Friday, December 22, 2006

The Tree

Happy happy joy joy and all that crap. See you on the other side.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Ring of the Wild

As a general rule, I despise the Ringtone Revolution. I don't want to hear your atonal approximation of Belle and Sebastian's latest single everytime you get a text message. And as much as I love to groove to Mark Morrison's Return of the Mac (that's my jam right there), I don't want to hear it beeping out of your pocket. And the only place I want to hear Dark Side of the Moon is blaring out of a jukebox in a dive bar - not from your cell in the grocery store line. Of course, I don't even have a cellphone so maybe I'm just a luddite with cellphone envy lashing out at what I can't have. But I don't think so. It's fucking annoying. How about we go back to a normal, decent sounding telephone ring?

Clearly, that's not going to happen. Ringtones appear to be here to stay. So, as an alternative, I'd like to suggest that you give the Ash Breasted Tit Tyrant a shot. Or perhaps you're more of a Rio Grande Leopard Frog type of person. Or maybe you want to represent H-Town with some Houston Toad action. H-Town BITCHES!! I would even suggest a Bare Shanked Screech Owl for some of my readers. Fortunately, our friends at the Center For Biological Diversity have made that possible through their new website, If you're going to annoy me, the least you could do is raise awareness about endangered species while you do it. Get yourself some Orca action. Me? I'm holding out for the Arroyo Toad, the toad that Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts famously called "hapless" in his efforts to undermine the Endangered Species Act and limit the reach of the Interstate Commerce Clause. Of course, first I'd have to get a cellphone.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Posting Frenzy Finale

If this is your first visit today, please note the multitude of posts that have appeared since this morning. I posted a lame video of Britney Spears drunk (her in the video, not me in the posting of it) because I didn't have time to post anything better. Kristin called me on it, so I started posting more to make a legit VTK day out of it. Now it's several hours later and I really need to get some work done, so this is the last one of the day and it will consist of me cleaning out all the garbage in my VTK Possible Posts file, which hasn't made it to publication yet. So, feel free to skip it. all of it. but here goes:

If you want to be distracted for 1 minute, watch this:

If you want to be distracted for 2 minutes: try this (

If you want to be distracted for 4 minutes: try this (SB)

If you want to be distracted by a sad story for the rest of the afternoon, read the 5 part series about NFL Hall of Famer Mike Webster's descent into mental illness and homelessness and it's likely connection to all the head trauma he incurred over the years in football.

If you want to feel slightly better about the story, read about the slight consolation of justice afforded to his family.

If you want to hear something Orwellian that I may or may not have posted about before, listen to this: the USDA is attempting to stop using the word “hungry" to describe people who are hungry. The new phrase is "food-insecure". People who live in hunger are now residing in "households with very low food security" – and there are 330 references using this lingo on the USDA website.

If you want to see a picture of the massive andouille sausage and broccoli omelette that I made myself last weekend, here it is.

If not, too bad.

If you want to stay informed on the situation in New Orleans post-Katrina, including the ways in which the Bush administration is using the tragedy as a sacrificial rat for their pet policies (sound familiar?), read this site.

If you want to be truly morally righteous: root for UMass tonight at 8 PM EST when they play in the Div 1-AA National Championship football game.

Have a great weekend, VTKids.

Clever Index Cards

The Friday Posting Frenzy continues:

I found this clever little blog through the nonist.

The Essien Strike

For you sports fans, here's the video of the insane goal by Essien in last week's Chelsea - Arsenal match. Pretty damn close to perfect.

Described here by longtime soccer journalist David Hirshey as a "surface to air missile". If you're not a Deadspin reader, check it out if only for the great articles on soccer by Hirshey.

Nietzsche Family Circus

The mother of excess is not joy, but joylessness.

This is probably old news, but if you click this link, you get to a random generator that pairs quotes from Friedrich Nietzsche with cartoon images from The Family Circus. It creates some pretty good results, like the above.

(thanks to SB for the tip)

Candy Pants

It's a Friday posting frenzy now.

(thanks to Trivmaster Carpetman for the tip)

Glenn Caperton

Britney Spears: Pea brain

God forbid someone film me when I'm drunk and babbling, but here's a funny clip of Britney Spears being a drunk moron anyways. She's geeking out a little so maybe she's on drugs. Either way, she's a pea brain:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

33 is 50

December 7th, 2006 - A unique day in history - Larry Bird turns 50 during my Larry Bird year. Coincidence? I think … so. Yes, probably. But notable, nonetheless. So this gives me the perfect opportunity to do my VTK Bird post, the second half of my obligation to comment on the two halves of the Jesus-LarryBird moniker of this year.

Larry Bird was not my first sports idol. That honor goes to Reggie Jackson, the Yankees’ slugger from the late 70’s and early 80’s (When I got my glasses and Yankees hat at age 8, I ran up to Father Callahan, who used to come to my house to give mass to my grandfather, and yelled, “Father Callahan, don’t I look like Reggie Jackson!?!?” That’s not really funny unless you know that Reggie was a mustachioed black man with an afro and I was a pale faced dork with a bowl cut). So, Reggie was my first sports idol, but Larry was unquestionably my biggest childhood sports idol. I idolized him in the true sense of the word – he was like a god in my mind. Hyperbole? Maybe a little, but not a lot. There were definitely times when he appeared ordained to make the big shot. To the point where it was shocking when he missed one with the game on the line. The best example of that was the shot he missed in the Garden against the Lakers in the 87 Finals after Magic’s mini-skyhook. The crowd, the teams, and the basketball world was stunned. The Lakers ran off the court like giddy bank robbers. Of course, context is everything, and that moment came at a point in time when the C’s were the reigning champs, Larry Legend had won the NBA MVP 3 years in a row, and he was one playoff series (10 days maybe?) removed from The Steal.

