Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who Used To Own It?
I have not devised a system for scoring because I view Who Used To Own It? not so much as a competitive game but as an edifying diversion. The game is very simple: one hundred years hence, very nearly the whole of Africa was claimed by the European powers. The quizmaster poses the name of a contemporary African nation-state and the contestant names the colonial suzerain. An example:

Query: South Africa

Answer: Great Britain

And as always here at The Secret Base, we rely on the honor system; this is a test of your knowledge and well-roundedness, not your acumen in utilizing internet search engines. Ready?

1) Algeria

2) Libya

3) Egypt

4) Kenya

5) The Sudan

6) D.R. Congo (formerly Zaire)

7) Guinea

8) Equatorial Guinea

9) Guinea-Bissau

10) Cameroon

11) Mozambique

12) Zambia

Good luck!

Project OSPREY
Louisville 90-85 Notre Dame - My thought was to make the night a double-header, and I wish I had seen more of this game, but 'twas not to be. I missed the early going during the nightly broadcast of Jeopardy!, after which I listened while washing the dishes, but with a firm intention of watching the Michigan State-Wisconsin game at nine o'clock, I decided instead to forgo the Big East showdown and see what was doing on ye olde internet. I saw only scattered moments of the contest, but I find myself pleased any time Notre Dame loses. Woot!

Wisconsin 57-42 Michigan State - I was feeling a tad continental this evening; so, as I engaged in an otherwise all-American evening of watching two solidly Midwestern clubs meet in basketball with my kitty perched on my lap, I sipped my Dutch beer (Heineken) and nibbled my Swiss dark chocolate (Toblerone). Dutch booze, Swiss food, and as a monoglot I speak only English; raise a glass for the Germanic-speaking peoples. Prost!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Dubliners, "Seven Drunken Nights" via iTunes (The Guy)

Commentary: Nominate a song and you too can achieve the same degree of parenthetical fame as The Guy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I had a damn good day, over which the dark bastard held no dominion, and I'm in the mood for the blues. To wit:

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
John Lee Hooker, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" from The Definitive Collection (T.L.A.M.)

Tomorrow, I'll introduce you to the soon-to-sweep-the-nation quiz sensation I devised this evening, Who Used To Own It?

The Stars My Destination
Ladies and gentlemen, your loyal celestial pioneers, the men and women of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, present (some study models of) the lunar vehicles of the 21st Century: Moonlink. Ours is a Golden Age.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This is the most interesting article I have encountered via the B.B.C. in quite some time: Reformationlink.

Project OSPREY
Indiana 72-69 Ohio State - The hated THE Ohio State University Buckeyes are now a perfect 0-4 in games I have watched on television. How do you like them apples, you scarlet and gray-clad buffoons? No wins for you!

Go Blue!

Also, tonight's was a radically different Indiana squad than I saw a week ago against Purdue. The Boilermakers would have beaten this evening's Hoosiers by twenty points or more. And I guess that's why they play the games. Any given team on any given night and all that jolly rubbish.

Vanderbilt 72-69 Tennessee - I saw the first half in chunks that curiously corresponded to the commercial breaks in Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Odd, that. You did America's favorite robber baron, Cornelius "The Commodore" Vanderbilt, proud tonight, Vandy, and I salute you. And I am back to rooting against everyone and everything associated with the horrific University of Tennessee; all is right with the world.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
King Monkey, "Kissin' the Bottle" from Pounded: The Official Comic Book Soundtrack (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: We find ourselves in the home stretch, treasured readers, as my supply of alcohol-themed songs rapidly approaches exhaustion. Nominations to prolong the drunken mania would be most sincerely appreciated. Cheers!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Vote For Kodos
No third party in the history of the Republic has accomplished any goal other than undermining the democratic process and providing for governance by a minority party. The Republican and Democratic Parties are both deeply flawed, but the broad-based appeal of each has allowed for a remarkable stability in the American body politic. Introduce more parties into the mix and we risk descending int the chaos of Italy or Israel, where the "governing" party holds not even a quarter of the seats in the Knesset. Thus, I feel secure in the following declaration: Ralph Nader is an enemy of American democracy. Naderlink.

That said, my political id is already relishing the votes he'll take away from (probably) Senator Obama. Be they few or great in number, every little bit will help.

Also, how can anyone vote for a man whose last name is a homophone of nadir?

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "Drinkin'" (live) from Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Albums, Disc 1: More Shtick Than You Can Shake a Stick At (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. LXVI - Albert Grey (1851-1917), 4th Earl Grey, among many other honors and distinctions the benefactor and originator of the Grey Cup, though not the Earl Grey after whom the tea is named.

Project TROIKA
In Steeze's own words, "It might have taken a little while to get used to having a partner, but I think we are a good team and each contribute in our own ways." I could not agree more forcefully. I have become an enthusiastic advocate of collaboration. (Artistic collaboration, not Vichy France.)

The Victors
Under the banner of College Hockey at the Joe, the valiant Wolverines overthrew the dastardly Spartans at the august Joe Louis Arena in sacred Detroit, Michigan last evening by the sore of 5-2! Huzzah and hooray! My mom, pop, and I saw an after dinner screening of Vantage Point (waste neither your time nor your money, it's rubbish); so, I tuned in to the game midway through the third period, by which point the fearless boys in maize and blue were already ahead of the villains in green and white four goals to two. Still, 'twas a blissful ten minutes of hockey, especially the way the side of good and righteousness was able to control the puck in the waning moments even as the fiends from East Lansing were in desperate need of a goal. And in such situations an empty-netter, as the valiant Wolverines scored, is the icing (no pun intended) on the cake. The C.C.H.A. is ours! On to the tournaments!

Go Blue!

And as a segue into Project OSPREY, though I was not able to view the Michigan-Illinois basketball game (curse the Big Ten Network!), the score tells the tale: Michigan 49-43 Illinois. The game must have been atrociously ugly, but when such a win raises your team's record to 9-18, any win you can walk away with is a good one, and most gratefully appreciated. I believe in John Beilein's methods and strategy, and you should, too. There is yet a long, hard slog ahead, but we are on the road back to respectability. Now if someone will bring me the head of Chris Webber so that I might use his skull as a chalice, I'll be pleased as punch.

Four Big Ten wins in the last five games! Go Blue!

Project OSPREY: Big Time, Baby!
Wisconsin 58-53 Ohio State - The hated Buckeyes have lost all three games of the season that I have watched on television. Pardon me for a second while I commit their remaining schedule to memory. That said, this would have been an opportune game for a meteor to fall from the heavens and immolate the arena and all within. Cursed, unreliable meteors.

Notre Dame 94-87 Syracuse - I tuned to watch Wisconsin-Ohio State, but found instead the waning minutes of Big East action. Another stage on which a meteor could have shone brightly, dagnabbit.

Saturday, 23 February
Tennessee 66-62 Memphis - I watched the big showdown between No. 1 Memphis and No. 2 Tennessee after the end of Michigan's victory over Michigan State at the Joe (see above), and struck by an odd sensation: I found myself rooting for *gasp* Tennessee. The Memphis coach has been on P.T.I. earlier in the week and I'd found him to be really obnoxious, not least because of his defense of his team's piss-poor free throw percentage. Had Memphis made a few more of their free throws (for the night they shot below 50%), they might very well have prevailed and kept alive the hope of a perfect regular season. Still, I don't feel at all good about this, curse that Bruce Pearl for his infectious enthusiasm!

Thursday, 21 February
Minnesota 69-60 Michigan - Brick, brick, brick, brick, brick. We shot very, very, very poorly and were lucky to lose by only nine. Rats!

Tuesday, 19 February
Indiana 77-68 Purdue - As a remarked to my father two days later, Purdue and Michigan must have gone to the same shooting clinic over the preceding weekend, because neither team could buy a basket for love or money. And curse the Big Ten for this being the only regular season meeting for these two heated rivals. I think we'd all like to find out if the Hoosiers have the same swagger inside Mackey Arena.

Sunday, 17 February
Michigan 80-70 Ohio State - Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Sweet victory! New Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez addressed the crowd at halftime and up in the rafters the visiting Ohio State broke out into a chant that was head down in the floor as "Asshole! Asshole!" Hated Buckeyes who claim to have been among that throng claim that they were actually chanting not "Asshole!" but "Tressel! Tressel!" I find it almost poetic that even when uttered by his most ardent supporters the demon Tressel's name sounds just like "asshole."

Wednesday, 13 February
Duke 77-65 Maryland - Both Maryland and Duke play fundamentally solid basketball and this game was a genuine joy to watch. I am glad the Blue Devil's prevailed, but 'twas unfortunate it had to come at Maryland's expense. Such is the magnificent tragedy of sport, for every winner there must be a loser.

