Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama meets Victor Hugo meets Andrew Lloyd Webber meets The Office meets The War Room

This is produced by a comedy troupe, but there is a lot of earnestness in there, too - especially at the end.

My favorite part is about the 2:30 minute mark.

John McCain is a Liar

To crib from a truly great American, I pity the fool that is actually supporting this washed up, disingenuous fraud who left whatever honor and integrity he gained in that Vietnamese prison cell somewhere in the dust long, long ago.

Finally! Someone to cheer for this year.

Cavaliers sign guard Delonte West

Sep 12th, 2008 | CLEVELAND -- Two prolonged contract holdouts early last season hurt the Cleveland Cavaliers, damaging their chances of getting back to the NBA finals.

They made sure it wouldn't happen again.

The club signed restricted free agent guard Delonte West to a two-year contract Friday, a deal that includes a third-year club option for 2011-12.

Financial terms were not immediately known. West and his representatives had been seeking a deal worth $5 millon per season.

West was acquired last season from Seattle as part of the three-team, 11-player megatrade before the Feb. 21 deadline. Filling a major void at point guard, the 6-foot-3 West averaged 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 26 starts for the Cavaliers.

He was one of Cleveland's best players during the postseason, averaging 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 13 games for the Cavs, who pushed the NBA champion Boston Celtics to seven games before losing in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Cavs didn't want a repeat of last year when forwards Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic, both restricted free agents, held out of training camp. They eventually signed deals, but when they came back both players struggled getting into shape, got injured and the Cavaliers' chemistry was affected by their absences.

The 25-year-old West can play either position in the backcourt. He will likely back up point guard Mo Williams, who was acquired in a trade this summer from Milwaukee. West could also get time at shooting guard along with Daniel Gibson, another restricted free agent signed by the Cavaliers during the offseason.

"He's a tremendous defender and he's about what we want to be about on that end of the floor," Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said.

Ferry said West's decision to work out at the Cavaliers' training facility this summer assured both sides that he wanted to stay in Cleveland.

"It was a very healthy thing for the process. It kept the relationship on a good, positive level," Ferry said. "He wanted to be part of what we're working toward. We've said all along that we want Delonte on this team. He's a good player and can make us a better team."

Ferry is excited about Cleveland's potential this season. Williams will give the Cavaliers a second, bona fide perimeter scoring threat to complement superstar LeBron James.

"We have guys who really love to play and love to compete," Ferry said. "We have really good depth everywhere and we have a solid balance of youth and experience."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Founding Myths and Modern Romance

Sounds like the title of some Gender Studies academic publication, doesn't it?

Anyway, I have a theory that has been floating around my brain and I figured I'd run it by you all.

Every organization, whether it is a nation-state or a political party or a small business, develops some sort of founding myth. The interesting (sometimes righteous, sometimes funny) set of events that led to its development. Think about it: the movement against taxation without representation that led to armed revolution and the establishment of the USA; the rise of the Republican Party in the 1850s as a way for Midwestern politicians to stand against the evils of slavery; Bill Gates dropping out of Harvard and inventing stuff in his garage, etc.

In a way, a romantic relationship, at base, is an organization. A smaller organization, sure, but an institutionalized set of interactions no less.

It is commonplace for new and established couples alike to be asked how they met, and often they have a fun little story, a "meet cute" in the parlance of Hollywood. You don't often hear something simple and pedestrian like, "we met in a bar" or "through" and if you do, then the cute details come along in the context of the meeting. Or the boring details are dispatched with a heavy dose of irony, a decent cloak for the couple's shame that they don't have a more compelling story to share.

Once a couple meets, they quickly find new shared narratives, whether shared strange preferences or experiences or whatever. This becomes the frame through which the couple views itself, and portrays itself to others, both at first and down the road. Over time, the myth may evolve or just disappear (along with the relationship), but sometimes the same myth may persist, hardly changed, for the duration. In such a situation, it is possible that the version of events Grandma and Grandpa tell the assembled kiddies about how they met a half-century ago is the very same version of events they told themselves (or their close friends) when it actually happened in the first place.

How about some examples:

The last girl I went on a date with turned out to be born on the very same day as I. That fact probably got me the date in the first place. It certainly was a neat story to frame the entire situation by.

Or, take the time I met my ex. In reality, we were both at the Beachland to see separate bands, me the opener, she the headliner. I was talking to a guy I barely knew, but since I didn't know anyone else, that was my only option. This tall, basically drunk girl comes up, joins the conversation, clearly knows the guy way better than I do, and they start talking about stuff I don't understand. I excuse myself, get a beer at the bar, and stand there. Some time later, the tall and drunk girl comes and stands by me. I see that she has a pin on her hat that is the old school Cavs logo. This is the day or so after the trade that brought Ben Wallace here, and I ask her what she thought. The conversation lasted through the rest of the show, carried over into emails and phone calls, and didn't end (completely) for six months.

