August 31, 2006

Creeping Doubt

Those Google ads up top, asking "Are you funny?," are starting to make me second guess myself.

Poop. Fart. Fart. Poop. Fart. Poop. Poop.

Yep, I still got it!

*cue laugh track*

Posted by Ryan at 03:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

He Knows How To Call Attention to his Work

From the sculptor who brought us Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug, followed by titanically topless Hillary Clinton, he now unveils his latest work of art, a">so-called bronze cast of Suri Cruise's first poop.

This sculptor, man, he just KNOWS how to get people's attention. He's the John Mark Karr of the modern art world.

Posted by Ryan at 03:33 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Now That's a Pricey Pizza!

Earlier this week, I stopped into a pizza place I'd never been in before. It was a nice pizza place. It was clean, it had video games and, most importantly, it served pizza, which is essential for any good pizza place. If a pizza place doesn't serve pizza, it's just a place.

I ordered a specialty spicy pizza—which, in America, spicy means they throw some jalapenos on the crust that are about as spicy as my day-old boxer shorts (which vary in their spiciness from day to day, admittedly)—and some cheesy bread, and I handed over my trusty debit card to pay for the circular Italian delicacy.

It was at this point that things became interesting. The credit card swiping machine was apparently having problems dialing into the great credit card processing deity in the sky, so the cashier continually swiped and swiped and swiped my card. And I started to sweat.

Here's the deal: I'm very. . . protective. . . of my money, primarily because I have so little of it. I watch over my money like a dragon lording over its horde, except that, instead of a horde, I basically have a couple dollars and some change. So, when I hand over my debit card to a third-party swiper, there's a considerable level of trust being exchanged. Additionally, thanks to countless media reports, I'm keenly aware of the dangers of multiple card swipes: with each swipe, the chances of problems arising increase considerably. Hence my sweating.

Eventually, my card swiped successfully, and I signed off on a $18.70 pizza bill. And it was a good pizza, although I'd hesitate to call it spicy. Generally speaking though, all was right with the world.

Well, the next day, I visited an ATM and conducted a withdrawal. When the receipt was spit out, I noted, with recoiling horror, that I was basically broke, even though I knew that simply couldn't be the case.

As with most instances when I'm confronted with information that simply cannot be true, I consulted the Internet, which always tells me what I want to hear. I called up my credit union account and, to my additional horror, the Internet told me the same thing the ATM receipt told me.

Now frantic, I called my credit union to find out where all my precious money went. The cheerful voice on the other end started reading off a list of my most recent transactions:

Subway: $8.20
Hy-Vee: $25.90
Pizza Place: $1,870

WHAT?! How much?! I mean, it was good pizza, sure, but not TWO GRAND good!

I immediately called the pizza place, and by immediately I mean I couldn't dial the phone fast enough. Smoke curled up from my fingernails from the sheer friction of my frantic dialing. According to the pizza place, they only tallied $300 in credit card sales the day before, so whatever happened didn't happen on their end. I was left with the dreadful thought that my $1,870 was possibly gone for good, lost in the credit card processing ether.

I called my credit union again and explained the situation as it now stood, while also asking the cheerful voice on the other end if a $1,870 pizza bill really made any sense at all given the history of my previous transactions. She graciously admitted that it did seem rather peculiar. Thank you, cheerful voice.

In the end, the processing error was rectified, and my $1,870 was transferred back into my account, and I collapsed onto the floor in relief.

But let this be a lesson to you: swipe once and only once, and if you see someone swiping your card more than once, tackle them and punch them in the groin.

Hey, it's what I'd do.

Posted by Ryan at 11:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 30, 2006

I'm not Sayin'. . . I'm just sayin. . .

I think there's a case to be made that James Lileks plagiarized me just a teeny, tiny little bit.

Just kidding.


Posted by Ryan at 02:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Lazy Wayback machine

From one year ago today:

Every Minne
Down in Sota
Liked the State Fair a lot...

But the Nick,
Who lived just North of Sota,
Did NOT!

The Nick hated the State Fair!
The whole State Fair season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that he's just not all that bright.
Yes, I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his brain is two sizes too small.

