Tuesday, February 28, 2006

There are things I cannot do.
I won't make up a whole list of them, 'cause, well, who's got that much time that they can focus on failure non-stop. (Besides Red Sox fans?)
Now, a lot of the things I can't do, I firmly believe that it's not so much that I CAN'T do them. I just haven't tried. If I tried to do them, well, naturally I'd be a huge success. The Ford does not fail. At anything. (Think blogging, here, people.)
This is how I keep my sanity.
But, still, there are some things I just cannot do. Can. Not.
Like drawing.
I work in an industry where drawing comes in handy, at least in thumbnail size.
My thumbnail sketches look like boxes that laid down and died.
I come from a family known for its artistic skills. My childhood room was papered with drawings of cartoon characters infringed upon by my mom.
My cartoon characters, on the other hand, look like circles that laid down and died.
So, I'm consistent, at least.
And fully confident in my lack of drawing ability. So confident that the lack thereof doesn't hardly bother me.
And then I see stuff like this:

My first thought: "The Ford could do that. The Ford does not fail."
And then The Ford remembered that it takes drawing ability.
And that, The Ford can't do.
But still, really cool.
And sooner or later, The Ford will figure out a way to fake it.
(How else do you think The Ford got a blog going?)

Other things here of note:
Wil Wheaton's got a blog! Geekboy heaven! Young Master Ford's goal in life was to be some amalgamation of Wesley Crusher and Doogie Howser.
The Ford would pilot starships during the day, and then retire home with his improbably hot girlfriend and write about the lessons he'd learned on a monochrome screen.
So ...
One out of three ain't bad.

Anyway, Wil Wheaton's got a blog: http://wilwheaton.net/index.php
Oh wait, it doesn't work.
Try this one: http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/

And yes, it appears that The Ford is now e-stalking Wil Wheaton.

Told you I could do anything to which I set my mind.

A lesson for everyone, while I ponder my dining choices late at night...
In the way that things like this often happen ... I got an e-mail the other day from a girl I knew in high school, through an online student reunion site that -- because of its insane/inane insistence on both charging for access AND accepting advertisements -- shall remain nameless. (It rhymes with shmassmates-dot-bomb, fyi.)
I'm in a chat room with some folks, and they start talking myspace.com, which apparently the whole world is on. Bands, porn stars, high school geeks, TV shows, you name it, it's there. (In fact, this whole last paragraph is probably worthless. Who doesn't know about myspace that would be reading my blog? You, dear reader, you. At least, that's what I choose to believe.)
I mean, even I'm on there.
And trust me, when I show up to an online party, people, it's got one leg over the shark and it's falling fast.
So, I go on there to drop her a line, and she's left me a message to look her up on ... yep, myspace.
At the same time this whole myspace conversation is going on in the chat room.
Is it karma, or convergence? Or karma/convergence?
'Cause while FURY is The Official Emotion of The Official Blog of The Ford, we might have to start rethinking this thing. Karma/convergence (though not technically neither an emotion nor a word) may become a secondary Official Emotion of "Thus Sayeth The Ford."
Just as soon as somebody ponies up some cash. (You don't get official status with The Ford for nothing, people.)

And in other news...
Look, I love FX. In a perfect world, where I had all kinds of time to watch TV, it would get probably 25 percent of my TV viewing time. Great original shows, all my fave old Fox sitcoms, plus endless repeats of Buffy. Awesome.
But when they're trying stuff like this:
... maybe it's time to pull in the reigns.
Now, I'm not gonna diss Ice Cube. 'Cause I'm pretty sure he could eff me up.
But this whole thing just feels very...Fox-like.
And really, FX, I expected better from you. You're like the one person in the Fox family that's not a f--kup, spending his week drinking and whoring it up. No, you may occasionally pander to a common demoninator, but never the LOWEST common demoninator. I respected you for that. That's what TV should be.
But turning black folks white and white folks black, so they can discover that things are different on the other side of the fence?
I liked that the first time. When it was a Chapelle's Show sketch.
'Nuff said.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

So, the lesson we've learned from this weekend is that The Ford is no better than so many of the professional athletes he's so fond of watching at work and at home.
Give him just a little bit of money, and his performance immediately goes in the tank.
Yes, I was so sated from finally getting my direct deposit working, that I actually went two days without a blog entry. Luckily, the blogger Collective Bargaining Agreement ensures that the reader will have to take me to arbitration to get blogs for those days. Have fun, suckas!

And now, on with the show...

Gosh, that girl at the Olympic Closing Ceremony looks a lot like Avril Lavigne.

Only blonder.
Wait a sec....
What the...
When the....
When did this happen?
And why is she in Turin? Oh, right, the Canadians are hosting this thing in four years. Guess they're cross-branding.
(I, for one, refuse to call the 2010 Games the Vancouver Games. I don't truck with Canadian spellings, all those extra 'U's and what-not. It's Vancoover or nothing for The Ford.)
How much the world changes in just a couple of years.
Why, I remember, way back when, in 2004, pop culture was dominated by a bevy of redheads.
Alyson Hannigan had TV locked up on "Angel."
Lindsay Lohan was dominating Hollywood, showing a mix of youth, acting ability, and knockers the size of your head that hadn't been seen in decades. How hot was she? She put out a TERRIBLE record that same year, and everyone just agreed it never happened. You hear me? IT. NEVER. HAPPENED.

This my friends, is what gigantic teen ta-tas do to the world. Take notes.
Meanwhile, Avril Lavigne was dominating pop music. Everywhere one turned, one saw a young Canadian redhead redefining the way we thought of plaid, neckties, and conventional spelling rules.
Yes, it was a great year for redheads.
Of course, Ms. Hannigan is still dominating TV, not letting the cancellation of one series slow her down.
Ms. Lohan, well, you may have heard a little something about her, um, struggles. Suffice to say she's not dominating anything anymore, not even a wet T-shirt contest.
And Ms. Lavigne, after losing her battle to amend the English dictionaries with a new and horrendous spelling of "skater," trudged home to Canada (or, down south, as we here at Thus Sayeth The Ford call our northern partner in NAFTA.), never to be heard from again.
Until she became a blonde.
Of course, she also climbed past the jailbait age, put on a few pounds in just the right places, classed up her wardrobe quite a bit, and joined the Ford modeling agency. (But, sadly, not the The Ford modeling agency, whose motto is: "What camera?")
So now she's a full-fleged Canadian hottie. And blonde.

And the two things are not connected. Not at all.

Damn your Canadian wiles, Ms. Lavigne!

In other news:

The Ford finished re-reading Phillip Roth's "Great American Novel" for about the 10th time last night. (Yeah, The Ford's life isn't all hot women, Olympics and direct deposit. He's got quite the literary side.)

And so, Thus Sayeth The Ford presents:

"This Weekend in Alliteration" (brought to you by the VizEds chat room)

On tales from St. Louis' Mardi Gras celebreation this weekend, tales of a drunken, semi-naked man who'd just climbed a tree getting tackled by five women after a bar offered a free hurricane to any woman who brought in his underwear:

"A burgeoning bevy of beaded babes beat down a boozed-up bloke for his blue boxers."

Who says alliteration isn't helpful?

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

(Or at least until they deposit my next paycheck.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fordometer is still high, thanks to the wonders of direct deposit.
People, I have just gained 4-5 hours of my life back every week. Time that I shall now invest in a cable connection, and perhaps a new laptop, eventually.
Of course, because the Fordometer is like the moon and the tide -- even as it waxes, you know it must wane -- I'm now being driven nuts by the WSU men's hoops team.
I swartaGahd I keep thinking I'm going to give up on them, and then they go and lose by 2 points to a decent team. (Tonight, it was possibly NCAA-bound Cal.) And I go crazy in the newsroom. It's gotten to where I think that if they're going to lose, they could just lose by 30. But no, they've gotta play every damn team tough. Unless they only score 10 in the first half, like they did last week against Oregon.
A men's basketball team that's never won a damn thing in your lifetime is no reason to drink, right?

Links galore!
Yes, I've finally figured out that just providing some links is much easier than actual original content. I wonder if anyone else is hip to this. Hope not.

Anyway, Weirdness No.1:
The Asian Playboy.
No comment on the effectiveness of this dude's blog, though I'm mildly impressed by the hotness of the women the dudes are with. Of course, not being asian, perhaps his tips will not help me. I'm mostly curious to see how wooing foxy women is different for asian men.

Weirdness No. 2:
The Hair Hat
Yeah, I'm stealing this from a buddy's group blog. I don't care. It's amusing:
A.) For the Hair Hat itself, and ...
B.) For the apparently phonetic quoting of the man with the amazing hair. I can't think of a single paper in America that would quote anyone quite this unintelligibly, much less a black man. (The only people who get free passes on talkin' folksy are old, white, old college football coaches. And even their stuff gets cleaned up slightly.)
It's a must-read, though you might wait until you get home, unless you want your coworkers "reading" along as you sound out the quotes. (IS there a Jamaican "Speak 'n' Say," by the way?)

Weirdness No. 3
OK, I think Michael Huff is fucking with anyone reading his blog. I think. Then again, he went to Texas. When's the last time you heard of a Texas player known for his superb sense of humor. So maybe he does wantfor nothing more than to buy an IHOP. I certainly won't stand in his way; it's the little dreams that lubricate our lives. Me, I'm holding out for a Waffle House.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

People, The Fordometer (The Official Mood-measuring Tool of The Official Blog of The Ford) is revving pretty high today. Sure, The Ford's gone so long without a haircut that he now has a semi-permanent cowlick, regardless of how he combs his hair. Sure, he's got a headlight out on his truck, restricting him to walking at night for the timebeing.
But one huge thing happened that has his world a-rockin'!

Direct deposit.

Now, it's not official. But the paycheck I normally receive on Wednesdays (cashable on Thursday) was replaced today by a slip saying it was NOT a check. I won't entirely believe it until I see the fake money in my account, but I am feeling pretty confident right not.
And, now, onto The Fury (The Official Emotion of The Official Blog of The Ford).

OK, we're breaking the pattern that I seem to have set the last few days. No hot women, today. (Again, The Ford's blog accurately, but sadly, represents The Ford's life.)

My favorite story of the day: Why skaters glide across ice.
It's reassuring to know that there are still SOME things science isn't so clear on, and that one of them is ice.
Makes all that time I spent at freshman honor roll mixers staring at the ice in my drink and pondering the chemical reactions causing the sides of my glass to perspire really seem worthwhile.
Or, at least, relatively sane.

My second favorite story of the day: The Nationals' possible name change.
Now, most of this story is crap. Just a semi-boring business story about how baseball screwed up and didn't get anything in writing before announcing the name of the Nats. But i the sports section. Sooner or later, someone will hit the magic number in negotiations, and the problem will go away.
The thing that makes this story notable is the bit at the end, talking to Tony Tavares, where he nonchalantly threatens a move unless the city council folds in their fight against the team's lease.
Regardless of what I think about the city council's fight (against a deal they already voted for), this seems like a really shitty place for Tavares to bring up the fight, even if he's "chuckling."
Cause here's the thing. I remember what it was like to have a baseball team threaten to move. It's a painful feeling for fans, especially to be reminded of it every day. And after a while, a long interval of threats and posturing like Tavares is doing here, after a while, you just don't care anymore. You're ready to see the team leave. That's how teams destroy their fan base. Not the moving. The threats to move.
Yeah, I know, I'm making Robert Irsay and Art Modell seem like good guys, but at least when they moved, they didn't gut their cities' fan base with a scorched-earth effort to not seem like the bad guys.
Meanwhile, you have teams like the Seahawks, who threatened to move so often in the mid-90s -- and actually did move to L.A., before Taglibue put his foot down -- and then wondered why fans didn't seem particularly enthusiastic about the team for another decade.
(The Sonics are doing this, now, too, making me wonder if anyone actually pays attention to history in the Northwest.)

Third favorite story of the day: Bret Boone's hair.
Boone, for years the Mariners' answer to Johnny Damon (a good, occasionally great, player who gets all the ladies' hearts beating with his cuteness and frequent hairstyle changes) is now in New York, a city fully prepared to devote its attention to him. Whether he's good or bad.
This should be interesting. Well, that, or horrifying. But for now, the honeymoon's on, and Bret "Christian Kane played me in a movie that had Angelina Jolie" Boone's got a new hair color. Rejoice.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yes, soon it will be time for all the nations of the world to come together in harmony and contest their differences on the athletic field.
What's that you say?
They're doing that right now?
The Olympics?
Screw that.
I'm talking World Baseball Classic.
Are you juiced?

Yeah, me neither.
I've tried stirring up the jingoistic juices, tried making snide comments whenever I'm watching the Olympics -- "Yeah, that's just what I'd expect from an Estonian...."
But I don't think it's working. It's just not possible to dislike most of the Olympics' dominant countries. Germany, maybe. Austria's getting easier, the more they cheat and appear to have completely insane coaches on the payroll. But Norway? Canada? It ain't happening.
But baseball? I care about baseball. I should be able to get it up for the WBC, right?
Um, no.
Let's start with the logo ---------------------------------------->

Damn thing looks they struck some sort of tie-in with Simon

Of course, the whole tournament appears to be nothing more than an excuse to sell a ton of overpriced gear.
Well, jerseys are a decently affordable $110. (Apparently, MLB wasn't paying attention to the whole Turin/Torino debate when they let Italy go by whatever they wanted to be called. Not to mention, why do the Italian jerseys look so much like the Dodgers? Is Lasorda running the team? Hmmm.) --------->
But the hats?
The hats are $35!
That is a bit too much money for me to show my pride in the U.S. -- or any other country.
Especially when some of the countries have, um, interesting hat designs.
There's the Japanese, who despite having one of the most distinctive flags in the world, get stuck with a simple "Japan" in script----------------------------------------------------------->
Nothing based on the flag. No cool Kanji characters for the country name.
Then there's the Chinese, who apparently are stuck in the middle of early-1990s California, with their insistence on using Old Style as their font of choice.
Canada apparently has something on the folks in MLB's design shop. Their hat didn't turn out too bad. Though, again, one of the most recognizable flags in the world, wasted in an effort to get a black hat. I think there's still a maple leaf in there somewhere.

All I know is that it's a damn good thing I'm already a baseball fan. Cause I'll watch. But I won't be happy about it. (Unless the Austrians put together a team and put Walter Mayer in charge. The drives to the field alone would be worth the effort.

And speaking of the Olympics, it's more hot Olympic athlete info:

Here's the U.S. curling team -- the
Curl Girls -- in all their glory: http://curlgirls.cpotter.net/

Yep. Hats and hot women I'll never meet. That would be my life, right there.

