Friday, December 28, 2007

Holiday Post #16: Year End Wrap Up

The Contest:
At the moment, Angelina Jolie is 1 vote ahead of Helena Bonham Carter in the run up to the Celebrity M.I.L.F. of the Year Award. Vote now if you feel there is a better milf in the running... or if you feel the need to protect Angelina's lead. The final outcome will be announced on New Years Day.The Quiz:
It is the tradition of many a blog to provide an overview of the year in blogging @ the end of December. I've done it in the past, but this time I decided to provide something else... a year end quiz. That's right, click on topless Alec Trebek to take the Visions of Ypsi Attention Whore quiz & find out how much attention you've been paying to me this year. Feel free to post your score in the comments section.
The Death Pool:
W/ only a few day to go, it looks like Jason will win this year's Celebrity Death Pool. While 3 of us are sitting on 3 points, he has the lowest combined age which just so happens to be the 1st tie breaker. Of course last year, I scored on new years Eve w/ James Brown, nut I doubt there will be a last minute death 2 years in a row. Furthermore, The James Brown points were wasted because I didn't win, but had he held don for 1 more day, I would have been able to count him for this year which would have put me 2 points clear @ the top of the table.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Post #15: Boxing Day & Before Boxing Day

Before we get to the meat & potatos of this post, I need to remind everyone to cast her or his vote in The Celebrity M.I.L.F. of the Year Contest. The polls will be closing @ the stroke of midnight on the cusp of 2008. There are still a few people who need to stand up & be counted. Now, w/ the businessy stuff out of the way, here's the overview of the last few days.

As the Holiday Weekend began, I took the kids to get hair cuts Friday after school. They had a 1/2 day, & my ex was around so we all went together to Eleven West on Michigan Ave. Aiden went 1st, & as he was finished I realized that his cut wasn't that great. He's only 6 though so I figured it didn't really matter, except that I knew the same person was about to do my hair. For though of you who haven't been up on this issue lately, my hair has become a point of contention between me & the universe lately. Solstice went next & then my ex. Both looked fine & not knowing how to get out of it, they took off & I got in the "hot-seat." After getting the wash, we returned to the swivel chair as she started breathing really heavily in my ear. I couldn't tell if it was an issue of allergies or if maybe she had a cold. It is also possible that she has a deviated septum, but afterwards, my ex suggested that it was because she was a bit overweight (the size of about 4 average hair stylists). Whatever the reason, it was gross. & I couldn't get out of there soon enough so when she asked how it looked, I said it was fine & got the hell out of there. In hindsight, I'm not too pleased w/ the cut, but by the time I get another one in a year or so it won't matter anyway.

On Saturday, Jean came into town, but it wasn't until Sunday that we got to hang out. I met the ex @ her church to get the kids & we then went to my parents' house. It was nice to see Jean, & the kids had a great time messing w/ him for the day. they then stayed w/ my parents for the night as Jean & I went to my house for a sweet game of Risk. I hadn't played that game since middle school, & it was great. I think I'll need to pick up my own so as to be able to play all the time... although I doubt if I'll be able to find people to play w/... Anyone up for a game?

On Monday we did family presents & then went to my Aunt's house for extended family stuff. It was nice to see those folks, & nice to have the same conversations we always have. The tradition of talking about The Rolling Stones & the time my cousin got me high for the first time was still in place. Some things never change. We got home @ about 10:45 & by the time the kids were in bed, Santa had a late, late night. He was then awakened early yesterday morning as the kids wanted to open presents. Aiden spent the morning repeating how it was the best X-Mas ever. Solstice didn't make any bold claim like that, but they both had a great time & really seemed to appreciate everything. They then went to their mom's for their X-Mas w/ her family as I went to my parents' house to watch classic Arsenal FA Cup Finals on FSC. We got to see 1971's 2-1 extra-time win over Liverpool, 1979's 3-2 classic against Man U where 3 goals were scored in the last 3 minutes, & then 1993's 1-1 draw / Sheffield Wednesday. After the 30 minutes of extra time the game had to be replayed. Why they didn't show the replay instead will never be known.
In other footy news, the Boxing Day fixtures are on right now, & I just watched a great 4-4 draw between Chelsea & Aston Villa from Stamford Bridge. Later today we'll be watching Arsenal @ Portsmouth which should be a great game but right now it's Liverpool @ Derby County which hasn't become the trouncing I expected when I picked up 2 Liverpool players for my Fantasy team this week. It's still early though so we'll see. In fact, as I'm writing this, Torres, my captain, just scored!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Post #14: Happy Festivus

Put up your aluminum pole and prepare your list of grievances... It's Festivus time again!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Post #13: Top 10 Seasonal Films

Before we get to the countdown, I want to mention a couple that I know will raise some complaints. While I like the 1st two Vacation films, I absolutely hate Christmas Vacation. It is a piece of shit movie. Dan, Jason, Elizabeth, Joe: I know you like this mess of a film, but I was disappointed when I saw it in the Canton Cinema 6 in 1989 & I'm less impressed now. The other one that often ruffles feathers is It's a Wonderful Life. I saw it for the 1st time when I was in college but only made it through the 1st half. I've seen it since, but I hated it then too. Furthermore, it is responsible for my years of hatred toward James Stewart. When I finally saw Vertigo, I nearly shat myself realizing that he's actually really good. if you must see a Jimmy Stewart film this holiday season, let it be something other than this useless Frank Capra drivel. There is 1 other film I considered, but I can't remember the name of it. It's some old short from the 1938 that retells the birth of Christ @ some diner in the desert of New Mexico. It brings together my 3rd favorite December holiday w/ 1 of my favorite film genres: film noir. I wish I could remember what it's called because it's pretty fucked up. Feel free to discuss your personal favs in the comments section. And, while this goes w/o saying, don't forget to cast your vote for M.I.L.F. of the Year in the post below this one. While i'm on that subject, Joe said there was some hack on VH1 talking about the MILF of the year w/o crediting me @ all & then he talked about the Douchebag of the Year w/o crediting Jason... Joe didn't know who it was, but my money is on Dane Cook.

And now, w/o further ado, I give you my top 10 holiday films of all time:
10) One Magic Christmas: A pretty cheesy 80s film, but like all the best 80s films, it features Harry Dean Stanton. Of course in this movie, he plays an angel who saves the life of Mary Steenburgen's character's husband who dies @ the beginning in a car accident. Not fantastic, but certainly worth a viewing.
9) White Christmas: Brought to us by Michael Curtiz, the director of Captain Blood & Casablanca, this fun classic brings Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney & Danny Kaye together for a little holiday romp... full of singing & dancing.
8) The Santa Clause: I watched this again last night w/ the kids & it's a lot better than I remembered. Tim Allen, while no Fess Parker, is everything anyone could ask for in a Disney leading man. The sequel features Elizabeth Mitchell from Lost, but I've only heard horrible things about the 3rd in the series.
7) Die Hard: Of course, the most recent one is the Die Hard film to have won all the Oscars, but this one started it all... and introduced the world to John McClane.
6) Santa Clause Conquers the Martians: I saw this one 1st on MST3K, but I've since seen it w/o the robot commentary. Obviously, the commentary is important, but it stands alone as 1 of the weirdest holiday movies ever made... even weirder than the 1 whose name I couldn't remember. 5) Bad Santa: Billy Bob Thorton basically just plays himself in this one, but then he was able to capitalize on this persona again in his 2005 remake of The Bad News Bears... a grumpy drunk who hangs out w/ kids... just like me coaching soccer after the Dylan concert.
4) A Christmas Carol: While the Muppets' version is the one I saw most recently, I'm going to have to go w/ the George C. Scott version. It's the 1st one I ever saw & it still stands up well after 25 years. I'd also like to recommend the 1951 version w/ Alister Simm, but Scott's 1984 Scrooge is by far the best.
3) Trading Places: Though often overlooked when people compile lists of holiday films, this one came out a year before George C. Scott's Christmas Carol. It may still be Eddie Murphy's best film, plus there is actually some decent social commentary... maybe the only SNL film to ever include such a thing
2) A Christmas Story: The year that brought us trading Places also brought us this classic about a boy, a b.b. gun & the only lamp that's ever turned me on. I imagine some would place this as their #1, & I'm tempted to do so also, but while films from my elementary years are making up 3s 4, 3, & 2, I can't let nostalgia blur my vision.
1) Miracle on 34th Street: Coming in at #1, we have this timeless classic w/ Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara & Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. If you haven't seen this in years, give it another go... if you've only seen it colorized, be sure to check it out in the B&W original print. It's fantastic.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Post #12: Vote Now for the Celebrity M.I.L.F. of the Year

