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, 2006, 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.)

Friday, October 21, 2016

You heard it here at p3 first!

(Welcome Crooks & Liars readers! And thanks yet again to friend of p3 Batocchio!)

So Donald Trump Jr. (that's the brother who takes his hair grooming tips from early-1990s Bret Easton Ellis serial killers rather than from his father) had this to say about his father and the presidency:
“Unlike Hillary Clinton ― who’s gotten very rich being a politician, peddling American influence ― he hasn’t,” he continued. “This isn’t only a step down, but he wants to make sure that all Americans, all ethnicities and backgrounds, have the same opportunities to do what he’s been able to do, to start a great family, start a great business.”

Really. Seriously. This is what Donald Jr. considers a “step down” for his dad:
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

Well, first of all, of course he thinks that, because it's never entered the head of father or son that this might be about anything but money and brand.

But second, I called this! I called this back on July 5!

If Trump does bail out, I'd expect him to justify it much like Farage did: He's accomplished everything he set out to do (of course he has! he always does!), so why waste his time actually being President of the United States -- which he could easily do, if he wanted, and he'd be so good at it you wouldn't believe it -- when it's so obviously a step down from being Himself?

You're welcome, America.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quote of the day: Trophy kills



Adventure tourism for the idiot rich

- Matt Tiabbi, describing the buzz driving Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

The description could be applied just as appropriately to the “big game” African safaris of his two sons. The only difference would be that the carcasses left behind by the father include the traditional transfer of presidential power, the modern Republican party, and the very idea of an American political commonwealth, whereas his sons left behind a trail of needlessly dead elephants, leopards, et cetera.

Donald Jr. (that's the one who takes his hair grooming tips from early-1990s Bret Easton Ellis serial killers rather than from his father) even carried on the family tradition of Love for the Little Guy by insisting that “the villagers were so happy for the meat which they don't often get to eat. Very grateful.”