Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Karaoke Saturday Night

We put our $30 karaoke machine to the test Saturday, and surprisingly it is not fried. It withstood seven hours of punishment, not to mention all the smoke that was pumping out of my smoke machine (yes, I own a smoke machine).

I love crappy 80s songs---especially when sung by amateurs.

This thug showed up and ate all the pizza.

My lovely wife, singing D.I.V.O.R.C.E. by Dolly Parton.

Things falling apart.

Friday, April 28, 2006

For some reason, the Washington Post's Express wrote about my drinking blog.

Last November, Derek ("Isaac Washington") and I started a blog about one of our mutual hobbies: drinking. And for some reason, the Washington Post "Express" (you know that thing they hand you as you're about to get on the Metro escalator?) wrote a post about our affliction. Hey, thanks guys. Much appreciated.

Is this what they call "enabling"? You be the judge. Here's the article.

In other TSAPS news, Spin Sheet magazine is going to use one of my photographs from last year's Ocean City shark tournament to promote this year's tournament.

More later ...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Most Self-Segregated Park in America

I've been using Walter Pierce Park for about six years. If it weren't so close, I'd want to move, but through my daily use I'm continually struck by how self-segregated it is.

Pierce Park is north of d-bag central (18th St & Columbia Rd, NW), south of your National Zoo, and right behind my apartment:

From Google Maps, I provide you with Walter Pierce Park. Below are my descriptions of the map codes.

Urination: This is the alley that backs up to my bedroom window. When drunken D-bags from the bars on 18th & Columbia walk back to the Metro to retire to their suburban homes, they stop here to urinate at 3 AM. Usually groups of cackling hoochies with their blue-collared-shirt-and-khakis boyfriends.

Homeless 1: A few homeless guys hang out here simply because no one else uses this spot.

Dog Park: Full of dog-owning yuppies like me. Conversations usually include subjects from real estate to picking up shit to how annoying the fucking NoVA kick-ballers are.

Soccer Field: Latino men are the only ones who use this part of the park. Serious soccer games go down here, often starting at odd times like 8 AM on a Tuesday (!).

Kickball: About 4 years ago the kickball trend started sweeping the DC area, until at this point, there are swarms of them, all wearing matching t-shirts. They play on weekday nights, and take over this section of the park. And strangely, even though they all live in NoVA, they act like they own the place---sometimes glaring at me and my dogs as we pass. But it appears to me like a way for them to meet other singles, so I can't be too critical.

Cornfields & Deer: There used to be a few latino dudes wearing cowboy hats who tended corn fields back here (no joke) until the city ripped them all out. Now it's just a trash-strewn dirt slope. I've seen deer here on two occasions.

Gardens: People rent 8-foot by 8-foot plots to grown tomatoes here. Mainly used by ex-yuppies, ie, no longer young, but still urban and professional. They're the type that always start conversations with, "Well, when Marion Barry was mayor ..."

B-ball: Mostly African Americans playing basketball. I have seen a few white guys here, but they never make baskets.

Homeless 2: Again, no one goes here, so there's usually homeless encampments strewn about here. Just look for the smelly wool blankets and McDonald's trash.

Kid Park: If you are childless---and especially if you own a dog---DO NOT enter this gated kid park. DO NOT. Pierce Park has very strict rules that cannot be violated. Just trust me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Fastest Monohull Sailing Yachts on Earth

I took a trip to Baltimore today to get some photos of the yachts racing in the Volvo Ocean Race. As I've said before, this race has been an obsession with me. I've never been this interested in a sporting event in my life. The top speed for these yachts is about 41 knots (46 MPH), and they're sailing around the world.


In the cockpit of Brasil 1.

This is ABN AMRO ONE, currently in the lead. I couldn't tell what kind of work they were doing to her, but she was mastless. All yachts are 70 feet long.

Brasil 1's stern.

These guys are actually crew members of ABN AMRO 2 and are cranking a guy up the mast.

And there he is at the top. He's putting on the weather vane.

My friend, Frank, joined me---fresh out of a business meeting in Baltimore. He's standing next to the yacht, Movistar

Jesus, how many winches are on this thing??

Monday, April 24, 2006

I have exactly one (1) friend who's a genuine bad-ass.

On Friday night, my friend Tom was walking home alone from the restaurant where he works. It was around 4 AM.

