Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Ian accidentally found this blog by searching on the iPad for information about his hero Chase Utley. Ian, as you'll recall, put a near-life-size Fathead Sticker of Utley on his bedroom wall and I put pix of it on the blog. Ian searched for pix of Utley and found that post. Because the blog was set up to allow search engines to crawl it.

Ian wasn't interested in reading the post, but still. Time to start over. I'm taking down the more offensive posts, which is to say 99.9% of them. My posts are not intended for 11 year-olds.

If you are interested: My new blog, which at some point I might get around to posting on.

Yes, that's right: reecriff. Because "criffree" was already taken, for some reason. (Yes, I know he lost 4-zip last night. But he's still Criff Ree.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Day At The Races

Actually, it was A Night at the Ballgame, but the Marx Brothers never got around to making that movie; but a titular allusion to Abbott & Costello's "Who's On First?" routine seemed a bit obvious; plus, if I did allude to that routine, I'd have to include a footnote stipulating to the fact that that routine was not really Abbott & Costello's, but actually an old vaudeville routine whose origins can't really be pinpointed; and the only reason I'd have to do that would be to preempt a certain reader who, were I not to point that out, would feel obliged to leave a comment saying, e.g., "Abbott & Costello were not really the originators of 'WoF?' ..."

Take my word — it was just easier to go with the Marx Brothers movie title1.

Anyroad, on Tuesday night, Ian and I went to the Phillies game and stayed till the bitter end, watching as our Phils got their collective @$$es handed to them by the Brewers, 9-zip. Yep, and Doc Halladay (best pitcher in the majors) was our starter that night. Not a good night for Phillies fans!

Cliché alert: The game was actually closer than it sounds (it didn't get out of hand till the 7th), but there really wasn't much to cheer for because the Phils didn't bring their sticks that night, getting a mere two hits, one of which was a bunt single by Rollins.

Ian and I agreed that we had a great time anyway, and as we left after the last out in the bottom of the ninth (a good two-thirds of the crowd had already left), one of the ushers looked at us and said, "These are the real fans!" And I was like, "I never stopped believing they might come back!" which is a bit of a lie, the truth being more that I certainly didn't want to be in the car driving home listening on the radio as the announcers went: "WHAT A COMEBACK BY THE PHILLIES!1! Down by 9 runs, they win it 10-9 in the NINTH!1!"

That wasn't likely to happen but the only surefire way to prevent it was to stay2. Which successfully prevented it from happening.

Anyroad, I'll let these pix do the rest of the talking:

Ian and I got to Citizens Bank Park a half hour before the gates even opened (at 4:35; game time: 7:05) because Ian wanted to see batting practice. It being a moist day, the tarp was down all day and there was no batting practice. And even though we were wandering around in- and outside the stadium for 3 hours, we only got stopped by two official photographers (last time, we got stopped by about 6) and the four pix above are the results. Proofs, of course, because each picture costs $20! Eff that.

My pix:
 Outside at around 4:00, waiting for the gates to open at 4:35 (Ian is wearing his Utley jersey, which he's had for months, for the first time; I wore my Ibañez jersey, of course ...)

Banner of CRIFF REE!1! outside CBP. We'd've seen Lee pitch if there hadn't been a rainout. Still, we got to see Doc so ... no complaints.

View looking up at the Left Field Gate (Duh)

Still waiting ....

Poor Ian never got that Utley autograph ...

1 Which, as every student of 1970s music knows, they stole from the title of the Queen album, on which album you are exhorted to engage in some rather questionable borderline-bondage behavior with your own maternal ancestor. Go ahead. Feel free. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. I'm not here to judge you.

2 Of course all is forgiven now because yesterday afternoon the Phils did come back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Brewers 4-3. Now that was an exciting game! Ian and I watched it on TV.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just a Post

D&R Canal 5K race Official Results:

They're finally up. [Inserted a week later: The preceding sentence was written over a week ago because that's how long this post has been sitting here fermenting.] And it turns out there were only 200 runners, which is fewer than last year (288), which explains how I ran it slower yet placed higher.

