Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, September 29, 2004 12:50 pm


Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 12:50 pm

As you can see, I’ve ditched the one-size-fits-all, “Blogrolling”-powered blogroll to the left side of this page and replaced it with one that’s a bit more organized and user-friendly. I suppose the pay version of Blogrolling would’ve done the same thing, but one of the conditions I’ve imposed on myself for this blog is that it not cost me anything beyond what I’m already paying my ISP.

Another reason for changing is that fewer than half of the bloggers I link to were able or willing to take advantage of the Blogrolling features that allow them to get bumped to the top of the list and get a little “New!” icon next to their blog name when they update. So that minority had kind of an unfair advantage over the other blogs, and I wanted to play fair.

I took the opportunity, in reorganizing the blogroll, to ditch some that hadn’t been updated in quite some time. If you’re active again and want to be added back, e-mail me. Also, if you think your link is in the wrong group, e-mail or leave a comment.


Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 12:45 pm

Once again, I have been denied a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

But a poet/English professor won one, so I guess the news isn’t all bad.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004 5:29 am

Victoria rats Mommy and Daddy out checks in with Granny

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 5:29 am

Last night’s phone conversation:

Hi, Granny! … Good. … Eating dinner. … Uh-huh. Listen, this is the second time Mommy and Daddy have tried to make your vegetable soup, and they got it wrong both times. Would you please send them your recipe?

I bet Granny was eating that up. So to speak.

Monday, September 27, 2004 9:17 am

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 9:17 am

Well, this one was just a flat mismatch. These girls were bigger, faster, better passers, better dribblers, better shooters. The only thing surprising about it is that the final score was *only* 6-0 (and would have been 6-2 if two Tigers hadn’t been so shocked at the prospect of a wide-open, undefended net that they totally tripped over their own feet).

Victoria got an excellent shot off in the first quarter that the PPs’ goalie only narrowly snagged, but that was about the extent of her heroics at forward. She tended goal in the fourth quarter, blocking four shots and allowing no goals. (A teammate who hadn’t quite mastered the concept that, yes, when you’re the goalie it’s OK to touch the ball with your hands, allowed four goals during the third quarter.)

The Tigers actually played better in this game than in the last one; they were just hopelessly overmatched.

Help is on the way

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 8:55 am

Andrew Cline, whose Rhetorica blog helps make sense of political journalism and campaign spin, has embarked on a new venture: the, which he describes as “a mechanism whereby a symbiotic relationship between blogging and traditional forms of journalism can be deliberately cultivated.” He elaborates:

Reporters can use it to quickly authenticate highly technical or specialized story elements with subject-matter experts (SMEs) drawn from the best the blogosphere has to offer, including academics, business people, scientists, and lay experts of all kinds. SMEs on also offer reporters another important advantage: As bloggers in addition to subject experts, they are plugged in to the latest internet conversation regarding their subject areas.Bloggers can use to nominate subject-matter experts, build trust with traditional media, and increase their standing in the blogosphere.

I’m not sure how this will work out — for one thing, it appears to offer journalists services no different from those offered by the more established PROFNET network, except that it focuses on bloggers rather than academic/corporate sources — but it’s another example of how bloggers such as Cline are adding value to the Internet, and it’s all the more remarkable in that, near as I can tell, Cline isn’t getting paid to do this.

Friday, September 24, 2004 9:17 pm

So many bad puns come to mind …

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 9:17 pm

I learned two surprising things — both of which you really have to be a guy to fully appreciate — from this article:

1) This year apparently is the 100th anniversary of the athletic cup. You know, what you wore inside your jock strap to protect the family jewels when you were a kid my age playing football back in the day.

2) No one in the National Football League wears a cup anymore. I know you need to be fast in the NFL, but golly gee, if Warren Sapp or someone was coming at me with a shoulder or something, I’m pretty sure I’d want some protection.

This hurts just to think about. How badly? Ladies, picture this: The pain from this kind of trauma is so intense it hurts to breathe AND it gives you the intense sensation that you’re about to simultaneously blow chunks and soil your drawers. Not as bad as childbirth, I’ll grant you, but, Lord, not good, either.

In which Lex makes an offer to an obscure corner of academia

President Karen Haynes of the University of California State University at San Marco has rescinded an invitation to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore to speak. That’s odd. What’s even odder is the stated reason: “According to an e-mail she sent to some faculty and students, the president didn’t want Moore speaking on campus before the election because she felt the university would be unable to get a conservative whose stature ranks with Moore’s.”

