Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mad Libs Round 27

Today's the day when I need a VERB. Which I already have, in DEBRIDE (whom, I might add, I knew when she used to rock and roll).

Rounds 28 and 29 will start tomorrow.


Mad Libs Glitch

Blogging is hard!

Some idiot (read: me) clicked on "Save as Draft" rather than "Publish" when he updated Rounds 23 & 24. Which probably explains why it didn't get any votes yesterday. So I've fixed it, and will be holding these rounds and Rounds 25 & 26 open for another day. My bad.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mad Libs Rounds 25 & 26

Here's the preciouses I needs:


Gollum! Gollum!


UPDATE: Voting is now open. Round 25: HYSTERICAL, SWOLLEN, ROASTED and RAUCOUS. Round 26: SQUABS, GOITERS, GUPPIES and HAMDINGERS. Voting is still open for Round 23, below, as well, until we have a winner there. (Which we now do, so don't worry your pointy little head about it.)

UPDATE 2: Voting is closed; SWOLLEN and HAMDINGERS enter the winner's circle.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Mad Libs Reminder

Rounds 23 & 24 are going great guns, but there's still time to vote in Rounds 21 & 22. So far, no one has.

And happy Memorial Day.


(Okay. All done.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

More Top DCU Characters

My buddies and me are getting’ real well known
Yeah the bad guys know us and they leave us alone...

More from the top 50 DC characters:
11.Lois Lane: Once she got over trying to prove Superman was really Clark Kent, she started being portrayed as the best investigative reporter out there. A writer that knows his stuff can do wonders with her.
12. Jonah Hex: The Man With No Name has a name, and it’s Jonah Hex. This scarred Confederate vet travels the old west, righting wrongs with brutal justice.
13. Sgt. Rock: The tough-as-nails, “never say die” everyman. Not that he has a problem with playing dead until he can toss a grenade your way, Shultzie!
14. Adam Strange: An archaeologist on Earth, but the teleporting Zeta beam sends him to Rann, where he’s that planet’s greatest champion. He’s got a jet-pack and a ray gun, but he always solves his problems with his fin-topped head.
15. Swamp Thing: A miserable guy covered in mud? No! A miserable plant that thinks he’s a guy covered in mud! Alan Moore’s reimagining of Swamp Thing changed the character forever – and that’s a good thing.
16. Flash (Wally West): A sidekick who graduated to the big leagues (moreso than any other hero, including Robin/Nightwing). What’s more, the transition wasn’t the smoothest – without Barry around, Wally had a very shaky moral compass for a while, and only gradually became the down-to-earth hero he is today. I don’t think that road was planned in any but the vaguest terms, but it provided us with more character nuance than the classic good guys usually get.
17. Sandman (Wes Dodds): First of all, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t include Neil Gaiman’s Morpheus on this list. Under the rules, he could have fit, but I was considering him off in his own little universe. But enough about ol’ gloomy. Wes Dodds is the anti-Bruce Wayne. Sure, he’s a single millionaire, but he handles himself completely differently. Awkward and aloof where Wayne is sociable and glad-handing, Dodds is the sort of thoughtful man who provides us with an excellent window to pre-WW2 America. The fact that his nightmares compel him to fight crime in a business suit and a gas mask is a bonus. Sandman Mystery Theatre remains one of comics’ unsung gems.
18. Oracle: The former Batgirl, after being crippled by the Joker, turns to her information-gathering skills to fight crime by proxy, first being an informant for the Suicide Squad, then for Batman and the JLA, and finally by gathering her own team of heroes for special missions in Birds of Prey. She’s awesome, and should never walk again.
19. The Shade: Seemingly immortal, he’s lived for centuries, and is a criminal everywhere but the city he loves, which he’d lay down his life for (if he could). A golden-age character made shiny and new. Well, maybe not shiny.
20. Amanda Waller: The Sgt. Rock of covert ops. She’s never in the field, but more often than not, she’s three steps ahead of whoever she’s facing. And when she’s caught off guard, she’s more than willing to toss everything up in the air, confident that she’ll wind up on top. (And voicework from the amazing CCH Pounder on the Justice League cartoon never hurts.)