While walking down an empty street, a homeless-looking guy confronted him with a rusty knife. The guy pointed the knife at Tom and demanded his money.

Tom reached into his pocket and pulled out a wine opener that he'd been using at the bar that night.

Tom unfolds the wine opener under the street lamp and says to the guy, "Yea? I've gotta knife, too, mother fucker. You wanna cut each other up over the three dollars I've got in my pocket?"

The guy with the knife turned and ran away.

So Tom scared off a mugger by wielding a god damn corkscrew. No joke. This further proves that me and the rest of my friends are genuine milk-fed pussies. Here's to you, Tom. You've got balls of steel ... but the mind of a lunatic.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Looks like I'll be playing drums ...

The band is moving right along. We've rented a practice space complete with amps, guitars and a drum set. But by default, my fellow band members have eased me onto an instrument that I have little to no experience playing: drums.

The reason I've been nominated to do this? Because it evens the playing field. You see, I have no false modesty; I'm a better guitar player than my other two members. So I get bored, and tend to "noodle" while everyone else is learning to play the songs. So now that I play an instrument I can barely play, we're gonna sound awesome. And by "awesome", I mean I DARE you to come see us play on a Tuesday night at Velvet Lounge.

Another reason why I think my fellow band members have decided that I must play drums is because it's hard for a drummer to sing. My bandmate has clearly told me that my voice sounds "gay", and I'm not arguing with him.

Anyway, we're getting closer and closer to the Hall of Douchebags, but at least we're having fun.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Let's Sexy English!"

At this point, everyone and their mother has probably seen this, but it's too funny not to re-post a trillion times. Originally found on Boing Boing. It's a Japanese instructional video that teaches English phrases for picking up gaijin hotties.

My favorite line: "You are good at blowing job, aren't you?"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Secondhand Teeth

Below is the abridged story that my dad wrote about the first and only time my grandfather ("Daddy") went to the dentist. My father grew up in northeast Texas, outside of Paris, which was made famous in the 80's by a Wim Wenders movie.

By the early ‘50s, Daddy’s teeth had rotted down to nubs. Nowadays, going to a dentist would be akin to going to a shoe store. But not in our household.

Once, Daddy chopped a 3” gash in the side of his head with an accidental blow from an ax while trying to catch a rabbit that had escaped into a hollow tree. That gash wasn’t serious enough to warrant medical attention, but when he could no longer eat corn-on-the-cob and fried rabbit, then matters were getting pretty serious. However, getting medical attention was no simple chore for us. We didn’t have an automobile, and all the medical professionals were in neighboring towns about 20 miles away.

So Daddy rode the bus to Clarksville and walked to the dentist’s office. He asked to have his teeth extracted and replaced with a set of false teeth without benefit of having made an appointment. This was the only time in his life that he'd visited a dentist.

The doctor presented a collection of false teeth. The fitting process took about thirty minutes, and finally they were satisfied with a set. Daddy was told that they would cost more than $100, plus the dental work. Now mind you, Daddy might have paid $200 for a good coon hound without even the blink of an eye, but $100 for a set of false teeth? No way. He asked the doctor for some cheaper sets, but he informed him that less expensive sets weren’t good quality.

"Let’s try some out anyway", was the reply, "I can’t afford the expensive sets."

After another lengthy round of teeth fitting, they were satisfied that a set of false teeth had been identified, and Daddy asked the doctor how much they cost? "$10." "How in God’s name could these false teeth be so much cheaper than all those others?", he asked.

"Because they’re second-hand teeth", came the reply.

We heard this story so often over the years without ever the slightest change in the way it was presented that Mama and I concluded that it had to be true. Nonetheless, in spite of satisfaction noted at the time of purchase, Daddy complained about how his false teeth fit and looked for the next 30 years, but he never went back to get replacements.

- Douglas "Bruner"

Honestly, I like DC tourists.

It's such a cliché to hate tourists. Can't you pick something better to hate? How about lawyers? I mean, they are the offspring of anal sex, after all, and sodomy is the devil's business.

I work downtown, near the Spy Museum and all the other tourist attractions, and constantly have to stumble around high-socked, mid-western families seeing their nation's capital. But seeing them makes me happy. It puts a little skip in my step. They came here to see MY city, and that's flattering.

They make me want to be naive and plump. The world would be a lot simpler that way.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I am here. So deal with it.