We @ Visions of Ypsi are proud to present the 4th Annual Celebrity M.I.L.F. of the Year Contest. Before you vote, however, be sure to read the rules:
1) The nominations have been considered and narrowed down to ten (10) contestants.
2) Each reader of Visions of Ypsi is allowed one (1) vote.
3) Votes are to be posted in the comments section of this post.
4) Giving people shit based on who they voted for is not only accepted, but encouraged.
5) All votes posted by 12:00 AM on New Years Eve will be counted.
6) Voting is closed @ 12:01 AM New Years Day.
7) Late nominations will be considered, but discouraged.
8) Those nominated but not included on this official ballot are not eligible for late nominations.
9) If a voter wishes to change his or her vote, she or he must petition the writers of Visions of Ypsi.
10) Anonymously posted votes will only be accepted if the writers of Visions of Ypsi are told who the person is who is voting anonymously. In other words, the post can be anonymous and I will protect his or her anonymity, but I want to know who is voting.
11) We @ Visions of Ypsi will only cast a vote to break a tie if said vote is necessary.
12) Ineligible Nominees: Ali Landry... gave birth in July which means she was eligible in 2006; Bridget Moynahan... announced her pregnancy in February, explaining that she was 3 months pregnant which disqualifies her for the same reason as Ali Landry.

Previous winners include such luminaries as Michelle Willaims & Maggie Gyllenhaal & the anticipation to see who will be crowned this year's winner has been building for months. And now... Your 2007 Visions of Ypsi Celebrity M.I.L.F. of the Year Nominees:

Christina Aguilera: This 27 year old pop-singer was knocked up by her husband, music marketing executive Jordan Bratman. She is known for her vocal ability & her fantastic titsJessica Alba: This Invisible Woman was knocked up by her boyfriend, Cash Warren, who was mistakenly referred to as an actor on here last week. That's almost as bad as referring to Jessica Alba as an actress. Halle Berry: The 41 year old Bond-Girl was impregnated by her long-time companion, French-Canadian supermodel Gabriel Aubry. Here's to hoping her parenting skills are better than her acting in Die Another Day.Helena Bonham Carter: Our weirdest nominee in now w/ child for the 3rd time thanks to her weird husband, Tim Burton. Apparently, they live in opposite wings of a house connected by a long hallway. Elizabeth Hasselbeck: Former Survivor contestant & current co-host of the view, she is known for her wacky conservative views and her opposition to Darwinian science. Angelina Jolie: W/ her 2nd nomination in this category, Bradjelina is preparing for her 5th child... the 2nd whom she is birthing. If y'all remember correctly, there was a little controversy w/ her previous nomination because some readers felt that adoption shouldn't have made people eligible for this award. Well, this time she actually has a bun in the oven so no one can complain.Nancy Kerrigan: This horse-face, who had a small role in Blades of Glory, got herself knocked up this year & recently gave birth... I guess it's an improvement from what she got knocked last time she was in the news. It's not clear if she carried the child in her uterus or somewhere in her huge gums. No pregnant pics could be found, but that's probably just as well.Jennifer Lopez: Jenny from the Block is pregnant w/ the child of her husband, Marc Anthony. Coincidentally, while she is honored to be nominated for this award, she is also the 2007 Visions of Ypsi Beard of the Year. J. Lo. is raking in the awards hand over fist.Drea de Matteo: This Soprano is currently dating Waylon Jennings' son, Shooter Jennings, who has knocked her up. Of course, she knows people who can give you a world of trouble if you don't vote for her.Jennifer Weiner: This "Chick Lit" writer is friends w/ Toni Morrison & Joyce Carol Oates & is certainly just happy to be nominated. It's not clear if she's pregnant in this pic or not, but we'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Post #11: The Cinnamon Babka & The Underpanties

On Friday night the English Department had its annual holiday party, the 1st one I've been to in many many years. I wasn't going to bring anything because I wasn't planning to eat anything, but then while shopping, I came upon an entire rack of Babka. Of course, the chocolate Babka were on top & the cinnamon were on the bottom, but if I've learned anything from the Seinfeld episode "The Dinner Party" other than that the Black & White cookie is a symbol of racial unity, it's that cinnamon Babka takes a back seat to no Babka. So w/ Babka in hand (wrapped in foil to look as though I made it), off I went to Jim & Rachel's house before the party. Jim was off to a different party 1st but Rachel was there as was Steve (Annette was @ the party early to help set up). Rachel was making food for the kids & the baby-sitter, Taquitos from Jose Ole! which Steve proceeded to say over & over & over all night long... Taquitos... from Jose Ole!!!When we got to the party, there was food & wine a plenty, but very few Lecturers. In fact only 2 others were there & of those 2, I only know the one I didn't actually see. It was fun though as I then got to do my part to unite the GAs w/ the faculty... just like Rosa Parks would've done. The Babka was a hit, but all the food was really good. I was a bit puzzled by the "Award Winning" brownies though. I don't know who made them, & if the maker happens to read this, I mean no offense, but what type of award could they have won? They were good, but far from the best brownies I've ever had... even if I don't count the ones I had @ Dead shows 15 years ago, they weren't that special. That said, they were still brownies which are usually pretty good none-the-less.After the string trio which was performing (they did a cool version of "Whiskey for Breakfast") finished, Jim & Joe Csicsila took the stage & played for the rest of the evening. Son Volt, Van Morrison, Ryan Adams, Grateful Dead... it was a good time. After they finished we went back to Jim & Rachel's for drinks, but Rachel crashed immediately which prompted Annette to talk about the old days when girls would freeze the bra & underpanties of the first girl who fell asleep @ a slumber party. Of course, I've heard of this tradition, but I've never completely the homoerotic way they would remove the undergarments from the sleeping girl w/o her waking up. More importantly, she used the word "underpanties." Awesome!I'll post more pics from the party when Kristen gets off her ass & up-loads them. Not that she's to blame for the lack of pics... @ least she remembered her camera unlike me whose sorry, lazy ass left it on the table. For now, we'll have to rely on these which I just copped from Rachel's Facebook profile. I don't know what the Hell is going on in this picture of Joe, but it looks a bit naughty. While we're waiting for the rest of the pictures, I'm going to take pride in the fact that I blogged about htis before Steve & y'all can keep up w/ the nominations for Celebrity MILF of the Year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Post #10: Celebrity MILF of the Year

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"to talk of milfy things"
The Contest
That's right! It's time to make your nominations for Celebrity MILF of the year. Before you nominate, take a look at the rules:
1) The nominee must be a celebrity or have been knocked up by a celebrity This is important because we had an incident a couple years ago when Courtney attempted to nominate herself. We at Visions of Ypsi certainly know pregnant people, but they are ineligible for this contest
2) The nominee must have gotten pregnant (or adopted) in 2007
3) Celebrities who gave birth n 2007 but got knocked up in 2006 are ineligible because they were eligible for the 2006 contest
4) All nominations must be posted in this post's comment section w/in one week (7 days) of the post's publication (December 15). Please include all pregnancy stats you have concerning your nomination
5) Pregnant celebrities posting on Visions of Ypsi are encouraged to nominate themselves
6) There is no limit on the number of celebrities one can nominate, but only one will win
7) In the case of a draw, the winner will be selected by me
8) On December 22, nominees will be listed in a new post. If there are more than 10 nominees, I will narrow the list down to the 10 hottest (I know this is completely subjective, but it's my blog, damn't!)
9) I will begin the nominations following the rule section of this post
10) Voting will last through the end of December at which point I will collate the data and announce YOUR 2007 CELEBRITY MILF OF THE YEAR!!!!!
The Nominations
Jessica Alba: Knocked up by Fantastic 4 co-star Cash Warren who is, coincidentally, the de facto winner of the Visions of Ypsi Celebrity Fake-sounding-Celebrity-Name of the Year Award
Drea de Matteo: Knocked up by Shooter Jennings. The baby was born 2 weeks ago & subsequently named Alabama Gypsyrose... a name to make Grandpa Waylon proud
Helena Bonham Carter: Impregnated by Tim Burton, this hottie should be having her baby any day now... here's to hoping Burton films it all and created some stop-motion freak-show based on his recording
Jennifer Weiner: This novelist gave birth last month and has been blogging about the experience since she announced she was pregnant in July.
Nancy Kerrigan: this horse-face is only rumored to be preggo. Let's hope Jennifer Weiner doesn't club her knee in an attempt to steal some votes

There must be people more deserving of the award than these folks... so make w/ the nominations!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Post #9: Ypsi Got an IHOP

Technically, it's Pittsfield Township, but let's not split hairs. Stacey has been talking this place up for a couple weeks & I think she's actually taken a couple other people there already... Brook & Kate if I remember correctly, but I hadn't gone until this morning when she & I went after dropping the kids off at school. I don't think I've ever actually been to an IHOP before, & I was left wondering how international they actually are. The food was good though. I got the black bean chili omelet w/ a stack of pancakes & an OJ. I have to say, I'm still partial to local diner/greasy dives for breakfast, but I was impressed & I'm glad she brought me there. The service was really good too. A little too good, in fact, for a breakfast place. Everyone was so friendly & helpful, I felt out of place... what'd they have to be so fucking cheery about? Sitting there in the back corner (sometimes I feel like I'm always getting stuck in the back corner at restaurants)we got to watch the snow falling outside (this is why this qualifies as a holiday post) & it felt like something out of a Jim Jarmusch movie... or maybe the Cohen Bros, but more like Jim Jarmusch. it was like a dark road movie. I don't know why, but I always associate IHOPs w/ road-trips. I guess it's just because I only see them when on the road. To finish the road-trip triumvirate, Ypsi now needs a Shoneys & a Waffle House. When I was in Grad School, we went on a road trip to FLA & stopped at a Shoneys in Ohio. The palcemat had a map on it which showed the location of every Shoneys in the country. It was pretty cool bedcause when we took it w/ us, we then always knew how many Shoneys away from our destination we were. Here's a link to a similar map of IHOPs, but it's a bit outdated, so don't plan any trips around it. You will see how many there are on the I-75 corridor through Tennessee, Georgia, 7 Florida. I suppose we could have stopped at an IHOP instead.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Post #8: Oh Hanukkah

As today is the last day of my 6th favorite December holiday, I thought I'd give you all a little Meshugga Beach Party... the world's premier Jewish Surf-Rock band. Enjoy... and happy Hanukkah!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Post #7: All I Want for X-Mas...

Shin Guards?
My kids have been bugging me to let them sleep w/ me for about a week now, so finally, last night, after 10 minutes of whining & begging, I told them to get their pillows & blankets & get to sleep. of course, I was planning to stay up for 4 more hours grading & finishing The Color Purple so they weren't even going to realize they were sleeping w/ me by the time I went to bed. When I did finally push them over a bit in a sorry attempt to make a little room for myself, my daughter decided that spending the next 10 minutes kicking me in the shins would be a good idea. I actually considered sleeping in my shin guards, but, of course, they are cracked & I didn't want the crack to scape her foot. When I eventually got her to stop, he poked me in the esophagus w/ her index finger 7 then as I bent down in pain, she punched me on the top of my head. It was like some fucked up 3 Stooges routine. The crack in th shin guard coupled w/ the hole in the toe of my boots suggests that I need to be completely re-equipped for the spring season.Movies?
A few films are coming out soon (or have come out recently) that I think I might want to see.
1) The Bourne Ultimatum: I liked the 1st 2 films in this series & after just watching the Ebert & Roeper review, I suppose I need to see the new one too.
2) Ocean's 13: I really like the 1st 1 & the 2nd is quite the guilty pleasure, so I'm going to need to see the new one pretty soon.
3) Suddenly, Last Summer: By far my favorite Tennessee Williams' film. There's seems to be some new DVD edition out, but I haven't been able to find much info about it.
4) Flash Gordon: The Saviour of the Universe Edition: I can't believe I still haven't gotten this. After 27 years of waiting for the perfect copy of this film, this new edition is the best they've come up w/ so far. I haven't heard many good things about the extras, but a newly cleaned up print w/ that great music... awesome.

A new Wooden Cutting Board?
I was cleaning my a few weeks ago & as I set it in the sink to dry, it cracked in half. I don't know why it happened, but I'm now stuck using a cutting board that's only about 6" across. It's ok for slicing cheese, but onions & garlic are a bit rough & lettuce is really hard because the head is bigger than the board upon which it must sit.Wool Socks?
I always get these, along w/ a sweater, from my mom so this is the most likely of the gifts on the list, but I've worn through a few pairs lately & could really use some new one. I know that wanting socks for X-mas kind of goes against the tradition of disdaining the sock-gift, but I don't care. They're practical & my feet get cold @ night.And now... a new tradition on my blog... the holiday song, a peppy little rockabilly number somewhere between Brian Setzer & Chuck Berry:

All I Want for Christmas is Cash

The snow is falling
And the wind is rushing fast
The snow is falling
And the wind is rushing fast
My bills are mounting:
And all I want for Christmas is cash

Cookies in the oven
And presents underneath the tree
Cookies in the oven
And presents underneath the tree
But with all these presents
I can’t afford to eat

The snow is falling
And the wind is rushing fast
The snow is falling
And the wind is rushing fast
My bills are mounting:
And all I want for Christmas is cash

Santa’s on the corner
And lights up on my house
Santa’s on the corner
And lights up on my house
But nobody’s eating
Not even the mouse

The snow is falling
And the wind is rushing fast
The snow is falling
And the wind is rushing fast
My bills are mounting:
And all I want for Christmas is cash

I don’t want no hippo
And I got my two front teeth
I don’t want no hippo
And I got my two front teeth
But what’s the point?
Ain’t had no food for weeks

The snow is falling
And the wind is rushing fast
The snow is falling
And the wind is rushing fast
My bills are mounting:
And all I want for Christmas is cash

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Holiday Post #6: Why All the Long, Hairy Faces?

Jason posted this link to the Top 10 Star Wars tattoos and it reminded me that t'is the season for everyone's 2nd favorite made for TV holiday tradition, The Star Wars Holiday Special. I was talking about it the other day too, but I can't remember with whom that conversation took place. It may even have been yesterday at the Celebration of Student Writing. Regardless of who I was talking to, I thought I'd take this time to announce the annual viewing in case any of you would like to join me. I''l be watching the special this week-end; however, my copy is really old and grainy. If you plan to watch it w/ me & you happen to have a better version, particularly The Angry Sun Edition, I'd love it if you could bring it along.
Here is a 5 minute overview featuring any of the best moments... The songs by Jefferson Starship & Princess Leia, the grumblings of the great Art Carney, Harrison Ford taking things much too seriously, Boba Fett in a fun little cartoon, & of course Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes backing up Bea Arthur for her bizarre cantina song... oh, & a little Wookie sex. According to wikipedia, Carrie Fischer doesn't even remember being involved w/ the project. Apparently, the stories of her coke use have been greatly underestimated.
For maore info on all things Holiday Special, be sure to consult the Wookipedia
Or, if you feel you need to run through the entire script before viewing this weekend, go to

And now, I'll leave you w/ the lyrics to Leia's song... wise words from a wise woman:
We celebrate
a day of peace.
A day of harmony.
A day of joy
we can all share
together joyously.
A day that takes
us through the
A day that leads us
into might.
A day that makes
us want to celebrate
the light.
A day that brings
the promise that
one day, we'll be
free to live,
to laugh,
to dream,
to grow,
to trust,
to love,
to be.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Holiday Post #5: Martinis & Pickles

Friday night, a group of people from work went to Goodnight Gracie's for Emily's b-day. We had a great time & Emily got completely shithoused on some froo-froo fancy-ass martinis like the Chocolate Covered Strawberry & something that tasted like a White Russian. She was so drunk that @ the end of the night, I had to help Jenny get her back to Jenny's car 5 blocks away... "keep walking... there's a curb here, don't trip... I said, there's was a curb there...." I, on the other hand, was a responsible adult & just had a couple Rob Roys which were pretty good, but that bar is way too expensive. It's trying to be something out of Sex and the City, but it doesn't quite cut it. Also, it's really small, but the band felt they needed to be amplified for a large ballroom. The other problem w/ the band is that they were one trick ponies. Their improvisation was cool, but needed some more texture to really fill it out. The other problem I had w/ them is more personal... blues just doesn't really do it for me; it all kinda sounds the same. I recognized the bass player though; I think I worked w/ him at Borders a few years ago. Theoretically, Kristen will be posting some pictures of the night on her facebook profile some time soon.

