Monday, October 31, 2005

If Cable News Channels Followed Me (My 100th Post)

Commentator: He's leaving his apartment right now. He has on that sweatshirt he often wears when he's not feeling well. What do you think Earl?
Earl: Yes, the colors on that sweatshirt do suggest that he's in a dour mood. Who wears grey on green?
Commentator: Wait, wait he's opening his garage. Of course we all know last year he got an electric car door opener.
Earl: Yes, that was a big move for him. He often doesn't go big, but he insisted on this. It's really helped him out a lot.
Commentator: Out comes the blue Scion he drives. It's thrifty in this time of high gas prices. We believe he may be listening to some sort of audio cd.
Earl: My sources reported early that he stopped by the library to get an audiobook. He loves those things. Perhaps he's listening to it now?
Commentator: We can only guess. He's pulling out of the parking lot and turning. He's stopped by the gate! This is a huge setback for him. Whoever closes the gate ended up closing it a bit early tonight, costing him at least four minutes.
Earl: This is going to be a huge blow to his confidence. We can only hope he'll bounce back from this.
Commentator: He turns around and is now driving. You'll notice how easily he drives that car, smoothly and without any fear. Lets watch as he drives...
Earl: He really does have a great command of the controls. It's wonderful to see him drive.
Commentator: He's pulling into his gym. There is a spot open at the front of the building. Does he see it? He does! Amazingly, he has gotten a spot at the front of the building at 6:30. Wow, I would have never guessed this.
Earl: It is brilliant. He must be feeling good.
Commentator: What do you think about his walk to the door of the gym? What does it suggest?
Earl: Well, I think he's feeling good today. We all know he's going to spinning and that he's really there to see the spinning instructor. His walk is very bouncy.
Commentator: That it is. He's in the club now, and we have a special camera inside just for this. He strolls into the locker room, and we can't follow him there. We can only guess at what happens. Earl, how much time does he need in there?
Earl: He usually takes between 5 and 10 minutes. Sometimes he has to urinate so it could take longer. We'll just have to see.
Commentator: He's out! Wow, he managed to get into his gym clothes in 3 minutes.
Earl: He must have had them on underneath his clothing. A bold strategy.
Commentator: He's warming up now. He warms up with a series of abdominal exercises, plus some excellent pushups and bicep curls. I've got to say, today he is looking good.
Earl: I agree totally. He seems very energetic and happy. Perhaps something big happened at work today.
Commentator: We can only guess. Ahh look, the spinning instructor walked by and said hello to him. Is that a flush in his cheeks? It is!
Earl: Yeah, he is clearly shy around her, suggesting how deeply he loves her. We don't know how she feels about him though.
Commentator: We'll just have to wait and see. Oh my gosh, what's happened! He is staring down at his hands and it seems like he has a large sore on his hands, possibly cracking or a scar.
Earl: My sources tell me he has psoriasis, and it's on his hands sometimes. That cut looks like psoriasis.
Commentator: How does this effect his spinning chances tonight?
Earl: Well obviously it's going to hurt him. Lets hope he can find a way around this problem.
Commentator: He's headed back to the locker room! Is he giving up already?
Earl: Well, he doesn't look happy. I don't know what will happen now, but it could be bad.
Commentator: He's going in....he's out and it looks like he's wrapped his hand and cleaned it thoroughly.
Earl: He seems happy with the job he did. He's headed over to the spinning room to begin his stretches.
Commentator: The spinning instructor has stopped him. She's telling him something.
Earl: This does not look good. They both look very unhappy.
Commentator: What could possibly be wrong?
Earl: Well any number of things. At this point it would be silly to guess. Perhaps she is turning him down for a date, or telling him his spinning form is wrong.
Commentator: They are going into the spinning room, and we can't follow. We'll stay with this growing news story while we go to national news. Lets leave a camera up on the door of the spinning room in case a development occurs.
Earl: We'll be right back.
(one hour later)
Commentator: Yes, yes, i think we are beginning to see folks emerge from the spinning room. There he is, looking very tired. He must have gotten a heck of a workout.
Earl: Those rosy cheeks suggest he worked hard. He's walking with a slight limp, but he seems okay for now.
Commentator: What do you think emotionally is going on?
Earl: Any number of things. He might be upset because of what the instructor told him. Maybe he is feeling jovial after his workout. We just never know.
Commentator: We've just received late breaking word that he will be holding a press conference in front of the gym in about twenty minutes. Hold it here while we wait for what he has to say.
Earl: I'm waiting with baited breath.
(twenty one minutes later)
Brett: Good evening. At about 6:55pm today, I noticed a large scar on my hands from psoriasis. As many of you know, it has been my scourge for many years. I was able to make a makeshift bandage out of paper towels and the spinning did continue as planned, albeit I felt weakened by it. Does anyone have any questions?
Reporter: Yes, Mr. Evans, we noticed you had a brief conversation with your spinning instructor today that seemed unhappy. Would you care to comment on that?
Brett: The conversation was our business. Yes, sir.
Sean Hannity: Mr. Evans, you are an outed liberal. Isn't this psoriasis thing just a scam to bring more attention to yourself? Doesn't it just feed in to the liberal media? Isn't my hair ridiculous?
Brett:, no, yes.
Bill O'Reilly: I don't accept that answer. This is a no-spin zone and clearly you have been spinning.
Brett: Actually sir, this is the front of a gym, and yes I have been spinning. It's why the blood in my face is currently so bright. Next?
Al Franken: Is President Bush hindering your ability to spin Mr. Lassoff? Be honest, but say it in a way where I can write it down to seem humorous. Otherwise, I got nothing.
Brett: President Bush has got his hands in a lot of pies, but spinning is definitely not one of them. Ann Coulter: Aren't all liberal spinners baby killers though? Isn't it true that you buried a teenage girl at your Hyannisport mansion?
Brett: Okay, first of all I live in an apartment in East Hartford, Connecticut. There are no mansions. Secondly, I try and stay away from babies. They scare me.
Reporter: We have been hearing a rumor that you are upset because the spinning instructor is leaving. Is this true?
Brett: I cannot confirm or deny anything regarding that. It is a private matter between the instructor and I.
Reporter: Can you give us a hint?
Brett: This press conference is over.

Apathy: Is the Web Breeding It?

I'm from the digital generation, a group of us folks that grew up with the Internet. I'm pretty sure the Internet was in my 9th grade English class. It was a jerk back then, always claiming to be the Information Superhighway. Totally a brat.

The major problem with the Internet nowadays is that it is too quick. We can now access information at such ridiculous speeds that life seems slow. Books are boring, and waiting for more than five minutes is absolutely unacceptable. We are plied with so much information that we become immune to anything but the quickest things.

My generation can no longer take stands that require us to do anything more than write on the Internet. We are outraged that anything more is expected of us. The most active we can necome is logging on and writing about our gripes (myself included). My classmate Bill explains this problem on his blog:

"The point of all this is that I agree that there is a distinction between "old school" and "new school" liberal activists. I wish I still had the energy to man the barricades, because no one from the "new school" has the guts to do anything more than blog away at windmills while our personal freedoms are being whittled down by a bunch of politicos whose main rationale seems to be "aw, shucks" followed by "amen"."

Damn right Bill. The major issue is that most of my generation and below believe we deserve things. Previous generations have paved the way for us to have the freedoms we do, and we are sitting back reveling in that. We should be out defending all of the freedoms we have earned. Instead, we are allowing our president to nominate a supreme court justice who is obviously against most of those freedoms.

Blogging is not activism folks. Daily Kos is not activism. I am not an activist, just a writer who needs to express himself every so often. The cycle of apathy needs to spot before we stop caring about anything but the way mass media controls our life. When I was younger I remember a scene in the Jetson's where George was outraged that he had to push a button at work six times. Are we heading for this type of society?

Yes, I know the irony of complaining about this issue on my blog. But, was Socrates any better when he complained about literature in his written dialogues?