The Steal was probably the single greatest sports moment in my life. It came against the hated Detroit Pistons in game 5 of the best of 7 Eastern Conference Championship. The Pistons were up by 1 with possession of the ball, 3 seconds on the clock, poised to send the series back to Detroit with a 3-2 series lead. It seemed pretty hopeless to me as your 14 year old future VTK scribe lay awake in bed, in the dark, headphones on, listening to the iconic Johnny Most call the game. And then:

Now imagine that radio call in the dark. I nearly shit myself. I started yelling and jumping up and down. I didn’t see it until later, but that call by Johnny, that gravely voice. Wow. I’ve got goosebumps right now. “OH MY, THIS PLACE IS GOING CRAZY” I’m seriously getting choked up over here… Ok, I’m ok. Anyways, just an insane play by Bird in a seemingly hopeless situation.

There are also great stories about his game winning shots. My favorite is the one that Xavier McDaniel told about a game in which the Celtics were tied and had the ball coming out of a timeout with a few seconds on the clock. Larry Bird walked up to him and told him what he was going to do and where he was going to shoot the game winner from. He then proceeded to do exactly what he told him and hit the shot from where he said he would, in XMan’s face, to win the game.

And then there was the Three Point Contest in which Larry walked into the locker room beforehand and asked the other contestants “who’s playing for second?” Then he went out and, needing one more basket to win, he shot the last ball on the rack, put his finger in the air and walked away as the ball fell through the net:

That's why they call him Larry Legend. I mean, in your fucking face, walking away with his finger in the air. Bam. Quintessence. He didn't even take his warm-up jacket off!

What else to say about # 33, Larry Bird? So many memories: the 60 point Atlanta game (called by current Yankees radio announcer John Sterling, btw) where the Hawks were falling off the bench in awe; the playoff game against the Pacers when he left the game with a concussion after smacking his head against the floor and then ran down the aisle ala Willis Reed and torched them in the 2nd half; the 92 Olympics Dream Team game when he grabbed a rebound threw the outlet pass to Magic who drove the ball to the hoop before throwing a no-look pass behind him to a trailing Bird who nailed the 3 pointer. That’s Larry Legend, or Basketball Jesus as the Sports Guy calls him. I guess I’ll leave it with his career stats for the VTK record (Career averages of 24.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 6.3 apg, .496 FG%, .376 3P%, .886 FT%; 3 rings, 3 MVPs, 9 All-NBA first team selections) and a youtube clip of the NBA Superstars music video from back in the day.

Happy 50, Larry.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Movie Remake Boycott / VTK Actor Curse Post

As the title would suggest, this post is about my boycott of movie remakes and the curse I'm putting on the actors who star in them. When a movie is done really well and an actor creates an iconic character, why would you possibly want to remake that movie and role? Well, obviously it's because of the money. It's certainly not because of some imitation is the highest form of compliment bullshit. The remaking of movies is a disturbing trend in Hollywood. I can somewhat understand it if the story can be told better through the use of modern special effects, but that's really the only excuse. And what's more annoying is that it's not even like the actors who are remaking these roles are unknown or struggling actors who are doing it to launch their careers. These movies and roles are being remade by actors (and directors) who are accomplished in their own right and have created iconic characters of their own. Specific examples of what I'm talking about include Steve Martin attempting to remake Peter Seller's Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther, Johnny Depp reprising Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Billy Bob Thornton redoing Walter Matthau's Coach Buttermaker in Bad News Bears. Adam Sandler redoing Burt Reynold's Paul Crewe in the Longest Yard isn't in the same category, but still worthy of mention. The two most egregious offenses are clearly the Steve Martin and Johnny Depp crimes. Why the fuck would you ever even consider playing the role of Inspector Clouseau or Willy Wonka after what Sellers and Wilder did with those roles? We're talking about two titans of comedy, two geniuses who created two of the most memorable characters in the history of film.
It's so offensive that I've decided to boycott the remakes of these movies. Furthermore, I am putting a curse on the actors that they must watch inferior actors play their signature characters. May Freddie Prinze Jr redo The Jerk, may Haley Joel Osment remake Edward Scissorhands (this would double as revenge on Tim Burton), and may Ryan Phillipe play the guy in Sling Blade.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tom Waits

Tom Waits has a new album out, which means that he's popping up everywhere to promote it. He's going to be on the Daily Show tonight, was reportedly on NPR, and did this interview, in which he reveals the only two things that you can legally throw out of a moving vehicle in the United States.

My favorite Tom Waits story is one I heard him tell Letterman several years ago: He was driving around doing the Saturday errands with his kids and some of their friends (all around 8 to 10 years old), when they decided they wanted to stop by the record store. He was not in the mood to deal with fans, but caved in anyways. When he walked into the store, no one noticed him. So he stood by the Tom Waits section and still no one seemed to know who he was. Mildly surprised, he left with the kids and they went to the Dump to drop off some trash. As soon as they pulled in, the employees were like “Hey! It’s Tom Waits!”

