Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Best of the Bay update: An endorsement from Peter Schorsch!

We're heading toward the finish line in this year's Crative Loafing Best of the Bay competition and yesterday, yours truly received a pretty impressive endorsement from none other than Peter Schorsch. Peter is the author of SaintPetersBlog and he's not campaigning for an award this year (wink), but he won last year's Editor's Choice award winner for Best Blog. Check out what he says about the big dumb purple blog you're looking at right this very second...
"Clark over at Ridiculous Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness is an interesting writer, but he posted just 15 times in August, 17 times in July and 21 times in June."
In other words, the award winning Peter Schorsch simply can't enough of The Trickle, baby!

Now of course, I've gotten out of the business of aggressive, confrontational, obnoxious, abrasive and shameless pandering campaigns for awards (wink), having aligned myself with Catherine Durkin Robinson in a cooperative effort to hopefully get her the award for Best Contributor while she supports me in the race to be named Best Local Blogger and/or Best Local Personality. So this unabashed and enthusiastic testimonial of support is appreciated...and a little embarrassing. Thank you, Peter, honestly! I appreciate you being such a dedicated fan that you would devote a whole post on your blog to appeal to the hearts and minds of your considerable and learned audience of readers to cast all their votes for me. I'm blushing here!
To everyone else here who may or may not love me this blog as much as Peter does, all I can do is hope that you see fit to participate in this contest that will determine nothing less than what is truly The Best of the Bay and all it has to offer, for once and for all or until 2012, whichever comes first.
God bless you and God bless the United States of America. And don't forget to reduce, reuse and recycle. For the children. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dirty update: Jen "Dirty Jenny" Leigh's album 'American Bulldog' is available today!

As promised here's the updated info on when and where Jen Leigh's first album "American Bulldog" would be available for sale...
WHERE: Here, at her web site

And here's yet another link if you want to go back and read the interview.

Monday, August 29, 2011

So sorry if Hurricane Irene disappointed you

Some people believe that all the worrying about Hurricane Irene was nothing but a bunch of overblown, paranoic hype. So after decades of fear-mongering for fun and profit, too much hurricane preparation is where we're choosing to draw a line and get upset?
Okay, fine.
But just for the sake of perspective, I'd like to point out that when a potentially catastrophic tropical storm fails to deliver the expected level of catastrophiness, you end up with some extra bottled water and canned goods. However, when it does live up to the billing, you end up with this...
So heat up a can of SpaghettiO's and shut your yap.