Wiki Wiki Web

I've been an avid user of Wikipedia since the first time I discovered it, about two years ago. At the time I was desperately searching for something to help me in a rhetoric class. I strolled over to Wikipedia, having previously heard of it, and was fascinated at the amazing depth of the article I read. Wikipedia had serious substance.

Since then, I go to Wikipedia when I want to know anything. Often times when I'm bored I'll read a random article on it just for fun. Wikipedia is engaging and exciting to use. However, I've never been compelled to use Wikipedia as a community and contribute or edit articles. I'm just not that boring.

Which is the major problem with Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is an unbelievable open source page that allows anyone at anytime to edit it. People can come and go freely and change it. Wikipedia has the potential to contain the entire world's knowledge and then some. The only problem is that people like myself, casual readers, wont take the time to edit it and therefore we leave it up to the architects, those pajama wearing folks with tons of time on their hands and perverse interests.

In his article "Galaxy Quest: Wikipedia is a real-life Hitchhiker's Guide: huge, nerdy, and imprecise," Paul Boutin attacks this problem with Wikipedia head on, comparing it to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy:
"Like the Guide's lengthy entries on drinking, Wikipedia mirrors the interests of its writers rather than its readers. You'll find more on Slashdot than The New Yorker. The entry for Cory Doctorow is three times as long as the one for E.L. Doctorow. Film buffs have yet to post a page on Through a Glass Darkly; they're too busy tweaking the seven-part entry on Tron."

So it goes. While the initial nerdiness of blogging is being supplanted by common folks just wanting to write, Wikipedia is not changing. Those of us who are writing in the blog world because we want to write will not catch the encyclopedic editing fever. Wikipedia will remain the sole outpost of the original inhabitors of the internet, and while that may not be a bad thing, it certainly means Wikipedia will not continue to grow and be innovative. Rather than being Douglas Adams' glorious Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, it will be more an Encyclopedia Galactica. And if you got that reference, you're probably off to revise an article on the mating habits of cockateels.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Guess Who's Back? (Blogclass Filter 3.0)

Have you ever read a novel and wondered how you ever lived your life never having read it? You wonder why it took you so long to read it. Surely your friend had told you to read it a thousand times. But it took you awhile to finally read it, it changed the way you think about literature.

The Daou Report has that effect on me. I wonder how I ever considered a blog without considering this blog. It is a fantastic read.

In Socrates' well known dialogue Phaedrus, Plato discusses the necessity to have a dialogue rather than a lecture. In Socrates' time, famous lecturers would walk between towns delivering rousing speeches on issues. Socrates says "the only way to know truth is to not know truth, and therein find truth embedded in conversings with others." Most bloggers believe they know the truth already, and spout it constantly from their overly fattened, drunk on fame, heads. They are the idiotic lecturers Socrates discusses. They do not further any truth.

However, The Daou Report is more of a conversation. For it is not one lucid opinion on a matter, but a hundred different lucid opinions. It is a marketplace of ideas, and not some trolls agreeing with each other and swearing if they don't. The Daou Report is quick, easy to read and insightful. It offers an amazing array of opinions that a reader can easily peruse through and make up their own mind. Propaganda does not live at The Daou Report; ideas do.

Take for example, the current scooter craze out of Washington (personally I use a scooter to glide through the halls of work, but that's a different matter). The Daou Report has some insightful opinions for both sides regarding this matter. The double column effect creates a virtual debate feeling, as if the two sides were conversing at this point. Some excellent back and forth dialogue is happening on this page:
"And they’re supposed to be the national security party. If you want ethics in government, don’t vote Republican. If you want to trust your government not to leak classified information to journalists for political gain, certainly don’t vote for Republicans.... " (Oliver Willis, left)
"Scooter Libby has been indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. That sounds bad, but compared to what White House insiders had feared, it’s really no big deal. Libby has resigned. The indictments do not play into Joe Wilson’s outsized ego as the “leaking the name of an undercover agent” isn’t covered under the indictment. Simply put, there was no crime there." (Ankle Biting Pundits, right)

I'm excited by The Daou Report because it argues in a fantastic manner. It is not some journalistic hack who needs to yell and scream about stuff, it's a well composed and thought out process, which gives equal measure to any opinions. If only more blogs followed this model.

Special Report From Florida

With us is special Florida correspondent, my grandmother:

"The night's are the hardest. I try my best with battery operated lamps, but they don't do much. It gets lonely here. During the days, we wait on long lines for bologna and cheese, which is disgusting. But I've lived through it all before and I suppose this too shall pass. I listen to the radio and I've heard some of the stuff going on, but I'm a little lost. Tomorrow, they may serve us peanut butter and jelly, which I'm looking forward to.

I'm a little upset how the media has taken no notice of our situation. While New Orleans got all this attention, we have nothing. There are millions of people here without power or food and need help. We are being ignored because we are old."

Plus, earlier today my stepfather submitted his own report:

"It's like a war zone here. They say we may not get power for another month. What they don't talk about is the sewage problem, which is getting worse. Lack of power means lack of sewage pumps. Your mother and I have been eating nasty food for a week."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Seasons Changing Outrage

I'm a last minute shopper. I tend to think about things at the last minute and rush out. So I have a costume party today at 3:30 and I rushed out to a store to get some costume ideas. I expected most people would be clamoring for their last minute costumes and the store would have a gigantic display.

What I saw made me sick.

For I did not walk into a glitzy halloween palace. Instead, I witnessed all the Halloween stuff shoved off to one side and the staff putting up their Christmas displays. I thought: CHRISTMAS DISPLAYS! WHAT THE FUCK DATE IS IT? Have I gone through some temporal time warp when I walked into the store. Is it black friday already?

Nope, indeed it is October 29th. They have started the season about a month and a half early.

And I almost vomited.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Importance of Bloggers

From Niger-Scooter-Plame-Gate, Michael Kinsley,

"The Republicans have their own plotline they'd like to impose on this confusing blur of events. It's actually a dusted-off plotline from the Reagan Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s: all about an "overzealous prosecutor" and "bitter partisans" on the other side who want to "politicize policy differences." But two intervening developments have overroasted these chestnuts: Bill Clinton and Yahoo! When Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison pre-emptively mocked perjury as what prosecutors charge you with if they can't find a real crime, it was the work of minutes for bloggers to find and post her comments from the Clinton impeachment about the transcendent seriousness of a perjury rap."

So how important is the blogosphere? Apparently it's calling those slippery senators out on their lies. So perhaps the blogosphere is changing the way we do politics.

Airline Failure

There are many reasons why airlines have failed so drastically, but I can't help thinking that all of it comes down to one general idea: executive incompetence. Take for example, Delta's announcement today that they are discontinuing service on their Southwest/Jetblue clone Song. Jetblue and Southwest are fantastic airlines that make money because they understand the needs of the customer. Southwest, founded in the 70's by dynamic CEO Herb Kelleher, had one simple philosophy: please the customer. They satisfy their customers every day by being humorous and friendly. Southwest has developed a loyal fanbase who could care less if they get fed on a flight. Indeed the only reason why people eat on a flight is to make themselves comfortable. Southwest does that with their incredible personality. Other airlines make it seem like it is an inconvenience for you to be there. You are getting in the way of them flying their airplanes.

Similarly, Jetblue has brought massive innovations to the airline industry. I've flown Jetblue many times because they are better organized and friendlier than other airlines. Their satellite television is a fantastic way to relax during a long flight. Plus, Jetblue tends to stick to their schedules a lot better than other air carriers.

Both Jetblue and Southwest have succeeded because of excellent leadership. The reason why others have failed is the same, they lack leadership. Other airlines might try to copy the fantastic business models of Southwest and Jetblue, but they can never take the pork out of the barrel. These companies have become fat off of years of government subsidies and ill-gotten profits. It's time to let them die and pay off the poor people that worked for the fat airlines and deserve retirement. For they are the true victims in the disaster that is the airline industry.

Hello Civilization 4

Goodbye social life...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What Dreams May Come

Well it seems that the administration reads my blog and listens to my wise counsel. Is today going to be a bad day for the Bush administration? Something tells me hurricane season is hitting the Bushies in full force. Nice job deflecting the disaster responsibility Jeb! Now if only someone were available to take the hit for Rove. Who might that person be?

This might actually be worse than we think though. As my brother asked me last night "what monster is coming after Miers?" Indeed.

On King (Literary Circle Mark 4)

When I first came into my job as an english teacher, I was scoffed at for regularly reading Stephen King novels. I read them and I enjoy them on an interesting level, but I never really considered them good literature. I knew that they were always for fun.

Until I read King's Dark Tower series.

Which is to say that most of Stephen King's works are indeed fluff, and suggest that he deserves to be in the ranks of Danielle Steele, Clive Cussler and John Grisham as popular entertainment writers. Most of King's books are brain candy.

But the Dark Tower series is literature in its best form and establishes King as an excellent writer. In it he ties up threads from his other novels, and makes his formerly fluffy characters more meaningful. The series has immense depth, while simultaneously creating a fascinating story.

The last of the series, appropriately titled The Dark Tower, is more literary than anything else. In it, King is an actual character that the main characters must influence. He describes how the novel seems to be writing itself and he is merely the pipe controlling the flow. King discusses how characters die, and actions happen that are seemingly out of his control. It's a fascinating journey that interests my intellectual and emotional mind.

Of course, King doesn't have some tacked on writer's tool to make his conclusion a joyful one. There are no happily ever afters in his world. So I plead with you, give him a chance if only a small one. You may not regret it.

Other books by King that have literary merit:
The Green Mile
The Eye of the Dragon
The Talisman (with Peter Straub)

Yes, I realize I had an unbelievable chance to make some money linking to Amazon here, but to preserve some sort of moral fiber, I've chosen to leave all links dead. Find your way to Amazon on your own please.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Word About Miers

I've read all the terrible things people are saying about Harriet Miers, and I agree with them in principle. I mean this woman is definitely over her head, and really not qualified for the job and certainly a Bush crony. All these things certainly disqualify her from the position of Supreme Court Justice. But lets be reasonable, this is a person we are discussing. Everytime we pick on her shoes or her hair or her writing, we are probably hurting her in some way.

Please folks, lets consider pulling back some of our criticism and let this process run its course. She is not one of Bushs' bad legislation like social security reform or NCLB (one of my students called NCLB the "Harrison Bergeron law," those lovable scamps). We can pick on these laws as much as possible because they don't involve personal attacks. However, when we pick on a person, we are demeaning ourselves.

With all the crazy awful things that are coming out about this woman, it might be wise for President Bush to simply rescind her nomination. President Bush, if you were really Harriet's friend, you would care about how much this process may be hurting her and do the right thing.


Just as I was getting into this blog, its creator has suspended it for awhile. So much for consistency in the blog world. Mr. Rosen, your intelligent ideas will be missed (till December that is).

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Does anyone know how my parents are doing post hurricane?

Cause I sure as hell don't...I hope they aren't in Oz right now. The land OR the prison.
P.S. Grandma is fine. She had the decency to get in touch with me.

Scary Wisdom From a Box of Raisins

"Fear is information, don't ignore it."

Help, the Bush White House has gotten control of our raisin production. Not even a box of raisins is safe from their propaganda.

Thoughts While Spinning

Okay, I can do this. I feel good today. We've done this before. Let's just get through this and I can take a long shower. Wow, it's freezing in here. Don't they ever turn the heat on. Okay she's here. Wow, she looks great. I'll do it for her. As much as I hate it, I'll push the bike further. Okay, now push. Push, push, push. Don't stare. Crap, she caught me. Did she smirk? I couldn't see. It felt like one of those awkward moments you share in a bar. Except we are spinning. Good, my body is warming up. Sweat, sweat, sweat. Crap, she wants to do seated endurance climbs. I hate seated climbs. Hate, hate, hate. Keep your breathing steady. I hate seated climbs. My legs are burning. It's five minutes and my legs burn. How the hell am I going to do this? I have like fifty minutes to go. Burning, burning, burning. Ow, ow, ow, ow. I can't do this. Yes I can, she'll help me. She's nuts, she wants us to turn the resistance up again. Ow, ow, ow. My legs. No, I won't. Not again. How dare you? Crazy. Crazy, crazy, crazy. What the hell is wrong with her? I can do this. No, I can't. I can, I can't. But I am. Your leg is about to snap. Snap, snap, snap. Oh thank God.... a recovery. Quarter finished. Water, water, water, water...breathe, breathe, breathe. 30 seconds, be careful. You can make it. Go, go, go, go, no. We are doing seated climbs AGAIN. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HER? Oh we are up, thank you. My legs pump. Pump, pump, pump. Sweat, sweat, sweat. Resistance up, resistance up, resistance up. Spin spin spin spin spin. No! No back in the saddle. Ahhh. I''m gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm not, am, not, am, not, am. I hate you, I love you. Recovery, breathe, choke, breathe, choke, choke, choke, breathe. Halfway through. Don't forget water, check your heart rate. I love this song. Did she pick this for me? Great taste. Pump out of the saddle. Pull, pull, pull, push, push, push, die, die, die. Sweat burns, sweat, sweat, sweat. Almost home... Quarter left. It's hot in here. Why is it so hot? Don't they have fans? Pump, pump, pump, pump. I hate this. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Good, another recovery. We are stopping five minutes early. What the hell? Cheated. I'll make it up somewhere else. Wipe the sweat down. Smile, smile, smile, smile. Don't forget to thank her.

Top Ten Sexiest Female American Writers Before 1920

Edith Wharton maybe?

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's Not About the Writing...

Over the past several weeks I've realized how much the blogosphere is not actually about the writing, whether good or bad. The blogosphere is an organic community that thrives on constant interaction between bloggers. Any blogger who refuses to participate in the community inevitably is talking to themselves. This nugget of an idea was planted when I read Cory Doctorow's interesting debate with a Microsoft employee over Microsoft's cornering of the media player market in Norway. The debate between Doctorow and the employee was far more interesting than Doctorow's initial post.

While many people are writing some fairly great things on their blogs, I still suspect that without an active community blogs would fail. Recently I participated in a semi debate with local Connecticut blogger Aldon Hynes. We discussed how online gaming communities may be making people more anti-social. My initial post was kind of interesting, but what was key was people's reactions to the post. Aldon even carried the debate over to his blog.

So while I think that blogs that blogs have a lot to do with writing, the central key is not the blogger him or herself, but the people that respond to the blogs. For it is true that we are shaped by the interactions with our peers.

Excellent Rhetorical Devices...

Scary fanatic...

Go Joe!

Continued Wisdom From a Box of Raisins

"Support your local library. Take a book to lunch."

Just make sure it's a book that seems in need of a meal, like Knut Hamsun's Hunger or Jessica Weiner's A Very Hungry Girl. Or you can always take a librarian out for lunch. They'll probably appreciate it more.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

As Implausible As It Sounds

Wolcott's blog actually made me laugh:

The guy is capable of being funny every 20 or so posts...

People With Way Too Much Time

Presenting the animated gif Star Wars...

Feel free to cringe.

New Chapter

Chapter Three of Murder at The Venetian Palms has been posted. It's a rough cut, and I'm thinking of adding on a dialogue. Let me know what you think.

New Comments Rule

Anonymous comments allowed! But now you have to use word verification. So feel free to keep your anonymity, but know that you must type in a series of encrypted letters...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I'm Stuck

Which is to say, I'm sitting at home on a Saturday night, considering that I may want to finish the chapter of my novel that I've had outlined for over a week. Rationally, I know I am supposed to be out doing something social like talking to random girls at bars (last night I met a Jacklynn with two n's!) but it's getting old. I'm single, 25, and all my friends have paired up with respective mates. I'm trying to pretend that Cartoon Network is not in my immediate future.

From the File of Obvious News

A New Record

I think Chris has broken some sort of spam comment record here:

My Favorite Line From Last Night's Drunkdown

Dave: It's really nice to see a couple like that get together.

Brett: Dude, they're both going to wake up tomorrow wondering who the hell is sleeping next to them.

Dave: Yeah but it's fascinating.

Brett: It is kind of a beer goggle symphony.

Drunk people say the darndest things.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Isn't it Ironic?

Comment Spam:
"Should Google kill Blogspot? Chris Pirillo is hopping mad about a recent swarm of search spam coming from one rather conspicious domain: The accusation is that, for whatever reason, it's far too easy for spammers to send ...Information on daycare referral (link removed)."

Don't you think?

My Favorite Moment of the Morning

Realizing that, after the horrible nightmare, I'm safe and everything that has happened actually hasn't happened. I am alone and nothing horrible has occurred. It almost feels like a second chance.

I need to lay off the iced coffee.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sad, But Necessary

I'm a leper.
Well not in that sense.
my hands constantly fall off
and I'm always in pain.
It gets easier
But then you forget
and it gets hard again.
I look for ways
To get around it. Like
When a roommate
a bottle of
soda for me.
I cried,
and then shouted
"Look at me,
Look at my fucking hands."
So we cried together.
I don't cry anymore,
because I pretend
like I live with it, but
I don't.
Not really.
I can't shake hands
which is hard
because dad taught me
to always shake hands
and look into
people's eyes
but I see their eyes
when they shake my hands,
I'm embarrassed.
So I just don't do it.
It's not leprosy
it's seborrhic dermatitis
or psoriasis
like eczema but worse,
or whatever
they want to fucking call
But people look at me
and know in a flash
stay away,
he's diseased
or unclean
or sick.
I'm not.
It's a disorder,
and they don't know
what to do,
they don't
to live with it.

The Daily Show and Colbert

I frequently go to bed early (like grandparents early) so I often miss the first airing of The Daily Show, but I am infinitely grateful that Comedy central decided to rerun the episodes at 8pm the next evening. That being said, I finally got to see Bill O'Reilly on The Daily Show last night and I can't believe how much of a schmuck he truly is.

My favorite quote:

O'Reilly: "There are bad people out there and we need to do something about them. We need to..."
Stewart: "And when exactly are you going to start doing that?"

The tension was awesome between Stewart and O'Reilly. Stewart's comparison of France to Lucy from Peanuts was glorious. He made O'Reilly's ridiculous vendetta against France look pithy and stupid. The guy hates France merely because they don't do anything, falling back on the old adage that we saved their ass in World War II, why shouldn't they back us up.

Dude, we wouldn't even exist if it weren't for France...

Interestingly enough, O'Reilly started talking about how he doesn't like any politician because they all have ulterior motives. Is he on The Daily Show because he loves Jon Stewart and can't live without him?

No, as Stewart was quick to demonstrate by holding it up, O'Reilly was there to promote his book, which sold poorly because it was released while he was being accused of telling one of his female staffers to use a vibrator. Now if that's not an ulterior motive I don't know what is.

The Colbert Report is Comedy Central's newest attempt to fill the dead timeslot after The Daily Show. Finally, Comedy Central has wised up and given that timeslot to The Daily Show. The only thing they need to do is stop pronouncing the "report" as "rapport." That joke is already getting old and annoying.

Yesterday I wrote about how blogs have not yet infiltrated mainstream media, but might do so soon. The Colbert Report is an excellent example of proving me wrong. It is completely what a blog would be like if it had it's own show.

I think the reason why I believe it's like a blog is because of the abstract stories and presentation of materials. The sidebar text that comes up while Colbert is speaking is so incredibly blog-like. It's also ragingly funny.

And at the end of the day (or at 8:30pm) that's all anybody really needs.

More Wisdom From a Box of Raisins

"Even rocket scientists take notes."

I'm baffled by this wisdom. Shouldn't rocket scientists be the most obvious people to take notes. Maybe a better comment would include or a job where it's not as obvious that someone takes notes such as "even carpenters take notes." California raisins box, you have led me astray one too many times.

Links and Linking

So I've noticed that this guy (nobody ever calls each other by their names on the blogosphere) has been assisting our class by posting links to our blogs in order to get more traffic to them. Just recently (Tuesday) I'd installed Sitemeter on my blog in hopes to monitor the traffic that came in and yesterday I noticed that Bora had made a link to me on Jay Rosen's Press Think. Bora's tireless efforts caused my readership to triple, and for that I thank him.


You see, the thing is that I use my blog a lot as a way to express myself when there is no other outlet. Sometimes I'll think something is funny but out of place for a work conversation, or just too damn political to discuss with people, so I blog about it. I also get myself in trouble because I have a tendency to overexpress myself verbally (I talk too much). My fellow colleagues in class know this litle quirk of mine all too well.

So I blog for myself, hoping that I can get all the clutter out of my mind. While I do secretly hope that people are reading it, I actually am kind of nervous about that idea also. Yesterday when I saw the sitetracker go up, I was anxious because I felt like I had to perform and make a good blog. Until then, I didn't care what I out up here. I'm afraid of selling out. I also want to keep my original voice, and if I know I have an audience, I might start losing that.

Bora, what you are doing for our class is great. I'm sure others in our class would agree with me that you are deepening our experience in the blogosphere. Just don't scare me again by linking me to a major blogging website. I don't think I could take the pressure.

Oh and Colin, I plan on showing the rest of the class how to install sitemeter today. I emailed you about this, but you have a curious habit of not getting back to me. So I'm making my intentions known.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I'm Definitely Doing Something Wrong

I need to go get some bigger rims on my car...

Wisdom From a Box of Raisins

You are the only person who can make you happy

Those California raisins need to find better things to do with their free time.

I'm Not Punting (Blog Class Filter 2.1: Now With Spamguard)

It's just that I'm confounded by the rhetoric of blogs. When you have James Wolcott and Xiaxue in the same world, you can't really define it. I suppose then that the rhetoric of blogs is that there is no rhetoric. It's open to anyone to express any ideas they want to. If I want to talk about how my cat chased a squirrel around yesterday, I'm going to.

Blogs have yet to penetrate "mainsteam" media in the sense that blogs are uncontrolled and totally open. The blog reports you see on CNN and MSNBC are very controlled and scrutinized. However, if I were to make a guess, I would say that news media will drastically change because of blogs.

Last night I was watching the news tease they do before the actual news to entice a viewer to watch, and it occurred to me that the days of the tease are nearly over. If I were interested in one of the stories they were teasing, I would look for it online. Either I could sit through a boring, clunky newscast for an hour or read the story online in about five minutes.

Which suggests that blogs will change the way we view copyright and intellectual property. Bloggers are capable of posting information far quicker than any television news or newspaper and therefore will change the way we look at news. Newspapers will no longer be able to get by on writing news from the day before, as it will be long gone. In the coming years, the long drawn copyright battle of the last century will be over, and the winner will be freedom of ideas. Copyright will vanish.

Blogs are changing the frequency with which we write as well. Normally on a paper such as this I would write a rough draft, put it under intense scrutiny and submit it four or five days later. Now, I plan on posting this as soon as I finish it. So the rhetoric of blogs could be the speed of meme transmission, and that in itself is an excellent mirror of our culture.

Maybe I've kicked more of a field goal than a punt, but I'm still confused and not too sure if I have it in me to throw any more touchdowns.

Pray for my Parents (and Grandma)

Who live in Boynton Beach, which is directly in the path of the hurricane, although I suspect they wont be living there anymore after this category five hits. Come back to Connecticut Joan and Rick. Okay, you don't actually have to pray, I'm just being melodramatic because I'm kind of worried.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I knew it!

Now if I could just kick soda...

A Sign I Am Getting Older

I sold all my video game stuff today. My wallet is heavier, but my heart is emptier. I feel like I've somehow moved on to another chapter of my life, and while it's a good thing to move on there's a part of me that just doesn't want to part with video games.
And I miss them more than ever.

Second Life, Second Chance

I'm kind of interested in this "massive multiplayer online community" Second Life. However, I think it contributes to people's lack of personal correspondence in the real world. The community may very well be called Second Life, but for some people it could end up being their only life, and that is scary. Also, I think I'd rather be going out and talking to people rather than logging on to a virtual world. But you can fly in it, so it can't be all that bad.

Monday, October 17, 2005


"We can't go to spinning."

"But we need to go."

"How about we read instead?"

"Yeah, we like reading, But I had chocolate today. We need to."

"We don't have to go spinning, we can jog."

"The last time we tried jogging was a disaster. You stopped about halfway into it."

"We had a cold!"

"Yeah well, it's always an excuse. Get our ass up and go."

"I don't want to."

"Spinning Instructor will be very upset."

"Spinning Instructor doesn't even know us."

"Well how do you think she will get to know us if we never go to her class?"

"Okay, how about we go to the gym and talk to Spinning Instructor but don't spin."

"Ewww, the gym is not our personal pickup place. We go, we are spinning."

"Then we aren't going."

"Yes we are. We want to see Spinning Instructor."

"You can go, I'm staying right here."

"Um, I am you. I can't leave my mind and take my body. How will I drive there?"

"Take the bus."

"We'll pick up raisins."

"Oooh, I like raisins."

"I know. We can gets lots of raisins before class. They'll energize you."

"Fine, we can go to spinning, but no warmup and we talk to Spinning Instructor afterwards."


Candid Conversation

Dear Mr. Evans,

We are recruiting members of the blogosphere to be part of a "candid conversation with President Bush." As such we have noticed your elegant style and amazing rhetorical flourishes, and thus would like to offer you a spot on this program.

Please understand that we believe it is your patriotic duty to perform in this "chat." You will be helping the country in a time of great need. The truth is, Mr. Evans, our president is suffering under the weight of all the recent scandals that have come up, and he needs you to pull him through it. Here is a transcrip of the "candid conversation" you will be having with the president. Your lines are italicized.

Bush: Mr. Evans, you are an amazing blogger with an awesome future. Clearly you influence tens of people a week. How do you think the country is going?

Evans: Well Mr. President, I think you are doing a bang up job, just terrific. Gee darn, I couldn't be happier about the way things are going with our country.

Bush: I'm pleased to hear you say that. By the way, you are a strikingly handsome man. So what do you think of Iraq currently?

Evans: Well sir, I was initially skeptical, but gosh, I'm just so happy. Every day I can't help but think of how many people you are helping all over the world. Democracy must spread and if we have to force people to believe in it than by gosh we will.

Bush: I couldn't have said it better. You and I just seem to have some sort of connection, like kismet and such. So what's your opinion of Harriet Miers?

Evans: Well personally sir, I think she's a refreshing change from the normally intelligent, bold and well read justices who are normally picked. You made the call on this one sir, don't pick someone smart, pick someone you know who will pretty much bow to your every wish. I don't want a justice on the court who can express themselves well in writing, or has a solid career making judicial decisions. I just want someone who has sucked up to you all their life. You've made the right decision by picking someone who considers you the smartest person ever!

Bush: I appreciate your candor sir. Might I say that you are the smartest man I've ever known, and I know Dick Cheney. Hey, what's your opinion of the economy?

Evans: Well sir, I always hear that you have to spend money to make money. Clearly this country is spending money like crazy, and with the amount we are spending, I guarantee we'll make some real soon. I'm optimistic that the economy will be great real soon.

Bush: I appreciate this frank and serious talk we've had. You truly are a great American citizen. God bless you Mr. Evans.

Evans: God bless you, sir.

Mr. Evans, please remember to memorize your answers so they seem more off the cuff, and give the president a little bit of room because he can't pronounce the words some times. Slow down so he can understand the words you say. Just do your best and everything should go really well. Oh, and if you have any questions please call me. Hurry because chances are I'll be indicted soon.

Karl Rove

Blogstars (Blog Class Filter 2.0)

The blogosphere is a large domain in which any person can express themselves in any way they choose. It's growing every day, with people getting their own blogs and contributing their own ideas (or lack of them). While many people suggest that blogs are the end of Western Civilization, I absolutely agree with them.

Ha, bet you didn't see that coming.

In our culture we have this innate need to be famous and allow people to see us, and while some bloggers are genuinely furthering literature, most only care about themselves. Last night I was happy with blogs because I was reading some really fascinating things by my classmates who have some geniunely great ideas. But then I stumbled over to Xiaxue's site and was immediately disgusted. In truth, she is one of these people who loves herself and can't get enough attention. People love this blog because Xiaxue presents herself as a celebrity and our fascination with celebrities is at a boiling point.

This morning on the radio, Gary Craig presented something he called the "anti-Hollywood report" and it made me laugh primarily because it was so dumb. Every morning he does something on his show called the "Hollywood report" in which his token female (every morning show needs one) reads celebrity gossip. The "anti-Hollywood" report is the same exact thing, except every so often Gary Craig talks about how ridiculous it is that people care what celebrities are saying.

So stop doing the report, idiot.

I think the intentions people have with blogs are great. A lot of people really do want to express their own ideas and further dialogue with other people. Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day just commenting on posts I thought were interesting and had some good ideas because I wanted to have an intelligent conversation. But really, blogs are making people so into themselves that they really can't care about anything else. They live to further their blogebrity status.

What's worse is the report last night that Taylor Behl's killer was an avid blogger and he met Taylor through Livejournal or MySpace. Is the blogging world creating socially awkward and mentally disturbed people who can't see the difference between their blogs and reality?

Of course, there's Cory Doctorow who is actually trying to turn blogs into a cohesive literary form. His online novel is fascinating. Cory, dude, you're my hero.

This weekend, I also realized I'm as guilty as anyone for wanting to increase my celebrity blog status. I want my ideas and jokes to be read and thought about in a meaningful way. However, I don't think it's as much about me as it is my ruminations that I want people to notice.

Oh, and as an English teacher, blogs like this (picked at random) bother me because it's becoming perfectly acceptable to write this poorly. I advocate writing as much as possible, but web writing is seriously infiltrating schools. Man I feel jaded today. Did I even cover the correct topic? Well at least I maybe have made a dent in a paper I'm thinking about writing.

My Favorite Spam Comment Ever

Silencing society Noah Peters, Cavalier Daily Opinion Columnist THE ENTIRE premise of "freedom of speech" is that there is no absolute truth, no absolute orthodoxy. Work from home.

Dude, pass the joint...

What the Heck?

What the heck is going on in Colin's blog comment thing?

Scroll down...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Novel Posts

I posted the next chapter of my novel last night, but anyone who reads it must understand that when I post something it is far from polished. I generally write an outline of the chapter and then write the chapter on the blog before editing it. My writing last night caused me to wake up this morning and find some huge problems with tense change and grammar, plus I had to add some stuff I felt was missing with the chapter. If you read a chapter and find it lacking, by all means please leave me a comment describing what you feel it needs.

Falling Back on Addiction

If you read my blog in any frequency, you may have noticed that I am updating a lot more frequently than usual. Yes, I have become more prolific and far more interested in writing than I've ever been in my entire life, but there's one main reason why I am writing so often. I've got the monkey on my back again, I'm hooked on caffeine.

This time it's not even soda, it's crazy stuff like Rockstar energy drink and Red Bull (both of which I took last night). It's tough when you're an addict because your mind goes through rationalizations, and you think everything is okay because the drug makes you a better person. I'm more charming and more sociable when I've had caffeine, plus I write better. But I know that it can't possibly be good for me. I'm not scared, I'm just more worried that I did something stupid last night. There's a weird Jekyll and Hyde aspect to me when I've had too much caffeine to drink.

I looked at my desk this morning and found a cheap bottle of wine, lots of bottles of water and about ten pages of fresh writing in my novel. Should I be scared or happy? Whoever wrote those pages is a damn good writer, and while it's now my job to edit the hell out of it, he did all the work last night.

I'm lucky in that I don't have many addictions and this one seems relatively harmless. Studies about caffeine's detrimental effects on the body are inconclusive at best, and there are millions of people like me who just can't get enough of it. I guess it's all about moderation, so if you notice brief periods of constant writing followed by longer periods of less writing, you'll know when I'm back on the stuff.