Tuesday, 12 February
Purdue 60-54 Michigan State - Ah, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving collections of rogues. Tom Izzo is the perect basketball coach, with the notable exception that he has pledged his considerable talents to the Michigan Agricultural College, as vile a congregation of mouthbreathers and bottomfeeders as you'll ever see. Of course, for all that the dastardly Spartans can play, and I was mightily impressed with the ill-starred Boilermakers' triumph.

Vanderbilt 93-52 Kentucky - I watched most of the first half of this game and was absolutely shocked when I read the final score the following day. How in blazes did Kentucky manage to accumulate fifty-two points? The team I saw in the first half could not have bested an intramural team composed of me and four clones, two of whom would have their dominant right arms tied behind their respective backs.

Monday, 11 February
Georgetown 55-53 Villanova - I hate the way Georgetown plays ball. Great defense is one thing, but out on the court the thuggish Hoyas act like they're the Philadelphia Flyers' old "Legion of Doom." Basketball is supposed to be a contact sport, not a combat sport.

Sunday, 10 February
Indiana 59-53 Ohio State - Fielding Yost's ghost, I love watching T.O.S.U. lose!

Arizona State 59-54 Arizona - The only item at issue here is which team was more desirous of the loss. In the opening minutes, Arizona State did everything in their power to claim the defeat, but as the game wore on Arizona proved that they simply wanted it more. They seized fast to the loss and would not be shaken loose for all the world. Did someone spread the rumor that the winning team would be sent to the glue factory or something?

Saturday, 9 February
Notre Dame 86-83 Marquette - I hate to admit it, but the vile Fighting Irish do seem to know their business, those kids are solid in every phrase of the game. Blast! Also, please tell me Marquette was wearing specialty uniforms for charity, because those clown suits cannot be the shorts and shirts in which they purport to represent their school. Eek!

Louisville 59-51 Georgetown - Have I mentioned that I hate watching Georgetown? I'm no fan of Rick Pitino, but was glad of this game's result. I only caught the back half of Louisville-Georgetown due to the Michigan-Miami hockey game (see below).

The Victors Addendum
Saturday, 16 February
Michigan 4-2 Lake Superior State - Schweet.

Saturday, 9 February
Michigan 5-5 Miami - So, let me understand this. When a Miami player whacks the puck up into the protective netting above and behind Michigan's goal, that puck is still in play, but when a Michigan player whacks the puck into the netting above and behind the Miami goal, that puck is ruled out of play, resulting in a face-off. One can almost admire Shegos's dedication to corruption; when that sack of crap takes a bribe, by Jove, the briber gets his money's worth! We would have had a weekend sweep of the cheating Red Hawks has the officials not thrown the game. C.C.H.A. stand for, what? Corrupt Collegiate Hockey Association?

Go Blue!

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
The Pogues, "Streams of Whiskey" from The Best of the Pogues (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I confess, there are times I miss Flogging Molly, but The Pogues have proven an effective salve.

Samstag, 23 Februar
Real Can of Yams, "Let's Get Drunk and Clean the Room/Riot Grrl" (live) performed and recorded on 30 Dezember 2002 (T.L.A.M.)

Freitag, 22 Februar
Reel Big Fish, "Beer" from Everything Sucks (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: The third of three renditions of "Beer."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"But, Mike... Asia!" Asialink.

Project OSPREY
You know, Project OSPREY is a lot more fun when my team wins. This evening we fell by the count of Minnesota 69-60 Michigan in "The Barn" in Minneapolis. Drat and curses! As ever, "my team" wins, but "we" lose. Solidarity. Basketball games are far more common and far less precious than football contests, but I think I may wear a Michigan shirt in mourning tomorrow. Farewell, three-game Big Ten winning streak, you shall be missed.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Ramones, "Somebody Put Something in My Drink" from Ramones Mania (T.L.A.M.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I beseech you one and all to scheme immediately to see Kenneth Branagh's film As You Like It.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Atomic Fireballs, "Drink Drank Drunk" from Torch This Place (T.L.A.M.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tales of Perilous and Dubious Ventures
Ladies and gentleman, it is my distinct privilege to present to you, courtesy of our great friend the ever-glamorous Skeeter, the woeful, wonderful tale of the Citigroup Center: awesomelink.

