TUESDAY, AUGUST 5, 2003
I wonder if she got paid for each call?
I know, I know, updates have been very infrequent
lately. Sorry. Busy with the book, which I think I've been saying every
single day for the past year. More later today.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2003
I'm not a big drinker (not anymore – that happens when
you are well into your 30s), but I always enjoy doing Two Writers
Drinking. The latest is up at Professor Barnhardt's Journal.
FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2003
This is the kind of stuff that makes the web great.
TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2003
Last night I had my first piece of Bazooka bubble gum in
quite some time. Years. They still have those little comics. Here is
what mine said. Do you find this as pathetic as I do? (Bold letters are
printed as they are in the comic)
"Bazooka Joe is 'everydude.' Girls dig him, guys respect him, and friends follow his lead. He's a rock lovin', flik watchin', video game groovin' guy hip to all the latest trends."
Egads. Did the Bazooka marketing department get together
and try to figure out what all the young kids are saying and doing
these days? Though even here they fail. Groovin'? Flik watchin'? Who
the hell talks like that? (Oh, there's also a pic of him driving a
motorcycle and saying "no sweat.")
They should have just gone all-out and called him a
"rap-lovin', coke-snortin', hip radical dude, able to watch wrestling
and also Lifetime, in touch with his feminine side while still diggin'
the chicks! He gets good grades but he's not bookish, he's, like,
really cool! He says 'Yo!" a lot!"
MONDAY, JULY 14, 2003
An actual conversation, overheard as I was shopping for shaving cream at the convenience store:
GIRL #1: "…I'd much rather eat soup than read a book!"
GIRL #2: "Yeah."
GIRL #1: "I mean, like, DUH! Hello! Let's see…read this boring book or eat a nice bowl of soup?"
GIRL #2: "You like soup that much?"
GIRL #1: "Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee! I don't want to read a book when I have a bowl of soup!"
Sometimes people scare me.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 9, 2003
I took part in the TV critics poll at TV Week. For the record, my picks for the best of the season:
1. Alias (ABC)
2. Lucky (FX)
3. The Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)
4. The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
5. Dinner For Five (IFC)
6. Monk (USA/ABC)
7. Survivor (CBS)
8. The World Poker Tour (The Travel Channel)
9. The West Wing (NBC)
10. John Doe (FOX)
And the worst:
1. The Anna Nicole Show (E!)
2. Larry King Live (CNN)
3. Jerry Springer (syndicated)
4. The Osbournes (MTV)
5. Jay Leno (NBC)
Yes, I know, but I refuse to call it The Tonight Show while Leno is the host.
FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2003
New issue of Professor Barnhardt's Journal
is up. I got a bunch of writers, in response to that silly VH-1 "100
Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years" list, to come up with their own
Oh, and Happy 4th. I'm not a cookout and fireworks sort
of guy, so I'll be home watching tennis while eating the burgers. And
working on the book! It's done, just adding a final touch to the design
and the boxes (you'll see what I mean when – or if – you order it).
TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2003
Blogging will be very light this week (if not completely
abandoned for the week) while I do one last check for typos and other
things that will drive me insane. Then comes the printing and the
mailing, which is really going to cut into any writing time. As for
e-mails, I can't guarantee I'll respond asap, but I'll get to it when I
can, probably late at night right before bed. If I sleep, that is.
In the meantime, two CDs you have to go out and buy right now: the new Fountains of Wayne ("Welcome Interstate Managers") and the debut from Fiction Plane ("Everything Will Never Be OK"). FP is fronted by Sting's son. Which really makes me feel old.
THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2003
MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2003
Woman on the radio who won a trip to Hawaii:
D.J: "Have you ever been to Hawaii before?"
Woman: "No, I've never been out of the United States!"
FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2003
Wrigley has the patent on a Viagra gum (registraton required).
Gives a whole new meaning to "double your pleasure, double your fun."
THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 2003
A few more quick thoughts on my birthday (because it's
my web site and I can do that sort of thing): my best friend sent me a
card that pointed out how when we were much younger we used to look at
people in their mid to late 30s as "old." And damn he's right. But I'm
in that weird middle ground where, while I am definitely beginning to
feel a lot different than I did at 20 (I grunt a lot more when I get
off the couch, the gut is harder to get rid of now, and I've given up
on my hair), I also know that 38 is actually on the "you're still
young!" end of things than the "it's all downhill now!" phase. Of
course, ask me again in two years, when the odometer clicks over onto a
But don't tell me that The Police are now "classic rock." I'll never believe that. Ever!
MONDAY, JUNE 9, 2003
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Bob…etc, etc, etc.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, 2003
Roger Ebert responds to actor Vincent Gallo's remarks.
MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2003
If the movie is as good as the trailer
(.mov file), then this could be one of the great amateur films of all
time. A bunch of 11 and 12 year olds got together in 1982 to do a
shot-by-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. They finished it 6 years later. Amazing. The whole story is here at Ain't It Cool.
