Monthly Archives: December 2010

watch me distract this foul shooter with shenanigans


Have I ever told you how much I hate Dook University? No really, have I? Because if there has been any letup of disgust on my part, please let me know, because I’m really trying to raise it to an art form. I majored in it in college, hell, I’m in Wikipedia for it. And I keep bringing it up on the blog because I think antipathy towards Dook transcends mere basketball rivalry and arcs towards universal hatreds that any of us can understand.

It’s the little things that get me. Take, for instance, their recent injury to star point guard Kyrie Irving, who was scoring over 17 points a game as a freshman, and promising to make us all nauseous. He injured his toe playing Butler last Saturday, which led a nation of Buddhists to believe it was karmic retribution for the cakewalk the Blue Devils had to the championship game last year against… you got it, Butler.

But if’n you ask me, this is another in a long line of Dook “injuries” where the afflicted player comes back 17 weeks earlier than expected, a well-rested, ESPN-fawning “comeback story” accompanied by the grateful tears of Dook fans, and the sanctimonious bow of Koack K. Right now, we are in the Mysterious Affliction Phase, where the injury seems to be of unknown seriousness, and the Dook staff and koach are sending out enigmatic messages, like a passive-aggressive aunt who thinks nobody pays enough attention to her.

This kind of drama-queen-by-fiat happens all the time at Klown Kollege in Durham – it’s meant to make their irrepressible late-season rally seem all the more impressive, and I can smell it from here. After all, it takes an expert to really understand self-obsessed caterwauling, and I majored in that too.

Do I sound like a paranoid sour-grapes playa-hater? Fine by me. But Koach K pulled the same shit with Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer, and a bunch of other snit-nosed floor-slappers that I take Cymbalta to forget. And besides, Dook starters never get hurt. I mean, compared to the injuries we’ve suffered to our best players over the last 15 years, it’s a goddamned disgrace.

The problem with being a longtime follower of any sport – or any movement, for that matter – is that the big wheel keeps on spinnin’. You see the worm turn many, many times in your life. You don’t get to watch your team suck, then come gloriously back to life, the end. You have to watch them start to suck again, and the dark part of that cycle gets harder every time.

We’re just coming out of that bleak solstice as we speak, but for now, we have to endure Dook’s little piss-ant squawk atop the heap. Sure, they can be embarrassed by a Powerpoint sex scandal, or show how troublingly moronic their sense of humor is, making the University fight its “wildly distorted image”, but all the armchair internet sports pundits are still jacking off to their basketball team. Carolina won the National Championship just 19 months ago, but given attention spans, that might as well have been during the Holy Roman Empire.

But there’s one thing that has come back over the last year and a half: insatiable hunger. I was actually growing complacent up to (and including) the 2009 championship, having basked in the warm glow of Raymond, Sean, Rashad, Jawad, Tyler, Ty, Danny, Wayne and two celebrations in five years. I will not make that mistake again, and neither will Roy. I want to pummel Dook back into the floorboards once more. I want the slow pan across the glum navy-blue faces of over-entitled pricks in the Kameron Krazies section as we ritually abuse their rims. Pull whatever mind games you want, Koach – it might not be next week, or even next month, but we’re coming back.


porpoise muttons majesty


There is one thing I’ve learned in all my years of therapy, and that is DON’T READ ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE. Recounting in detail just vivid enough to give you horrible daydreams (but vague enough to keep you from knowing what to do), Alfred McCoy delineates nine different ways the American Empire will end, and end quickly. It’s got it all: China, space war, Oil Shock, tech viruses… and it does it without even mentioning loose nuclear material, superbugs or global warming.

Many things contributed to my cure from PTSD – therapy, drugs and time, mostly – but one other directive from my therapist was to erase all of my news bookmarks on my web browser, and forbade any research on the dark subject matter that was clouding my brain. The minute I saw this article, it felt like what a whisky must feel to a person just out of rehab. I consumed the piece knowing full well I shouldn’t, and regretted it instantly.

