Monday, December 29, 2003

NEWS ITEM NO. 1: Meat Puppets bassist shot by guard. Jacqueline seems to think I should be taking this as a lesson the next time I'm confronted with an obnoxious driver or a ridiculous display of authority.

NEWS ITEM NO. 2: On Saturday, as we purged our bookshelves to make room for the new, I added something called "The Bermuda Triangle" by Charles Berlitz to the pile. Jacqueline decided to keep the book, calling it "a family heirloom." Well, the book survived, but the author didn't.

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY in the nation's capital. As always when it's unseasonably warm, my only complaint is that public buildings don't know how to handle it. If it's 100 outside and it's July 29, indoor temperatures are generally fine. But if it's 60 and it's Dec. 29, retail establishments and other buildings blast the heat, because it's supposed to be cold outside on Dec. 29. Again, what ever happened to thermostats?

Saturday, December 27, 2003

YOU KNOW HOW bad writers want to use the word "ironic" for every moderately interesting coincidence?

Well, this is about as close to true irony as you'll find in a news story. Clip 'n' save.

(My apologies for the on-topic post.)

Thursday, December 25, 2003

I'M PROBABLY endorsing (relatively) newfangled schlock over tradition, but I get pretty damn sick of hearing about Parson Brown and facing-unafaid-the-plans-that-we-made over and over and over again in the same rendition of "Winter Wonderland." That verse is fine, but I like to hear the second go-round with the alternate lyrics:

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman
Until the other kiddies knock him down

When it snows, ain't it thrillin'?
Though your nose gets a chillin'
We'll frolic and play
The eskimo way
Walking in a winter wonderland

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

WHAT I LEARNED last week in Las Vegas:

1. A royal flush on a quarter machine is nice. A royal flush on a dollar machine is nicer.

2. A royal flush for you is nice. A royal flush for your spouse is, well, nice, too.

3. A royal flush early in the trip is nice. A royal flush later in the trip is nicer.

4. Craps is a lot of fun, but for every can't-lose session there will be at least one can't-win session.

5. It doesn't take all that long to "give back" a thousand dollars.

6. Slowest week of the year? Maybe, but I don't think so. The National Finals Rodeo does a lot to take care of that.

7. The Hawaiian influence on downtown Las Vegas is expanding. For a long time, Hawaiians were a major presence at the California Hotel and Casino. Recently that expanded to Main Street Station, and more recently even the Golden Nugget has added Hawaiian items to its coffee-shop menu.

8. Speaking of Hawaiian dishes available at the Golden Nugget, loco moco is a new favorite of mine. And of all the side dishes a culture could be obsessed with, macaroni salad isn't a bad choice.

9. A fully comped meal is very, very nice. Especially with go-to-the-front-of-the-line privileges. Even if it's only at Tony Roma's.

10. "No double after split" is a very bad blackjack rule. I should have known that years earlier, but it's finally dawning on me.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

ANOTHER SILLY LIST. Rolling Stone decided to rank the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and so I went and threw together a much less historical-minded list of my favorites. I stand by the top three -- R.E.M.'s "Murmur," the Pretenders' "Pretenders" and Nirvana's "Nevermind" -- but beyond that I could keep revising things forever.

(And, yes, I do know that technically the Clash was miles ahead of Slow Children.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

"I HAD NEVER been so close to leopards in my life."
-- Melana "Melaina" Scantlin, the couldn't-they-have-found-someone-more-indisputably-attractive object of desire, on last night's "Average Joe."

Monday, December 01, 2003

IN A "MAYBE I'LL WIN THE LOTTERY" WAY, I dreamed that my first book might somehow catch on with the masses. Now I see that such a thing is theoretically possible -- at least in England.

Not that I'm bitter or anything, but wouldn't a zero-tolerance approach to punctuation call for a hyphen in that title?

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