Fantasy fail

My fantasy football league blew up yesterday (is it imploded or exploded?)with the resignation of the league commissioner over the resultant hysteria caused by a clerical error at the draft. This was after he resigned earlier in the day over a disputed rule change and was coaxed back.
For those who don't participate but have undoubtedly heard of fantasy football (it's a global, multimillion dollar industry now), it's touted as ALL THE FUN AND EXCITEMENT OF CALLING ALL THE SHOTS OF YOUR VERY OWN FOOTBALL TEAM! Except it's not that at all. You don't call plays, you don't negotiate stadium leases, you don't even design uniforms (for what it's worth, the uniforms I'd design would be incredible. Picture helmets with flames! And I'm not talking about a flame decal sticker, I mean helmets actually set on fire at kick-off and not extinguished until the game is over. Safety concerns? Hey, if the NFL doesn't care about it's players in real life, don't expect me to care about them in a fantsay scenario). It's just an elaborate form of gambling; you pick a certain set of players in the hope that they accumulate better personal statistics than those picked by your opponents doing likewise. If truth-in-advertising standards were applied, it would be more like ALL THE FUN AND EXCITEMENT OF SCRATCH-OFF LOTTO TICKETS! The appeal of participating for reasonable people comes down to two things: the chance to win bragging rights (and sometimes money) among your peers and The Draft Party. For unreasonable people, I'm sure there's much more to it but I don't really want to know.
The typical Draft Party is the annual get-together where everyone in the league gathers and selects their lottery tickets players while eating nachos and chicken wings. While it's not limited to strictly men (lots of women participate in fantasy football too), Hollywood frequently presents this kind of thing, men sitting around, grunting and farting, wolfing down junk food and openly discussing football, porn and farts, as typical male behavior. But in my experience, it rarely exists in real life outside of bars and fantasy football draft parties.
So there's all that, which can be lots of fun, but there can also be a lot of melodrama and petulant bitching, which is definitely not fun.
This particular league, with whom I've been involved off and on for over ten years, crumbled after a discussion that went something like this (for the sake of illustration, try to visualize grown men with beers talking about a football player and not the mental image of toddlers with juice boxes talking about a red crayon that will naturally come to you)
Guy A: "I'll take Darren McFadden."
Commissioner: "You can't take McFadden, he's not available."
Guy A: "What are you talking about? He's not on the 'keeper' list."
Commissioner: "Yes, he is."
Guy A: "No he is not! I'm looking at it right now."
Guy B: "You can't have McFadden, he's mine."
Guy C: "McFadden? Available?"
Commissiner: "Yeah, that's an oversight. He definitely should be on there."
Guy B: "I absolutely kept McFadden. There's no way I wouldn't have kept him."
Guy A: "Maybe he should be on the list, but he's not. So I'm taking him."
Guy B: "You can't do that! He's mine!"
Guy A: "Suck it up, buttercup. He's mine now."
Guy C: "I didn't know McFadden was available..."
Guy B: "McFadden has been mine for two years and everybody knows it!"
Commissioner: "I must have made a mistake when I copied and pasted the list. I'll fix it right now. Just pick somebody else, okay?"
Guy A: "I don't care whose mistake it is. It's not mine, so too bad. McFadden is not on the 'keeper' list and I want him."
Guy C: "'re making changes to the 'keeper' list now? Because I thought the deadline was last Thursday and this affects my whole first three rounds strategy...."
Commissioner: "No! We're just correcting a glitch. No changes!"
Guy A: "Good! Then I get McFadden!"
Guy C: "I feel like we should just start the whole process over..."
Commissioner: "NO!"
Guy B: "McFadden is mine! You hear me? He's mine! I own him and I'm keeping him. I am willing to go to war over this! You hear me? War!!"
Everybody in the room: "..."
Guy C: "What's that mean? Go to war?"
Guy B: "Exactly what you think it means."
Guy D (me): "I think it means you're willing to put life and property at stake in order to defend what you perceive as your right to pretend to retain ownership of a person."
Guy B: "Well, when you say it that way it makes the whole thing sound kind of stupid but yes, goddamn it."
Guy D (me again): "I'm sorry, is this a fantasy football league or a civil war re-enactment?"
Commissioner: "I quit."

Darren McFadden: Object of desire, source of discord.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Good hair

"Mm-hmm. Be careful where you
go with this one, Brooks."
I don't think it's racist to make the observation that African-American women have unique hairstyles. I hope not anyway. All ethnic groups have certain distinctive characteristics and traits, that's all. Some are cultural and some are genetic. Differences are neither good or bad, they're just differences. No big deal in pointing that out, right? Good.
Anyway, the other day I was on the bus, minding my own business and letting my mind wander as most people do, thinking of what I will say if I'm ever attending a red carpet event and I get stopped by a fashion reporter; "Oh this? Sheila, the tuxedo ensemble I'm wearing this evening is from the Luis Groupôn spring collection. It has a GPS, Wi-Fi and 38 different modular components, if you count the underwear, which I do. And on top of all that, yes, it is very shiny." That's when I overheard a fellow passenger, an African-American woman, describing to her companion how she wanted her stylist to do her hair. "Rectangles! I want it all in rectangles!" This confused me a great deal. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what she meant. Did she mean a pattern of rectangles all across her head, like a lopsided checkerboard pattern? Or did she mean three-dimensional rectangular sculptures, like the goal line pylons on a football field?
Like this, only more of them, on a human head
I probably could have asked her but I thought that would be rude so I didn't. At any rate, I didn't envy the stylist. Hairstyling is a skilled profession that requires a certain amount of natural skill plus years of training and experience. Nobody should be required to have to demonstrate a mastery of geometry on top of all that: "Oh my god, what have you done to my hair?!? I said rectangles, not parallelograms! Look at what you've done! The congruence of opposite sides and opposite angles is a direct consequence of the Euclidean Parallel Postulate and neither condition can be proven without appealing to the Euclidean Parallel Postulate or one of its equivalent formulations, which means I can't go out tonight! Damn, you might as well have given me rhombuses! What?? $65?!? Aw hell naw! You need to go get your clippers and your styling wand and your protractor and your graphing calculator and fix this mess before I come up out of this chair!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Here's something you don't see every day

File this under "Interesting, and yet I really don't want to know". This is the inside of a restroom at a gas station here in Tampa. I wanted to show you the whole room but could only pull back so wide. Yes, that is a copy machine.
This adds horrible new meaning to the term "paper jam"
Why? Who knows? Maybe the gas station is filling some previously unknown niche demand...
"Hello sir. You're back again! This is, what, the third time today?"
"What can I say? I drink a lot of fluids and I make a lot of copies. So this place is a lot more convenient for me than Kinko's! A lot more!"
"Are you making photocopies of your buttocks, sir?"
"What? No! Of course not!"
"Your testicles then?"
"I'll be out in 10 minutes."

