Wednesday, June 29, 2005


There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't.

I am lame.

Monday, June 27, 2005

New York Times violates its own code to cheap shot Peter Jackson

In a recent article in the New York Times:

"A litigator for New Line, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is working on this lawsuit, said the money paid to Mr. Jackson so far is in line with the contract he signed. 'Peter Jackson is an incredible filmmaker who did the impossible on 'Lord of the Rings,' this lawyer said. 'But there's a certain piggishness involved here. New Line already gave him enough money to rebuild Baghdad, but it's still not enough for him.'"

From the NYT's Policy on Confidential News Sources:

"We do not grant anonymity to people who use it as cover for a personal or partisan attack. If pejorative opinions are worth reporting and cannot be specifically attributed, they may be paraphrased or described after thorough discussion between writer and editor. The vivid language of direct quotation confers an unfair advantage on a speaker or writer who hides behind the newspaper, and turns of phrase are valueless to a reader who cannot assess the source."

It's nice to know they have scruples, isn't it?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Revolution and Killian's Irish Red

I went to dinner with Laurie this evening after work. We met her friend Sarah for drinks afterwards and in the process of a three hour conversation, which ranged in topic from the effects on human equilibrium of excessive inebriation coupled with a boat ride in choppy waters to the need for individual fiscal conservatism in the face of rising credit card debt following a sudden drop in employment, I consumed five or six bottles of that sweet divine nectar, Killian’s Irish Red. Laurie and Sarah went off to watch “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” and I, claiming to exercise a bit of my own fiscal conservatism, called it an early night.

Try as I might, I just can’t get excited about that movie. Angelina Jolie may break the Guiness Record for “hotness,” but her past exploits with Billy Bob have tainted her in my mind.

I could not go directly home, however, since my state of inebriation was such that I would have violated several local ordinances involving my ability to safely operate a motor vehicle had I chosen to venture forth onto the streets of Columbus. So I waltzed over to Barnes and Noble to see what I could see.

I have tried to avoid doing such a thing sine I made the pact with myself this past March to avoid purchasing any books until I have finished everything on my shelf; excluding, of course, the new Harry Potter Book, which is due out in July, and that Anansi Boys book from Neil Gaiman, which is due out sometime in early September.

I’ve been reading a lot of heavy material lately. Leave me my cupcake books for now. Besides, you’d be interested, too, if you had taken the time to read American Gods and Neverwhere like I told you.

This time I couldn’t help myself, so, in order to avoid spending money, I wandered into the biography section. Lo and behold, there stood before me a display on the Cuban Revolutionary and Latin American Icon, Ernesto “Ché” Guevara

I have always been intrigued by Ché’s life. He started out an aristocratic son of a wealthy Argentinean and an Irish immigrant, went to medical school, and then rejected his privileged upbringing after a trip with his friend and fellow doctor, Alberto Granado, which resulted in the book (now a major motion picture starring that guy from "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and a relatively unknown actor who is a distant relative of Che's) The Motorcycle Diaries. It was this book I picked up and began to read. It has been on my list for some time, much to the chagrin of my friends. They believe that a socialist can have nothing good to say. They believe that a person’s theory on politics and economics defines him in a way that other opinions cannot.

Then they trumpet the works of Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn as exemplary of the right kind of anti-Communism. Little do they know that Aleksandr believed in Socialism and Communism; he just hated Stalin and the gulags. He believed that evil could exist anywhere, under any political or social theory. And I agree.

Back to Ché.

My roommate speaks harshly of the man, and rightly so. He knows several people who were tortured by Guevara during the Cuban revolution and their stories haunt him. Rest assured that I, too, believe their stories and I do not hold the man in high regard , despite his mythical status among many from my generation.

In his later works, such as “Back on the Road” and a little later in “Guerilla Warfare,” the good doctor (and he was a medical doctor) expounds on theories of warfare and worldwide social change with a fervor on par with that of Marx and Hegel in their seminal works. But in The Motorcycle Diaries, when he is still just a child experiencing the world for the first time, he expresses mostly love for his people and an open heart for real change that will bring hope and a new life to the downtrodden.

This is the motivation of Socialism and Communism that I like. Kurt Vonnegut expresses it well when he says that Western nations, which are largely Christian, have forgotten the words of Jesus Christ who, in the beatitudes, says “blessed are the poor” and “blessed are the meek.” This attitude that things should be different and somehow better is something that I believe is lacking in American and, to a greater extent, Western politics and society. It's lacking in a big way.

It’s in the application where the radical leftists fail. In my opinion.

As I read the first few chapters of The Motorcycle Diaries, I got the impression not of the man who would one day lead Castro’s troops against Batista on the streets of Santa Clara and who would later execute Eutimio Guerra, a suspected Batista supported, with a single shot to the head, but of a young doctor with a soul and a spirit that was born to heal the world, not break it further apart by attempting to create "many Viet Nams," and establish a Mao-ist form of soul crushing Communism.

