Thursday, December 29, 2005

Taking the High Road on the Low Road

Oh boy. This is a tough one. I guess, fundamentally, it's a question of journalistic integrity. The blogger, as quasi-journalist, must examine each blog post to determine if it is ethically sound. The blogger has an obligation to the blog's mission statement, to the blog's readership. An obligation to present newsworthy or entertaining material.

Ours is an age where the legitimacy of real journalism is in question; an age where the mainstream media has failed to serve the public in its stated objective as watchdog over power. Be it Cokie Roberts gushing over men in uniform during a debate on whether to go to war; be it Dan Rather overcompensating for his pathetic statement on Letterman ("Bush is my president. Where he tells me to line up, I line up"), by rushing a less-than-air-tight piece on Bush's National Guard experience, inadvertently destroying the legitimacy of all reporting on that subject; be it the antics of Le Circus du Fair et Balanced; examples of the media's failure are many. Furthermore, it is an age where the peripheral media (the second tier of "legitimacy") has failed to produce anything remotely objective. The peripheral media, will of course, point out that there is no such thing as objectivity, that all perspectives are necessarily a point of view, either completely subjective or intentionally bastardized from their subjectivity in the interest of attaining the mythic moniker of objectivity. As if this argument excuses their naked agenda-pushing.

So where does the blogger stand in this mess? Without the pressures of journalistic legitimacy, the blogger is free to sift through that which floats across the web and pick out that which might be of interest to the blog's readership. Like the satirist dodging the constraints of truth by taking shelter in Comedy (and by calling Tucker Carlson a "dick"), the blogger dodges the constraints of legitimate journalism by taking shelter in selective dissociation with the institution of Journalism. This, of course, is bullshit. It is the kid who is shooting hoops and says "I'm not trying, I'm not trying, I'm not trying" every time he misses and then gets in your face and screams "BOO YAH!!" when he banks a lucky hook shot. You're either playing the game or you're not. You either take responsibility for your obligation as a purveyor of news or you don't. Well, my friends, I'm playing the game.

Now that I am putting myself out there and taking on the responsibilities of the journalist, I am brought back to my current dilemma and the myriad of questions it produces: is something newsworthy just because it exists? Am I a failure as a purveyor of the news if I do not pass something along because I find it to be in questionable taste? And if I don't pass such an item along, have I not chosen to project my ethics on you, the readers of Von Trapper Keeper? If I recognize the ethical problems with presenting some troubling material, does that mean I'm ignoring the ethical obligations inherent in journalism? Is it perhaps shoddy journalism to even have this debate, rather than to simply and dispassionately present the news? Well, there's a time for debate and there's a time for action. Here, without further ado, is a shocking article (with photo) regarding Rasputin's genitals from Do with this information what you will.

Stuart Davis, sports fan

In talking about his influences, Stuart Davis said, "Some of the things that I'm interested in are athletics, provided that I'm not the one doing them, ..." Go on, Stu, you crazy sports fan. In the same interview, Stu said that he started incorporating his signature in the composition of his pieces because he found the convention to be "an annoyance ... unessential ... an incongruity". Right on, Stu. Fuck that shit.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Seasons Greetings

Seas Greets from my bunker in the Von Trapper Keeper stronghold of Pittsfield Mass. I was going to post a nice little commentary on the media-created War on Christmas and the ACLU's involvement and how it undermined their credibility when they needed to be a strong voice in the debate over the NSA's spying which went public about a week later, but screw that. I was also going to present my analysis of the Damon deal which I have been silent about in this forum so far, but screw that. It's Christmas goddamnitall. In an effort to help everyone through the holidays, I'm just going to throw up a few funny clips that you may or may not have heard.

The first is for you fans of A Few Good Men (via

The second you may have seen over the past week. It's the Chroncles of Narnia rap from SNL (via

And the third is another SNL short. (via youtube).


Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Philosopher vis-a-vis The Blogger

The following is an excerpt from an email from my friend, Sparkles (all names have been changed to protect the identity of the players):

How's your holiday going? Oh - nevermind, I'll just read your blog.