Now, everyone knows that most ladies' rooms are stocked with more fancy and elaborate amenities (couches, fluffy towels, fancy French booty-washing machines) than men's rooms. So if there's a copy machine in the men's room at this gas station, is it safe to assume there's an entire digital printing press operation, complete with an editor's suite, in the ladies' room?

Monday, August 22, 2011

A new cause to fight for!

Everybody loves it so much when I use this blog as a call to action, right? Mostly because it's a call from me to act on behalf of me. And that's just charming. Well, as it turns out my friend Karen has nominated me as a candidate for a CBS Tampa's Most Valuable Blogger Award! And not only are we nominated, but we're one of five finalists in our category ("Dining/Entertainment"). Now, as with all awards, it's an honor just to be nominated (giggle) but the real purpose is to win. That's where, once again, you come in. There are five or six finalists in each category and the eventual winners will be determined by votes from the general public (you).
Below are some questions and answers that will cover everything you need to know. You're welcome. Oh, and thanks.

What the hell is this now?
It's CBS Tampa Most Valuable Blogger Award! Were you not paying attention to the whole expository section above? Try to keep up please.

Aren't you already campaigning for a loofah or something like that?
Loafie. Yes, I'm also trying to win a Creative Loafing Best of the Bay award, or "Loafie". And you can still vote for that here, if you haven't already done so. This is different.

Which award is more prestigious?
Whichever one I win.

What if you win both awards?
Yay! Happiness, sunshine, rainbows and unicorn vomit (it smells like berries!) all across the land.

What if you win neither?
Boo! Gloom, sadness, despair and unicorns shot on sight like that rabid dog in "To Kill A Mockingbird".

"Sorry Scout, but Boo Radley was a stupid name for a unicorn anyway."

How is anything about this blog 'valuable'?
Well, think about in terms of 'most valuable' awards that are handed out in sports. The guys who win those awards are the ones who post the most impressive statistics. It's really more like 'best' than 'most valuable'.

How is anything about this blog 'best'?
Next question please.

What's at stake here?
The prestige of actually being recognized with an award = knowing that somebody loves me. Also, popular vote winners from each category will win a $50 Amazon gift card and one Overall Editor’s Choice winner will also win a $50 Amazon gift card.
Of course, the placement of this logo should have absolutely
no influence on the selection of the Overall Editor's Choice
winner. But hey, is really, really great!
What's involved with voting?
By clicking here the link above or on the logo in the side column there to the right, you'll be taken to the site where you can vote for one nominee in each category. You can...and once a day, every day through September 9th.

Cripes. Every day?
Every single day.

I like being told what to think and do. Who should I vote for?
You should not end sentences or questions with prepositions.

Sorry. Who should I vote for, you jackass?
Okay, here is a complete list of CBS Tampa's Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011, by category, with brief descriptions and followed by my official recommendations...


  • Breezin Entertainment Blog » "Fun guide to fun things"
  • I Love The Burg  info » "Invaluable for folks living in Downtown"
  • Soundcheck » "Great local music blog"
  • Tampa Bay Dining Out » "Check this blog out before you go out"
  • Tampa Bay Food Monster » "Brought to you by the good taste of the Food Monster"
  • Ridiculously inconsistent trickle of consciousness » "Love his witty humor and take on life! Its a fun daily read :)"
RECOMMENDATION: The Trickle! Because Love + Witty + Humor + Life + Fun X smiley face = WINNER!
Local Affairs
  • Tampa Do Gooder » "Come on! Do some good!"
  •  The Bay buzz » "Inquiring minds want to know..."
  • The Grade Book » "Great education blog for northwestern Fla."
  •  The Real Estate Sizzle » "If real estate were steak, this guy would have a ranchful."
  •  The Tampa Bankruptcy Blog » "If you're in bad shape, this blog actually can help."
RECOMMENDATION: Tampa Do Gooder. I know the author, Dawn Morgan, and she really is the Tampa Do Gooder! She recycles and everything!

  • Bucs Beat » "Great Bucs commentary."
  • » "The mixture of video quality, its devotion to the history of the Bucs franchise"
  • Tampa Bay Sports Blog » "Great blog for sports in Tampa"
  • The Gator Report » "GO Gators!!!!"
  • The Heater » "This guys really knows baseball"
  • The Seminole report » "GO Noles!!"

