March 14, 2005

Blog Noir – The Final Chapter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:56 pm

Sadie has posted Chapter 6, the Final Chapter, of Blog Noir. She did an excellent job of bringing it all togethr, which was no small task.

Christina has liks for Chapters 1 through 5 here.

I would like to congratulate Christina for coming up with the Blog Noir idea and for being a cheerleader extraordinaire when each of us took our turn in the barrel, as it were. Her cajoling and encouragement were of immeasurable value, and I made a good friend in the process.

Second, I would like to thank Christina for inviting me to be a part of a wonderful group of talented people to work on a project that turned out to be a challenging and instructive literary and creative exercise.

Finally, thanks to all of you who took the time to read Blog Noir and make such gratifying comments.

It was great fun, and I’m glad to have been a part of it.

Dan’s Job Search.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:26 pm

Always on the lookout for a good story, one of the PRS operatives came across this exchange of correspondence, which I thought you might find interesting.

Mr. Dan Rather
CBS, News Division
666 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10012

March 1, 2005

Ms. Madeline “Pearly” Gates
General Manager
KROE Television
413 Longhorn Drive
Cattle Breath, Texas 65448

Re: Employment Opportunity

Dear Ms. Gates:

I came across you advertisement in the Tumbleweed Daily for the position of Local News Anchor at KROE. I have enclosed my resume for your consideration. I will be leaving my current position in a few weeks, and I thought that the Anchor position in Cattle Breath looked plum interesting to this Texan, who wants to get back to his roots.

As you know (If I may be so bold to suggest that you might recognize my name, and if not my name, then my picture on my resume), I am an all-news, hard-news, hard-hitting, tall-in-the saddle, straight-ahead, dead-on, aim-for-the-bulls eye, pull-no-punches, showdown at High Noon, in-your-face, the-facts-and-only-the-facts kind of newsman.

I await your call.

Very truly yours,

Dan Rather

P.S. I did notice that the advertisement stated that the person hired would serve as the co-anchor with Ms. Blaze Penrod. As you may know, I prefer to work alone, so perhaps you could arrange for another position at KROE for Ms. Penrod.

Here is the reply:

Madeline “Pearly” GatesGeneral Manager KROE Television413 Longhorn DriveCattle Breath, Texas 65448

March 12, 2005

Mr. Dan Rather
CBS, News Division
666 West 57th Street
New York, New York 10012

Re: Employment Opportunity

Dear Mr. Rather:

I received your letter, dated March 1, 2005, regarding your interest the News Anchor position here at KROE TV. Of course, I recognized you from your resume, as did the others here at the station to whom I circulated it for comments.

Frankly, we were all quite surprised and flattered that a man with your experience would consider working at KROE TV, because it is, after a small station catering to a small but loyal audience. In addition, in terms of news, there is not a good deal going on in Cattle Breath at any given time. Our Anchors usually report on community interest items such as bingo games, tractor pulls and Little League scores (We have no sports person). For us, it’s “news” when a few strangers comes through town. It’s “big news” if one of them turns out to be a shoplifter, as was the case three years back when a stranger was caught shoplifting at Lefty’s feed store.

However, enven though KROE TV might be a small operation and there might not be much, as you say, “hard news” to report, we do insist that our Anchors don’t make shit up. As such, we will not be extending an offer of employment to you.

I would like to thank you for your interest in the position and wish you success in your future endeavors.

Very truly yours,

Madeline “Pearly” Gates

P.S. Blaze Penrod, our Co-Anchor for the last ten years, says that you can kiss her Lone Star ass.

March 13, 2005

Another Jersey Blogger Interviewed by CNN!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:54 pm

Jersey Blogger, Jaynee of Cootiehog, was also interviewed and filmed by CNN in connection with the same piece for which Kate of KateSpot was likewise interviewed and filmed. It is scheduled to air on March 18th at 10 PM.

I’m thinking that I’ll have to set up an autograph table for these two ladies at the upcoming Blogmeet. 🙂

The Manchurian Candidate.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:29 am

Have you considered watching the re-make? Maybe you shouldn’t.

March 12, 2005

Coming to Terms.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:50 pm

I concluded that I don’t pack the gear to be one of the Big Time Bloggers when I saw that Glenn Reynolds was blogging while in a cab.


New Jersey Sues the “New York” Giants.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 2:29 pm

Even non-football fans in New Jersey know that the “New York” Giants play their home games in the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. This is the result of a deal that was made between the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (the “State”) and the Giants in 1995. Under the terms of the deal, the State (i.e. the taxpayers) built a stadium for the Giants and leased it to the team.

We now know that one of the more astonishing terms of the lease provides that the State must maintain the stadium in “state of the art” condition for the term of the lease, which does not expire until 2026. Recently, the State and the Giants have been negotiating a new deal that provides for the Giants building a new stadium, thereby “relieving” New Jersey taxpayers of having to make the “state of the art” renovations, which the Giants estimate would cost $300 million, while the state is of the view that the improvements would cost $100 million.

Enlighten New Jersey has written extensively about the ongoing discussions from the point of view of the taxpayers.

As Enlighten New Jersey notes, the parties came to an impasse when the state refused to give up the option of imposing various taxes on the operation of the new stadium. As a result, the Giants (no doubt aware of New Jersey’s insatiable appetite for taxes) floated the possibility of leaving New Jersey in favor of New York City.

In response to the Giants’ suggestion that the team might leave New Jersey, the State marched off to court and sued the Giants, apparently seeking to enforce the terms of the lease and have the court to interpret the lease’s “state of the art” clause in a manner favorable to the State.

Now, as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow morning, the Giants will file a counterclaim for breach against the State, alleging a failing to maintain the stadium in “state of the art” condition as required by the “plain language” of the lease. As noted above, the Giants say the price tag will be $300 million and the State says $100 million.

At this point, it is important to note that the State still owes $117 million for the original deal. Let me repeat that. After twenty-eight years of operation of the stadium, the State still owes $117 million for the original deal!

Admittedly, I am not privy to the terms of the existing lease, nor have I read the papers filed by the state in court to commence the lawsuit, but based on what I know from “reading the newspapers,” here are a couple possible outcomes, neither of which seem particularly good for New Jersey’s taxpayers.

The court could decide that “state of the art” means what people commonly understand the term to mean. As such, the taxpayers of New Jersey will have to make renovations now and through 2026 to provide the Giants with a stadium that contains amenities equal to those in the best stadiums elsewhere in the country, in which case the initial hit will likely be close to the Giants’ $300 million figure and more as additional renovations are needed through 2026.

In the alternative, the court could decide in favor of the State and disregard the common meaning of the term “state of the art” by concluding that the parties could not have intended the term’s common meaning (i.e. “that even the State would not make such a stupid agreement”), and direct the State to make more modest renovations, if anyone can consider $100 million in improvements to be “modest.” Of course, between now and 2026, the State will undoubtedly be called upon to make additional improvements to the stadium.

So, now the State will be embroiled in an expensive lawsuit with the Giants, the sole purpose of which is to determine how much money it will cost New Jersey’s taxpayers to “keep the Giants in New Jersey,” while New Jersey still owes $117 million on the original deal.

Of course, the parties could drop the lawsuit and return to the terms of the pending deal, which would cost taxpayers $30 million to extend sewer lines and make other infrastructure improvements. And, at the end of the day, the rent that the State would receive would be $10 million less than it now receives annually from the operation of the stadium. And, don’t forget the $117 million that the State still has to pay.

Do New Jersey’s taxpayers, already being choked to death with taxes, need any of this baloney?

Enlighten New Jersey opines that the best outcome would be to simply let the Giants “break the lease” and move to New York. I agree, but such an outcome would have to be the result of a settlement, rather than an outcome of the pending lawsuit.

If both sides are willing to walk away from the existing lease without any further consequences (including mountainous legal expenses for a lawsuit), I say DO IT. There must be something the State can do with that stadium to help pay off the $117 million in outstanding debt.

As for the Giants, they would be giving the State’s taxpayers a break by moving their operation across the Hudson River where they can righteously call themselves the “New York” Giants.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:24 am

Rob’s mother passed away this morning in her sleep. He had written about this strong woman lovingly and often. I wish I could have met her.

You may want to drop by Rob’s site to express your condolences.

March 11, 2005

Be Prepared.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:15 pm

Crown Royal.jpg

I always keep a bottle of this handy for use on those exceedingly rare occasions when I find myself fresh out of bourbon.


KateSpot !!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:25 pm

Jersey Blogger, Kate of KateSpot, was interviewed by Candy Crowley of CNN for a piece that is scheduled to air on March 18th at 10 PM. Check Kate’s site here, here, here, here and here for the story.

How cool is that?

Looks like we will have a celeb at the Jersey Blogmeet!

Congrats, Kate.

March 10, 2005

The Renault and Profound Adolescent Stupidity.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:25 pm

I was a senior in high school with a driver’s license, and like others my age, I regularly pestered my father for the keys to the family car. Because of that, and because I would likely need a car to go to college following graduation (or go to work, if I wasn’t able to get into college), my parents decided to help me buy a car. The mere thought of having my very own car stripped me of whatever miniscule amount of reason I possessed as a typical dipshit seventeen-year old scouring the local newspaper for a reasonably priced used car. The year was (and I really hate to date myself) 1964.

One ad in the paper caught my eye. Someone was selling a 1960 Renault Dauphine (Yes, a farookin’ French car) for what seemed like a ridiculously little amount of money. In fact, it wasn’t much more than my friends had paid for cars four to five years older than that. I mentioned it to my father, who counseled, “I don’t know, Son. I’m not crazy about foreign cars.”

Naturally, I didn’t listen to him and badgered him to “just go look at it with me, PLEASE?”

When we arrived at the address given in the paper, it was easy to spot the car parked in the street, as Renaults were not at all common then (and thankfully, now either). It was a little white car that looked sort of like this. I say “sort of,” because what really caught my eye (which obviously, by this time, was not connected to my brain) about this particular car were the two blue racing stripes that ran longitudinally across the car from the front bumper, over the hood, roof and trunk, to the left of the center line, all the way to the rear bumper.

Those stripes turned the rather non-descript (even dumb looking) French piss pot car into something unique. My underdeveloped seventeen year-old brain saw myself driving up and down the main drag in town in a car that would be instantly recognizable by everyone. I wanted that car, and it was priced right.

We met the owner and he showed us the interior. Again, my emotions and desire for the car completely overpowered my reason, when I saw that there was ONE seatbelt in the car – on the driver’s side. I knew that cars (back then) did not come “stock” with seatbelts and that, if you wanted seatbelts, you went to a place like Midas Muffler to have them installed. And, if you were going to RACE the car, you only needed one seatbelt – on the driver’s side. Given the presence of the racing stripes and the single seat belt, one didn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to know that the car had been raced. I knew it, as did my dad, as evidenced by his trying to talk me out of my brainlessness.

Forging ahead and completely ignoring the obvious Red Flags (and my father’s advice to “let this one go”), I looked closer at the interior and saw a stick shift on the floor, but noticed that there was NO CLUTCH. I asked the owner about that, and he told me that the car was equipped with the then state-of-the=art “FERLEC clutch.” The FERLEC clutch was an electro-mechanical affair that permitted one to change gears without the need of a clutch. All you had to do was press down on the stick and shift the car as you would a normal stick shift. I thought that this was absolutely fantastic, but my father was, to say the least, highly skeptical. (“Jim, I never heard of such a thing, and it sounds like a horseshit idea to me.”) My father’s advice went in one car, passed through my car-mush inside my head and went out the other ear.

We bought the car.

What a disaster.

Proper use of the infamous FERLEC clutch required that when the car was stopped, you had to press down on the shift and put the car in neutral. The problem was that finding “neutral” was not easy and, because of the idiotic design of the electric clutch, finding neutral was often impossible. When you thought the car was in neutral, it really wasn’t, and it would stall (exactly as a standard shift car would if you stopped and did not engage the clutch). Once the car stalled, you had to “find” neutral, but knowing what gear the car was in was always a crapshoot. Not knowing what gear the car was in became a huge problem when trying to re-start the car after one of its episodes of stalling. If the car was still in gear, it would lurch when the ignition was engaged. If you turned out to be in first gear, the car lurched forward. If you were in reverse, the car lurched backwards.

So, one night, I was “showing off” my spiffy car with the racing stripe to a buddy of mine. We had successfully completed a couple passes up and down the main drag. On about the third pass, we stopped for a light in the center of town. This time, the infamous FERLEC clutch failed to work properly and when I put the car in what felt like neutral, the car stalled.

As I fiddled with the shift to make sure I was in neutral, the light turned green, and the guy in the car behind me beeped his horn for me to get moving. I turned the key in the ignition, and BAM!!! My car flew backwards into the car behind me. My friend in the passenger seat started to laugh his ass off, but I could tell from looking in the rearview mirror that the guy behind me was clearly surprised and not at all amused.

Anxious to simply get away from the embarrassing scene, I fiddled again with the stick shift and again turned the ignition to re-start the car, and BAM!!! I flew backwards into the guy’s car a second time.

By now, I was shit scared and sweating bullets, as I saw the guy in the rearview mirror, seriously pissed and opening his car door to get out and kick my ass. However, he abruptly changed his mind when BAM!!! I hit the son of a bitch a THIRD TIME! He must have concluded that I had to be some kind of homicidal nut, because he hopped back in his car, flipped a U turn and drove like hell the other way.

I was a basket case, but my friend in the front seat damned near died laughing.

The next day, my father followed me to the dealer a few towns away (keeping a safe distance behind me at intersections). At the dealer an honest mechanic took us aside and told us that the FERLEC clutch was a worthless piece of shit design failure and that Renault stopped putting them in cars after that model year. Fixing the thing was expensive and next to impossible. He recommended spending some serious money to install a regular transmission and clutch.

We placed a “For Sale” ad in the local paper the next day.

I should have listened to my father in the first place. It wasn’t the first time I told myself that, nor would it be the last.

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