Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I'm too overwhelmed to say anything that truly expresses how profoundly happy and proud I am that Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States — I'm not sure I'll ever be able to really put it all into words.

But let me just say that, for the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful. This election has renewed my faith in this country, and I feel a rediscovered sense that we have direction, one based on the ideals representing the best aspects of our national identity. Obama will have a tough task ahead of him thanks to the fallout from the worst administration the United States has ever seen, but I'm not worried. We will now have real leadership in the White House and I can't wait to see where it takes us.

I'm very aware that today is draped in history. We've not only rejected the policies and power-plays desecrating the laws this country is founded upon, but we've also given ourselves a mandate. By simultaneously turning our backs on the extremism of the current administration and voting for this country's first black president, we are saying that we want — we need — to be better. To paraphrase a commentator on one of the news channels, tonight, hundreds of years after the birth of our imperfect nation, we have elected a black man to the highest office in our country and in an instant have become that more perfect union.

Let me finish by saying this: I've been lucky enough to see Barack Obama speak twice in person as a Democratic candidate for president. Tonight, I was privileged to watch him on television when he delivered his acceptance speech as the president-elect.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hey electorate, can you do me a solid?

Dear America,

Tomorrow is Election Day, and I have a few favors to ask:

Don't be stupid.

Don't be racist.

Don't be hypocritical.

Don't be petty.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We voted for Barack Obama

Back in the car, driving away from the polling station, Lopez started to cry a little.

We just cast our votes for Barack Obama for president, and it was an emotional moment for both of us. I teared up while I was waiting for my turn at the poll myself. It struck me that I'd always hoped to see the day when America would reach the point that a black man would have a real chance at being elected president, but I don't think I ever thought I would. Too many people have been too willfully ignorant for too long for me not to be cynical.

But the fact that we were able to vote for the candidate that will be best for the country and who just happens to be black speaks to the message of hope the Obama campaign has been pushing. Casting that vote is in itself an act of faith, faith in not just the candidate but also in the better nature of the American people. Hopefully that faith is not misplaced, and we can begin getting this country back on track.

But for now, I have never been prouder of the American democratic process, or of taking part in that process as a voter.

Be sure to get out there and vote, everybody: Be a part of the process, be a part of something bigger than yourself — be a part of history.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The art of the taco truck

Every now and then Lopez and I will walk to work, and in the parking lot of a little apartment complex we pass by there's this little taco truck. It's never actually open, it's just parked there, but it's got some neato paint work on it so I thought I'd snap a few shots of the detail before the trailer disappeared.

I like the way Pedro Infante looks as if he's waiting to take a drink from the tap in that last one. By the way, the name of this taco outfit? La Fantabulous!

And yeah, yeah, I know this is kind of a lazy post, but gimme a break — you've got to ease back into this sorta thing. Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, I'll be watching the debate tonight. I told a co-worker that I'll either develop spontaneous ulcers or my head will crack open and a moose will jump out. I'll keep you updated.

(Seen on Shoal Creek Boulevard, near 183)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Your smack-talkin' quote of the day

I'm not a fan of extreme fighting — oh, sorry, "mixed martial arts" — but this kind of smack-talk might change my mind:

If Ken proves to be more sham [than] rock and Fergi beats him, then the Slice hype grows even greater. Dude is already more myth [than] Sasquatch, Chupacabra and a [expletive] unicorn combined. Kevin is the black Yeti.

Holy crap! It's like a chubby Mr. T for a new generation. And there's even more smack in the rest of the story! I wish it was acceptable to call someone out in situations besides sports — I've got a whole list of people I'd come down on like a rain of bony midget fists.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I (yi-yi), Robot

This is how it starts, y'know. Did we not learn anything from the replicants and Skynet?

From Live Science:

Scientists have created a robot controlled by a biological brain made of rat neurons. The robot, named Gordon, is not exactly an Einstein but represents a remarkable bridging of the gap between biology and technology. Gordon relies a dish with about 60 electrodes to pick up electrical signals generated by the brain cells. The brain drives the robot's movements.