Does she mean there aren’t any, or that none would be willing to come to CSUSM for the $25,000 plus security/travel expenses the university is paying?

Know what? It doesn’t matter. So I’ll make this offer: I’m conservative and my stature (as opposed to celebrity) is at least as high as Moore’s, so if CSUSM will pay me $25,000 to speak I’ll go there on my own nickel. And I guarantee you I’ll be entertaining.

UPDATE: Thanks to Alex for alerting me to the mistake in the university’s name.

What’s my Internet Fame index?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:07 pm

Apparently it’s .02 brooksies, and this blog’s IF is .05 brooksies. Looks like I couldn’t get arrested on this ‘Net.

Monday, September 20, 2004 10:46 am

Panthers 28, Chiefs 17

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 10:46 am

OK, I’m feeling a little better now.

The Panthers’ front seven held last year’s touchdown leader, Priest Holmes, to modest production (and might have taken him out of the game with a late leg injury), the secondary stepped up big in the second half and Carolina found its lost running game. This has got to boost the Panthers’ confidence going into the team’s bye week. It sure boosted mine.

Granted, the Chiefs’ defense was among the league’s worst last year and looks no better this year. But after the Panthers’ anemic running performance Monday night against the Packers, I was really worried. OTOH, I’m not sure what DeShaun Foster’s 174 yards against the Chiefs really means. If he’d run up that kind of number against Green Bay, I think we’d know.

Delhomme played a generally good, generally smart game, but he got picked twice and was just lucky he didn’t get picked a third time on the touchdown throw to tight end Kris Mangum, when he was being twirled around by a defender. Rookie Keary Colbert, in for the injured Steve Smith, had a short touchdown catch as well as two other acrobatic catches for 46 yards. They tried to go to him deep a couple of times early without success, but I’m betting if they keep trying that, it’s going to pay off.

The defense, which looked almost helpless against Green Bay, looked much better against the Chiefs, particularly in the second half. The later it got, the less comfortable Trent Green could be that his blind side was taken care of; Mike Rucker was in his face on almost every play. And the secondary came up big, with rookie Chris Gamble getting his first pick.

I’ve said before that the Panthers’ 11-5 record last year easily could have been 7-9. But this game could have been lost, particularly after the Chiefs dominated early with their passing game, and yet the Panthers found what they needed to turn it around.

Tigers update

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 5:53 am

The whole weekend’s soccer schedule was rained out, of course.

We’ll try again this weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2004 8:55 pm

All your corndog are belong to us

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:55 pm

Oops. My bad. Actually, all your corndog are belong to Giblets, on account of the hurricane and the judge. And all.

And then there was one …

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 6:05 am

… original Ramone, now that Johnny Ramone is dead at 55.

Johnny was the guitarist, and his rock-steady power chording inspired a generation … mine.

And I did not know this:

Even Bruce Springsteen was moved. After seeing the Ramones in Asbury Park, N.J., Springsteen wrote “Hungry Heart” for the band. His manager, however, swayed him to keep the song for himself and it became a hit single.

If memory serves, and it might not, “Hungry Heart” became Springsteen’s first No. 1 single. I wonder how much more money the Ramones might’ve made if they’d gotten to record and release that song … and I wonder even more what it would’ve sounded like, played 2.5 times faster.

UPDATE: Via Crooked Timber, here’s Johnny Ramone’s guitar solo from “I Wanna Be Sedated,” in ASCII tablature:


Tuesday, September 14, 2004 6:10 am

Packers 24, Panthers 14

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 6:10 am


I could only stay awake ’til about 8 minutes left in the first half, but when the so-called best front seven in the game is consistently adding an eighth guy in the box and still can’t stop the run, you know you’re in trouble.

Yes, Green Bay has an outstanding O-line, and yes, Ahman Green is one of the four or five best tailbacks in the league. But last year’s Panthers didn’t even come close to letting a back score three times from inside the 10.

Then there’s the loss of Steve Smith (broken fibula), Delhomme’s favorite receiver. That means someone else, probably Keary Colbert, is going to have to step up as a deep threat or else defenders will be able to gang up on Stephen Davis and the O-line.

One bright spot: the offense clearly had prepared for frequent blitzing and, at least in the first half, handled it pretty well, primarily on the basis of prescient play-calling and Delhomme’s quick release.