So, I'll be the first person to admit I've been a little lost in the world of the Winter Olympics for the past 10 days. And for the past 4 days, it seems like it's been all ice dancing, all the time. (My nutsack finally started to descend again after tonight's medal ceremony.)

And of course, as we in the newsroom scour the wire for photos to supplement our photog shooting the event, we're constantly shocked by the number of female ice dancers truly skanking it up. No flesh-colored bodysuits at these events.

In fact, watching the event feels a lot like watching your best friend's brother and sister make out. You're not really appalled, but you know you should be.

Anyway, the whole week, we've been on guard for any stray nipplage that might make the paper, running as many photos as we do of the event.

Our vigilance did not go unrewarded; no uncloched titties ran in the Freep. Hooray.

Of course, this photo did move on the wire:{AA372758-E3A9-419A-9EB1-BAACE03054D6}.pobj.MINI.jpg

That would be Russia's Maxim Shabalin carrying Oksana Domnina on Monday night. Figures it would happen and somehow a Maxim would be involved. Especially considering I had Domnina privately ranked as the hottest ice dancer. (What? I've got a lot of time between deadlines this week to stare at ice dancers.)

See -- this is the stuff that would make guys fans of ice dancing. But does it make the TV? Nooooooooo....

Monday, February 20, 2006

Have you ever stumbled into a Web site that, while not ENTIRELY inappropriate for the workplace, you certainly wouldn't want anyone to see you were looking at over your shoulder?

This was mine today: The many looks of Alyson Hannigan

Now, I dig Alyson Hannigan. She has been in my personal top 5 list well before she was the "This one time, at band camp" girl.

I will defend her hotness to anyone who even brings up her name with a vehemence that often even surprises me. But today, when I found this link (on, oddly enough, a story about the death of a character actor from The Godfather) I couldn't look at more than a couple of shots in the newsroom. Not because any of them are particularly risky.

This is MSNBC, after all.

But just because I really didn't want to go through the whole rigamaroll of explaining/defending my infatuation.

Because that sort of thing goes so much better in a blog.


On another, vaguely related topic: Is there any comparison more used -- fairly, more often than not -- than "She looks like that 'Band camp' girl." I think I've heard this used about 30 times in the past two years, most recently on uber-teen skater Emily Hughes.

Who does look, a little, I guess, like Alyson Hannigan.

But seriously, can we not find a better comparison for these girls?

Their only shared characteristics seem to be reddish, or dark, shoulder-length hair, a big smile, and big cheekbones.

Can we, as storytellers and conversationalists, not be more exact, people?

If for no one else, then for poor Ms. Hughes and Ms. Hannigan, who will forever share the experience of being linked, fairly or unfairly, in people's minds.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

As opposed as I am in principle to linking to another blog based out of Detroit... (The Ford is The Source for all news Detroiter, don'cha'know?)

This one's decent, and he does a better job of recapping the whole party scene during the XL hoopla here. (A fact I blame on me being a doof with a humongous playoff beard and on my working instead of actually going to any of the parties -- even the ones on Saturday night, when I was off.)

So here y'are:

Not to mention, he provides original photos. (But you'll still come back here and visit lil' ol' me now and then, right? Cause Lord knows, I'm cranking out the crappy copy. And sooner or later, I might even find a hook.

Because I know everyone likes a good brain-teaser (and because I'm too lazy to find a Web link to write about), it's time for the "Welcome to Detroit" version of:
"Bar ... or titty bar?"

Here's 30 Detroit clubs. Can you guess which ones feature skimpily dressed women prancing around ... and which ones are strip clubs?

(Disclaimer: I haven't actually been to all of these places, whether they be bar or titty bar. But I hear things. And see things. Y'know?)

1.) Anchor Bar
2.) The Grind
3.) Diamonds & Pearls Social Club
4.) The Town Pump
5.) The Sunset Strip
6.) Bouzouki's
7.) Fishbone's
8.) Harry's
9.) Slows
10.) BT's
11.) The Parthenon Club
12.) Hard Body
13.) The Zoo
14.) The Toy Chest
15.) Mosaic
16.) The Apartment
17.) The Flight Club
18.) The Old Shillelagh
19.) The Landing Strip
20.) The Crazy Horse
21.) Marilyn's on Monroe
22.) The End Zone
23.) Elysium Lounge
24.) The Magic Stick
25.) Club Venus
26.) Sting
27.) Envy
28.) The Post
29.) Cas
30.) Bookies

The answers below are tiny and in light gray type. You may need to copy and paste the whole block to be able to read them well.

Good luck!

1.) Anchor Bar -- Bar
2.) The Grind -- Titty bar (across the street from my building!)
3.) Diamonds & Pearls Social Club (Appears to be a bar on my block, though the name, the two-story nature of the club, and the darkened windows makes me wonder.)
4.) The Town Pump -- Bar (Though allegedly packed with hot bartenders)
5.) The Sunset Strip -- Titty bar
6.) Bouzouki's -- Titty bar (appropriately named for Greektown, don't ya think?)
7.) Fishbone's -- Bar
8.) Harry's -- Bar
9.) Slows -- Bar
10.) BT's -- Titty bar
11.) The Parthenon Club -- Titty bar (Though one with a reportedly solid kitchen and a big-ass jumbotron screen outside)
12.) Hard Body -- Titty bar (Or so I assume from the 30-foot-tall woman in neon on the sign)
13.) The Zoo -- Little from column A, little from column B (bottom floor is regular bar, upstairs is titty bar)
14.) The Toy Chest -- (Come on, you KNOW this is a titty bar.)
15.) Mosaic -- Bar (Though one with some of the hottest women I've ever seen waiting to get inside)
16.) The Apartment -- Bar (also located tantalizingly close to home for me)
17.) The Flight Club -- Titty bar (investor in this full-page color ad in the Freep and the News during Super Bowl week, featuring the ravishing Tera Patrick:

18.) The Old Shillelagh -- Bar
19.) The Landing Strip -- Titty bar, and apparently affiliated with The Flight Club
20.) The Crazy Horse -- Titty bar
21.) Marilyn's on Monroe -- Bar (with giant posters of Marily Monroe everywhere)
22.) The End Zone (Actually, this one's a trick question; it's actually a restaurant catering to people pouring out of downtown bars and titty bars. But, still, it SOUNDS like a titty bar, don't it?)
23.) Elysium Lounge -- Bar
24.) The Magic Stick -- Bar (renowned for its live acts, including, you guessed it, The White Stripes)
25.) Club Venus -- Titty bar (and the southern-most border of the hookers' preferred area on Michigan Avenue, from what I've gathered on some late-night food runs)
26.) Sting -- Titty bar (like so many others, also on Michigan Avenue. For some reason, the sheer number of cars with "rims" parked out front frightens me. I may be a racist. Perhaps I need to check this out.)
27.) Envy -- Bar (where all the young ladies like to come downtown and shake their laffy taffy for free)
28.) The Vault -- Bar
29.) Cas -- Bar
30.) Bookies -- Bar

Friday, February 17, 2006

So, most of the Olympic conversation in the newsroom and the bars, at least from the folks not actively working Olympic stuff, goes something like this:
Coworker 1: "Hey, who's that?"
Me: "Who?"
Coworker 1: "That chick on your screen?"
Me: "Oh, that's Tanith Belbin/Gretchen Bleiler/Emily Hughes/Jennifer Heil."
Coworker 1: "Well, she's hot."
Me: "Yeah."
Coworker 1: "No, I mean it, she's totally hot."
Coworker 2: "Yeah, totally."