We're quite sure the reason,
Is that his brain is just skinny,
So he stood there at the Fair, hating the Minnes,
Staring down from his glasses with a sour, Nick frown
At the warm lighted vendors selling food in their town.
For he knew every Minne at the Minne-Sota State Fair
Was busy now, eating junk food with nary a care.

"And they're riding on rides!" he snarled with a sneer.
"This can't end fast enough! I hate this time of year!"
Then he growled, with his Nick fingers nervously typing,
"I MUST find a way to keep continually griping!"
For, this week, he knew...

...All the Minne girls and Minne boys
Would walk down Dan Patch Avenue with unforgivable poise!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

Then the Minnes, young and old, would walk around and just feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
They would start on Pronto Pups, and food insanely greased.
Which was something the Nick couldn't stand in the least!

They'd do something he liked least of all!
Every Minne down in Minne-Sota, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with radio broadcasts a'playing.
And he just couldn't stand what conservatives would be saying!

They'd talk! And they'd talk!
And the more the Nick thought of the Minne-neocon talk,
The more the Nick thought, "I must stop those war hawks!
"Why for too many years I've put up with it now!
I MUST stop the State Fair radio broadcasts!
...But HOW?"

Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!

"I know just what to do!" The Nick laughed quite out loud.
"I'll make a quick call to my old Air America crowd!"
And he chuckled, and clucked, like he had swallowed some hair!
"I'll plead with Al Franken to put me back on the air!"

"All I need is some talent..."
The Nick looked around.
But since his talent is scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Nick...?
No! The Nick simply said,
"If I can't find any talent, I'll fake it instead!"
So he turned on his karaoke machine, and he plugged in a mike.
Radio, he reasoned, is easy, it's like riding a bike.

He picked up the phone
And got through right away.
Because there are only about three AA callers
On any one given day.

Then the Nick said, "Hello!"
To the person who answered.
And they quickly hung up
Because Nick's radio cancer.

Undeterred, the Nick, he hatched a new plan.
He'd appeal to his reader, his single solitary fan.
Together with Eva Young, they'd storm the fairgrounds.
And fill up the airwaves with their own nonsensical sounds.

Strapping his karaoke machine to his back, and with Eva in tow,
Nick was determined to spread his cynical glow.
"I'm nobody's monkey!" crowed Nick to no one.
"And I forgot 40 years ago what it means to have fun!"

Once at the State Fair, the Nick turned on his karaoke machine,
And he proceeded to shriek, not unlike Howard Dean.
"Bloggers are evil!" the Nick started off.
"The Power Line guys have small manhoods, and so does the Prof!"

The Minne's stared in wonder at the Nick and Eva show,
But they were all in agreement that they pretty much blow.
Yet the Nick wouldn't stop. No, he continued to rant,
Until he was blue in the face, and he started to pant.

"Stop having fun!" gasped the Nick in frustration.
"Don't you know there are poor people being poor in this nation?"
"You should all feel guilty! You should feel as guilty as me!"
"And we should all spread massive guilt, and spread it for free!"

Still Nick continued, despite all the ignoring
And all the shouts from the crowd saying "My God you're boring!"
You see, the Nick was determined to bring every Minne down,
Even though it was obvious he was just a cynical clown.

Finally the Nick started to have an effect,
As the Minnes good times he gradually wrecked.
Yes, those in range of his broadcast found their moods slowly sour,
And the Nick smiled weakly at his joy-killing power.

Thus it was in a radius of about one city block,
The State Fair was stolen by the Nick's boring talk.
Mini doughnuts weren't bought, and rides sat unridden.
And all fun, according to the Nick, was strictly forbidden.

"Success!" thought the Nick, in his tiny small head.
"One eighth of the Fair is basically dead!"
"This is the world as I want it, morose and gloomy."
"Exactly the effect I had on my old college roomy."

Suddenly, the batteries failed in the Nick's karaoke machine,
And the effect on the crowd was like a jolt of caffeine.
The fun crept back in to the Nick's sphere of gloom,
Like a breeze airing out a musty old room.