Mad Libs, Rounds 23 & 24

Half day today, and I didn’t come in yesterday, so I’m just gonna power through the Mad Libs posts. This weekend’s rounds are:

Round 24: NOUN



UPDATE: Whole lotta choices today. For Round 23: CLINTON, HART, CONDIT, NIXON, BUSH and DELAY. For Round 24: MOTORCYCLE, LOBSTER, HAIRPIECE, PROBOSCIS, TRAGEDY, BLOG and DELAY. Vote your conscience, everyone.

UPDATE 2: TRAGEDY takes Round 24, but Round 23 will remain open until we have a winner. Sudden Death, people!

UPDATE 3: BUSH puts an end to sudden death! When's the last time that happened? I'm shocked and awed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mad Libs Update

I'm keeping the most recent Mad Libs open for another day, since I'm stuck at home on a personal day (a sincere thank you to New Jersey Transit for letting me recover from last night's drinking in style), and the list of words in at work.


No Jokin'?

Think Progress has a story that's too rich for words. Apparently Delay's legal team has sent out mailers citing Steven Colbert's interview with Robert Greenwald, the political documentarian who made The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress. Plus, has the entire Colbert/Greenwald interview on its site. (I'm not linking to it, but you can follow through from the Think Progress story.) They just don't get that Colbert is making fun of them. They think he's a real conservative.

I'm sure this won't be up for long, so check it out while you can. Just the idea of it makes me feel all sunny inside.

(I can't help wondering if it's a hack to make him look ridiculous, but I have a hard time imagining a hacker being so subtle.)


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mad Libs, Round 21 and 22

And with this, we officially reach the halfway point! Oh, how my grandfather, who started this game on his abacus, would be proud.

Round 21: NOUN

And remember, Sudden Death voting is still open for round 16 – will it be SLIMY, HERETICAL or OBTUSE? You decide! Or not. SLIMY enters the Winner's Circle.


UPDATE: Voting is now open. Round 21’s candidates are: CHEESE DANISH, CURIOSITY, FEAT and HAIRBALL. Round 22 brings us CRISPY, SPECKLED, LITTLE and OVERREACHING. A veritable bounty of words!

UPDATE 2: Voting is closed. CHEESE DANISH and CRISPY take it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Everybody! Everybody!

I want to direct your attention to what may be the Best Podcast Ever. It's certainly the coolest thing I've ever heard broadcast on radio. I've been listening to the Penn Jillette show fairly regularly since it began airing on FreeFM, although I only get it via podcast. And the one I heard today was kinda special.

See, Penn's wife is in the hospital during the show, ready to have their second child, Zolten. And although Penn has been assured that there's pleny of time for him to do the show, things don't quite work out that way.

Go to the Featured Audio section of the show's website to hear it for yourself: It's labeled Penn Flees The Studio For The Birth Of His Son, and it may only be available for a short time. The whole show's cool; it always is. But if you're in a hurry, start listening at around 26 minutes. That'll give you a minute or so to hear what the show is like before everthing gets nutty.

I'm also posting a link to download the show directly, but that may or may not work. And, of course, if asked, I'll drop this direct link. (I don't know what the laws are on direct links like this, but nettiquette, I think, frowns on it.)

Enjoy the show, and Happy Birthday, Zolten!


Top 50, Part One

Tom at The Great Curve has asked for help in assembling a list of the Top 50 DC Comics characters, and I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days. I just sent him my list, and figure I’d publish it, with some comments, here. So here are the Top Ten:

1. Superman: The original. No one would be asking this question without him. Moses from space. Both powerful and wise, the world would be much better with him in it.
2. Batman: A victim of crime, he’s devoted his life not to seeking justice for himself, but for others. Driven and selfless.
3. Wonder Woman: The premier female hero. A warrior for peace, she’s one of the toughest superheroes to wrap your head around. But when someone gets it, its always rewarding.
4. Robin (Dick Grayson): The first sidekick. Despite their difference in age, the original Batman/Robin relationship wasn’t Father/Son, but Best Friends. Even the world’s greatest detective needs someone he trusts completely.
5. Captain Marvel : The only character who can one-up the kid wish fulfillment of Robin. Instead of being the best friend of the coolest guy in the world, Billy Batson turns into the coolest guy in the world. All that, and Gomer Pyle gives him shout-outs.
6. Flash (Barry Allen): My personal favorite. He’s got just one power, superspeed, but every adventure showed an inventive new way it could be used. Superhero, forensic scientist, and all-around good guy.
7. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan): A cop in an intergalactic police force. A test pilot, born without fear, with a ring that can do whatever he imagines. The essence of coolness under pressure.
8. Joker: Batman’s insane counterpoint. Batman approaches from logic, where the Joker just wants to get to the funny. He’s just got an awful sense of humor.
9. Lex Luthor: The guy who’d probably be running the world if it weren’t for Superman. Genius, but with an envy streak a mile wide.
10. Green Arrow (Oliver Queen): Brash, outspoken, and always ready to take the little guy’s side.

Hey, it's the top ten. There's not all that much room for surprise, if you're gonna be honest about it. Quirkier choices await.


Mad Libs, Rounds 19 and 20

Just the facts, ma’am:

20. POSSESSIVE PERSONAL NOUN (such as “banker’s” or “idiot’s”)

That’s it – get your Mad on.


UPDATE:Time to vote! The nominees for Round 19 are MONKEYS, VAPORS, SQUELCHERS andWRAPPERS. Round 20 is a different story; we’ve just got three nominees, since“my” is a possessive pronoun, and won’t work in the text. Choose from among:CONGRESSMAN'S, AUSTRIAN GOLD MEDAL WINNER'S and GRAND INQUISITOR'S. (Andrew,you’re welcome to do a write-in on this one.)


Monday, May 22, 2006

Mad Libs, Rounds 17 & 18 -- Special Celebrity Edition!

I saw Chris Rock on 33rd St. on my way to work. And Chris very graciouslyagreed to let you imagine his voice calling out the next two categories.So without further ado:

Round 18: NOUN!

Thanks, Chris.

(I’vebeen working in NYC for three years, and this is my first celeb sighting.Not that gaffers for Sex in the City didn’t get in my way half a dozen times,but this was actually Chris Rock, 4 feet away from me. And he looks justlike he does on TV. That’s how I recognized him. Unless there’s someone walkingaround who in real life looks just like Chris Rock looks like on TV, butcamera crews and the craft services cart lead me to believe it was actuallyChris Rock.)

Be sure to vote in Rounds 15 & 16, everyone!


UPDATE: Voting is now open, and your choices for Round 17 are: SAP, PANIC and MUTE.Round 18’s candidates are ASTEROID, BILLY CLUB and JUKEBOX. Plus, if youhaven't voted in Round 16 yet, there's a sudden death vote-off down below.So c'mon! Sudden Death! Who can resist THAT?

UPDATE 2: The votes are in! SAP and BILLY CLUB take it!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

It's Always Hottah, Under De Watah...

...take it from the Sea Devils.

I don't write about comics nearly as much as I ought to, considering how much I love the durn things. But this afternoon I was reading an old issue of DC's Sea Devils, their scuba-diving adventure team from the sixties. In it, an undersea shapeshifter called the Man-Fish begins to turn the team against their leader, Dane Dorrance (whose long-lost father appears in this issue, inexplicably named John Payton, but that's beside the point). Dane's love interest, Judy, really seems to go for the guy:

To the point where she even tells her boyfriend the new deal:

So in case you were wondering, diamonds aren't a girl's best friend. It's gills, baby. Gills. They make diving much more fun!

(images from Sea Devils #22, March-April 1965)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Home to Roost

A hearty welcome back to the blogosphere to my buddy Mark, who’s getting the Roost up and running again after a long absence. Huzzah!


Jack or Glenda?

Interesting stuff: an Australian forensics expert has developed a new DNA testing technique that seems to indicate that Jack the Ripper was a woman. It’s inconclusive, of course—heck, who even knows how reliable his new technique is?—but I still think it’s a neat angle.

But anyone who’s seen Amazon Women on the Moon knows the real story of JTR: He was the Loch Ness Monster.

Bullshit…or Not?