The official results:

My time: 24:48:97. 61st out of 200. 12th out of 35 male geezers 50-59.

Ian had his first little league game of the season on Friday, 4/9. His team, the Rays, beat the Yankees, 5-4. One kid on Ian's team hit a home run, by which I mean an actual home run that went over the left field fence and for which the kid in question got to do an actual home run trot around the bases.

That was probably the highlight of the game. Ian played Fall Ball last fall, and, to be brutally honest, the level of play a mere 5-6 months ago was nowhere near as good as it is now. Ian and I have been doing a lot of batting practice together to get him used to faster pitching by these older kids. He's a little upset that he whiffed in both of his at-bats in his first game. He was flailing a bit.

Since that first game, two of Ian's scheduled games have been rained out. He was disappointed both times, but took it well overall.

Between Ian's baseball games and getting and watching all the Phillies games via DirecTV Extra Innings and visiting Teh 'Dad and going to work and practicing baseball with Ian between his official games and practices, etc., I have had no time to do anything else. I have, for example, been "reading" Two Noble Kinsmen by Shakespeare for over two weeks and I'm still in Act V. So there has been no time for posting, tweeting, reading others' blogs, etc. (So STOP NAGGING ME, MOM!1!) [WTF, Beth? Where'd you go?] I am not complaining about this. As a B*tch I know told me, these are Cadillac Problems. I'd like to have the time to be able to do those other things, but (with the exception of having to work) I prefer doing what I am already doing. Blogging, tweeting, reading ... they are all secondary at this point.

Tonight we go to the Phils Versus Brewers game. Doc is pitching. Pray it doesn't get rained out. I don't think Ian can survive yet another baseball disappointment. (He's driving me nuts as I write this.)

In conclusion, here's a picture of Morgan in sunglasses that Ian (I guess) took because I found it on the camera last time I downloaded pix from it and I know I didn't take it:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shocking (WARNING: Political Content)

Canadian scholar Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism was published almost four years ago (which is when I read it) but seems now to be not only relevant once again, but also nearly prescient in its limning of the attempt by radical "Chicago School" economists — disciples of the "free market" ideologue Milton Friedman — to exploit political, social and economic upheaval — as well as natural disasters —  to impose further economic hardships on suffering nations and redistribute wealth upward, thereby further enriching the already-wealthy elites and cruelly immiserating the vast majority of the people in the countries where these neo-liberal economic policies were imposed.

Klein shows the links between the CIA's experiments in using torture, include the technique of electro-convulsive shocks, to make individual victims more compliant and Friedman's disciples' technique of exploiting times of national shock to impose economic "austerity" programs on large populations, on whole nations, thereby, essentially, robbing the vast majority of the people of their rightful share of the wealth. When a nation was reeling from a natural disaster, or a war, or domestic terrorism, or a deep recession — from any type of national "shock" — the Friedmanites at the IMF and World Bank would, vulture-like, swoop in and offer loans as "aid" ... but the loans came with strings attached.

The strings, of course, were that the nations, in order to qualify for the loans, would have to implement "free market" solutions — solutions that turned already-ailing nations that accepted IMF and World Bank funds into kleptocratic, crony capitalist states that stole wealth from the poor via "free" markets and transferred  that wealth to domestic and foreign elites.

These policies were deeply unpopular with the vast majority of the people in the affected nations, which is precisely why they could be successfully imposed only during times of national upheaval, when a country or region was suffering from some kind of collective trauma. Margaret Thatcher's famous (and mendacious) "TINA" (There Is No Alternative) argument was invariably adduced and was used to force on an already-suffering populace policies they would not otherwise have been accepted because those policies were so radically mean-spirited and included needlessly punitive terms.

But those punitive terms benefited the already-wealthy one percent.

Because of the current world-wide economic crisis (caused not by unions, or the poor, or middle-class homeowners, but rather by rapacious banks and Wall Street speculators who have never produced anything other than hardship for the mass of the world's population but who nonetheless continue to reward themselves with multi-billion dollar bonuses, paid for with our bailout tax money), this "Shock Doctrine" is now being used against the population of our own country, as many more qualified to speak on this issue than I are now pointing out:
The new GOP budget unveiled by Paul Ryan is a wildly cruel document. Yet pointing this out [...] seems only to flatter Ryan’s self-conception as a serious man telling hard truths. [... So i]nstead, let’s judge Ryan by his own standards. Does his plan, however cruel, actually address our fiscal realities? No, it doesn’t.