 RECOMMENDATION: None. Four of these six nominees are under the masthead of the St. Petersburg Times. I'm sure they're fine and I guess they're eligible for consideration but blogs that have the resources of a major daily newspaper at their disposal don't really need an award like this, do they? So instead, I'm going to recommend you read John Fontana's Raw Because it should have been nominated, hockey season is coming up and oh yeah, full disclosure: I'm a contributor there too. Boom.

Health, Fitness and Medical
  • City Bike tampa » "Biking blog with a ton of good stuff"
  • Pilates Tampa Blog » "Not the 'PIRATES' Tampa Blog, pilates is better for your health."
  • Run Tampa » "Good running blog, very inspiring."
  • Tampa Thyroid Blog » "Know your thyroid, read this blog."
  • Tampa Yoga Blog » "We're so much cooler than pilates. So. Much."

RECOMMENDATION: A tie between Pilates and Yoga because I sense that it wouldn't take much to start a rumble between them and I think we'd all like to see that.
Lifestyle and Family 
  • One Life In St. Petersburg » "Great life-affirming blog"
  • Out in Left Field » "Far out there, but funny"
  • Pop Life » "Not just a great Prince song..."
  • Tampa Bay Life » "Life in Tampa Bay"
  • Whoa, Momma » "The grand-daddy of mommy blogs..."

RECOMMENDATION: Out in Left Field. It's written by longtime nemesis respected peer Catherine Durkin Robinson and our alliance, formed in pursuit of mutual Loafies, remains strong. After all this time, I actually met her in person for the first time last week. She's cool.
Everything Else 

  • Bizarre Florida » "Tres bizarre est tres chic"
  • Tampa Bay Arts Blog » "Great resource for Tampa arts and culture"
  • That's Glitchy » " is the newest premier source for 80s and 90s babies with ultimate reading and viewing pleasure."
  • The Daily Loaf » "And who doesn't need at least one loaf per day"
  • The gadget guy » "Great advice"

RECOMMENDATION: That's Glitchy. Glitchy is a great, underused word.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The history behind the name

The other day, I whined about my name for probably the 4,000th time. Well, my mom reads this blog and she called me up the other day to assuage any trauma I have endured and/or may be continuing to endure (I'm over it now, Mom, honest!). And what she told me was that Clark was the cool dude in the neighborhood when she was growing up. Her term: "A real-life Fonzie".

Okay, yeah, now things make sense!

Well of course I'm named after the neighborhood badass! I should have known! Mom later sent me an email with even more background on the Brooks family names. I haven't run a "Carol's Corner" in a while and I asked if it was okay to re-print her email. She said yes and so here you go...

"Here is more background on your name. Your father and I both agreed that we would never name our kids after their grandparents. My father's name was John but John Brooks is almost as boring as John Doe. The other choice would have been Casper which I think would have been at least 100 times worse than Clark. Your father did not want to name you Charles. He hated the name because of all the nicknames he had over the years. Some of them were Charles, Charlie, Chuck, Chaz, Chuckie, etc. He had an aunt that insisted on calling him Chuckie Charles which he absolutely hated! So Clark it was.

If we had named Connie after a grandmother the choices would have been Mildred or Delphine. Please gag me with a spoon. I had a friend in school named Connie and I just always liked the name. On her birth certificate she is named Connie not Constance. What's the point of naming her Constance if she was always called Connie. Her middle name, Louise, came from a sister of your father that died when she was still an infant due to an illness that I have no details on.

Originally I was going to be named Judy Faye. My father's name was John Francis Rumics and for some reason he wanted his children with the same initials. Aunt Joan was Joan Frances Rumics. Luckily when I was born my father had a boss who had just named his daughter Judy and if my parents had named me the same it would have looked like he was sucking up.So I, Carol Lynn, was named after my favorite aunt, Caroline.

So much for the stories behind the names."