Opinions based on experience are worth their salt. Having worked with immigrants and non-immigrant visa issues since 1999, I was enlightened by a recent article. The link is below, but first, some disclaimers.

The USA is a nation of immigrants. I'm proud of that. Despite the amount of paperwork needed to come to the US on an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, the USA's policy reflects its roots. It does. We have 13 different types of exchange visitor visas (!), multiple temporary work visas (seasonal labor, high skilled, journalists, etc) and a quota system to allow equal opportunity for people to immigrate to the US based on your country's population (ie, one country should not get a larger percentage of numbers than another). As it stands, the system is MUCH more liberal than other countries. Trust me. Try getting a simple tourist visa to Russia, for example (I have - I'll never forget being deported from friggin' Belarus), or participating in protests while in tourist status in Mexico.

But since the US immigration policy did not suit the desires of 11 million foreign nationals, they forcefully made themselves into a political giant until they get their way.

Here are some gems from the article that struck me as no brainers:
"Unlike political protesters of the past, the illegal-alien marchers invoked no legal basis for their claims. Their argument boils down to: 'We are here, therefore we have a right to the immigration status we desire.'"

"In one stroke, the border-breaking lobby has nullified the entire edifice of American immigration law and with it, sovereignty itself. None of the distinctions in that law matter, the advocates say. The conditions for legal entry? Null and void. The democratically chosen priorities for who may enter the country and who not? Give me a break! In other words, the United States has no right to decide who may come across its borders and what legal status an alien may obtain upon arrival. Those decisions remain solely the prerogative of the alien himself. The border no longer exists."

"The claim for same-sex marriage, opposed by many of the same conservatives who so genially support the illegal-alien movement, rests on far stronger Constitutional grounds than the "I am here" claim for legal immigration status. And we will have no basis for opposing the demands for legalization by every future border trespasser, who, along with today's illegal aliens, can simply state: 'I am here.'"
The foundation of international immigration and national sovereignty is that all nations should have the right to decide their own immigration policy. No duh. Read that again: The foundation of international immigration and national sovereignty is that all nations should have the right to decide their own immigration policy. To believe otherwise, you'd HAVE to convince yourself that up is down, backwards is forwards, and purple is green.

Does this mean I'm not a leftist anymore? I hope not.

(The above-quoted article) - Honestly, I'd never read an article in this magazine before.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pictures from Yesterday's Sail!

We took advantage of the amazing weather yesterday and headed out aboard my little sailing sloop.

I bet you didn't even know DC had its own flag.

View from the tiller.

Sky, dog, water, feet.

I wish I had this view for every lunch.

My friend Yolanda came along on the trip. She made sure her bikini matched the boat.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Because of me, NPR's All Things Considered is running a story on Diet Coke/Mentos explosions.

A few days ago there was a post on Boing Boing about adding Mentos to Diet Coke, which results in a 6 foot high (or more) Diet Coke geyser that's pretty spectacular.

So last night I tried it on my sidewalk, and it really works. You add Mentos to the Coke, and it explodes high into the air. My friend who works at NPR was there watching me.

Today at NPR, he mentions it to some co-workers, one of whom is a producer for All Things Considered. The producer was so interested that they're going to have a piece on Diet Coke/Mentos explosions tonight! Apparently, they're even going out into the street to video it.

6:30 PM UPDATE: The story is on the NPR blog!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pop Music Is a Sedentary Animal

Is there nothing more for popular music to do? Have we exhausted everything? The conclusive unanimous answer is depressing: pop music is like a water buffalo caught in a trap, locked in an enigma, wrapped in a shroud. It cannot innovate. It's as static as television.

Let me lay out some formulas in case you need to explain this sad fact to a friend.

Most guitars have 6 strings. When I first learned to play guitar in 1988, I was struck by how easy it was. That's a secret all guitar players have. Jimi Hendrix? Ingve Malmstein? Robert Johnson? They got lucky. Take it from a guy (me) who's played guitar for over 17 years: it's a cinch. Very little talent is needed. So if it involves guitar, it's not gonna change for 150 more years. Believe.