After about the third time this exact conversation popped up, I decided that it was OK to judge and root for Olympic athletes solely on their hotness.

And in the spirit of that, I present this slideshow, thoughtfully pulled together by the good folks at NBC, which has absolutely no interest in presenting the most photogenic athletes over and over and over again:

Note the lack of Lindsey Jacobellis, who managed to get major sponsorship/commercial deals despite a lack of a medal before the Games, and not being hot. Cute, in a little sister way, at best. Go figure. Even NBC, which insists that Sasha Cohen is mindbendingly hot and model-like (she's not) isn't pushing Jacobellis' attractiveness down our throats. (Note: It's not that she's bad-looking. She's just not HOT.)

Among my personal faves, figure skaters Carolina Kostner -- whose old relationship with figure skater Stephane Lambiel (a dude) made me curse him when he won silver this year -- Fumie Suguri, Yelena Sokolova, Alpine skier Tina Maze and the entire U.S. women's curling team.

Tanith Belbin almost makes my list. In most of the photos on the slide show, and most of the photos I've seen elsewhere of her in normal clothing and makeup, she makes my personal hot list. But there's something about the clothes and makeup she skates in that just turn me off.

These athletes are like one-night stands for sports fans; we just met Ms. Belbin in a bar called Torino, we've listened to her tales of new-found American citizenship, checked out her bod, and, well, we're liking what we're seeing and hearing. And after spending every waking moment of the next two weeks together, we'll go our separate ways no worse off than we were before, but perhaps with some crazy tales.

I'm feeling especially secure in this belief after being forced to watch ice dancing twice today. This is a crap sport. They don't even allow jumping or spinning. But it's mildly watchable just for the hot women. Especially since they've apparently relaxed the clothing rules, so some of the women can skank it up even more. While the men are left to wear tuxedos, for the most part.

A crap sport after my own heart, at least.

I don't know if something is screwed up with me, or with the NFL.

Tonight, in a random conversation, someone brought up a guy named Wade Wilson. (a designer at the Post-Dispatch, by the way.)
My first thought was this guy:

Which is weird because, looking at the stats, he was not good enough to have stuck in my mind for roughly 10 years. He wasn't even a star of any of my fave Tecmo Bowl teams OR my hated Tecmo Bowl teams (which is why I still remember/honor/hate Heywood Jeffires, Randall Hill and Steve DeBerg)

It's especially weird when you consider that I really should have thought of this guy first:
Especially since I was just reading a Deadpool compilation the other day.

Upon further review, it's probably my mind that's addled. No way the NFL has taken over my brain that badly.
Even David Stern couldn't get folks to remember mediocre players for 10 years after they retired. Could he?

(Edited to correct Heywood Jeffires' name. I now feel slightly bad about all the years I mocked Tecmo for misspelling his name. I'm pretty sure they misspelled other names, but still ...)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Next up in my quest to fill a blog without ever leaving my office:

My trip to the vending machine!

Overall, pretty uneventful, except for my discovery of these, um, sweet ladies staring up at me from a pack of Twinkies:

That's right. They're the Race Divas. http://www.twinkies.com/racedivas.asp
A little more investigation led me to this:
Hostess is using them to pimp out Twinkies. Or is that using Twinkies to pimp them out?
You can probably recognize the gal out front -- everybody's favorite auto racing poster girl, Danica Patrick.
But who's that behind her?
On the left, Melanie Troxel is a racer on the NHRA circuit (its motto: our fast cars are more phallic than your fast cars) with some apparently impressive credentials, if you get excited about folks who drive really, really fast for 10 seconds.
More interesting (to me, at least) is that Melanie, 33, is not a movie person, but does like "House" and "Grey's Anatomy" on TV. Also, her favorite Hostess treat is Ding Dongs.
I. Can. Avoid. Making. A. Joke. About. That.
Really, I can.
The other chick? That's Leilani Munter, a would-be up-and-comer in stock car racing.
She turns 30 on Satuday! That's right in my wheelhouse! Happy birthday, Leilani!
Other notable Leilani-istics...
(Are we close enough, after my birthday shoutout, to be on a first-name basis? Should I be calling these Munter-istics? Who can say?)
She's really petite (5-foot-4, 105 pounds) and loves Napoleon Dynamite and Office Space, as well as the Daily Show.
Apparently, Hostess is running a dating service for yours truly.
Damn! She prefers Cupcakes in the Hostess world. Ours is a love not meant to be.

OK, all kidding aside... (well, most kidding aside -- I know where my bread is buttered.)
They're also pushing an instant win game called, (I am not making this up...) "Treats & Tracks" This is only slightly less wrong than their original name, "Fruit pies and fur pies."

By the way, I am not an instant winner.
I got this highly personal message from Danica, though, so I'm feeling good about it:

Maybe if the whole "King of All Media-Involving-Words" thing doesn't work out, I can get something going with her. Her favorite treat is HoHo's...



OK, well, it's probably not "breaking" if it's about a TV program, or if I myself read about it somewhere else, or if I have it at all, but still...


At the very bottom: "Real World" is filming in Detroit! See, Detroit's a cool, hip, happening city. Or else they're hoping for the first gunshot victim on a TV reality show. (I keed, I keed.)
I must find these folks, if only for the hope of hooking up off-camera with the drunk, not-quite-hot-and-fully-aware-of-it girl they're sure to have on the show.

Hmmm... they better not be living out in Ferndale or Royal Oak...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I now understand how other people must feel when I go on and on about competitive eating on TV.
Dog Show! I'm amazed my ears aren't bleeding after listening to some coworkers discuss how a "favorite" in Westminster got screwed in the judging.

I think we all have to agree that the only non-sports worth watching in a sports department are:
1.) Spelling bees
Everyone likes spelling bees. Especially at a newspaper; they've got the spectre of competition applied to spelling, something we do every day. Hooray.
2.) Great Outdoor Games
Perhaps not as much of a consensus, but events like the Lake Jump for dogs and the Log Rolling for humans are entrancing.
3.) Cheerleading competitions (preferably colleges)
Women get something they're familiar with, and they can comment on dress, hairstyles and smile width. Men get young, nubile women bouncing around and making random loud noises.

Everybody wins.

More news from the pages of the Freep:


I bring this up for 2 reasons:
1.) Joey Cheek is a pretty good name, though it really should be Joey Cheeks. Everyone's been making "Is he in the Mafia?" jokes all day, and I'm still not tired of them. That's when you know a joke's got legs.
2.) It's a really cool statement, since I never thought of giving $25 bucks to this charity, much less $25,000. Of course, now, when I get my next paycheck put into my account (no spending until direct deposit begins!), I'm gonna shell out a few bucks for it. Seems like a good thing to do.

In other Olympic news: how great was the finish to the men's Alpine combined today? Bode buggers things, but the U.S. still gets the gold.
I'm a little disappointed in my man Daron Rahlves, but I'll put up with a lot as long as Bode gets put in his place. And yes, I'm oddly vehement about this, considering my usual enjoyment of athletes who give good quote.
But Bode always seemed a bit calculating, especially when he'd say things right before signing a big Nike deal. Hmm...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Two unrelated, Ford-related items to pass along. (And really, where better to read about them than straight from The Ford's fingers?)

1.) I say they Rochambeau each other for the title.

I mean, seriously. Does this really matter? Will knowing they got laid off by the "popular" company make a lick of difference to the 60,000 folks who are going to be laid off by GM and Ford? Has anyone ever bought a car because it came from "America's most popular car manufacturer"? I know when I'm dropping $25K - $40K of my hard-earned cash, I make my decision based solely on the decision of 2.5 million other people.
Now, I faced this decision a few years ago, when buying my truck. I was inclined to go with Ford, mostly out of name loyalty. (yes, I won't listen to 2.5 million people, but my dumb-ass name is nearly a deal-breaker.)
But I still compared Chevy and Ford (as well as the Nissan Frontier, which I'm still drooling over) in numerous categories, not the least of which, y'know, cost, and, y'know, comfort.
And in the end, I was a traitor to whatever tenuous genetic link I might have with THOSE Fords, and bought Chevy.
Truck's lasted 4 years and still feels brand-new to me at times. And it kept me alive -- and drove another 500 miles -- when I hit a concrete culvert at about 70 miles an hour. That's good stuff, folks.

2.) Competition!

I've long been a fan of Googling my own name to spy on the lives of other "Ryan Ford"s throughout the country, imagining that some genetic trait passed along through one's name means that I could do what they do. There's the Ryan Ford who's in the A's system, the Ryan Ford who's now editor-in-chief of The Source, and even a Ryan Ford who's a graphic designer. (I think he's better technically and I'm better and working with words and the whole package. But I'm biased.)
This is not about them.
No, I have new competition for the role of The Ford in Detroit.
Henry Ford III. http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060213/BUSINESS01/602130333
Normally, I wouldn't care too much. He's one of them; I'm not. There's ALWAYS been a Henry Ford.
But this one's coming here. I might actually have to deal with him, in some far-fetched future world where our lives collide.
So, that's problem No. 1.
Problem No. 2: He's 26.
I'm 26, too. I can only imagine that we both went from twinkles in our fathers' eyes to twinkles in our mothers' wombs around the same time. Which. Freaks. Me. Out.
Before I learned of The Third's existence, I could content myself with the knowledge that while I might not be The Only Ford in town (who's up-and-coming, at least), I was probably The Only Ford of my generation. Here. Who could be considered an up-an-comer.
(Yes, it's an odd deliniation. And yet, it's one that keeps me sane while driving past the Ford Building onto the Ford Freeway, then onto Ford Road, past the Ford plant. When you encounter your name approximately 30 times a day, you can deal with it how you want.)
I sense a battle royale with cheese coming up.
Stay tuned.

(And yes, I did just link to two stories from the paper i work for. One of these days, I'll go out onto that Internet I keep hearing so much about and provide some more far-reaching links, but for today, I'll just hang out on Freep.com, thankyavurrymuch.)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

If I ruled the world, you'd be able to organize TV channels by when they're useful. Like, your CNNs and ESPNs AND maybe even your HGTVs would be next to each other, in the "morning" bloc.
Your movie channels, networks and Comedy Centrals would be together in the "evening" bloc.
And then you'd have channels like OLN, in the "converation-starter" bloc.
Now, ordinarily, OLN is crap, worth watching only for hockey. But after about 9 p.m. Eastern, it gets weird. And I mean weird.
Rodeo starts things off. Not so weird in-and-of itself, until you see the cowboys who, um, are a little odd. THEY'RE WEARING HELMETS.
I didn't even know you were ALLOWED to wear helmets in rodeo.
And yet, there they are, wearing helmets with a full face cage. I keep expecting Dominik Hasek to come out and kneecap one of the bulls with his stick.
They follow this up with one of the most surreal shows I've ever seen, "Ted or Alive."
Basically a Survivor clone, except there's no real drama. I watched for 2 minutes, turned away, then looked back just in time to see someone bash a chicken's head against a rock. And then someone else did that. And then someone else.
Now, I can't hear what's being said, so there's absolutely no context here. It's just 15 minutes of people bashing in chickens' brains, and me saying "what the fuck?"
Ordinarily, it'd be horrific TV. But without the sound, you're just left waiting for some sort of visual explanation. Crazy.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Anyone reading this blog from start to finish who didn't know me would think I'm an angry, angry man. Luckily, everyone reading this knows me.
But just in case, I now feel the need to prove I am, on occasion, a happy-go-lucky kinda guy.
So, here's what happened today to make me think that the world does not entirely suck.
1. I am now flush in e-cash.
It's taken five weeks for my direct deposit here in Detroit to kick in. In fact, it still hasn't started, necessitating a 90-mile drive to Fremont, OH to deposit a couple of paychecks in the nearest branch of my supposedly nationwide bank. Of course, since I'd waited so long to do so, baited by the twin promises of direct deposit and a supposedly easy way to wire cash into my account, I put it off until my account was tapped.
And then some.
I'd carried a negative balance for so long, the bank wouldn't even cover overdrafts (and was charging me $7 a day for the negative balance, to boot). My phone was dead, the victim of no e-cash, and I was suriviving on the few bucks I'd gotten when I cashed my first paycheck at a check-cashing place.
In short, things were looking grim for your friendly neighborhood 50-inch-web-slinger.

Keep in mind: I HAD money. It was just in the form of pieces of paper NOT accepted at McDonalds. I'd planned for having no way to put money into my account for a couple of weeks. Had enough money in my account to cover a month's worth of bills, even taking moving expenses into account. (Eating junk food does have some advantages.) And yet, I was tapped.

Even after depositing the money in Fremont (following a long, harrowing drive that took an extra hour, thanks to a blizzard in South Detroit and a collapsed freeway in Ohio), the bank wouldn't allow me to spend it for a few days. My account had been, for all rights and purposes, dead for so long, they couldn't trust random paychecks, especially for large, unexpected amounts. So still I went without phone/cable/Internet, hoping no dying relatives or major news events would necessitate a sudden phone call. I did not sleep well last night, so convinced was I that some family member had keeled over.

Finally, I come into work today, bright and early to finish off some Olympics advance work technically before the Games began. Checked my account online. Lo and behold! I have non-cash. Never have I been so happy to have to visit an ATM. I have phone service, and soon I will have cable. Life is good.

2.) Pierre-Marc Bouchard
I play fantasy hockey. Well, I play a lot of fantasy sports, but it's really hockey season for me right now. I'm in a league where my continued success has made it harder to drop and pick up players -- half the teams just wait until I drop someone, and drop their scrubs and pick up my guy. My waiver-wire finds have grown ever scarcer.
But last night, whoo, last night, I needed a left wing. Some decent options, most of them guys who didn't ring a bell, almost all of them with similar stats, playing bad opponents tonight.
So, I picked the guy who was eligible at the most positions. (Flexibility is to be treasured, both in fantasy sports and fantasy otherthings.)
I picked Pierre-Marc Bouchard, of the Minnesota Wild.
Now, granted, it's only been one game for me. It's far too soon to make a judgment about his overall worth as a player.
But tonight?
2 goals, 2 assists (with 2 power-play points to boot.)
That, my friends, is a good night. Probably the best night Mssr. Bouchard will have in his NHL career.
And he was in my starting lineup at the time.

3.) As I was walking into work, I had to stop at a convienience store to break a $100 bill (I know, my life is tough -- see post above). Sure, I had to spend like 15 minutes waiting for the manager to come to the front of the store and unlock a drawer so I could get $96 dollars of change at 11 a.m. And that sucked, especially as more and more folks behind me became concerned over what I could possible be doing to hold up the smooth movement of the line.
But as part of that ridiculous weight for change that I ended up not needing, now that I can use my debit card once more, I ended up with a bottle of Peach Faygo pop.
Now, Peach Faygo pop may be the most-ridiculous sounding name for a beverage ever. But it's taste? Not ridiculous at all. Unless it's ridiculously good. I can't decide. Best pop I've had in months.
Another small thing that makes all the crap I occasionally have to put up with, well, not worth it, but at least managable.

Damn, it feels good to be a Peach Faygo Gangsta.

And now, I'm off to get a beer.

Later, yall.

Friday, February 10, 2006

So, I've been watching the Olympic opening cermony for what seems like 6 hours. (It only gets better on a 6-hour tape delay, NBC!), and this comes to mind.
What the hell is wrong with Italy that they couldn't fill three hours with their own damn music. 90 minutes of disco and rehashed and remixed 80's hits for the teams to walk into the stadium? You can find guys willing to strap flamethrowers to their heads and skate in formation, and some dude to dance around in a mohawk and a leotard, but you can't get a couple of local boys to compose some nice, respectful, perhaps-even-dramatic, music?
You're done. Sure, your Games will be good. You may even entertain some folks with your native charm and friendliness, you romantic language and reputation as "The Detroit of Italy." (Though something tells me this guy: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/13840701.htm might dispute some of Italy's tourist-friendly image)
But you're done. No more big honkin' international sporting competitions for you. No more tourist dollars. No more $8.50 paninis (Did you check out the link? Then that makes sense.)
Cause if at least 500 years of pretty decent civilization hasn't given you anything better than borrowing "YMCA" from us, you should not be part of the global community. I mean, Europe, you're on notice: Dislike us. Distrust us. Shut us out of the leadership of the IOC. Fine. But stay the hell away from our disco music.

Along these lines, I'm still burning over the NFL's insane decision to relegate the Motown Sound to the opening act for the Super Bowl. National anthem was fine -- they worked 'Retha in there, so they live. But importing the Rolling Stones? This is America. You're hosting a Super Bowl in a city that's had almost everything taken from it in the past three decades, save its musical heritage, and you can't have STEVIE FRICKIN' WONDER as your halftime act? The Four Tops? The Temptations? The pretenders who are pretending to be The Four Tops and The Temptations?
Who wouldn't love that?
I mean, if we've now committed to having halftime acts older than the actual game, let's try to get ones that are relevant to the town the game's in.
And, oh yeah ... Phoenix? Good luck next year when the NFL dusts off the Platters.

While we're on the topic of pop culture (though, really, are we ever off it?), here's a secretly fun 'blog-game for after-work time: "Madonna-Mia!"

How it works:
Search Google Images for "Madonna"
Then count how many photos show her:
1. Nipples, either covered or not.
2. As a brunette
3. Bending over, or otherwise showing excessive clevage.
4. Making out with Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera
5. Legs in fishnet or shear stockings.
6. During her "Blonde Amibition" or "Vogue" tours.
7. Only her face, thanks to their tight crops.
8. Tight crops.
9. In multiple categories.
10. In none of these categories.
11. Not in the photo at all, but there is some chick who mothered the Christ Child. Go figure.

If you're bored, put them in chronological order.
If you're enterprising, take bets on which of these categories has the most pics.
If you're bold, ponder which of these you'd consider masturbating to.
Then discuss.
(And don't say I never gave ya nothin'.)

In the spirit of NBC's Scrubs approach -- "We know this is good stuff, but we don't have a use for it, so we'll just double up the servings until people are paying attention or we're depleted." -- it's Random Thought Of The Day (or RTOTD, for short) No. 2.

A trip to the snack machine

Why are chip manufacturers spending so much money on making chips that taste like other things? Just in my workplace's two upstairs vending machines, there are chips made to simulate the experience of eating: baked potatoes, potato skins, mozzarella, nacho cheese, pork, inexactly barbecued meat, jalapenos, salsa, ranch dressing, and, finally, dill pickles.
If one wanted to, one could compose an entire meal of potato and corn chips that simulate the four major food groups, and yet offer none of the nutritional benefits of these foods.
Why? These chips don't even satisfy you if you've got a craving for cheese or salsa or a baked potato. They will only leave you wanting the real thing.
Why are there so many varieties?
Now, granted, I'll frequently go with flavored chips over plain ol' Ruffles. Which leads to the other question: What the eff is wrong with ME?
I've never had a moment when I was eating regular chips -- Lay's, Ruffles, Kettle Chips -- and said to myself, "Y'know, I wish these chips tasted more like pork or pickles." I was just, generally, satisfied with the potato taste, and the crunch.
I think this, at least, is because "the flavoreds" don't actually taste like pork or pickles. They're in a bag marked pork or pickles, and they taste different than regular chips, so we're willing to pretend they resemble pork or pickles.
And thus does our politeness preserve the jobs of thousands of research chemists (who fake the flavors in the recipe) and graphic designers (who fake the flavors on the bag) in the food industry.
We're not eating "O'Keely's Artificially Flavored Cheddar & Bacon Potato-Skins-Flavored Potato Crisps" because we like them, we eat them because we have to, or else our economy will collapse.
And then, the terrorists win.

Another random thought hit me in the bar last night -- and then again today while reading various Grammy stories. (That's how you know the idea is good: if it leaves you once in a drunken stupor, then comes back sober. Ideas are like women that way, I suppose.)

We've all had those moments where we meet someone and think, "There but for the grace of God goes I."
I began to wonder last night if Madonna ever feels that way about Michael Jackson.
I mean, lets take a trib in the Way-Back Machine, all the way to 1987, when MJ and Madge were the King and Queen of pop.
MJ: I can't think of too many 3-album sets that rival "Off the Wall," "Thriller," and "Bad" for top-to-bottom pure listenability. Even now, you're in a bar and one of the many, many singles from these albums comes on, and you can't help but move.
Madonna: The albums aren't as solid from beginning to end, but there's plenty of great singles and lesser known tracks.
Time goes on, and both make some REALLY, REALLY bad career moves.
Michael retreats further into his "Leave Me Alone" mode while Madonna advance into her "Uber-Slut" mode. Both experiment with their looks, are caught in sex scandals, demonstrate a propensity for crotch-grabbing, pop out a couple of kids, marry celebrities, and make several albums that for the most part, well, suck.
And yet, almost 20 years later, Madonna's pretty much beloved, while Michael's just happy not to be in jail on a kiddie-raper beef.
Now granted, it's a lot easier to make a comeback from "erotic literature" featuring Prince than it is from being arrested and going on trial for child molestation, even if one is found innocent.
But is that the only reason one's career is in the crapper, and the other one's isn't?
Is it that Michael KEEPS churning out the same ol' crap while Madonna constantly reinvents herself with new and generally good albums?
Is is that Michael's new stuff sounds too much like bad Usher songs -- we expect more from MJ -- while Madonna's new stuff sounds like bad techno/rap -- but it's OK, cause she's busy raising her kids, practicing Kabbalah and hanging out in England?
Is it that Madonna, after some maddeningly skanky years finally figured out how to be hot again, while Michael just kept losing more and more of his nose?
I guess there's a lot of reasons why one was performing at the Grammys and the other one was performing at home to old records in front of Bubbles (or so the scene goes in my imagination).
But my point is this: it could have been the other way around.