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cranapple Acorn Squash

You’ve probably already headed off to your Thanksgiving Day destinations or cooked up your own tasty menus for the big meal, but here’s a recipe for this or future feasts:

Cranberry Apple Pistachio Acorn Squash

  • 2 cups of chopped fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups of chopped apples (cortland or similar)
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 acorn squash
  • 1 cup of chopped/minced pistachio nuts
  • salt, pepper, olive oil

  1. preheat oven to 350, pour tall glass of Jamesons on the rocks
  2. cut ends off squash, cut in half, remove seeds
  3. grease up them squash, salt and pep em up
  4. place squash face down in pans, bake for 35 minutes
  5. chop up crannies and apples and mix with brown shug and butter
  6. flip squashies up and stuff with mix, cook 15 minutes
  7. top with chopped/minced pistachios, pour tall glass of Jamesons on the rocks.
  8. enjoy or chill for tomorrow

Monday, November 20, 2006


You've probably seen this or heard about it by now, but if you haven't actually seen it, check it out. It's even worse than it sounds in the news reports. Michael Richards was doing a stand up gig, some black guys started heckling him and he made a lynching reference and then started busting out the n-word. It seems like he just lost it, said something remarkably stupid and then decided his only way out would be to go all the way over the top. And it just spiraled from there. Definitely not safe for work:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Not So Much More-atorium

Enough with the "not so much". I've always disliked the phrase, but I'm growing to detest it on a loathing, hate curdling, rage brewing, bile regurgitating level. Whereas it was once found mostly in the realm of pop culture and entertainment, it is now ubiquitous - a constant refrain in the realms of sports, politics, music, and everywhere else that VTK treads. Of course, there is an article devoted to its origin, which suggests:

Though the phrase has become widely identified with [Daily Show host John] Stewart, it appeared on several other television shows dating back to the early 1990s, including "Mad About You" and "Friends." But it didn't achieve widespread popularity until the beginning of the current decade, when it began to appear on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Boy, what a fucking legacy. Born from the loins of the comic geniuses Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, raised by the populist quirks from Friends and the powder puff bad ass, Sarah Michelle Geller, and now spread to the world by the increasingly not funny (and never really that funny, to be honest) John Stewart.

So the VTKid (I'm trying that new name on; came up with it last night when duffless mentioned I had a quick trigger on the comments), the VTKid is throwing down a moratorium on use of the phrase in question. I'm not sure what that means, but it definitely means that there will be repurcussions for using it within the VTK. I'm not sure what that means, but it probably means a scolding for the first offense, a severely stern warning for the second, a suspension for the third, and a lifetime ban for the fourth. And if you're thinking you've got 3 to waste before you get the bounce, think again. The VTKid don't play. And if you think giving myself a name like the VTKid and delivering free-speech-limiting ultimatums in a frivolous blog is akin to topping off the old hubris tank in preparation for a shark jump, you haven't seen the t-shirts yet. Now that's ridiculous. But VTK is about nothing if it's not about sugar coated delusions of grandeur, wrapped in prosciutto, and dipped in gumbo.

Other tid-bits:

on the recent election - many people (VTKid included) commented on how many of the Dems elected were pretty conservative and cited VA's Webb as an example. But check out this op/ed by Webb in the Wall Street Journal today, tipped and commented on by Kos. Work it, Webby. I love the attention to minimum wage in the election and its aftermath. It's even led to editorial comment within the sports pages (1/3way down), where writers tend to stay apolitical in order to not alienate readers.

on the stove - speaking of gumbo, check out this brilliantly easy way to make a passable gumbo: heat 2 punctured andouille sausages in 1/2 inch of water, save water, slice up sausages and return to water with a can of minestrone soup, reheat. serve. it's not gumbo, but it's fairly close and damn tasty for about $3.

on the random - Hoogerbrugge - probably the last cool thing I found through Screenhead (months ago). If you're bored and looking for some internet diversion, check out these great little twisted interactive animations: the neurotica series, and the website/blog (see the animation, nails, and prostress sections). I wouldn't recommend looking at these things for more than an hour though. There's your entertainment, duffless.

(images by Hoogerbrugge on this post from top to bottom: botoxer, pin-up, fuck death, barber)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monkey Portraits

I'm so disgusted with the Celtics right now that I need to post something so that I won't have to see their uniform everytime I open up VTK. There's only one way I can work through a rage like this: via monkey portraits.

Much better. Pretty outstanding photography by Jill Greenberg. More here. Thanks as always to the nonist for the tremendous tip.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It was a good day.

My live blog yesterday included a smattering of Hoosiers references. Great movie. Great day. So was it irony, poetry, or coincidence that I was sitting in the Boston Celtics home arena watching the C's when I heard that CNN was calling VA for the Dems? I don't know, but Jimmy Chitwood hit the shot that gave Hickory High their improbable championship, and my main man, the A-10's own, Delonte West nailed the bucket at the buzzer in OT to win the Celtics their first game of the season. You may remember Delonte Caliente from his Valentine's Day overtures, but he can ball too. You know if Pierce had any chance in hell at a shot he would have taken it and missed, as he did in regular time, but he kicked it out to Delonte and A-10 homeboy knocked it down as the red lights lit up the backboard. We'll discuss how pathetic it was for the C's to require 35 pts from Pierce and Wally (1st time 2 C's did that in 19 yrs), a triple double from Gomes, and the buzzer beater from West to overcome Doc Rivers' mystical line-up/sub strategy and beat the lowly Bobcats at home. But not now. Great fucking day. Kiss my ass, Charlotte.