For the Nick this was the worst thing, the worstest thing ever.
The worstest thing to happen to him in nearly forever.
With his spirit thus broken, the Nick slithered away,
And Eva Young followed, in total dismay.

In the distance the Fair continued its fun celebration,
Much to the Nick's total and complete consternation.
"Next year I'll bring more batteries!" he yelled, shaking his fist.
He then went back home, where he's still sitting there, pissed.

Posted by Ryan at 02:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 29, 2006

I confess

I actually killed Jon-Benet Ramsey.

*waiting for outrageous media swarm*

*still waiting*

COME ON! Where's my outrageous media swarm?!!

I demand an outrageous media swarm!!!!

Stupid unreliable outrageous media swarms. Can't even trust outrageous media swarms to come around when I make a false confession.


Posted by Ryan at 03:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's Green, and You Smoke It

Last year, Melissa and I were hooked on the HBO drama, "Rome," which is out on DVD, and I highly recommend. Although, at $100 a pop, I understand those who don't take my recommendation.

This year, our Showtime addiction is the series "Weeds" which, if you get Showtime and you're not watching this show, there's no hope for you. Last night's "masturbation" speech was about the funniest scene I've seen on TV in months. You would never have guessed there were so many "Goo Glove" options available.

Posted by Ryan at 03:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 28, 2006

You ever. . .

Pinch a nerve in your neck so incredibly bad, you can't even move your neck enough to drive, and instead call in sick? That was me today. Most unproductive day in recent memory. When all you can do is stare straight ahead, TV is your default option.

Posted by Ryan at 09:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 25, 2006

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

You know what pisses me off? I'll tell you what pisses me off.

I'm a hairy motherfucker. Hairy arms, hairy chest, hairy legs, hairy FEET (feet looks wrong all capped, doesn't it?)--I'm a fucking six foot tall Hobbit, I swear--hairy ass, hairy balls, and it just seems to keep spreading, like Tiberium, or something (extra points if you get the Tiberium reference). Shit, even my cock shaft has hair--no kidding, honest to God, cock shaft hair (not a bunch, but strands here and there, mostly here) extending right up to my circumcision scar (I bet you wanted to know that--I report, you vomit, or fantasize).

But, the fucking top of my head, which incapsulates my brain, which shoots out the most heat, which should be protected? Nothing. Nada. Not a Goddamned sprout. It's like an ice cap. I mean, COME ON! About a third of my individual (individual, as in SINGULAR) chest hair follicles sprout as many as THREE fucking hairs! THREE! But the top of my pate can't bother with even ONE fucking hair per follicle. And this all started taking place when I was 20 years old, for fuck's sake. fucking genetics, man. Thankfully, I realized the benefit of shaving my head about that time.

Then again, I've saved, roughly, $8,000 in haircuts over the years (maybe more, maybe less), opting instead to shave my noggin.

Why, yes, I shaved my armpits and lower back today, because I'm sick of people accidentally grasping my armpit and back hair during my Jiu-Jitsu classes, which hurts like a motherfucker.

I'm not bitter. Really.

Posted by Ryan at 09:51 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

August 24, 2006

Next Week's Column. . . TODAY!

"Demoted on a Celestial Scale" c. Ryan Rhodes, Aug. 24, 2006

In case you missed the news last week, Pluto is no longer considered a planet. That's right, that little period at the end of our solar system is gone, relegated to "large floating rock" status. Our solar system is now the equivalent of a run-on sentence, babbling on into the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud and on into the infinity that is the universe.

"Oh, Ryan," you say. "You're exaggerating."

No I'm not, I say! I grew up believing in Pluto. I'm a card-carrying Pluto-crat! I was educated to learn the mnemonic device that explained our solar system in such a way that we would never forget it. Namely, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were taught to me as "My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles."

Now, this little mnemonic device took me awhile to wrap my head around. I wasn't accustomed to thinking in such abstract ways. I just kind of sat there at my desk, trying to imagine my mother, on her 12th cup of coffee, hurriedly dealing out pickles to me and my nine friends during my birthday party. Why pickles, Mom? We're hungry! We need more than a pickle diet! This is the worst birthday party ever! And why are you so eager? You want my birthday to be over, don't you? You want my friends to leave! You want my friends to tell all my other classmates about my weird pickle-packing mother and my terrible birthday parties so I'll be unpopular and made fun of. Don't you?! Don't you?!

