Friday, September 30, 2005

Pantheon changes

Hey there - more new content late tonight (or hideously early tomorrow morning), but I dashed in and out in order to add a couple of links to the Pantheon to your right (and slightly below).

Please welcome WILLisms and the Rebelution. Our buddy WunderKraut is one of Will's guest hosts for the next week or so, and it inspired me to check it out. The content convinced me to put him in the ranks.

The Rebelution is written by two homeschooled twins that many would dismiss as kids. Don't you believe it for a second. They have more maturity and reflection than an entire editorial board at your typical major daily newspaper, and they don't write half-badly, either. Put it this way - I bumped Mark Steyn to the Heavy Hitters section to put them in.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A field by any other name

It's bad enough when athletic teams decide that their playing fields need corporate sponsorship - witness, for example, the Houston Astros, who moved from the aptly-named Astrodome to something called Enron Field. Critics promptly dubbed it Ten-Run Field for its ridiculously-short left field, ridiculously-large center field (complete with a hill topped by an in-play flagpole), and terrible Astro pitching staff. (And you wondered why they went after Roger Clemens so hard two years ago?)

Well, we all know what happened to Enron (the company). In 2002, their erstwhile ballyard became Minute Maid Field for the tidy sum of $28 million. I always thought that the field was the team's and not the company's, but for that money...

The trend has spread, and now individual elements of the games are also sponsored. Said Minute Maid Field has something called Conoco Home Run Alley (with that many homers, maybe it needs its own name). When the Philadelphia Flyers go a man up, the announcer cries out, "Here comes the PECO Power Play!" PECO is the Pennsylvania Electric Company (get it?), which makes it no less ridiculous.

Colleges don't do that sort of thing for money (wink-wink, nudge-nudge, say no more!), but they make up for it by stacking names on top of each other, as if the stadia were brands of razor and the names were blades - more is better. Current leader in the Gilette JetBlue Xerox Clubhouse is The University of Virginia. Their footballers (ahem, student athletes) play in the Carl Smith Center, on the David A Harrison III Field, at Scott Stadium. Faced with this preponderance of nomenclature, one wonders what poor Scott did to rate a mere mononym.

Do the announcers have to spit all of that out at the beginning of every telecast? We'd miss kickoff before we heard which two teams were playing. That's why, though it's kind of a dump, I like Shea Stadium. It's named for the fellow who helped bring National League baseball back to New York City.

UVA ought to pick one name and stick with it. We are supposed to be teaching the student athletes how to make good choices, right? (Graduate, work hard, don't play for the Arizona Cardinals.) Lead by example.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Any resemblance to other libraries, living or dead, is coincidental

Mr. Snitch has felt a disturbance in the Force...

Of course, since it was a long time ago, you could say that Trinity College of Dublin is the imitation... but how did the building specs get here from a galaxy far, far away? Or are there only so many ways to vault a ceiling?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Oh, yeah, that other game

Ah, autumn - the leaves turn, the schools open, and football starts. For once the Giants look like they might have an offense with more than one guy, which is encouraging. But of course, it's time for Big Al to run the office pool, and an excuse to waste a Friday afternoon with my picks. Home team in Caps, of course, and my pick in bold - but remember that I've won this thing one week out of four years, so if you believe me it's your own fault.

RAMS v. Titans (+6.5): I'm pretty sure that Tennessee will win this outright. At the least, they play well enough on offense to keep up with the Increasingly Slower Show on Turf. (I mean, Marshall Faulk has nine touches total in two games - that's runs plus receptions.) Finally, Jeff Fisher is in the half of the NFL coaches who know what they're doing. (16)

EAGLES v. Raiders (+7.5): Sooner or later, Oakland always falls to pieces. That starts with the man up top, and in this case, Norv Turner was not an improvement over last year's failure, Bill Callahan. Randy Moss could be the first guy to clear 2000 yards receiving for a season, and they'll still lose 12 games. But the offense still scares me; I wish this spread was less than one score. (4)

Bengals v. BEARS (+2.5): They lost terribly to Washington, and clocked the always-suspect Lions. I think that Cincy's got enough in the tank to break into double-digits against them. (14)

JETS v. Jaguars (+3.5): Until Pennington's arm and Martin's legs begin to show a little more life, I remain a skeptic. In fact, if you're in a survivor pool and have already wasted the Colts and Eagles, this may not be a bad spot to grab the Jax. (10)

VIKINGS v. Saints (+4.5): Or, for that matter, New Orleans. Coach Medavoy will have them ready despite the travel weariness. More importantly, it looks as if the Vikes have thrown a wheel. Did the Madden Cover Curse take a couple years to reach Daunte? (13)

