during the course of the evening that was "sexual in nature."

That's right, boys, er, men of America: You need to take control to get what you want. Especially middle-aged suburban women with an exhibitionist streak. Now, who wants to take a shower?
Actually, I do this morning. Because I saw, hands down, what I deemed, after a cocktail or two, the "finest program in the history of television" last night. It's called Celebrity Circus, and you must watch it -- after a cocktail or two.
A guy from NSync (me think) is the host. He's dressed like a ringmaster (or flamboyant Fantasy Fest attendee). And he acts like a total, total moron.
The judges:
1) some snappy, nasty lady who swings on the wild trapeze for a living,
2) a (what seems to be) very out-and-proud (what seems to be) Spaniard who talks as if he'd been ethered, or given that stuff to numb ones mouth at the dentist wearing a cross around his neck. (A move which left me mulling whether the church would be happy with such a gent sporting a religious symbol around his clearly waxed chest. I mean, seriously, what are the rules on that anyway?), and

Yes, that's right. Mitch. Effin. Gaylord. Back on the scene. Crispy and clean. When I lost all bearing in reality after seeing Mitch Effin Gaylord judging celebrities (and we'll get to them momentarily), I turned to Bride Hickey and said the world will never be the same. I need to write about it. Well, Bride Hickey then said, Why? Who cares?
Through my tears of joy (I kid, not), I told her everybody cares about Mitch Effin Gaylord. And if they don't, well, they're sure as hell going to care about seeing Wee Man try to do the "Wheel of Death," and Peter Brady walk the tightrope not only with a broken arm (suffered in training, apparently) but with a dame standing on his shoulders.
Oh yeah, there was also Rachel Hunter spinning on the trapeze. To a Britney song. And since they never showed a close up, the scene brought about a couch-bound conspiracy theory that NBC was trying to make people think Mrs. Federline was up there. Then, Wee Man did some tricks to Quiet Riot. See what I'm talking about?
Surreal. Magnificient. I will never be the same.

So in closing, a few lines I typed into thee old blackberry to commemorate the end of time, pre-Celebrity Circus:

"The gyp was that he was never in danger of actually getting burnt." -- in reference to Wee Man standing atop the half of the Wheel of Death that wasn't on fire.

"Why is gay Spanish Louie wearing the cross? Is the pope going to do something about this?" -- in reference to Louie, who might not be Spanish, or gay, but probably is both.

"This is the best thing to ever happen. Period." -- self-explanatory.

"When can we have a sleep-over so I can dance for the crowd and see who needs a shower? And, can we invite the Gaylords?" -- never really happened.

11 June 2008

Fire up the birthing assembly line! This here war machine needs more expendable ammo!

When you get done ruining the Democrats best shot to save this freaking country, you bitter, shameless "ladies," please be sure to start breeding heavily in order to feed the 100-Years-War machine your ignorance will fuel. Yes, people, this is the Web site of the National Organization of Ex-Hillary-Clinton Supporters for John McCain. My favorite comment from the roster of inadequate brain power:

The fact of the matter is that Obama is black militant muslim, and I just can't trust the office of commander in chief of the United States of America with a BLACK MILITANT MUSLIM.
I think we should impeach Obama as soon as possible.

This reminds me of that time I was playing kickball at the Strawbridge School playground and I wanted to pitch. But the mean kids wouldn't let me pitch. So I took my kickball and went home, thus ruining the game for everybody.
Oh wait, that never actually happened. Because I'm not a whiney little twit. But if it had happened (and believe me, it wouldn't), that's what the Hillary turned McCain peabrains would remind me of.

I don't know man, but this guy's a character

"My love for you is like a truck, Bear Zur Kuh."
Yes, this is the tune that popped up on the iPod dock during Wednesday-morning coffee making. And just like Snowball (aka Willem) says: It is beautiful, man.

As for the day in news, well, all I could find on a quick glimpse was old friend Kia Gregory putting the weekly sensibility to work and encamping at a North Philly air conditioning repair shop. Good slice-of-life work.