Mad Libs, Rounds 15 & 16

In a hurry right now, so nothing cute. Here’s what I need:


Hop to it!


UPDATE: Welcome to Monday! Voting is now open, and your choices for Round 15 are: SLAPPED, SELF-DESTRUCTED and SPEWED. Round 16’s candidates are SLIMY, HERETICAL and OBTUSE. (Sometimes I feel like I make that choice every November.)

UPDATE 2: Voting is closed for Round 15; SPEWED is our past-tense verb du jour. For Round 16, we're going to have a Sudden Death round vote-off between SLIMY, HERETICAL and OBTUSE. Next vote takes it!

UPDATE 3: Sudden Death is suddenly over! First of all, thank you to Andrew for tossing in an extra vote for HERETICAL. but since Drew had already voted, I'm going to use Jim the Bastard's vote for SLIMY to wrap things up here. Thanks to both of ye.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


CNN is reporting that New Orleans’ new floodgates (to protect the weakened levees) will not be ready to install until July. Mother Nature could not be reached for comment, but a junior staffer has confirmed that she intends to start hurricane season in early June as always.


Mad Libs, Rounds 13 & 14

Hokeydoke. The double-vision nominating process is going great guns, so lets keep up the pace.

Round 13: VERB THAT CAN BE USED AS A NOUN (another one, yes.)

And yeah, with round 14, I probably could have just said noun, but what the hell. It’s not like this is a GMLOC*-certified game.


*Global Mad Libs Oversight Commission

UPDATE:Voting is now open. For Round 13 (verb to noun), choose from among CRAP,SQUEAL, SKULL-F*CK and PARROT. For Round 14 (the barbecue fixture), we’vegot GOBLIN, LONG PIG, GLAZED FACE and the everpresent PARROT. Roll yer diceand move yer mice, evvybody.

UPDATE 2: Voting is closed. GOBLIN takes round 14, and will hold a triumph in the courtyard. After a close race, Mrs. Executive Tiebreaker chose to cast her vote for… PARROT. All hail the conquering words!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mad Libs, Rounds 11 &12

That’s right, we’re putting the Slowest Game of Made Libs Ever in Your Life, Muthafunka into high gear. Or medium gear. Or at least outta park. We’re firing up the afterburners and doing two rounds at once, so prepare yourselves for the lexicographical thrill of a lifetime! Here’s hoping we can keep everything straight, and things get double super-size crazy, now with kung-fu grip!

All hype aside, here are the words I’m looking for.

Round 11: NOUN!
Round 12: ADVERB!

And while you’re here, drop a vote toward Round 10.


UPDATE: Voting is now open for rounds 11 and 12. For Round 11, your choices are DIRIGIBLE, EQUESTRIAN, SPORK, CHOWDER and PROTUBERENCE. For Round 12, the nominees are TRAGICALLY, WRYLY, METAPHORICALLY, VICIOUSLY and SLYLY.

UPDATE 2: Voting is closed. In a powerful coalition, Sharon and Andrew shifted the balance toward SPORK and WRYLY.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mad Libs, Round 10

PLURAL NOUN, PLURAL NOUN, friendly neighborhood PLURAL NOUN. Spins a web any size; catches thieves just like flies.

Look out!

This round's a PLURAL NOUN!


UPDATE: Voting is open, with two nominees: MP3's and JUGS.

UPDATE 2: Voting is closed; a pair of JUGS trumps a single MP3.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Brushy Got The Axe

Because nothing is worse than a mustache when you've got spasm-inducing allergies.


Love the Lounge

Just a quick heads-up to check out the reclusive barrelhouse piano player, Bobby Lounge. We caught him at jazzfest, and he's a true nutty genius. He was introduced by a huckster Boss Hogg type, and entered the stage via a big prop iron lung (and accompanied by his nurse, who he claims is a contoritonist). He's got some sample mp3s on his site: Check out "Take Me back to Abita Springs," "I Will," and "Ten Foot Woman," and of course if you run into me, I'll be happy to play you the whole loopy magilla. I liked him so much I bought both albums.


Getting Madder Every Day: Mad Libs Round 7.5

Hi Kids,

It looks like I made a mistake with Mad Libs Round 8. Looking back at it, I wasn’t specific enough: I needed a VERB that can also be used as a NOUN. So I’ve decided to commute the wonderful DEBRIDE to the next present-tense verb coming up (in Round 27, believe it or not!) and call a do-over. If City Slickers has taught us anything, it’s that we all need a do-over every now and then. So like Bob Ross, I’m gonna paint this round over with a happy tree that I like to call:


Thanks for bearing with me.

(oh, and voting is open for Round 9, below.)

UPDATE: Voting is open. Choose from among BEAT, BLEND and GRIND.

UPDATE 2: Looks like it's GRIND.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Registered Sense Offenders

I can't even begin to say how angry this makes me.Especially the mom's self-satisfied attitude at the end. He was a little rude (in an effort NOT to be!) so he deserves to be run out of town? In what universe does that make sense? He should check that book on etiquette outof the library and feed it to her.

And the cops? "Your best bet is to leave the area?" Thanks for protecting the innocent, assholes. Someone needs suing.


UPDATE: The link above is dead (though I’ll try to find the original story again when I get home tonight), but here’s a link to the Eric Haskett story on Sploid which led me there. Sadly, I don’t think it has the quote from his girlfriend’s mom, blaming it all on him for not coming to the door and dozing off in front of her. (Oops... On second look, it's there after all.)

Looking for Traitors? Check the Mirror.

The first two paras of Frank Rich's new column, "Will the Real Traitors Please Stand Up?"

WHEN America panics, it goes hunting for scapegoats. But from Salem onward, we've more often than not ended up pillorying the innocent. Abe Rosenthal, the legendary Times editor who died last week, and his publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, were denounced as treasonous in 1971 when they defied the Nixon administration to publish the Pentagon Papers, the secret government history of the Vietnam War. Today we know who the real traitors were: the officials who squandered American blood and treasure on an ill-considered war and then tried to cover up their lies and mistakes. It was precisely those lies and mistakes, of course, that were laid bare by the thousands of pages of classified Pentagon documents leaked to both The Times and The Washington Post.

This history is predictably repeating itself now that the public has turned on the war in Iraq. The administration's die-hard defenders are desperate to deflect blame for the fiasco, and, guess what, the traitors once again are The Times and The Post. This time the newspapers committed the crime of exposing warrantless spying on Americans by the National Security Agency (The Times) and the C.I.A.'s secret "black site" Eastern European prisons (The Post). Aping the Nixon template, the current White House tried to stop both papers from publishing and when that failed impugned their patriotism.

Read the rest. Ah, Frank Rich, how we've missed ye...


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Night One in NOLA

While my New Orleans reminisces will be coming through in a mixed up, jumbled up, shook-up order, this one starts at the beginning. We touched down in Louis Armstrong Airport on Wednesday afternoon and shared a cab to our hotel (the W) with a Jazzfest veteran who recommended restaurants we never got to.

We met our friend Jay in the W lobby, and after dropping off our luggage, headed over to Mother's for Po'boys. On our way there (right across the street, yahoo!) Jay told us about the hotel's grand re-openeing party that night. There'd be free drinks (nice) and, while it was a secret, Lauren Hill would be playing there. Double cool.

At Mother's, we soon learned that the Lauren Hill news was common knowledge among the cooking staff. I ordered a debris po'boy (essentially roast-beef shavings with gravy) and Kathy had a Ferdi's special (baked ham with debris overtop). Slow service, but unquestionably good eatin'.

Plus, we learned that Marcia Ball was playing in Lafayette Square down the road in a coupel of hours. So the three of us hoofed it on over (Jay's wife Nicole preferred to nap) and enjoyed two terrific sets and my first Abita Turbodog of the week.

Next came the party, where the beautiful people of New Orleans mingled with a bunch of sloppy tourists like me, all in search of free drinx. It honestly felt like I was back in NYC, to the point that I started texting Jim the Bastard about it. Sadly, we wandered into an area that was not an open bar (but neither was it clearly marked) and I wound up paying eight bucks a drink for us. But I got to try Tanqueray Ten, which was pretty darn tasty.

To be honest, Jay heard a lot more of Lauren Hill's set than the rest of us did. He stayed downstairs with the crows, while we were upstairs with the shorter lines for free drinky. But from what I heard, she sounded good, and Jay was really impressed with how she led the band, several of which she hadn't met until that day.

After the concert, we headed off to Bourbon Street, which was pretty empty in places. We had a drink in a joint on Toulouse called Molly's, and soon after Jay and Nicole went back to the hotel, Kathy & I did, too. We could have walked farther down Bourbon, but like I said, it was pretty quiet. But it was also Wednesday, which could have been part of the reason. And just in case it was, I wanted to turn in. I said to Kathy "I'll be damned if I let myself get all depressed simply because it's Wednesday."

More later, probably not in chronological order.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Barbaric Yawp



Thank you. You may now return to whatever's making your life hell.


Mad Libs Round 9

Lookin’ for NOUN in all the wrong places, lookin’ for NOUN in too many faces…


P.S. Remember to vote in Round 8!

UPDATE: Voting is open, with one vote already registered for TUSK! Your nominees are: PILE, BOOGER, POLLEN, TUSK!, and TOPIARY. Make your voice heard!

UPDATE 2: TUSK! takes it! Cue the marching band.


This here is Razzoo's. It's a bar on Bourbon Street I don't think I've ever set foot in in my four trips to New Orleans. Which isn't particularly noteworthy -- there are a lot of Bourbon Street bars that I've never been in -- except for the recommendation we got on our last day in town. We had stopped into Checkpoint Charlie's,* a bar on Esplanade that I recognized as the first bar in the city that I ever drank in, way back when. (Seriously, when?) The pointer came from Larry the Racist, Misogynistic Barfly, who fascinated me with colorful hogwash and let me pick 5 bucks worth of jukebox tunes for him because his eyes were too bad to do it himself. But he did mention that he'd be going to Razzoo's later (even though it was pretty unlikely that he'd be leaving his stool before breakfast tomorrow). His description of the place? "Ah'll be goin' to Razzoo's, where the wimmin dance lahk wald piiiigs..."

Wild pigs, everybody. I should ask my hunter friends about how exactly wild pigs dance. Careful of the tusks.


*Fun fact about Checkpoint Charlie's: Both times I've been there, I've lost track of insane amounts of time. Hours, when I would guess maybe only one had passed. It's The Bar That Time Forgot.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mad Libs, Round 8

I'm looking for a VERB. Got one?


UPDATE: Voting is open. Three choices this time: CAVORT, DEBRIDE, and RUB.

UPDATE 2: The eerie DEBRIDE takes it, and is magically transported to Round 27 (or thereabouts) because of a blunder on my part. Mea culpa.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mad Libs, Round 7

I’m back. I’ll have New Orleans stories soon, featuring Jazz, Crawfish, Burlesqueand the Amazing Man Covered in Flour! But until then, here’s the next roundof Mad Libs: I’m looking for a PLURAL NOUN. Make me proud, troops.


UPDATE:Voting is now open. The nominees are JACKASSES, SQUEALS, FERRETS, and PACKERS(or possibly PACKUUURRS, which I suppose is a reference to some sort of athleticsquad of some type or another, possibly the type who cram into phone boothslike 1960s fraternity brothers). Choose wisely, padewan.

UPDATE 2: Damn if the hiatus hasn’t slowed the voting down. But Packers it is! (Heh heh.. he said “butt packers…”

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mad Libs: The Long Round Six

Something different this time around. I’m about to go on vacation (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, here I come!) so you’ve got some time to think about this one (you've also got plenty of time to vote for round 5, below). And what, pray tell, am I asking for? Something you can really sink your teeth into: BODY PART, PLURAL. I’ll be back next Tuesday night to close submissions and start the voting. Didn’t I tell you this would be the slowest game of Mad Libs ever?


UPDATE: Let the records show that on this day of May 10, 2006, voting was opened on round six of the Slowest Game of Mad Libs in the World. Let the record also show that the plural body parts nominated are UVULAE, TONGUES, SPHINCTERS, ANTENNAE, BRAINS!, NOSTRILS, ASSES and TITS. Let the records also show that voting on round five (below) shall remain open until the four-way-tie is broken, either by another incoming vote or by a consultation with my wife, who does not know the Secret Mad Libs Text. It’s sudden death overtime, so if you haven’t voted, what’re you waiting for?