At that point, the teacher told me to pay attention and I realized we were talking about the planets in our solar system. After about a month or so, I eventually caught on to the little memory game and the solar system was, from then on, a cocaine-addled matriarch anxiously feeding a hungry throng with nine vinegar-soaked cucumbers. Who says the American educational system is in need of an overhaul?

I kid, of course, but that doesn't diminish the insult leveled at poor little Pluto. After all, having been considered a planet since the 1930s, it had accumulated a certain level of street credibility with the other planets. Jupiter was even inviting Pluto to some of the more upper crust social functions, and Saturn was considering donating one of its rings to make Pluto look a little more presentable. All and all, things were looking up for Pluto.

Then the International Astronomical Union had to step in last week and treat Pluto like a baby treats a diaper. Not only did they go and strip Pluto of its coveted planet status, they had the audacity to go and label our solar system's afterthought a "dwarf planet." A DWARF PLANET! My very eager mother did NOT serve us nine dwarf planets! I will have none of this demeaning treatment of poor Pluto. First, it's stripped of its planet status; now it's practically being deemed handicapped; all because some uppity-up body of international know-it-alls couldn't resist being prejudiced on a planetary scale.

I mean, how depressing is this? Pluto was once a proud member of the "Gang of Nine," as the planets liked to refer to themselves. It had status, prestige and enough power to accrue three of its very own moons. Oh, sure, it wasn't the Jupiter "Donald Trump" of the solar system, and it doesn't have all the methane gas found around Uranus (What? You knew I couldn't resist!), but Pluto had its own charm and influence. Now, it's just the dwarf planet at the tail end of our mighty solar system. All the other planets are now shunning Pluto. They've reformed their clique into the "Gang of Eight," leaving poor little Pluto to its mournfully cold fate, destined to swing sadly along its Neptune-intersecting orbit into infinity.

The worst part about all this is that a new mnemonic device has to be invented to adjust to the new Pluto-less solar system. It's a challenge, but I'll take a stab at it:

Most Veterans Entering Medieval Jousts Suffer Unbearable Nervousness.

Eh, it's okay, but it really needs a pickle.

Posted by Ryan at 08:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Now THAT'S good news!

Evelyn says: Now that's liberal:

Ryan says: LOL!

Ryan says: "And what's the weather look like today, Bjorn?

"Well, it looks like it will be clear this afternoon, but this evening we can expect rain to fall, and it will fall harder and HARDER and HARDER and HARDER!"

Evelyn says: lol

Posted by Ryan at 12:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Outdated Mnemonic Device

My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine. . . Kuiper Belts? Oort Clouds?

Posted by Ryan at 08:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Nick Coleman Is A Doo-Doo Head

President Bush paid Minnesota a visit this week, so you could practically count the seconds before Nick Coleman used his column to whine about it. The great political mind of Nick Coleman is on full display in his latest descent into journalistic obscurity.

Like George W. Bush, I am unfamiliar with Bracketts Point Road in Wayzata. Unlike the president, I wasn't invited to visit Tuesday.

Nick Coleman would be lucky to be invited to a pot luck dinner held by his own family.

So when I drove up to a traffic barricade that blocked off most of the road hours before the president arrived for a fundraiser, I turned my car around and pulled into the driveway of a home that had a sailboat in the back yard, a family of ducks swimming along the shore and a dog named Max that came to bark at me.

Okay, so, what does any of that have to do with anything? Is the family of ducks somehow an allegory for how Nick perceives how the Bush administration ducks responsibility? Is the sailboat in the backyard a metaphor for how America has run aground? Is Max the dog, in fact, Nick's representation of chickenhawks: all bark and no action? Am I giving Nick way, way, wayyyyyy too much credit here? Abso-freakin-lutely. The truth is he's just a terrible writer who can't stay on topic to save his withered old soul. So. . . NEXT!

