The Rabo Karabekian Memorial Deathmarch: Week 10

Posted in The Rabo Karabekian Memorial Deathmarch, Whatever Else on November 14th, 2016 by bill


Goodbye Blue Monday, indeed.

Breakfast of Champions (which I am pleased to note shares its initials with the Blue Oyster Cult) beckons. Let’s meet up next Monday at the end of Chapter 8, where we’ll see the emblem of the Pluto Gang on the back of a jacket.

Three words expressing how I feel about the election

Posted in Whatever Else on November 10th, 2016 by bill

Really, America? Really?

The Best Paragraph About Food I’ve Read This Week…

Posted in Whatever Else on October 31st, 2016 by bill

…is also the most pretentious. But I love it anyway.

From an article about the Italian chef Massimo Bottura:

Lunch ends with “Camouflage,” a dessert whose original bud of development in Bottura’s febrile mind goes back to a conversation between Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein — something he once read about. It is arranged on a plate in the colors of military garb, and made out of powdery and custardy layers of chocolate, spices, foie gras, red wine, and the blood of a wild hare.

Diagnosis: TAD

Posted in Whatever Else on October 21st, 2016 by bill

This week I diagnosed myself with a condition that I’m calling TAD, or Trump Addiction Disorder. The symptoms are that anytime you access any form of media, the first, second, and third things you want to know about are what kind of crazy shit Donald Trump has done now. Or the moment you get into any conversation that’s even vaguely political, you want to steer it toward Trump in order to wallow in his nuttiness.

Getting the Republican nomination for president has given him a platform from which to push back the frontiers of assholishness, to scale previously unthought-of heights of douchebaggery, and he has not fumbled the opportunity. With every day that passes he achieves new personal bests, and thus new world records. He is the Katie Ledecky of angry orange gasbags, the Muhammad Ali of political asininity.

I’m a little worried about the withdrawal, which seems certain to begin November 8. (There may be some tapering off as he fulminates about having the election stolen from him, but the media will lose interest in that after awhile. You would think.) I’m also worried that when I walk into the voting booth there will be a little voice in my head telling me to vote for him so the circus can continue.
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R.I.P. Mr. Carlin

Posted in Whatever Else on August 23rd, 2016 by bill

He’ll be missed.

What’s Blowing My Mind, 2016 Edition (Part 3)

Posted in Whatever Else on August 15th, 2016 by bill

A few days ago I was at a friend’s house in Berkeley watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Oliver was talking about how New Zealand was looking for a new flag. Apparently, everyone in the country was invited to submit their designs, with the results you would expect — some interesting, some boring, and some insane. (In the interim, the Kiwis have opted to stay with their old flag, to the disappointment of the whole world.) One of the rejected designs made me laugh so hard I stopped breathing for a while. It probably won’t have the same effect on you, but I still wanted to share.

I’m not sure exactly what struck me so funny about it — some combination of the earless sheep, the zig-zag lightning bolt, and the fact that someone thought a sheep being struck by lightning was a good idea for a flag. It is making me giggle a little even now, and for that, I thank you, New Zealand.

What’s Blowing My Mind, 2016 Edition (Part 1)

Posted in Whatever Else on July 28th, 2016 by bill

My mind isn’t quite as easy to blow as it once was, but every now and again something sneaks past the gatekeeper and rearranges my neurons in a pleasant way. Let’s catch up a little bit.

On Monday Stephen Colbert’s Late Show opened its coverage of the 2016 Democratic National Convention with this stupendous bit of nouveau psychedelia:

Simply fantastic. I admit I’ve been a bit disappointed with Stephen’s CBS incarnation, and enjoyed it last week when the old “Stephen Colbert” returned for a few minutes during the Republican Convention. What the hell, let’s throw that in here too:

I once heard the Daily Show compared to an evening beer, and the Colbert Report to a shot of whiskey; the Late Show is more like a Manhattan. It can be great, and then sometimes the liquor is wrong or the ingredients are poorly balanced, and it just doesn’t work. One misses the dependable purity of the old show. It doesn’t surprise me to hear that the Late Show’s first year has been somewhat troubled, and that its future is not guaranteed. But I root for Stephen, and for this week, at least, he has me back.

R.I.P. Merle Haggard

Posted in Whatever Else on April 9th, 2016 by bill

I feel like I would be remiss not to note the passing this week of Merle Haggard, namesake of my most loyal reader. I was a latecomer to country music, and I would not claim Merle as one of my personal heroes, but I respect his style and his body of work.

Here’s my favorite Merle song, which shows off a sly, sardonic, and subversive sense of humor; the way he says the words “Bubble Up” is a joy in itself:

67 and counting

Posted in Golden (State) Years, Whatever Else on March 30th, 2016 by bill

After the game, Craig Sager asked Steph Curry if he was tired. Steph found this concept amusing. 'Silly human,' goes the thought bubble.

Last night the Warriors won their 67th game of the season, matching their total from all of last year, against only 7 losses. From this point the math is pretty simple: If they finish the season 6-2 or better, they break the 1995-96 Bulls’ record for most wins in an NBA season.

After the game TNT’s talking heads all opined on whether the W’s should pursue the record or prioritize resting players to prepare for the playoffs. I found myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Isiah Thomas, who argued that there was no reason for the Warriors to blunt their own momentum by resting when no one appears all that tired or injured. Andre Iguodala has been getting enforced rest caused by a sprained ankle, and he is the only key playoff contributor over 30 (sorry, Bogut).

The Warriors are on a roll right now. I don’t see any compelling reason why they can’t keep that going through the rest of the regular season and on into the playoffs. Yes, injuries are always possible, and that would suck. But why live in fear?

Keep calm and Curry on, people.

Death of a Counterrevolutionary Man

Posted in Whatever Else on March 26th, 2016 by bill

Garry rocked the Bulb like nobody's business.

We lost one of the greats this week: comedian and TV star Garry Shandling. I feel this one more than most celebrity deaths, maybe because he had that special quality of seeming like a regular person who just happened to be on TV. It helped that he was funny-looking and always had bad haircuts; in comedy these things can be turned into assets, and Garry Shandling did it better than anyone.

I am either proud or ashamed to say that, despite the fact that he was responsible for not one but two truly innovative, self-aware TV shows (It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show), the first thing I thought of when I heard he died was this: