The Desiccation of Wit

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

WARNING: Read at your own risk if not a sports fan

Our Torts professor, after lecturing without student involvement up until halftime and then for fifteen minutes straight thereafter, just called on a boy named Jarrod, who pronounces his name like that guy in the Subway commercials, except that he pronounced it like the Knicks one-time first round draft pick Jarrod Mustaf, which made me think, for the first time in years, about Jarrod Mustaf, who as I recall played at Maryland, where he was good, and only temporarily in New York, where he was bad. Subsequently, he either went into the business of selling neckties or died in a tragic accident, but I'm probably confusing him with Malik Sealy, who did both, despite going to St. John's and never playing for the Knicks, unlike Jarrod Mustaf.

(Break to Wiki "Jarrod Mustaf")
(Wiki, surprisingly, has nothing. Googling 'Jarrod Mustaf')

Apparently I was wrong, though not wrong about Jarrod Mustaf's being notorious. From the abstract of one of the Google hits, I gleaned this tidbit: "He was traded to the KNICKS along with Charles Smith and Gary Grant for Mark Jackson, a #1 Pick and Jarrod Mustaf (wife killer)."

(I'm racking my brains to figure out who the 'He' in the previous sentence is. Incidentally, the emphasis of the font on 'Jarrod Mustaf' is not mine. My suspicion is that it was Bo Kimble.)

Thinking about Jarrod Mustaf makes me think, generally, about the Knicks' abysmal drafting habits, which makes me think of a very silly thing I did on Monday night. Given the choice of playing in a weekly soccer game, on the one hand, and staying put for the duration of a fantasy baseball draft, on the other hand, I irrationall chose the former, even though as a result I'm now stuck with a bunch of guys on my team for the next six months who I'm going to be unhappy about having. Thank you, Yahoo! Sports AutoDraft Applet. Any rational actor, of course, would've sacrificed this one week of soccer for the next six months of happiness and a minimum of angst. But no.

And as a result, here's what I've got.
1. Too many starting pitchers, and not the right ones. Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens, who between them pitched, perhaps, two of the greatest single games ever pitched...and who, between them, might not pitch a single game of any sort in the month of April, let alone for the entire season. But if only I could sign Todd Van Poppel and Ryan Dressendorfer, I could have a stable of Texas Longhorns instead of a pitching rotation. Hook 'em Horns!

2. Willy Taveras. Outstanding. Baseball Prospectus, in its trivially useful "Comparables" category, juxtaposes Willy Taveras with Ty Cline, Jim Wohlford and Jerome Walton. Excellent. The first two no one has ever -- ever -- heard of, while the third was, granted, the 1988 National League Rookie of the Year (and, of course, a 1989 Topps All-Star Rookie)...and then died. Ok, not in the way that Mrs. Jarrod Mustaf died, but let's not split hairs here.

3. Magglio Ordonez. Magglio does have an excellent first name. That much I know is true. I also know that he compares with Chet Lemon, who has both excellent first and last names, and (apocryphally) has been said to have hit a home run at old Tiger Stadium on a checked swing... all of which does nothing to make Magglio a contributing member of my team.

(At this point I should discuss my team, which stands to be mentioned repeatedly on this blog when I have nothing better to say. Currently it's called 'Ryan of Langerhans' after the Braves' outfielder of that name. His middle name is not "of", nor is that short for "outfield". Well, it is short for outfield, but putting it there would be like saying "Chuck (D-NY) Schumer", et on ne fait pas ca. If you still don't understand why we're called 'Ryan of Langerhans', especially given my hatred of the Atlanta Braves, then you should know that (a) our league mandates that all team names be (i) baseball related and (ii) punderful, and (b) that my baseball card collection these days consists entirely of guys with weird names and guys with funny facial hair. If you still don't understand, then look over here, in my pancreas.)

4. Joe Crede. Ok, I've gotta say, I think Baseball Prospectus is giving Crede the shaft here. (Incidentally, 'Crede' rhymes with 'Ally Sheedy', or would if Joe's first name was actually 'Sally' rather than 'Joe', in which case having him on my team would be even more dubiously useful.) Crede is compared with Jeff King, who notably was replaced at 3B on the Pirates in 1988 by the vainglorious Bobby Bonilla, who, at that point, had some right to be vain and was on the brink of a modicum of minimal glory (or would've been, if not for the Sid Bream - Francisco Cabrera tandem.) At which point, if I recall correctly, Jeff King had the unfortunate task of taking over at third for Mike Schmidt in Philly. Or not. Crede is compared, secondly, with Dale Berra, who wasn't a quarter of the player his father was, nor an eighth of the manager his father was, nor a sixteenth of the witticist his father (unwittingly was), nor a thirtysecond of the American treasure his father was. Now I don't know who Joe Crede's father was, but that's neither here nor there, either. Finally, Crede gets stacked up with Kevin Elster, who, despite having a very special place in my heart, is no Joe Crede. Elster did one good thing in his Mets career: When I was 10 or 11, and at a Mets-Dodgers night game with my best friend Isaac and our fathers, the game went into the 12th or 13th inning tied 4-4, thus nearing on 11 p.m., and Isaac's dad said we had to leave after that inning regardless of the score of the game, even though my dad and I never left until the game was absolutely over. And then, miraculously, Kevin Elster, who never did anything good as a Met, hit a game-winning home run onto the blue-and-white striped canopy covering the picnic area beyond the left field bullpen.

Baseball-reference.com reveals that this game in fact occurred on May 31, 1988, which means two things:
(1) I was in fact 8, not 10 or 11.
(2) I've remembered this about Kevin Elster for 18 years now, not 15 or 16.