HOLY SHIT. And then there's this:

The robot has no additional control from a human or a computer, the scientists state. Its sole means of control is from its own brain.

It's own brain, you doomed meat-sacks! And finally:

The researchers aim to get the robot to learn, by applying different signals as it moves into predefined positions. That might allow them to witness how memories manifest themselves in the brain when the robot revisits familiar territory. They hope the work will eventually lead to a better understanding of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke and brain injuries.

Yeah, right. You know what that robot's going to learn?


Monday, August 11, 2008

I got nothing

Due to popular demand (ahem), this blog has been roused from it's crusty-eyed slumber and given a kick in the keister. It's a big keister, though, so it's still gonna be kinda slow-moving until it's had some coffee first.

Let's see — so what's been going on? Let's bullet-point this sucker:

• We still support Obama, even though conservative knuckleheads are trying to scare people by hinting that he might be the Anti-Christ. Hell, I might be supporting him even more now. And at least it would probably mean Infernaeon or The Sword would play the Inauguration. Also, people who think so little of the citizens that they would try to convince them some dude's the Anti-Christ would no longer be in charge. So, y'know, there's that.

• Speaking of stupid people — I really thought John Edwards was smarter than that. That'll teach me.

• Was I the only one who had visions of "Red Dawn" when the news first broke that Russia had attacked Georgia?

• I haven't seen the movie yet so I'm trying to hold off on straight-out judgment, but isn't it weird that Robert Downey Jr. is basically doing blackface in "Tropic Thunder"? I get that it's supposed to be satire, but still ... I hope it's used to say something other than, "ain't race funny?!"

• And finally, this:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

And yet, I'm not satisfied

I'm kind of busy with work right now, so I can't really get into the details of this story about the Iraqi government meeting U.S. benchmarks except to say ... well, bullshit.

From AP:

The White House sees the progress in a particularly positive light, declaring in a new assessment to Congress that Iraq's efforts on 15 of 18 benchmarks are "satisfactory" — almost twice of what it determined to be the case a year ago.

Wait for it ... waaaait for it ...

The May 2008 report card, obtained by the Associated Press, determines that only two of the benchmarks — enacting and implementing laws to disarm militias and distribute oil revenues — are unsatisfactory.


OK, now that I'm good and pissed — back to work. Oh, one more thing: Is it just me, or does anyone else remember getting a "satisfactory" on your report card meaning you weren't doing so hot?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Behold, the future is now!

So far, most of these candid photo posts tend to sound like "why I love Austin" posts, but I can't help it. Things like this tend to happen all the time here — and that's pretty awesome.

We went to First Thursday with some friends last week, and for no real reason (that I could tell) this person was walking up and down the street in a homemade robot costume, waving to people and posing for cameras.

And yup, the robot would do The Robot.

(I just wish my camera wasn't acting up, because the first picture I tried to take was better than this one. Damn!)

With some of the grumbling you'll hear about how gentrified this particular section of South Congress has become, and how First Thursday is becoming a marketing tool more than a means for community outreach, it's nice to see that a wackily DIY spirit still strolls up and down the boulevard.

Next time I need to get a picture of the Free Hugs folks, who I'm guessing are part of this whole thing. In other places, having a stranger come up to you and say, "Want a free hug? If you don't like it, you can give it back!" would seem annoyingly odd or hopelessly hippy. Here it's just kinda — nice.

Domo arigato, Austin!

(Seen on South Congress Avenue, somewhere around Monroe and Annie streets)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

This post is a lot like Hobo Soup

It's been a while since either one of us posted, so here are some random thoughts I've been meaning to blog about but just haven't found the gumption to do it.

That's right, gumption — now get outta my way, I've got some prospectin' to do!