Project TROIKA
The malaise has passed and we are back on track, with a vengeance! I am more than a week behind on Project OSPREY - perhaps I should blog about each game individually instead of continually pushing back an omnibus post - but for the nonce I am going to compose yet another TROIKA email to the Steeze. Banzai!

Project OSPREY
Indiana won tonight's contest not because they were the superior team, but because Purdue shot brick after brick after brick. I cannot resist the painfully obvious: this evening in Assembly Hall, the Boilermakers should have been called the Brickmakers. Curses!

Ricky Fitness
Yesterday, the girl at the equipment counter handed back my card and asked, "Does your ring (worn on my right hand ring finger) have shamrocks on it? That's so cute." And immediately upon the heels of the word "cute," before I'd had the chance to adapt any new aspect to my countenance, she said, "Um, I mean manly. That's so manly." My face betrayed no amusement, no annoyance, no amazement, no agitation, I hadn't had any time to react. I'd never seen anyone backtrack with such celerity and with so little cause. Verbally adroit, that lass.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Plastic Cup Politics" from Anthem (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Chris is a great front man, but this song was just tailor-made for Roger to sing the lead vocals, horrible white trash dreadlocks and all.

"Hello, Mr. Six Pack of Confidence,
I'm glad to see you've already met
Ms. Twelve Ounces of Loneliness."

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Green Day, "Blood, Sex, and Booze" from Warning (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I was a little surprised to learn that this is the only song I own with the word "booze" in its title. Where's the love? And I still say Carlos Boozer has, bar none, the greatest name in basketball today. Boooooozer.
Oortlink. I am a big fan of speculation, but the discovery of exoplanets has overturned much of what we thought we knew about planet formation; so, let's not make too many assumptions about the rotating dust clouds surrounding distant stars. I wish to find a cosmos full of infinite Earths, but we must not break out our mats and jump to any particular conclusions. Let's what to see what the data suggests.


Back in the day at Yost Ice Arena, in support of team captain Jed Ortmeyer, a small gaggle of us dubbed ourselves the "Ort Cloud," and would greet his every touch of the puck with a chant of "Ort! Ort! Ort! Ort! Ort! Ort!" like bloody circus seals.

Proud Europa
And the former Yugoslavia gets that little bit more former: Kosovolink. The United States is a colossal country, spanning a continent from ocean to ocean, and encompassing every race and creed under the Sun; so, Balkanization has always struck me as frightfully parochial and generally unfortunate. But, that said, staying as part of Serbia, even the post-Milosevic Serbia, is like staying with an abusive husband who swears up and down that he's changed. I applaud the courage of the Kosovars in striking out on their own, and I wish the new Republic of Kosovo well. Now we wait to see if international recognition shall materialize:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lazy Sunday

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
King Apparatus, "Non-Stop Drinking" from King Apparatus (T.L.A.M.)
The Explorers Club
No. LXV - The rivalry between Gunder Hägg (1918-2004) and Arne Andersson (b. 1917).



I was ignorant of these amazing Swedish runners until Alistair suggested their rivalry as a proper subject for "The Explorers Club." Having now researched their invaluable contributions to sport, I most wholeheartedly agree and wish to extend my most sincere gratitude for Alistair's generous nomination. Thank you, my friend.

I would be more grateful to one and all for your own suggestions for future episodes of "The Explorers Club." The world is full or more wonder than any one mind could possibly encompass and I genuinely hope one or more of you will step forward to help relieve me of my own ignorance. Thank you.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!
Happiest of birthday wishes to the most prolific father of my generation, Daddy Dylweed, the proud papa of a trio of bouncing baby* boys! I've had the supreme privilege of being Dylweed's friend since middle school, and have been pleased and astonished to see him grow. He has truly dreadful taste in music, but he is a genuinely good man, and I envy him the happy home he has built. Happy birthday, Dylan!

*Well, all of them are too young to buy smokes.

The Danish Folketing (parliament) refuses to pay the Danegeld: Danelink. Good show, lads, freedom of expression must be defended.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "Drinkin'" from We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy (T.L.A.M.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Stars My Destination
My friends, truly we live in a time of wonders that beggar credulity: spacewalklink. Hurtling through the pitiless vacuum of at breakneck speeds, a scant few fragile millimeters of module hull separating those inside from certain death, and yet under these conditions astronaut-scientists will relentlessly advance the frontiers of science, potentially producing Earth-shattering findings. Age of wonders.