(the ESPN call noted a VTKesque prediction by Cousy on the shot and the ESPN anchor saying that "this isn't Cousy's first rodeo". nice)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Midterms - Live Blogging

[update: all morning-after coverage will proceed in the comments. I'm still on the lookout for a picture of Rick Santorum's son crying, so this one of his daughter crying will have to do for now. update 2: check out the bird on picture 3]

fuck it. I'm live blogging this fucker.

7:46 - Down goes Blackwell. The architect of the 04 Ohio Bush win gets his comeuppance. With 6% of precincts reporting, Allen 57, Webb 43. With 7% reporting, Allen 54, Webb 46. Virginia has very disparate districts, so we don't know where those precincts are from. Hopefully they're from the Southern part of the state. update - at 10% reported it's Allen 55. If Webb loses this race to Macaca, we can pretty much kiss the Senate pipe dream goodbye. I think we'd have to win TN and MO and possibly AZ, if Virginians decide that they like calling colored people monkeys.

7:55 - ok, now I'm bored...

8:00 - 16 more states just closed their polling, including MA. Did Deval Patrick win by the predicted landslide and become the first African-American governor of Massachusetts. Oh shit! Ted Kennedy just got re-elected! I can't believe it. Live blogging is so much fun. Snowe and Byrd won (of course) and Nelson beat Kitty Harris (00 FL Bush architect gets comeuppance!)

8:01 - 23% of precincts in VA - Allen 49, Webb 50!

8:08 - exit polls look favorable, but we know how that goes... waiting... waiting... will the Stem Cell vote turnout enough McCaskill voters ... aw yeah, the AK is following the live blog! Welcome.

8:14 - holy crap - 32% of VA reporting, Macaca up by a scant 700 votes. I'm predicting a recount with the Senate hanging in the balance ... could be a long night.

8:22 - goddamn it. I wish I had made my burritos before I started live blogging. how am i going to do this... Dem's just got the 1st of their 15 needed pick ups in the House: Ellsworth in Indiana. he's a wanker, but will stand with the Dems so that's something.

8:29 - Deval Patrick wins! MA has a Dem Governor!!!! Shocking that that's shocking.

8:30 - regardless of the outcome of the VA election, I will provide footage of me spanking a girl in TN. Unfortunately, that footage is in the hands of someone who is in Amsterdam right now. so that might take a while.

8:40 - CNN predicting Menendez (D) to win the Senate seat in NJ. phew. At least we didn't blow that one... Looks like my boy Capuano's running away with it over the Socialist challenger... Racist 56, Black Man 43 with 4% reporting in TN...

8:41 - bt-dubs, the spanking update was in response to a comment in the comments section. there are literally thousands of you following this live blog so I can't respond to all comments right now. other updates: I'm firing on maximum efficiency right now. I managed a bathroom break and managed to get my burrito mix in the microwave. I'll be shredding cheese over my laptop, so please excuse any misspellings... 55% reporting in VA and Macaca's up 50 to 49.

8:46 - Schumer just said that he has been told that much of Northern VA hasn't been counted yet ... sucks about your ordeal there, Duffless. I got bounced when I voted in the primary, but fortunately I'm unemployed so I was able to make it in plenty of time.

8:50 - Brown (D) wins Senate race in OH. That's one Senate seat swiped (swope?) from the GOP... and Daily Kos is calling for Casey (D) in PA, but I thought they were extending the polls there. dunno... if so, that's 2 of the necessary 6 pickups in the Senate... speaking of which, I wonder if Dick Cheney shot anyone today...

9:02 - Down goes Rick Santorum!! Suck it, scumbag. CNN being much more cautious than Kos, obviously. Hillary wins... Stabenow (d) wins in MI. That's not totally unexpected, but key. Kos reported that GOP dumped a load of cash into that race.

9:12 - Klobuchar holds in MN. That's 3 key holds. Waiting on MD. Racist Corky beating Ford 53-46 with 11 reporting in TN. Mizzou starting to come in - tied. VA is the big one though: 68% reporting, Allen 50, Webb 49 - by about 4000. Lieberdouchebag is winning 50-40-10 in CT... and fuck, they just called it for Lieberdouchebag. What a douchebag.

9:20 - Jennifer Granholm re-elected governor in MI. Now, first and foremost, lest I be labled a sexist, let me just say that she's an intelligent, charismatic, leader and a very worthy governor. So, regardless of her looks, she's a super person and I'm glad she won. ... and she's a hottie.

9:22 - MD holds! Cardin (D) wins his senate seat. so the Dems didn't screw up any of the races they were supposed to win. now they need to get 2 out of VA, TN, MO, AZ.

9:31 - Mehlmen is claiming Northern VA has already voted. but he would. Whitehouse beat Chafee in RI taking that seat for the Dems. Chafee was as good as it got as far as GOP Senators went, but at the end of the day, he's GOP. Ciao Chaf... Dems picked up a few more seats in the House too (KY,IN).... Brian has confirmed it: Granholm's a hottie.

9:43 - burrito update - the cheese is shredded, the mix is warmed and the tortillas are sitting on the counter. another update: I just ran into the living room and giddily yelled "who let the Dems out! who who who who who!" Premature giddiness + confusing chant = ? ... we're down 30k votes in VA and TN with 85% and 35% reporting respectively...

9:50 - Who let the dog-eared ladies out in Cambridge?

9:57 - It's getting crowded here in Tryst. Who knew there were so many other bloggers here.

