Wikipedia Meme

Cruftbox wants you to participate in this meme:

1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. In the Search box, type your birth month and day (but not year).
3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one interesting death.
5. List any holidays
6. Post it.

So, for April 12 – Three Events

1633 – Inquisition of Galileo Galilei begins
1861 – US Civil War Begins
1955 – Polio vaccine is declared safe and effective

April 12 – Two Births, One Death
1922(b) – Tiny Tim
1947(b) – David Letterman
1945(d) – FDR

April 12 – Holidays

The Roman holiday of Cerealia begins.
Yuri’s Night, an international celebration of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin; in Russia (and formerly in USSR), the Cosmonautics Day.

Thanks, Mike


Just sitting on my ass, getting my Alton Brown fix, and the commercial comes on for Totino’s pizza-flavored something or other. I’m not paying any attention, but there’s something about the spot that’s getting under my skin. Is it the music? Yeah, some spirited doot-dooting going on there. What is it? I Tivo back a few seconds. Weird, it sounds just like Irving.

Holy shit. This is even weirder than Radio Birdman and Big Star popping up in a car ad. It’s leagues weirder than Nick Drake in that VW commercial.

So, nice going boys. I’m sure that some will say you’ve sold out, but I say you’ve arrived. Hope you can sleep with the stench of pizza sauce filling your nostrils.

Check it out:
Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers

Super Geeky Day

Finally gave Cingular the old heave-ho today and signed up with T-Mobile. After ten years (!) with one cell company, it seemed like it was the time to change. June and I got matching RAZRs and Grandma got a new flip phone. The kids are fighting over who gets the old superannuated phones to play with. I’m wondering what the right age is for a kid to have a phone?

Other good geeky thing, I fixed the Audi’s braking system myself (almost) and saved 750 bucks. The ABS light was on, and after getting a $1000 quote, I looked at the audiworld forum and found a mention of Module Masters, a company that will rebuild the electronic control module of most ABS systems for $250 (including a five year guarantee). Only hitch–you’ve got to remove the module and send it to them. They fix the thing in about a day and a half and return it overnight, so it’s gone for a little over a week, and in the meantime you have just regular non-ABS brakes. The weird part is that to remove the module, you have to remove a wheel, the wheel liner, the windshield wiper fluid tank and a bunch of Torx screws. But other than that it’s not too bad, although I seem to have knocked something loose on the wiper fluid tank and all the fluid ran out.

But the good news is that the brakes work again and I feel very manly.

Which is a good thing, because the RAZR is kind of a girly phone. And the signal strength kind of sucks. Are there any better phones anyone can recommend?

What Keeps Me Up Nights

My front porch is slippery. Whenever it rains, the painted concrete becomes difficult to navigate in my Wallabees because their oh-so-stylish crepe soles are just not very non-slip. I have managed to hydroplane my way onto my ass several times, and without fail, the thing that goes through my head as I fall gracelessly onto my coccyz is that it would be a particularly pathetic way to die and leave my family on their own.

I rehearse the needlessly cruel, John Irving-esque way in which my daughter will tell her friends that I died “descending”, my son’s refusal to use the front door to the house, my wife’s insistence on gaining ingress and egress through a window. Given my extremely low tolerance for the twee irony which passes for profundity in John Irving’s books, I grow depressed and descend my front steps at a pace which often prompts my mother-in-law to push me out of the way so that she can get outside, “Today, Grandpa”.

Which is why I find the barb-related death of Steve Irwin so utterly enervating. That guy didn’t worry about falling over in the bathtub. He probably didn’t wonder if every cramp in his left arm was the sign of an onrushing cardiac infarction (with the secondary worry of where the nearest bottle of aspirin might be). And yet, ultimately, would it comfort his widow any to know that it was no common slip-and-fall which turned her world upside down?

I can’t help but imagine his last moment, as he pulled that barb out of his chest, the surprise, the fear, the sense of disappointment. How much more depressing to be wondering why you chose gloss latex instead of eggshell.

The “One Book” Meme

Mark at The Elegant Variation may hate blog memes, but I love ’em. I think they make me look smart. Feel free to do this one, too.

  • One book that changed your life – The Magic Mountain — complex, poignant, austere. There is no trickery in this book, it’s just flat-out magnificence from start to end. One of the only novels I’ve ever read where the passage of time is more real inside the narrative than outside of it.
  • One book that you’ve read more than once – Gravity’s Rainbow — I read it the first time because somebody I looked up to told me it was worth the effort. I read it the second time because I knew it was worth the effort. As fucked up as it is to admit, this book, more than any, wired my brain to its current method of reasoning.
  • One book you’d want on a desert island — Don Quixote — because I still haven’t read it.
  • One book that made you laugh — Cryptonomicon — Neal Stephenson isn’t thought of by most people as a “funny” reader, but this book is hilarious.
  • One book that made you cry — White Noise — I know, this book is supposed to be funny, and it is. But it was also the first book I read that dealt with the pathos of middle age and it knocked me for a loop.
  • One book that you wish had been written – Blood Meridian — This book is so hard to forget, passages from it often come whispering back to me in the middle of seemingly unrelated activities. Not sure when I’ll get around to reading it again, but it’s a remarkable thing.
  • One book that you wish had never been written — Can I say the entire Left Behind series without sounding anti-Christian? I can? Good, then that’s the one.
  • One book you’re currently reading — The Snowman’s Children — This book is crawling up inside my consciousness.
  • One book you’ve been meaning to read — Middlesex — it’s beautifully written (at least the first few pages I read through) and it’s been on my shelf for a long, long while, but I still haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe this fall…
  • The Last of the V8 Interceptors (or Shooting Fish in a Barrel)

    Wherein Our Hero Kicks Some Anti-Semite Ass

    Peter demands blood and I must obey. Who is Peter you ask? Is he the voice in my head that tells me secrets about Kelly Ripa that I shouldn’t ought to know? That’s between me and my Zoloft, Sugartits.

    So, am I surprised that Mel Gibson went all Hutton Gibson on that poor sheriff who pulled him over? Hell no, I’m not. So why are you? Hate is learned easy and unlearned hard. And if you haven’t got a reason to unlearn it, you never will. If you were expecting him pull an Ingo Hasselbach and repudiate his beliefs, well you haven’t been paying attention to what he says and does, starting with the goddamn christ movie. Remember, what he said back then, “Some of my best friends are Jewish,” (which is of course code for, “I don’t know whom I hate more, the Jews or myself”)?

    My only problem is the timing of the whole episode. The LA Times is running a daily attrocity exhibition of the Israeli incursion into Lebanon on the front page and it makes some people condone the sentiments expressed by the star of “Bird on a Wire” as being political, rather than racist. So let me be clear, not all Jews support the attack on Lebanon, and not all Jews support the continued refusal of the Israeli state to deal fairly with the Palestinian people.

    I was, however, delighted to hear that he pulled the old, “You’ll never work in this town again!/Don’t you know who I am?” routine while in lockup. Note to my huge celebrity readership (and that means you, Mike Lookinland), if you ever find yourself resorting to either of these gambits, you’ve already lost.


    Looks like Mel has issued a statement saying that he isn’t an anti-Semite, after all.
    In that case, never mind, we take it all back. And of course we’ll help you with your recovery. Because if we don’t, it’s all our fault, right Mel?