"This was a Golden Age, a time of high adventure, rich living, and hard dying... but nobody thought so. This was a future of fortune and theft, pillage and rapine, culture and vice... but nobody admitted it. This was an age of extremes, a fascinating century of freaks... but nobody loved it."
--Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination, A.D. 1956


Ricky Fitness
A toss up over which is the best T-shirt I saw at the gym today: "Swedes Are Bjorn to Rock," and the Nordic looking dude's short were properly color-coordinated, with blue and yellow stripes, or "Nice and Sleazy," a description that fit the wearer to a T. (Anyone know the etymology of that peculiar phrase, "to a T"?) I'm leaning toward "Swedes Are Bjorn to Rock."

Also, all four treadmills were occupied when I arrived, leaving me little recourse but to lift before running. I detest lifting first! Doing so leaves me befuddled and mildly but persistently irked. Drat!

And thanks to tonight's season finale of Psych, I learned the word "abulic." Thumbs up for vocabulary expansion. Rest assured I will find an obvious and entirely artificial way to work abulic into either conversation or, if you're lucky, a post here at The Secret Base.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Slow Gherkin, "I Only Smoke When I'm Drunk" from Shed Some Skin (T.L.A.M.)
Hate the Drake
The webcomic "XKCD" takes the pomposity of the Drake Equation to task: the Fake Equation.

As I wrote to The Sardine last night in an I.M. chat, "I am a joy engine. Wherever I go, I leave people smiling and shaking their heads." Pep up, ya gloomy bastards!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Project OSPREY: The Victors
Holy balls, Michigan won! Two back-to-back Big Ten victories, the Beilein method is beginning to pay dividends! Bring on the hated Buckeyes, the gathered horde in Crisler Arena shall bear witness to their doom!

Go Blue!

The Stars My Destination
The good ship Atlantis, the genuinely International Space Station, and the Columbus module, so long left waiting in the wings, all working together in perfect harmony: unitylink. 'Tis a wonder to behold. Quoting from the plaque enshrined on the Moon by the brave men of Apollo 11, "We came in peace for all Mankind." For all Mankind.

Spy vs. Spy
The war against jihadist terrorism must take first priority, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world is hugs and friendliness: traitorlink. I believe that Wen Ho Lee was treated unfairly because of his ethnicity and background, and that was morally wrong and dreadfully un-American. And then something like this comes along and xenophobic paranoia, at least on the part of those charged with protecting our secrets, seems almost like a good idea, or at least a sign of prudence. And more's the pity.

Also, beware the star killer. For all my uniqueness and flat-out weirdness, I am still a guy, and I still love an explosion, almost any explosion. Why "Spy vs. Spy"? The doomed celestial sailor is a spy satellite, after all. Star killer!

Vote For Kodos
And as Governor Romney reminds us, the most important thing is defeating the Democrats in the fall and preventing a dishonorable and reckless surrender in Iraq: endorsementlink. I will vote for Senator McCain come the general election, however much under protest.

Hmmm, perhaps we could clone President Reagan, like The Boys From Brazil, only without all the Nazis....
Be My Anti-Valentine
Originally, I was going to link, as Vapidlink, to a horrid "dating advice" column promulgated by Yahoo! last week, but upon a second look I realized that it was neither horribly funny nor horrible and funny, just horrible. Instead, let us look back at past feast days of Saint Valentine here at The Secret Base:

Valentine's Day '07

Valentine's Day '06

(Valentine's Day was a mere footnote on 14 February '05.)

Valentine's Day '04

Before the year is out, hell, by the end of May, I shall be the last Wilson sibling still a loyal member of Team Bachelor. And by Memorial Day fully 40% of B.T.W.'s high command will owe their allegiance to The Marrieds. There are grim days ahead, my friends; so, for the nonce, raise your glasses and join me in an earnest toast: down with love!

I hope they all have a crummy Valentine's Day, the bastards.

Project OSPREY
I've watched at least one game every night this week. Next on tap, the valiant Wolverines of the University of Michigan against the tenacious Hawkeyes of the University of Iowa. This will all end in tears, but at least I'll be crying in my beer instead of my usual Dr. P.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Drunks and Children" from Devil's Night Out (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I wish "Drunks and Children" had been included on The Bosstones' truly excellent live album, Live From the Middle East. Alas. Long live the Hometown Throwdown!