(By the way, what the hell was I thinking last night with my "million dollar idea." I'm pretty sure I had lost it by then.)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

New Chapter

Chapter Two of Murder at the Venetian Palms has been posted. Go check it out and tell me what you think.

Million Dollar Idea

A McDonalds that only sells breakfast. 24 hours a day you can get breakfast sandwiches and platters, but no Big Macs or hamburgers. Whoever reads this first and implements it will be a millionaire.


I was skeptical of Ricky Gervais' new sitcom Extras because I loved The Office and quite frankly I didn't think anything could live up to it. Ricky is a real funny guy, and I think The Office is one of the funniest things ever, but I was pretty sure that kind of comedy was a one time deal. So I started watching Extras feeling like it wouldn't possibly be as good as The Office.

I was right, it's better. Gervais is a genius in the same way that Larry David is. They both are masters of awkward comedy. Extras is funnier than The Office because its content matter isn't necessarily a one trick pony. The show brings in well-known guest stars to play themselves while simultaneously pretending to play a role in a movie. Kate Winslet discussing why she's playing a nun in a holocaust film had me in tears. God bless Ricky Gervais and his comic talent.

People often tell me that they can't understand what's so funny about The Office. Extras does not suffer that problem. While The Office is cringe funny with only brief moments of laugh out loud humor, Extras has consistent belly laughs and Americans will understand it more. HBO was smart to pick it up. It truly is brilliant.

Of course, no British comedy is ever going to be as funny as Spaced, but that will never find its way to an American dvd. Shaun of the Dead captures some of that humor, but not with the same depth.


Dear You,

The problem is, you are so nice and I want to commit to you so badly. I know that we would be great together. Everyone says how wonderful you are and how terrific it is to be around you. It's just that I've committed and been hurt before, and I don't want that type of pain again. Please, just make it easy on both of us and leave me in peace.

I know you'll find others who are willing to commit and I know how well you'll do. But last year I was in so much pain and it just isn't time. I walked around like a zombie, barely enduring the pain. I'm finally back to my emotional self again, and I feel better than ever, but I can't let myself be hurt again.

You see, last year Firefly was torn from me way too early. I had devoted myself to it entirely, and everything was going so well when it was ripped from me by those brutal Fox executives. We just recently made up with Serenity, but it wasn't the same. I can't even express how hard it was. Then, on top of that, Star Trek was cancelled with no visible spin-off in sight. Life just isn't the same.

So I've avoided good shows like you because I just can't go through you being cancelled. If you succeed, and become a well loved show, one day in the future it might just work out on dvd. Until then my delicate new show...


P.S. Fox if you took House off the air, I don't know what I would do. I'd probably move on and watch old reruns of Hugh Laurie on Black Adder, but it wouldn't be the same. Please don't mess with me, I'm a delicate fucking flower.

My Favorite Line at Happy Hour Last Night

(Names changed to protect anonymity)

Steve (auto shop dude) to Kim (my librarian friend)

"It's not like you're little Anne the quaint hometown librarian. You're Kim, who works at the FUCKING LIBRARY."


Friday, October 14, 2005

My Annoying Habit This Month

Ending everything I say to people with the word "huh." I don't know where I picked it up, but I want it to leave as soon as possible.

(IE: Hey, are you two going to the movies tonight, huh? Lets all go together, huh. Yeah, dinner would be nice too, huh)

Blogging Identity

Last night in our class I met several bloggers who discussed blogging in an in-depth manner. It got me thinking about our blog identities and how radically they differ. I still haven't fleshed this out entirely, so forgive me if I sound cruel or out of sorts.

Aldon Hynes is a pretty influential blogger in Connecticut. He currently works for DiStefano's campaign, getting the word out in a grass roots manner. I really wanted to discuss with him what being a professional blogger is like.

Aldon, dude, no offense but you should never lead into an introduction about yourself by describing how you began with MOOs (online text role playing games). Those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, MOO's are possibly one step up from Dungeons and Dragons, but probably not. Aldon, when you described yourself as a blogmaster, I couldn't help thinking dungeon master. Also, when you talked about frequenting Xanga to read pre-teen blogs, it kind of creeped me out.

Which is unfortunate because I really liked you. Your voice reminds me of Emo Philips, while you kind of look like Dr. Demento. The inner geek in me wants to reach out to you and discuss nerdy things like the new video Ipod and Weird Al. But I am very judgmental, so the Xanga thing put me off a bit. Nice blog though.

The other speaker, Tom Fausel, who looks and sounds like Daryl Hammond impersonating Phil Donahue, runs Connecticut weblogs. Connecticut weblogs is a site that feeds other Connecticut blogs. Original content is scarce, but not bad.

I didn't like your blog, and I was scared to say so in person. I'm sorry for that. The problem is that your blog is boring and we as a class were tiptoeing around that. You really did a good job trying to solicit information about how to make your blog better, and for that I respect you. Your blog could easily be a great one.

The major problem is that Connecticut doesn't have too much of an identity, and trying to bring all those Connecticut blogs together just amplifies that notion. We are a corporate state, lacking original food but dripping with franchise and chain stores and restaurants. Most people who live in Connecticut are willing to take the short trip to visit New York and Massachussets. We don't have a flavor, and therefore neither do our blogs. Your other idea for a blog was pure genius.

The most fascinating part of the night for me was when Aldon discussed having MMORPG meetings. My major concern is that those meetings must inevitably be awkward considering the immense distance between a person's identity and their character. Aldon admitted that those meetings were awkward, but thought that bloggers meetings might be lots of fun and not at all strange.

I disagree. There is a disconnect between authorial voice, blogging voice and identity. Social situations are not at all like blogging, where you sit down and collect your thoughts in order to publish them. While I think professional bloggers are able to overcome these difficulties because they are seasoned writers, I still sense consternation when people who know each other over the internet meet for the first time. I'm looking at you Aldon and Tom.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Blogging for Superheroes

This would have made me tear with laughter if I wasn't so heavily caffeinated currently:

I also challenge you to not laugh at this video:


Have you ever had to pee really badly, and yet continued to drink the enormous soda? Talk about idiotic.

I'm A Sinner

Okay, so I'm working on Yom Kippur, and eating, and writing this blog so I suppose I'm a pretty awful person. But, in a way, God and I understand each other and generally stay out of each others lives. God knows I like eating, updating my blog and going to work.

Well, the last part is kind of true. I do like skipping work, but only in moderation. Skipping work as a teacher invites all sorts of headaches.

To atone for my bad Judaism, I invite you to please read The Chosen by Chaim Potok. As a Jewish person, I was fascinated by the accurate portrayal of how hard it is for Jewish people to live in America and try to exist in two worlds. However, my non-Jewish friends tell me the novel is more about growing up and finding your own place in the world. Whatever religion you happen to be (or not be for that matter) I'm sure The Chosen will strike some emotional chord. A friend of mine said it made him cry during a layover in Spain. Now that is affect.

On another entirely different note, I've started a new project. Check it out if you've got some time.

There God, are you happy now? I may not have done the whole religious atonement thing, but I did my best to get people to read one of the greatest Jewish authors (or authors in general) who ever lived.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I've been in the mood to post pictures and just sort of comment on them. The above is from this website picked up from a 50's Christian coloring book called "Listen and Do"and is kind of scary. What's even scarier, however, is the way some people are commenting on it. One comment reads "Too bad publishers are such politically correct cowards today. This coloring book is right on the mark." How can people still not understand that religious intolerance is what causes so many issues in our country? Forcing people to follow your own personal religious beliefs has caused so much death and pain in the world.