Last night, I went to Nik & Jim's for a tree-trimming/hide the pickle/naked cookie party... here are the top 5 things I learned:
5) When one is on a road in Farmington called "Metroview," that person shouldn't be surprised when there is neither a metropolis nor a view. Similarly, when in Farmington & on a road called "Green Hills," there are no hills & nothing is green.
4) Ryan knows way way way too much about television.
3) When people have tree-trimming parties, it's really just a way to get out of decorating their own trees. It's like when Tom Sawyer tricks the other kids into white-washing the fence. W/ this in mind, I'd like to invite you all over for a bathroom cleaning party. It'll be sweet.
2) Germans are fucking weird. There is this tradition, "Weihnachtsgurke," of hiding a glass pickle ornament in the tree & then having everyone look for it: the winner gets a present. Only the culture that produced Schumacher and Hitler could have come up w/ this. Of course, Hitler wasn't actually German, & according to Wikipedia neither is the X-mas pickle. My wiki-info suggests that it's really an American tradition which has been wrongly associated w/ German culture. Then again, the Wikipedia entry for Nathaniel Hawthorne used to begin "Nathaniel Hawthorne, who liked to stay up late having hot gay butt sex,..." so I'm not sure what to believe.
1) Naked cookie decorating means that the cookies are naked, not the decoraters. This was a bit of a let down. Maybe if we'd opened up the bottle of tequila it would have been different. I guess there's always next year.
Here are a few pictures from the evening:

Shannon, Nicole, Kristen & Nik decorating naked cookies

Joe, Rachel, Jim, Nik, Kristen & Emily trimming the tree

In the X-mas fucking spirit
Again, Emily is offended by something I said

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holiday Post #4: Big Specials and Little Gifts

I spent the last couple nights watching holiday specials w/ my kids. We saw A Christmas Story on Monday, Charlie Brown on Tuesday & then last night we had the pleasure of watching Shrek the Halls & The Grinch. I have this ridiculous desire to watch A Christmas Story every year, particularly on the 1st snowy day... not as bad as a bath w/ candles & wine, but close. My problem w/ Charlie Brown is Linus' watered down X-Mas story. I've always been a fan of Chuck though. Afterwards, there was a new episode I'd never seen before... of course, by new, I mean new in the last 10 or 15 years. It might be new this year, but I really don't know, & I was on the phone so I wasn't paying enough attention to give a brief synopsis. Shrek the Halls was alright & the kids loved it, but the real highlight was the fully restored How the Grinch Stole Christmas. At 1st, I actually thought it was a new version. The color & clarity was so vibrant I didn't recognize it. Kudos to whoever restored it. Here's a link I stole from Jason for all of you who feel the need to watch these shows yourselves... Elizabeth & Daniel-san, this means you since you won't get much of the crass commercialization of X-Mas over there. if any of you dedicated readers of Visions of Ypsi have a good holiday special suggstions, feel free to make w/ the comments so the kids & I can watch more soon.In other news, I arrived at work today to find a Frazz comic strip from today's newspaper taped to my office door. I don't know who put it there... @ 1st, I assumed it was from a student (there are two who could have left it), but after asking both of them, it turns out I have no idea who put it there, but I'd like to send a little thank you to my secret Santa for leaving this on my door. Ironically, it was published a day or 2 after their 1st loss since April.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Post #3: Gary Peltier, All American

After spending way too much time on I-75 in Cincinnati while getting around a nasty accident (there must have been 30 cops & 5 ambulances) we finally pulled into Livonia around 10:00 PM. Again, thanks to some great suggestions from frinds, we had fun tunes for the road:

Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
Emmylou Harris: Roses in the Snow
Willie Nelson: Teatro
Bob Dylan: Blond on Blond
Poi Dog Pondering: Greatest Hits

All in all, the trip South was great,although considering my parents left the directions at home we had to do a little reconnoitering to find Owensboro. Lots of fun happened; here's a brief overview:
We watched Live Free or Die Hard twice. It's a shit movie but the more we watched it, the more we enjoyed it. Oddly, Tiffany had seen it 6 times in theaters last summer. I never figured out why though. Lots of explosions & civilian death, but the lack of a plot seemed to hurt the overall film.
We played tons of Ping Pong. I hadn't played since The Detroiter in Jason's basement when we were n college. It was fun & even my dad got in on the action.We also introduced my parents to the wonders of the Wii. My mom enjoyed tennis while my father had his way w/ both tennis & golf before I smoked everyone in bowling. It may very well have been the 1st time they played a video game. He used to enjoy pinball, but that's just not the same.He also made his less-than-famous turkey soup. He doesn't cook much, but fancies himself a sort of sous chef. His 1st attempt came back in 1989 when he attempted some sort of dirt-ass Chinese stuff. he has definitely improved since then, but it always has meat in it so I can't speak directly to the quality.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday Post #2: Live from the KY

1st off, thanks for all the recommendations. I had to avoid Patti Smith because I don't have any of her new stuff: just Horses. Here's what we did listen too though:

Paul Simon: Graceland (thanks Dan)
The Mamas and the Papas: Greatest Hits
Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash: live bootleg from 1968ish
Bill Monroe: American Traveler (Thanks Dawn)
Simon and Garfunkel: Greatest Hits

My father enjoyed the Mamas & the Papas & the Dylan/Cash sessions so much, he asked me to make him copies. A question to which my mother replies, "You can do that? You can just burn a copy of a CD on a computer?" No mom, I play the 8-track really loud and record it on my fucking reel-to-reel. She was so amazed by this new-fangled technology. Of course, my father's driving left a little something to be desired too. Although, I suppose I should commend him for his ability to use both lanes at the same time & his ability to simultaneously drive & sleep while basically staying on the road w/o killing anyone. Other than that & the driving rain all evening (& the fact that we left 2 1/2 hours late) the trip was nice. However, I've never heard of a state where one can't get from the biggest city (in this case Louisville) to the 3rd biggest city (in this case Owensboro) by expressway. It was a safe trip though & now the food is being prepared by Jean & my mom while I blog, drink tea, & watch the Bob Dylan marathon on VH1 Classic. In related news, before wee left yesterday, I dropped the kids off @ my ex-wife's place & then saw this crazy barn so I snapped a couple pics for y'all. Check it out:

In other Thanksgiving news, here's the WKRP in Cincinati Thanksgiving episode, Turkeys Away. My father has forced it into our traditional family Thanksgiving celebration & admittedly, it is pretty funny. This is posted here in 3 parts particularily for Dan & Elizabeth because I know that they're missing the celebration this year. I had to find it on Youtube because my dad was flipping out about the fact that he left his VHS copy in Livonia. Enjoy:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday Season Post #1: Going to the KY

For those of you who have been living under a rock, or in a box, or stuck in an old refrigerator, or on walkabout in the Australian Outback, I'd like to announce that my little bro. has moved to KY. KY here refers to the state of Kentucky, not the lubricating jelly. He has in turn invited my parents and me for Thanksgiving so I'll be hitting the road for another road-trip tomorrow afternoon. The fact that I'll be in the car w/ my parents for 7 or 8 hours got me thinking about road-trip music. It's a tricky situation because not only does it have to be quality music, it also has to be w/in the realm of music my parents can tolerate. Here's the list I've come up w/... feel free to recommend anything else that might work.
Bob Dylan: Blond on Blond
It has that nice old-timey AM country station sound that works so well while driving through the Mid-West. It's also Dylan which means that my dad will be willing to listen to it w/o much complaint.

R.E.M: Eponymous
A nice retrospective of their early stuff that also has a flows together better than most compilation albums. It also has that same late-night AM sound that for some reason I just love while on long trips.

Son Volt: Trace
I was going to go for Uncle Tupelo, but I just realized my disc is skipping & I'd have to burn a new one which I'm not going to do by tomorrow morning. That's OK though; Trace has some quality stuff on it & it's really similar to his earlier stuff.

Gaelic Storm: Gaelic Storm
Their 1st album w/ fun Celtic stuff that I think my mom will dig. It's also a good thing to listen to now as we approach the Burns' Night festivities in just 2 short months.

Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison
Although people tend to overlook the fact that he has a lot of rather cheesy songs like "A Boy Named Sue" & "One Piece at a Time," this live album features all sorts of old murder ballads and both of my parents are loving Johnny Cash.

Jerry Garcia/David Grisman: Jerry Garcia/David Grisman
A trip through Ohio obviously needs some sort of Jerry, & this is acoustic & jazzy so I think they'll be able to tolerate it.

Grateful Dead: Blues for Allah
Deciding which Dead disc to bring was tough, but I think my dad might dig the borderline prog rock jazziness of "Slipknot" & "King Solomon's Marbles." My 1st though was Reckoning, but I can't find it. My 2nd thought was American Beauty, but it skips.

Bob Dylan: Modern Times
2 Dylan's might be a bit much, but don't worry; I think I'm actually going to bring 3. The reason I'm down w/ the new 1 is because it's got that same old-timey feel & the vocals are so rich & weird... like his older stuff.

Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline
Going to KY needs requires something like this. Plus, it's got Johnny Cash, Norman Blake, Charlie Daniels, & Charlie McCoy... it should work well. Besides, that version of "Girl from the North Country" is just fantastic... if not oddly fitting considering the fucked up week I've had (see the previous post to get the total effacement of that issue).

Please make some recommendations of stuff that might work well along these lines. I think I'm also going to have to bring the lap-top so I can watch a couple movies in the back seat: Casablanca, The Empire Strikes Back, Temple of Doom & Mallrats might be in order. Not to mention the stack of papers I have to grade & the books I have to read. Maybe 8 hours will end up going pretty fast. Now make w/ the suggestions!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Very Fucked Up Weekend

But since I make it a policy of using this blog as a way to, as Du Bois put it, "Live behind the veil; in a land of blue skies and great wandering shadows," I think perhaps I better focus on the un-fucked up stuff that went down recently. My mask may not be lying, but it's definitely going to grin & withhold information (2 lit references in as many sentences... mark your calenders, we may be taking a new, intellectual course here at Visions of Ypsi).

Friday night, I went to dinner w/ Stacey for her belated b-day. We hit a new Cuban place in A2 called Cafe Habana. The place was absolutely packed. Apparently, a few people come into town for the Michigan / Ohio State Game... who knew? Since we had to wait a while to get a table, we found our way to the bar where I sampled a Mojito. It was definitely the strongest one I've ever had, but then again, I've only had them one other time so my comparison might be a little useless. When we got a table, I ordered the Cuban Vegetarian sandwich. It was good, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Their vegetarian menu left a little something to be desired. Stacey made the better choice by getting the other vegetarian option, Arepas, cornmeal pancakes w/ goat cheese pico de gallo & spinach. Her food was fun & interesting. It was really good too. Of course, we also took it upon ourselves to get a carafe of sangria which was good, but they used coconut rum. I think if I were to go there again, I'd ask for it w/ just regular, unflavored rum. we also got a goat cheese appetizer which was awesome: hot, melty goat cheese w/ pico de gallo. The atmosphere was nice too. Much brighter & livelier than the Cuban place we went to in Detroit a few months ago.

Yesterday, after watching Euro 2008 qualifiers all day (I'd give you the low down on the games, but I'm sure you all watched them too, so it's not necessary; you can read the match-reports here) & fixing my laptop so it will connect to my Internet at home again, I finlay got dressed around 8:00 & made my way to a party across town. Laura had been on me for a while about going, but I didn't know if I was up for it. Well, I went & had a good time. Deep Space (AKA The S.N.A.I.V Band) played a fun set, & there was a keg. Plus, hanging out w/ them is always a nice time. I'm glad Laura was able to get me to go; although, I took off before Warren & Georgina had the chance to perform their special, surprise song for the night. He wasn't going to tell anyone what song they'd worked up, but he said it won the Oscar for Best song in 1982, & oddly, I knew it right away. It's the Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warns hit, "Up Where We Belong."

The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb steps every day
Beautiful! Those are some Grade A choice cut lyrics there. When I took off, I met Dawn & her roommate, Melissa, at TCs to see The Ragbirds. I hadn't seen them in a while, & when I had, they seemed to have a pretty small following, but they're certainly drawing the crowds now. We had a good time, they played some fun covers... "Tell Me Ma," a traditional Irish tune that Gaelic Storm also covers:

She is handsome
she is pretty
She's the Belle of Belfast City
"Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," the Paul Simon song :

she said honey take me dancing
But they ended up by sleeping
In a doorway
By the bodegas and the lights on
Upper Broadway
Wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes

& they then closed w/ a nice version of "Bird Song," a Dead tune that might need a little more experimentalism w/ the bass & drums. The guitar & fiddle stuff was cool, but the bass line didn't really go anywhere so the long jam towards the end became a bit repetitive. Maybe I'm asking too much though; they aren't Phil, Micky & Billy & they never will be:

All I know is something like a bird within her sang
All I know she sang a little while and then flew on
Tell me all that you know
I'll show you
Snow and rain
The other thing about that band is that all of their originals sound like other songs so when they do play a cover once in a while, I end up assuming it's an original that just sounds like something else. One song sounded just like "Sexual Healing," which I definitely would have preferred, but it was fun none-the-less, & it was super nice to hang w/ Dawn. It'd been a while since we went out to see music together.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Road Trip Part II: Oprah's Va-Jay-Jay

Upon arrival at the hotel in Cleveland, we registered and then went almost immediately to a panel discussion featuring 4 of my colleagues from EMU (Marty, Christine, Craig, & Joe). They were all fantastic & impressed everyone who was in attendance. Afterwards, while looking through the program, Christine came upon a group beginning a few minutes later which featured a paper called "The Fiction and Reality of Trolls in Medieval Icelandic Sagas." We all collectively wondered, "The reality of trolls? Is this dude gonna claim trolls are real?" Marty then said they were going to the Hall of Fame and wondered if I wanted to tag along, but int he interest of saving cash & seeing some more presentations, I declined. Christine (whom I think may have been punking us) then suggested we check out the troll guy & tell her how it went. SPOILER ALERT: IT SUCKED! The panel had something to do w/ The Real and the Sur-Real in the Middle Ages. The 1st speaker summarized Hamlet, Oedipus & "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" for 15 minutes before coming to his point which was basically that they are all caught between rocks & hard places... no shit. He was wearing a tweed coat, talking like Shatner, checking his pocket watch at obviously staged moments & being an all around ass-hat. Troll dude spoke second. His concern was two-fold.
A) What are the rules trolls follow throughout the multiple sagas?
B) Does the fact that they all conform to basically the same rules suggest that people in Medieval Iceland actually believed in trolls & can we tell for sure by looking @ the texts?
This guy explained the rules they follow... a. trolls live in rocky areas, b. trolls are larger than humans, & c. trolls either help, hurt, or have sex w/ humans. He followed this up w/ an aside: "Troll sexuality... there, I said it." As if it was too shocking to discuss. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting such shit. It's the MLA for Christ's sake! It's a really prestigious literary organization. Which back door these dip-shits snuck through, I don't know, but it should have been looked. He goes on to summarize troll sagas for the next 10 minutes before coming to his conclusion: "Although they probably didn't believe in trolls, we can't tell for sure what they believed solely based on the literature." He then ended w/ what could only be described as a punch-line: "100s of Millions of people around the world base their beliefs on the writings of a single book, so it's possible that they did believe." A 15 minute set-up to make fun of religious people? Come on. During the Q&A session, another douchebag reared his ugly head. A guy behind Emily & me said, "I understand your point, but I think you're misleading people about trolls." They proceeded to argue about where trolls live like 2 D&D high-schoolers arguing about the powers of their characters.
Afterwards, we were too late for the next panel, 1 that was probably really interesting about representations of Gay Culture in film, so we decided to get some food & then go to the free wine hour. Jenny & I went outside for a moment only to return to Emily freaking out over Kristen & Patrick's "Cyclopsing." This is where they put their noses together so as to appear to have only one eye, at which point they then sing "I Only Have Eye for You." It was something to behold. (I want to say, I'm not relating this syrupy, lovey-dovey stuff to make fun, but to relate the trip as I saw it. I'm happy for them & their ability to act that way. Maybe some day, in some fucked up alternate universe, I too will be able to act like that.) After a slice @ Sparro, we went for the free wine. Believe it or not, we drank a lot of it. There was a cash bar, & the bartender was surprised that people were only drinking the wine. It was FREE! Who is spending 5 bucks on a crappy class of Scotch when the crappy Merlot is free? While sitting there, a set of twin sisters, 6'8 & 350-400 pounds came in & I leaned to Jenny (I thought everyone else would be too justifiably offended) to suggest that trolls may in fact exist. This, of course, resulted in me getting punched for being an asshole. W/ a belly full of wine (Patrick drank Coke because he was driving) we set off for home, but before we even got on I 90, Jenny mentioned The Soup & the segment about "Oprah's Va-Jay-Jay." We found it possible to then talk about Oprah's pussy for the next 2 1/2 hours. So in the end, maybe the troll guy wasn't the only one to get more than his fair share of mileage out of a rather stupid idea.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Road Trip Part I: Taking Cleveland by the Balls