Panthers v. DOLPHINS (+2.5): Nick Saban's defense seems to be getting a lot of respect from the Gambling-American community, if the line has to be this low to get folks to bite on the Fins. The Panthers may look at this as a letdown game after beating the champs, but they should win anyway. (15)

COLTS v. Browns (+13.5): Not even if Brian Sipe was back in town, though they look all right so far on offense. Bill Simmons has it perfectly for this game, saying of Indy: "Has a team ever been 10-point favorites or more in five straight games?" (5)

BILLS v. Falcons (+2.5): It breaks my heart to do this. Mike Vick is something else. Unfortunately he can't catch his own passes. I mean, Jim Mora should have been camped out on Randy Moss' lawn waiting for the signing period like it was a Kiss concert circa '78. Hell, at least they could have called Plaxico Burress... (6)

Bucs v. PACKERS (3.5): It comes to this, in the end - the Pack, home dogs in the Battle of the Bays. Favre's been that brutal. Of course, he could pick this week to have his Turn Back the Clock farewell performance (you know it's coming), but I can't shake the look of him on ESPN with all that grizzled grey in his buzz cut. He looked like R. Lee Ermey, only older. (7)

SEAHAWKS v. Cardinals (+6.5): Every year this game costs me, because Seattle always does the same thing - they come out for the second half of the game with avocado pits jammed down their throats. This could also be one of the visually ugliest games in league history, as both teams have A) tried to make their logos look angry (the Cards' helmets are almost as ridiculous as this story about them); B) switched from uniforms to pajamas. (3)

STEELERS v. Patriots (+2.5): Two things - one, this is a huge revenge game now, as New England will be smarting from that Panther debacle; two, no way they want people to think that Pittsburgh has passed them in the AFC heirarchy. Now, the other possibility is that the defense really misses Tedy Bruschi and Corey Dillon isn't the same back. In that case the Steelers will roll them. But it's only week three. Until that happens, those gaudy rings mean they get the benefit of the doubt. (BONUS - this will probably be the best-coached game in football this week, college or pro.) (12)

Cowboys v. 49ERS (+6.5): Dreadful as they are, they can keep up with Dallas. That was some stinkeroo the 'Boys laid down in the fourth quarter - the sort of sequence that can wreck your whole season, the same way that the Giants' debacle against Dallas two years ago sank them and got Jim Fassel fired. Football karma done come around... (11)

CHARGERS v. Giants (6.5): I'm not sure I believe yet. They were losing that Cards game until the second half, and looked lousy doing it; the Saints gained a million yards but turned it over so often the Giants couldn't help but win. Now Eli Manning goes to play in the stadium he didn't want to play in after being drafted... I think that he's going to try way too hard and the Chargers are good enough to punish him for it. (On the bright side, at least New York has an offensive line now.) (8)

Monday Night: BRONCOS v. Chiefs (+3.5): I do believe that this defense may be legit. Larry Johnson is playing a credible Watson to Priest Holmes. Granted, these next two weeks (at Denver, v. Philly) are tougher than the first two (punchless Jets, underachieving Raiders), but they took care of business each time and looked great doing so. Should handle the Broncos, who are amazingly short of running backs right now. (9)

Survivor Pick - I'm saving both Philly and Indy. Carolina.

At work we don't go by straight W/L: we give each game a number from 16 down (each number used only once) and add up the points for each W. That's what those green numbers are. (For example, last week was one of those times I wished I could give every game a four - I went 9-7 but it was such a dogfest that I only earned 73 points; the winner had 100 out of a possible 136.) This prevents ties, but means entertaining ways for the 'Fly to lose each week, including one I've feared for some time, but hasn't happened yet.

(And now that I look at the points - I'm trusting San Fran with 11? Crap.)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Buckle me swashes...

My pirate name is: Mad Tom Rackham

"Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate."

Get your own pirate name from

(w/t to k_sara)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Game on, baby!

Welcome back to the Lord's Own Hockey.

Islanders 5, Blueskirts 1.


update (9/21, 5:30 pm) - double heheheheheh.

The uniform was much different. Instead of the conservative Montreal Expos pinstriped jersey, he wore a bright red Montreal Canadiens sweater. And instead of the old Expos logo, his cap bore the Habs logo. But the orange fur, the shock of red hair and the goofy grin were still the same. It was our old friend, Youppi! ...

"Yeah, I finally get to work games in October."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Carnival of NJ Bloggers, 18 1/2

If you've seen the comments from the weekend, you know that this past Carnival turned out to be my own little Titus Andronicus - well-meant, but unsatisfying, and everyone dies. In short, I am a varlet. Three people got omitted and a fourth's link was busted. (That's just who I know of - everyone else, please be merciful and let me die of the embarrassment I already have.)

