Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reincarnation Restrictions

This is not an article from the Onion. It's from a Newsweek article on, which are somewhat reputable organizations. So unless they started a wacky satire column, this is true. According to this article, "In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission."

thanks to the nonist for the tip.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another one bites the dust!

And another one's gone, and another one's gone, another one bites the dust!

later, liar.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Ball, Dropped

Eight days since my last post = shameful. What kind of mickey mouse operation am I running here at VTK? My apologies to all 5 of my remaining readers for dropping the ball. I have a good excuse for not posting during 1/2 of that span - I was in Michigan, ie on my dad's dinosaur machine. After several frozen screens, crashes, mini memory dumps, spyware and cookie cleaning sessions, etc, I asked him exactly how old it was and he said about 10 years. (*pulling non-existent hair out*) I told him that it's unconscionable to be working on a machine that far past its life span and that he needed to buy a mac laptop. C'mon. I think all non-technical people and all people over the age of 60 (is that redundant?) should have to buy macs. That should be a law. But the point is that I wasn't going to attempt to do anything other than a 60 second check of my email on that piece of dung. So posting was out of the question.

Long time VTK readers know what a visit to Michigan means: Costingo! Newer readers can familiarize yourselves here and here. With myself, lil bro, and MAC on site, Costingo was on again. Unfortunately, the absence of lc and the undesirable scheduling made for a somewhat muddled affair. I suppose it was folly to think that we could recreate the phenomenon that was Costingo.06, but we had to try, right? Due to an adults cocktail party on Friday night, a kids High School Musical 2 party on Saturday night, and a scheduled departure of lil bro and MAC on Sunday afternoon, Costingo.07 got slotted for 11:30 AM on Sunday morning. And I have to tell you, I think I speak for everyone when I say that Costingo is more of a 4:30 PM on Saturday affair. The late afternoon ramping up for Saturday night highballs gave way to the late morning hair of the dog Sunday bloody marys and coffee/bailey's. The afternoon of getting jacked up for the big event gave way to the harried morning hungover preparations and artificial excitement. You can see how the vibe might be affected. But it's still Costingo, so it kicked ass, naturally. The kids and the neighbors showed up in their assorted hodge podge outfits and, as was the case last year, everyone was a bit confused and uncertain as to what exactly was going on. Costumed bingo dance party with a cupcake frosting competition? what? But eventually lc's dance mix kicked in and we were off. The chicken cup craft session got everyone more confused/excited, a rousing game of bingo included a hungover UJ leaning back in his chair and breaking an expensive stained glass window, and tacos and hotdogs set off the bailey's heavy coffee nicely. Also, no one cried. So Costingo was a success.

Speaking of my ongoing blogging anxiety, I just realized that a google search of "Costingo" yields 3 links to VTK in the first 3 results. So I guess, welcome to VTK, everyone who is old enough to google "Costingo". Eat your vegetables, listen to your parents, do be happy, and disregard everything you read from/about your step-uncle here at VTK. It's all nonsense. And stay in school. And be nice to your siblings and cousins. And don't swear. And a special shout out to the newest costingita, baby C. She's probably not reading this yet, but she's so cute and well behaved that she gets a shout out anyways.

Rounding out the trip to MI was a flight delay for the NYC contingent which led to them staying an extra day. An extra day in which we watched a bunch of movies: Breach (sucked), My Big Fat Greek Wedding (cute/boring), The Interpreter (best of the bunch), and Bourne Ultimatum (good for what it is - 90 minutes of punching/crashing/smashing tension).

Rounding out the post, I'm listening to the "new" Modest Mouse right now, and I have to give it the thumbs up. Better than their last album, with which I was a little disappointed. It starts a little eh with the first few songs, but brings it around with the next few, and finishes up strong. I'm especially intrigued by track 11, Steam Engenius, which seems to be a bit of a mash-up of Third Uncle by Brian Eno and Learning to Fly by Pink Floyd. with a some Isaac and Johnny Marr thrown in. I'm not saying it's a ripoff, just recognizing influences. All in all, I'd say that the addition of Marr to the Mouse was a success.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dearest Cupcake

Expect the unexpected indeed. After a nerve-wracking evening and morning following the news about the 7.9 earthquake off the coast of Peru, friends of Dearest Cupcake got word that the fellow blogger and all around wicked awesome person is alive and well. She's been living/working/blogging in Ayacucho for the past month or so and was apparently far enough away to escape any serious damage, though they felt the earthquake. Scary stuff and very sad for the families and friends of the hundreds of people that died. We love you, DC! Come back soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Scooter