That's when I noticed something I thought I'd never see on Bracketts Point: signs protesting a Republican president.

So, first off, Nick writes I am unfamiliar with Bracketts Point Road in Wayzata, so why would a protest sign be something he thought he'd never see? He's unfamiliar with Bracketts Point Road, but his preconceptions were apparently pretty firmly established.

Oh, and also, isn't it just so cute how Nick makes it seem like he just stumbled, by accident, into the driveway of a home sporting protest signs. Why, by gum, how's that for a coincidence? It's not like Nick specifically chose that house probably from 20 blocks down the street.

We live in strange times.

True, and as long as Nick continues to write professionally, we'll continue to live in strange times. Strange, fucked up, totally unfair times.

Bracketts Point is the heart of the Republican vineyard, a prestigious address in the state's most generous political gift-giving ZIP code (55391, which means Wayzata). The president's visit drummed up a half-million dollars for Republican congressional candidate Michele Bachmann. But a protest against George Bush here? That's like finding a Baptist information table at the Vatican.

Rrrrriiigght, because everyone in Wayzata is under lock-step GOP marching orders. Nick, you can also find Bush protesters in Texas if you look around. Just because an area votes heavily Democrat or Republican doesn't mean there aren't dissenters in the ranks.

I rang the doorbell and introduced myself to Betsy Hannaford, whose yard was sporting the protest signs. She said I shouldn't have been surprised. The Bracketts Point natives are growing restless.

So says Betsy Hannaford, so it must be true. Er, except for the $500k raised for Michelle Bachmann, but never mind that little detail. Betsy says the natives are restless, so that's that. That's the type of investigative reporting we've grown to know and love out of Nick Coleman.

Hannaford, 49, describes herself as "a reformed Republican." While her husband, Jule, has contributed to the campaigns of George Bush and Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, she, in recent years, has contributed mostly to Democrats, including to Amy Klobuchar's campaign for the U.S. Senate.

So, apparently, dissention in the ranks only applies to one-half of the Hannaford household.

She still calls herself a Republican. But she says she is a "reformed" one. And that the president has "reformed" her.

Oh, snap!

"I'm no longer voting that way," she said, meaning Republican. And she said she isn't the only "reformed" Republican.

Oh, she isn't, eh? There are others, are there? According to who? According to Betsy Hannaford, of course!

"People have issues with Mr. Bush," she said. "I think people are troubled by the war, his energy policies, a host of things. And his position on choice."

His position on choice? Why, just the other day, Bush was drafting proposed legislation dubbed the "Anti-Choice Initiative." Yeah, yeah, I know she probably meant abortion rights, or possibly gay marriage, or something. It's still poorly worded, and Nick could have asked for, you know, CLARIFICATION.

There are only a handful of homes along Bracketts Point, big homes with big lots sweeping down to big water where big boats stand ready.

Today's special word is: big. Look at all that big water, just standing there, being all BIG. And then look at that Nick Coleman brain, being all small.

But as far as Hannaford had heard, only two of her neighbors were hoping to see the president.

Uh, so, out of a handful of neighbors, two were hoping to see the President. I guess it depends on how big a handful is in Nick's mind, but two out of a handful doesn't sound like that bad of a percentage. You know what's sad? I learned to not report on a handful when you can do a quick count during my very first newspaper job. Here Nick is 56 and he still hasn't learned that lesson.

"I don't know anybody who's going," Hannaford said, nodding toward the end of the leafy peninsula that juts out into Lake Minnetonka between Smith and Browns Bays.

Oh, jeez. The leafy peninsula here is a metaphor for George W. Bush's hairy penis, effectively screwing America and dividing the country between the GOP Smith Bay and the Democrat Brown Bay. It's all so clear!

And now we get to the real gem of the article. You've been thinking all this time that Betsy Hannaford took the initiative to put out her BIG protest signs, but no. . .

The protest signs were made by Hannaford's daughter, Mary Connolly, a high school senior. "We Believe in Global Warming" one sign said. "You Should, Too," said the second.

Okay, Mary Connolly! *salute* I always listen to high school seniors, because they know SOOOOOO MUCH!

The cops wouldn't let Mary put up her polite signs until they could verify that she lived on Bracketts Point. Their heads probably are still spinning. A protest on the point.

Yeah, that's a real protest Mary's got going on there. Two signs. Gosh, I hope she doesn't get tazered during such a madhouse protest (or do I?).

Who'da thunk it?

Or, in Nick's case, when did he last think?

"I don't want to pay $5,000 to have my picture taken so I can have a Christmas card with George Bush's arm around me," said Mary. "And I won't be out there with cookies and lemonade, either. I'm passionate about global warming, and this administration has not recognized it is changing our weather."

Just a point of order here, but I wouldn't pay $5,000 to have my picture taken so I can have a Christmas card with George Bush's arm around me, either. Come to think of it, what the hell is a high school senior doing with enough money to even have that as an option? Kee-rist!

And, Mary, sweeheart? I'm pretty sure this administration recognizes that global warming is changing our weather; they're just questioning to what extent humans are further affecting a climate change that has been going on now for a few thousand years. Mmm-kay?

Something sure seems to be changing.

Yup, something sure seems to be changing in this neighborhood of which Nick Coleman is not, by his own admission, familiar with. "Never been here before, and I can't believe how much it's changed."

The Hannafords received four invitations to attend the $1,000 fundraising event. Two were phone calls from Bachmann, whose campaign in the Sixth District (which does not include Bracketts Point) was the target of the Bush visit. What did you tell Bach- mann, I asked Hannaford.

It was "the target" of the Bush visit. Not the location. Not the venue. THE TARGET. Good God.

"Nothing," she said. "I didn't talk to her. I never picked up."

Wow, now THAT's political activism! Well, according to Nick it is:

Not picking up your phone. Ouch. It's not scientific evidence, but maybe the polls are right: Bush and his policies are deep in doo-doo.

You read that right, folks. Nick Coleman, metro columnist for the Star-Tribune, the state's largest newspaper, wrote the phrase "deep in doo-doo." Not since the great Young Plukey column, where Nick wrote "his best rap is called "Son of Perdition," and it preaches a message of turning to the Bible and the Qur'an, or what have you" has Coleman wallowed in such pathetic literary backwash. Perhaps a close second was when he wrote: "What have we learned, class, about free speech after listening to Coulter call Democrats traitors to the country, threaten to give a Muslim student's name to homeland security and toss insults faster than a kid with a Dixie cup full of fish parts can toss herrings at a seal exhibit?" Any other columnist with that many groaners within a year would probably have a career that's deep in doo-doo, but not Nick. He's untouchable, much like his columns.

"My grandparents have been Republicans a long time," Mary Connolly said. "And they look aghast at the idea of going to see the president. We know a lot of people who, at one time, would have attended.

According to 18-year-old, high school senior, Mary Connolly so, again, it MUST be true!

"Now, they're looking around and asking:

Come on! Big Nick Coleman finish!

" 'Why would I?' "

Oooh! What punch! What style! What flair! Watch out for the flying doo-doo!

BIZARRO WORLD UPDATE: My evil doppleganger, LearnedFoot, also did a tap-dance on Nick's stupid column. The similarities are. . . disturbing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Cyber-sleuth commenter, Joe, shares the following:

There's only 9 addresses on Bracketts Point Road, so having two of the neighbors hoping to see the president seems like a pretty good percentage to me.

Of course, fact checking has always been a weakness for Nick. The Hannaford home is actually in Orono, though the ZIP code is Wayzata. Pretty nice home, too - Hennepin county values it at over $2 million. No way Nick saw the ducks or the boat from the drive - the place is huge!

Nick also apparently missed the fact that Mr. Hannaford is a partner in a law firm that specializes in, among other things, helping big corporations structure benefit packages for corporate executives. I bet he's thrilled with this column.

UPDATED UPDATE: This appeared in my comment box. Not sure what to make of it, but it's apparently another example of Nick Coleman being a dismissive ass to legit concerns.