Two of these are already fixed below. Under the "Too Little, Too Late," department, here are the other two.

Single-Issue Groups Rule!, by Jorgey at Media in Trouble
Unrelated, Yet Equally-Fascinating, at Cripes, Suzette!

These happened to be among the final posts I was working on. That was about 11 pm Saturday - and that's when Blogger's servers boned me. The whole shebang went dark. That meant the entire Carnival, including the parts not quite done, was now stuck on the Diptera with no way to upload them. I confess that at that moment, the missing posts took a back seat, since it's small comfort to be remembered in a Carnival that doesn't go off. One hour to showtime and the big top was on fire.

Even after Blogger started letting me back in, I had problems with the uploads. The first ones didn't work. (I nearly lost all of scene Two at that point.) The later ones went text only, which meant over an hour of reformatting every return, bold, italic, and link by hand. At the end of it all it was 2 am, and only after finally "finishing" did I read it over and say, "Damn, I left stuff out."

That's where I turned into a dithering idiot, folks. I left it that way and went to bed, and by the time I woke up it was, as the referees say when they've hosed your team, an uncorrectable error. I fixed the cracked link and put in the accidentally-dropped lines. I apologized as well as I could to the third poster (but not well enough - such is life). Then the fourth emailed me. "What the [smiley face]!??!" Yup, I deserved it.

Well, it's there. And it's only fair to note the sport made of me as a result. (I actually think the comic is kinda funny.) I meant no malice. This was a couldn't, not a wouldn't. But it's as the lady said - "Once I decide that you have acted against me, you are dead to me forever."

Excuse me while I go fall on a prop sword.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Carnival of NJ Bloggers XVIII

Welcome to the Carnival, everyone!

In order to get this all in, we're going in three parts.
Call it scene one, scene two, and scene three. These three links will remain up top.

update (9/18, 12:30 pm) - the inestimable Mr. Snitch did some talking. The Carnival is now linked as follows:

Basil's Blog, Beltway Traffic Jam; Cafe Oregano;
bRight & Early; Jo's Café; My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy;
Euphoric Reality; Stop the ACLU; Mudville Gazette;
Cao's Blog
Wizbang; and PointFive.

We humbly thank thee, well, well, well...

Scene One

[Scene 1. A room in cyberspace. Enter Enlighten solus.]

Now is the posting of our web content
Made glorious summer by the Carnival,
And all the clouds that lower'd upon our screens
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our blogs bound with victorious wreaths;

Our busied thoughts hung on the internet;
Our single musings link’d to many users,
From loss of service, to delightful access.

[The lights rise to reveal Nightfly, seated at center. Enter bloggers.]


I greet thee, friends, herein reassembled,
Old friends; and faces new, yet no less dear
Than those returning. Welcome to the Hive.
Hast thou aught to tell of the Garden State?


'Tis passing strange, the changes near my door;
Where stood once fields and woods along the shore
Are town-homes, mansions, people by the score
The more to crowd the residents of yore:
The halt and suff’ring sick do suffer more.

What says Contrarian?

My tale is thus –
That crowded though the streets may be, the sons
Of those that stay become the sons that go,

Like Washington upon the winter’s morn,
Cross Delaware.

Shalt none remain?

Contrarian: But few,
To stumble ‘pon the banks of Raritan.

Nightfly: What word from Bradley Beach?

O frightful sight!

Nightfly: From whence comes such a form?

BB: ‘Tis from the past,
From plays upon the screen, drawn from the past
And childhood’s days, but half-rememberéd,
Now drawn anew for children of this age.

Enlighten: Pray heaven that we meet no worse than this.


Alas! Here must my news be known to all:
Three rats, made ill for study,
have escaped.


How came the folk of UMDNJ
To fail this trust?


They haven’t found a cause -
Whether they fell prey to other beasts,
Or fled to die upon the city streets -
But we are not at risk; or so ‘tis spoke.

Enlighten: Soft! A sound without.

Nightfly: It shall be sorted.

[Enter Hondo, disheveled.]


You come as from a mighty journey made.
Sit by the fire. When hast recoveréd
Thy breath and thoughts, we’ll hear thy message.


In rain, as I homeward drove my way
My fellow travelers and I were slowed.
And as I passed I saw upon the road
A trooper’s car, disabled. The passersby
Had eased their pace to watch. Beyond this point

The cars sped on, but only to a point
Where troopers sat again, but not to look
Upon the cars, to keep them to the law,
But likewise, both disabled as the first.