The Austin Aztex continue their stellar debut season, and since the last time I posted have crushed the DFW Tornados 3-0 and beat the Laredo Heat — defending PDL champs — 1-0. Thanks to that, as well as a separate loss by the Mississippi Brilla, the Aztex qualified for a spot in the 2008 U.S. Open Cup! The team followed that news up with another win, sending the New Orleans Shell Shockers packing with a score of 1-0. The home team will now face the Atlanta Silverbacks in the first round of Open Cup play June 10th, but not before a match against Mississippi May 31.

Of course, I'm waiting for the next home game, which will be against the El Paso Patriots (boo, hiss!). The Patriots held the Aztex to a scoreless tie the last time they met, so it's a chance for a little redemption!

• Oh, yes, actually, this time I actually am growing a beard. It's not just a case of me not shaving.

• For a variety of reasons, Lopez! and I have been trying to pretend the car doesn't exist. It's not the car's fault and we're not trying to shun it or anything, we just want to see if we can get along without it.

This probably seems ridiculous to some people, but we'd really like to eliminate (or at least minimize) our reliance on a car. There are a few reasons for this: it would mean no car loan and insurance payments, so we'd be able to save that cash; gas is getting stupidly expensive and all I can see is oil company people taking money baths; Austin is supposed to have a small train system up and running by the end of summer, and the bus routes should be beefed up soon; and speaking of buses, most of what we do is in a particular area so walking and bussing is feasible.

In the last couple of weeks I think we've used the car a total of four times, which we think is pretty good. We walk to work and take the bus everywhere else, and it's surprising how quickly you get used to not having a car. There are still some things that are just easier with your own ride, of course, but it's a process and we're working on it. Hopefully we'll get some decent bikes soon, and I think that will help us use the car even less. We even got month-long bus passes!

Corner Gas is an excellent show with a loopy, gentle humor and you should watch it if you can. At this point it's basically Canadian reruns, but we try to catch it every night. In Austin it's on cable channel 21 (WGN) at 11 p.m. — is it on anywhere else? And why the hell doesn't Netflix have it yet?!

• So is everyone willing to admit that this has been one of the worst — if not the worst — administration in the history of the United States? Oh, and Hillary? Please, just stop it already.

Finally, things I did last night.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Seriously, I'm going to talk about this once a week

I meant to mention it earlier, but the Aztex won their first home game, 2-0 against the Houston Leones!

It was a good, fast-paced match, with the Aztex dominating game-play and putting pressure on the Leones from start to finish. The team looked good, and combined with a first-game tie against the El Paso Patriots (ppbbth) the Aztex are now at the top of the division. Most of the players looked pretty tight, and the team seemed to work well together (No. 23's got to cool off though — I thought the guy was going to start a fight, and that's not going to help him or the team).

It was a freakin' humid night, but there were about 1,500 people there (which was a lot more than we were expecting) and Lopez said it reminded her of going to a Diablos game in El Paso.

Oh! And my mom and nephew were in town visiting, so it was nice that we were able to take them to a fun game.

Next up — the utter destruction of the DFW Tornados!

Photo lifted from the Austin Aztex Web site

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Chico's vs Chuco's: FIGHT!!

It was bound to happen sooner or later; Chico's Tacos in El Paso is suing Chuco's Tacos in Austin for trademark infringement.

For what it's worth, the guys at Chuco's (fellow El Paso homies — represent!) must have know they were cutting it thin, what with the name, the tacos and (arguably) the logo.

But even though Chico's might be an El Paso institution, they don't have a lock on flautas submerged in a thin chile sauce. And like I told Lopez!, Chuco's is what Chico's would be if Chico's gave a shit about quality. It's not the same as Chico's — what could be? — but it's pretty good and I do get a jones for them a lot like I do for Chico's, so I hope they push through this BS and keep rocking the taquitos.

The Statesman has the story and one of the guys from Taco Journalism is quoted toward the end, so go give it a read, fellow El Pasoans, and let me know what you think.