10:08 - polls closing in MT... a Tester win could be huge... I just finished assembling the burritos; still need to do the last reheating session ... Need 3 wins out of VA, TN, MO, MT, AZ, NV. and 12 house seats. still no word on whether Cheney shot anyone today...

10:14 - No word yet on the fate of former Pittsburgh Steeler star receiver and current GOP PA gubernatorial candidate, Lynn Swann. Loved you on the field, Swanny, but I'm going to have to cut you loose on this one ... Web down by 25k with 89 reported. CNN just showed a precinct around Richmond which was very blue in 04 that hadn't reported...

10:20 - Anyone know why Jeb Bush didn't run for re-election? Crist (R) won that race... damn. CNN is showing a lot of these house races as very close ... Burritos are on the plate and delicious...

10:35 - Sean is sitting across the room from me and found out that I was eating my burritos through this live blog. that's what I'm talking about. and that ain't no macaca... Dems picked up 5 house seats so far. need 10 mo'... Bigmouth Dink Kerry is introducing Deval Patrick to the nation on live tv (CNN) right now.

10:49 - Kos has us picking up 8 seats in the House so far. Unfortunately, he's also has "civil unions taking a pounding", reminding us how many closed minded assholes there are all over this country... CNN claims Shuler (D) wins in NC, which would be 9 seats down, 6 to go.

10:59 - Kos and CNN both have the D's picking up 10 now and Negron is conceding as we speak, which brought attention to the fact that the guy who was on the ballot for the GOP, Mark Foley, is still in rehab for alcohol, which led me to opine "he probably didn't want to come out until after the election". No pun intended. ba dump bump. So they're at 11 now. House is looking like a lock at this point. Still no update on VA, TN, and MO senate races - it's been 45 fucking minutes. what is this bullshit? They just called Murphy (D) from CT for Dems, making it 12, but "10" according to Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper. idiots. The boys and girls here at Tryst are going bananas. Also, Daniel Akaka just won in HI, which led to an unbearable silence waiting for Sean's mandatory Macaca joke.

11:03 - 3 more pickups by CNN's count. so that's 8. schmucks.

11:08 - Between CNN and Kos cross-analysis, we've picked up the 15 in the House!!

11:09 - CNN calls the 15. (one minute behind VTK. kiss my ass, Wolf)

11:17 - Good tip, Brian. I just switched the tube to the Daily Show's live broadcast and am following on and kos. Not looking good for the senate. Allen still up by 20 or 30k with pretty much all reporting. Corker up in TN by 55k and 3% pts with 82 reporting and Talent up in MO by 65k and 6% pts with 42 reporting. Even if Tester wins in MT, it's unlikely that they'll win 2 of those races and/or AZ/NV. Winning the Senate would require a Hoosiersesque ending. Come on, Jimmy Chitwood!!

11:18 - Dan Rather's on the Daily Show. I wonder if he's going to cry and/or say "wherever my president wants me to line up, I'll line up".

11:24 - from this VA General Election site, that race is wicked close: with 97.26% reporting, it's Allen 49.55 to Webb 49.24. 8k votes.

11:29 - 97.42% reporting the difference is down to 0.21%. crazy close.

11:47 - 97.67% reporting, Allen 49.47 to Webb 49.33, about 3k votes. RECOUNT!!! (unless Webb makes the comeback).

Midnight - 99.10% reporting, Allen 49.43 to Webb 49.36, 0.07% difference, under 2k votes out of 2.3 million. Motherfucking recount up in that motherfucker. gotta be. Meanwhile, Tester is winning in MT, so if MO or TN somehow swung Dem, the recount would decide the Senate. ... as I predicted at 8:14 PM EST.

12:09 - now CNN has Webb up on Allen by exactly the same margin as that site has Allen up on Webb. don't know what to think. - check that - they have Webb up by 2500 votes on CNN now.

12:51 - Webb still up 2300 votes and apparently the count is going on until tomorrow. McCaskill just took the lead in MO, but it's almost as close as VA. They just called TN for Corker the Racist. Tester is up 10% in MT with 1/3 reported... The VTK Live Blog session just passed 5 hours... from Kos: "Get ready for a bloody recount in VA. MO is looking great, and MT is looking good. Control of the Senate will come down to Virginia. I'm calling it for Webb right now."

1:42 - yowserino. this thing is going down to the wire. and I'm getting a headache. Tester is losing his lead precinct by precinct with 59% reporting. McCaskill is widening her lead (84 reporting), but it won't matter if Tester doesn't hold on - well, it matters obviously, but they won't have a shot at winning the Senate and, more importantly, validating my prediction and my suggestion that a Senate win would be Hoosieresque. Right now, Tester is like the little blond guy making the free throws at the end of the semifinal. C'mon lil buddy. You can do it...

2:30 - well, I told myself that I would call the coverage at 2:30, so this is it for the live blogging. They've called the victory for McCaskill in MO. With 99.63% of the VA precincts reporting, Webb is up 1,167,053 (49.56%) to 1,159,238 (49.23%) over Macaca. Since it is under 1% difference, the recount will be on. They'll be counting provisional ballots and this thing won't be over for another few weeks, but 8000 is a pretty big lead to go into a recount with. So, it's down to Tester in MT. He's leading with 72% reporting - 7k votes and 3% points - and James Carville said that his people expect that lead to hold. I'm going to bed.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Midterm Eve Anxiety

I'm too nervous/jinx-conscious to write a full post on tomorrow's Midterm elections. But I did want to pass on this delicious photo of Bush energizing the base from Wonkette. Also, for those of you (me) without HBO, you can download/watch the Hacking Democracy special from Google Video. Please, America. Please vote these dirty bastards out in margins that are great enough to overcome their cheating.