If you want to reduce the deficit, you have to come up with some combination of ways that people will pay more taxes to the government or get fewer services. That’s hard for politicians. Declaring a general intention to make unnamed people pay more, or unnamed programs do less, is easy.

Ryan’s plan does single out a lot of people who would get less from the government. Specifically: the poor and the currently uninsured. Ryan would eliminate all the new coverage in the Affordable Care Act, increasing the ranks of the uninsured by some 30 million. That’s good! (Remember, we’re inhabiting Ryan’s moral universe. If those leeches wanted health insurance, then they should have thought of that before they decided to get breast cancer.) On top of that, he cuts another huge chunk from Medicaid, almost as much from food stamps and other aid to the impoverished, and there we go: about $3 trillion in honest-to-goodness budget savings wrested from the claws of the sick and poor.

But then, alas, Ryan gives all those savings right back and then some by proposing to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts, at a cost of almost $4 trillion. Ryan’s explanation for this decision in this report, which begins by decrying the existential dangers of the national debt in the most lurid terms, is comic. He explains that raising taxes on the rich would not, by itself, solve the problem. “To close the fiscal gap by raising the top rates,” he writes, “the government would have to collect an additional $500,000 each year on average from every taxpayer in the top two brackets.” So, he reasons, let’s just give them a big tax cut instead. Likewise, you don’t have enough time in the day to lose 20 pounds through exercise alone, so you might as well quit the gym and start watching more television.
As Chait points out, Ryan is not ashamed of the fact that his budget plan is nothing more than a transparent plan to transfer yet more wealth to the already-rich ... he is proud of it. Essentially:  I propose fucking you, good people of America, not because you like how I fuck you (you, in fact, hate it); but because I like how I fuck you. So with my plan ... you get fucked; and my rich overlords get richer as they watch me fuck you. It's win-win! I fail to see any losers here. At least, none who matter.

Graphic: H/T Balloon Juice

But maybe the super-rich somehow deserve all that lucre?

Not according to Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz 1, writing in the latest issue of Vanity Fair:
It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. [...] One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.
Later in the same article:
When you look at the sheer volume of wealth controlled by the top 1 percent in this country, it’s tempting to see our growing inequality as a quintessentially American achievement—we started way behind the pack, but now we’re doing inequality on a world-class level. And it looks as if we’ll be building on this achievement for years to come, because what made it possible is self-reinforcing. Wealth begets power, which begets more wealth. During the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s—a scandal whose dimensions, by today’s standards, seem almost quaint—the banker Charles Keating was asked by a congressional committee whether the $1.5 million he had spread among a few key elected officials could actually buy influence. “I certainly hope so,” he replied. The Supreme Court, in its recent Citizens United case, has enshrined the right of corporations to buy government, by removing limitations on campaign spending. The personal and the political are today in perfect alignment. Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent. When pharmaceutical companies receive a trillion-dollar gift—through legislation prohibiting the government, the largest buyer of drugs, from bargaining over price—it should not come as cause for wonder. It should not make jaws drop that a tax bill cannot emerge from Congress unless big tax cuts are put in place for the wealthy. Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you would expect the system to work.
In other words, screwing the 99% and further enriching the already super-wealthy 1% is not a by-product of these policies. It the point of them.

Similarly, Wisconsin governor and Leading Fucktard Indicator Scott Walker proposes using his state's current economic crisis as the shock/excuse he need to try to break the unions (who have already made more than their share of economic concessions for the sake of the state's budget). The economically-shocked-yet-not-stupid populace of the state has responded by turning Walker's until-a-few-weeks-ago-shoo-in-for-reelection-butt-boy Supreme Court Justice out of office2:
Wisconsin voters sent Republican Gov. Scott Walker a clear message about their unhappiness with his muscling through a law restricting union rights by sending a once runaway state Supreme Court race toward a near-certain recount and filling the governor's former post with a Democrat.
Wisconsinites also have enough petition signatures to start recalling the haughty republican state senators who tried to ram Walker's illegal, anti-worker law down their throats.

