Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Later today I fly southbound for journey number two in what should be many jaunts to the heart of Old Dixie.

Summer in Alabama. Hmmm, should be rather sticky, I'd imagine.

Anyway, this time I'll be there (a) for two days, not just one, and (b) I'll be traveling for one of those days with only another associate (though still senior to me), and not with the high-ranking partner as I did last time. And why do I inform you of this? Because maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to exert a bit more influence and get our asses to some sort of bona fide southern eatery for some old-fashioned local vittles. I felt the pain inflicted by last month's comments, chiding me for not dining on the down-home grub.

Anyone who knows me should be certain the choice of chi-chi over grea-sy was not my choice. While at home I'll avoid food cooked in bacon fat if need be, but on the road . . . ? Nah, gimme the real deal.

(Not to mention, the awesome steak I ended up throwing down last time wasn't exactly the height of health anyhow. But man, it was good.)

So there you have it. Behind whatever work comes my way, and trying not to melt in the southern summer swelter and scorch, my goal is to dine authentically. Until the inevitable trip I make down Alabamy way on my own, I'm still not optimistic. But I am hopeful.

We'll see. I'll report upon my return. Ciao, y'all.

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Monday, June 25, 2007


Steve. Apparently he's running the zoo these days.

"IMG_6327," uploaded by "varios 2005" on September 5, 2005:

To Greg's eternal surprise, Kyle actually followed his advice after their argument.

Kyle began taking a long walk off a short pier, and nothing in their lives would ever be the same again.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007


So apparently my own mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is (a) leaving the Republican party and (b) possibly running for President in 2008.


My thoughts: I don't despise him the way I did Il Duce Giuliani, but I'm not a fan. He projects a gentler version of Rudy's imperious, "I know better than you what's best for you" attitude, best exemplified by his unilateral ban on smoking in bars; he all-but invited the GOP to hold its national convention here in 2004, throwing hundreds of protesters into a makeshift jail on the floor of a bus garage on the Hudson river; he's generally continued & supported the "Turn Manhattan into a playground for the very rich" policies that Giuliani started through taxing, spending, & zoning policies; and he's actively facilitated NYC's Disney-fication, chain store-ization, and tourist-friendly annoy-the-fuck-out-of-Mike-eration.

Basically, screw Bloomberg.

But . . . and here's Hamlet's rub, I was born to be a fan of whomever wants to throw the proverbial wrench into a Presidential election.

(That was two hoary cliches in one sentence for all those counting at home. And hey, if you wanna add "hoary cliche" to the list, be my guest. I aim to please.)

Seriously, I love that sort of thing. I thought Perot was a Texas-sized jackass in a Rhode Island-sized package. But his run for office was fine by me. Third party candidates? Bring 'em on

So Bloomberg wants to switch out of the GOP? He already switched from being a lifelong Democrat into the Republican party so he could follow Rudy's template of being ostensibly tough-on-crime & friendly towards big business. It worked. Now he wants to switch back. Or out. Or whatever. So I'm supposed to wake up and notice that this friggin' billionaire who named his news service after himself is self-serving & egotistical? This should shock me?

Anyhow, I hope he runs, I hope he throws the whole election into utter chaos, I hope he makes an ass of himself on the national stage, I hope Hillary & Obama engage in name-calling and other idiocy, I hope the national Republican party splits in two based on differences in the religious arena. I don't care frankly. But if it helps even a little bit to get someone elected who's not part of the status quo, I'm all for it.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


According to the latest news coverage of the topic known informally as "The Daily Shenanigans Of The Most Corrupt Administration Ever,"* we now learn that among the 88 "White House officials" who've had electronic message accounts with the Republican Nation Committee . . . e-mail records for 51 of them are missing.

My first question: only 51? These guys are slipping.

This is, of course, a violation of the Presidential Records Act, and therefore makes it the 394th impeachable offense committed by "The Most Corrupt Administration Ever." If my math is correct, that also makes it the 394th impeachable offense accompanied by a lot of Democratic saber-ratting, smoke, and noise. Man, I can only wait to hear the threats and watch the posturing of Harry & Nancy & the rest of the gang that couldn't shoot talk straight.

Meanwhile, remember the following mandate of the Presidential Records Act when you begin hearing all the excuse-making, buck-passing, bullshit-shoveling, & ass-covering sure to commence as soon as this story gains any traction at all:
The Presidential Records Act . . . Places the responsibility for the custody and management of incumbent Presidential records with the President.
Yeah, right. The President who never met a federal law he wouldn't piss on has already signed an executive order essentially declaring that neither he nor Cheney has to follow or implement the PRA. Let's see the pattern of lies, blame-shifting, and ultimate sacrifice of a White House staffer that follows in the coming months. My prediction? He'll somehow manage to offer up Gonzo on this one. That'll temporarily solve a few problems with one move.

Your thoughts? Predictions?

And finally, a prediction that requires no crystal ball at all: the congressional Dems will make noise, talk shit, blow smoke, and in the end will do NOTHING.
* Don't even give me any Nixon, Harding, or Grant administrations, my fellow history geeks. No, just don't even go there. You know they can't compete.

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Monday, June 18, 2007


1. Man, they suck.

2. Calling on Carlos . . . both of 'em. The combined stats of Carlos Uno & Dos in June: 181/195/345. 10 runs and 10 RBI combined. Two walks vs. 26 strikeouts. There's simply no way you're gonna win a lot of games when two of your middle-of-the-order hitters are putting up those kind of numbers. More than 4 outs for every 5 plate appearances is completely unacceptable from the guys who keep coming up with ducks on the pond.

3. Mets pitchers spent most of April & May with a much lower ERA than you'd expect from both the composite H/BB/HR numbers, as well as far fewer hits than you'd expect from the K rates. And lately, with Chavez and 'Stache spending time on the DL, and Beltran wandering around in one of his weird 2005-esque funks, the defense has been decidedly average. And the pitching has suffered as a result.

4. Before the season I identified what I thought would be the Three Offensive Keys: Beltran, Alou & Reyes.

Well two of those keys haven't fit into the lock for at least a month, the Mets offense is sputtering, and the losses are mounting.

The lesson: I know everything & Omar should listen to me.

(Either that or I don't know shit and I got really lucky. I also said Heilman would be a relief ace and Oliver Perez wouldn't be very good.)

5. The one positive is that the Young Blood -- Reyes, Wright, Perez, Maine & Smith for the most part -- have been very good, even as the team has slumped. If some of the vets can get healthy, stay in the lineup, break out of their slumps, the team should be able to get back on track.

But man, do the Mets have a tough schedule the rest of the month. It's gonna be tough.

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As is becoming the pattern, Steve at If I Ran The Zoo explains.

"100_5788," uploaded by "Brian.LeRoux" on February 6, 2005:

After the previous year's debacle, Freddie was extra careful to make sure that Bobbie "Big Mouth" Sweeney would find his annual ham & cheese on white toast up to standards.

His friends told him to stop at 20 slices, but Freddie was having none of it. He had a vision, and no one was gonna deny him.

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Friday, June 15, 2007


Today looks to be my easiest day this week, meaning I have about 5 minutes to spare this morning. Not enough time to write a proper post, but enough time to say . . . I have Been Fucking Swamped At Work. Simple as that.

Much of the work has been pretty cool, so I'm not really complaining. Writing the complaint in a major federal securities case, dealing with discovery in another. Juggling a few other balls too. Late nights, mornings needed to catch up on sleep. Etcetera. Any lawyers in the house know the drill. Anyone married to a lawyer knows the drill too (Mrs. Mike hasn't seen too much of me this week).

Any non-lawyers already think I'm nuts, so no new bridges crossed there.

I've wanted to post, but obviously it just wasn't in the cards. As some of you know, I've blogged every weekday except for holidays (and one two week vacation last fall) since April 2006. It bummed me out in no small way this past Tuesday that I missed a post. But I literally didn't have the time to do it.

Anyhow, I'll be busy again next week, and I'm not really sure I'll be able to post 5 times in 5 days. But I definitely plan to get to it as often as possible. We'll see how it goes.

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Monday, June 11, 2007


Steve, filling in for Tom over at If I Ran The Zoo, explains.

"IMG_1515," uploaded by "afeng 759" on June 5, 2007:

So check this shit out. It's not only crackers.

No way.

Yes, you can request
anything. Anything at all. The other day I said "Polly wanna six-pack and a hot red-head parakeet" and they gave 'em to me! What a night, lemme tell you.

So if I say "Polly wanna bowl of ice cream and some comic books," they'll give them to me?

Ohhhh jeez, we gotta get that chain off your foot. Widen your perspective a little. But yeah, if that's what you want. Just ask for it.


Friday, June 08, 2007



My internet connectivity is for shit this morning, so I can't navigate Yahoo! News or Cnn.com at all. And more importantly, my brain hurts. Mental exhaustion. I wish I could dig deep and come up with something original, thoughtful, funny, or interesting. But I can't -- my brain is offering nada. I can't even muster it up to go find a Youtube clip, or a link to another blog. Ain't happening this morning. I have been working my ass off.


I mean it. I'm standing as I type this. You try sitting with no ass.

Hopefully next week'll free up a few brain cells.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007


So little time, so much music to hear. Let's hit it:

1. "Vamos" -- The Pixies (Come On Pilgrim)

Twangy guitars. Black Francis talking in Spanish, yowling, and growling. Ambiguous but sexual lyrics. Ah yes, the ingredients were all there, even at the git' go.