Farewell to one of the great voices of my youth, the Yankees broadcaster Phil "The Scooter" Rizzuto, who died in his sleep Monday night. (Non-sports-fans might know him as the old short Italian guy from the Money Store commercials or as the voice of the baseball call on "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights", the Meatloaf song.) I grew up watching the games on WPIX Channel 11, with Phil calling the games alongside "White, Murcer, Seaver", and others. Oh and he was a Hall of Fame shortstop with the Yankees before that. But I'll remember him most as the crazy, endearing, spaceshot "huckleberry" who used to have no depth perception in his ability to determine whether a ball was a pop up behind second or a home run. "HOLY COW, that ball is outta here! ... nope. wait. Steve Sax has got it in shallow right. Geez, I coulda sworn that ball was gone...". He would also announce the birthdays of every woman from the five boroughs over the age of 60, comment on the smell of food wafting in from the stadium, eat cannolis, fruitcakes, and Italian dishes sent to him by fans in the stadium - while on the air, call players "huckleberries" when they didn't make a play, and according to his colleagues, his scorecards were always littered with "WW" entries, which stood for "wasn't watching". Listening to him call the games was always entertaining beyond what was happening on the field (which often was not good in the 80's). In Yankee Stadium in the 80's and early 90's, there was always at least one or two people walking around with petitions to get The Scooter into the Hall of Fame. Following a classy announcement of his death at Fenway last night, 30,000 Yankee-hating members of Red Sox Nation went even classier by unanimously observing a moment of silence. It was a touching testament to the Scooter that you could hear a pin drop in Fenway Park during a moment of silence for him.

From the Times' article:

When the Yankees celebrated Rizzuto with a day in his honor in 1985, retiring his uniform No. 10, the team presented him with a cow wearing a halo, which promptly stepped on his foot and knocked him over.

Rizzuto often diverged from actual game-calling, pausing to extend birthday, anniversary and confirmation congratulations. He never used the first names of his partners at WPIX-TV — they were “Coleman,” “Murcer,” “White,” “Messer,” “Seaver” or “Cerone,” never Jerry, Bobby, Bill, Frank, Tom or Rick. Listeners heard about Rizzuto’s wife, Cora (he called her “my bride”), an employment appeal for their son, Philip Jr. (known as Scooter Jr.), reports of his golf game or exultations about a new Italian dish...

Rizzuto abruptly resigned from WPIX in August 1995, distraught that he had remained to broadcast a game at Fenway Park rather than join former teammates at Mickey Mantle’s funeral in Dallas. He watched the services on television from the booth.

“I took it hard and knew I made a big mistake,” he said later. “I got more upset as the game went on and left in the fifth. They tried to drag me back, but I wouldn’t.” He returned in 1996 for a final season, persuaded by fans, Mantle’s sons and George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner. The pull of his cherished team was too strong. He was, after all, someone who practically saw the world filtered through Yankee pinstripes.

When the news came in 1978 that Pope Paul VI had died, Rizzuto said on the air, “Well, that kind of puts the damper on even a Yankee win.”

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yankees.8.7 (or 4 Games Back)

I'd like to use this month's Yankees update to give props and welcomes to the new Young Guns: Phil Hughes and Joba "The Guts" Chamberlain. We've all been hearing about Hughes for a while now, so his solid play this week was not a surprise. But the real big development has been the meteoric rise of young Joba, who started the season in A ball (!!!) and has looked brilliant in his relief appearances in AAA and in the two 2 inning appearances in the majors. Just look at this line from the 2 + Mo against the Indians (ranked 5th in ESPN power rankings):

Phil Hughes 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Joba Chamberlain 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Mariano Rivera 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

Awesome. That's what I'm talking about.

Tied for the lead in the Wild Card race and just 4 back in the AL East division race...


Hammers.11.8.7 - dreadful. I didn't see the match, but losing 2-0 at home to a Man City 11 that hadn't even met eachother yet? I heard Man City looked good. I hope they are and it's not just a matter of West Ham sucking. Could be a long year.


Good riddance, asshole.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Top Ten High School Movies of All Time

I was watching American Graffiti last night and I was wondering where it would fit in to my Top Ten High School Movies list. Fuge over at the Duffless Foundation just did a tribute to the 20 year anniversary of the drop of Appetite for Destruction, calling it the best album of his lifetime, which prompted me to request the Top 10 albums of his lifetime list(and the Top 10 of his music conscious lifetime 10 yrs old give or take). I made my own lists in the comments, which reminded me how tough these lists are. Unless you cop out and include an honorable mention list, you are dissing from several to dozens of qualified candidates depending on the list content. My albums list had 25 teams tied for 11th which I had to leave off. I have fewer tied for 11th on the High School Movies list, but there are several worthy candidates that got bumped. So here goes:

10. Wildcats
9. Just One of the Guys
8. Pretty in Pink
7. Pump Up The Volume
6. Dazed and Confused
5. Three O'Clock High
4. Fast Times At Ridgemont High
3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
2. American Graffiti
1. Breakfast Club

(Also, fuck Blogger and fuck YouTube. I spent about two hours picking clips and funny remakes done on each of these and they totally hosed me when I went to publish the post. So I redid it and they hosed me again. Is there a limit on how many embedded videos you can have on one post?)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Surprise, surprise: Democrats suck.