I am Elizabeth (Betsy) Hannaford. I live at 919 Park Avenue, Mahtomedi, MN 55115,


"Had you called, you would have been invited to visit me and my two dachshunds, Rumsfeld and Bismark at my 1870's cottage on White Bear Lake. You would have discovered that most of my friends do not feel the way that people "alledgedly" feel in the Brackett's Pt./Wayzata area do. You would have learned facts, not conjecture. And in fairness, you would have had the opportunity to coorect your misguided opinion of the twin cities community.

This past March, I attended a fundraiser for Congressman Kennedy. I got to know Mark and his family, who could not have been kinder or more gracious to me. When I spoke to Congressman Kennedy, at the State Fair this past Sunday, I had to explain that I was not the Betsy HANNAFORD IN YOUR COLUMN. hIS RESPONSE WAS "THAT WAS YOUR SISTER-IN-LAW, Oh...". You cannot imagine the sick feeling I experienced at that moment.

I am not some unhappy Republican. I think George Bush is the greatest President since Washington. In fact I am starting a web site. BushforRushmore.

Finally, your assumption that my step neice and sister-in-law and I are in conflict couldn't be further from the truth. I deeply resent the last sentence of your email.

Rumors are flying in White Bear Lake about me. I feel violated and wronged. I would like the chance to clear up the mistaken identity."

Posted by Ryan at 06:45 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 22, 2006

What I Learned This Morning

I learned that a neutered cat still has the ability to spray disgusting pheromone-laden yellow liquid out of its ass, and coat my shin in the vile-smelling brew, thus necessitating the most frantic showering in recent memory.

All of God's creatures are just plain gross.

Posted by Ryan at 01:10 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

Ass-Traffic Continues

I just checked my Site-Meter for the first time in about two weeks. Apparently, the increased visitor traffic continues as strong as ever, with over 35,000 visitors so far this month (smashing my previous monthly record of 25,000, and the month isn't even nearly over yet). And, judging by the referrals, a third of those (or about 11,000 for you who are bad at math), continue to arrive here looking for the picture of my ass that is now so famous.

Unfortunately, none of this means anything in the fiscal sense (after two years of sporting Adsense banners, I've only made about $20 so far, and they don't mail out checks until you surpass $100, so I'm not holding my breath).

Oh well, it's not like I'm ThunderJournaling for the financial payoff anyway. I ThunderJournal purely for the amazement of watching my Site-Meter going through the roof. That, and the unfettered freedom of being able to post a picture of my ass, and to poke fun at Nick Coleman, and whatever else comes to mind.

I love my ThunderJournal.

Posted by Ryan at 01:09 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

fuck Yeah!

Bogus Gold is back ThunderJournaling, and he's no longer a pussy.

Posted by Ryan at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My Column From Two Weeks Ago

"Too Caught Up In The News" c. Ryan Rhodes, Aug. 10, 2006

I work within the walls of a very large, international corporation that specializes in high technology. I won't say, exactly, what that company is, except to hint that you can rearrange the letters to spell "BIM."

Now, working at BIM, I basically spend eight hours a day staring into a computer screen, which isn't necessarily as exciting as you might think. To keep myself informed about the world around me, I always keep at least one Web browser opened to a news site, such as

Something I've noticed about having round-the-clock access to breaking news with the click of a mouse is that I've gotten caught up on world events to an almost unhealthy degree.

For example, five years ago, if you had told me that some guy named Joe Lieberman lost a Connecticut primary election to some other Democrat named Ned Lamont, I would have responded with an exasperated "Who cares?" Well, in today's Internet world, I can confidently answer my own question. Apparently, EVERYBODY cares. It's the most important news ever to happen since the history of everything. It even trumps the news that Connecticut is spelled with a totally unnecessary, superfluous letter "c" tucked right there in the middle. Now, THAT'S news.

After filling up on all-Lieberman-news, all the time, I needed to takea break and find news that's, you know, actually interesting. And, as many of you know, I like to share that news with you, my valued readers, and Marisa Miller topless.

Last week, as the online world was focused on all things Lieberman, big and important things were happening elsewhere on the planet. Take Brazil, for example, where a man died after trying to open a grenade with a sledgehammer.