The comments didn’t help either, full of people mentally masturbating to their own collection of apocalypse porn. Some people obviously get off on writing variations on “we’re all fucked”, although I’d wager none of them have young kids. Having children makes that sort of scorched-earth thinking irresponsible.

However, the piece raised a tangential issue: when people like me start feeling incapable of fomenting change, despair begins to take hold, and many of us move away, or opt out at some macro level. I don’t mean to raise my personal importance to an untenable level, in fact, I think it applies to almost all of you reading this. Your demoralization makes these nightmare scenarios more plausible. When the smart men and women stop giving a shit, they’re very unlikely to fight for it when things get bleak.

And why the fuck should they? We live in a culture that denigrates expertise, mistrusts facts, and has given corporations the same rights as humans. To quote from the article:

Congress and the president are now in gridlock; the American system is flooded with corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any issues of significance, including our wars, our bloated national security state, our starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed with sufficient seriousness to assure the sort of soft landing that might maximize our country’s role and prosperity in a changing world…

Now, to quote “Animal House”, I find Milton as boring as you find Milton. There’s nothing in this that you haven’t heard a million times before, in the usual harpie progressive hand-wringing squawk. Even the right-wing goons will join in the turkey shoot. You’ll see exchanges like this:

“Okay, then I’ll buy a hybrid and get solar panels and eat locally.”

“Won’t matter. The oil shock will take away all plastics. You’re fucked.

“I’ll get some land with good soil and learn how to farm basic staples and store them.”

“Then some people with machine guns will come and take it away from you. You’re fucked.”

“We’ll move to Canada or Australia or Italy.”

“They won’t let you, and besides, it’ll be even worse over there. You’re fucked.”

However, through all this bottom feeding, it is interesting to think that people like me and you can speed this process of disintegration up considerably. So I put it to you, fair readers: is the idea of “America”, in its present state and trajectory, meaningful to you? Do you believe in any of these scenarios? Do you believe you can protect yourself against the worst of it?


beat to quarters


14 ordinary, harmless names and phrases that actually sound like disgusting sex acts:

Raspberry Compote

a Roger Federer

Lincoln Logs

Clearing the Cache

The Dick Buttons

3rd and long

Damning With Faint Praise


a Pillow Sham

The Zagnut

Saturn Returns

A Bit of Fry and Laurie

Carrying Coals to Newcastle

Disabling Cookies


eyebrow colonial


Okay, how about some photos for friends and family in far-flung Finlands? First, I should mention that this year’s holiday surprise for my wife and daughter was a hot tub I installed outside the farmhouse. It’s a new energy-efficient kind that runs on our solar, and stayed hot even though it was freezing – thus we spent our turkey Tryptophan with the jets set on “medium”:




Lucy’s godmother Annie H. came up to spend the holiday with us, much to the Lulubeans’ delight. They were busy creating geodesic shapes with the mini-pumpkins we grew:




What’s better than cousins? Very little:




Speaking of cousins, currently the littlest member of our extended family is 4-month-old Marlena, who ABSOLUTELY ADORES Lucy and bursts into paroxysms of ecstasy whenever she sees her:




My now-brother-in-law Jon told a story when we were freshmen that I still remember: his dad was at Carolina in the late 1940s, and they hated Dook just as much then. So in September 1947 or so, he and his roommates got a sack of winter wheat seeds, drove to Durham, and planted a giant interlocking “NC” at the 50-yard line of their stadium.

You couldn’t tell anything was amiss until the regular grass started dying and the winter wheat grew in strong. By November, the time of the UNC-Dook game, the field was barren dirt except for the huge “NC” in the middle of their field. Pardon me, but that’s exceptional.

Needless to say, I told that story to Tessa and Marlena as they watched the Heels play on that very same field:




Marlena – or Marlulu, as we sometimes call her – is an effervescent little sprite that brightens the room. This picture is blurred, but gives you an idea of her spirit:




And for you old-timers out there, here’s our tried ‘n’ true Thanksgiving picture, taken every year from 2002 to 2010 (except for 2009, when I fell asleep):