[update: Daily Kos came out with it's predictions here. Pretty optimistic, though he's obviously conscious of the fact that media and politicos all over the country are interested to hear what he predicts, so that may skew his real thoughts.]

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Bicentennial, Cocktail!

According to the Boston Globe, our old friend Cocktail is celebrating its bicentennial this year. I guess it's good that I just found out with only two months left in 06 because this knowledge almost certainly would have caused a spike in my cocktail intake (pun intended). On the history of the cocktail, the article points out the following:

Theories abound about the origin of the word "cocktail," but this year is the bicentennial of its debut in print. In 1806, an editor of the Balance and Columbian Repository wrote in response to a reader’s inquiry about the word, "Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters." He then described it as an "excellent electioneering potion," something politicians might use to sway voters.

Cue Kennedy joke.

In honor of the cocktail, and assuming that Jameson's on the rocks is not technically a cocktail, I give you the VTK Top Ten Cocktail List:

10. Ward Eight - Never heard of it until today but it's from Boston, so it makes my Top Ten. Sounds delicious.
9. Prairie Fire - adding hot sauce to a shot of tequila sounds like an absolute disaster waiting to happen - and often it is - but fuck if it doesn't work out quite nicely.
8. Pina Colada - the one daquiri/fruity type drink to make my list. coconut, pineapple, and rum - brings back fond memories of the south shore of Puerto Rico.
7. Bloody Mary - there's only a couple very specific instances in which the Bloody Mary hits my spot: on airplanes and when I wake up on the floor of a house on Cape Cod.
6. Long Island Iced Tea - a devastating punch to the yarbles. a fave from the Florida days.
5. Irish Cah Bomb - Murphy's in Providence makes a great Cah Bomb, but remember: there's a 2 Cah Bomb limit.
4. Greyhound - I'm not a huge fan of vodka or grapefruit juice, but put them together and you can't argue with a Greyhound as far as summer drinks go.
3. Mojito - The Cuban classic. I also suggest the Nolito, a variation in which the sugar and water is decreased a tad and replaced with ginger ale.
2. Gin and Tonic - For some reason, I always feel better about myself when I'm drinking G and T's. I suppose it's the alcohol. Dunno.
1. The Highball - whiskey and ginger ale. what's better than that.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Arnold "Red" Auerbach passed away at the ripe old age of 89 on Saturday. Red was synonymous with the Boston Celtics, and the NBA really, for 60 years. He was the coach of the Washington Capitols for the NBA's first season in 1946. In 1950, he signed on with the C's and has been the czar ever since as coach, GM, and president. As coach, he won 938 games and 9 championships; as GM/President, he was instrumental in all Celtics' wins and championships since. As Shaughnessy put it in his article today, "the old saying was that Red was playing chess while the rest of the coaches and GMs were still playing checkers". The old man will be missed. See full coverage by the Boston Globe here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Anniversary Von Trapper Keeper

Seems like a lifetime ago. Or at least a year. One year ago today, I kicked off the Von Trapper Keeper experience and, well, it's been a ride befitting Mr. Toad himself. There were 160 posts, including plenty of lively discussion from all you Von Trapper Keeperites in the comments sections. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the year (excluding all references to J____ McG__ and The New York Yankees - no need to plunge us into unnecessary negativity). Happy Birthday, VTK:

- First Post – Wine Cork Push Pin Alligator - This guy's been holding down the back end since day one. Kudos to you, sir. And Kudos again.

- Detroit Stalker - The first in a series of creepy photos of me. Some people just are not photogenic. And that's ok.

- The Other Dan Nolan Chicago Portrait Painter - This dude's been trying to steal some of my glory. I tried to hunt him down on my recent trip to Chi-town but he evaded me.

- And who can forget The Shark Hunter Guy from my Fido days. kinda miss that guy. detailed:
------ here
------ here
------ here
------ and the book of job section of here.

- Valerie and Eddie – A Timeline - One of my personal favorites.

- Creepy Photo Two - Not uncreepy.

- Journalist vis-a-vis Blogger

- Philosopher vis-à-vis Blogger

- The effortless elegance of Maria Von Trapp's Meadow and the austere functionality of a Trapper Keeper. Updates on the namesakes:
------ here
------ and here

- The Jesus Larry Bird Year - Dan's going to hell.

- Shepherd Nails - definitely.

- Fat Guy In A Little Batman Suit - What's to explain?

- Steelers Win The Super Bowl - Just a reminder since they're clearly not going to win again this year.

- YouTube played a prominent role in VTK’s rise to power. One of my favorite random finds was this one. And of course, there was this one.

- Creep.3 - Would you let this man past security?

- Dude v Cart - Always on the cutting edge, VTK was the first major media outlet to publish the cult classic, Dude v Cart, starring yours truly.

- Cambyland - VTK's pub trivia team nearly duplicated this epic comeback last night. Sadly, we came up 2 points short. Even sadder, the waitress skipped me on the last round of the night. What was she thinking. Know your clientele, dear. The scruffy guy with the fat Irish face wants another beer too.

- Warnock’s Dilemma, A self-conscious rant about the forum nature of online crap, aka Dan Has Too Much Time On His Hands.