Wisconsin was to be the radical right wing's bellwether state for their Shock Doctrine attempt to use the current recession as an excuse to screw ordinary people out of a decent life, out of their right to have decent jobs with decent wages and decent benefits.

I, for one, am hoping these are bellwether results.

Recall Walker.

Recall those republican state senators.

Recall Chris Christie (who also wants to screw teachers and other public servants).

Recall Michigan's Snyder.

Recall Ohio's Kasich.

Recall them all.

Fuck them all ... and the Shock Doctrine they rode in on.

1 Stiglitz is an interesting character. (Yes, you read that right. I just called an economist interesting.) He is the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, one of the very international institutions that Ms. Klein criticizes in The Shock Doctrine. So ... a World Bank insider. He probably thinks this shrill, bomb-throwing radical feminist Canadian got it all wrong when she presumed to be qualified to discuss economist Milton Friedman or the inner workings of the World Bank — a typical lefty conspiracy theorist.

Um, yeah ... not so much. He's more like: Sister? You're good, as far as you go; but you don't know the half of it.  Because it's even worse than you think:
Klein provides a rich description of the political machinations required to force unsavory economic policies on resisting countries, and of the human toll. She paints a disturbing portrait of hubris, not only on the part of Friedman but also of those who adopted his doctrines, sometimes to pursue more corporatist objectives. It is striking to be reminded how many of the people involved in the Iraq war were involved earlier in other shameful episodes in United States foreign policy history. She draws a clear line from the torture in Latin America in the 1970s to that at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay.

[...] There are many places in her book where she oversimplifies. But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification, basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed perfect information, perfect competition, perfect risk markets. Indeed, the case against these policies is even stronger than the one Klein makes. They were never based on solid empirical and theoretical foundations, and even as many of these policies were being pushed, academic economists were explaining the limitations of markets — for instance, whenever information is imperfect, which is to say always. [emphasis added]
Stiglitz's essay in Vanity Fair is titled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%"; the introduction to it reads:

Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

He clearly agrees with the proposition that what is going on in Wisconsin and everywhere else that the rightwing teatard hillbillies are temporarily in control is not about balancing budgets, but transferring more wealth from the common people to the already-super-rich. Breaking unions will help do that. The rightwing canard that unions are all-powerful is risible on the face of it, and is easily refuted by one fact alone that Stiglitz mentions in his article: "[T]he decline of unions, which once represented a third of American workers and now represent about 12 percent" is a contributing factor to the current inequality that exists in America. [emphasis added]. It simply follows that Walker et al's attempts to break the unions is yet another transparent atempt to steal what little wealth the average worker has and transfer it upwards, to the richest 1%. It is class warfare at its most brazen.

2 Pending recount, of course. Update: Though it's looking more and more as though there won't be a need for a recount because the Wisconsin Republicans have evidently decided to "win" this election by the usual right-wing means: blatant fraud

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Joyless Mudville

It would not be factually erroneous to say that the Phillies lost their first game of the 2011 season last night but a more accurate way of putting it would be to say that the Mets beat them; because the loss had more to do with what the Mets accomplished  than it did with what our Fightins did or didn't do. The Mets had just an incredible third inning, scoring six runs, and their pitcher, Chris Young, had a phenomenal game all around, making Mets history by being the only pitcher in their 50-year history to get two hits in an inning. Both, of course, came in that incredible third inning; Young — a pitcher — was 3 for 3 hitting, scored a run and drove one in. Every single one of his hits was a valid one, too: He earned them.

In case you have not been paying attention lately, I am an avid Phillies fan and the Mets are one of our biggest division rivals — one of our biggest rivals period. Still it is hard not to acknowledge Young's beyond-impressive achievement. Quite a few other Mets had a good game last night as well, not the least of whom was David Wright, who went 4 for 5, scored 2 runs and drove in 2.

Wright is one of those scary-great players and I always kinda liked him; but for a while now he's also been one of my favorite (non-Phillie) players in the league because he's not only a really great hitter and an excellent third baseman, but also just seems an all-around class act. If anyone had to go 4 for 5 against the Phils, I'm glad it was he.

Last year, when the only games we seemed to get on TV were when the Phils played the Mets or the Yankees because, alas, we get NYC channels where I live (this season, we shelled out for DirecTV Extra Innings and so will get all Phillies games), I remember watching a Phils-Mets game on the NY channel and seeing a commercial in which Wright was spokesman for the New York City Carpenters' Union, and he pointed out that the new Mets stadium had been built, to code, by union carpenters making a livable middle class wage that enabled them to be active members of and contributors to their community. (You can see the commercials here.)

Well, here was a millionaire lobbying in favor of livable wages for the working man for a change! I liked that he opted to do that.

It was at that point that I decided I also respected Wright as a person. He is a good player but also, in my book, an admirable person, which is far more important.

I remember watching one Phils-Mets game during the height of the slump that Wright was in last year and seeing him fling his helmet in anger in the dugout after striking out yet again (or some such thing). He's a Met; there's no loves lost between his club and the one I root for, but I felt genuinely bad for the guy. I took no joy in seeing a truly great player agonize through a tough time, a time when he wanted to be helping his team and seemed just snakebit. (I felt something analogous when I saw that Tim Lincecum "lost" his first game this year after pitching 7 full innings and giving up no earned run; and he "lost" despite the fact that he didn't even give up the winning run (due to the weirdness in how they sometimes attribute pitchers' losses in MLB scoring). The Giants knocked the Phils outta the playoffs last year ... but that doesn't change the fact that Lincecum is a great pitcher, worthy off admiration.)

It was no fun watching the Phils get their asses handed to them last night; but there seems little point — there'd be something small-minded — in saying the Mets didn't deserve to win or the game coulda gone this way or mighta gone that. The Mets won and they deserved to.

I am making myself sound more reasonable than I am. I intensely dislike watching my team lose, but there are more important things in this world than whether or not your baseball team wins a game or even whether they win the fucking World Series. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to think of anything that matters less, in objective terms.

But I think sports can build character and I hope to become more like the person I somewhat disingenuously make myself out to be above. Because to my shame, I wasn't quite that person last night. Yes, sports can build character, can teach you winning with magnanimity, losing with grace, the importance of teamwork, the necessity of recognizing the contributions (and even feelings) of others ... but for fans, sports often seem to teach the exact opposite: how to be a sore loser, a graceless winner — how to be an all-around asshole.

Ian and I were watching the game last night (DVR'd so we could zip through commercials; by the 9th inning, what we were watching was maybe 20 minutes behind real time) and hoping the Phils would come back (they'd done it before); but with each passing inning, it became more and more clear that it wouldn't be happening this time. This was frustrating.

It was Teh 'Bride's late night at the library so she got home at maybe 9:15 (during the 6th or 7th inning for us) and went straight to bed; Ian went upstairs and hung out with her in our bedroom at around 9:40 so he could play with the iPad. At around 9:55, he comes down asking how it's going. "It's the bottom of the 9th and still 7-1," I said. "They're about to lose."

"Yeah, they lost. I checked online."

This was a forgone conclusion: The Phillies were going to lose. I knew this; they were not going to score 7 runs in the bottom of the 9th. I knew that Ian hadn't made them lose, in any case. But even though I am constantly telling him to be a good sport, I got really angry at him:

"Thanks for ruining the game for me, Ian! I wanted to watch it, but you ruined it! Just because you didn't want to watch it ..." etc.

I am that petty, that childish.

I became the worst possible example of the very type of asshole sports fan I am always exhorting him not to be. I became that with my own son.

This is the boy who, when we go to the local baseball field to practice, rushes 300 feet out into center field and says, "Hit me a fly ball, Dad!" And even though I keep telling him I'm not Ryan Howard, that I can't hit a ball that far (even if I were using something more substantial than his 22-oz aluminum kid-bat), he insists on seeing me as a guy who could do that. Despite all empirical evidence to the contrary. This is how he sees me.

He forgave me this morning when I apologized for having yelled at him last night.

He still doesn't see me as that asshole sports fan —despite all the evidence to the contrary. To him that was an aberration.

I sure hope it was.

For his sake, I have to be better than that. Not just a better sports fan.

A better person.

It didn't make me feel any better to wake up this morning and see that, at 9:42 last night, he e-mailed me from the iPad:  

Hi wats up dad wat u doing phials lost :( by

[This before he came down to tell me they lost.]

I know he loves me and looks up to me. I want so much to deserve that.

Last night, I didn't.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 D&R Canal 5K Race Report

First off: On this day in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. The next time you hear racist anti-worker teatards like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity attempt to co-opt King's message, remember that King was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers — members of the AFSCME union ... which is also my union. So yes, Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Christie, Walker, et al. — this is personal.

Saturday I ran, for the 4th year in a row, in the D&R Canal Watch 5K race. The results for this year's race are not up yet; if past experience serves as accurate predictor, they won't be up for about another week. So the numbers I will be giving in this post are unofficial, needless to say.

And why not just put the spoilers right out there for those of you who would have skipped to the end anyway to avoid all the unnecessary in-between verbiage1? So here you go:

My time was 24:47 and I finished 61st. This was in a field of 300+  runners, I would guess2. Possibly 400? I won't know for certain until the official results are posted. I know (see video below) that my bib was #300 exactly and that I saw foax walking around with numbers in the high 400s; but there was also a 1-mile walk, so those numbers can't be trusted3.

I PR'd at this race last year, with a time of 23:53 — the first, last, and only time I have/will seen/see the 23-minute mark in a 5k race, in all likelihood. I'm nearly fitty-one, after all. So that was a bit of a bummer.

But the not-bummers outnumber the bummers: I was 73rd in a field of 288 last year; I finished higher up in a (possibly?) larger field this year. I was not feeling that great on Saturday morning; but despite that I ran well enough to finish sub-25, which, for me, is also a bit of a rarity. And it was a beautiful day for a run — so ... nothing wrong with that.

Also, it's impossible to make a true comparison between last year's race and this year's because they had to significantly alter the race course this year due to a bridge's being out. Last year's course was an out-and-back — essentially a mile-and-a-half out along the river; then a mile-and-a-half back along the canal. Well, the road and bridge where we crossed to the canal path was washed out. So this year's course involved a couple of loops inside the island community of Titusville, which lies between the river and the canal4.

I tried to figure out if this made the course faster or slower or essentially the same. Upshot: I couldn't tell. I do know that near the end of the race, I was so close to puking that I was asking myself not only why I do these things, but also why I had signed up for a late-April 15k race, which is basically doing this same race only three times.

May the Sweet Baby Jebus have mercy on my soles. Also, on the toenails of my second toe, the longest one (That's What She ... etc.).

What you can't hear in this video — thanks to the fucking wind — is when I call Washington a "stupid douche" for using boats to cross the Delaware when there's a bridge RIGHT THERE (you can see it in the video). I stand by that statement. Still, I am glad he got toTrenton in time to stop Hitler and make our nation safe for future secret Muslim Kenyan Socialist Dictators to become President.

1 My opening paragraph having most likely already driven away any teatards who might otherwise have been willing to read this post to its conclusion, I am now deliberately driving away any impatient readers by giving away the ending. It is far more fun for me to alienate you all a segment at a time rather than all at once with some Universally Alienating Statement.

Though I am quite capable of a UAS. I'm sure no one doubts that.

2 I noted my time as I crossed the finish line and I stayed around long enough to seem my tag go up on the board in the #61 position. But then I had to leave (narked THREE bagels first, though!). As those of you who read my tweets already know, Saturday was a busy day and I had to get home so we could all got to Philadelphia to visit Teh 'Dad.

Who, by the way, is fine. His short term memory is going, but since we always see him after lunch, he's better when we visit than when Teh 'Bro does (typically at night time). (As lil sis points out, this is the Sundowner Syndrome; old foax tend to be less alert as bedtime approaches. Don't we all?)