The M/MLA (Midwest Modern Language Association) Conference was in Cleveland the weekend, & since I hadn't been to something like this in a while, when I heard a few friends were going for the day yesterday, I decided to tag along. The friends included Emily, Jenny, Kristen, & Kristen's fiance Patrick who is currently staying at his parents' house on Lake Erie in Monroe. Since he & Kristen were there, Emily, Jenny & I met them there before continuing the drive. Of course, the spider in Emily's car only nearly got us killed twice during that 1/2 hour drive as it caused her to nearly drive into a semi & them to nearly drive off of the exit ramp at 85 mph. But the real excitement happened when we got to the house & were introduced to Patrick's Mother's pervert dog, Paddy. Apparently, the dog has a weird thing for nylons & therefor spent the first 5 minutes trying to tear Jenny's apart. While everyone else did their part to remove the dog from her leg, I did my level best to remove myself from the whole dog situation as is my M.O. The other oddity of the short visit was the fact that her dog & her son have the same name. Before I realized what the dog's name was, she was saying things like "I really feel sorry for Paddy... he really want to come out & play w/ all of you." I thought, "That's an weird thing to say, he is coming w/ us, but referring to it as playing doesn't quite make sense." It wasn't until she said, "I feel so sorry for Paddy, he has to spend so much time in his cage" that I realized some fucked up name thing was going on, at which point Jenny realized she needed to get the Hell out as soon as possible & said, "So, is there a lake around here?" Of course, the house is 4 houses from Lake Erie & we'd driven passed it on the way into the neighborhood. When Patrick's Mother explained where it was, she decided she needed to check it out... & Emily & I were right behind her. We walked down to the lake & hung out for about 10 minutes before Kristen showed up & asked if we were ready to "Take Cleveland by the balls."
Emily, Kristen, & Jenny
Before we were even on I-75, we were introduced to Kristen & Patrick's mushy, syrupy-sweet nausea-inspiring cuteness. They refer to each other & to the act of love-making w/ the word waffle... which as it turns out is also used in all sorts of other weird ways. Apparently, while speaking in some sort of baby language to each other once, she said "I love you," but it sounded something like "I waffle," & then it caught on for good. At this point, we knew we were in for quite a day as we were exposed to more of this stuff when we stopped for breakfast at the first Service Plaza on the Ohio Turnpike. I was able to get out of witnessing too much of that though by dumping a couple quarters into Ms Pac Man & playing the game of my life. I was to the banana before I lost my 1st life. I knew that the longer I made those quarters last, the less "waffling" I had to experience. I then grabbed an OJ & a breakfast sandwich at Hardee's where I was asked the ever-present road-trip question "You don't want no meat w/ that? I mean, you don't want no meat at all?" If I had a dime for every road trip I've taken were this question came up, we could have stayed in Cleveland last night rather than driving home to save money. I grabbed my food, & then hit the brochure stand to get some reading material for the ride before we hit the road again. Of course, more mis-adventures occured at the actual confrence, but you'll have to check back for Part II later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Gov't Stole my Book!

I got a call the other night from Stacey's son wondering if I had a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. He needed it for a class, which in and of itself is pretty impressive since he's only in middle school. A shout-out to the Ypsi schools is definitely in need here. I was watching Rockford when he called so I didn't grab it then, but thinking I knew exactly where my copy was I said sure. Yesterday morning, I went to grab it for him, but it wasn't there. At that point I figured it must be in my office. Wrong again. My copy of his FBI Files is there as is my copy of Malcolm X Speaks, but not the autobiography. One would think they would all be together considering my anal approach to book organization, but they aren't. My next thought was that maybe my ex-wife took it when she moved, but that just doesn't make sense. She wouldn't want it, & I've had it since before we started dating. Why would she suddenly lay claim to it? My next thought was that maybe I loaned it to someone & never got it back, which is possible, but then Stacey said she thinks that must be what happened to her copy too. It seems however, that both of us losing the same book in the same way is unlikely which brings me to my final thought: The Government. I have a feeling there is some hush-hush post-9/11 FBI program centered around secreting away copies of his autobiography. It's the only thing that makes sense. Just like COINTELPRO & the MOVE house in Philly & Pine Ridge & Kent State & JFK & MLK & Malcolm X himself & Masons & The Knights Templar & Skull and Bones & the cover-up of Paul's death on the cover of Sgt Pepper's & The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. OK, maybe those last 2 are a bit far fetched, certainly less likely than an FBI program designed to protect the status quo from the ideas of people like Malcolm X. Plus, from now on, whenever I lose something, I can blame the man.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Dance Parties

Friday night Geo hosted Stacey's b-day party. Good times, good friends, good food, good booze, & odd music were all par for the course. It was supposed to be a sort of dance party, but no one really danced... which was OK because I would always prefer to sit around drinking & talking. The music, which was mainly dancable, but not so great, featured the occassional Prince tune & "Paid in Full" by Eric B & Rakim. I freakin' love that song. A big belated Visions of Ypsi "Happy B-day" goes out to Stacey.Saturday night, after watching the Arsenal v Man U game on Live Footy & then switching to the Fox Soccer Channel for the rest of the day, I met some friends from work at The Tap Room. We enjoyed a couple drinks (I ran into folks from the kickballers & learned we have a game this week... kinda weird after 4 weeks off). While at the bar, I also learned that there was a dance party taking place Saturday night too. I didn't feel comfortable going to a second dance party in as many days, but since the party was in Livonia & Nic whose idea it was to go, lives in Farmington, I decided to make the trek to Middlebelt & Schoolcraft so Emily (another work person) could go w/o driving drunk... I'm so fucking responsible. Well, we get out there & Nic can't find the party. We drove around the neighborhood for 45 minutes w/ no luck. I was heartbroken. Emily & I made the trek back Ypsi-way & decided since we already bought beer, we should watch a movie & drink it.I hadn't seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show in years, & since she'd never seen it, we decided on that. I forgot how much I love it. I'm now dying to see it in a theater again soon. Tim Curry in a teddy always makes me happy. Not to mention Richard O'Brien in anything. Not only did he write it & play Riff Raff, he was also in Flash Gordon! Last week, while channel surfing, I found another film featuring his under-appreciated talents, but as it turns out, Elvira's Haunted Hills kinda sucked... go figure. Casandra Peterson is no longer what she once was either. For those of you who are unaware of how this part of the post relates to dance parties, watch the clip!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Of the Halloween Season