Nightfly: Three cars thus unhorsed?

Hondo: I saw no horse.

Enlighten: Methinks ye saw no cars.

Hondo: I feared to tell,

Lest unbelieving lips make mockery.


Chide not our guest. If merriment we seek,
Come forth the bards! Let bloggers sing to blogs.

Mr. Snitch:

Pardon, gentles all, that on this blog
This tale be told; yet painted Rumor sings
With none to frustrate her confuséd verse.
So must the lesser serve. The tune is known,
But words more fit are fitted to its bones.

[Snitch sings. Applause.]


Much thanks. ‘Tis not a tune to lighten heart,
But ‘twas well-rendered.


Friends, stop not thine ears,
Lest stopped be thy hearts to grieving cries,
Nor turn thine eyes, avoiding others’ tears.
For such was I, at first, upon this news.
Twice-distant views stirred little. Who was I,
Or they to I, that I should share their pain?
Through rising rain and wind, I did not rise.
Below the furious skies New Orleans rode,
Man, woman, child, abode, swept all aside.
Stop not thine ears! Mine own, slow to attend,
Hear now, and learneth means to mend such harms.
These families are neighbors unto us –
And ever thus, before displaced by storm
To scatter-settle in our neighborhoods.


Many have already moved to give,
And more is welcome.


Much hath Jersey wrote
Here and elsewhere of these matters. S’truth,
No fear that we shall fail to do our part.

Mr. Snitch:

So what news of the rest of Jersey’s blogs?
For not all have assembled.


Time was swift,
And all-to-brief to gather everyone
From wider ways across the Garden State.
Let us travel, rather, from the Hive
To meet with them.



Then all away;
The Carnival plays caravan today.


Scene Two

[Scene 2. Outside. A group of bloggers moves down the street.]

Enlighten: We have fair weather for such a journey,
And fair hope soon to meet our web-worn friends.

Nightfly: One doth approach that we have lately missed.

[Enter Gigglechick.]


Erin! What news? Thou art so arrayed
As to attend a banquet or a ball.


No such luck; though I could use a drink.
The day was spent in artists’ studios,
Sitting for a portrait.

Nightfly: For a job?


For a gig. Needs must keep up-to-date,
Lest a jaded public, quick to scorn,
Say of Erin, “Looks and jokes are worn.”

Enlighten: No fear of either!

Gigglechick: Pull the other one.

Nightfly: And who is this that follows in thy train?

Gigglechick: Came she not with me.

Nightfly: Shamrocketship?

SRS: Who calls?


The Carnival of Jersey Blogs.
Hast thou forgotten?


No. Or, marry, aye;
Or I know not what – I am not clear.

Nightfly: Art not thou well?


Nay, tis no fault of health,
But one of time.
The new job tasks me thus
That mind no longer masters all its thoughts,
And distracted run all my hours.

Nightfly: Yet writing still. Pray thee, get some rest.

[Exit Shamrocketship. The other continue and cross a group of bloggers yelling.]

Nightfly: What affray is this?

Enlighten: Methinks I know.


‘Tis the Carnival? Aye, just in time.
I’ve heard that dreadful man give dreadful speech
Under fair-seeming, forked tongue,
Words of feignéd comfort.
‘Tis a lie!
True meaning have I written in its place.


I fear ‘tis so – though speeches move me not.
More ticked am I
that nothing more was done
To swiftly succor suffering Orleáns.


Say you so? For I have heard much else.
You were not with us at the Hive, I think,
Or wouldst have heard yourself.


Hast thou heard well?
Or hearest only that which thou choosest?


Hearing isn’t always to believe,
But marry! Even I don’t like that man,
And yet admit that what I heard from him
Seem’d encouraging. And there is this:
We all agree that
further help must come,
Or come too late to help at all.


And more,
We feed and clothe, and soon rebuild –
Needful things, but not all things needful.
All alike shall need to grieve, and heal.

Mamacita: I saw this news, though he that gave the news
Was apt for mockery. He spoke at length,
But sooth, a quiet fool is more preferred
Than he that cannot choose to quiet down.

Mr. Snitch: Dost anyone hear music?


Now that you say,
I say I do.

Nightfly: There is a light ahead.

[Enter Jersey Beat.]


Thou hast arrivéd late. The show’s begun,
What with music, cheering, and the crowd,
With DJ, band, and audience alike
Most energized.

Enlighten: Can we still get in?


Wishest thou? I wonder. Every year
The players remain as they ever were
As I advance. I find that, day by day,
As festivals proceed, I lag behind –
I have my daytime duties to perform
And, pleasing as the music tends to be,
One week is much for me.


