Monthly Archives: March 2012

pickin’ winners since the K-T extinction event


Okay, this is it, ladies and gents! You may have other “pools” and “brackets” and “bets” but this is the only one that will test everyone’s worth as a functioning carbon-based creature. Get ready for xtcian’s 173,408,092th Annual NCAA Bracket Challenge!!!

Yes, since the mid-Jurassic period in the Mesozoic we’ve had our fair share of beloved winners. Who among us could forget the Pachycephalosaurus who bet it all on Wisconsin-Green Bay and came-from-behind over the didelphid marsupials?


“the marsupials were arrogant” – just after her historic win

Everyone counted out Ook Ook Schplurgk just because he was a Neanderthal, but when he picked San Jose State over Xavier, just who had the last laugh?


Ook, pictured here at 24

Now it’s time for YOU to enter into the pre-history books, friends. Leave your favorite bit of profanity in the comments section below, and make sure you include your email address in the correct field (it will remain hidden). Within a few [insert arbitrary piece of time here], you’ll get an invite to our bracket.

They’re due QUICK, so get cracking! Winner gets their very own blog entry, where you will be able to pontificate your madness to this medium-sized and deeply-disturbed following. Olé!

[WED. UPDATE… today’s the last day, folks! Revise your picks due to late-breaking news! And some people have reported not seeing the ESPN email until they checked their spam folder… – ed.]

all you see are sympathetic eyes



Suzanne, Lee, Tessa

We lost an incredible person on Saturday – Suzanne Robinson, partner of Lee Coggins and mother to Anna, died in Durham. I’ve often written of Lee Lee and Suzanne, and many of you non-NC people might remember them as early soldiers in the fight for gay marriage:


And of course, they have both been integral commenters on this blog, along with Lee’s brother “kevin in NC”. We’ve spent all day sending thoughts of love to Lee Ann and all the families, and encourage y’all to do the same. There has been a Facebook page started as a memorial, but I wanted to say a few words here – especially since my dear wife Tessa is too shaken to respond.

Suzanne was a natural in every way – I loved how her feet were always tan, even in the winter. She entered every room with a breezy energy, and when you got her going, her laugh was loud and insane. She was effortlessly empathetic; if you had a problem, or an intense feeling, she got you on a molecular level.

The thing I’ll miss the most was her voice. Not her way of saying things (although that was great too), but just the timbre and delicious accent she had from years of Charlotte. She started sentences with a “y’all…” that I can hear, right now, thousands of miles away from North Carolina.

She ran AdSpice in Durham, making some of your favorite T-shirts for schools and businesses all over NC, and although she had to make thousands of shirts for Dook, she positively bled Carolina Blue. Before the first game in 2005, she wrote:

tossing and turning, heart racing, stomach in knots, night sweats–by the time I could actually get up to eat breakfast this morning, I was so sick i could hardly choke down my cereal. sounds like a panic attack, i know. but those of you in the know, know…

I’m so excited I can’t sit still!



We lost that one, but a month later, we were all there together, with Lucy in Tessa’s belly, to see Marvin Williams’ tip-in to seal the deal. Lee and Suzanne were a few rows away:


It’s tempting to shake our heads in disbelief at how young Suzanne left us, but sometimes it’s the miracle of how long we’re able to last. As someone who was borne of tragedy, Suzanne knew it first-hand:

I feel every day the death of my brother and mother who died innocently at the hands an angry “god” . I have no idea where justice lives. Some place in our minds that we make up-that we need to exist to be able to go on with our lives?

And yet, through all this, Suzanne did go on with her life, a life where she made so many of us happy, for a long time. I choose to celebrate the Suzanne who lived, whose existence was not a given, but something hard-earned. She comported herself with such grace, such spirit. When she smiled, her eyes disappeared. Now she has disappeared, I will try harder to smile.


Chip and Lee Lee surround 7-month old Lucy, who looks to Suzanne

the rare sextuple bagging


Sometime early in 2008, I realized my finely-honed espresso fetish was coming to an end: as much as I adored coffee, I could no longer ignore that it was absolutely destroying my digestive system and making me addicted to Immodium. But I still needed a decent caffeine delivery mechanism, and the lord above provided one: Celestial Seasonings Fast Lane Black Tea.