I don't think I've ever had such a busy end of October before. Solstice had a party to go to a couple weeks ago, & since then it's been pretty much a non-stop Halloween extravaganza. Wendy & Pete's party last weekend was by far the pinnacle of the week... what w/ the band & the keg & the creation of yet another new drink: The Bad Lieutenant (Limoncello, black vodka, & cranberry Juice w/ ice & shake). It's called the Bad Lieutenant because one can drink a shit-load of them w/o realizing it & next thing you know, you're naked & fishing out in some dark ally. Not that any of us ended up that way, but it wasn't for lack of trying... it was for lack of vodka. I'm sure that if we'd had more booze on hand, we'd all have ended up that way. The band, whose name I've forgotten (if anyone remembers, feel free to leave it in the comments section because I'd like to find them on-line), was from Milwaukee. They happened upon the party almost by chance. Apparently, they were to play a gig in Toronto but couldn't get through customs so they called a friend in A2 to see if anything was going on. The friend recommended they play at this party, so they showed up & played for about an hour & a half. They have a cool alt-country sound & everyone felt they were like Uncle Tupelo. It turns out, however, that they'd never heard of Uncle Tupelo (or Sun Volt for that matter), but had sort of heard of Wilco. As we were sitting around the bon fire which happened to be in the middle of the grass between the barn & the house, we also learned they'd never heard of Taj Mahal. It seemed od that a band like that didn't know these other people, but I guess they're just young. I'm sure they'll find them on myspace & realize they need to listen to Taj Mahal & Uncle Tupelo a bit. They had heard of Droogle though. It's a cool database of drinks. You can also submit new one to be added to the database so I just went ahead & submit the Bad Lieutenant & the Mexican Slayride.This week we also had the kids' school parties & then of course Trick or Treating last night. It was the cheapest, easiest Halloween we've ever had. Solstice went into the basement & came up w/ some random witch stuff she'd had. All I had to do was buy her a hat & some new shoe (which she needed anyway). Aiden wanted to be Mario which meant a red sweatshirt & denim overalls. Easy! I got him some new shoes too plus a hat which I found at a Halloween store for a couple bucks. It had white polka dots on it, but an hour w/ a red Sharpie while watching Rockford the other night took care of that. They had a great time last night cruisin' around w/ all of their neighborhood friends after some pizza at Stacey's house.

Friday, October 26, 2007

EMU Huron Pride

In a misguided attempt to reach out to the Huron Restoration Committee, EMU formed the Huron Welcoming Committee this year. Rather than explaining yet again why the name was changed 16 years ago, this committee has completely overlooked any discussions about the racial issues involved and offered all alumni and alumnae discounted football tickets this fall if they show up wearing "EMU Huron" t-shirts. Here is the "full" story from the Exemplar. While this pisses me off, I supoose it could be argued that the Hurons (or Wyandotte, considdering that "Huron" comes from the French for "ruffian") will never be able to complain since they're all dead. But that is part of the problem: they aren't all dead. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but the use of Native American names for things like sports teams freezes our image of Native People in the past as if they were all "noble savages" & brave warriors, when in fact, they still exsist today as teachers, ministers, auto-workers, @ C.E.O.s. Here is a copy of the letter I sent to Ted Coutilish (; I suggest y'all write to him as well.

As a Lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature, it was brought to my attention this week that the University is offering a discount on football tickets to those wearing "EMU Huron" T-Shirts this fall. I understand the desire to reach out to alumni and alumnae who have connections with the University dating back at least 16 years. However, when we consider the struggle the University went through to change the name and the struggle other schools around the country are still going through, it would be wise to look into other ways to honor their legacy with EMU. The overt racism inherent in the Huron name should not be forgotten. As soon as we begin to overlook the damage that has been done in the past, we open the door to its recurrence in the future.

While working with representatives of the Huron Restoration Alumni Chapter, we should focus on this simple fact. By "honoring" the legacy of the "Huron" name, we are in turn honoring the legacy of what it implies: imperialism and stereotyping. Rather than offering discounted tickets, we could offer a discount on Eagle memorabilia for those who turn in their old, racially problematic T-Shirts. We need to work with the alumnae and alumni to educate people about this problem rather than simply looking at it as an issue of heritage and school pride. When we consider that Ypsilanti High School just dealt with this very same issue last year, ignoring it at EMU shows a lack of compassion and a simple ignorance to the racial issues both in our country as a whole and in this very community. I know that was never your idea, nor would I ever accuse you of any mean-spirited motives in this discount plan, but reaching out to the Huron Restoration Alumni Chapter and the fight against racism and prejudice on campus don't need to be mutually exclusive.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Shocker

I thought y'all might get a kick out of this. All praise due to King Features for this one... click to enlarge it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How Duct Taping Became a Ritual

When I joined my soccer team 5 years ago, I got a new pair of soccer shoes... you may refer to them as cleats, or as those on the Continent do: boots. Call them what you will, they're pretty worn out. So worn out, in fact, that after the rainy game last week, I wore a hole through the toe of my right one. The hole 1st became apparent at the kids' practice the other day. The problem is that while I've been planning on getting new ones for some time now, I thought I could do it over the winter, between seasons. Decent boots cost a pretty penny, & I hadn't really budgeted for them at the moment. That said, the kids' practice went well, & my daughter scored a goal & got 2 assists in her subsequent game. My son is a bit pissed about the situation now though, so hopefully he can get one this weekend in their final game.Although the practice went well, I was a bit worried about my game this evening so I did what every broke soccer player has done since WWII... grabbed some Duct Tape. My running wasn't affected by the hole (how could it be? I'm slow as fuck anyway), but my kicking abilities (which have always been above average) were definitely going to be affected. After taping the toe of the old cleats up, they not only survived the game, but I got my duck as it were. (For those of you who aren't addicted to European Soccer, "getting ones duck" is the term used when someone scores her or his 1st goal of the season). And a sweet, sweet goal it was! At the end of the 3rd quarter, I mentioned that the other team's defense seemed confused when our defenders made attacking runs through the mid-field. Appropriately enough, I ended up playing center-back for the last 10 minutes. The other team scored a goal due to our goalie's lack of experience (putting us behind 2-1), & after the subsequent kick-off, they then had a goal kick. Having touched the ball all of about 5 times so far throughout the game, & having nearly missed about 10 times last week, I decided this was the time I really needed to do something good. The goal kick came right up the center & I chested it down to Roger, 1 of our strikers. I then proceeded to continue my sweet, sweet run towards the goal as Roger played it back to me. After a couple touches, I shot, but the goalie made the initial save. I stuck w/ it, however, & got around him w/ the rebound before slotting it into the net w/ an easy touch. Best of all, my kids were there to witness it. Of course, they weren't paying attention & missed it, but at least they were there. At this point, you may be wondering how this leads to the ritualization of Duct Taping. Of course, baseball players are known for their rituals, & sports fans do all sorts of fucked up shit in attempts to relive some fluke from weeks or even years before. Well, you can bet your bottom dollar that from now on, I'll never take to the field w/o a little Duct Tape on my boots.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Has it really been a week?

I just realized how long it's been since the last time I wrote something on here. I guess I've just been in a fog since the brilliance of the Dylan/Costello concert... I don't know. I do know, however, that very little has happened in my life since the last post, but I wont let that stop me from writing something. While nothing has happened lately, I have seen more than my fair share of Rockford Files episodes lately... DVR is a beautiful thing. I watched 4 episodes a few nights ago & loved every minute of them. I think my love of that show goes back to my youth when I would watch it in syndication w/ my dad on Saturday afternoons. It might be more closely connected to my youthful love of Support Your Local Sheriff though. If you haven't seen that movie, you definitely should. I got a copy a couple years ago, if anyone wants to come on by for a movie night. (Jean or Elizabeth... I'm expecting many quotes from the film in the comments section!) Speaking of movies, I watched one recently w/ Shannon called Perfume. It doesn't feature the genius of James Garner though. After the rather drawn-out voice-over narration in the 1st 20 minutes, it was pretty cool. It's about a guy in Paris in the 18th Century who has an amazing sense of smell & wants to capture the essense of woman in a perfume... in order to do this, he goes on a killing spree, becoming a serial killer and offing about 15 beautiful young women.