Mittwoch, 13 Februar
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "The Saga Begins" from Running With Scissors (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: A brief break from the alcohol-fueled hi-jinks of the last few weeks to commemorate what happened yesterday afternoon after work, when people went apeshit over my "Weird Al" T-shirt bearing the image below.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday: I'm a Jerk
A belated happy birthday to The Professor! The Professor is the kind of guy who genuinely won't care that these congratulations are four days late, but I still feel like a heel. Sorry, buddy, I hope your birthday was spectacular. Happy birthday, Jon!

Comparatively on time, being only two days behind schedule.

The Explorers Club
No. LXIV - The Fall of Singapore, February 1942.

Also of interest is the Battle of Malaya that allowed the Empire of Japan to besiege Singapore, which will almost certainly be its own installment of "The Explorers Club" at a later date.

The Endurance
I have not spoken on the telephone to Codename PANDORA in three weeks. Our last few conversations since the New Year had been relatively short as she'd become extremely harried at work, and I identified two potentially unfortunate items: a) I feared, however slightly, that I might be unfairly intruding upon her very limited free time and b) I initiated nearly all of our exchanges. So, I decided to conduct an experiment I have conducted on several different occasions in the past: I would wait for her to call. Not to call me back, but to initiate a call.

The analogy is imperfect since I was not at the time attempting to woo her, but in college I conducted a similar experiment with Skeeter. I did not initiate contact with her and as a result we did not speak for nearly six months; even when we did, I again initiated. To be fair, Skeeter's boyfriend at the time was attending school in Boston and she spend a good many weekends visiting him, and then occupied her weekdays catching up on not having studied over the weekend. Much later we actually discussed the experiment and, if I recall correctly, had a good laugh about the absurdity of the exercise.

Back in the present, or at least the very recent past, I did not hear from The Sardine for a week, the deadline for my capitulation. Yet, I did not call her, I found reasons to hesitate. And then the dreadful sick descended, and I was in no mood to ring anyone. I called her on Thursday, leaving a message, and we've been playing phone tag since. I'm short on analysis as to what, if anything, this means. Perhaps nothing more than she's busy and I'm pigheaded, perhaps something altogether more sinister. Or perhaps something altogether sillier. Ooo, I hope there's cotton candy in my immediate future.

This seems a good time to repeat the family motto of Sir Ernest Shackleton, from whence this features derives its name: By endurance we conquer.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "3 Quarts Drunk" from Pezcore (T.L.A.M.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Annoying though it is, I owe you "The Explorers Club" No. LXIV, a big "Project OSPREY" post, the long-delayed latest news on "The Endurance," and I probably should explain a bit about my recent outrage at developments within "Vote For Kodos" lest I be gravely misunderstood.

The Rebel Black Dot Songs of the Day
Reel Big Fish, "Beer" (live) from Our Live Album is Better Than Your Live Album, Disc 1: More Shtick Than You Can Shake a Stick At (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: This live rendition of "Beer" was previously selected as the R.B.D.S.O.T.D. waaaaay back in November of last year, but quite simply what would be the point of this alcohol-themed project if I didn't include not one, not two, but all three extant versions of R.B.F.'s "Beer"?

Aaron Barrett to the audience: "Anyway, I hate this song and I hate all of you.... Just kidding, I don't hate this song."

Sonntag, 10 Februar
Lit, "My Own Worst Enemy" from A Place in the Sun (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk? I didn't mean to call you that." And that right there is why I've never understood the appeal of inebriation.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Another Drinkin' Song" from Let's Face It (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "What I've counted on to pick me up / Has knocked me to my knees."

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Real Can of Yams, "Let's Get Drunk and Clean the Room/Teddy's First Night in the Drunk Tank" (live) performed and recorded on 30 Dezember 2004 (T.L.A.M.)
Words underutilized in modern parlance: fathom, deft. I am as guilty in this as any other man jack, but I'll aim to set a higher standard.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Stars My Destination
Godspeed, Atlantis. The usual suspects: and

Vote For Kodos
I feel as if I'm in the midst of Arrested Development, "I've made a huge mistake." More in the days to follow as I collect my thoughts and (ever the cynical optimist) gain some perspective, but at this moment in time I detest John Sidney McCain III as ferociously as I've ever loathed any Democrat. I was listening to All Things Considered as I shoveled Wilson Field this afternoon and I literally growled every time they played an excerpt of McCain's speech before the C.P.A.C. Curse that double-dealing liar!