--Carol Brooks (my mom)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Talkin' loud and sayin' nothing: a pet peeve

If I have any kind of agenda that I'm trying to push with this blog, any attempt to try to influence the thinking of others, it's to look for and question the things you're presented in day-to-day life that are supposed to be taken seriously at their face value but are, in actuality, really stupid and a thinly-veiled insult to your intelligence. The best, and most irritating example I can think of is a wildly popular phrase that's liable to be touted by almost anybody who provides any kind of public and/or professional service:
It could be just about anybody whose services you've paid for, even athletes and entertainers. When somebody says "We're going to take it to The Next Level", you think, "Oh good, I'm glad they're doing that! That's a benefit for me!" They're trying to tell you that they're going to do something better and they're using dynamic, powerful language to convey that message. I know you're busy and don't necessarily have time to decipher every mindless slogan somebody blasts you in the face with every day. But think about it for just a second...why do they need to "take it to the next level"? Probably because the level at which they've been performing isn't good enough and people are starting to catch on. Their hope is that if they imply that they'll make things a little better, it will be enough to keep you satisfied. But if they're capable of taking it to the next level now by just saying so, why didn't they do it before? This isn't something they should be bragging about, it's something they should be apologizing for. And if there are levels, why don't they just skip all of the ones that aren't at the very top? Unless the next level is the one labeled "ULTIMATE, ABSOLUTE BEST", why should we care? Besides, to what are they actually committing by just throwing this statement out there? Their hope is that it sounds so dynamic and powerful that you'll assume that they're so fired-up and go-getter-y that you won't even ask that question. It's just empty phraseology designed to throw you off their scent for a while, giving them time to think of what to say next time.
Maybe I'm being overly cynical and there are those who are committed to improvement. It's just that I'm much less inclined to doubt their sincerity if they say exactly what it is they're going to do and not just bop me on the head with some open-ended catchphrase.

Think about it in the context of your kid bringing home a bad report card...

"These grades are terrible!"
"I know (looks at floor, shuffles feet)."
"Why? You're not stupid. Are you just goofing off in class?"
"I dunno (continues feet shuffling)."
"Well, what are you going to do about it? Because this is totally unacceptable."
"I'll tell you what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL!"
"Okay. And what does that mean?"
"The Next Level! I'm taking it there!"
"'re going to do better?"
"You bet!"
"By taking my approach to my academic career to The Next Level!"

"I still don't know what that's supposed to mean."
"The Next Level!"
"All right, specifically does 'The Next Level' involve paying attention in class and finishing your homework before you watch tv?"
"Because if not, I'm not interested in 'The Next Level'."
"Well, it is what is."

Monday, August 15, 2011

And so it begins

Kevin Beckner is one of two Democrats currently serving on the board of commissioners for Hillsborough County. His seat will be up for election in November 2012. The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that a new political attack blog has been launched and that Beckner is the first target.
The headline of the very first blog post, dated August 5th, is "Kevin Beckner’s Net Worth Surges While Serving on County Commission". It goes on to state that property owned by Beckner has increased significantly in value since he was elected to the commission in 2009 and implies that something nefarious is afoot due in large part to the unavailability of public records. Beckner, who is gay, shares his home with his partner Hillsborough County Sheriff deputy Sgt. Gil Sainz. State law allows law enforcement officers to shield their home addresses as a safety measure.
As reported by the Times, Beckner "as a commissioner...has been vocal, generally siding with board majorities that have pressed for spending cuts". The Times goes on to say "He has advocated gay rights issues, such as domestic partner benefits. But his signature effort to date has been a campaign to get first-time juvenile offenders into a diversion program that spares them a criminal record. He also has led other police-friendly initiatives, such as an approved crackdown on pill mills and a proposal to go after people who commit insurance fraud by staging stage car crashes." Not exactly the kind of standard 'radical liberal' stuff that usually causes conservatives to froth at the mouth. In fact, the juvenile offenders program mentioned above is something strongly backed by Beckner's colleague on the board, Mark Sharpe, a conservative Republican.

Okay, there IS the whole gay thing.
Now, in the interest of transparency, I did vote for Beckner and as it stands right now, I expect to do so again. But before anybody gets the wrong idea, this is in no way to suggest that Kevin Beckner should run unopposed in the next election. It's not even necessarily an endorsement.
So what's my point? Simply that we, and I mean all of us, can't afford to be appointing or retaining our public servants on anything other than what they bring to the job. Not anymore. Things are just too bad to screw around. As far as Beckner is concerned, if somebody else can do a better job, my ears are open. Let's hear it. I'm sure Mr. Beckner himself would say that hs isn't perfect. At least I hope so. If there's somebody out there who thinks they can do a better job, let them speak up. As far as I'm concerned, that's the approach we all need to take for every single election.
At the same time this is going on, many of my left-leaning friends are deconstructing the just-completed Iowa Straw Poll with insights about how Michelle Bachmann is funny looking. The elections are 15 months away and I feel like I'm at a ballgame, sitting right between the two most obnoxious fans in the park while all I want is for somebody to explain why I can't afford to buy a hot dog. And I know it's only going to get worse.