Dammit — now I want some taquitos!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Attention El Paso: The Austin Aztex are going to kick your ass

Let the smack-talk begin!

The Austin Aztex play their first game tomorrow and I'm ridiculously, annoyingly excited about the city's new soccer team. They'll be playing against the El Paso Patriots (Boooo!) and will play their first home game versus the Houston Leones next week.

You're going down, El Paso! Houston — you're next!

Boooo! BOOOOOO!!!!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

My mouth is dry and I can't find the pillow

When I woke up from a dream at about 5:30 this morning, I found myself blinking at the soft, pre-dawn light outlining the blinds I could see across the bedroom. Which was weird, since I wear glasses and usually can't see shit without them.

And that's when I realized I WAS wearing them.


My dreams are usually pretty mundane, with the exception of The Giant Talking Cockroach Dream, The Awesome Flying Dream and The Zombie Hoard Dream. Otherwise it's always something like me talking to people at work, or at a sedate get-together if my brain's feeling particularly frisky. A lot of times there are complete strangers in my dreams, and I wonder if my sleep is populated with the faces of people I see on the street.

Often I write in my dreams, and if I can remember enough of it I'll scribble it down. When I look at it later there's a fifty percent chance it's the kernel of an interesting idea, and half a chance that it's something completely ridiculous that doesn't make sense even to me. I did write a Halloween poem in a dream that ended up winning third place in a real-life school contest once, so that was cool.

Exciting stuff, right? My dream last night wasn't an exception:

I was in an office that was an wide-open space, with great big windows along one side and the back (the direction I was facing), and for some reason I think it was in Canada. It felt Canada-y. And I was talking to some woman (another stranger) who had given me a piece of paper to look at; I got the feeling that I wasn't just looking at it, I was evaluating it. Basically, I was some kind of low-level boss (even in my dreams I try to avoid too much responsibility).

And I had taken my glasses off to look at whatever tiny spot I was supposed to looking at, because I'm near-sighted and I can see things that are close-up better without them. I told her something (approved! I'm a good boss!) and REACHED DOWN AND PUT MY GLASSES BACK ON.

[end dream]

So I think I reached out and put my glasses on IN MY SLEEP! And I never do things like that! Except apparently I do.

Consider this a warning if you see me wandering the countryside in the late-hours, glasses in hand and trying to hand you imaginary pieces of paper.

Monday, April 28, 2008

That old song and dance

Lopez and I saw Young@Heart this weekend, which is a movie about senior citizens singing renditions of popular modern songs as part of a choir. Who knew someone could actually make me like a song by Coldplay?

It's a very sweet, funny and inspirational documentary that was bittersweet but somehow always uplifting. There were times when it felt almost as if we were watching a PBS special, but that's a compliment more than a criticism. Oh, and if you think a movie about a bunch of old folks singing songs that suddenly have extra layers of hopefulness and a sense of mortality would be at all sentimental ... well, their version of "Fix You" kills me every time. And when they go to the prison and sing ... agh, sorry, that sound you hear is my heart breaking all over again.

During the movie, this was my tally:

Wistful smiles: 14

Heavy sighs: 8

Teared up: at least five times

Full-on wept: three times

I guess my kindergarten teacher was right — I really am sensitive. That's one for you, you old bag!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spiced ham, part 2

Awww ... the Internet really does care about me. Why else would it send me this e-mail?

"Relax. Take a Deep Breath.
We have the answers you seek."

Enlightenment and "impressive growth!" Thanks, Internet!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Today, I am an Austinite

If you live in Austin, or if you've even spent more than a few hours here, you'll notice something: Almost everyone wears flip-flops.

It used to drive me crazy, what with the constant slapping sound everywhere you went combined with the lazy shuffle that seems to go with it. And it's not just the college girls going on White House visits, either. Men, women, old, young, at home, in the office or at a fancy restaurant, flip-flops are everywhere. Longtime Austinites wear their chanclas like a badge of honor, and will even wear them when it frickin' freezing, Mr. Bigglesworth.

I personally never liked flip-flops because my memories of them go back to the 70s, when they were made of rubber and would gouge the skin between your big toe and whatever the toe next to it is called, while driving those damn knobs into both your immortal soul and the soles of your feet at the same time. But now, after six (seven?) years of living in Austin, I've given in.

I tell myself that my new sandals are more like my beloved huaraches, but no matter how thin you slice it, it's still baloney. And that's OK. Like Picard and the Borg, I get absorbed further into the Austin lifestyle every day, and it is futile to resist. My flip-flops are comfortable, and my toes are enjoying their newfound freedom.

I've been fa-lap fa-lap fa-lapping around the office all morning, no doubt sending a duck-footed call recognized and answered by fellow Austinites everywhere.

Friday, March 28, 2008

And now, your president

From an AP story on the escalating violence in Iraq:

"Basra has been a place where criminality has thrived," Bush said. "They are fighting some pretty tough characters ... and yes, there's going to be violence, and that's sad."

Also, the president declares Iraq still "purty as a Pecos sunset" and pledges that Administration policy will "git-r-done."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

But they've got lapel flags and yellow-ribbon stickers, so it's OK

Because nothing says you love America like subverting one of its most basic principles and a cornerstone of democracy:

Can GOP Voters Spoil the Dem Race?

By Hilary Hylton

As if Democrats didn't have enough problems deciding upon their presidential nominee this year, now they must contend with the possibility that Republicans are deliberately crossing party lines to prolong the bitterly contested race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In recent weeks, conservative talk radio stars Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham have urged loyal listeners to vote for the much-despised Clinton in open Democratic primaries so as to prevent Obama from sealing the nomination, and there are some indications that their calls have already been heeded in states like Texas and Mississippi.

Here's the quote that made my gut twist.

"As Republican participation increased, Hillary got more votes," Mann said. Some of them came from Allison Cavey's family. "My whole family actually voted for Hillary in the Texas primaries and we are all McCain supporters," said Cavey, 32, a Dallas resident who works for a medical software company. "We all thought it would be easier to beat Hillary in the fall. Also, we all agreed that if for some reason a Democrat won the election we would be better off with Hillary than Obama ... scary thought!"

I just have one question: What is WRONG with you people?! Do you really think it's just been seven years of George Bush farting rainbows and rose petals? Stop acting like a bunch of brainless, adolescent gangsters and do the right thing. If you can't handle even that much, at least stop doing the WRONG thing.

Gah - read the whole article if you think you can do it without your head exploding.

The ocean hates you

I'm beginning to think the creatures of the sea are conspiring against us, and the rays are behind it all. According to Reuters:

Jumping eagle ray kills boater off Florida Keys

By Jane Sutton
MIAMI (Reuters) - An eagle ray leaped onto a boat off the Florida Keys on Thursday and stabbed a woman with its barb, knocking her to the deck and killing her, a Florida wildlife investigator said.

"It's a bizarre accident," said Jorge Pino, an agent with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Accident my ass — we're screwed, man! Screwed!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama makes history — and the poor man's Billy Joel

One of these days I'll actually write a coherent, full-on post about a specific topic again, but in the meantime here are some random thoughts:

• I have never felt as proud or as committed to a politician as I am for Barack Obama tonight. His speech on race today will be considered historic, and if he is not our next president it would to America's shame. Time has a good analysis of the speech.

• For what it's worth, I think Rev. Wright's statements weren't expressed in the best way, but I don't think he was wrong, either.

• Speaking of race, I thought this was interesting:

Immigration Reduces Crime Rates

By LiveScience Staff

Contrary to popular stereotypes, areas undergoing immigration are associated with lower violence, not spiraling crime, according to a new study.


Not only does immigration appear to be "protective" against violence in poverty areas, violence was significantly lower among Mexican-Americans compared to blacks and whites. Sampson refers to this as the "Latino Paradox," whereby Hispanic Americans do better on a range of social indicators — including propensity to violence — than one would expect, given their socioeconomic disadvantages.