(My other point is this: If you're a celebrity and you insist on having weird, perverted sex, publish your own book, rather than wait for the tabloids. Not that that would have helped Michael, but, um, you never know.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

One final thing.
I live in Detroit. We recently had a little football game that most of the world was watching. The whole thing was a lot of fun, especially when they shut down my street for 9 days to build a winter wonderland that was dependent on 6 inches of snow -- and then it was 50 degrees the entire week, until the Saturday night before the game, making for a scene that approximated New Orleans in a blizzard. I maintain I'd have seen some flashing if the temperature had risen above freezing. Or if folks from anywhere outside of Seattle and Detroit had visited. Eh. (Go Seahawks.)

Along those lines, you might expect me to have met some celebrities. Really, I didn't. The only person even close to a celebrity I met was Chuck Klosterman, who I drank with several times in a group, thanks to a coworker who's a close personal friend of Chuck. I, however, am now. Which is why I'm mentioned extraordinairly anonymously in his SBXL blog:

Sunday, 3:28 a.m.I don't know if ESPN has a policy against drunken blogging, but
here we go: Let's roll the bones, rockers.
In downtown Detroit this
there were many, many parties. There was the Maxim party, there was
the Playboy
party, there was the Penthouse party, there was the Jenna
"clothing-optional" party, there was the Kit Kat party, there was
the Linda
Lavin party, there was the Western Horseman party, there was the
Transmissions party, there was the Chips Ahoy party, there was the
Oui magazine
"foxy-dead girl" party, there was the George Plimpton Memorial
party, there was the Kid Rock Performs Bob Seger System party,
there was the
World B. Free Appreciation party, there was the Sinclair
Oil/Komodo Dragon
party, and there was the Hamas victory party. And I went
to exactly zero of
these affairs, because I do not like parties. Instead, I
went to a bar in Grosse
Point with a bunch of employees from The Detroit
Free Press, where I drank
martinis filled with gummi bears while discussing
how I spent Friday night at a
bowling alley called The Majestic (which is
the same place where Jack White
punched out the singer from the Von

So, I was one of the Freep folks drinking martinis. (I bowed to the peer pressure and drank several 'girl drinks' with goofy names and interesting ingredients. But only because their beer list sucked. And also, I regained some girl-drink-drunk respect by ordering, for my final "martini," a drink named for my fave comic book character "Green Lantern." So, at that point, I was getting geek-girl-drink-drunk. Or Girl/geek-drink-drunk. Or perhaps Girl-drink geek-drunk. Parse it how you will.
Though I did manage to avoid asking whether it was named after Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, Kilowog, Katma Tui, Sinestro, Tomar-Re, Ch'p, Jennie Lynn Scott, Abin Sur or Alan Scott. -- and if you ID'd all those references, you, my friend, are a geek after my own heart. I congratulate you.

I'm also in the Sportsdesigner.com blog. I'm not gonna quote that, since, well, you should be able to figure out my part in it fairly quick.
So, those're my XL press clippings. Enjoy. (Because what's the point of having a blog if you can't use it as a personal newsletter to point out where you're getting mentioning on the Web?)

And now, onto the daily stuff:

Not much today, other than two things:

1.) I have this weird predisposition to getting ignored in bars by servers and bartenders. I'm not entirely complaining; usually, once I bring it up, I get comped 1-2 drinks. For a leisurely drinking night, I'm cool with that. However, for a night when I've got an hour post-work to get as much alcohol in me as I can, it's an issue. And along those lines, I bring up this, which I am vaguely sensative to:

Long have I bemoaned the dearth of hot, talented female bartenders. How often have I hit a bar with a hot woman tending bar, only to find her more interested in chatting with her friends than in serving me a beer? A lot, that's how often. On the other end of the spectrum, I've been served by a lot of female bartenders who, while not particularly hot, did an excellent job of making sure I never wend more than 30 seconds without an alcoholic beverage of some sort of my hand. And yet finding a hot woman who would ensure a constant flow of alcohol? Virtually impossible. (This is a big reason why I'm willing to hit titty bars in strange cities. Beer may be overpriced, and the service may be shitty, but at least I'll have sometime to occupy my .... mind. -- What'd you think I was going to type?)

But a bar with a hot female bartender who also keeps me liquid? This I had not seen. I've had various folks suggest that, perhaps, the fault lies not in the stars, but in myself -- that I'm not making myself an attractive enough customer. I can sorta see the logic here, but it offends me, just the same. I pay my bar tab, and tip well to boot. I make eye contact, I'm not creepy, and I don't put in difficult orders. Why shouldI have to compete for service when that's a bartender's damn job? Serve me well, and you'll get a nice tip. It. Should. Not. Be. The. Other. Way. Around.

And I'm setting the bar pretty low here. I don't need fancy mixed drinks. I don't need dancing. I don't need Coyote Ugly or Cocktail. I just need a beer, when I want it, from a bartender who's hot and female. From men, this is not a problem. Most male bartenders of a decent attractiveness are also decent bartenders. I almost think it's Darwinian. Hot male bartenders still have to be decent to get a good tip. For a good time, hot female bartenders only have to bend over a couple of times an hour, and maybe do some dancing when a good song comes on the jukebox.

Seems like everyone's got their tale of one hot, talented female bartender. I had nothing. Not a one. Every hot bartender I'd met had been more interested in chatting with friends, or doing blow in the bathroom, or attempting to set the bar on fire by blowing flaming alcohol toward the liquor rack.

Until tonight. I've been hitting my neighborhood dive for a few weeks now, getting to know the bartenders, one by one, and had been mostly getting blown off (and not in a good way) by the one tight-T-shirt-wearing hottie working the counter. It's gotten so bad, especially considering the good service I get from the other bartenders there that I considered being prepared to leave for a nudie bar if she was working. Thus my rant.

Tonight, though, wow. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, mostly 'cause I didn't know she was working until I'd sat down. She came through. From having an open bottle of my fave brand waiting for me when I was settles, to non-stop beers, poor arithmetic when settlin'-up time came on through to a couple of free shots and some quality conversation. (Including tales of her tumbling over the bar and spraining her wrist a week ago and her titty-bar visits a couple of blocks from my apartment -- I'm obviously easily swayed.)

Maybe it was a slow night. Maybe I finally cracked the barrier of being "a regular." (She learned my name, I learned hers, she told stories, I told stories, etc.) Maybe she was just having a once-in-a-lifetime night, along the lines of Tuffy Rhodes on Opening Day '94, Marc Cohn when he recorded "Walking in Memphis," Mark Whiten hitting four home runs in a single game, or Marisa Tomei winning an Oscar fo "My Cousin Vinny."

I don't know.

But I'll definitely be heading back there to give her another shot. Could my streak be over? Lord, I hope so.

Item No. 2

While in said bar, I ended up watching most of the Pistons-Clippers game. Nothing spectacular; Pistons are about as good as I though, while the Clippers are better than I'd figured, but the Pistons still won.

One great moment stood out, though:

The playing time of Boniface Ndong for the Clippers.

It's not that he's a great player. Absolutely nothing stands out about him, save his name.

I didn't actually hear his name pronounced, since I was watching the broadcast in a bar, with the closed-captioning on, but I can only imagine it's some combination for "Napoleon Bonaparte" and "Dong."

Perhaps it's pronounced "Bony Face And Dong." It's like the worst porn name ever.

Or the best.

I can't decide.