Pictured: aggregative democracy.
I know, I know. "That's politics". There's no sense in whining about it because if we really wanted more than that from our leaders and the process itself, we'd demand it. And if we really demanded it, we'd get it. I just hate to think that when people look back at the moment when America jumped the shark (a moment that many believe has already happened), it was when my generation was on duty and we let it happen in large part because we abdicated our responsibility and allowed our most important issues to not only be influenced by, but decided on the most superficial and ultimately meaningless circumstances.
That, and cripes, it's going to be a loooong 15 months.

Friday, August 12, 2011

We have a winner!

Being named Clark isn't always easy. It's something I've grown to be perfectly comfortable with but there have been struggles and challenges. References to nerdy comic book superhero alter-egos, delicious candy bars and nerdy, dysfunctional dads have been pretty standard and something everybody deals with in one form or another during their lives, especially when they're young. More problematic and psychological-complex-inducing was being excluded from the wide and wonderful world of chintzy name-imprinted novelty trinkets. That might not sound like a big deal but when you go into some souvenir shop and every other kid can pick up a bike license plate or a coffee mug or a key chain with their name on it and you can't, well, you can see how a young, impressionable, overly-sensitive child might think, "why am I not worthy of having my name on a refigerator magnet?" Of course, I've (mostly) gotten over it and as I've mentioned here before, this has turned into a fun scavenger hunt game for my friends, all of whom were initially reluctant to believe that "Clark" would be considered so obscure.
But so far, to their amazement (and amusement), they've come up almost completely empty. Often, they'll send me a report from the road, "Hey, we found a whole stack of travel mugs labeled 'Cleophus' but nothing with 'Clark'. Sorry. Ha ha ha ha!".
So the quest continues because stories like this one are the anomaly...until now.
Behold what Scott Allen Perry (aka "SAP") found and posted on Facebook the other day:

Better than a coffee mug, better than a key chain and yes, even better than a bike license plate. Those are mere souvenirs; this, THIS is an affirmation!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why my friend Jessie won't share photos with me

My dear, dear friend Jessie is truly one of the finest all-around people I have ever met in my life, and I'm being 100% sincere when I say that. You may remember her from her participation in Muffinquest, which should illustrate just how fantastic she is. She and her husband Paul are photographers who frequently shoot weddings. I've seen samples of their work and it's stunningly creative and beautiful.
My dear, dear friend Jessie refuses to share any of their wedding photography with me because of this blog. The photo below, which she did not take and was originally found here at Happy, is the reason why and proof that my dear, dear friend Jessie has extremely good judgment.
"Amelia, my darling bride, what's wrong? You look...pensive."
"Oh Nigel, my beloved husband. It''s..."
"Please darling, tell me what's wrong. We're man and wife now. I'm here for you. Is this not the happiest day of your life?
"Oh certainly! It is, it is indeed! It's just...oh, nothing."
"Was it the ceremony? Was releasing fourteen French turtle doves, each signifying a month of our engagement, as we recited our vows on top of a cliff while the surf crashed on the rocks below not an appropriate symbol of our love?"
"No, no, I loved the doves! They were ever so beautiful as they took flight against the backdrop of the sun setting over the azure tides."
"Well, was it the carriage ride? I instructed the driver to make haste yet to proceed slowly enough that all in attendance might gaze upon you as we rode off to our new lives together."
"No, my dearest, the carriage ride was divine. I felt like a princess!"
"Then what is it, my dear? What troubles you so?"
"Honestly, darling, It's nothing. I'm certain it will pass in a moment or two."
"Okay, but can you give me. like, four or five moments? Because I had a lot to drink at the reception and (*BURP*) this could take a while."

Monday, August 08, 2011

Dr. Science debunks the solar system

There are a lot of people who call themselves scientists who would like you to think that they have some idea of what they're talking about. Every single one of these people are full of crap.
Hello, I am Dr. Science and I am the king of all the scientists on Science Island. I have neither the time nor the level of insecurity to justify screwing around in a laboratory, gathering data and conducting experiments. When I need some new science, I just go out and make it. That's how we all do it on Science Island. If a colleague has a difference of opinion, we settle it with a fistfight, not by wasting valuable time consulting one another and staring at a bunch of boiling beakers. Think my methods are flawed? Take a look at the invisible Triceratops chasing tennis balls in my backyard and ask again. That's just how we roll on Science Island. 
I'm here because people are still making a big deal about Pluto no longer being a planet and I'm sick of hearing about it. "Oh, ha ha ha", they (you) say. "You're small and insignificant and no longer a planet. Sucks to be you!" And while it's true, Pluto is no longer classified as a true planet, the fact of the matter is it never should have been. Further, that happens to be the case with most of the so-called "planets" in the so-called "Solar System". I will pause for 30 seconds to allow you to collect the pieces from your now-blown mind.