In other news, I took the kids over to Kate & Don's for dinner a couple weeks ago w/ Stacey & her kids. We hadn't hung out in ages. (You all may remember, Kate is the one who gave me the mohawk last summer.) Of course, before the end of the night, red wine was spilled on the old Zidane shirt, but w/ quick thinking & a ton of Stain Stick, it survived just fine. What didn't survive, however, was Kate's little secret: she'd never heard of Tub Girl before. Well, Kate, this is for you. Be sure to save it to your hard drive for future reference!

The other thing I need to mention is that my daughter has started posting on her blog again... just a little plug for her site. It's cute, but the info she posted today is a bit out-dated.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dylan, Costello, and a few Mexican Slayrides

I'd been excited about the Bob Dyaln/Elvis Costello show at the EMU Convocation Center since I read about it last summer. The fact that they were coming to Ypsi was just so cool. Of course, half of my studens had never heard of either one of them, but that never stopped EMU from booking quality acts in the past. Over the years, I've seen Bela Fleck, P-Funk & Arlo Guthrie on campus, but Dylan is in a league of his own. Georgina met me at my house & w/ a bottle of Auchentoshan in my pocket, we biked to Jim & Rachel's where we had a few drinks before walking down the bike path to the show. As we got to the pparking lot, Annette supposedly saw a naked guy running around, but that couldn't be verified. As we entered the, Elvis Costllo was playing "The Angels Want to Wear my Red Shoes." He ethen went into "Veronica" which was fun & had everyone singing along. From there, he weent into a couple songs I didn't know and then a really cool version of "From Sulfur to Sugar Cane" into which he slipped a funny little line about Ypsi: "Here in Ypsilanti / Wear the women don't wear panties." He then played a newer song about the War in Iraq. It was really cool and definitely unafraid to tell the truth about the Bush Administration before segueing into a nice version Van Morrison tune. He then ended his set w/ "Radio Sweetheart" > "What's so Funny (About Peace, Love & Understanding)?" As he left the stage, the crowd was shouting for "Alison," "Radio, Radio' & "Watchin' the Detectives," but an encore was not to be as Dylan & the Cowboy Band were ready to hit the stage after a very short break. I really enjoyed Elvis Costello. He played a solo set w/ just an acoustic guitar, but he sound was full and complex. Many people (including many w/ whom I went to the show) were really there for him, but for me the main event was always going to be Dylan.

My first Dylan show was 11 years ago, the spring after Jerry Garcia died & Dylan played 2 Dead songs ("Friend of the Devil" & "Alabama Getaway"). My 2nd Dylan show, Valentine's Day in 1998 in Toledo saw him cover "Cocaine Blues." In July of 1999, I saw him cover "The Roving Gambler," "That'll Be the Day," & (w/ Paul Simon) "The Sound of Silence." Last night, however, he stuck to his more recent system of playing only originals like @ the shows I saw in 2000 & 2003. For complete set lists of those shows, follow these links:

16 May, 1996 (Pine Knob)
15 February, 1998 (Univ. of Toledo)
7 July, 1999 (Pine Knob)
16 July, 2000 (Pine Knob)
6 August, 2003 (Columbus, OH)

Last night, Bob opened w/ a pretty rocking version of "Rainy Day Women" which was funny because I'd just been joking about that song earlier in the day w/ the ex-wife. I'd never seen him open w/ it before, but it seemed like a good choice as it got people into the set right away... "Everybody must get stoned!!!"

Next up was "Don't Think Twice" for which the cowboy band switched to acoustic stuff & for which Rachel was happy about & about which you may remember my sweet cover version of that song w/ Brendan at 10K Lakes in MN a couple summer ago. It's always a fun song & people seemed to be digging it... "There ain't no use in turning on your light, babe, / The light I never knowed"

From there he went into "Watching the River Flow," a song I've never been able to remember. Every time I've seen him do it, it's been the end before I could figure out what it was. It was cool though as Tony Garnier switched back to the electric bass for a couple songs... "If I had wings and I could fly, / I know where I would go. / But right now I'll just sit here so contentedly / And watch the river flow."

He then played "Love Sick," a slow weird tune from his 1997 Grammy winning album Time Out of Mind. My copy has a nasty scratch & hasn't worked for a while, but after last night, I realized that I'm going to have to get another copy of it. It's a fantastic tune from a fantastic CD... "I'm sick of love / I wish I'd never met you!"

A couple of the new songs were next, "The Levee's Gonna Break" & "When the Deal Goes Down." At this point, people seemed to be getting restless as we had 3 in a row that few people knew. I was lovin' it though, as they're both great songs. Jim seemed to be digging the new stuff too, w/ such cool lyrics, how could he not? Dylan is a bad mother fucker... "We all wear the same thorny crown."

I was lovin' that he hen played "Stuck inside of Mobile," but I have a hard time w/ that song since I always think of Bob Weir's version. It's cool though, even if it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

"Well, Shakespeare, he's in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells,
Speaking to some French girl,
Who says she knows me well.
And I would send a message
To find out if she's talked,
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again."

From 60's LSD weirdness to a commentary on the current economic issues, he played "Workingman's Blues #2." I don't know if I can plug & push this new album any more than I already have, but it's just so damn good. "The buying power of the proletariat's gone down" Who but Dylan can get away w/ lyrics like that? Just soooo cool.

"Honest With Me" from his last album was up next. It took me a while to recognize it, but it too was well played. I don't have much to say about this song, but I was thinking the set would be over soon... wrong... 5 more songs before he left the stage.

"Spirit On The Water," a slow jazzy crooner tune from the new album was played nicely, but again, he seemed to be losing people since no one knew most of the setlist. I think this again shows his bad-assness. He plays to 5,000 people while knowing all along that only about 25 of us knew the songs 7 the other 4,975 just want to hear "Blowin' In the Wind" which, of course, he didn't play. He didn't play "Tangled Up in Blue" either. "Oh, you would like to hear 'Like a Rolling Stone?' Well, fuck off! You'll get the new stuff & like it!" Oh, & Tony was on he stand-up bass again.

OK, he did play a song from the same album as "Like a Rolling Stone," "Highway 61." It's not quite as good, but it always rocks. I was really hoping to hear it, & it made me happy, happy, happy.

Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God says, "Out on Highway 61."

Then another new one, "Nettie Moore." "Gonna leave a greasy trail"... one of the strangest lyrics he's ever written. Of course, I love it none-the less.

"Summer Days" from the previous album, Love and Theft, was next. Of his 3 newer albums, people seem to jock that one the most, but it's definitely not my favorite. it's still cool though, & I was happy to hear another song from it. And Tony was back on stand up bass!

He closed the set w/ "Masters Of War." This is the song that got him banned from Ed Sullivan, so it's got that going for it. Whenever I hear it, I like to think it's in honor of Dick Cheney.

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

I've never noticed this before, but before the encore, people were holding up their phones rather than holding up lighters. I suppose it's because fewer people smoke, but there were a few people there w/ pot as the Convocation Center had that nice hippie smell all night long. As upstanding members of our community, we, of course, did none of that though. Anyway, the phones yielded a nice post-modern blue glow to the atmosphere of the crowd before he came back to the stage to play "Thunder On The Mountain." It's yet another good song from the new album. "Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches / I'll recruit my army from the orphanages." What an awesome rhyme.

After introducing the Cowboy Band, he closed the night w/ "All Along The Watchtower." I remember an interview from 10 or so years ago where he claimed that even though he wrote it, he always feels he's paying tribute to Hendrix when he plays it. Last night's version didn't have a lot in common w/ Jimi Hendrix though (for my money, the Grateful Dead versions are a lot better than Hendrix's anyway), but it was really cool. He stood at his keyboard w/ his hilarious wide-brim white hat & rarely made contact w/ the audience. They just rocked for a couple hours. I can't wait for him to come around again.

Afterwards, a bunch of us went back to my place & had a few drinks, but the Slayrides may have been a bit too much as we were also doing tequila shots. It was the first time I've ever had that much tequila but not gotten naked, so all in all, I'll take it as an accomplishment. Getting up this morning to coach the kids soccer game was pretty rough though. I felt like Walter Matthau in The Bad News Bears. Hung over & hanging out w/ kids. Maybe I'm an ass, but at least I made it to the game & they won 5-3. And that's the important part of youth sports... winning and making the other team cry.