Darkly Dreaming of Derek Jeter

7:32 p.m., Samantha
how is it we get a paper out each night?

7:33 p.m., John
By accident, mostly.

Did you hear about the stagehand that died? On the set of “How to Succeed in Business…”

7:35 p.m., Samantha
What happened?

7:35 p.m., John
Died of an overdose right before the show. I mention it because they canceled the performance. You know? So what happened to the Show Must Go On?

7:36 p.m., Samantha
Seriously; no one has a work ethic anymore!

7:36 p.m., John
It makes me wonder if I die, if you guys will just throw up your hands and cancel the paper.

7:36 p.m., Samantha
We would be too grief stricken to put out a paper, even by accident. But I can’t even allow myself to think of such a horrible day.

7:37 p.m., John
It could be a favor I do for you. You know?

7:38 p.m., Samantha
While that is awfully sweet of you to consider me ahead of your demise, this is a terribly upsetting conversation.

7:46 p.m., John
But it seems like S.T.B. to me.

7:46 p.m., Samantha
What is STB?

7:46 p.m., John
Straight. To. Blog.

7:47 p.m., Samantha
How embarrassing I didn’t realize that.

7:47 p.m., John
Yeah. Go with the feeling on that.

10:37 p.m., John
O.K. Seriously. W.T.F.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter did not let a thunderstorm deter him from increasing his workouts.
…Rain? Was he really thinking of taking the day off because it rained?

10:38 p.m., Samantha
They don’t play in the rain, so why should he practice in the rain … I’m just saying. It could be slippery out there, and he does already have a bad calf.

10:38 p.m., John
You’re right. Would fog his glasses. Rot his hair plugs.

10:39 p.m., Samantha
Can I unfriend you on the office communicator?

The Dreary Undoing of the Undead

Patos Papa: The Unrealized Dreams of the Undead: “…how many doors must a zombie really break down before you realize it’s just a man (or woman)?”

It is a playful, if only marginally amusing, meme for ordinarily staid authorities to issue coping strategies for the so-called zombie apocalypse. In May, for instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government’s white-coated vanguard against wee beasties, tee-hee’d all the way through a rotted-tongue-in-gangrenous-cheek disaster survival guide. Unfortunately, this publicity stunt quickly devolved into a fairly dry reminder merely to stock basic emergency supplies (e.g. water, extra clothing, etc.) and otherwise plan ahead for an evacuation.



Several years ago, Wired.com did the same sort of thing, an even less imaginative primer that unhelpfully gets bogged down in a zoological curation of zombie types, extrapolating backward from various films in a spurt of numbing prose and advising survivors simply to shoot their undead antagonists in the head.


A recent example, possibly first noted by a bizarrely enthusiastic Wired.com correspondent, is an authentic-seeming recreation of a United States Army handbook, made by the Snappy Cow Energy Drink Companyof Wynantskill, N.Y. The Snappy Cow people do an energetic (ha!) job outlining believable methods for identifying and neutralizing zombies, including a detailed discussion of small-unit military tactics.


But even this game effort runs out of steam about halfway through, and a reader would be forgiven for giving up before the end, a woefully incomplete section on terrain and weather and, of course, the Snappy Cow advertisement itself.


The biggest mistake these guides make is wasting space in a discussion of zombie origins and varieties. The truth is, it does not matter how zombies are created (few of the pathologies make any sense, anyway). It only matters that you avoid or disable them. Don’t ever trust an authority that tries to unknot things in any other fashion.


Any worthwhile zombie survival guide will be short and to the point:

  1. In case of zombie apocalypse, the first order of business is to secure space. Determine where the nearest zombies are, and place as many obstacles between you and the zombies as possible. This includes, but is not limited to, barricading doors, covering windows and minimizing noise and other signs of “life.” Rooftops are ideal “secure spaces,” isolated farmhouses are acceptable, but basements without multiple forms of egress are not.
  2. Assess your resources. Locate sources of food and water, and if possible clean clothing, medical supplies and metal tools. In theory, this could be the shortest zombie survival guide ever written, because if you have a secure space to inhabit and you have food and water, your to-do list rapidly drops off into things like whittling and masturbating. This is because it is unlikely, given the natural forces of putrefaction and weathering, that a zombie attack would last longer than a week.
  3. Worst case is the best case. Do not worry if the zombie apocalypse appears to be unnervingly widespread. Fewer human survivors will reduce competition for accessible space and resources, which will make it easier for a hopeful survivor to get squared away. It also strains the carrying capacity of the zombie population  by increasing competition for uninfected humans.
  4. Avoid other survivors. Under no circumstances should you undertake cross-country journeys with a large group of fellow humans, no matter how amiable they appear to be. If you have been unable to secure space or sufficient resources, move cautiously in small groups if not by yourself. Other people cannot, under the stress of a serious (and disgusting) breakdown in the fabric of society, be relied upon to hew to anything resembling altruism.
  5. Save your ammunition. Avoid confrontations with zombies at all costs. Even if well-equipped and in a large group, you are unlikely to be able to neutralize a body of motivated zombies. And, importantly, the zombification process is too unpredictable to risk infection from close encounters. If the immediate threat can be avoided by quick movement or deception, choose that course over knocking heads together.
  6. Sit down, shut up and wait. Simply put, the overall zombie threat is profoundly overstated. Even the most taciturn, apathetic, indolent zombie is deteriorating by the minute, which means that the prospects of a hopeful survivor are constantly increasing. To wit, the vigorous, cranium-craving maniacs of the dark and menacing Zero Hour will be withered and oozing by Day 2. All you have to do is sit back, polish your aluminum baseball bat and let your anaerobic allies do their work.

Good News Same as the Bad News

Neil Warnock is happy with QPR’s opening Premier League fixtures | The Sun |Sport|Football: “The R’s boss reacted with delight as his side’s fixtures for the new season were revealed. Rangers have avoided facing any of the Premier League’s big four clubs in their opening EIGHT matches.”

QPR fixtures 2011-12: Rangers face nightmare Premier League run-in – QPR – Kilburn Times: “Today’s fixture announcements have pitted Neil Warnock’s side against each of last season’s top five teams between early April and the last game of the season on May 13.”

The Premier League released its schedule for the coming season last week, and the news resulted in an interesting case, as can be seen in the excerpts above, of Good News/Bad News for Rangers.

The Sun chirped that Manager Neil Warnock was “happy” with the opening weeks of the schedule. To be sure, Rangers seem to be opening in the shallower end of the pool — at home against Bolton before traveling to Everton and Wigan. Indeed, it is probably only a matter of time before giddy, half-wit sportswriters anoint Q.P.R. as early-season darlings, touting Warnock as manager of the year for creating a sniping, upstart squad out of nothing.

Really, Warnock was not happy with the schedule so much as he was happy to simply have a job. “It’s just fabulous to be involved,” he said, sounding a little like a wart-marred beauty pageant contestant, adding “When you see the fixtures it’s so exciting” and “It doesn’t matter who you play.”

Of course, if you don’t play the good teams in August, the belly drop is sure to come later.

In the case of The Kilburn Times, it is noted that the final steps of the eventual league champion’s run to the trophy will be up and down Rangers’ collective back. Four of Q.P.R.’s final six games are against the some of the Premier League’s elite: Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and, in the finale, Manchester City.

Rangers could be in complete disarray by May, playing out the string, leaving behind embarrassing (amusing?) box scores and providing the likes of Wayne Rooney with a welcome breather between bouts of boorish behavior.

Go West — Please

Time: About halfway through the film “Birdman of Alcatraz.”
Scene: The office of the editor of The Kansas City Star. A woman is explaining to the editor her relationship to Robert Stroud, the famous “birdman of Alcatraz.”

Newspaper editor (quizzically): Let me understand you, now. Are you trying to tell me that you married a man serving a life term in solitary at Leavenworth Penitentiary?

Stella (haltingly): Yes. Yes.

Newspaper editor: And where did the ceremony take place?

Stella: At the penitentiary.

Newspaper editor: At the, uh, prison chapel, no doubt.

Stella (with indignity): No, sir. It was a civil ceremony.

Newspaper editor: And are you further trying to tell me that it is now nearly an hour and a half into the film “Birdman of Alcatraz” and we are not even in California yet?!

I Apologize for Being 28 Years Late on This

Submitted as a candidate for most nonsensical lyrics in a rock song:

“Talk the simple smile
Such platonic eye
How they drown in incomplete capacity
Strangest of them all
When the feeling calls
How we drown in stylistic audacity
Charge the common ground
Round and round and round
We living in gravity”
— “Hold On,” 90125, Yes (1983)

These words are sung more than halfway through “Hold On,” in near a capella, accompanied by a synthesized oompa-oompa that is reminiscent of what Bavarian music would sound like if they had discovered electricity before the tuba. It’s the sort of moment in a song when the songwriter appears to be making a statement or proclamation: Here is the point, (in this case) the guitarist and composer Trevor Rabin seems to be saying; here is what I am getting at.

But “what” is the point? The rest of the song is vaguely political, if also obtuse, with warnings about war and “blood in the desert” and the scolding, “Constitution screw up/Shattering the dreams.” But the section excerpted above seems to be deliberately cryptic, referring to “incomplete” capacity and “stylistic” audacity. Its call to action is a feeble urging to come to the middle. Its closing note is an ungrammatical stub.

The whole of it, both in sense and in sound, recalls the shouted lead-in to the more popular “Leave It,” from the same album. And it makes about as much sense. That chorus announces: “I can feel no sense of measure/ No illusions as we take /Refuge in young man’s pleasure /Breaking down the dreams we make /Real.” In other words, I can’t feel reality, and I can’t feel illusions even as I (god knows what) and destroy (or analyze) the illusions that I had made a reality, neither of which I can feel, anyway.

For that, you sell six million copies.

Other Said:

Sean, at Prog Reviews
“…but I also admit to several guilty pleasures in ‘Hold On’…”
Chris H, at Prog Archives
“ ‘Hold On’ is a perfect title for the song. As in hold on to a railing so you dont get blown over by its pathetic-ness.”
sputnik music
The album is a “long, long shot away from classic Yes. It was a cheesy pop record. It was also good.”
Sea of Tranquility
On the remastered album (2009), songs like “Hold On” “sound clearer, have more power, and just plain kick-ass better than they ever have.”