All set? Okay then. Let's start by taking a look at the word "system"...
sys·tem/ˈsɪstəm/ [sis-tuhm]–noun: An assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole.
What exactly about the "Solar System" is complex? Nothing. When you break it down, there are only two places where anything important ever even happens: 1) The Sun - comprised of heat and light, this is the geographic center of the universe and the life-sustaining shimmering orb around which all other bodies within the "Solar System" revolve and 2) The Earth - where we invent everything and win all the sports championships.

Suck it, Mars.
Oh sure, not all of them are completely worthless; just most of them. Let's take a look, case-by-case.

Small, fast, hotter than hell. The planetary equivalent of Rosie Perez. Cute, but not a planet.

Venus IS a planet, in that it meets the criteria of there being life on it. In this case, millions and millions of beautiful women, who occupy themselves by tending to their lingerie farms and waiting for scientists to build a space vehicle capable of travelling from Earth to there. Hold on, dollfaces. I got a lot on my plate but I'm working on it.

Of course it's a planet because of course there is life on it. They're called Martians. Hellllooooo? Ever heard of them? Orson Welles and Bugs Bunny have been dealing with them since the '30s for Pete's sake. Pay attention in class, people, and I won't have to keep coming back here to explain this stuff to you. Martians pose the biggest threat to us on Earth but have so far failed in their attempts to engage us in combat because their spaceships are so stupid looking and all of their weapons are different types of anal probing devices.

Look around you right now and spot the biggest thing near you. Without even knowing what that thing is, even if it's a dump truck, I guarantee you that Jupiter is more than 10 times bigger than that. It's also abandoned. Which makes it pointless and something of an eyesore. We could blow it up and put four or five more Venuses in it's place. But the Martians would love that so we're not doing it.

When you're sitting on hold doodling, if you start doodling things in space, you will undoubtedly doodle a Saturn. That's because of the ring that surrounds it, which is admittedly, bad ass. But that's all it has going for it. It's like a Ford Pinto with an exceptionally nice hood ornament. You're trying too hard, Saturn, and it's embarrassing.

Did you ever have a kid in class that had a funny name and everybody picked on them because of it? No fault of the kid's; it was their name! What could they do about it? Nothing. But because of that and that alone, that kid became the outcast and the target of bullying even by other kids who were bullied. Nothing could save that kid from having an absolutely miserable childhood. Even if that kid moved away, there's no doubt the exact same scenario would play out again and again, and that kid knew it. In the "Solar System", that kid's name is Uranus. And for Uranus, it doesn't get better.

Oh hey there, Neptune. Guess you thought nobody noticed you sitting way back there, minding your own business, doing absolutely nothing worthwhile. But Dr. Science did. Oh yeah, I noticed. I noticed how lame you are! "But..but", you meekly protest. "I'm not lame; I'm named after the Roman god of the sea!". Oh, so if the "Solar System" was the Justice League of America, you'd be Aquaman, the lamest member of the Justice League? What a pathetic argument. You sicken me, Neptune.

So there you have it. Basically, the mighty, vaunted "Solar System" is a sun, three planets and a bunch of big, dumb moons.
You're welcome.

Dr. Science

Friday, August 05, 2011

Racism: Justified!

A while back, I attended a wedding. Both families happened to be of Polish descent. The ceremony was lovely, as all wedding ceremonies are. That led to the reception which was fine as well. I was, of course, at one of the outlying tables, with a bunch of people I didn't know and who didn't know me. The ceremony had started at 4:00 PM and now it was almost 7:00 PM and we realized they hadn't cut the cake yet. That's when some guy at the table piped up, "this is why people hate Polacks".
Holy shit!
Like I said, I don't know this guy; he's probably a co-worker or internet friend of either the bride or groom or a creepy, inappropriately hands-y cousin (such is the case with those seated at the outlying tables). But he's got it all figured out! Do people realy hate 'Polacks' and is this the reason why? Well, of course the answers are yes and yes!

Now, growing up, I heard and repeated my share of so-called 'Polack jokes', and I can't say I didn't know what they were about; clearly, the point was that Polish people are supposed to be inherently stupid. But I didn't know why and I didn't hate Polish people. Why would I? I couldn't find Poland on a map (still can't) and all I really knew was that Polish people's last names tend to end in 'ski', although not always. Certainly no reason there to hate somebody. I just thought jokes about inherently stupid people were funny. As I matured, I stopped because I learned that senseless intolerance of other races and cultures is insensitive and hurtful to people.
Well, all bets are off now! Because thanks to this wedding guest, I learned that Polish people are stupid because they're slow to pass out cake. The cake is just sitting there, for three hours, and we're hanging around like a bunch of jerks, doing  the "Electric Slide", waiting to eat it. Clearly, those of Polish heritage are incapable of comprehending the importance of promptly distributing slices of celebratory baked confections to their invited guests. I was waiting for him to get on the horn to people who prosecute hate crimes and tell them to take Polish people off the endangered list:
"Hello, US Government? Check this shit out; I'm at a Polish wedding and guess how much cake they've handed out? None! No slices. Not a single one. Oh yeah, there is a cake. It just hasn't been cut and handed out. No photo opp with the bride and groom adorably smearing icing on each others faces and no cake on a plate in front of us! So can I burn a cross here now or something without getting in trouble or what? Huh? Sure, we got a meal but...yeah, an entree and a vegetable. Actually, it's a buffet....yeah, twice...okay, three times, but once was just for some cheese cubes and crackers. Oh, and shrimps. And these little fried raviolis. All right, four times. But...what's that? Yes, open bar. No, not a DJ, they sprung for a full band. They're pretty good too. Now what gift? I don't know, probably around $25. No, $20 because it was in the Sunday circular. Why? What does that have to do with the cake, that beautiful delicious, uncut, uneaten cake that they're obligated to give me some of in order to prove their love for one another? Hello? Hello?"

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Me and the good ol' days of minor league baseball in Tampa

If you're not already as sick of me as I am, here's an interview I did with Mike Lortz of, a web site dedicated to coverage of minor league baseball (still the best baseball, in my humble opinion) from every conceivable angle. This interview focuses on the minors in Tampa, particularly the last days of the late, great Tampa Tarpons club and their home at dearly departed Al Lopez Field.
Mostly what you'll learn is that apparently I say "so" and "kinda" a lot. Who knew?

Part 1

Part 2

Monday, August 01, 2011

It's that time again, and if you can't beat 'em...

Once again, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay is opening the polls for Best of the Bay. Once again, I really, really, really want to win an award or two (not that I'm greedy). However, unlike 2009 and 2010, in 2011, I don't have the time, energy or resources to mount an effectively imaginative campaign of my own. What this means is I couldn't come up with any cheap ideas. Expensive ideas, sure! Lots of those! But all things considered, it's best that I not spend any money on something like this (things considered: I never win and I have no money). So instead, I've decided to ride the coattails of swim in the wake of beg like a dog under the table in hope of getting some sloppy second table scraps from join forces with multi-award winner Catherine Durkin Robinson, author of "Out in Left Field" and all around overacheiver, about whom I have never, ever said anything remotely negative or critical in any way. This was actually her idea:
"How about we team up - me for best contributor and you for best blog? Or Twitterer?" -- CDR, July 29, 2011, via Twitter

I like it! So here's how it works: I am offically endorsing Catherine Durkin Robinson with my vote in the 2011 Creative Loafing Tampa Bay "Best of the Bay" poll in the category of Best Contributor. Why? Well, in my opinion, she is the best contributor to CL Plus, here are just a few of Ms. Durkin Robinson's credentials...
  • She's a published author: "Olivia's Kiss" and "Learning Curves".
  • In addition to Creative Loafing, her columns have appeared in the Washington Post, Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Sasee Magazine and Canyon News among others. 
  • She's a wife and mom.
  • She fancies me (unverified, but pretty sure).
Of course she does.
From this point on, the campaign IS ON and when I shill for your votes for me as Best Local Blogger and/or Best Local Personality to Follow on Twitter, I will be shilling for Catherine as well. In exchange, she will quid pro quo me back. Hey, collusion cooperation is kinda fun!

And while you're at it, feel free to cast a vote for Raw Charge. John Fontana busts numerous humps (one of them being mine) to make it Tampa Bay's best hockey blog and he deserves a dang award for it too.
So get to votin'! You can vote once per email address and you have to vote in at least 20 categories to qualify. That's to try to keep it local and cut down on ballot box stuffing, which I don't agree with as both of those things hinder my ability to win, but whatever.