There's no talent to being a DJ. I defer to Vice here. They had an article a while back that was genius. A key quote: "A 70-year-old blind Ethiopian leper with 10 broken fingers can 'spin' just as well as any B-list celebrity at any instore party for some gay snowboarding jeans company. I promise." So take that blind Ethiopian guy, put someone behind a mic who has half a sense of rhythm, and you've got rap music. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but it won't change much. Ever. (This sweeping claim applies to all electronic music, too).

Indie rock is made by skinny white boys who were picked on in high school. Holy lord, how many variations of indie rock can one withstand? Here's the deal: if you were a skinny boy in high school and college, and you still haven't gained weight, you're probably feeling pretty unmanly. You've got more emotions running through your veins than teenaged girls. So what do you do? Play guitar. Sing. Start a band. Play live. There you have it. Stasis forever ...

Uber-pop schlock. Madonna on down to Kelly Clarkson. That shit will be playing after the apocalypse. Changeless.

The Society of the Spectacle. Nothing is "edgy" for more than half a year. Don't believe me? Read Guy Debord. It's true. "In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation." - G. Debord, 1968

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A left-winger like me is supposed to close his eyes when he sees this ...

True story:

On Sunday I went to the Columbia Road Safeway to get some steak and beer. I get into the 15 Items or Fewer checkout line, and there's one girl ahead of me with 2 items, and ahead of her are two latino---I mean, "latina"---teenaged women (one visably pregnant) pushing a FULL grocery cart of items. There must have been 50 things in that cart.

Whatever. All I have is time. It's Sunday. Who cares.

But as I look into their grocery cart, it's full of baby supplies---diapers, baby food, baby formula, you name it.

So they start talking to the cashier, and are having trouble because they speak virtually no English. And they're paying for all their food with about 10 different food stamp checks. No joke.

So because of the amount of shit they're buying with multiple checks, the line---I'm not kidding here---ends up going all the way back to the fruits and vegetables section (and each person waiting has just two or three items in hand). There must have been 25 people waiting by the time I'd paid and left.

My god. And I went to the rally on the mall yesterday ...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hugo Chavez to Bush: "You are a donkey, Mr. Danger."

Here's (WMV) the most undiplomatic speech any head of state has made in recent history. I feel like I just watched an angry little boy in the playground. But doesn't that phrase sound a bit too much like, "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch."?

I'm no fan of Bush, but Mr. Chavez, if you're reading this, please click here (Not Worksafe).

Friday, April 07, 2006

Being Run Aground Looks So Cool

When large ships run aground, they run aground for life. Their shear mass is too much to tow off the ocean floor. The place where hull hits sand becomes a permanent graveyard.

I'm fascinated with the eerie mystery of dead ships, so I've taken my favorite photos of run-aground ships from and posted a link to each photographer's flickr page.









Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pictures from San Francisco!


I strolled into a book store in Berkeley. Little did I know they were supporters of that great governmental system known as totalitarianism.

This woman was a performer at the party where my brother was DJing.

Mind you, these people are in their 30s and 40s. But not the type that exist in Washington, DC.

My brother. (The one on the left, for god sakes.)

You've never seen me as happy as when I have a new guitar.

This is a doctor's certificate authorizing my brother's friend to get legal marijuana for having back pain. Click, then read the circled red part.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Shit god damn, I just bought a Dobro.

Have you ever been around a boy who's just bought a new guitar? If you haven't, I feel sorry for you.

After an awkward business meeting, I wandered over to the Mission District here in San Fran. As soon as I entered the pawn shop, my eyes landed on it---a beautiful, dark-stained wooden Dobro. I didn't even notice the city's poor lined up to pawn off their meager possessions, the shotgun hanging over the back office door, or the various and sundry chainsaws and cheap jewelry scattered about. I just saw IT, and only it.

I played it hard for an hour before I plunked down the $250 of hard-earned cash. Now I'm in rare form. I haven't been in this good a mood in a while, and it's all because of an impulse buy.

The Dobro guitar was designed with a metal resonator so it would be loud enough to compete with the noise produced by drums. (Mind you, this was before the electric guitar.) And it's loud as fuck! My brother set up his drums and we played together. The guitar totally held its own, giving the percussion a run for its money.

I often feel sorry for people who don't play a musical instrument. What do they do after reading or masturbating get old? For me, I'll be playing my Dobro.

This is my brother's current girlfriend.

No joke. This is Kalla (pronounced "Kayla"), the one I was talking about in my last post. He met her at the Burning Man Festival.

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