The title "Listen and Do" is also amusing and frightening because it is so gloriously propagandic. Just listen and do what we say, don't necessarily think for yourself. Please don't misunderstand me, I know many Christians are good people and never push their own beliefs on others. But the loud individuals that try to force people to believe what they say (such as the publishers of this coloring book) should be ashamed of themselves. Long live the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Zombie Diamonds (Ewwww)

The above photo is a gemstone made from an actual human corpse. The company Rugged Elegance Living, makes gems out of deceased love ones so you can always have them with you. If I were to do this, I would make sure the ring was extra tight so it would constantly nag me, just like my family members. I'm terrible at keeping small things around, imagine losing Aunt Milly at the beach or accidentally flushing Grampa Arnie down the toilet. I can't tell if this idea is gross or fantastic. My prediction though is that these "diamonds" will rise up and form a new super human/gem hybrid race that will destroy us all. Thanks for the creep out.

The Editor Of Westport Now Responds to My Questions

Hi, Brett,

Thanks for your note. Happy to respond to your questions.

I founded WestportNow in March 2003 because I saw a need for a real-time news and information source for Westport. As you know, we have two local newspapers that publish Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, leaving a large gap in coverage, particularly of weekend events. As an elected public official (member of the Representative town Meeting since 1991 and moderator since 1995), I also saw a public safety need for conveying information in real time, especially since 9/11.

I set out to create a digital record of daily life in Westport at the beginning of the 21st century. But I also knew that with an increasing number of people getting news from online vs. newspapers, there was a growing opportunity to put a digital stake in the ground for local news coverage. The weekly newspapers have a built-in conflitct -- they cannot post their content in real-time because it would inevitably eat in to their print sales.

I have no such problem. Also, with the proliferation of digital cameras, the time was ripe to recruit citizen journalists, as they are now called, to contribute news and photos to WestportNow. At the end of 2005, we publisherd a year-end review that included contributions from more than 60 photographers.

WestportNow is intended for Westporters or anyone else interested in news and information about Westport. This includes those who live in Westport. those who are away (college students, daily commuters, etc), those who have lived in Westport, those who want to live in Westport, and even those who wished they lived in Westport.

WestportNow is not a blog in the traditional sense, or at least in the sense that people have come to think of blogs (one person expressing opinions about something). The only thing blog-like about WestportNow is its use of blog software -- cheap, easy to use, and with content posted in chrnological order.

People often ask me whether WestportNow is a blog. I tell them I don't mind people calling it whatever they like as long as it gains attention for the publication. (I applied for credentials to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston as a blogger and obtained them. I did not "blog" like others, but was grateful for the access blog credentials provided.)

I indeed have tried to keep our "editorial voice" to a minimum. Essentially, I edit WestportNow like the news columns of a newspaper -- balanced, down-the-middle coverage of events with no slant. That has contributed mightily to WestportNow's success and its credibility.

The fact that I have been an elected town official for 14 years and am currently the Democratic candidate for first selectman has made me especially sensitive to accusations of bias and using WestportNow to promote my own agenda. In every story that mentions me (which I tty to keep to a minimum) there is an editor's note that identifies me as WestportNow editor and publisher.

I have decreed that there will be no WestportNow coverage of the local municipal election other than a few pictures of the candidates announcing their candidacy, debating and giving election night results.

I can't tell you how many people have told me that they love WestportNow so much that they would not vote for me if I decided to suspend it during my election campaign for first selectman.

I am proud that WestportNow has been repeatedly cited by national publications as a model of excellence in hyperlocal Internet journalism. Just this past weekend, the Connecticut section of The New York Times referred to us as the "gold standard" for news and information blogs in the state. The Online Journalism Review of the University of Southern California this week referred to WestportNow as the "most news-filled site" of its recent survey of local Internet publications.
Hope this helps. Come back at me with any further questions.And if your class wants me to come to Hartford to do a little q and a, I'd be delighted to do so -- schedule permitting.

Gordon JoseloffEditor/Publisher

Monday, October 10, 2005

Heather Explains the Plot of Cirque du Soleil To Me

"Um, well there's like all these weird buggy things and they're sort of bouncing against walls and doing all sorts of crazy gymnastic stuff. Then from the top of the tent comes this weird looking white thing, I think maybe it represented a fallen angel but might have been a turnip, but I'm not sure. The bugs chase the turnip around and there's all this artsy fartsy acrobatic stuff. After that, a yellow bug shows up and I think it falls in love with the turnip angel and maybe they get married or something. Then everyone began doing a Russian dancing, which was kind of out of place. Weird contortionists climb up walls and then I think I may have fallen asleep, or there was flying or something. Anyways, it was really beautiful."

I bet.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

State Blogs (Read Away Purveyor of Mighty Links)

What is it about Connecticut blogs that are so boring? No wonder people rarely vacation in Connecticut and very often refer to us as "Patheticut." Man, our blogs are more dull than playing Uno on a Saturday night in college (that was a bad date). Maybe there really is not much to discuss in Connecticut other than uninteresting politics.

Take this conservative Connecticut blog. I don't agree with its politics at all, but I'm capable of being interested in things I do not agree with. Hell, I always check out Drudge and I hate that guy. Even the visual layout of this website should put someone to sleep. What really makes this blog so snoozeworthy though is the awful prose style imitated as such:

""Random out of context quote from Hartford Courant." This quote demonstrates why democrats are bad. It is a good quote. You should read this quote and realize why this quote makes sense and helps you notice that democrats are bad. Jodi Rell should win the next election. She's pretty. I'm going to end with something I believe is a witty phrase, but is really sort of an imitation of a witty phrase. Republicans rule and democrats drool. How long till Rowland gets out of jail?"

This website has a great title and that's about it. It feels like a community bulletin board that you ignore every time you walk past the YMCA. It does detail events that are happening in Connecticut, but if the best we have is a symposium on Climate Change, we are in trouble. Please, please tell me there's something better Connecticut.

IN Southington should have committed webicide (my term for a website killing itself) long ago. This website was like the old home town newspaper, only with all the interesting stuff cut out and replaced with ugly polls. Oh, and usually when a staff doesn't have enough time to keep the website running, it was usually run by one person. His girlfriend/wife/partner got upset with him because he was spending too much time in his underwear writing boring polls for Southington folks to take.

This blog is interesting, but not so much a community blog as it is a less talented Dooce.

Okay, so the one blog I found really exciting and interesting, fun to read and absolutely community oriented was from my hometown and run by people I know. Check out how cute Westport Now is. It's not politically motivated, but seems to have a general ambition to highlight the great aspects of Westport. It made me homesick.

But I've been wondering if this blog appeals to other people, and I think it truly does. It feels like reading a Bradbury story about that perfect town, where the parents sit around on their porches drinking lemonade while the kids run around playing games until the last lick of sunlight falls below the mountains. Of course in those stories there was a terrible sense of danger, but you get the point right? Westport Now is a fantastic example of what a community is. I'll take it over political blogs any day.

Friday, October 07, 2005


I agree with something Ann Coulter wrote.

Well except for all that bull about college professors being the devil. Quite frankly, college professors don't get paid nearly enough to be Satan. Maybe they are something less extreme, like a minion, or a Seraph or something.

Yep, I was right. Wikpedia mentions nothing about college professors or universities in general when discussing Satan. Please do a little more research next time, oh hateful one that is Ann Coulter.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My New Friend

Dear Mr. President (soon to be known as George),
I want to be your friend. Now I know we've never met and haven't ever interacted, but I think we would make excellent friends. I noticed you like to ride your bike on the long vacations you take. I also like to ride my bike on the long vacations I take. We should get along really well.

I've been really good about using gas, just like you asked us to. I haven't been to work in two days because I've judged that going to work uses almost a sixteenth of a tank of gas. It is my patriotic duty to not go to work in order to save gas. God bless you and your leadership sir.

Now as your friend, I expect certain favors. I'm not asking for much, maybe just a small appointment in your administration. I've seen how your keen mind works in appointing people and I have several suggestions of appointments.

As a teacher, I know that I am far too experienced to be Secretary of Education. But as you have no litmus test for making appointments I can see myself fulfilling several other duties quite well.

1. Secretary of Transportation
I am a driver, but I know very little about highways, trains or buses. I feel perhaps my limited time sitting in lines at airports could qualify me for this position. Also, I drove a van once.