SATURDAY, MAY 31, 2003
Venus Williams at the French Open, wearing giant hoop
earrings you could fit a beer can through. She's freaking me out,
actually, since I worry that the hoops are going to latch on to her
equally giant necklace, pulling her ear towards her shoulder, causing
her head to rip off as she twists and tries one of her powerful
Tennis-related decapitations are always scary, but make for fascinating television.
FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2003
TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2003
Now…where were we?
Sorry for the huge gaps between notebook entries. I've
been sick off and on, staying up late working on the book, etc. But
today I have promised myself to get back to this thing. The book, by the way, will be out on June 23. No, seriously.
SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2003
FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2003
Note to the marketing dept. behind the TV ads for the new Lizzie McGuire movie: the movie is set in ROME, not "ROAM," the title of the B-52s song that you are using.
MONDAY, MAY 12, 2003
Now let me get this straight: this is supposed to be a daily blog, right? Yeah, I thought so. Ahem.
THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2003
The new Freschetta Italian Pepperoni Pizza has almost 5000
mg of sodium? Jesus. Maybe I should increase the dosage on my high
blood pressure medication? (Or just maybe not even an entire damn pizza
in one sitting? Ya think?)
TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2003
About that guy in the Ditech.com commercials, the one
who says "ohhhhh, lost another one to Ditech!" He'd probably have more
customers if he wasn't such a dick.
MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2003
It's been so long since my last update that there's yet another new piece up at Professor Barnhardt's Journal. Mike Nelson gives us an excerpt from his new novel Death Rat!
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2003
At Professor Barnhardt's Journal this week, an interview with Keith Olbermann.
MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2003
Today marks the start of the annual "Turn Off TV Week."
I wrote a response for Ironminds a couple of years ago. Here it is,
updated for '03:
Here we are in the middle of “National TV Turnoff
Week,” the annual protest by TV-Free America to save
the country from the EVILS (gasp!) of the small
screen. I wish I knew more about the organization, but
I’ve been too busy wondering what’s going on with how
Buffy and the gang are going to defeat The First, and
haven’t had time to find out more.
My point is this: What good does a week of turning off
your TV do in the long run? It’s a fairly meaningless
gesture to begin with (advertisers really won’t be
hurt, and parents and kids will go back to watching TV
the very next day), and what does it prove? That
families can do without TV for a few days? Gee, I sure
hope so. It’s really not that hard to do, especially
when you know all the TV you want is just a week away.
I’ve received letters from folks who I would assume
agree with TV Free America’s theory that the less TV
the better. That people should be doing other things
with their lives: reading, outdoor activities, forming
meaningful relationships, work, etc. But all of these
parties fall into the same trap TV bashers have been
falling into for 30 years: It’s not an “all or
nothing” scenario. TV really can be part of a balanced
lifestyle. Serious TV fans and casual fans alike (and
I count myself among the former) can have careers,
strong relationships, a healthy diet and normal
personalities — and get enough fresh air and exercise.
And there’s a fallacy that people who watch a lot of
TV don’t read. Now, I’m sure there are thousands of
kids (and even more adults, actually) who don’t want
to read, but I don’t think getting them away from the
TV is going to make them suddenly renew their library
card (unless, of course, they need to read the latest
John Grisham novel because “everyone else is”). On a
personal note, I watch an amazing amount of television
(because I want to) and still manage to read several
books a month and three newspapers a day, work a
full-time job, enjoy a social life and run every
single morning at 6 a.m. And anyone else can do the
same thing. Why is television looked upon as some sort
of insidious disease that must curtailed or
There’s a lot of great stuff on television amid all
the dreck. Sure, we have Jerry Springer and The
Bachelor and Temptation Island and Anna Nicole, but I’ll take all of that
if we also get Letterman, Alias, Ed, Lucky, Frontline, The Daily Show, the
Discovery Channel, the History Channel, The West Wing, and The
Simpsons. TV really has a great batting average. Turn
off my TV for a week? No thanks. I’d miss a lot of
really good stuff.
Do I think kids and parents should sit in front of the
TV all day long? Of course not. But I also don’t think
they should read books all day long or eat yogurt all
day long either, no matter how good for you those
things are supposed to be. Everything in moderation. A
recent study at Harvard said that people who watch
television are fatter, because they don't get as much
exercise and just sit in front of the boob tube. Did
you know that if you did nothing but read
encyclopedias in your chair all day long, you’d become
fat? But holding a “Book-Free Week” would be rather
ridiculous, right? Same for television. If TV is
killing or warping us as a people, then there’s
something seriously wrong somewhere. And I don’t mean
Everwood, Dawson's Creek, or Stuckeyville.