Yesterday, at Central Appliance on Ridge Avenue, White explains to Lefty:
"It wasn't blowing cool air like before." Even after she added two fans to her muggy room, "it wasn't enough. Even if you kept completely still."
To combat the thick heat, White, 32, and her two children have been getting wet in their inflatable pool out back, then going up to the bedroom to huddle in front of the ailing air conditioner.
White watches as Lefty, working with his left hand, bangs and unscrews, then pops the cover off her air conditioner. It's noon and way up in the 90s, and the 57-year-old repairman is wearing a damp rag on his head.
He checks the filter, and brushes out the dust with a small broom, as Teddy Pendergrass growls on the radio.
When it comes to fixing air conditioners, explains Lefty, who's been doing this "too long," sometimes it's just Freon. Sometimes the filter is dirty. Sometimes there's a hole in the line. Sometimes it's the compressor, and once that goes bad, the air conditioner is dead.
"Yesterday, I didn't get to eat lunch until 6 p.m.," Lefty says of the demand for his expertise.

Finally, let's be honest here: One Clerks (or Clerks II) clip alone isn't going to cut it on Heatwave Breaks Day, now, is it? So the Would You Rather Question becomes: Jay or Jame (aka Jamie Gumb, John Grant)?

(I'm still in the Jame camp, of course.)

10 June 2008

Oh, John, you crazy ole coot!

Seems as if the guy that Obama would be able to beat if not for the latent racist tendencies of many of my fellow white folk is gettin' a wee bit loopy in the head. To wit: Rather than saying he's going to veto bills, Old Yeller says he's gonna "veto every single beer."
Ok, maybe it's not that bad -- and, really, just an excuse to run that photo from, but vetoing beer? Wrong on soooooo many levels, so drink up Johnny; you're gonna need it when Obama beats you 54-42 (Bob Barr gets 4 percent.)

Viva Amsterdam!

One of the best things about having early June 2008 as your "time between jobs" is the fact that Euro 2008, the continental futbol championships, has two games an afternoon on the TV.
Which is right by the air conditioner.
Which is pretty close to the refrigerator.
Which was stocked with a case of Red Stripe about an hour ago.
Which wasn't easy to procure considering it was the first day of the past four that I spent more than 20 minutes outside in the blistering heat.

All of which is to say: All you sapsuckers who were caught up at "work" yesterday missed the Dutch side wholly decimate the reigning World Cup Champs It Lee. Final was 3-0. First goal was sketchy (though the governing body offered a fair explanation as to why Van Nistelrooy was onsides.) The other two finished 'em off, even though the Eye Talians got a fair number of good looks at the Holland net.

"We have to accept this loss and look ahead to our next two games," Italy coach Roberto Donadoni said. "That's the great thing about this (tournament). We face Romania right away and we need a win to restore our pride. We have to go out onto the field believing we can win."
The Italians may have had billboards saying "Spremuta d'Orange" -- freshly squeezed orange juice -- but it was a Dutch squeezing which left the Azzurri blue in the face.
It was Italy's worst defeat since Oct. 15, 1983, when the team lost to Sweden 3-0 in Naples in a European Championship qualifier. Italy's biggest loss at the final tournament came in the 1988 semifinals when the Soviet Union beat it 2-0.

The only downside: even these types of sporting events are interrupted by ignorance:

Four of the hooligans detained in Klagenfurt were still in custody Monday morning but two were released later in the day, local police said. Earlier, Kogler had identified all four as German nationals. About 140 people were detained in the southern city late Sunday for shouting Nazi-like slogans.

As I type (and you soon read), the Spanish are putting the finishing touches on the Russians (it's 3-0, I think) so I'm'a going to grill a couple hotdogs and settle in for Greece/Sweden.
Have fun at work.

08 June 2008

Sunday, SUNday, SUNDAY

So, the plan was to head on down Midvale with the bride, each of us with the $15 necessary for all-you-can-drink Mimosas and Bloody Marys at the Pour House to catch some of the bike race. But it's friggin' hot out there and already, the widescreen has brought me enough crazy sports for now. Karma trumping a trainer's arrogance in Big Brown's shocking Belmont no-show. Nadal drilling Federer in embarrassing straight sets at the French. My main man Edward B. (EeeBee) Lea, photographer from the Press of Atlantic City (pictured via my cell-phone camera) getting some HBO airtime when Kelly Pavlik TKOd Gary Lockett in A.C.
And, some more Euro 2008 about to pop on ESPN Classic (if this weekend is any indication, look for Poland to knock off presumptive favorite Germany this afternoon.) And I want to go watch it, so here are some quick hits from the Sunday morning funnies.

Chase Utley gets some NYT love ... "Like most kids, Chase collected baseball cards. One day, Chase’s mother, Terrell, saw him organizing his cards on his bed. Suddenly, Chase announced that he was going to match those players and be on a card someday. He was right."

The Times Style section delves into the story of a married couple that decided to, in the words of (I think) the illustrious Chuck Woolery, "make whoopee" every last night of the year. "Charla apparently had no intention of writing about 'the gift,' as she euphemistically refers to it. She was simply a homemaker and marketing consultant, who in 2006 wanted to give her husband a special 40th birthday present. 'This is something no one else would give him,' she said in an interview. 'It didn’t cost a lot of money. It was highly memorable. It met all the criteria for a really great gift.'” Bra-vo Charla. Bra. Vo.

People still dying left and right in Sudan. People not in Sudan still seemingly don't care. "Sudan rejected demands yesterday to hand over a cabinet minister and a militia commander indicted on charges of crimes against humanity in Darfur." (From the Inky's 'In the World' roundup.) Even worse: Albinos in Tanzania getting murdered for their body parts and skin. I know the one in the DaVinci Code was pretty whack, but my God, what have we become if we enable this to happen:
Vumilia was like many other Africans with albinism. She had dropped out of school because of severe near-sightedness, a common problem for albinos, whose eyes develop abnormally and who often have to hold things like books or cellphones two inches away to see them. She could not find a job because no one would hire her. She sold peanuts in the market, making $2 a week while her delicate skin was seared by the sun.
When Vumilia’s mother, Jeme, saw the men with knives, she tried to barricade the door of their hut. But the men overpowered her and burst in.
“They cut my daughter quickly,” she said, making hacking motions with her hands.
The men sawed off Vumilia’s legs above the knee and ran away with the stumps. Vumilia died.

From the June GQ, a brief piece about comedic-genius-to-be Danny McBride, star of The Foot Fist Way. Dude's getting scads of coverage, but have to love the end quote ...
So you’re doing the Land of the Lost movie with Will Ferrell right now.
Right now. Literally, right before I got on the phone with you, I was just being chased by an army of Sleestaks. They’re just as scary as you remember ‘em.

Also, a piece about Journey's (yes, Steve Perry's Journey) new Filipini frontman and another about a military unit's mission to return all POW/MIAs back to the U.S. Reminded me of a series I wrote in A.C. about Joseph Petrella whose brother Carl of Marmora had been fighting for decades to have remains returned from a WWII crash site. Just to show how long I've been writing, there's barely a trace of the five, six pieces I wrote online.

And, for what might be the last time, a closing shot at Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign. The gloves are going back on for now, since she's doing the right thing, but a nugget from the NYTimes' post mortem needs as much public airing as possible.

As for Mr. Clinton, he boiled with resentment that a candidate with as little experience as Mr. Obama was given what he considered a free pass by the news media. Yet his tone struck some as dismissive. When Mr. Clinton referred publicly to Mr. Obama as a “kid,” Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, recalled in an interview that a fellow black congressman said, “I don’t know why he didn’t just call him ‘boy’ and get it over with.”

In private, Mr. Clinton was making matters worse. On the night of the South Carolina primary, Mr. Clinton called and Mr. Clyburn said he told him to tone down his rhetoric against Mr. Obama. Mr. Clinton responded by calling him a rude name that Mr. Clyburn would not repeat in an interview. Mr. Clinton called back a few days later for what Mr. Clyburn called “a much more pleasant conversation,” but the damage was done. “Clinton was using code words that most of us in the South can recognize when we hear that kind of stuff,” Mr. Clyburn said.

07 June 2008

A Gracious Departure

12:54 p.m., Saturday, June 7, 2008; Hillary to supporters: "I endorse him and throw my full support behind him. I ask all of you to work as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me."

Live up to that promise, Hillary, and I swear I'll never tell anybody your eyes are red like the Devil's again.

Let's tell the Jews that the blacks said, "yo mama." Then, we tell the blacks that the Jews said, "yo mama." Then, we take the White House!

Say it ain't so! Just a few days after 904-year-old Frank Lautenberg fended off his U.S. Senate challenge, Camden County's own Robert Andrews had this to say about Hillary Clinton's Failed (yes, with a capital F, bitter dames) run for the Presidency:

Andrews said he had received a call from a high-ranking person in Clinton's campaign shortly after he made some positive comments about Clinton's rival, Barack Obama, just before Pennsylvania's April 22 primary.
The caller told him about a campaign strategy to win Jewish voters by exploiting tensions between Jews and blacks, said Andrews, who declined to name the person who had called him.
"Frankly, I had a private conversation with a high-ranking person in the campaign . . . that used a racial line of argument that I found very disconcerting," he said. "It was extremely disconcerting given the rank of this person. It was very disturbing."

Stay classy, Chappaqua!

Also from Saturday's Inquirer, a poignant obit about James Gallagher, a Havertown man who died of a brain tumor earlier this week. Didn't know him, but judging by the way he rallied to help those with tumors after being diagnosed with one himself, we're all a bit worse off to not have this type of person with us anymore.

In 1995, Mr. Gallagher was jogging in Avalon, N.J., when he collapsed. "Somebody found me there on the sidewalk," he said in a 2003 Inquirer story. "The next thing I knew, I was being loaded into an ambulance."

Gallagher, then 30, was diagnosed with a brain tumor half the size of a lemon. After surgery, he reassessed his life. He formed a support group for others, and realized he had much to offer newly diagnosed patients.

Mr. Gallagher decided to leave the business world to pursue a career in medicine. Seeking a more peaceful life, he moved to Narberth, where he met his future wife, Lisa Cosentino, and enrolled in the physician-assistant program at Drexel University.

He earned a master of health science certification in 2005 - the year in which he was diagnosed with an aggressive recurrence of his tumor and he married Cosentino.

He continued undaunted. "Jim never gave up," his wife said. "Each time his doctor asked him to rate his quality of life on a scale of one to 10, he always said, '10.' "

Finally, the Philly DA's office bids adieu to Roger King, "the most accomplished prosecutor in the history of the office," Floyd Mayweather bafflingly claims he's calling it quits and, using some Jedi mindtrick variation, some folks are seemingly convinced that the future is bright for alt-weeklies despite emaciated staffing levels and shriveling page counts. (As per my legal counsel, I'll redact my comments other than saying it's nice to see "Cousin" Brucie Schimmel get some business-page play. A good guy.)

06 June 2008

Honeymoon Over?

Waaaah, why didn't you let us go with Obama to meet Hillary?
Waaaah, why do I have to sit next to Helen again? She smells like mothballs.
Waaaah, didn't you realize I like bike-riding too?
Waaaah, isn't it tradition for us to sit on the runway since we "don't have anything better to do"?
Waaaah, how did my life come to this?

These imagined off-camera questions from reporters angered by the fact that the Obama camp shuffled them out of town while he met with Sen. Clinton brought to you by Acme Brand Dignity.
Acme Brand Dignity, hopefully coming back to a press corps near you soon.

By the way, this, this and this was happening around the same time.

05 June 2008

Pound for pound costs more than gold

A fine, fine nugget in today's Inquirer piece about a hearing (for a defendant in case related to the copter-caught police-beating) turned octagon bout. The Perrine referenced is D. Scott Perrine, defense for Pete Hopkins, 19, Kensington.

Perrine allegedly went to Curran-Fromhold in Northeast Philadelphia on Oct. 24 to see a client. When officers searched his briefcase, authorities say, they found a vial of cocaine.

Court records say Perrine told prison officials that a client had surrendered the cocaine to him and that he forgot it was in his briefcase.


Dead Ducks, A Cautionary Tale

So, a Monday or two back, I was in a cab on MLK Drive heading home from 30th Street after a long weekend in Montreal when me and cabbie's attention were both drawn toward the sky. There was a commercial jet flanked, on both sides, by military fighters. They were cruising toward Center City over the Schuylkill River. Not sure what it was all about since it apparently escaped press attention.
In any event, all of a sudden, we heard screeching in front of us and burnt-rubber smoke started wafting. Then, small figures rising and falling to the roadway. Turned out that the truck in front of us smacked straight into a family (or gaggle?) of ducks that was crossing the street. The long and short: A couple of the babies (chicks?) got killed and Momma Goose ran back out into the street to try and save them but it was too late. She was honking and screeching. It was bad.
The car in front of us took off like a bat out of hell (which is precisely where you go for doing such things), but it was among the more heartbreaking things I've ever seen.
Fast forward to 3 p.m. this afternoon. Me and Big Blue Corolla have zigged through the zagging construction route on Kelly when all of a sudden, the smoke and screeching is coming from us. Because there was a family of ducks crossing about a quarter mile up from Midvale. Luckily, I stopped with ample time and nobody tried to shoot around my car to save 30 seconds off their commute.
The moral of the story: Much like on the barrier islands where we all should stop for turtles crossing the road, keep your eyes peeled on Kelly for the birds so ye don't become a murderer.
Pictured below, the ducks from today (along with Big Blue's hood).

You Gotta Be Kidding Me

From today's New York Post:

Was your best man not on his best behavior? Post your bachelor party photos on our new wedding section

Yes, this was a link at the bottom of their Page Six recap on Larry and Alycia.
And yes, this goes against everything that's sacred and holy about a bachelor party. For shame, New York Post, if you had any.

This and That

So, the other night I managed to set a personal record at Run 21

But then I woke up in the morning to find apples scattered about the kitchen and living room thanks to a screen-gnawing squirrel with a yen for Granny Smiths (um, aren't cats and dogs supposed to make some sort of racket when a rodentesque invader arrives? Well, they didn't.)

I wonder if the new paper coming to my East Falls hood would cover such stories.

Fare Thee Well Sami

In honor of Sami Kapanen's announcement that he'll retire from the NHL and head back from the Flyers to his native Finland, here's an excerpt from a piece I wrote about him during the '04 playoffs.

In about three hours, the team will board a plane for Tampa Bay for Game One [of an Eastern Conference Finals series that they'll ultimately lose]. About a day and a half earlier, with 12 minutes and 21 seconds left in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jeremy Roenick blasted a series-clinching, overtime wrist shot into the net and danced up the side of the rink.

It was one of those unforgettable plays, yet it wasn't the topic of conversation. Instead, many minds were still replaying what had happened 44 seconds earlier.

Joni Pitkanen passes to Michal Handzus. Handzus fires a wrister that sails over the net and around the boards out toward the blue line. Sami Kapanen darts in to keep the puck in the offensive zone when thwap. Right in front of a rink advertisement reading "Famous Players," Toronto's Darcy Tucker catches Kapanen just wrong.

The impact of the collision leaves Kapanen parallel to the ice before his body falls 5 feet and slams into the playing surface. Blue-jerseyed Leafs fans roar. Kapanen doesn't seem to know where he is, but play continues. He tries to get up, he falls. He tries to get up again, he falls again. Finally regaining some semblance of clarity, he makes his way toward the bench.

Captain Keith Primeau -- who's rapidly approaching that top tier -- reaches out from the bench with a stick to pull his teammate to safety, just seconds before Roenick gets the puck, skates over the ice where Kapanen was just flailing and ends the game. The teams line up for the traditional post-series handshake line; Primeau doesn't join them until heading to the bench to check on his wounded teammate who'd soon recover enough to shake hands with the Leafs' himself. ("He'll leave a lot out on that surface," says an announcer of Kapanen, a 30-year-old Finn in just his second season with the team.)

"With all the desperation and tension, especially on the Leafs' part, it will go down as a hit I'll never forget," says John Buccigross, host of ESPN's NHL 2Night. "Whenever ignorant media types talk of hockey's demise, I'd like to pop in the tape of the Flyers and Leafs overtime and tell them to shut up."

About 36 hours had passed when Hitchcock was asked in Voorhees about Kapanen's condition. Discussing the first time Kapanen was back on the ice since the Tucker shot, Hitchcock responded, "He knew my name, which was a pretty good sign."

On another note, methinks it's time for Moises Alou to shut thee hell up about the whole Bartman play. He's gonna put a Whammy on the season if it keeps up. Go Cubs.

04 June 2008

They're Back

That's right, y'all. The crew from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which was kind enough to give me my basic-cable debut last season, is back in town filming episodes for their upcoming season.
So, what better time to dust off ye old Day Man. Ah ahh ahhh.


Longtime readers of this here blog already know that I hereby decree Kimbo Slice the future of unmitigated brutality. So imagine the pure rage that bubbled up when I got home Saturday night only to have realized that the TiVo cut off two hours into the CBS-aired telecast of MMA brawlin' in Newark. Unlike I do with soccer games, I forgot to pad on an additional hour or so to ensure I catch all the action. (Speaking of which, Euro2008 starts Saturday. Catch it!) In any event, here's round three of Kimbo going all tear-dude-ear off.

Other than "Hallejuah" (and don't you dare get bullied into making her your veep), I have nothing to add

Edited to add something that I actually do have to say/ask at the bottom

Obama's Nomination Speech, June 3, 2008:

Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said – because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another – a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign – through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President.

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

We’ve certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who’s shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning – even in the face of tough odds – is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children’s Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency – an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn’t just about the party in charge of Washington, it’s about the need to change Washington. There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren’t the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn’t do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – we cannot afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say – let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.

Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It’s not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It’s not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college – policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

And it’s not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians – a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn’t making the American people any safer.

So I’ll say this – there are many words to describe John McCain’s attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush’s policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

Change is a foreign policy that doesn’t begin and end with a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged. I won’t stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what’s not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years – especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must. It’s time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It’s time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It’s time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda’s leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century – terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That’s what change is.

Change is realizing that meeting today’s threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy – tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn’t afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That’s what the American people want. That’s what change is.

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It’s understanding that the struggles facing working families can’t be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It’s understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President.

John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy – cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota – he’d understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can’t pay the medical bills for a sister who’s ill, he’d understand that she can’t afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That’s the change we need.

Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can’t even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he’d understand that we can’t afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future – an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. That’s the change we need.

And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he’d understand that we can’t afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That’s the change we need in America. That’s why I’m running for President.

The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don’t deserve is another election that’s governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon – that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I’ve walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I’ve sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I’ve worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom’s cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that’s better, and kinder, and more just.

And so it must be for us.

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Related Reading: The Times takes a look at how Obama has remained "calm in the swirl of history."

From the "OK, maybe I do have more to say files": As Obama wrapped up what I considered to be a era-defining address, I asked myself a simple question: Would making Clinton the VP nominee be enough to drive me away from Obama?
My first reaction: Quite possibly, despite having written this a full eight months ago.
My second reaction: Is my loathing of the Clinton-esque air of entitlement stronger than my love of country and the inspiration that Obama's campaign has instilled within me? (I hope not, but I can't say with any certainty at this point. And that's very, very sad).

03 June 2008

Pot Meets Kettle, Calls Him Black

A Poem:
Bill, I once thought you was the coolest.
Now, I realize you're a dirtbag opportunist.
With no respect for self or nation.
Tell your wife to pack up and go home.
It's over.

The inspiration for this work of art:
The same Huffington Post reporter who broke the Obama “bitter” story got a new scoop yesterday of Bill Clinton lashing out at Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum and calling him “sleazy,” “dishonest” and “slimy” for his critical magazine article on Clinton. It’s worth noting that the HuffPo reporter didn’t identify herself as a reporter and said she disliked the article when asking for his reaction.

From the piece: “Tightly gripping this reporter's hand and refusing to let go, Clinton heatedly denounced the writer, who is currently married to his former White House Press Secretary, Dee Dee Myers. ‘[He's] sleazy,’ he said referring to Purdum. ‘He's a really dishonest reporter. And one of our guys talked to him… And I haven't read [the article]. There's just five or six blatant lies in there. But he's a real slimy guy,’ the former President said. When I reminded him that Purdum was married to his former press spokesperson Myers, Clinton was undeterred. ’That's all right-- he's still a scumbag,’ Clinton said. ‘Let me tell ya--he's one of the guys -- he's one of the guys that brought out all those lies about Whitewater to Kenneth Starr. He's just a dishonest guy-- can't help it.’”

Backup inspiration:
According to Ms. Lewinsky, she and the President had ten sexual encounters, eight while she worked at the White House and two thereafter.(35) The sexual encounters generally occurred in or near the private study off the Oval Office -- most often in the windowless hallway outside the study.(36) During many of their sexual encounters, the President stood leaning against the doorway of the bathroom across from the study, which, he told Ms. Lewinsky, eased his sore back.(37)

Ms. Lewinsky testified that her physical relationship with the President included oral sex but not sexual intercourse.(38) According to Ms. Lewinsky, she performed oral sex on the President; he never performed oral sex on her.(39) Initially, according to Ms. Lewinsky, the President would not let her perform oral sex to completion. In Ms. Lewinsky's understanding, his refusal was related to "trust and not knowing me well enough."(40) During their last two sexual encounters, both in 1997, he did ejaculate.(41)