Real conversation that recently transpired. Francisco and I were eating dinner at "Not Your Average Joe's" in Beverly and there was this table next to us with 10 college students having dinner. So we are totally eavesdropping on their convo and it turns out they are all philosophy majors and they want to argue theories at dinner...

FRANCISCO: What kind of asshole majors in Philosophy? What are you going to do, graduate and become a philosopher?
SPARKLES: Dan Nolan was a philosophy major.
FRANCISCO: Is he a philosopher?
SPARKLES: No, but he does have a blog.
OUR WAITER: Laughter

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Business Casual with a Bullet

My business casual days are numbered for sure, and if today is representative of those days it's going to be a fucking celebration and a half when I split this joint. My mood today was making the Misanthropy post seem downright chipper. Some bullet points:

- Like a shark can smell blood from miles away, Shark Hunter Guy can apparently pick up the scent of disparaging words floating in the World Wide Web. There had been a sharp decrease in SH comments after I posted about them (here and here). I even caught myself about to bait him once. But I got one today. The old standby: "shark hunter."

- Business Casual TODD (Tip Of Da Day): Contrary to popular belief, it is quite possible to be Business Casual whilst shaving every other day. Wear your nice shirt on the day you don't shave and it will cancel the scruff out. Let's review: Shaven + lower end of biz cazh = Unshaven + higher end of biz cazh.

- I may have angled myself into position to snag a severance package for my exit. It's not a done deal, so I don't want to jinx it, but we're right in the middle of a Reorg and I floated a little hypothetical question to my boss and he might be hooking me up. The tremendous upside: 10 weeks of pay and insurance. Now that's what I call an exit strategy. Tremendous downside: I need to work on seeing if I can make it sooner rather than later. They're still sorting out the Reorg and it might take a couple months for any layoffs to take effect. The plan had been to drop the Quit Bomb on January 2nd and have my absolute last day be Jan 24, allowing me to roll into my 33rd birthday, biz-cazh-free. You don't want to be schleppin for the man on the first day of your Jesus year. Hopefully he can swing this mid to late January or early February at the latest. Pushing it into March would make me consider saying fuck it and just quitting. Seriously, that's how much I need to leave this job. I'd think about turning down 10 weeks of full pay if it meant having to be there an extra month. I'm losing it. So, if I get the Sever, that means that I don't even have to get a part time job until Julyish. I'd also be eligible for Unemployment, but I'm not sure if I'd do that. On the one hand, I feel like if you're able minded and bodied, you shouldn't be leaning on Unemployment; on the other hand, we are under the rule of Bush the Lesser, and I'd be happy to contribute to higher unemployment while he's in office. Either way, the Sever would be fucking fantastic. Oh, shit. Did I just jinx it?

- I'm watching the new Deal Or No Deal prime time game show right now, hosted by ... that's right, the voice of the Gremlins ... Howie Mandell. It's unbelievably stupid. And therefore I love it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Von Trapper Keeper

The Sound of Music was on non-cable tv tonight and since it's one of the two namesakes of this weblog, I had to give it a good critical look so that I could write the definitive post. But, naturally, I switched the channel to catch the end of the Giants-Chiefs game during a commercial and missed the Maria Von Trapp's Meadow scene. Classic. Anyways, I'm not sure I've ever seen the movie in its entirety. A little heavier than I thought. I don't remember the whole Anschluss bit. Not exactly raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Also, am I the only one who thinks that Mother Abbess' version of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" upstaged all Julie Andrews' bits? She brought the house down. That's about all I have to say about the movie. This blog's more about her meadow anyways.

As for the Trapper Keeper, well, what can I say. Everyone loves a good TK. As a Mead product, it put food on the Nolan Family Table. In Googleimaging "trapper keeper", I came across the following:

The Keeper. Apparently, according to "the Tightwad Gazette: 'The Keeper® seems to me to be the most appropriate option for most women, especially women who work outside the home.'" I have no further comment on this.

The Merrillville School Supply List. Why is it that only 3rd Grade Honors and 4th Grade Non-Honors students are allowed, in fact required, to have Trapper Keepers while the rest of the school is forbidden from having Trapper Keepers?