I'll be expanding this post when I get a little more time and information, but here's the list of the 16 Democratic senators who voted to legalize Bush's domestic spying tactics (see news here and here):

- Evan Bayh
- Tom Carper
- Bob Casey
- Kent Conrad
- Dianne Feinstein
- Daniel Inouye
- Amy Klobuchar
- Mary Landrieu
- Blanche Lincoln
- Claire McCaskill
- Barbara Mikulski
- Bill Nelson
- Ben Nelson
- Mark Pryor
- Ken Salazar
- Jim Webb

Here are the 41 Dems that sucked in the House:

Altmire, Barrow, Bean, Boren, Boswell, Boyd (FL), Chandler, Cooper, Costa, Cramer, Cuellar, Davis (AL), Davis, Lincoln, Donnelly, Edwards, Ellsworth, Etheridge, Gordon, Herseth Sandlin, Higgins, Hill, Lampson, Lipinski, Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, Melancon, Mitchell, Peterson (MN), Pomeroy, Rodriguez, Ross, Salazar, Shuler, Snyder, Space, Tanner, Taylor, Walz (MN), Wilson (OH)

And these Dems didn't even bother to vote:

Klein (FL)

Nice one, Bill Delahunt, MA rep of the South Shore and the Cape. Not important enough for you? Busy eating clams on the Vineyard? All you Cape kids, feel free to give him a call or an email using this contact information.

Fuck each and every one of you.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Ta Ta Tevez

It looks like the Tevez West Ham saga is finally over with an out of court settlement in which The Irons will release his registration to Manchester United and will receive 2 million pounds in compensation. For much of the last couple months I was clinging to the ridiculous hope that the Tevezmanian Devil would remain at Upton Park, but there was of course no real chance of that happening. A player of his caliber will always end up on one of a very few select European teams. Which is fine. That's just the way it is. But did it have to be Man Fucking U? I can't stomach the thought of him receiving service from the detestable Cristiano Ronaldo in a Red Devil Red jersey. Barf. Anyways, Tevez was the reason I became a West Ham fan and now that he's gone I can either continue my loyal-to-a-fault ways and remain a Hammers fan in his absence, or follow him to his new team. Obviously, that new team is Man U, so there's no chance in Red Devil Hell that I'm going with the latter option. The former option it is. It's as good a team as any to follow in the Premiership. I wasn't interested in bandwagoning on with one of the Big Four and I don't have any connection to any of the second tier teams (the Tottenhams, Evertons, Newcastle, Blackburns, etc). The Hammers have a pretty decent history, are located smack dab in the fiddle of Cockney land (giving me an opportunity to break out the Cockney Rhyming Slang on occasion), and have very cool uniforms. They also appear to be a team that will occasionally have to battle to avoid relegation out of the league, which can be exciting to follow (see last year), and occasionally contend for UEFA Cup competition if not Champions League competition (though you never know). And there's always the FA Cup, which seems to be a bit like March Madness. And they have new ownership in the form of an Icelandic dude named Eggbert, Egglestein, Eggromavich or something who appears to be more than happy to spend money on fairly high caliber players. In this transfer window, they've picked up Scott Parker and Kieran Dyer from Newcastle, Craig Bellamy from Liverpool, Freddie Ljundberg from Arsenal, French national team member Julian Faubert, and change. Not going to cancel out the loss of Tevez (and Yossi Benayoun (fuck Mediocre Reo Coker)) but not bad. And they have an American starting in the backfield (Jonathon Spector). And they're in London, so I might get to catch a game next time I visit there (last time was 13 years ago). So the Hammers, the Irons, West Ham United it is.


And while I'm bidding farewell to one of my favorite players from my favorite team in a VTK sports post, allow me to say arrivadercci to Big Al Jefferson as he was traded this week from the Celtics to the Timberwolves for some other guy, I forget who. I'm lukewarm on the trade because the other guy is supposed to be pretty good and the Celtics should have a good chance of getting to the Finals in the next couple years. But I'm going to miss cheering for Big Al on a regular basis. You always root for your own more than those who you pick up via trade or free agency. Watching Al develop into a legitimate all star caliber force in the low post has been the only good thing about being a C's fan over the last couple years. And not only is he a great player, but he seems like a genuinely likeable kid who really wanted to win a championship with the Celtics. I remember him getting irritated, almost hurt, at the suggestion that the team needed more help in the paint and that he and Paul was all they needed to win the championship. Naive, maybe, but goddamn if you don't like to hear your young budding star say something like that. But he's Minnesota's young budding star now. Furthermore, it sucks that he has to be reunited with notorious assholes Mark Blount and Ricky Davis. I hope McHale has the decency to trade them away and get rid of any barriers to the Timberwolves being Al's team. Good luck, Big Al. Tear it up!


and that was going to be the end of this sports post. until i saw this.

now that's extreme.