The founding myth of that relationship, though, is sorta the same and sorta different. Her telling went, in abbreviated form, something like this: We met at a show (note: not a bar), he complimented me on my hat, pretended to be interested in the Cavs because I was, I thought he was funny and nice, and sent him an email the next day. Most of the stuff has been excised, and as time went on newer (and often funnier) facts were added. If I were to ask her today to describe how we met, I'm positive the meet-cute scenario would be recited, and not much of reality would remain.

That's not a bad thing. I'm not being critical. I'm just saying, this happens. My parents have their founding myth, so do my grandparents. None of these stories are entire fabrications, but they are narratives that try to make thematic and predictive sense of original events that often weren't all that Hollywood the first time around. They, I guess, are verbal road maps explaining how two people went from point a to point z, with a bit of human interest surrounding the trip.

This morning, as I steel myself to begin moving yet another load of my stuff to Cleveland Heights, I've been doing a reverse history of my relationships, ticking off names and corresponding myths. And, yep, pretty much all of them have one. Some are clearly ridiculous, some are sweet. None of them are entirely factual, although I can't always remember the real facts for several of them.

Some of them I can't actually remember any myth development. Unsurprisingly, those relationships didn't last or become big deals in my memory.

Other ones, though, include the time in the fall of my freshman year in the dorm when my eventual girlfriend and I both went to the same utility closet to borrow a community vacuum cleaner and found only one left. As we were doing the "you go first and bring it to me when you are done" dance, the power went out. By the time it came back on, she and I were sitting on the patio, having the first conversation of many that would occur through the rest of the year. We broke up sometime that spring.

Or the time, my junior year, when I was working at this cavernous warehouse of a campus bookstore, the kind where students would bring in their schedules, hand them to employees, employees would venture into the storage are, and come out with the books they wanted. I sold my books to many people, including this beautiful sophomore. She was really cute in a unique way, and I would recognize her every time we passed on the quad or in dining places or wherever. One day, I can't study at home because my roommate is watching WWF and talking to the television, as he was wont to do. I had a quiz (for my Latin class, I think) to study for, so I hiked over to the student union. As I did so, I pass this same girl on the path. We are both looking quizzically at one another, like "Where do I know this person from." We stop, chat, chat, chat, chat, have lunch, do laundry, and hang out for another several months.

Or the time when I was down at a recruitment weekend for the place I eventually got my ph.d. from and, when this girl says she wished we had had a better chance to chat and that she hoped she'd see me in the fall, I (stupidly and embarrassingly) said I'd be in room 401 at the La Quinta in about an hour if she wanted to come by. Two years later we finally split up.

There are a bunch more, but at this point I've tested your patience enough. And I have closets to pack and move.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Is my theory off the mark? Have any founding myths of your own to share?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


It figures, just as I'm getting ready to move away from Ohio City - literally the day before I start the move - I discover this charming little indie ice cream place near Bridge and 44th (give or take a couple blocks). Cheap, old school soft-serve style. There was even a little crowd of neighbors standing around, parents talking while the kids enjoyed their dipped cones.

New Writer

Anyone here ever come across the essays of Christopher Noxon before? I just saw an article of his on, and it was fantastic, especially considering the topic (behavioral tendencies of toddlers) is nowhere near my zone of interest.

Noxon's writing was so pleasurable and funny, I googled his name and came across his website. There are a bunch of good ones there (especially the one about the rat, which has a spectacular ending), and a mention of his one book, a non-fiction that doesn't seem terrifically interesting to me (though I might buy a cheap used copy somewhere if I stumble upon it).

I hope this dude writes a novel, and soon. Anyway, for all you young parents out there, you might particularly appreciate him. He reminds me a lot of Neal Pollack and his alterna-dad schtick. Which is a good thing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wrap your mind around this!

So that girl I went on a date with, the one that didn't go so well, the one that ended like a deleted scene from Swingers (hat tip Kelly/Jose)...

I just found out today that the girl I was out with met someone else around the same time she met me, and that they've been seeing each other now for a few weeks.

Normal, right? In a way, it makes the tiny sting of failing to wow her even tinier. In particular, it makes me hold her in even higher regard for being a one-at-a-time kind of dater.

But then I found out ... her new boyfriend ....

is a male stripper.

A freaking male stripper!

How does that happen?!? How do I end up going on a date with someone that also dates male strippers. Is that the dating pool I'm in? And if so, which one of us should feel ashamed? Me? The male stripper? Both of us? I'm sure if he saw a photo of me, he'd be equally shocked.

My head has been swimming since I found this out. I feel an unprecedented combination of pity, disdain, snobbishness, and self-loathing. I kinda want to chuckle but feel like a jerk when I do.

Anyway, I don't really have a point here. I just promised in my last post to check back in here when something hilariously bizarre crossed my path and this was the first thing to do so.

Chew on that for a while.

And, if you are inclined, feel free to post in the comments descriptions of the dudes or chicks you've been tossed over for or followed up by or whatever. You know what I mean.

Freaking male stripper. Wow. Incredible.

Male stripper.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Out of Touch

Hello Blog-World Friends,

Sorry I've been out of touch.

August was a crazy month for me, and I seemed to turn - with increasing frequency - to my blog as an outlet to express frustration, confusion, and observations of the casual hilarity my life always seems to feature.

By the end of the month, though, I started to feel sorta self-conscious about it. Then I had my trip to Boston, and since then I've been swamped. In a good way.

While in Boston, I remembered how much I love what I do for a career. I couldn't wait to get back home and do some work. It helped that, when I came home, I didn't have a girlfriend I had to catch up with or commit big chunks of the week to. Instead, I've been able to sit in front of my laptop, hour after hour after hour, and produce.

Today, after crossing yet another thing of a Things To Do list that has seen more action than seemingly ever (Thankfully some part of my life is getting action), I took a break and went to do laundry.

I fucking hate doing laundry. Laundry, Vacuuming, Asking a girl for her number, Breaking Up (as either dumper or dumpee), and tying ties are my very least favorite things to do.

As I looked around and made sure none of my neighbors would see me pilfer someone else's laundry detergent (I'm out, sue me), the break up of last month made a quick and searing return to my mind. Totally out of nowhere.

Well, not out of nowhere, exactly. Let me be clear, I really liked my ex. I appreciated her as a person. She was usually fun (or at least interesting) to spend time with, particularly before the last couple months of our relationship. In no way was I using her for anything.

Except maybe laundry.

I know, awful, right? Yet, it wasn't totally my fault. I'm a pretty liberal guy, and one time, when we were first dating, I was chatting with her on the phone while folding my towels. I mentioned the great level of disdain I felt for laundry and anything remotely like it, and she said I should just drop it off with her and have her do it.

I wasn't looking in the mirror at the moment (duh, I was doing laundry), but I'm pretty sure you could have described me as "stricken" and "ashen" and any other descriptor bad writers use. How illiberal of her to suggest such a thing. I almost went all feminist on her, until I realized we still didn't know each other that well. Instead, I demurred, and we continued to date.

Then one day I had a ton of laundry to do and no quarters. She invited me over and just kinda took over the duty for me. She has some kids, so she was doing laundry pretty much all the time, and it wasn't hard for her to convince me that it wouldn't be a bother to just throw mine in with it.

So I agreed. And then several months passed, during which I was blissfully laundry-free. Soon, I was able to stop by with a basket of dirty, exchange it for a basket of clean, and not feel the slightest bit sheepish.

We pretty much officially broke things off about a month ago, and I haven't done a load since. At first, I figured she'd call back (or I would) and things would be patched up again, so why bother, right? Then, after a few days, I realized how good of a thing the split would be, and made a set of rules for myself to follow so I wouldn't accidentally slip back into a bad relationship, even if I did like the other person that would be in it with me. Then came travel and then a serious case of allergies, which I used as an excuse to either wear dirty clothes or stuff that would only go to the dry cleaners.

Yes, I get it, I'm both gross and strange. If you just now realized that, you probably also only just now started reading this blog.

But today, I looked at my schedule, saw I was going to be meeting friends at a show in the evening, and realized that today would be one of those bad ones where I had to both shower and put on clean clothes.

Except I don't have any.

So after stalling for a few hours, I sucked it up, broke the pile down into small piles, and successfully washed 1/2 of them.

It wasn't that bad.

Now I'm waiting for some wings I just cooked to cool down, about to pop in a documentary that just arrived from netflix after a few WEEKS of reading "very long wait" on the queue, and drinking a cherry coke because (a) I don't have an ex to get on my ass for drinking pop anymore and (b) it is what I like to do when I watch movies.

If I had to guess, I won't be updating this thing as frequently as I have been over the summer. I'm still really digging my work, and have the next few weeks mapped out.

But I'll still check in from time to time, sharing stories that make you happy your life runs smoother (and cleaner, I hope) than mine.

Take it easy...