Vamos a jugar por la playa. Sounds like a plan to me.

2. "Struttin' With Some Barbeque" -- Louis Armstrong with his Hot Five (Hot 5s & 7s, Vol 3).

And speaking of good plans, how can one help but strut when eating good barbeque?

This just sounds old, because it is. Guitar (or is it banjo) drives the rhythm, and of course Satchmo brings the hot sauce. And I love the way the clarinet weaves in and around the melody in early 20th century jazz. Just a fun sound.

3. "Dead" -- The Pixies (Doolittle)

Didn't I have this song a few weeks ago? No, that was "Monkey Gone To Heaven." Ok.

Another song off Doolittle, though. And amazingly, another of the few songs I'm not crazy about on that amazing album. Nothing wrong with this one, but not among my favorites.

4. "Prove Yourself" -- Radiohead (Pablo Honey)

Transitioning, Thom Yorke croons, "I'm better off dead" early on in this one.

Pablo Honey gets slagged in the musical press too much I think. It's no Bends or Ok Computer, of course, but it's not a bad album in my opinion, and this is a decent song. Once again, as with Come On Pilgrim, all the ingredients are here, if not combined as magically as you'd find in a few years.

5. "Behavior Control Technician" -- Fishbone (The Reality of My Surroundings)

Wow, that's a lot of noise for 7:10 am. Yikes. But, in fairness, this isn't a bad effort off an album that I never listen to anymore. I was really into the 'Bone back in the early 90s. Fun, rowdy music. Amazing concerts. A weird amalgam of political and smarmily sexual lyrics that appealed to me as a young guy.

I see what I liked, even though it no longer gets me going. No apologies, even though I won't be putting them back to the top of the list anytime soon (read: Never).

6. "Holiday Song" -- The Pixies (Come On Pilgrim)

And Ipod weirdness (read: annoyingness) continues. I know random means "random." I know that 1-2-3-4-5 is just as likely as 4-1-5-3-2, but after 4 weeks I'm starting to think "shuffle" is more like "cut."

Anyhow, a cool song off Come On Pilgrim.

7. "What Goes On" -- The Feelies (Only Life)

Yes! I fucking love The Feelies. My number one nominee for "underrated" artist. Great musicians, great songs, a very unique sound. A Feelies song sounds like . . . a Feelies song. No mistaking it.

This Velvet Underground cover perfectly illustrates the obvious influence Lou Reed and VU had on the Feelies. Yet, that said, there's no mistaking that particular Mercer/Million thing.

Incidentally, I heard this album at a friend's beach house in the summer of '91, and no matter where I am when I hear it, I'm instantly brought back there. And good memories come with that, let me tell you. Nice.

8. "Heaven on their Minds" -- Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar)

One of about three "Original Cast Recordings" I own. Anyone who owns this one doesn't need to me to explain how great it is.

And those who don't will never be convinced to even give it a chance. Hey, that's how it goes.

This is a good song, too. With its "groovy" guitar, fat organ riffs, shuffling piano rhythms, and funky bass line, this brings the 70's sound I need to balance a growing-but-not-yet-mature Lloyd Webber pompousness. The lyrics aren't bad either.

9. "Stairway To The Stars" -- Ella Fitzgerald (Something To Live For)

Sing it to me, Ella. Her voice was so pretty on certain early songs. Like this one. Mmmmm.

I like Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday more than Ella (one's sweeter, the other more bitter, and I tend to like my tastes intense), but Fitzgerald clearly owes nothing to anyone. Hard to think of anyone with more mastery of her instrument. In this case, her voice.

10. "One More Cup Of Coffee" -- Bob Dylan (Desire)

Ahhhh, this is a good one. Such a sad song. So filled with regret, with a sense of whatever's been lost. The violin brings the heavy emotions. And Emmylou Harris's backup singing manages to lighten the sound without taking away from the overall sense of loss.

Plus, I'm a total sucker for duets or harmonies between men and women. I love the contrast. And in Dylan & Harris, there's little contrast lacking.

11. "When I Come Around" -- Green Day (Dookie)

Whoa. Rough transition. But that shouldn't take away from the fact that this is a good tune. I really have no use at all for Green Day from the mid 90s through the mid-00s. Just does nothing for me. But Dookie and American Idiot make sure the bread kicks ass, even if the sandwich ingredients are for shit.

This song, on its own, might not have made me take notice 13 years ago, but after buying the album for "Longview," I was pleased to discover an album filled with a variety of solid songs. This was one of them.

So, not a bad Dozen . . . Minus One today. Once again, a little weirdness with the 3 Pixies songs (including two off the same album), but no clunkers, which is a first. And, Bob made his first appearance. If the odds & probabilities work out as you'd expect, this won't be his last time showing up.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007


So I liked it. It was a short trip, and as I mentioned yesterday, I was there for work, so I didn't really get to experience too much of the place. But from what I saw, I liked it. The people are very friendly, the city is actually pretty attractive, and I was able to understand most of what people said.


The downtown area where we stayed and worked is really quite nice: very clean, tree-lined streets, flower pots hanging from many of the lamposts. The urban center is easily navigable, with some parks, museums, a few main streets with grass & plant-covered medians down the center. Very nice.

Of course, the park near our hotel (Linn Park, I believe) was largely deserted at all times, except for some friendly (but far-from prosperous) homeless people.

Another thing that surprised me was the architecture. I didn't realize this before, but Birmingham was established after the Civil War, in 1871, as an industrial town, with steel mills like the Northern England city of the same name, or Pittsburg. In fact, a statue of Vulcan sits on a hill overlooking the city. In fact it was known as "The Pittsburg of the South" and "Magic City," because of its rapid growth.

(I think I'd rather live in "Magic City" than in "The Pittsburg of the South." Come to think of it, I'm not sure I'd wanna live in "The Pittsburg of the North" either. Perhaps I'll accept "The Pittsburg of the Caribbean.")

Ok, enough of the trivia. Because of its industrial and commercial roots, Birmingham's downtown doesn't look like so many in America today: it's not just hyper-modern, glass & steel high-rises in a small area. There are some of those to be sure, but also late-19th century warehouses and office buildings, plus a lot of 5-15 story, brick structures from the first half of the 20th century. It gives the city a look that reminded me far more of a northeastern downtown than that of Charlotte or Atlanta or many of the other southern cities I've visited. Birmingham's downtown is attractive, and has a more organic feel than those other places.

And as I said, the people were very friendly (more than those I've met in Texas or the Carolinas). Plus, the food was very good (if not "Southern"), and there was plenty of "local scenery" to observe and admire. I'm not joking on that last part. Wow.

That's all for now. I'm pretty sure I'll be back there plenty more times in the coming months, and I'll update and report as need be.

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Monday, June 04, 2007


( . . . there'll be no heebie-jeebies hangin' round . . .)

Weather permitting, by tonight I'll have crossed yet another state of the list of those I've never visited. Yes, today and tomorrow, I'll be on a work-related trip to Birmingham, Alabama!

(As if Monday afternoon trips to Birmingham require the "work-related" tag.)

The long-time readers among you may recall that Mrs. Mike & I journeyed into the heart of Dixie last fall, checking out parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. If you missed it, the sojourn is memorialized here, and here. And even here.

But we didn't make it to The Deep South. Even in Georgia, we were near Atlanta. I've never been to northern Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana . . . or Alabama. Home state of George Wallace. Bull Connor. But also Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, and a few others not likely to have aligned with Wallace.

Anyhow, to say I'm a bit curious about Alabama is an understatement. I know there's more to the state than a history of institutionalized racism, and apologies to any Alabamians here for my Northeastern snobbery & snottiness. No insult intended. But, as I've alluded to at times in the past, to this New York Jew, the Deep South is as foreign and exotic as Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, or Southeast Asia. Hell, I have folks from those places right in my neighborhood. But Alabama? Not so sure.

So, I'm off. I traveled for work to Texas a few years ago and I loved it, and I truly hope I feel the same way this time. We'll see. I'll report back on Wednesday.

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As usual, Tom Exp--

Wait! Usual isn't usual. Seems that . . . Steve explains this morning. Hey, whatever it takes.

"100_7154," uploaded by "ACC/TC" on May 29, 2007:

Let's just title this one, "When 'Why?" Changes To 'Why Not?'"

That's all.


Friday, June 01, 2007


Seems that the White House is digging in, doing its damnest (damndest?) to make sure Snarlin' Dick Cheney's visitor records remain secret.

You know what though? I'm in too good a mood on this fine Friday morning to even read the article. Whatever it says, I'll have my usual reaction: that sort of angry-yet-jaded feeling I get whenever I read about Adminstration shenanigans.

And I don't wanna be angry or jaded this morning. I just can't do it. Will someone step in for me? It's easy.

Just get pissed, say a few words of rage ("fuck," "bastards," and some compound word featuring "ass," such as "ass-hat," "ass-clown," or the tried-and-true "jackass" will do), then toss in a little bit of snark to leaven the outrage (sarcasm, know-it-allery, obscure allusions to 17th Century literature, a quotation of Bob Dylan lyrics, or a fat joke), and finally wrap it all up with some sort of bon mot (oh, that reminds me, feel free to use foreign phrase in the "snark section").

And, since every sundae needs its cherry, don't forget a couple witty or extremely self-referential comments in the label box. That's all it takes.

On second thought, I can do the label part:

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