- Anne Frank – The Lost Pages – For a while, Screenhead was a fountainhead of genius clips. Now it’s a lame-o movie/tv review site. One of my favorites from the Good Ol’ Days was this failed pilot, which YouTube apparently removed, but can still be found HERE.

- Adieu YouTube – Speaking of YouTube removing clips, there was a time 4 months ago when you could document an entire tv series on your blog by using random videos from people's YouTube accounts, like this, but now they done gone all google (owner of blogger/blogspot too) and we can’t publish this quality programming any more. That's a shame.

- VTK also provided an entire month’s worth of exhaustive World Cup coverage. I won’t recount it all in detail, but I will link to my two favorite Argentine goals: here and here. Viva Gauchos!

- Sweet Curry Chicken - There’s only been one recipe post so far, but I’m planning on posting more in the future.

- The Evolution Post - A classic VTK crackpot theory.

- Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy - The first VTK affiliated graphic novel, coming soon.

- There have even been a couple reader’s stories that are so good that they warrant their own post. Keep 'em coming, kids.

- VTK also dabbled in political discussion, including this post about the (then-imminent, now-actualized) abolition of the writ of habeas corpus by our shameful, shameful government. Shame on you fucking cowards.

- But let's not dwell on politics; let's focus on Japanese game show videos like:
----- Silent Library.
----- Ignore The Guys In Black

Quite a year. Thanks to all you readers who have helped shape the VTK. Barring any further legal action from Reginald Luchetti, VTK will continue to bring you entertaining and educational content with effortless elegance and austere functionality. Hasta La VTK Siempre!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006

Reporters Without Borders just came out with their annual global freedom of press rankings, and it's not looking good for the Ol' US of A which slipped into a tie for 53rd with Botswana, Croatia, and Tonga. Upon hearing the news, The Tonga Kid phoned Sergeant Slaughter, to gauge his interest in forming a tag team for the WWE Senior Tour. For the third year in a row, the lads and lasses in Ireland were ranked # 1. Fair play to ye. Also of note to some VTK readers:

8. Switzerland
10. Portugal *
14. Belgium
16. Canada
35. Bulgaria
50. Israel
58. Hong Kong
70. Burkina Faso
76. Argentina
115. Venezuela **
119. USA (extra-territorial)
132. Mexico
168. North Korea (ranked the worst)

* While Portugal should be commended for jumping 13 spots to a tie for 10th, it should be noted that they slipped to 168th place in the freedom of non-dirty soccer players index.
** Venezuela dropped to 115th, though RWB notes in their regional breakdown that "the consequences of the 'media war' between supporters and opponents of president Hugo Chavez persist". The rankings are based on questionnaires "sent to partner organisations of Reporters Without Borders (14 freedom of expression groups in five continents) and its 130 correspondents around the world, as well as to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists." And the media has a long-standing war with Chavez, so you have to wonder how objective their questionnaires are. I don't say that to blindly defend Chavez' gov't, but it's certainly a consideration. That's probably an issue in many other countries' media's responses as well. Are the US media respondents exagerrating their scores as retaliation for 6 years of Bush Administration media bullying? Dunno.

This is unrelated, but it's about politics, I don't feel like doing a separate post for it, and it's certainly worth mentioning. Daily Kos is reporting (circa Washington Post) that, due to some "computer glitch", George "Welcome to America, Macaca" Allen's opponent's name got cut off on the electronic ballot and there isn't time to rectify it. So, voters in Northern Virginia will now be left to decide between George Allen, who is desperately trying to lose this election by being an enormous ass, and James H. "Jim" instead of James H. "Jim" Webb. The Webb campaign is "uhappy" about it but doesn't think it can be "remedied" by election time. Are you fucking kidding me? What? Put aside all the outrageousness and obvious illegality of this for a second. Here's a quick little solution I came up with: how's about dropping the 5 character "Jim" in favor of your 4 character last name. Seems like that would be the more important name to have on the ballot.

[CLARIFICATION UPDATE from the Post article: Although the problem creates some voter confusion, it will not cause votes to be cast incorrectly, election officials emphasized. The error shows up only on the summary page, where voters are asked to review their selections before hitting the button to cast their votes. Webb's full name appears on the page where voters choose for whom to vote.]

And definitely unrelated but notable nonetheless is the revelation that Troy Polamalu has 3 legs. Certainly explains why he covers more ground than anyone since Rod Woodson in his prime.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tale of Two Cities

My foray into the Heartland concluded with stops in two of the United States’ finest cities, both ranking in the middle digits of my top ten, Chicago and Nashville, aka Delicious and Delicious. The former I’d been to, in fact it’s where I started; the latter I enjoyed for the first time. I’ll try to avoid the then we went here, then we went there, narrative style but that’s the way it goes in short visits to big cities.

That Toddlin’ Town

The Ole Man lived here for 15 years and loves to go back, so it was to good to get him out of duck hunting country and back to the pavement. And I was definitely itching for some city. As soon as we made it to the city, we popped in an IHOP for a restroom/coffee stop and as we were leaving I witnessed a [note: I’m about to stereotype a guy in a story about stereotyping] classic mustachioed Chicago white guy explaining to a cop that he was “just trying to keep our country safe”. The cop then asked the young arab-american looking guy his side of the story and he started explaining how he was just waiting to be seated with his sister and girlfriend when this guy started staring them down. I was outraged at this apparent racist incident that I was witnessing, but then we heard on the radio that there was a rash of incidents in North Chicago in which Arab-Americans were starting food fights in IHOPS. This type of terrorist mischief cannot stand. Not only do they hate our freedoms, they hate our pancakes. Kudos to you Mr. Mustache for pre-empting another possible pancake attack.