UPDATE 2: Voting is closed. BRAINS! takes it. Send more cops.

Led Down the Garden Path

It was a productive weekend.

A few months ago, I took a freelance job to proofread a book. Even before the money came in, I decided what I wanted to do with it. Kathy and I had been talking about laying down a small pathway between our deck and what will be our garden on the side of the house. So, money in hand, we picked a weekend. That weekend was this Saturday and Sunday.

We looked at it as a day-long project, but between a couple of extra steps and some shopping detours, it took two days to complete. Given our usual margin of error of plus or minus 1 month, it was right on time. (We made sure to keep Sunday clear in case we needed it, so we have at least that little bit of self-knowledge.)

It was a tricky business, this path. To lay pavers, you need to dig about six inches down in order to give them a firm foundation – you can’t just drop them on the ground where you want them to go. Problem is, our path was on a slope, probably about 20 or 30 degrees. Compounding that, we didn’t want to dig out the upper part of the path; we wanted to build up the area on its sides (or side, actually – to the other side of the path were rotting railroad ties, which, with the help of our neighbor Willie, we replaced with pressure-treated wood). Because of this – the slope, the build-up, the different sides – the ditch was very difficult to visualize. Admit it – you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

Even though we planned an early start, much of day one was taken up by the pressure-treated wood follies. After we picked out the 12-foot-loong 6 by 6 ties at Home Depot, they told us they couldn’t cut pressure-treated wood because of the ventilation system; we put them back and went to Lowe’s, who said over the phone that they could cut pressure treated wood. Problem was, the wood we picked out was too thick for the saw. Luckily, they were 8 feet long instead of 12, and we could fit them in the back of the car and cut them at home wit a circular saw borrowed from Willie.

Between replacing the wood and digging the ditch, Saturday was shot. But it looked like Sunday wouldn’t take too long.

Sunday’s task was to lay down the foundation layer of rocks, and then a second, finer layer on which to rest the paver stones. Easy enough to do, even though we realized the path was a little too narrow for our stones and had to be adjusted (and more foundation had to be bought). Then came time to lay the stones.

It turns out that left to their own devices, the stones we chose naturally curve to the right. Or left, I suppose, depending on the direction you’re walking. We got about five stones laid down, and suddenly we were faced with a dilemma: The path was on a collision course with the wooden wall on the side. Eventually, we came up the solution of making the path slightly narrower in places, in a sense resetting the pattern to start again. Since the stones themselves would be surrounded by river pebbles (“Gravilla de Rio,” the bags helpfully said), the path’s width could be visually uniform even when the stones themselves varied.

By 5 p.m., all the river pebbles were poured out (we needed two extra bags of them, too) and the solar lanterns were placed to the side of the path. We’re both really happy with the way it looks, and pretty damn proud that we managed to get it done in the weekend. We’ve got a vacation coming up, and it feels like we earned it.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Things I Didn't Need To Know

I get a lot of fundraising letters from the Democratic Party and various candidates. I hardly ever read them: I'm not made of money, after all. Still, I just got one from Senator Bob Kerrey, and I happened to read the first sentence. At which point I decided I definitely did not want to continue:

Dear Rob,

When we were in the Senate together, John Kerry and I shared a lot more than a last name.
Needless to say, I didn't read on. Maybe I'm a prude, but I don't expect to get this kind of smut in my inbox unless there are midgets involved.


Mad Libs Round Five

After a busy weekend, I'm back -- and so are the Mad Libs. For this round, I need an ADJECTIVE. Get to it! (And don't forget to vote for round four!)


UPDATE: It’s time to vote! Your choices are SOPORIFIC, FOAMY, SAUCY, CHASTE and ROTTEN. The polls will be open for almost a week on this one (due to vacation-related reasons), so you have time to campaign for your favorite to all your friends. Get some grassroots action going on, or a door-to-door get-out-the-vote initiative.

UPDATE 2: Kathy broke the tie, choosing SAUCY... our new champeeeen!