Sampson’s analysis also revealed that first-generation immigrants were 45 percent less likely to commit violence than third-generation Americans. Controlling for immigrant generation even narrowed the violence gap between whites and blacks in Chicago by 14 percent.


Immigration is therefore not just a Hispanic issue; although little noticed, increasing foreign-born diversity among blacks (e.g., from the West Indies and Africa) is associated with lower crime even within segregated black communities.

The whole article is right here.

• Holy shit — is that Apollonia in the Shakin' video?!

• So right now I'm going through about four years of photos on the ol' laptop, so expect to see photos popping up here on a fairly regular basis. Y'know, random stuff like this picture from the 2004 Austin Kite Festival:

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Farewell, Dungeon Master

I know I said I was tired of obits, but I couldn't let the death of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax just go by without comment.

Even if you don't game, you've more than likely felt the influence of the granddaddy of role-playing games. I only started playing myself a few years ago (I could never find anyone who actually knew how to run a game), but it was the sort of thing you just sort of knew about, even if it was in a roundabout way. In the same way Robert E. Howard's Conan influenced the makers of D&D, D&D influenced other media.

If you're old enough (or geeky enough) you might remember the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, which is still one of my favorites. When I was a teenager I also played a lot of Gauntlet — I always chose the barbarian — and of course there were tons of movies and books that owed a lot to D&D. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a Dungeons & Dragons-inspired script floating around Hollywood right now. And even today, right this second, there's a d20 hanging from the zipper on my messenger bag.

I haven't played D&D for a few months now, and I miss it. I like hanging out with friends and doing something that's inherently silly but also creative, imaginative and just fun. Gary Gygax deserves thanks for giving people a way to do that.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

So ... where's the keg?

From Lopez!:

George Lopez was in El Paso to campaign for Obama. This is a quote from one of UTEP's best and brightest:

"This was fun and more entertaining than Hillary's rally, but I'm not going for either one of them right now," said Jacob Torres, 20, a sophomore education major. "Some of the stuff they're promising is kind of hard to accomplish."


Monday, February 18, 2008

Honestly, a fire was probably just a matter of time

I know it will never — and probably shouldn't — happen, but if newspapers gave their reporters some sort of prize for best quote of the week, Zahria Torres would've been the winner.

This is from a story about a fire and some unruly customers at one of the restaurants of legendary El Paso chain, Chico's Tacos:

"We understand the sacrifice they had to make leaving possibly a double order of Chico's Tacos with extra cheese behind, but when an emergency response agency asks you to evacuate, including firefighters and police officers, it's usually because it's an emergency," said Lt. Mario Hernandez, the spokesman for the Fire Department. "So hopefully they'll realize this morning that they overreacted a little bit."

When you're interviewing someone, every now and then you get this moment where there's a part of your brain screaming, "This quote is GOLD!" And if you're from El Paso, this quote is even better (you can tell that cop knows what he's talking about ... oh, he knows).

The whole story is pretty funny actually, and for you lazy mugs out there it's also short, so go read the whole thing before it's lost to archiving.

Photo lifted from Interstellarlass' Flickr site

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's pink and it's oval

Man, I'm tired of writing obits — I thought I was done with that! Seriously, it's a habit that needs to be broken.

So, to shake that off I give you today's best message line from the junk folder:

"Turn your garden tool into a POWER DRILL!"

He got a bigger boat

Like a lot of people, I was sad to hear Roy Scheider died yesterday after fighting multiple myeloma — a type of blood cancer — for the past three years. His death was kind of a surprise to me, because I hadn't heard anything about him being sick and I had no idea he was 75.

I'm pretty sure he still could've kicked my ass.

Thanks, of course, to Jaws, Scheider was one of my favorite actors, even if he wouldn't have come immediately to mind if anyone had asked. But looking at his filmography I realized that he was not only an actor I was always glad to see on-screen, he was also in a lot of movies I really, really enjoy.