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Chistm - err - Holiday Party

Oh shit. I mean, this is good. I need to write for a bit to forestall the photos. Just back from the Fidelity Xmas Gaaalaaaa. Sufficiently hammered. Some observations:

• Enough with the Cirque du Soleil thing. So 2004.

• “the short woman who let’s slip a sly, mischievous, little giggle every time she says hi” told me I’m one of her “favorite people in a company full of assholes”, seven glasses of Chardonay in. I, wasted, am humbled. By “short”, I mean 4 foot 8ish? This 60ish Irish-American woman, originally from Central Square, once punched out a kid who was messing with her brother. The kid she knocked out later went to prison for killing someone. This lady kicks ass.

• The food was … average. Ok, there was the make-your-own bruschetta, sliced prime rib, sushi, etc., but it was a little too heavy on the pizza stands, chicken fingers, etc. It’s not like the Glory Days of 2000, with the troughs of shrimp.

• What else … ummmm … tons of douchebags.

Ok. enough. Fido owns this town. Can they get the three New England Patriots’ Lombardi trophies for their party? Of course. Can they get me to drink excessively and pose with them? Also yes. Can … ah forget it. Enjoy:

Yeah. I thought I had reached new levels of photographic creepiness with the Detroit Stalker photo, but this is something else. It started out as a puffed out chest shot but the photographer took it slightly after the exhale and it ended up looking like a photo that would (will?) be photocopied and stapled to every telephone pole in town.

[a note on the sweater: this is my official 2005/06 winter party sweater, so get used to it. Two insults of note from my co-worker Bill: "Dan, Jim Henson called. He's going to need the sweater back" and "Does that sweater itch? Because it did when I threw it out." Nicely played, Bill. Kudos. And Kudos again]

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

And ... let's move on.

Okay. I think we can call that my first official Bad Santa moment of the season. My lousy (or "crummy" as my mother would say) mood ended shortly after that post, when I got into a conversation on the T with a nice kid who was in a wheelchair and had MS. Nothing like seeing someone gracefully deal with a tragic situation to make you realize what a wanker you are. So, I don't hate all people. Just Skip Bayless. He's still a douchebag.

I just received my official credentials for the annual Fidelity Investments holiday gala. "Party" just doesn't capture it. I'm going to guess that they drop about a million bucks on this 4 hour affair on an average year. Last year, Cirque Du Soleil was there. Yes. This is not your standard bottle-of-grey-goose-in-the-conference-room affair (which is fortunate since our principal AV engineer recently got canned for nailing the AV vendor rep on one of our conference room tables). This year I was delighted to find out that I had won the lottery for a coveted pair of tickets to the Fidelity Follies, a whimsical revue put on by fellow employees. Hottest tickets in town. Well, actually, I didn't win the lottery for tickets to the actual Follies. I won the lottery for tickets to the simulcast of the Follies, to be aired in a conference room next to the auditorium. Wonder how much I could get on eBay for these babies. Because I plan on drinking Sam Lights and eating prime rib and shrimp until I yak all over my elevated business casual attire.

(*standing on the coat check counter, !_! metalhorns thrust high in the air !_!*)

"Suck it, you muthafuckas!!"

(*falling backward into a pile of fur coats, passing out*)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


In the vein of one of my favorite communities from the increasingly less interesting Orkut, Misanthropy, I'd like to wax misanthropic for a minute. God, I fucking hate people. Is it the holidays? Is it this job? What is it. Why do they suck so bad. I had a 45 minute argument this morning with a "customer" immediately followed by a 45 minute argument with my boss about the argument.
And then I saw Max in South Station. In an apparent effort to get arrested so he'd have a reason to sue the cops, he started, at the top of his lungs, telling me his version of The Aristocrats, which included him smashing a clipboard over the head of a person who asked for his website, him doing unspeakable things to the man with the clipboard, while the man's family graphically fornicated with eachother. All this at typical Max volume, prompting a woman to come up to him and ask him if he knew how loud he was talking and if he knew that there were children around. I couldn't decide who I was more irritated by at that moment. Anyways, I empathize with this reader of Deadspin, who writes "Skip, I'd like to bash you over the head with this flaming crowbar covered in wasps". You're a douchebag, Skip Bayless. Go to hell.