The most telling aspect of this was the collection of photographs that accompanied the book. All of the photos except one were of the young Ernesto, before he laid down his identity as a doctor and become Ché. He was full of smiles and hope. I saw him atop the great motorcycle, La Ponderosa, with a determined look on his face. I saw him standing on his raft as he and Alberto sailed the Amazon. I saw the smiling faces of the children who inhabited the Peruvian leper colony wher he volunteered.

He and his friend were the only two doctors in the leper camp who refused to wear protective gear while treating the inhabitants. When Alberto went back to visit the camp in 2004, at the spry age of 82, several of the men and women there remembered him. They asked him about his friend, the other young doctor who had risked everything to make their lives a little bit better.

They spoke of Ernesto Guevara. They did not know him as Ché. They did not know him as a Communist revolutionary and a madman who once said that, had he been in charge during the Cuban missile crisis, he would have fired without hesitation. He would have enacted a nuclear holocaust without blinking an eye. He welcomed it.

Yes, all the photos in the book showed Ernesto Guevara as a young man full of good potential, save one. The very last photo showed him several years later, dressed in military garb, his face weathered by the constant stream of Cuban cigars and the scars of warfare. The price of the revolution.

The difference in mood was striking. You could see the insanity painted on his face in wide strokes. You could see that, where innocence and hope once held court, madness and hatred now reigned supreme. He was hungry for vengeance of any kind and at any cost.

I have often wondered about Ché Guevara and others like him; people who start off with great intentions only to find themselves on the fast road to Hell; people who accept their path with glee because they cannot conceive of a truth different from the lies they have spent a lifetime preaching as gospel; people who are lost.

I have often wondered about Ché Guevara because in those first few chapters and those first few photographs, I see myself. I see in his eyes the painful recognition of a world in dire need. I see that overwhelming fear and knowledge that I and others like me have benefited while the rest of the world has faced immense suffering. I see the hatred engendered by that unfairness. And I recognize, in his young face, that aching need to make things better that weighs heavy on the soul. I look at his picture and I see cameraderie.

Then I turn the page and I see the madman. And I wonder what happened.

Monday, June 20, 2005

A Day in the Life of The Sasquatch

I wrote this at work the other day, when things were slow. In case you can't tell, I'm attempting to fill up my blog with stuff I've already written.

I will have you know that I, like Jack Kerouac and Ed Wood, do not believe in second takes. What comes out first is the final product. So if you notice a spelling mistake or an error in grammar and you feel like mentioning it to me, I would like to kindly invite you to enter into an anatomically correct sexual position with yourself. Because as far as I'm concerned, that is something you can go and do.

However, if spelling and grammar are not your thing, you're in the right place moron!


7:24am – peeling the eyes open

Today is a slow day at work, so I plan to comment on things as they happen and post them up here, possibly for comedic enjoyment. Failing that, however, this will serve to pass the time until the magic hour arrives and I can leave this foul place. I remember just yesterday when I lauded the advantages of switching to an earlier shift I must have forgotten how much it sucks to have to wake up early and drag my happy ass in here. I’ve never been a morning person, so whatever it was that possessed me to come in earlier is beyond me. Maybe it’s my evil cousin (the one without the goatee).

7:58am – between a rock and a hard place

People don’t listen. Just yesterday I changed something on the webpage and when I did it, I made it a point to specifically tell everyone what had happened, where everything was, and how they could go about performing their duties in a more proficient and effective manner. This morning, one of my co-workers came to my desk asking me why I had deleted everything from the webpage. “I didn’t,” I said. “Yes you did,” she said. “It’s not there anymore.” “Remember our conversation yesterday,” I said. “The one where I told you that your webpage had moved to…” She interrupted me. “I remember speaking with you yesterday, but what I want to know is why you deleted everything.” Life would be so much easier if the Supreme Court met the evils of stupidity with the joys of capital punishment. “If you’ll allow me a moment to speak,” I said, much like a patient grandfather speaking to a young child, “I can tell you what to do.” And I spent the next fifteen minutes explaining to the lady that the charts for which she had been looking were now located on her personal home page, which did not require clicking through any links. It took her a while, but she finally got it.