This stuff was made of rich teas blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, eleuthero, licorice, uranium, neptunium and plutonium. It had the same caffeine as a 2-shot latté, and it was fantastic. After a few months of using it as my mandatory morning constitutional, I heard rumors it was becoming hard to find. Ever the Mormon survivalist, I bought 80 boxes of the stuff, and a few weeks later Celestial Seasonings shut down production.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was flummoxed by its absence – an online petition started up, and eventually even a Facebook group. I never trusted internet campaigns, and carefully rationed my stash – it was mid-2008, and with luck, I figured I could make it to the beginning of 2012.


And so I did. Here is my penultimate box of Fast Lane Tea, turned over to reveal the expiration date of March 2, 2011 (I figured the tea would last a year longer than that). Today I brewed one of the final cups, and a few hours ago, I decided to start searching in earnest for a replacement.

Nothing had the same effect, not even quadruple-bagging those Super Irish Breakfast teas, and though Teavana came awful close, I was beginning to pine, hanker, long, and yearn. And just like that, FAST LANE TEA MAGICALLY REAPPEARED. To my surprise and delight, those silly internet petitions actually worked.

They say junkies always keel over when they start doing heroin again after rehab – they take their old dosage, and their healing bodies can’t take the strain. Nonetheless, I ordered a shitload of Fast Lane and I’m going to INDULGE. I’m through being a survivor on a raft, parsimoniously divvying up tiny fish tendrils! No more watching boxes of tea rise uncontrollably in emotional value! I’m gonna throw a hundred bags in a hot tub, invite some Pi Phis from 1990 over, and grow deliciously complacent!

can’t mate in captivity


Today is International Women’s Day, so I’d quickly like to say one thing: I don’t know how you ladies do it. If I were a woman in today’s world, I would walk around with a brickbat, my emotional range starting at “incensed” on the way to “wrathful”. Honestly, how do you put up with all this shit?

Recent examples are only the tip of the ice age – sure, there’s Rush Limbaugh and his greasy, obese slithering. There’s the execrable Blunt Amendment, the forced-penetration Virginia bill, and of course, the all-penis-all-the-time congressional panel on contraception.

No, what would make me quake with uncorkable rage is the ubiquitous, institutional sexism that should have disappeared 20 years ago, but seems to be as egregious as ever. It’s the little things that are actually big things. It’s the way we can denigrate any powerful female figure with the word “bitch” or “cunt”, or the way any woman we don’t like can transform into a “harpie” or a “nag”.


Sure, guys are assholes, but they’re also allowed a gruff, rakish charm – and they’re also allowed to get older. I work in an industry that would be Women’s Biggest Enemy, if it weren’t for Republicans. The stats are disgusting: women directors make up about 9% of field; 11% of the writers on television are women, and only because of the occasional push for diversity. The average age difference between lead male and female actors… well, you’ve all seen it.

Women make up 50.8% of the USA, but look at Congress: the House of Representatives has 362 men and 76 women. The Senate has 83 men and 17 women – however, 13 of those women had to be appointed to enter the Senate, and seven of those were appointed to replace their dead husbands.

That is why you get laws like the one in Virginia, which now requires you to experience an ultrasound before you can terminate your pregnancy (the penetrating dildo requirement was dropped). Think that’s reprehensible? Eight other states already demand it.

And what do women get for their trouble? A cohort of unmarriageable males stacked high on top of each other like a tottering slab of gelatinous pancakes. Men are now less educated, less employed, and less employable. The only thing men have going for them (besides “date rape and AIDS jokes”, to borrow from Heathers) is preternatural upper-body strength, which is only useful as protection when you’re getting robbed – by another guy.

I have long dabbled in serious misandry, but the pile of evidence on men’s increasing worthlessness make me despair for Lucy, should she go the heterosexual route (early disposition says yes).

Women: I’m sorry. You still earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar. You have to endure such mind-numbing bullshit. Please try to have a happy International Women’s Day, and thank you for not walking around with a flamethrower, incinerating every fucking douchebag you see. It’s what I would have done.

And boys: get cracking, be serious and strive for excellence, you dumb motherfuckers, so that my daughter’s generation has someone worth falling for!

risk, sorry, operation, stratego


A propos of a conversation some of us are having in real life (I refuse to use the acronym “IRL” – I feel as though it cheapens the experience of actually living), I’d like to ask the following three questions:

1. Are you having as much fun as you thought life was supposed to be giving you?

2. If not, is it primarily your responsibility, or has it been your circumstances?

3. Do you honestly plan on changing anything about it?


plum tea


Look, I’ve got this whole feminist political rage post bottled up and ready to explode, but… I… I…


I actually bought the license for this picture from the Associated Press, so that photographer Gerry Broome would get some credit, and hopefully, some money. Because he deserves it.