ahhh. that's better.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

RIP, Richard Pryor

A comic giant. Richard Pryor was probably one of the 4 or 5 most influential comedians of all time. Needless to say, this mp3 from probably shouldn't be played at work: monkeys.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Brentmeister General

This is a post about Ricky Gervais. But first, here's an excerpt from Gary Cherone's website:

"Never content to sit still or simply recycle his considerable musical success, Cherone's new musical offerings showcase the face and voice of a true artist in his prime. Collaborating with the production team Nero, Cherone's new music is a distinctive hybrid of soul, pop, rock, and folk. Masterful arrangements pair smooth chord changes with a funky backbeat, all anchored by Cherone's unmistakeable voice. His sexy, heartfelt, and self-assured vocals are the audio equivalent of a match lit close to the ear: immediate, engaging and impossible to ignore. The artist tackles lyrical themes that have inspired him throughout his songwriting career: life experiences, relationships, desire, loss, and the complexities of the people we meet in this world. Gary summons all the soul of his superlative band, and conjures up the exuberance and intimacy of a great live performance in each track."

ok, now that the palette is cleansed, on to Mr. Gervais, the comic genius behind David Brent and The Office (BBC version). First the past: Thanks to the San Francisco chapter of Von Trapper Keeper for this dandy. Is it real? I don't know, but it's great. And second, the present: I came across this link the other day for a free download of the first of Ricky's podcasts. I may have to subscribe to this through iTunes.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Valerie and Eddie, a Timeline

Modern couples come and go. The broken family is practically a rite of passage these days. But through it all for generation X/Y, there has been one pair that has been the rock steady, the teflon tandem that made us believe that maybe solitude isn’t our collective destiny. Today I shed a solitary tear. Not for the suffering in Iraq, not for the piss-poor state of the Boston Celtics’ defense and rebounding, not for … other shit. Today my salty secretion (the tear) drips to mourn the split-up of Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen. From age 7 to 32, I looked to Valerie and Eddie for inspiration. Here is a little timeline of their time together and what was going on in my life and yours:

Val and Ed: Valerie meets Eddie backstage in Shreveport, LA.
Earth: A charismatic actor from California elbows his way past a benevolent peanut farmer to take over as leader of the free world.
Me: I get stuck in a chair while Mr. Murphy reads a story to my first grade class, and have to walk down the hall with a chair around my waist, past the 3rd graders, to the boiler room, where the janitor uses a welding torch to remove the chair.

Val and Ed: The lovebirds reach their career peaks (the final season of V-Bert’s “One Day at a Time” and Van Halen’s release of “1984”).
Earth: The Cold War reaches its bitchy peak, as Soviet Union withdraws from the summer Olympic Games in LA.
Me: I reach my geek peak, as my nutrition quiz team reaches the state finals and I discover Monty Python in the first of 20 some-odd viewings of Holy Grail.

Val and Ed: In his first attempt to lay off the bourbon, Eddie goes to rehab.
Earth: The Berlin Wall comes down.
Me: I win Junior Achievement President of the Year over my rival, Lance.

Val and Ed: Valerie gives birth to their only child, Wolfgang “Wolfie” Van Halen.
Earth: As apartheid ends in South Africa, Nelson Mandela is freed from prison.
Me: I graduate from high school and begin study at UMass.

Val and Ed: Eddie finally quits the sauce for good.
Earth: The Internet Architecture Board releases the Internet Official Protocol Standards and the US Supreme Court unanimously rules that most of the US Communications Decency Act (CDA) is unconstitutional. Porn proliferates like never before.
Me: I move into Pine Grove Trailer Park in Largo Florida and begin job as … “telemarketer”.

Val and Ed: After being diagnosed with tongue cancer, Eddie quits smoking, has a portion of his tongue removed, starts smoking again, and gets cancer again.
Earth: Y2K.
Me: The end of the Florida years, the beginning of the Boston years.

Val and Ed: Valerie files for divorce.
Earth: global strife.
Me: I work at a mutual fund company.