According to Ms. Lewinsky, she performed oral sex on the President on nine occasions. On all nine of those occasions, the President fondled and kissed her bare breasts. He touched her genitals, both through her underwear and directly, bringing her to orgasm on two occasions. On one occasion, the President inserted a cigar into her vagina. On another occasion, she and the President had brief genital-to-genital contact.(42)

Whereas the President testified that "what began as a friendship came to include [intimate contact]," Ms. Lewinsky explained that the relationship moved in the opposite direction: "[T]he emotional and friendship aspects . . . developed after the beginning of our sexual relationship."(43)

Edited to add: Just caught this lil tidbit from the VF piece -- Was Billy Boy gettin down and dirty with Gina Gershon? If so, point, Mr. Clinton.

So Smooth

So, I turn 35 today. Old man. If only I had a sea to go battle marlin in. Alas, all I have is the Schuylkill. And Krupa's. Which, if I were still a young chap, I'd already be lining up outside to get a start on a mission of one shot fewer than three dozen. And if I were so inclined, which I'm not, I'd carry a copy of last week's New Yorker with me, for, in an uber-pertinent piece entitled A Few Too Many, Joan Acocella delves deep into the phenonmenon we know as the hangover, offering reasons why they happen and how to go about fixing them.
The latter, of course, is worth the $4.50 cover price if you're not a subscriber. And I excerpt:

Many people advise you to eat a heavy meal, with lots of protein and fats, before or while drinking. If you can’t do that, at least drink a glass of milk. In Africa, the same purpose is served by eating peanut butter. The other most frequent before-and-during recommendation is water, lots of it. Proponents of this strategy tell you to ask for a glass of water with every drink you order, and then make yourself chug-a-lug the water before addressing the drink...

When you get home, is there anything you can do before going to bed? Those still able to consider such a question are advised, again, to consume buckets of water, and also to take some Vitamin C. Koreans drink a bowl of water with honey, presumably to head off the hypoglycemia. Among the young, one damage-control measure is the ancient Roman method, induced vomiting. Nic van Oudtshoorn’s “The Hangover Handbook” (1997) thoughtfully provides a recipe for an emetic: mix mustard powder with water. If you have “bed spins,” sleep with one foot on the floor.

Now to the sorrows of the morning. The list-topping recommendation, apart from another go at the water cure, is the greasy-meal cure. (An American philosophy professor: “Have breakfast at Denny’s.” An English teen-ager: “Eat two McDonald’s hamburgers. They have a secret ingredient for hangovers.”) Spicy foods, especially Mexican, are popular, along with eggs, as in the Denny’s breakfast. Another egg-based cure is the prairie oyster, which involves vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and a raw egg yolk to be consumed whole. Sugar, some say, should be reapplied. A reporter at the Times: “Drink a six-pack of Coke.” Others suggest fruit juice. In Scotland, there is a soft drink called Irn-Bru, described to me by a local as tasting like melted plastic. Irn-Bru is advertised to the Scots as “Your Other National Drink.” Also widely employed are milk-based drinks. Teen-agers recommend milkshakes and smoothies. My contact in Calcutta said buttermilk. “You can also pour it over your head,” he added. “Very soothing.”

Elsewhere on the international front, many people in Asia and the Near East take strong tea. The Italians and the French prefer strong coffee. (Italian informant: add lemon. French informant: add salt. Alcohol researchers: stay away from coffee—it’s a diuretic and will make you more dehydrated.) Germans eat pickled herring; the Japanese turn to pickled plums; the Vietnamese drink a wax-gourd juice. Moroccans say to chew cumin seeds; Andeans, coca leaves. Russians swear by pickle brine. An ex-Soviet ballet dancer told me, “Pickle juice or a shot of vodka or pickle juice with a shot of vodka.”

Many folk cures for hangovers are soups: menudo in Mexico, mondongo in Puerto Rico, işkembe çorbasi in Turkey, patsa in Greece, khashi in Georgia. The fact that all of the above involve tripe may mean something. Hungarians favor a concoction of cabbage and smoked meats, sometimes forthrightly called “hangover soup.” The Russians’ morning-after soup, solyanka, is, of course, made with pickle juice. The Japanese have traditionally relied on miso soup, though a while ago there was a fashion for a vegetable soup invented and marketed by one Kazu Tateishi, who claimed that it cured cancer as well as hangovers.

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