Now: a short week to prepare for a road trip to KC, where another excellent O-line and another premiere tailback await. Denver couldn’t solve the Chiefs’ ground game, it just outscored them; without Smith, I don’t know whether the Panthers can do the same.

Monday, September 13, 2004 8:36 pm

Speaking of fakes …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:36 pm

… turns out the entire country of North Korea is a forgery. Who knew?

Starring Elmer Fudd?

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 9:32 am

Daddy: Hey, buddy, whatcha readin’?

Hooper: Daddy! I reading “The Stained Bears Shoot the Rabbit”!

On the way home from church

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:23 am

Hooper: Sissy! Leave! Me! Alone!

Victoria: Hooper, that’s MY soccer ball. Give it here!

Hooper: No!

Mommy: Guys, work it out.

Victoria: Mommy, he’s got my soccer ball and he won’t give it back!

Hooper: NO, Sissy!

Mommy: Guys, remember what we talked about at church? Treat other people the way you want to be treated?

Hooper: I’m gonna treat Daddy!

Daddy: (to no one in particular) That sounded like a threat.

Victoria: Mommy! Hooper’s not treating me the way he wants to be treated!

Hooper: But we’re not at church anymore!

Get your Tiger on, Round 3

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 6:18 am

Victoria’s soccer team, the Tigers, played its first game Saturday in its new age bracket. Three major changes here: longer game, bigger field and playing actual positions. It’s 5-on-5, and with only seven players on a roster (and one Tiger unable to be there), everyone got all the PT they could handle.

The bad news: All the Tigers seemed to have forgotten everything they ever learned about pulling the ball back. The good news: They adapted to playing positions better than I had expected, and they’re all obviously better dribblers now than in spring.

V’s stint in goal ended without incident, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

Thursday, September 9, 2004 10:02 pm

Guns don’t shoot people, puppies shoot people

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:02 pm

A man who said he was shooting puppies for whom he could not find a home was shot in the wrist when one of two puppies he was holding as he aimed at others put its paw on the gun’s trigger.

UPDATE: I acknowledge that my friend and fellow blogger Mr. Sun used the same line with respect to this news item and that he posted hours before I did. I deny plagiarism, however; some punch lines are just so obvious that they occur even to humor-impaired bloggers like me. (OK, Google only has one hit as of 10:09 p.m. Eastern, and it’s not me or Mr. Sun, but try that same link in a day or two.) The difference? Mr. Sun has the luxury of blogging (on his personal blog) at work. I have to wait until it’s 10 p.m. and the kids are in bed.

Of course, I am happy to acknowledge that Mr. Sun is my blogging superior, and just for grins, I’ll give you the line he thought of that I didn’t, just to give it (slightly) wider exposure: “I apologize for not including a ‘from my cold, dead paws!’ reference. It won’t happen again.”

Camp X-ray at Guantanamo Bay has recorded its first escape …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:01 pm

… and the boys from Fafblog are all over it. OK, well, actually, they’re intimately involved in it. (Any resemblance to cheesy 1970s TV shows appears to be purely intentional.)

Have you people never heard of Grecian Formula 16???

Filed under: Ew. — Lex @ 5:49 am

Apparently, if you want to avoid sinus troubles, gray hair and even cancer, all you need to do is drink a cup of pee per day. Am I making this up? As the Democratic presidential nominee might say, would that I were:

BANGKOK (AFP) – Drinking urine can eliminate sinus trouble, turn grey hair black and even cure cancer, a Thai academic said, citing a study of local Buddhists who engage in the unorthodox practice.Ratree Cheepudomwit, of the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Development Department, said hundreds of urine drinkers attested that consuming a daily cup worked wonders for their overall health and helped slow the ageing process.

She said that in June she queried 250 members of Santi Asoke, a strict indigenous Buddhist movement believed to have thousands of followers, and 204 respondents said they had learned from ancient Buddhist manucripts that drinking one’s urine improved health.

“Of the respondents, 87 percent confirmed that it had head-to-toe benefits for them, including for example reduction of dandruff, grey hair, sinus problems and cancer,” Ratree told AFP.

The medical elixir was not easy on everyone’s system, as about one in 10 urine drinkers suffered diarrhea afterwards, but the practice should not be viewed with disgust, she said.

“Other groups of people who drank urine were Buddhist monks who practised in accordance to scriptures which are more than 2,500 years old,” she said.

You’ll have to pardon me if I decline to accept Ms. Ratree’s recommendation on how to view the practice.