Moving on, we found the famed Wrigley Field (2nd oldest ballpark in the US), had a Goose Island Honker’s Ale at Murphy’s, and wandered around Wrigleyville, which is a very cool area to surround a ballpark. That must be a great place to hang out before, during, and after Cubs games. I’m going to have make a road trip to watch A-Rod play there next year – for the Cubs. (Please, please, please, Sweet Lou, make it happen. For old times’ sake. Give us Zambrano.) The rest of the trip consisted of a series of places that I would recommend and am happy to describe in more detail if anyone should so desire:

- Portillo’s Italian Beef
– Pat’s style beef with gravy soaked bun and peppers instead of the cheese wiz and onions.
- State Street – great street
- Billy Goat Tavern – home of Belushi “Cheeseborger” SNL skit, origin of Billy Goat Curse on Cubs, located under the Tribune, watering hole of 75 years of Chicago reporters
- O’Neil’s Bar and Grill – the JJ Foley’s/Hugo’s of Chicago, 152 East Ontario St off of Michigan Ave.
- Twin Anchors – Frank Sinatra’s rib and steak joint in North Chicago. No wait, reasonable prices, good atmosphere, tasty vittles.
- The Original Pizzeria Uno – actually I realized I’m not crazy about deep dish pizza, but this would be the place to go if one were.

Love Chicago. Great town. Toddlin for sure. Check out the 1973 Presidential Inauguration parking sign hanging in my bar, O'Neil's - 5 miles away from the hospital I was born in, dated 5 days before my birth, referencing the biggest Inauguration protest in history. All that and they serve Goose Island IPA on tap. Love O'Neil's.


I’ve never been big into country music itself (though it’s influence on many bands I like is clear), so I never figured to go to Nashville. I would have thought that I would have gone to the more blues based Memphis to pop my Tennessee cherry, but a girl I once dated introduced her friend to my friend and then three or four years later, there I was for the wedding. And I gotta say, I like that town. It’s a classic example of the progressive, artsy community that forms like a pearl in response to the irritating parasitic Christian Red State South (also see St. Petersburg FL, Austin TX, and I’ve heard, Athens GA). After meeting a bunch of family, we went to a great little vintage store named Katy K’s to get some country gear. I purchased my first real belt buckle. It’s pretty much the best. Later in the weekend a Nashvillian asked me if we were making fun of Nashville by wearing our gear or giving props. I assured her that there was no making-fun involved; we’re just tremendous dork jackasses and really do love this stuff.

Nashville is probably most famous for the Grand Ole Opry and it’s former and sometimes current home at the Ryman Auditorium downtown. This was apparently a non-alcoholic venue back in the day, but fortunately for Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, etc., they could run across the side alley between sets and go in the back entrances to any of several honky tonks on the strip for a few quick shots. Nowadays they’re very touristy and you can see live music every day all day at any of these places. We went to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Legend’s Corner Bar, Robert’s, and pretty much all of them. Of greater interest to me on the strip was Jack’s Bar-B-Que, where I had possibly the most delicious beef brisket dinner I’ve ever had – twice. I couldn’t even order anything else the second time; the brisket was like I don’t think so, kid. Get some. So I did. I’d put it up there with Stubbs in Austin.

On the afternoon of the wedding, the groom, the co-groomsman, and I hung out around town. Of note, was a war reenactment that we stumbled upon at the Tennessee Heritage Festival. It was a reenactment of WW2 though, not the Civil War. I’m not a fan of war reenactments – I just think it’s weird and creepy that people do them and people enjoy watching them – but if I had to go to one in the South, I would have preferred to see one of the Civil War, if only so I could gauge the crowd. It’s not like anyone watching was rooting for the Germans, though the park was right next to Germantown so it’s possible that there were a few Nazi's in the crowd. Germantown was actually having an Oktoberfest which was fun. We didn't wait in line for any beer but I did pick up a plastic cup chicken toy which would figure prominently in the rest of the day.

The wedding was a traditional Jewish ceremony in a beautiful setting at the Country Music Hall of Fame. As one of the two groomsmen, I was responsible for one of the speeches after dinner, so I was sure to moderate my intake. In addition to the speech, I handled the emceeing duties for the string of speeches in front of the crowd of approx. 250 people. First up was the father of the bride, who I introduced and then interrupted 15 seconds later to move the microphone closer to him on a request from a member of the wedding party. He shot me a look which I didn't quite understand at the time but in retrospect was something along the lines of "kid you have no idea how much I'm about to blow the doors off this place. get away from my mic". And that he did - brought the house down. It was later described as the "best speech I've ever heard at a wedding". Then her sister got up and delivered a poignant speech that touched the crowd. So at this point, they've laughed, then they've cried, and then I had to step up for my speech. Fortunately, I had my little plastic cup chicken squeak toy in my pocket as a prop in case my speech started to crash. But, following those two speeches I didn't have much choice, so at the beginning of the speech I pulled that little baby out of my pocket, held it up to the microphone, and let her fly. Between that and the Conway Twitty joke, I managed to get through it. Great times had by all.

And that's about it for the Heartland Tour Wrap-Up. I was glad to get away and now I'm glad to be back. Congrats to NR and AK on your weddings.