Monthly Archives: March 2008

highlander 6: the fairway wood


Okay, so I went to WhiskyFest in New York last summer to gather information for an article, and all attendees got a bunch of swag: flasks, calendars, books, nosing glasses, that sort of thing. I hadn’t opened up the entire bag until a few weeks ago when I noticed the official t-shirt celebrating National Tartan Day, the holiday for Scottish Americans coming up on April 6.

Now… National Tartan Day is the real deal, recognized by Congress, with huge parades. These shirts were handed out by old ladies who were quite earnest, with absolutely no giggling. My question to you, is: can they be frickin’ serious???


did i ever tell you you’re my hero


Dunno how many of you read the news about the amazing British Airways Heathrow Terminal 5 Cock-Up – or, as it has been termed, one of England’s biggest strategic blunders since the Norman Conquest – but we were flew right into the middle of it. We inadvertently spent the weekend in London (on BA’s dime) and haven’t seen our bags in days and days.

We just got back to Los Angeles, fed the fish, and fought the fatigue as we watched the UNC-Louisville game on TiVo. You know how hard it is to stay in radio silence for 12 hours, even in a foreign country? Obviously, it was worth it. As for our ESPN pool, hats off to Emma (who has bragged about outlining her guest blog from the start), Erica and Tanya, showing us dudes how it’s done.

I’m barely conscious. It was an 11-hour flight. More later, but I don’t think I need to say much more tonight other than GO HEELS!!!

buon giorno


Greetings from Amelia, Italy! We’re here visiting your old friend David Petrarca, staying in his stone house atop the ancient walled city, dating hundreds of years before the Romans. So you know what my priority is, right?

Exactly! Finding the right broadband SIM card so I can watch the Heels on the internet. What’s the frickin’ holdup?

Anyway, I’ll be reporting from here for the next week. Tell me if you want something!

three the old-fashioned way


Last call for entrance into the xtcian March Madness Pool! Just leave a comment below with your correct address in the “email” field and I’ll send you the link. Yes, I realize there might be some ties for first place, but if this happens, all the 1st-place winners will get their own blog for a day.

The rest of the top five will all get a li’l something as well!


jeremiah was a bullyfrog


First up, yes, there will be another xtcian tournament pool, and yes, the winner will get to guest-blog about anything and everything they want for one day. So, all you regulars and lurkers, just do this:

1) Comment below. In the “email” field, please leave your actual email (if you don’t do so normally). Nobody but me ever sees those addresses, and I’ll email you the special invite with the password. Even dook grads!

2) The link will take you to our ESPN page where you can sign up and submit your picks. It’s JUST that easy!

On a completely different note, very interesting stuff on yesterday’s blog, even if you conservatives forced Matt to do most of the heavy lifting – personal emails to me don’t count, kids. Ideas are always better in a big forum, right?

The way some Republicans (and some Hillary supporters) have gone after Obama on this Jeremiah Wright issue smacks of desperation, and I don’t believe this story has legs. Sure, there will be an instant poll taken after hearing Wright say “God damn America” and there will be the usual righteous indignation, but most rational people come to their senses after a few days and blink: “Wright WHO?”

I think it taxes the imagination that six months from now there will be a grassroots viral video showing Wright’s Kraziest America-Hating Sermons, and further, that it would have the slightest effect on anybody but evangelicals, who wouldn’t have voted for Obama even if Jesus himself came back wearing a “Si Se Puedes” slim-fit vintage tee.

In the meantime, I’d hope people understand the vast chasm between the beliefs of your loved ones, and your beliefs. My Uncle Chris believes Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from reformed Egyptian on gold tablets using two rocks, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love him utterly and dearly, and seek to use his advice, his preternatural calm and unwavering good heart in my own life. One of my bestest friends in the world married an Episcopal priest named Cathie, and while I’m an asshole’s agnostic, I adore her unpatronizingly, and the stunning influence she’s had on Chip’s life.

Besides, what part of Wright’s comments ring false? That we’ve caused an inordinate amount of suffering in the world, and that black people are still hobbled by institutionalized racism? While the right-wing sensory-deprivation tank trumped up outrage and umbrage, I could barely summon boredom – Wright isn’t a revolutionary anymore, he’s a Shouter of the Patently Obvious. Frankly, all this hand-wringing by conservatives is actually kind of cute.

The reason I call Matt’s question a high slowball is because Matt is a better study of history than he lets on. Jeremiah Wright’s thoughts were forged in the hot molten iron of the 1950s and 60s, and knew an America that whispered death to socially and politically-charged smart black men. While George W. Bush likes to quote the phrase “soft bigotry of low expectations” (with the mindless sing-song repetition of a toddler who doesn’t quite know what it means), Jeremiah Wright knew the ACTUAL bigotry of water hoses and war zones. That radicalization can turn someone into, as Obama says, “an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with.”

Yes, in his 40 years at the pulpit, it’s easy to cherry-pick some of his crazy shit. And his way of seeing the world in terms of unwavering tribalism, the ubiquity of “us” and “them”, certainly doesn’t jibe with me. But your ability to feel shock or dismay at his remarks rests squarely on a firmament of acceptance that people like Jeremiah Wright helped build. You’re able to call him racist because people like him fought hard enough to make such a turnaround possible. We all live under the penumbra of our crazy uncles who occasionally say something insane, but god damn or bless America, they’re still our uncles.

god doesn’t hate a coward, he loves everybody


Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy North Carolina Tar Heels Winning the ACC Regular Season and Tournament Championship!

I plan on answering Matt’s question from the previous blog comments, because god knows I’ll bite on any topic you guys might bring up (although methinks Matt is lobbing an awfully high slowball) but I’ve got an early flight home in the morning, and I’ve already wasted two hours trying to figure out why my MacBook Pro isn’t waking up when I want it to.

Also, today looks to be pretty frickin’ painful for America’s economic aorta, and if there’s a stock market crash, I’d rather sleep through it as much as I can. I’ve been in New York for the last two days for a scotch tasting, a possible writing gig, and renovating my mom’s apartment, and I ache all over.

That said, I have a CODE WORD question for those of the conservative and/or Republican persuasion who are regulars on here, or are lurking: namely, why would you vote for John McCain over Barack Obama? I’m asking in goodhearted spirit, so please respond in kind, and be specific, unless the answer is more of an ineffable quality (which is fine too).

rocking faces since 2007


Before we get back to the interesting-perhaps-only-to-me topic of whether or not someone should be reviled for their addictions, I was asked last time to tell people when my band was playing. I know it’s short notice, but we’ll be playing tonight in Hollywood at the Foundation Room, which is the VIP lounge upstairs at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Prince occasionally works out songs there, and it’s an SNL haunt whenever they cross coasts, so we’re psyched on our frickin’ bikes. I’m told there are gigantic poofy couches.

Any requests? I mean, besides “Freebird”?