A children’s classic, updated

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 5:40 am

If there’s a little girl in your life, you no doubt know who Madeline is. And if there’s a little girl in your house, as there is in mine, you’ve probably read all the books and are drowning in various forms of Madeline-related paraphernalia.

However, Bigwig at Silflay Hraka points out that now that France has declared itself the largest Muslim country in Europe, the Madeline oeuvre will have to be updated for the new millennium. CAUTION: Not for the politically correct. (Translation: I’m jealous I didn’t think of this first.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 6:17 pm

Shoulder update

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 6:17 pm

Surgery: Uneventful & successful, they tell me.

Pain: Soreness, mainly; subsiding, although not as fast as I’d like.

Range of motion: increasing with every set of exercises.

Vicodin: Pretty much as good as advertised.

Work: Going back this morning.

Gratitude: Mine, to everyone who has expressed sympathies & best wishes. Special thanks to Phred for the HMO primer; I almost laughed my bandage off.

I hope to be back to the regular nonsense around here very soon.

Friday, September 3, 2004 6:04 am

Ouch, or, Things I wouldn’t want to have to explain

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 6:04 am

From this week’s NFL injury report:

Kansas City: Probable: WR Dante’ Hall (Lips)

Wednesday, September 1, 2004 9:54 pm

Guns don’t kill people. Kittens kill people.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:54 pm

Cute picture. Even cuter caption.

Show it

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 9:52 pm

NPR said this morning that September is Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month. Here we are, almost 24 hours into it, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m not feelin’ nearly enough love. So y’all get with the program, mmkay?

Double lives

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 4:44 am
Tags: , ,

(originally posted at my News & Record blog The Lex Files, which is no longer available)

It’s the dark night of the soul here at The Lex Files — literally. It’s not quite 4:30 a.m. as I type this after having been rousted from my bed by kids and shoulder pain. And if you can’t be honest with yourself at 4:30 in the morning, when can you? As the late, great Winston-Salem rock band The Right Profile put it in “God’s Little Acre,” at this time of night, you don’t just see the truth, you see it double.

Which brings me to the double life of U.S. Rep. Edward Schrock, who, according to The Washington Post, has ended his efforts to win a third term in Congress after the Web site blogACTIVE claimed Aug. 19 that Schrock, whose district includes televangelist Pat Robertson’s Regent University and nine military facilities, is gay.

Schrock is married, with kids. He has a 92% favorable rating from the Christian Coalition (or did; the page has been taken down), second only to House Speaker Dennis Hastert. He is a co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment and has voted against bills that would bar employment discrimination against gay people.

But he also, blogACTIVE claims, uses a gay personal-ads telephone service to meet male partners for sex. That’s a double life to exceed that of Roger Dimmesdale, the minister and secret lover of Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

Now, I’m not against secrets, on a personal level (government’s a different matter). They make us more interesting. Even the bad ones can make us better people, if they are mistakes internally acknowledged and learned from and if any harm they have caused to others can somehow be remedied.

But when a secret forces a person to live life as a massive betrayal of who he/she really is, not much good is going to come from it, for that person and those to whom he/she matters. Just ask Ed Schrock’s wife and kids, who are undoubtedly undergoing some serious heartache right now whatever the family’s ultimate fate might turn out to be. For that matter, just ask his constituents, who, if they really want a representative with a 92% rating from the Christian Coalition, are constitutionally entitled to one and no doubt would prefer one who lives the values he professes.

And yet, for all the damage such secrets do, there is something about our society that frequently forces us, to a greater or lesser degree, to keep them secret, to betray our very essence. This is not a completely bad thing; to the extent that society forces some simple decency onto otherwise irredeemable sociopaths, via deterrence or incarceration, we’re all better off. But we pay an incalculable cost, in economic inefficiency and existential misery, for many of our secrets. For everyone who is utterly fulfilled in both professional and personal lives — and most days, I’m blessed to count myself in this group — there are many who will never achieve the condition because they fear the cost of doing what it would take to do so would be too high. They include the guy who denies his inner rock guitarist to run the family manufacturing concern, the woman who marries a man she doesn’t quite love and has kids she doesn’t quite adore, simply because she thinks that’s expected of her and that she must do what is expected.

We say that in America you can be anything you want to be, and legally that’s pretty much true. But there’s an unwritten, unspoken web of strictures and expectations that limit many of us, and if most of these situations are nowhere near as spectacular as soon-to-be-former Congressman Ed Schrock’s, they’re every bit as painful.

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