Project OSPREY
I watched the entire game at Assembly Hall (Indiana 83-79 Illinois 2OT) and I still have no idea how the Fighting Illini lead most of the game and held off the Hoosiers to force a second overtime. I especially enjoyed all the kids wearing "CHIEF" T-shirts, a pox upon the N.C.A.A. Long live Chief Illiniwek!

Also, in the waining seconds of regulation time in Illinois-Indiana, I flipped over the ESPN2 and caught the last second shot that allowed Xavier to prevail over Saint Louis, 70-68. Thrilling!

Jumpin' Jack Pratt, the three-point buzzer beater to put Pitt over West Virginia was precisely the ending for which I'd hoped! I have no particular love for the Pitt Panthers, but fuck Bob "Thuggins" Huggins and fuck everyone and everything associated with the "University" of West Virginia. I hope each and every one of you inbred sacks of shit chokes on your own vomit. Go to Hell, Mountaineers! Good job, Pitt.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Mu330, "Pool Party" from Mu330 (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "You can be a real man if you can do a keg stand!"

Mu330's dark and satirical "Pool Party" should not be confused with the much happier and lighter "Pool Party!" by The Aquabats!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Project OSPREY: Duke vs. U.N.C.
11:16 P.M. - Duke 89-78 North Carolina. As with so many things in life, I didn't realize how much I'd missed college basketball until I got back into the game. Fantastic stuff.

10:50 P.M. - Just outside five minutes to go, I'd be a lot more confident if Duke could maintain those leads of eight or nine instead of always letting U.N.C. pull back to within five or six.

10:29 P.M. - I respectfully disagree with Mr. Vitale's assertion that Duke-U.N.C. in men's basketball is the greatest rivalry in college sports, though I do appreciate the hesitant mention of Michigan-Ohio State in Football. To mine eyes emotion is definitely playing a big part in tonight's action, especially on the North Carolina side. That's what I love about college sports, the undeniable uniqueness of rivalry games. The mind may know that calming down and treating the game like any other might be the surest path to victory, but the heart knows that is an impossible demand.

Be nice if Duke could start raining threes again like during the middle of the first half.

9:55 P.M. - Halftime. I would've reported again during the first half, but Tiger decided to take up station on my lap. And the weather outside if frightful; so, the kitty's warmth was welcome indeed. I can't believe the way the Blue Devils let their lead shrink from eleven points to three! Come on, Duke, just keep doing what you'd been doing. Spread 'em out, take your time, and wait for the high percentage shots.

Bah, I wish Lawson was healthy so that this game was between both teams at the peak of their prowess.

9:14 P.M. - Boy howdy, this is going to be great. North Carolina's up 12-10 and dominating the rebounds, but Duke's got a few tricks to disrupt the Tar Heel offense. And Dickie V's back! Sweet mercy, I picked a good time to get back into college ball.

Though I fiercely prefer America's style of representative democracy to parliamentary democracy, one thing I do admire is their ability call snap elections. Italylink. Italy is currently without a legitimate government, and that kind of anarchy is one of the great perils and persistent follies of parliamentary democracy, but here in the U.S. we are in the midst of a months-long exercise to select the major-party nominees for the presidency - the primary season - but even once the Republican and Democratic nominees are chosen we will still have eight of nine months of campaigning before the general election on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Senators Clinton, McCain, and Obama and Governors Huckabee and Romney have been running for the presidency for years. Though Iowa seems years distant, 'twas only a month ago, and we've got nine more months of this slog yet to go. Italy may not have a real government even after April's snap elections, but at least they only have to put up with two month's worth of campaigning.

Of course, the grass always looks greener....

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Sobriety Is a Serious Business and Business Isn't So Good" from B is for B-Sides (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: "Will all the assholes is this room please raise your right hand."
Ash Wednesday
Sweet fancy Moses, I love Ash Wednesday! And 6:30 A.M. Mass, far from being a drag, is a blast, in part because you get those thick, rich early morning ashes, not the wimpy stuff left over by the late afternoon Masses. Kick ash!