Anyroad, we talked about the exciting Phillies opener, which Teh 'Dad had also watched (but couldn't remember the score of); and I told him how I watched it at night (because we'd DVR'd the afternoon game) and I didn't know that Teh 'Bride already knew the final score and so the Phils were losing 4-2 going into the bottom of the 9th and I was all (typically) "FUCKING PHILLIES!1! NO support for Doc!11!" etc., etc. and then of course they pulled it out in the 9th. And Teh 'Dad was acting all shocked that I would use such language, and made all sorts of suggestions to Teh 'Bride as to how she should punish me. To which I said, "She's punished me enough! She knew they were gonna win, and never let on! Not even a 'Be patient'! NOTHING!1!" Of course, if she had spoiled it for me, I would have been angry.

So ... a couple of "FUCKING PHILLIES!1!" never really hurt anyone, do they?

3 Fucking numbers! Another reason I don't trust them: The number 69 seduced my felt gnome away from me. (It's obvious why the gnome would go for a 69. Who wouldn't?)

Stupid gnome! I could have made it happy if it had just told me what it was into. Gnomes are whoo-wers!

4 So, yeah, technically not a real island.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bad News ... & Other News That Makes The Bad Bearable

I found out yesterday that the QandANJ Virtual Reference Service that I have been a part of almost since it started nearly ten years ago is being discontinued because of a lack of funding. I guess given the current political climate I should not have been surprised by this; after the last NJ budget, the QandA leaders really had to scramble for funding and they found it; but only until June 30, 2011. I was sure something would come through for us after that. But it didn't.

I had a lot of good times working for QandANJ, but if I had to pick my favorite songle thing this here is the winner, hands down:

QandANJ was loved by the people who knew about it and used it, but a problem with any library service is ... you barely have the money to fund it ... where you gonna find the money to promote it so that foax will know it exists? (E.g.: You're paying Netflix for movies? You can get them FREE at your library!)

QandANJ was not immune to this problem. So at the Project Managers Meetings, foax were constantly brainstorming about ways to get the word out about our service. A couple of years ago, it was decided we should have a contest: Ordinary users (ostensibly) of QandANJ would make their own video commercials for the service, upload the vids to YouTube and one of them would win the privilege of being the video our limited advertising budget would be spent on so that it could be aired on TV1.

So without further ado, here was my favorite video ad:

Needless to say, this was NOT the winning submission. And for the record: QandANJ is pronounced "Cue And Ay En Jay", not "Cue And Ange". Which one would think was also needless to say. If we couldn't even get THAT fact across to people ... no wonder we ultimately failed. I'm laughing through the pain, over heeyah, ya pussbag! (As we say in Joisey.)

Yet another useful and (dare I say) loved public service falls to budget cuts.

RIP, Cue And Ange.

Now here's the part that makes that part up there bearable:

I'm looking through my blog's stats this a.m., which I am wont to do, and I see this in the keyword search stats:
Many of you have been wondering what happened to Xenia of late, since she disappeared from Teh Blogosphere, claiming she was working on her Archæology PhD, but there she is, RIGHT THERE, happily ensconced under AT LEAST three uncut cocks.

It does my heart good to have this visual proof that in this day and age of budget crises, some things remain uncut.

And Xenia's got 'em.

That's money well-spent2.

1 The flaw in this seemingly impeccable approach: How do you get the word out about the existence of a contest about a service few (or not enough) people seem to know about? This particularly tough and regressive nut was never successfully cracked; because I think there was a grand total of like seven people who submitted videos in the contest. Most of which were really pretty good. But not all. See above.

2 I just noticed that the search right above the circled ones includes the phrase (from the song "Tam Lin") "I forbid you maidens". Then, there's Xenia under those cocks.

Yeah, so how's that "forbidding" going, Anonymous Searcher?

(That fucking Tam Lin post I did continues to get hits. This is perplexing to me. My most popular post, BY FAR, is the one I did with the pix of the Phillies' Four Aces (R2C2), which outperforms all my other posts combined. I get that. But "Tam Lin"?)