Jaws might've been where I first saw Scheider, but I also thought he was great in the underappreciated 2010. And I tend to hate all those '70s-era "I'm-a-performer-and-I'm-gonna-make-it!" movies, but I'll give All That Jazz a break due to Scheider's intense turn as a Broadway choreographer. He was in a ton of other movies, some good (The French Connection, Marathon Man) and some not as good (Dracula II, anyone?), but he never just phoned it in.

Just recently me and Lopez were watching Law & Order: CI and up popped Scheider and holy crap was he creepy! Seriously, he freaked us out, and he did it with this small, quietly menacing bit of acting on what is now basically a cable cop show. It made us appreciate him as an actor all over again.

I'd guess that one of the cable movie channels is going to have some sort of Scheider retrospective, which means poor Lopez is going to have to sit through yet another viewing of Jaws, and probably 2010, too. If we're lucky, someone will dig out Blue Thunder.

Photo nabbed from The Shark Is Still Working

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some random thoughts

• Like a big, hairy baby, a lack of sleep makes me cranky.

• So the national economy is collapsing under its own weight, so badly people are finally beginning to at least whisper the word "recession" out loud. It's going to get worse before it gets better, the average citizen is going to suffer the brunt of the downturn, and the government and banking industry are still trying to act like they're trying to save a burning building even though they provided the matches and oily rags. And I'm wondering if there's an accidental silver lining in all this: Before the economy became the Big News (what do you mean people are dying in Iraq? Afghanistan who?), there was a disturbing rise in Administration rhetoric about Iran. Sabres were rattling and experts were actually coming out and saying, desperately, "No! Bad!" but it didn't look as if anyone was listening. Now the Administration is forced to pay attention to something else. Here's my question: Did the failing economy save us from war with Iran?

(At least temporarily. I'd predict that as soon as the economy improves, or at least stabilizes, we'll be hearing more about how scared we're supposed to be of people who speak Persian. It'll be a non-starter, but still — the Administration's nuts.)

• I've got some really good friends, and I feel very lucky about that.

• That Tribeca coffee at Einstein Bagels? That's pretty good stuff right there.

• My wife is also awesome.

• I just found out that this blog is the first result if you Google "worst soup flavors."

• I haven't gamed (RPG) in something like two months. Why have the 12 Gods forsaken me? Why?!?

• If I could, I would totally grow a big ol' handlebar mustache.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chili today, hot tamale

Every now and then I get a craving for something I can only get in El Paso. I don't know if it's because of the cold weather, a hankerin' for cheap beef and grease, or what, but I just got hit with a major craving for a bowl of chili from Big Bun.

Does Big Bun even still exist, El Paso people? If anyone has had the chili recently — or even better, if someone actually goes and has some today — and sends me an obscenely graphic description of the experience, I will both love and hate you forever.

Photo swiped from Mattie & Den's Flickr site

Also, I totally stole this posts' title from Christy.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I hate memes ... but try this one

You might not have noticed, but me and Lopez! tend to avoid all that meme, quizes, "tag-you're-it" bullshit, but I couldn't resist it this time. This was fun and let me flex some creative muscles I don't get to use all that often. It's not the sort of thing that you can just click your way through, which was something else I liked about it.

OK, so here's what you do:

1. Go to Wikipedia and hit "random." The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to random quotations: The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on "Explore the last seven days." Go to the third picture in the queue and, no matter what it is, it will be the image for your album cover. I'm guessing you guys know how to grab images from the Web.

4 - Use Photoshop or something similar to put it all together.

I'd really like to see what you guys come up with so if you end up making one, drop a link in the comments so you can share with the class.

For my contribution, I like to think G√łncruszka is a jangly Euronoise band from somewhere in Finland or Norway, with traces of its early black metal days slipping in now and then on the album To Attack Our Civilization.