Also, you know what's a really good name? Asher.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Stars My Destination
Atop a pillar of fire, staggeringly mighty rockets belching smoke, the majestic Atlantis and its precious cargo, the Columbus module, will finally pierce the celestial veil on Thursday! Spare a few lines of prayer for the brave men and women of the long-delayed S.T.S.-122 that they may, first and foremost, successfully advance the frontiers of manned spaceflight, and secondly, that they may return safely to their families and friends here on the Good Earth. A pair of perspectives, and

Vote For Kodos
I fear my fellow Republicans are in the midst of making a grave mistake and only too late will they realize the peril. Mark my words, we shall rue this day.

I need a drink.

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
They Might Be Giants, "Drink!" from Mink Car (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: Ye olde chorus

"Let's drink, drink, this town is so great.
Drink, drink, 'cause it's never too late,
To drink, drink, to no big surprise.
But what words rhyme with 'buried alive'?
What words rhyme with 'buried alive'?"
Vive la France
I love both my country and the mystique of the automobile (Hi, Lumi! Love ya, baby!), but I admit that I am greatly envious of Europe and Japan's high speed rail networks. I want super-crazy future trains, too! Raillink.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Crippling snow storms in China, the like of which have not been seen for half a century! Snowfall in Jerusalem! Snowfall in Baghdad! Clearly, "global warming" is a myth and our green and pleasant orb is transforming into the dreaded Snowball Earth. We are doomed, one and all, and there's naught left to us by the grim business of recriminations. Personally, I blame Al Gore.

Super Bowl XLII
My sincere congratulations to Alistair, whose New York football Giants are world champs! Well done, my friend, you certainly picked an auspicious year to finally shed the hapless Lions and adopt your new team. Kudos!

I suppose the Golden Boy will have to find solace in his millions of dollars, the exotic beauty of his internationally renowned supermodel girlfriend, and the fact that even with yesterday's debacle he is still the owner of more Super Bowl rings than the entire Manning clan. Be strong, Tom, there's always next year.

Project OSPREY
College basketball without Bobby Knight? Unimaginable as recently as this very afternoon. Then again, in my tow-headed youth I thought the Soviet Union would forever menace the free peoples of the world. Life is change, and to pretend otherwise is to dally with madness.

Wow, it seems like I've "come to terms" with Knight's retirement awfully quickly, almost suspiciously so. I've also looked askance at the level head with which I've absorbed the soap opera of Coach Rodriquez's still-young tenure at Michigan. Perhaps I have grown cold and indifferent and somewhere along the way lost the passion that makes sport such a singular joy. Or perhaps I am learning to discern "Triumph and Disaster" as the "two impostors" Kipling knew them to be (again, from "If-"). Have I lost the volatility by which I have so long defined myself, or am I merely and at length finally becoming its master rather than its compliant slave?

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Spike Jones & His City Slickers, "Clink, Clink, Another Drink" from The Spike Jones Anthology (T.L.A.M.)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Explorers Club
No. LXIII - The Four Chaplains - the Reverend George Fox, Rabbi Alexander Goode, the Reverend Clark Poling, and Father John Washington - killed in action against the Nazi war machine on this day in A.D. 1943.

The Dreadful Sick
Today is the feast day of Saint Blaise, a Fourth Century martyr and the patron saint of, among other things, choking and throats. After Mass, at Father MacDonald's general invitation to the congregated parish, I joined a queue to receive the Blessing of the Throats; I like my religion the same way I like my politics, just that little bit crazy, and the Blessing is exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. I'm not sure how much of the improvement of the dreadful sick can be attributed to Saint Blaise, but all the same in my nightly prayers tonight I'll once again ask for his intercession on my behalf.

The patron saint of throats... Catholicism WOW!

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
Less Than Jake, "Malt Liquor Tastes Better When You've Got Problems" from Borders & Boundaries (T.L.A.M.)

Samstag, 2 Februar
Slow Gherkin, "Drunken Sailor" (live) from Double Happiness (T.L.A.M.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Good on you, Phil! Punxsutawneylink. Six more glorious weeks of the dark, killing winter. What bliss! Alas, if only rotund rodents were accurate predictors of the weather.

Merry Candlemas, one and all!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Rebel Black Dot Song of the Day
John Lee Hooker, "Whiskey & Wimmen'" from "Boom Boom" and Other Classics (T.L.A.M.)

Commentary: I dearly wish this song was titled "Whiskey & Women," but then who am I to question the late, great Mr. Hooker?