And yet thou came,
As music is thy trade, thy passion’s pride;
I rarely take a show. And, when I do,
They tend, like to these groups, to be home-grown.
One local band has stood above the rest.


You have missed much. I saw a Thursday show,
In major venue, with a headline band
Much more accomplished,
Of such long standing stature as to cause
Aspiring artists, jealous-wrapt,
To term them old, and jest upon their names,
Whilst treasuring the self-same fate for theirs.


Enjoyed thou the show?


Be well-assured,
The gentlemen doth rock, and that right well.

Steven Hart:
For each so markéd with Fame's fading pen
Stand dozens near-forsaken. Such a one
Was Burnside
. Not a polished songsmith he,
Nor held as top-tiered talent in the blues -
Yet there is merit to be heard in him.
But he has played his coda to the world;
His music lives, recorded, without him.

Nightfly: Shall we enter?


All are not arrived,
Nor spoken all they have to say.


Yet pause at whiles: an hour’s brief delay
Cannot hinder. Then we shall resume
The Carnival.


I pray thee, tarry.
Company shall blot my weariness.


Scene Three

[Scene 3. Enter Dynamo and eCache.]

Dynamo: Hearest thou the news last week, Cache?

eCache: I heard little else.

Dynamo: They shall debate; Forrester, Corzine, and two others.

eCache: Shall it be the five, or only four?

Some say five, but recently I see
New report that four shall be contested,
Though all four men may not contest each time.

If so, dost think that ethics shall be raised?
This bodes ill for Corzine, ‘twere it known.

[Enter other bloggers from the concert.]

Nightfly: What cheer, friends?

Dynamo: The Carnival is here?

Enlighten: We had mind to travel. So, what news?

eCache: We spoke of the debates for Governor.

Ah, the statehouse. I fear Forrester
Shalt lose; and Corzine cannot cure
Ethics problems in the several towns,
Having them himself. Within the schools
Administrator’s salaries are flush
While education wanes.

Tammany: Speak thou of Epps?

The very man. But what is this? XPat?
Did you not stay behind? Hast caught us up?

Even so, but under separate guise;
And under separate blogs doth post my thoughts -
The one for local matters, such as this.
I’d rather Mr. Epps donate some pay
To those in blind Katrina’s murd’rous wake.

Mr. Snitch:
I never cease to wonder at the blogs.
The local papers, senseless, stand aside
From blogs – from local writers, in the streets
And towns, who watchful-waking make their blogs
A home for local news. A sterling source
Of readers, talent, time, goes thus unused.

The night draws on, and morning opens fast
Upon the starry backdrop. Even I,
Who never was an early-rising fly,
Must soon away. Yet we have not heard all.

Some bloggers haven’t made the time to call;
Others, writing late, must wait a week.

Loathe am I to miss their chance to speak.
If any have not made the Carnival,
A linkéd message to this post withal
Shall serve. What sight is this? A city road
Bright orange?

Therein lies a curious tale.
Forsooth, I rather wished to paint my home;
But, hasty-late, and with my injured arm,
One can dislodged and tumbled to the ground.
We hoped to clean the spill with litter mix,
And made it worse.

Mr. Snitch: One hardly notices.

Tata: Go to! ‘Tis a sticky orange mess!

[Enter Pink Panther.]

Is this our erstwhile hostess? Welcome back!
We had not hoped to see you for the week,
But, returning unlooked-for, do tell
Of your adventures. What's the news?

work and classes crowding close upon,
I feared to find the time to post these links.
But lo! I come with some exciting news!

Nightfly: Hast saved on car insurance?

Pink: I'm in love!

Enlighten: But soft! Look at the time!

Mr. Snitch: It's getting late!

Nightfly: I've got to wash my car.

Pink: At 2 A.M.?

Nightfly: Well - aye, marry! 'Tis most untidy brown.

Pink: Men!


[Next week, Joe's Journal hosts (we all hope!) Sorry this is late, but Blogger really bit the wax tadpole tonight - pages wouldn't load, and since half of us are hosted on Blogger, this meant not being able to link, upload, read, or much of anything. Thanks for your patience!]

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It's never time to go all wobbly

Mr. Bingley fires a welcome broadside into the ridiculous Crescent of Embrace proposal to mark the final resting place of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001:
How does staring wistfully out across a meadow show any respect or appreciation of the valor shown by those wonderful folks? Why are we so ashamed of acts of valor that we have to tone the story of them down for future generations?
Indeed. Check the five finalists and, aside from the simpering banality of the designs, dig the muddled preachle that 'inspired' them:

"The roofscape violently punctures the threshold of the Sacred Ground, its tip rupturing the earth’s delicate fabric. The words “1003:11 Sacred Ground” and the empowering mission statement mark the roofscape’s end."

"Empowering mission statement"? How about, "Let's roll!"

"Memory Trail reconciles the design of a memorial honoring those who lost their lives in Somerset County, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 with a site left wounded by years of strip-mining. We seek to help heal both the losses of loved ones and the sacred ground where they came to rest."

Yup, strip-mining. Remarkably, the design that went with this piffle did not include a cigar-store wooden Indian shedding a single tear of pure mineral water.

"Our proposed memorial expression, and the materials by which it is made, is guided by a belief that meaning can emerge when we join with others and honor a place through social as well as physical means."

Oh, that's why forty people gave their lives - so that meaning can emerge! Said meaning, apparently, is to bow and scrape before our moral superiors, who are willing to tolerate the whole lot of us right off the face of the earth if it makes terrorists feel better about themselves.

"The Circle of Heroism symbolizes the 40 individuals coming together in an act of collective courage that would change history."

They changed history, but don't expect us to notice.

"Forty sandstone markers are inscribed with the names, hometowns, and birthdates of those who perished here on September 11, 2001. Individual markers will be designed with the wishes of each family. We suggest, however, an overall arrangement of markers reflecting the geographical distance between the Glade and individual hometowns, and that each of the 40 markers are rotated to individual homes."

Lemme wrap my brain around this - we're going to take forty people united by their bravery and sacrifice and honor them by planting their names separately, scattered about as if they were back in their hometowns? We're doing this in the midst of a memorial located at their final resting place? For crying out loud, even M*S*A*H did better: they had all the hometowns and their distances printed on arrows, and then hung from the same pole, united. If freakin' Larry Gelbart, Alan Alda, and Mike "free Mumia" Farrell have better war memorial ideas than you do, you just suck.

"One of the first questions a visitor may ask of any memorial is, 'What does it mean?'"

That's certainly the first question on my mind after reading all this pferdkaese.

Here's a novel thought - why don't we stop trying to design these things by government commission? The whole point of Flight 93 was that the people united on their own and met the threat at hand. Let's honor them the same way. Let private persons come together, raise some funds, and build a fitting memorial of their own, that actually respects Flight 93's sacrifice; that stands as strong and resolved as they did; that recognizes that they only started a fight we still face.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Let's blog two!

Unfortunately, Pink Panther's dance card is full... but that means that I get a second turn around the floor with Tillie as Carnival host.

Send your submissions in to NJCarnvial -at- gmail -dot- com. We'll set the same deadline: Saturday, 6pm, although earlier is always better. Since all y'all are good at making the Carnival really shine, I'm sure I'll enjoy this the same as the last; hope that you do too!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bargain depression

Finally got a chance to go food shopping today, thus avoiding peanut butter poisoning for another fortnight.

Those supermarkets do some savvy point-of-purchase marketing. By now we all know about the magazines, gum, candy, and mini-coolers of beverage - tempting footsore shoppers about to re-emerge to the summer swelter, shoving along the week's provender, cranky kids in tow. Near the self-checks, I saw something a little different, more to appeal to the bachelors and other quick-stop shoppers that are likelier in those lanes.

Discount CDs and DVDs. You too can own your own limited edition copy of Shootfighter for eight bucks! Wondering why The Mosquito Coast is never on Cinemax? Upset that you missed the Sean Young retrospective on AMC? Go for it!

In my case, I skipped, but the top CD on the rack was Phil Collins' "Hello, I Must Be Going." Heheheheheh. This guy was incandescent for a while in the 80s - he was still doing Invisible Touch with Genesis, he had his big solo thing, he even made a movie. Now he's on the Shelf of Shame, hobnobbing with Gordon Lightfoot and the Spin Doctors.

Expired fame is a great equalizer. I began thumbing through:

The original stage cast of My Fair Lady. Julie Andrews can sing, Rex Harrison doesn't even bother trying.
Steely Dan, "Katy Lied." And Bingley smiles.
The Doors, "The Soft Parade"
Anton Bruckner's complete seventh symphony
The Best of England Dan and John Ford Coley - I confess, I enjoyed seeing this here. That horn riff to open "Don't Pull Your Love" makes promises they just don't keep. Let's move on. *
Santana - yes, the first Santana album.
The Eagles - THREE different albums here, some with multiple copies. I know they were a singles band, but really, this is sad.
Christopher Cross - wait, didn't this win 18 Grammys?
several compilations from Time/Life

I actually bought the 1982 comp. For seven bucks I got eleven first- or second-tier songs I didn't own yet, and only two turkeys: an REO Speedcrappen tune and a Ray Parker Jr. song that wasn't Ghostbusters, so what's the point? Even HE knew it. At one point he actually sings "Aw shucks." It's like he knew that he was just punching the clock after the one-and-a-half hits from Raydio.

In fact, it's a minor miracle that the Ghostbusters theme hit. According to the IMDB trivia page, Huey Lewis turned it down; Parker wasn't even able to write it until he saw the TV trailers. Lewis subsequently sued for plagiarism, claiming that the main guitar riff was ripped off from "I Want a New Drug." (So maybe he did write it after all?)

And was there anything else off that soundtrack even remotely familiar except for that boogie-woogie piano bit when the three of them flee the library?

Didn't think so.

* update, 9-13, 5:20 pm: DRAT! It was Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds who sang that. I always mix those two up because of the profusion of names involved. Just one more reason to hate the whole lot. They should form a supergroup and tour Western Canada.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Mille Grazie

Yeah, it's pigdin paisan, but the thought is sincere: 154 hits as of 11:10 PM tonight. You guys are great, and you made the Carnival a big success!

My especial thanks go out to the web-walker from Reno, Nevada, who became the 1000th visitor to the Hive about seven hours ago. We're bad, we're nationwide... (And while we're on that subject, if anyone wants to know any of the more obscure song refs in the post, all you have to do is ask. I've added an email link specifically for the website, which you will find in the about section along the right-hand side.).

Next week's carnival will be hosted by Pink Panther; be sure to show the love!

The Carnival of NJ Bloggers XVII

When you turn on your PC,
Are you gonna grouse?
Hold your hands above your head,
Or on your keyboard and your mouse?
Annoy us or amuse us
But you'll have to click on through -
Ohhhh, the blogs of Jersey...

Step right up, it's time to cruise the Pixel Barrens of our fine state - welcome to the Carnival of NJ Blogs! *

Along comes Dossy! And does he want to quit the cigs
And flip his lid and chew his fingers to the nibs?
Or will he read the news and catch a view
arsonists on coke, who nick knickers from the blue?

Elizabeth gets away from This Full House for an in-state vacation
And she asks herself, well, “
How did I get here?”

Slippin' into stockings, stepping into shoes...
Shamrocketship says that
it beats the alternative, but it also means wrangling with car salesmen.

I wish I was in the Monroe Center
Eying sketches and listening to records
The show’s cancelled as of Friday –
Ask the artist,
why did she say?
Where's the Remote on a wavelength all his own.

John is he, and Tara’s she, Calvino’s three
And we are all together
Gotta paint the flat, care for the cat, her wrist is cracked
She’s crying

Tami, the One True thinks they're still crazy down in New Orleans; but she also guest-blogs about Perth Amboy, coming up big in a big situation.

Rob won't get fooled again by the FEMA.

Jersey Goddess says that the displaced from Katrina are NOT refugees.

Regardless of terminology, they need our help, and Ken has the details for one of the many ways we can work it out. Dojo Mojo's rising with further details for folks in Jersey City, while two of NJ Conservative's neighbors stand in the place where they live.

Fausta keeps on this meme with an exhaustive relief roundup – and Tami, guest-posting, finds one she missed.

Money? Get back –
Jersey’s all right,
get your hands off of their stack
Light rails, biking trails, 4-star parking
Think we may build a few less things…

Corzine's calling to the faraway towns;
Forrester's in and the debates will go down
posting on the scheduling strife
Live from the Center of New Jersey Life

Mr. Snitch helps launch a new site sadly apt to the date of our Carnival. Mr. Bingley forwards a memorial to a family of friends that were caught in the Towers that day. Eternal rest grant unto them, o Lord... **

Down at the Jersey Shore
It’s getting
hard to see the ocean
Along the oceanfront,
Now it’s all covered in condos
There’s traffic everywhere
Cars and stores and luxury hi-rise
Bob of the RixMix says,
I can’t get used to this lifestyle.”

Rest Stop, Parkway,
I hear Jim say
Where's my dictionary?

Sluggo lives in the fish-eye lens,
Caught in the camera eye.
What was it about those old-time photos that has him musing?

Dojo Mojo returns along that line - she's so in love with that Jersey City... Dmitri decides to let his camera do the singing.

The Feds have highway funds
won’t give to Jersey,
they change their minds
We get it but not for free
It’s hateful, but it’s paid for
We’re so grateful to Bob from eCache for the scoop.

Gotta have a job for this, a job for that,
But the Hoboken School Board isn’t where it’s at
While they spread the checks around
The XPat Texan has
the dirty lowdown.