2. Secretary of Defense
As a child, I played war frequently with my pals. I am pretty sure that's exactly what you are doing with your "war on terror." As your buddy, I would be excellent at figuring out how G.I. Joe can maintain freedom and justice in the world.

3. Secretary of State
I hated foreign languages when I was in school, so I'd be perfect for this job. Cultures are not my forte either. I would mangle introductions and generally anger most of the world's countries. Hey, we are probably going to end up bombing them anyways.

Thanks for listening George. I know you could be spending this busy time not answering reporter's questions about Harriet. Call me anytime so we can nail down some specifics.

Brett Evans

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Subway, Eat fresh?

I went to Subway today to try and get the taste of kugel and bad brisket out of my mouth. Like many people, I am of the impression that Subway is a fast food place that's actually good for you. Subway's commercials talk of how their food is all fresh and fantastic, with many sandwiches under the enormous amount of fat that McDonald's hanburgers gives you.

This is not a lie, but one hell of an exaggeration. A patron in line was definitely under this healthy impression when she ordered a cold cut sandwich. The sandwich, containing all sorts of italian meats, was slathered with honey mustard, mayonnaise and a particularly caloric-rich type of bread. The woman then poured herself a "juice" fountain beverage, basically carbonated sugar water. She seemed satisfied that her lunch was far healthier than any other fast food place.

Subway's misleading advertising bothers me. The sandwiches they show that are "under 6 grams of fat" are entirely devoid of any sandwich toppings. They are not what an average individual would eat.

I'm shocked at how well Subway's campaign has worked on people. Most of the customers in the restaurant saw Subway as an excellent sandwich place that would make their bodies thin. As far as I can see, the only way to lose weight is with hard work while exericising, and staying away from fast food places altogether.

But if you must go there, allow me to suggest an alternative. Personally, I love Subway's veggie delite sandwich, which is basically a bread salad. That is a satisfying fast food treat that never makes me feel unhealthy.

Monday, October 03, 2005


After reviewing this blog really carefully, I'm still not entirely sure it's Roger Ailes. First of all, I don't think it gets close to the readership that a Roger Ailes blog would receive. Secondly, it's just not that good. Third, Roger Ailes is too busy to update as much as this website is updated. Plus, I've never imagined Roger Ailes to be as witty as this guy thinks he is.

No offense Colin, but my instincts tell me you've struck out on this one. The guy makes fun of Bush way too often. Colin, please email me with some evidence that this is indeed Ailes. Until then, it's back to doing whatever it is Jews do to prepare for Rosh Hashanah (aka Jewish day off that confuses all the goyim.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Why Celebrities Can't Be Bloggers (Shout Out to Colin)

In this week's necessary blog for my blogging class about blogs and bloggers I feel the need to examine celebrity blogs (primarily the need comes from Colin assigning us this task). Celebrity blogs are useless and need to top being called blogs. Celebrities can not blog primarily because it would be a conflict of their private versus public persona.

The problem stems primarily from celebrities being in the public eye and therefore having reputations they need to uphold. The usage of a blog is so a person may get their viewpoints across without feeling they will wreck their reputation. A perfect example is me and my continued need to profess great love to my spinning instructor. Now no one who is reading this knows me personally, nor knows my spinning instructor, and therefore cannot judge me based on my assertion that I love my spinning instructor. I may feel free to write whatever the hell I want without feeling I am somehow damaging my public credibility. Indeed by being frank and honest, there's a sort of Networkian "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" quality to bloggers. I also imagine William Bennett might feel comfortable as a blogger because he has absolutely no reputation left to defend.

But lets be honest, James Wolcott is not blogging. Instead Wolcott is writing a more frequent column and posting it on the web. He is a fantastic writer, a man who I sincerely respect. But his "blogs" are very well thought out columns that he may not have time to fit into Vanity Fair. Clearly the man has a lot of ideas and wishes to get them all said. The only even blogworthy thing on the site is the phrase "POSTED BY JAMES WOLCOTT." Take the "posted" out and you have just another editorial by James Wolcott.

On an entirely different note, I've been thinking a lot about meme theory and how it works and I'm trying to flesh out my ideas a little more. Yesterday, my friend Dave said that I was fighting a proverbial chicken and egg idea in my head by suggesting that memes are what make us social beings. I disagree for a lot of reasons.

Humans do not just talk. We share common ideas with each other that spread like mad. People can't wait to get to work the next day to talk about last night's Desperate Housewives or the movie they saw this weekend. This interactivity is meme theory at its best. If we didn't have fun and exciting memes to pass around, many of us would be totally oblivious to each other. We'd grunt at each other and then move on in a rapid fashion.

Instead, language was developed because people had stories they wanted to share. The Trojan War has many memes in it, and therefore has been successfully transmitted so well in society. So while I think Dave has a point in thinking I am just making a chicken and egg argument, I think it goes deeper. We don't create memes because we feel the need to converse with one another. Instead we feel the need to converse because of memes and how exciting they are.

This next couple days I might be out of touch because of my holidays. While I'm not particularly religious, my family might be offended if I sat around on their computers and updated my blogs. I don't want anyone throwing brisket at me (again).

Happy New Year to all my Jewish posse.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Sign I Am Getting Old

I had to take a nap after sitting around and watching the Yankees/Red Sox game.


I woke up yesterday morning to hear Gary Craig's voice shouting about the stupidity of baseball. He was railing over how people spend far too much time talking about baseball instead of important things. The lovely token female in the radio show (every morning radio show has a female put their to laugh and pretend to be offended at the host's sexism) shouted "there's lots more important things to talk about, like the HURRICANE people." Gary went on talking about how dumb it is that guys sit around talking about last night's baseball game and discuss pitches and hits and such. The end result is that I will never listen to Gary Craig's obnoxious self righteous attitude again.

I mean what the fuck?

These idiots must realize that they live in the center of baseball land, where two of the most powerful forces in baseball converge to create a gelatinous current of baseball. Baseball is the life blood in the Greater Hartford region, and while we did spend some time discussing the hurricane, it's back to the Red Sox and Yankees. Everything else can be put on hold. Plus, when does the statue of limitations run out on people giving us shit about talking about anything else but the hurricanes? Yes, they happened and they are upsetting and lots of people died. But we still need to live our lives.

So last night Gerry and I ventured head first into Red Sox town. We went to a bar that was chiefly Sox fans and it reaffirmed my love of baseball. I know now exactly why I enjoy watching a Red Sox/Yankees series. It's because everything inside of me hates the obnoxiousness of Red Sox fans.

Please don't misunderstand me, I am not much of a Yankees fan either. My father would take me to Shea Stadium on those hot August days and I would sit terrified of the 747s barreling by on their way Laguardia. It's easier to be a Mets fan because all you can hope for is that they get over .500. Nothing is riding on their games. When you go see them, you hope they win but don't cry too much if they lose.

But I hate the way every person all of sudden becomes a Red Sox fan during an important series. They know Manny and David, but they couldn't pick Olerud out of a lineup, which is kind of pathetic because he's their star right now. They go to bars and fight with people about stats that they don't know. Last night I got into a fight with a guy about who deserved the MVP, Ortiz or A-Rod. The guy didn't even know that Ortiz was only a DH and has a batting average lower than A-Rod's. He just came to the bar to get drunk and fight it out with some skinny guy who follows the stats the way my dad taught me to. Fortunately for me, Gerry is planning on competing in a Judo tournament today.

He's kind of well conditioned and scary looking.

I hate the way Red Sox fans hate every player on the Yankees. The only player on the Red Sox I dislike is Manny and I'm pretty sure even Sox fans despise him. But they come up with nicknames like Jorgay Posada and constantly pick on Giambi's steroid problem. Any time A-Rod makes a mistake they ironically chant "MVP."

So yes, baseball is exciting to me. I love every pitch, every hit and home run. As much as I claim I despise it, I enjoy getting anxious over games and feeling the tension boil up in a bar around here. Gerry once told me that he was in Rookie's during the series when Don Zimmer got into a fight with Pedro Martinez. He said the bar was one mistaken move away from an all out brawl. That's the kind of importance I will always be attracted to.