What does this say about Joe Crede? Not a thing.


Monday, March 27, 2006

separated at birth?













Kevin Spacey (L) and Israeli prime ministerial candidate Ehud Olmert (R). Who is Keyser Soze?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

the best thing about living in new york (a test)

Multiple-choice. Stay within the bubble and use only a #2 pencil.

(a) You can go anywhere for $2. (Yes, this means Central Park and Coney Island. It also means the South Bronx.)
(b) Not having to own anything that says "Big Apple" on it or involves the words "New York" and a heart-shaped symbol.
(c) Finally, finally, when you're in a foreign country where they speak a foreign language simply being able to smile and nod when someone says: "Amrika? Noo Yawrk?" And then being able to simply walk away: no muss, no fuss, no guilt and no explanations.
(d) Our crazy people are both crazier and louder than your crazy people.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Before... and Laughter

Look what's he's done. Can you believe it?!? What a ridiculous pom-pom!

Monday, March 20, 2006

A very mean man just did a very, very bad thing to my head. This is why I never get haircuts. When I was in college I went to get a haircut in anticipation of a job interview. It was a telephone interview, but nevertheless. I went to the International Barber Shop in Princeton and the 'international' barber had apparently never seen Jewish hair before and kept cutting and cutting until there were no more curls to be seen. I just sat there, of course, like a Bonsai shrub. My roommate didn't recognize me. Really.

I never know what to say.

Today I made a return trip to the Ecuadorian establishment on 18th Street that serviced me adequately around New Year's time. The certificate on the wall from the City of New York licenses them to partake in 'Appearance Enhancement,' but not to 'Provide Services,' which is a dubious euphemism at best. I was happy with my previous haircut but my barber smelled very potently of something unnatural, though I can't remember quite what, so I was happy today to get the other guy.

As it turned out, he fancied himself quite the auteur des cheveux. After a cursory initial inquisition, he proceeded to completely ignore my wishes. Moreover, he actively discouraged my participation, telling me to 'shush' when I asked him whether, perhaps, he thought he'd returned to a certain area one too many times; brushing my hand out of the way when I deigned to run it through my erstwhile back locks.

He did ask me how I'd like the sides done -- not, of course, using any words, but with the universal barber shop semiotic of 'I'll-run-my-fingers-over-and-past-your-ears-and-nod-until-you-nod-back'.

I never know what to say.

My father and stepmother were just in Ecuador, on their way to the Galapagos. I don't think they were in Guayaquil. Want to hear about a Guy I'll Kill? You just heard it.

Before and After photos to come, once Blogspot stops rejecting them.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Surreal Meal

I'd like to thank the late George Orwell for clearing something up for me. You see, Salvador Dali -- by virtue of having painted our Official Blog Painting, is our Official Blog Painter. But someone suggested to me that having a confirmed shit-eater as our Official Blog Painter might be considered, in certain circles, untoward. Thankfully, Mr. Orwell dispelled any such concerns three score years ago: 1946 ‘G. ORWELL Crit. Ess. 122 Is he coprophagic or not? Dali adds firmly that he is not.

Whew. Glad that's over and done with.

ten thousand spoons (B < PL)

You've all fallen down on the job. You are not spreading The Word. You are letting the terrorists win.

It occurs to us that perhaps you aren't spreading The Word because you are uncertain about how to employ it. Thus, in order to aid you in your mission, I bring you Lex's "Platshamic." To be sung to the tune of "Ironic," just without all of the grammatical errors.

It's when the friend you bring
the host has never met
asks when the baby's due
and she's not pregnant yet.

Isn't it platschamic? Don't you think?

It's when Joe's dealing cards
and Chris asks after Lynn,
and you shift in your seat
because Joe's single again

Isn't it platschamic? Don't you think?

It's watching your classmate
fail when he's called upon
(unless you don't like him,
then schadenfreude has won).

Isn't it platschamic? Don't you think?
A little too platschamic. And yeah, I really do think.


You have a duty (B). Spread the word, because the risk (PL) is very, very high. And if you do not do your duty, your very security is at stake.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Thrill is Gone

Well, there it is. Or, isn't. Looks like the narcs over in WikiWorld don't accept the NietzsCheGuevara seal of approval as any sort of valid imprimatur of lexicographical authority.

As Leonard Cohen (Official Blog Canadian-Jew) would say,
Everybody knows that the war is over;
Everybody knows that the good guys lost

Alas. Alack.... or not! If it's a war Wiktionary wants, it's a war we'll give 'em. We'll take the fight to them like James Madison took the fight to Canada! We'll take the fight to them like Cumberland College took it to the Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech! Like McGovern took it to Nixon! They can't take our platscham away from us! Shame on you, Wiktionary, for your strict interpretation of the 'reality' of words. Oh -- and that's no place-filling shame, either. Just shame! Outright shame!

And yes -- this is a manifesto! Come and get us, you lazily moraled Open-Sourcers! Trotskyites! Trollops!

A pox upon your collective appendices!

get it while it's hot

Not one to rest on his laurels, Dan the Intrepid has taken it upon himself to fulfill the exhortation to go forth and spread the word. Thus, at least until Wiktionary takes it upon itself to demote our word for lack of supporting evidence, it can be found here: Platscham, canonized.

What can you do, you ask? (And we're so glad you do.) Start the campaign now to propagate the word. Use it; tell your friends to use it. Spread it far and wide and then, when Wiktionary threatens us with removal because Samuel Johnson didn't have the foresight to define platscham, we'll say: Wiktionary, I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours.