Friday, January 20, 2017

Turn the page

Presented without further comment:

Friday, December 23, 2016

I'm out! See you at spring training next year.

I got nailed in the great p3 “Little Drummer Boy” challenge last night, Thursday the 22nd, at 8:30pm, with two days and a threee-plus hours before the deadline. It's one of my best non-winning scores.

oh, who am I kidding? I didn't have a “best non-winning score;” I lost. Period.  Rules are rules. I have to wait until next year to try again. I'll be ready.

I got caught by the host at pub trivia, who played the Pentatonic cover of the dreary holiday classic in question between rounds. Ironically, I had a near miss about an hour earlier when he played the Bowie/Crosby 1972 cover. After that one came and went, I breathed a sigh of relief, since that version is specifically exempted under Rule 3b. Obviously, that was a bit presumptuous of me.  Still, as Commissioner; I have to set an example.

Several worthies have already gone out (and there's certainly no shame in that); at least one from outside the US. The International “Little Drummer Boy” Commission thanks them for making the competition all that it is by taking part. And at least three friends remain in the running, two of them back in the state of my birth (if not the state that I'm from); good luck to you all. May the odds be ever in your favor.

I'll join you back here at 12:01am, Friday, November 24, 2017, when next year's games begin.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Place your bets it'll probably be as safe as putting the money toward your 401K)

The p3 over-under for the moment (assuming it didn't already happen and I missed it) when a congressional Republican, or a member of the Trump inner circle, or one of their spokespersons goes on TV and proclaims that deficits no longer matter (again):  11:00am Sunday, November 27th.

Tie-breaker: Whether the interviewer pushes back in any detectable way.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Let the games begin!

Tonight, in just two minutes at 12:01am Friday, November 25, 2016, begins what the Commissioner has somewhat arbitrarily declared the twentieth annual running of the "War on the Little Drummer Boy." You are invited to take part. No registration fee or peeing in little cups is required.

The rules are as follows:

1. The challenge begins at 12:01am local time on the day after Thanksgiving – this year that's today, November 27th. It ends at 12:01am local time on December 24th.

2. If you hear even a tiny snatch of TLDB at any time during that period, if it's recognizable as such, the game's over until next year. Thanks for playing.

3. There are two exceptions to Rule #2.
3a. The first exception is that if someone deliberately plays TLDB just to make you lose, it doesn't count (this, I'm sorry to say, is known as the My Sister Jane Exception).

3b. The second exception is that the early 1970s cover of TLDB by Bing Crosby and David Bowie doesn't end the game. I treasure it for its transcendental weirdness.
4. Since the date of Thanksgiving floats, scoring is based on how many days remain until Christmas, not how many days have passed since Thanksgiving. So, e.g., December 15th from any year always beats December 14th from any year. (That's based on a 2013 ruling by the Commissioner.

(Note that Rule #4 will mean that this year has a slightly higher degree of difficulty, since Thanksgiving falls on one of the earliest calendar dates possible.)

Odds favor those who do not work in retail, and who do not drive around in cars with satellite radio tuned to all-Christmas channels.

Last year, for the first time in at least 15 years, meaning well before the sport went pro and appointed a league statistician and its first commissioner, I successfully made it to 12:01am December 24th without hearing "The Little Drummer Boy," which means I earned the equivalent of straight 10.0's from the judges.

The precise origins of The Annual "The Little Drummer Boy" Competition are shrouded in antiquity and legend, but many reputable historians of the sport believe it traces to this moment on December 18, 1963.

You can read more about my war with "The Little Drummer Boy." and relive highlights from previous seasons-- including the crucial importance of Rule 3b -- here.

If you played last winter, I hope you'll play again this season. If you're a beginner, I hope you'll join. Feel free to check in via the comments here, or at @nothstine, to let me know how you're going.

May the odds be ever with you.

The definitive Thanksgiving song.

It's almost as if they were . . . organized!

One of the two best 1970s sitcom moments (here's the other one, but it doesn't have anything to do with Thhanksgiving, so . . . ). Slightly edited, the only way this clip seems to be available now.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The unforgiving minute: Re-evaluating my entire adult life

(I also posted this on my Facebook feed, but trust me: no one there will notice this.)

A "mondagreen" is a song lyric that you've gotten wrong because you mis-heard the original, e.g.: "Hold me closer, Tony Danza," or "Revved up like a douche," or "El Kabong, what's that flower you have on?"

Pandora just played The Hollies' 1972 classic "Long Cool Woman," and for the first time I followed along with the lyrics and discovered that over the last 44 years that entire song -- except for the title itself, which I got entirely right -- that song has been, for me, one complete 3-minute 15-second mondagreen. Every single line I had wrong. Every one. That song hasn't even remotely been about what I always thought it was about. Not. Even. Close.

I have to think about this.

The one song I ever came this close to getting entirely wrong was “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” the only song my high school garage band ever wholly ruined.

Minute's up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Quote of the day: Special Fact-Check Edition

(Updated below.)

They are truly floundering now, and it's a marvel to see, like watching armadillos try to swim.

- Charlie Pierce, the Sultan of Similes, the Ace of Analogies, and Master of Mammal Metaphors, marveling at the dreadful performance byTrump surrogates in the run-up to Election Day.

It's a wonderful image – suggestive of plummeting to the bottom of the lake with a minimum of satisfaction and a maximum of splash. And that's certainly the situation Trump surrogates find themselves in these days.

But as it turns out, it's not the situation that actual living armadillos find themselves in. The Google thing took less than a second to point me to a web page called Armadillo Fact File (yes, of course it exists) in response to my three word search query: can armadillos swim? (Click to enlarge. )

One tinkers with brother Pierce's prose at one's peril, but I modestly – humbly – suggest that the position that Trump surrogates like Gingrich are finding themselves in is less like a happy armadillo skillfully crossing a river (although the disturbing image of “gulping air into their intestines” sounds nearer the mark than any of us should find comfortable) and more instead like a luckless, lumbering creature trying desperately but unsuccessfully to avoid a particularly unattractive Nemesis.

Perhaps it's more like watching an armadillo try to outrun a 1958 Buick Roadmaster.

Just a suggestion.

(Updated, later the same day:

Okay, now I'm flattering myself that Pierce is just messing with my head. Here he is, reflecting on the $100 eponymous signature cocktail at the newly opened Trump International Hotel, a few blocks away from -- and as close as Trump'll ever get to -- the White House:

I'm really not ready for someone to tell me that the problem with my Bloody Mary is that there isn't enough winter-wheat in the Yeltsin Juice. But it is of a piece with the candidate himself, who has the over-aesthetic taste of a Bonobo in a $1,000 tux.
Yes, the somber, sad-eyed bonobo does look dreadful in a $1000 tux.

Ì Googled it.)