Welcome to the Club, Wolfie.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Arrested Development

After a long Monday at work (including the disturbing news that Saddam Hussein had a human meat grinder - *shudder*), I was delighted to find Arrested Development back on the air tonight. Definitely the funniest show on the tube these days. Well, the non-cable tube anyways. The few episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm that I've seen have cracked me up. I really hope that enough people start watching Arrested Development to convince Fox to keep it on the air. I mean that stupid Michael Rappaport show is profitable, but AD is not? It's enough to make you take a meat grinder to the American public. (too far?)

It's great to see Jason Bateman get his groove back too. And none too soon for me. Throughout my youth, I was told that I looked like a young Jason Bateman. But, more recently, I've been told that I evoke Norman Fell. I mean, how do you say something like that to a person? Nothing sparks an early onset mid-life crisis, like finding out you bear a resemblance to Mr. Roper. I mean, Ferley I could take. The man had style. But Stanley Roper drank warm milk before going to bed, for chrissake. If Arrested Development can stay on the air for another year or so, I may return to my Valerie's Family days form. Those were some days, right there!

(thanks to this place (?) for the roper art)

Friday, December 02, 2005


Apparently, there was a brief buzz about Derek Jeter moving from shortstop to center field, which came from a supposedly misinterpreted Joe Torre comment. I don’t want to regurgitate this whole article, since I agree with Bob Klapisch on most aspects of the whole situation. A few thoughts though: I think it would be a great idea. A-Scrod moves to his natural position at SS. They pick up or call up someone who can hit well and dump him in the less defensively challenging position of 3rd base (is Billy Mueller available? Is Drew Henson still alive?). And you get the ultimate gamer running your outfield. So, in a rovesque move, Torre accidentally floats the idea since you couldn’t really ask him to do it, and Jetes either goes for it or he doesn’t. I don’t blame him for not going for it, but just imagine if he volunteered to do it and seamlessly transitioned to a gold glove quality center fielder. His ultimate gamer status would be off the charts. You’d pretty much have to give him the MVP just for volunteering to do it.

Oh, that reminds me of some (and I know this is going to sound ridiculous) Jeter-doesn’t-get-enough-credit bitching I was doing yesterday to Dewy24 and Jimed (who apparently is neither a Blue Jays fan, nor a terrorist). Check out Jeter’s placement in the AL MVP voting in the 10 full seasons he’s played in MLB:

Year - Place in voting - First place votes
96 ---- didn't place ------- 0
97 ---- 24th -------------- 0
98 ---- 3rd --------------- 2
99 ---- 6th --------------- 1
00 ---- 10th ------------- 0
01 ---- 10th -------------- 0
02 ---- didn't place ------- 0
03 ---- 21st -------------- 0
04 ---- 13th -------------- 0
05 ---- 10th -------------- 0

In his entire career, only 3 voters (probably 2) thought he was the most valuable player in the AL. And you could only really say he was in the conversation once. But ask those same 28 voters who the MVP of the AL was over this 10 year stretch, and how many of them say Jeter? Now, I know the MVP game: it's all about the sexy stats and what Juan Gonzalez or whoever does in any given year, not the performance over a 10 year span. I'm just saying, has there ever been a player more valuable to a team as successful as the Yankees in a 10 year span and got less respect in MVP voting (and this is just for the AL, not league-wide like in the NBA)? If, for the sake of argument, you give him a 25 for the didn't place years, his average ranking in AL MVP voting is 14.7. It's a ridiculous award. As far as the actual award goes, there was zero question in any of the voters' heads about A-Rod being higher than Jeter in 2005, but I bet you there was also close to zero question about who was actually more valuable to the Yankees.

I also heard a rumor this morning that the Yankees may get Juan Pierre out of the Marlins fire sale. There’s your center fielder, there’s your leadoff man, allowing Jeter to stay at short and move back to his more natural 2 spot in the lineup. JP is a career .305 hitter with a career On Base Percentage of .355, which I’d like to be 30 points higher, but he’s good for about 50 stolen bases a year, which the Yankees could definitely use. He certainly killed us in the 03 Series. The rumor has the Yanks parting with Scott Proctor (good riddance) and someone else I don’t know. I like it.