9:17am – elevated memories

Last night was the Dave Matthews Band concert up here in the land of fun. Believe me; I know. I got stuck in the flow of hippies on the way to Craig’s last night, and I nearly passed out from the patchouli stink. Damn I hate that stuff. But it reminds me of the good old days of my youth, when I used to be a damn, dirty hippie with long hair and pungent body odor. I went to many a DMB concert and took part in several illicit and illegal activities. I remember the time I went to a show in Lexington with some friends from high school. This was over Christmas break, about three months into our freshman year of college. Each of us had come home for the break because we had nothing better to do. That doesn’t happen anymore. It was me, Frank and Abe (the twins who can’t drive), Walt C., and Kristin. After the concert, we went back to the hotel and proceeded to drink ourselves into oblivion. Abe, Walt C. and I had a contest to see who could drink beer the fastest. I won. Frank sat in the corner with Kristin attempting to put his “game” into full effect. Little did he know that Kristin wasn’t interested. Little did he know that Kristin was a lesbian! At least, that is the line she used that evening. I would find out later that year that this was not exactly the case. No, not that. At any rate, the concert was very good. Dave and the boys had canceled the concert over the summer and were in the process of making it up. This was just before “Before These Crowded Streets” came out, so they were still in the process of fidgeting with new songs. We got to hear a strange combination of “Minarets,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and what would later become “Don’t Drink the Water.” It had a vague, Middle Eastern feel that worked really well with their still overtly jazz-infused style. I was incredibly high at the time, too, so you have to take that into account. I recently purchased the 2005 DMB album, stand. Either I’m a lot older than I used to be or they really suck now, because I felt like taking the cd back and throwing it at the clerk who sold it to me. I prefer to believe that they suck. Because it’s not possible that I’m getting old. No way.

10:04am – bland boredom

It’s slightly past 10am. I can’t think of anything interesting at the moment

10:52am – late morning frustration

A quote from the official website of Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan:

The development of Astana is so important to the country that it is considered according to the law to be one of the priority spheres for attracting foreign investment. That means that business people investing their capital in Astana enjoy considerable benefits and tax incentives.”

Yeah, right. Unless you consider “considerable benefits” to be rude employees and an inability to speak anything other than unintelligible gibberish, I have to disagree.

12:24pm - After lunch.

Have you ever noticed how we define each seasonal peak by the things we complain about the most? In the Fall there are too many damn leaves to rake, and the football fanatics, those people who affix large, gaudy flags to their car windows, start coming out of the woodwork. The winter is cold and snowy, and people with less than half a brain run the roads in their SUV’s with the express purpose of running into each other and various other inanimate objects. Spring makes us all nervous because deep down inside we believe that all the rain is the beginning of another flood on the level of Noah and his ark.

Summer is no different. At first, we enjoy the breezes and the smells and warmth of the sun on our faces. But after a while, that sun becomes a grueling slave master. When all you want is a relaxing day in the yard you get sunburn. When all you want is the comfortable sun to envelope you, you nearly pass out from heat exhaustion due to humidity.

At least, that is how it seems to me, especially today when the sun has apparently pointed its bright, smiling face directly at my bald head and fat ass. I walked across the street to get some Chipotle for lunch and I almost sweat soaked my shirt it was so hot.

On the way back, I caught a whiff of chlorine from the pool at the Hilton Hotel. It took me back to the summers of my childhood when my friends and I, recently released from the public school/prison system, would wake up late in the morning and walk up to the community pool nearly every day. The first half of the trip, the mile and a half stretch down Burley Circle and Cromwell Road was always grueling and sweaty because the blacktop roads reflected the heat so well. Plus, there was that big fucking hill in the middle of it all. It took nearly ten minutes to get to the top, and when finally go there you had to sit down in Mrs. Farmer’s yard for a breater before you continued. Sometimes she’d yell at us to get moving. Most of the time she sat on her porch and sang hymns to herself. She was a little weird.

You’d think that, with all the trips I made over that hill in my youth, I’d be in a lot better shape. I guess the evils of McDonalds and high calorie beer know no bounds.

The best part of the trip was when you turned the corner at The Hitching Post, a local burger dive which later became a three star French restaurant and then a Laundromat, The road turned downhill, you walked into the cool summer shadows cast by the large oak trees next to Greenhills Middle School, and you caught that first scent of heat mixed with chlorine that said “Come on in guys, the water’s fine!” No matter how tired we were, we always ran the last quarter mile.

We stayed there for most of the afternoon; all the local kids meeting up to go swimming and play pickle in the grass behind the fence during the fifteen minute adult swim periods at the end of every hour. Hot pavement, Cool water, Jenny the lifeguard who at the time wore a seductive one piece bathing suit, Cotton candy from the concession stand. It was summer and it was beautiful.

We stayed all day, past the five o’clock rush hour when the adults went home. We’d stay in the sun till our faces peeled, then we’d go home and play baseball in the field behind the Hinkens’ house until dark.

Then we’d get up the next day and do it all over again.

Today would have been the first day of summer vacation, were I still a kid and still in school. I would, at this very moment, be either submerged in the deep end of the pool or beaning Andy Bello in the back with a tennis ball as he tried to run towards the base, which was always just one or two steps out of the reach of my vicious fastball. Instead, I am in a cubicle working for a corporation full of people who can no longer conceive a life that includes fun and play and happiness and warmth. I want that kind of happiness again. I want that kind of warmth, even if it’s a little too humid for my adult sensibilities.

As long as it has a hint of chlorine, I’ll be fine.

1:50pm: And Now For Something Completely Different

Two hours of work left and Patrick has decided to send us approvals! This means I don’t have to talk to any more damn Kazakhstanians. Or Kazakhs. Or whatever the indigenous people of Kazakhstan are called (other than “bastards” or “bags of pig-faced rat guts”). This is good!

3:41pm: The Old Junkie Shuffle

I have nineteen minutes left until my day is over, and I now have an idea what heroin addicts feel like when they’re on the verge of another fix after a long, dry spell. The legs jump, the skin crawls, and your mind races as it processes the different possibilities scenarios that might take place over the eternity that waits between now and when your fix takes hold and calms the nerves. I want to leave now more than anything else in the world. I look at the clock, I wait an eternity, and when I look at the clock again barely thirty seconds have passed. What was I saying about the relativity of time yesterday. It is more real even today.

3:45pm: A lack of pretense

Shit. Fifteen minutes to go and my boss has wondered into the area. Previously, I had given up all pretense of work and settled into wasting the vast stretches of remaining minutes and seconds checking e-mail and looking up sports scores. Now I have to open a few folders and flip back and forth between different files on my computer to give the semblance of Real Work ™. I must also take advantage of the alt+Tab keystroke which allows me to toggle screens, thus affording me the ability to hide this little ditty when administrative eyes happen to cruise in my vicinity.

3:51pm: Words cannot express

Anger. White, hot anger. The lady from across the way is talking about my web page development, complaining that it is worthless. Rather, it is she who is worthless. I take that back. She is a former Air Traffic Controller which means she is both very intelligent (in some regards, anyway) and exceptionally vicious. I’ve met their kind before and my experience tells me I must look upon this rare breed with a wary eye. Something is afoot, but as long as I keep my head down and the toggle switches ready, I should escape from this pit of despair before the weasels close in.

3:54pm: Fast and furious

They gesture wildly in my direction. Voices topple over the cubicle walls like a vast and heavy waterfall. Fear grips my heart and does not let go. What if I have to stay late? What then? Sure, an evening full of…uh oh…toggle!

3:57pm: A Quick Escape

That was a close one! The big boss man came over to ask me about the Kazakhstanian horde. Will it not end! First the web page and now this! A curse on both their houses!

3:59pm: Bad Nervousness

Two minutes. Two fucking minutes.

3:59 and a half: More Bad Nervousness

(*joe rips the last remaining pieces of hair from his head, screams loudly…nobody in the office notices *)

4:00pm: Jubilant Exultation!

In the words of the great Dr. Martin luther King Jr, “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God, Almighty, I’m free at last!”

: Incessant Depression

Free at last…until tomorrow morning at 7:00am, that is.

MIghty Glove Man Gets Off On Child Molestation Charges

Wait. That title doesn't sound right. But you know what I mean.

I wrote this for some other blog I was writing in. Then I remembered I had this place and I decided I would switch it over here. This took place the day Michael Jackson got off...I mean...was acquitted of all those charges.

You know what I mean, right?


So Michael Jackson is innocent, huh? Wait, no. Michael Jackson is “not guilty.” I don’t think that any man who is that effeminate, wears frilly clothes, and can sing soprano without a kick to the balls can really be called “innocent” by any stretch of the imagination.

Those kids he molested. They are innocent. Or, rather, they were.

I got home from work today and I screamed at my roommate. “DUDE!” I said. “Turn on the television. They’re about to convict the mighty glove man right fucking now!”

You’ll have to forgive me for my excited state at the prospect of the conviction of Michael Jackson. You see, my job is incredibly boring. I sat at my desk, staring at a blank computer screen this afternoon just to see how long I could do it before somebody said something to me. I waited one hour thirteen minutes and fifteen seconds. That’s a long damn time to sit around doing nothing productive. Even in Columbus, Ohio!

The sad thing is that I would love to do more work, but management has determined that I already do far too much and the only ideas I have for process improvement would increase efficiency; thereby enabling my co-workers and I to get even more work done. This would result in more complaints from management.Strange. I thought this sort of backward thinking only took place in the hallowed halls of academia. I must have been wrong.

Since you can only stare at a blank computer screen for so long, I check CNN regularly, along with my e-mail, sports scores, and the various and sundry blogs and journals I like to read from time to time. The big news today was, of course, the Jackson trial and the impending verdict, and I had been following it since at least two o'clock.

I found it odd that at around 4:00, when the newspeeople learned of the pending verdict, they began nonstop coverage of the courthouse. All the major websites ran splash covers of Michael Jackson looking pissed off and deranged with big, bold letters that read, “Wacko Jacko about to get Jacked up!” and “This Decade's Crime of the Century comes to a close” and “Click here for a year's supply of Viagra!” How is it that all these popup ads seem to know my personal problems.

Did I just say that out loud?

I left work at 4:00pm and I honestly believed I would know the result by the time I got home. But I didn’t. I thought the jury was already seated with his majesty, the clown prince of insanity, awaiting a conviction that would surely send him to a federal “pound me in the ass” prison for a long time. I'm an avid fan of Law and Order. I know how these things work. It turned out, however, that he hadn’t even left his home yet, so I had to sit on the couch while my roommate and I watched the former child prodigy make his way from the loony bin he calls a home to the other loony bin known as the Santa Barbara courthouse (the entire California judicial system has gone full tilt boogie, in my opinion).

I fell asleep. And while I slept, I dreamt of a world where justice prevailed in all instances, and where celebrity and social status were incongruous with such high-minded moral principles. I dreamt of the a place where the quality of one’s work – for better or for worse – did not determine his or her value as a person in society; where the evil were incarcerated, the innocent kept safe in their homes, and the bringers of peace and law were always wise and good. Then I realized that where my mind had taken me was somewhere very close to the Socialist utopias described in the works of Marx and Hegel, and yearned for by Upton Sinclair and the more recent (and equally as brilliant) E.L. Doctorrow and Kurt Vonnegut. I realized this and woke myself up quickly.

We can’t have those foul thoughts running around in my brain, now can we?

So I awoke to see Janet Jackson, whom, I had forgotten, was related to the king of all freaks, standing in front of a Santa Barbara police man who was in the process of using a metal detector to check for what I can only assume was some type of terrorist bomb or vial of Bocculinum. However the hell you spell it. Judging from the angle of the policeman’s gaze and the snicker that rose upon Miss Jackon’s face (hers actually moves!), I could tell that the policeman was hoping against hope for one of those wardrobe malfunctions that took place two Super Bowls ago. his wish was not granted.

Shepherd Smith and the Assistant of the Week(TM) blabbed on in the background like bad color commentators in a pointless baseball game.

“Michael is afraid,” Shepherd said. He was on a first name basis with the Sultan of Strange, apparently, even though I imagine that the two have never met. And if they have, God help Shephers Smith’s children. “Michael is feeling scared and alone at the moment,” he said. “If the jury brings a guilty verdict, it means that Michael will never again return to his beloved Neverland Ranch.”

“Yeah, Shep," the nameless assistant said. "We got it. Life in prison. That tends to happen when people are convicted of playing naked leap frog with kids. “

“Michael has a stern look on his face. You can see the fear from a mile away.”

“Actually, Shep, I think he spilled some water on his face and it hardened. Plaster can do that if you get it too wet. It looks like he’ll have to break out the hammer and chisel in order to get out of this one."

The collection of pathetic fans that stood outside (Jacko’s wackos, as I like to call them) held signs professing their love for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, decrying the Santa Barbara courts as corrupt and racist. Normally, I would agree with their assessments, but this time I didn’t. This is partially because I believe the erstwhile King of Pop to be as guilty as Charles Manson or Scott Peterson or even Orenthal James Simpson. But mostly I just didn’t want to be lumped into a group of people who welcome several individuals who have surgically altered themselves to look exactly like Jackson as he now appears in his current form.

And they say us Star Wars fans are weird. Hey, at least we can take off the Wookie costume at the end of the day.

They read the verdict and, one by one, Jackson was cleared on all charges. The freaks outside rejoiced while the freaks inside sighed in relief. I watched as the entire Jackson klan filed out of the courthouse with the wide eyes and sallow faces of speed freaks in search of the next great binge. Their faces told a story I have seen all too often on the sad streets of the poor and downtrodden.

They said, “Another bullet dodged. There is still freedom in the air! But for how long? My past deeds hang o’er my head like the sword of Damocles, swinging closer; ever closer. The sharp blade has missed on this stroke, but even now it reaches its apex and has begun a fast arc back towards what will eventually be its final resting place. My past come back to haunt my future through each of my waking steps!”

We all know that, as soon as the family was safely entombed in their SUV’s for the long ride back to Neverland, Michael turned to the sad faces of his father and said, “You know, Dad. I learned it by watching you? You know that right?”

Joe Jackson tells his youngest son to shut up, that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He thinks that his family is sane, and that they will soon return to normalcy once the media attention dies down.

Meanwhile, Michael stares out over the rolling hills of southern California, dreaming his secret dreams no person in their right mind would ever want to see. He knows he will be caught and punished one day.