Ms. Maureen Berzok, could you read my book?
It took me years to write,
will you take a look?

Ev'rybody was kung-fu fighting...
Is it Opinion Mill's
twisted speech to the young believers?
Is NJ Conservative
working for the clampdown?
Meanwhile, Enlighten has the numbers in. No one ever is to blame?

Bloggers may be rude and reckless
But the Yemeni crew is feckless
journalists under duress -
Jane can’t fail – she’s been after the story for some time, so scroll through the archives.

Janet will get by, though she feels like a stranger in a strange land.

Visit the Kate Spot for a cautionary tale:
When you're in love with a Jersey Girl,
It ain't no luck -
you learn to duck.

In Clifton, it's a grand old flap over the grand old flag. David's on the case.

Down by the seaside, where the bennies are staying,
The bloggers at ShoreBubble ask
what the little bennie's paying.

* "Carnival" by the Pillows.
** A clip from "Son and Sylvia" by Eric Clapton, respectfully submitted.
Audio clips hosted by Castpost.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Prayer and the Eucharist

My church fellowship group hosts a Theology on Tap series once a year, usually September. This year's installment (every September, on Wednesday evening at the Downtown Café in Red Bank) focuses on various aspects of the Eucharist, and for our first week we had Fr. Mike and Fr. Garrett from St. James right there in town. The topic was Prayer and the Eucharist. I took notes:

Prayer and the Eucharist are linked in that both are representative of man's relationship with God: man, in the image of God, prays to grow more like Him; in the Eucharist, God is made present to us, is given to us. Prayer reaches upward, with God reaching down to us and coming among us through Holy Communion. Both serve to transform and strengthen us.

In the Eucharist, Jesus' sacrifice, offered to God eternally, is made present to us in time. This offer is made perpetually by the Church, even as we as believers are exhorted to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes. 5:17; see also Romans 12:12). So there is a further set of parallels - we not only pray to be more like Christ, but the very act of prayer resembles the life Christ lived. We lay ourselves down before God in prayer, just as Christ, the perfect offering, eternally lays Himself before the Father, and just as He laid His whole life down in service while on earth.

The Eucharist is a glimpse of our true home. Look beyond the world! In prayer, we send a message on ahead to our home, a letter from pilgrims travelling to reach their goal. The Eucharist is the return message. How long will we persist in writing those letters if we grow in the habit of ignoring or refusing the reply?

All of this links us to God, and in God to each other. (1 Cor. 10:17) Christ is forever beyond death, body and soul, whole and entire; in Him we are also made whole, and a share in each other comes with a share in Him.

Finally, remember that prayer and the Eucharist both come from the heart: prayer from ours, and the Eucharist from His.

That's what I got while Fr. Mike spoke (with assists from Fr. Garrett). There was also an interesting sidebar coming from an audience question, that I would like to post on separately. I daresay we have enough to start a discussion here...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A brief word -

This week, the Hive will be hosting the Carnival of NJ Bloggers! (Note that my website name is misspelled in the list, but the link still works.) Last week's edition is here.

I've not been posting regularly myself lately (thus disappointing my six regular readers) because of various trips for the holiday, but I'm back now, and able to correct an oversight: I was NOT the only visiting blogger in Ohio on Thursday night. Ms. Tara, the motive power of Eclectic Spaghetti, was sitting at my right hand, and I failed to link her.

More tonight, I hope...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

R-U Blah Blah

One thing I did do this afternoon once I woke up, I stumbled across the Rutgers Scarlet Knights season opener on ESPN 2. I was surprised that they drew national attention, but not surprised at all when they pissed away a 27-7 lead in a flurry of blown tackles and missed field goals. Final score, Illinois 33, RU 30.

This always happens. I mean always - at least since '88 (before I started attending). They just eat themselves alive, blow leads, sabotage their entire year. This team is done already. Even if they had somehow won this game, they would have had no momentum from it.

Go back to the Patriot League already.

Have blog, will travel

Took a few days off for a side trip, visiting Ohio and meeting more blog friends. Joel of Chez Joel and his family put me up for a night, with dinner and a three-hour tour of nearby Cleveland.

Nice city they've got there. I took pictures (including a shot of the famous tree cozy) and once they're developed they'll be appearing in this space. (BTW, ksra has some excellent new stuff.)

Now I'm back, and still surprisingly tired. It was a lot of driving, but fun. Pennsylvania offers some incredible scenery. So, naturally, I took no pictures on the road, but kept a small travel diary that will also require posting.

I'll start tomorrow, after another blog-centric visit to Mr. Bingley. But right now, I'm taking a nap.