One other thing. Elton Brand is a monster player, and Chris Kaman, while being a charter member of the "Reggie Cleveland Hall of Fame," (Bill Simmons' term for athletes and coaches with names that belie their ethnicity) seems like little more than a stiff against a good defense. And since I'm too lazy to look up his stats, or Brand's, I'm gonna pull some old school baseball-scout shit and just judge him on what I personally have seen. Especially since Kaman's on my fantasy hoops team. There's no way he's any good.

So, that was good, right? I mean, I didn't have any links, or any names to drop, or any pictures, or anything fancy, but it was a start.

Consider these couple of postings like the TV show that starts out with an extra-long pilot. You're getting some extra content tonight, people! (2, or 3, or 4 posts, on a single night!
Multiple exclamation points! Wahoo!) I always preferred the shows that started out with a solid episode to the ones that had the requisite "how they got together" plot. My two cents: Start with a good episode, and then, if we're hooked, we'll come back for the flashback episode that explains how things started. (See "Firefly" vs. "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" on DVD for an example of why you should never start with the "getting started episode.")

So, who am I? (This is patenly ridiculous, since almost everyone reading this, at least for now, is someone I've e-mailed with the address to this blog. I'm hoping for some Ebola-like spreading of this blog, but, let's be realistic, I've never been a Ebola-like guy.)

My name is Ford. I recently moved to downtown Detroit. I'm 26, I'm a newspaper designer (thus I don't actually write, thus the creation of this blog) and I'm single. (Save the jokes. While I enjoy them, both about my name, my town, and the combination thereof, I think I've heard almost all of them. This warning is for your sake, not mine. Be original.)

Seems like everyone I now know has a blog, so, of course, I have to have one, too. (Mostly cause I mistt having a newspaper column, and trying to replicate the experience through late-night phone calls is a pain, what with the work and the drinking and the time zones.) I'm gonna try to post more regularly than some folks I know, though I doubt it'll be more than once a day. It probably won't be abut anything in particular, even though most of the blogs I read regularly are about specific topics. (They're also written by folks paid to spooge words on a regular basis; we'll talk payment when I've got folks I DON'T know reading this thing.) I'm mostly counting on my personal cult of personality to carry me through. Or else I'll just stop writing.

Brilliance? Editing? Quality control? Wouldn't bet on any of those.

Eventually, I'll have links on here to stories, sites, pics, movies, sounds, etc. I found on the Web -- or more accurately, stuff other folks found on the Web and I shamelessly reposted. I'll try to avoid the sports stuff, and the comic book stuff, since those appeal to very small segments of my incredibly HUGE audience. But for now, in my drunken stupor, I'm just laying out my actual opinions on whatever's come to mind over the past few days, sans pretty stuff.

Text rules.

God help us all.

So, welcome to the first-ever post of my first-ever blog. Ever. It's a momentous occasion, brought on by a combination of having too many beers two blocks away from an Internet connextion, not having any cell phone minutes left, and a complete lack of good judgment and/or anyone looking over my shoulder. The stars are truly aligned tonight.

Blog entry No. 1: How to deal with "bums."
This was something I occasionally had to deal with in Washington and Colorado. And, now, in Michigan, it's become a major concern. Perhaps because I insist on working nights. Perhaps because I insist on living downtown. Perhaps because I insist on drinking until last call, and then walking home. Whatever.

(Note: I really don't know AP style for folks who walk up to you on the street, in a lobby, or on freeway on- and off-ramps who ask you for money. For the purposes of this blog, I'll call them bums. The cynic-on-the-street in me suggests, for some reason, that's assuming that they actually need the money they ask for; the cynic-who-types in me suggests that "bums" is the shortest of all possible words he could use, and thus should not have any values whatsoever assigned to it. You be the judge, but for me, "bums" it is.)

Anyway, here's your options:
1.) Pay the man, Shirley.
It's the easiest of all solutions. Give the fella what he asked for, according to your means and/or the change/small bills in your pocket. I mean, hey, if they're willing to set aside their pride and ask a stranger for whatever he can spare, is it so much to do what you can to ease their night? From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs: this is the Marxian ideal that would work if we were all just willing to pitch in, right? Whatever liberal guilt you feel at making more than anyone who comes up to you at 2:15 a.m. will rapidly be assuaged, and you'll be on your way to a worker's paradise.

2.) Go to hell, Marx.
Of course, your guilt will be eased, and the worker's paradise will be forthcoming, but at the same time, you worked for that money, goddammit. Did they just work a 12-hour day after spending years in college learning all sorts of unique things that would let them charge exorbitant amounts for their services someday? I doubt it. Of course, this option complicates things, since the core ideas of capitalism and "opportunity cost" are not ones that translate well when you're walking out of a bar in a suit and the guy opposite you just wants a quarter for the bus. At this point, you really have one, and only one, option. Ignore that sumbitch. (This is the approach I was famous for in Washington.) Because once you've acknowledged he exists, well, you've lost the battle. At that point, you're pretty much back to option No. 1, unless you've got the brass ones to stop, make eye contact, pause, and then reject a heartfelt (though patently false) plea out of hand. And if you're that kind of person, well, fella, I want to drink with you. (Even though, apparently, I'll be paying.)

A quarter for the bus? Sure. $2 for a coney dog down the street. That's not so exorbitant. $4 for a cheeseburger at this bar. And you're carrying a bible and using a single crutch at 2 p.m.? Yeah, I guess I can spare that. And, so, your wallet is rapidly depleted, just cause they're working harder than you are at excuses. But you still don't want to be the cold-hearted eff-er who either ignores the destitute fella on the street when you've just run up a decent-sized bar tab, or the soft touch who opens his wallet when anyone comes asking. It's not so bad to give the money, but you'll get get pissed when it's time to settle your next bar tab and tip the hot bartender -- or buy a pop from the machine, or feed the parking meter, or slip some "appreciation" into your favorite dancer's G-string -- and all you've got is a $20 bill and the chuckling appreciation of Bum X from the previous night. And this is why I propose option No. 3:

3.) A modest proposal: Lie.
That's right. Lie. Lie with as much bluster as you can manage. 'Cause you know they're probably lying. Who hangs around heavily populated areas when tourist events are in town, and then is nowhere to be seen when it's 4 a.m. and it's just the drunks with no money walking around? Liars. Trust me on this. If I had a quarter for every time I'd had a bum come up to me with a sob story, well-thought out enough to get me to shell out, only to see them a day later hitting up someone else -- or hitting up me again -- well, I could give every bum in the world enough for a coney. But I don't. I have only a growing sense of outrage over my liberal guilt being abused every time I turn around. And so, I suggest this. Lie. They ask for whatever you can spare? Give them a quarter. They ask for a specific amount ($1, $2, $5, etc.)? Haggle them down. You have no change. You have no ones. You have only big bills. There's plenty of options, depending on the size of your cajones.
Believe me; even ifyou're coming out of a titty bar with a G-string on your head, 2 strippers on your arm, and a wad of ones in your shirt pocket, you're in the position of power.
You. Control. The. Bargaining. Process.
(Of course, should you actually want anything to happen with said strippers that night without paying through the ... um ... nose, just hand over a $5 bill and keep walking. Discretion is the better part of valor.)
The best part of this strategy? The gamesmanship. It turns every encounter with a bum into a chess game. Sure, you'll end up giving some money (so he's happy-ish), but you'll likely not end up giving as much as he asked for (so you're happy-ish). And thus Machivellian principles give everyone a minor victory. Hoo. Ray.

And if someone's unhappy with the transaction? Run like hell.