"But not today," he thinks with a shudder that turns into a sly smile. "Not today."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I haven't written anything here for a whle. This is because I completely forgot about it! I had lunch with an old friend today and he mentioned his site. I went to check it out and post a comment and I thought I would have to create an account to do so. That's when I found out that I had already created one!

Good happiness!

So, in celebration of my triumphant return to the blogging world, read this...something I wrote a long time ago:

"Wild Turkey and Bad Artwork"

I spoke with my friend Alan the other day. It didn't have anything to do with you, though, so don't get excited. Apparently they're planningthis entertainment production here at the medical school and Alan isone of the Big Doggs(TM). He wanted to know if my department was interested in contributing an advertisement and a huge pile of money to the cause. I said that not only had my department decided to contribute, we had taken out a half page ad. To top it all off, they had consigned the greatest artist within a 0.75 mile radius (the greatest one that was available, anyway) to do the job.


But things were not all bright roses and happy children's tales. It being my last quarter here at school, I was beset by a fit of laziness and I found myself scrambling around at the last minute, frantically scribbling idiotic cartoons in hopes of impressing the medical community. What came out was not only pointless and stupid, but dumb and wrong as well. I will more than likely be drawn and quartered for my efforts.

I showed Alan the cartoon I had made, and he smiled a patronizing smile, saying, "Gee. That's kinda cool." In reality, I could tell he was thinking "no wonder it took you eight years to get out of college." He didn't want to be mean, but I could tell he thought it was shit.

I apologize for that. It's past midnight here in the land of evil, and as Aristotle once said, midnight is magic time. You can do whatever you want when the lights go down and everyone is asleep.

I could be wrong, though. Maybe it was Goethe.

Anyway, my extreme failure as an artist and editorial cartoonist thre wme into a fit of insomnia coupled with mad drinking the likes of whichI had never seen. I have spent an inordinate amount of time in front of the television watching reruns of "Law & Order" and scarfing down mixing bowls full of cheap rice.

I just can't get enough of that show. I'm a fan of the modern version where Sam Waterston plays the assistant D.A., although I have to saythat I like the old DA better. I can't remember the old guy's name(his character's name was Adam), but Fred Thompson (the ex Senator from Tennessee) doesn't hold a candle to him. What can you do, though? He's a politician at heart, and politicians never do anything well.

I stayed up late the other night and watched four episodes of Sportscenter back to back. I know what you're thinking. A person would have to be insane to watch that much Sportscenter. That is, of course,why almost every man on the face of the earth is crazy.

Am I right. You feelin' me, bruhz?

Four hours of Sportscenter can do strange things to a person, especially considering that they play the same episode over and over. In the second hour, you can recite the lame-ass jokes in time with the show. In the third hour, you have all the sports scores from the bottom line ticker memorized and you start making bets with your alter egos, hoping to make money off yourself by covering the spread on the Knicks-Spurs game.

But the fourth hour, much like midnight as we have already discussed, is magic time. During the fourth hour, Stuart Scott communicates with you telepathically. It's like one of those dream sequences in movies where the person on television turns and starts talking to the main character while everyone else goes on like nothing is happening.

He speaks to you personally, only he doesn't call you by your real name. He gives you one of those stupid nicknames where he combines your first initial with the first few letters of your last name (T-Mac and A-Rod, for instance).

"J-Ev" he says to me. He uses my middle name, Everett, because J-Sha sounds too girlish and you can't have a girlish name in sports. "J-Ev, it's time to step up to the plate. It's the fourth quarter and there's an open net at the end of the ice. The game is on the line and it's all up to you."

Then Chris Berman comes in and starts arguing with Stuart Scott.

"Why do you always have to make up those dumb nickames, double-S?" he says. "Players had good ncknames back in the day. The Human highlight film. The round mound of rebound. The Fridge. They were cool. Yours are stupid and unoriginal."

"Well, C-Berm" Stuart Scott says,"I suppose your nicknames are the epitome of coolness?"

"They certainly are."

"I admit. Lance 'You Sunk My' Blankenship was funny the first time I heard it. But Alan 'Have Guns Will' Trammel was annoying, and Chuck'New Kids on the' Knoblauch was just plain sad."

"Hey, it's better than taking an already established player like Jerome Bettis, The Bus, and demeaning himwith a moniker as dumb and wrong as 'J-Bet. "

"Hey baldy, I call 'em like I see 'em."

"Oh, now you're a regular Cosell? I bet even the golf team gave you swirlies in high school."

That made him mad. "Don't say it," he growled.

"Oh yeah, I bet they called you Stuart 'Swirley' Scott back in the day."

"That's it, bitch. I'm gonna fuck you up."

"Come and get it motherfucker. I'm gonna tattoo your face with my five iron. I'm gonna hit a homerun...backbackbackbackbackback GONE!!!"

And they spent the rest of the episode doing the ESPN version of WWF smackdown, which was disconcerting because Chris Berman in tights is a scary thing.

In the midst of it all, Hunter S. Thompson came to my living room with two strippers, a collection of scary drugs that I am not at liberty to discuss, and a brand new bottle of Wild Turkey. We took bets on the sportscaster smackdown, smoked cheap cigars, made love to ugly strippers, and consumed terrifying amounts of illicit psychotropic substances. I passed out sometime after Chris Berman did a suplex on Stuart Scott, and Craig Kilbourn, who was a Sportscenter guy fromWayback, ran down the aisle with Keith Olbermann to take out the fat man from Philly.

I woke up three weeks later on Interstate 70 just outside Kansas City. I was dressed in an old, worn out Donald Duck outfit. My head pounded in the bright sun and my legs felt like they had been broken and set by a dyslexic midget with bad eyesight.

There was a note stapled to my left hand:

The road calls and I have to oblige. Mine is a life of Wild Parties with fast and loose women. Some are cut out for it and others are not. You are not. I'm sorry you couldn't keep up, but I have to move on. Itwas fun while it lasted, eh?

You are broke and dressed like a duck, but so what? Given the circumstances, it's probably the best possible situation. Don't worry. The good people of Kansas City have learned to appreciate depraved people like you. You are among friends now. Res Ipsa Loquitor!


I worked for three months as a pimp on the streets of Kansas City to pay for a bus ride home, and when I got back it was like nothing hadever happened. That's one thing you learn all too quickly in Cincinnati. Time has no meaning and the people either don't know ordon't care what you do as long as you don't bother Them with your stupid antics.

Speaking of stupid antics, this is how pathetic I am. I'm in thebasement of Chad and Christy's house typing out yet another pointless e-mail to all of you while everyone else is asleep. At least I think everyone else is asleep. For all I know, Chad's incessant snoring could have Christy awake and staring at the ceiling, pondering philosophical conundrums like Nietzsche's sense of self, Russell's problems of pain and everybody's favorite philosopher, Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds 2, who said, "What if C-A-T really spells dog?"

And what if it does? What if, after all is said and done, everything we thought we knew to be true was actually false? What if up is down, left is right, good is bad, and Britney Spears really is respected forher musicianship instead of her ha ha's? What then?

If that terrible truth were to ever come out, it would cause immense chaos the world over. Nobody would pay attention to an authority figures ever again because authority is really just a form of servitude. So those in authority are really lower than us in the status of all things, therefore we do not have to pay homage to their rules and regulations. It's Ogre's theory of increasing chaos by means of increasing order.

Brilliant work, Christy! I applaud the temerity with which you spend your sleepless hours. Even if it amounts to little more than personal satisfaction, at least you aren't boring the crap out of everyone elselike I am.

Which leads me back to this e-mail. It is unfortunate that I am writing to you from Columbus instead of my home in the Nati. You see, my computer is temperamental. Sometimes it shuts off for no reason and I lose whatever it was I was working on. Believe me, I have written several e-mails that could rival the latter Stephen kingnovels in both length and sheer boredom. You haven't experienced true insomnia until you've spent eight hours in total darkness and solitude describing conversations with people who don't exist into e-mails for friends who will most likely delete everything you send them just to save time.

Most if not all of these have been struck down by my computer mere seconds before they were sent off to the farthest reaches of the internet. I suppose I could have saved them to a word document or something, but that is too much work and I am a lazy man.

So it is unfortunate for you that I am in Columbus, because I have a feeling that Chad's computer will stay up and running for the five or six hours it will take me to either bore of typing or pass out infront of the computer.

Lucky you.

So what should we talk about? The possibilities are endless. I just checked out a book from the library that was written by a lady who was a foreign news correspondent for The New York Times during the Clinton Administration. Her book is entitled"A Problem from hell" and it is about the US's policy of non-involvement in most of the major examples of true attempted genocide in the 20th century. The writing is really good so far.

But I've only made it to the third page. The book is really long and rather than taking the time to read it, I have chosen to spend most of my free time playing TexTwist on MSN. I currently have the highest score at work. I can't recall exactly what it is, but I know it's somewhere around 145,000. The next closest score is Amy, the English major, who scored 125,000. I think she would have beaten me if I hadn't unplugged her computer.

I'm a bastard like that. I hate losing, but rather than taking the time to perfect my skills, I prefer to sabotage others. I take great satisfaction in watching others fail where I have barely succeeded. I feel this is preparing me for a career as either a used car salesman or a member of the French Senate. Le chat est sur la chaise et ma grande mere est en flambé.! Ou est le bibliotechque? See, I'm ready for a long, prosperous career spouting things that make no sense and undermining the work of others.

Hold on a minute. I have run out of Mountain Dew and I have to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back. … Alright, I'm back.

You know, Chad, the basement down here would look nice if you'd clean it up once in a while. It's funny. You have two 24 packs of Diet Mt.Dew filled with empty cans. I got all excited a minute ago because I thought I could just skip the trip upstairs and grab a can from down here. Then I knocked the box over and spilled the cans across the floor.

It was a good thing, too, because by then I had forgottne about my trip to the restroom.

They didn't get too far, though. There is a large pile of picture frames, cds and computer wires spread out in the middle of the room that blocked their progress. There is also a small box filled with spare change and what looks like either thin mints or some sort of small, cushiony fabric. I can't really tell. My contacts are drying out and the box is at least 5 yards away; past my field of discernable vision.

Across the room from the bastion of computery goodness are the couch,which is covered by blankets, and an alcove where a collection ofmusical instruments and amplifiers sits on the floor collecting dust.The whole room has a vague, artistic feel to it. It's like one of those new age pieces Wright State kept throwing out for the public to look at and puzzle over.

That reminds me.

One of my many part time jobs at Wrong State University was as a tour guide. I quickly got tired of it and by the end of my tenure the only joy I got out of the job was to see how fast I could get through a tour and how annoyed I could make the potential families who had driven all the way to scenic Dayton, Ohio to check out their son or daughter's second or third pick for college: the one they don't really want to go to but will if Harvard and Ohio State don't call.

My record was thirteen minutes and when they left, the parents told me that I was the reason America is such a shithole. They actually usedthe word shithole, too!

But before I hit the wall of cynicism, I used to point out all the little interesting things about our wonderful school. Like, for instance, the fact that the Math and Science building resembled a pig if you looked at it correctly, and the fact that the large smokestack coming out of the ground next to the biomedical sciences building was connected to the morgue. This, I told many a horrified potential student, was where they burnt all the bodies that had been donated to the medical school for research but were no longer of use.

This was, of course, a lie. They bury the bodies deep in the woods next to the President's house and that is why the university administration board always makes sure to elect a Satanist as the newest president. He or She must tend to the poor, departed souls who had recently been used for strange and scary practices deep in the heart of our twisted medical school. The smokestack, I said, was where theyperformed nuclear tests!

Where was I? Oh yes, art!

So one day I was out on a tour and I noticed a collection of woodenbeams and poles lying in the grass next to the library. I informed the tour group that Wright State was fond of promoting the advancement of bold, new artwork, the finest example of which could be seen lying inthe grass not ten feet away.

I think my exact words were, "Look at the shit your tuition dollars will produce if you go here. Wouldn't you rather go to Ohio State? I hear they have a good football team."

So the pile of stuff sat there for the better part of a quarter, and each time I passed it I made sure to point it out to all the prospective students and their families. I was a senior member of the tour guide staff (having been there for two whole quarters), so I urged my fellow tour guides to do the same. Over the course of six or seven weeks, I would estimate that we
told a good five or six hundred people that the collection of rusty poles and wooden beams was a new form of artwork that was all the rage in campuses across the United States.

One day, shortly before finals week, I noticed construction workers moving the pile of stuff.

"What are you doing with the artwork?" I asked them.

"What artwork?' they said.

"That artwork," I said. "That pile of shit in the grass there."

"Oh that? That's not art. The contractors that were here in March never cleaned up after themselves."

"Oh. So this isn't artwork?"

"You thought it was art, too?" the guy said with a puzzled look on hisface. "That's strange."

"Why is that strange?"

"Well, the University was going to leave it here and try to get the construction company to come back and pick it up. But word got around that lots of prospective students and their parents were complaining about the ugly 'artwork' on campus, and administration contracted us to pick it up at twice the rate they paid the other guys to do the work in the first place."

"Yeah," I said, "that sure is strange." I then hurried to Millett hall, where I informed the students on my tour that the ROTC club used to have repelling classes off the top of the building until some guy fell and broke both his legs.

I pointed to the remnants of red sidewalk chalking and said, "See,they couldn't quite get up all the blood."

Your basement reminds me of that pile of useless garbage that I mistook for artwork, so please excuse me if I am quick to judge it as dirty. I do not, apparently, have a nose for high-minded artistry. If you are planning some strange and beautiful piece that expresses the bleakness of the human condition and the depth of the heart, I apologize.

It looks like crap to me.

Alright…enough torture. My fingers are tired and I'm sure you've all deleted this e-mail by now. You're lucky. I once wrote an e-mail to afriend that took up ten pages in Microsoft Word. I used 10pt font andI did it single-spaced. It was comprised mostly of long paragraphs with complex sentences that used shameless amounts of semi-colons, dashes, umlauts and other forms of punctuation that rarely see thelight of day.

I think it was about baseball, too, but I can't be sure.