I find it extremely odd that the people who
participate in a “National TV Turnoff Week” actually
find it necessary to do such a thing! Why do these
people have to take an entire week during a certain
time of year to “rid themselves” of television? Can’t
they do this on their own, maybe find that balance in
their lives that can include television? Take an
active role in their lives and the lives of their
Maybe the parents participating in this event feel
guilty about using television as a babysitter (though
I was a big TV watcher as a kid and I think I grew up
better adjusted than some of my classmates; you think
parents and my own personal responsibility to do other
things with my life had anything to do with it — ya
think?). They can declare their household TV-free for
a week and feel like they’re doing something for their
children. Then, when the week is over, they can go
back to not paying attention to what their kids are
doing, drinking too many beers on weekends, swearing
in front of their 7-year-olds, slapping them when they
cry at a restaurant, and being too busy in general to
really give a shit. What, we turn off TV for a week,
slap ourselves on the forehead and say “Doh! It’s TV
that is ruining my life! I better go renew my gym
membership, invent a life-saving medical device and
work in that soup kitchen!”
Look at it this way, if you truly and honestly think
that turning off your television for a week (or more)
is going to improve your life, then you better
seriously rethink the way you live your life the other
51 weeks of the year.
Watch less television? OK, fine. And work, make love,
read the classics, walk along the beach, climb
mountains, enjoy great works of art, go to a nice
restaurant, spend time with your spouse, friends, and
family, have a career, watch a sunset, live and laugh.
Just also remember that The West Wing is on every
Wednesday at 9 ET.
It’s really a great show. Have you
THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2003
Two more dreams:
Dream #1: I'm playing some sort of board game, with the
same layout as Monopoly, only it's war-related. The pieces are
miniature army tanks that move all by themselves, crushing all the army
men that stand around the board. Only I can't seem to crush my
opponents. They just seem to get dragged along the side of the tanks.
Dream #2: I'm in a museum, and all my teeth start falling out.
TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 2003
I'm a man, and like most men I like a really good beer, playing cards, watching the 3 Stooges,
and checking out the scrambled cable stations just in case the sex
scenes are visible for a few seconds. I also like watching Kate and Allie reruns on Oxygen. You got a problem with that?
MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2003
This sounds more like Penthouse Forum than a 1950 comic book.
THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2003
Oh, if this shaking hands with Geraldo thing is true, that's the greatest thing I've heard in a while.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2003
Everything you've always wanted to know about airline food. And yes, I mean everything. Fascinating, actually, in an odd way.
MONDAY, APRIL 7, 2003
Absolutely the weirdest time to see a movie: Sunday
morning, multiplex, all alone. You wonder, who are these people, and
why are they here on a Sunday morning seeing this movie all by
themselves? Then you realize that you are there too.
The movie, by the way, was Phone Booth. Good flick.
FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2003
I've been having a lot of dreams lately. I know that
supposedly everyone dreams every night, it's just that we don't
remember them. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that
I've been having vivid dreams every single night for the past 6 months.
Not just fleeting dreams that I remember only because I wake up in the
middle of the night right after the dream. But long, involved,
memorable dreams, with meaty plots and large casts and dialogue,
seemingly filmed on various locations around the country.
They say that your dreams can tell you
what you are really worried about in your awake life. That they can
help you solve problems. That they can help you figure out the answers
to the questions you might have about something going on in your life.
Here's a list of recent dreams I've had:
– I've started a new job, some sort of phone sales
position, in Chicago. The dream took me from the airplane to the
airport to my first day on the job, arguing with co-workers, right up
until going outside on the streets of Chicago, looking up at the tall
buildings, looking for a place to eat lunch.
– I'm helping Rosemary Clooney record her new album. Clooney died last year.
– Something sports-oriented. I don't remember the sport,
the players, or the field, but I remember being very jealous that
someone was better at the sport than I was.
– I'm in Hollywood. That's it. I know I'm there, but nothing happens in the dream.
– I'm looking for money. Any money, from anyone, for any reason. (This dream I actually understand all too well).
– I'm having dinner – at least I think it's dinner,
because it's a restaurant, sort of anyway, with a large round table –
with various beautiful actresses. I'm just talking and talking and
talking, and then several villains from the "Batman" TV series show up.
So, in this dream, not only am I NOT having sex with various beautiful
actresses, instead merely talking them to death, the dream ends with
freaks in colorful make-up showing up to meet me. Help me.
– I'm dancing, furiously, to hideously generic techno
music, when the "bad guys" come in looking for me. I see them, and I
run out the back door. I'm chased down an alley and the dream ends.
– I'm dressed as a giant french fry.
I either have lots of fodder for my writing, or I'll slowly going insane.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2003
Fun with closed-captioning: today I put my TV on "mute"
during Ari Fleischer's press briefing, and just happened to catch this
gem. While Fleischer was talking about Bush's meeting with the
President of Uruguay, this is what was typed on the screen:
"…you're gay at The White House."
Either someone wasn't paying attention, or the world of closed-caption writers is a lot more fun than I thought.
TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 2003
The plan is to eventually archive the previous month's blog entries. But for now, let's just keep going, shall we?