According to an Aug. 9 Reuters news report out of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, "a Brazilian man died Tuesday when he tried to open what police believe was a rocket-propelled grenade with a sledgehammer in a mechanical workshop on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro."

I used to hit rolls of caps with a hammer when I was a child. I'm guessing this was probably pretty similar, except, instead of the ringing in my ears I experienced, this guy experienced, um, death in his body. Okay, in retrospect, maybe our experiences weren't all that similar.

I can see you're losing interest in this column already. Clearly, you were interested in the political commentary and Lieberman, and all this talk about grenades and Brazil aren't what you want. You want politics. Fine, I have your politics RIGHT HERE!

According to another Reuter's news report, this one on August 10 out of New York, "a 'Presidential Bust' of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton was unveiled on Wednesday at New York's Museum of Sex, where sculptor Daniel Edwards hopes it will spark discussion about sex, politics and celebrity."

Because I am a bastion of journalistic integrity, I did what any good journalist would do, and I found an online picture of that sculpture. What can I say about it? Well, it's a sculpture. Of Hillary Clinton. And she's online/Smallville/Erica_Durance7.jpg">topless. Having viewed an image of the sculpture, I can confidently state that there's something deeply wrong with the art world today. DEEPLY WRONG!

So there's your news report from the second week of August. To recap: Joe Lieberman lost a Conne"C"ticut Democratic primary to another Democrat, Ned Lamont, and if you can't grasp the sheer enormity of this incredibly important news (like I can't) you really have no business being online; Brazillians open grenades using sledgehammers, with fairly horrifying mortality rates as a result; and out on theInternet, if you're willing to search for them, are pictures of a sculpture of a topless Hillary Clinton.

I really need to unplug from the Internet.

Posted by Ryan at 08:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 18, 2006

Just a Reminder

As with most weekends, ThunderJournaling will be light to non-existent.

*lightning strike*

Posted by Ryan at 12:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On the Front Line of the Cab Wars

This week, as you no doubt know, I attended a technical conference in Baltimore, Md., a city with a crime rate so high, its motto is: "Hey, at least we haven't mugged YOU . . . yet." Mindful of the city's less-than-stellar nationwide crime rating, I took special precautions to ensure my safety, like not waving a stack of $100 bills around, as I'm often wont to do.

Seriously, I'm not all that worried about being the victim of an assault. With my shaved head and perpetual angry-looking frown, I look more likely to commit a crime than to be on the receiving end of one.

Still, Baltimore intimidated me for some reason. Maybe it's because one of the city's most celebrated football stars was very likely an accessory to murder, and Baltimore seems almost proud of that. Then again, Minnesota has the sex boat Vikings, so maybe I shouldn't be poking fun at the Ravens.

At any rate, I went to Baltimore with a set of preconceptions regarding the city's rather considerable crime rate, and I had a similar set of preconceptions regarding the temper of its citizens. All of which brings me to an evening when I needed a taxi ride and, in my mind, almost started a minor riot.

I exited my hotel and noted that there was a line of taxis waiting outside the hotel doors. The first, or lead, taxi was a yellow cab, followed by a brown cab, followed by about four other yellow cabs. The driver of the lead yellow cab was out talking with someone across the street, so I naturally started to open the door of the brown cab, instructing the driver where I wanted to go. What transpired, I'm convinced, probably touched off an inner-city taxi cab war, and for that I'm truly sorry.

Just as I was about to get in the brown taxi, the yellow taxi driver across the street started yelling at me and the brown taxi driver. I couldn't make out quite what he was yelling, but whatever he was yelling prompted the brown taxi driver to insist that I "Get in! Quick!" Now, the last time I heard the directive "Get in! Quick!" was in a movie, and the person being given the order was about to be shot by a sniper, so it made me a little nervous.

Note: The following dialogue is a best guesstimate, since I couldn't make out exactly what was being said. This is based off what I could understand, and the angry hand gestures being exchanged.

YELLOW TAXI DRIVER (YTD): HEY! Don't use that guy! He's intruding!

BROWN TAXI DRIVER (BTD): No, man! I'm here! Get in! Quick!

YTD: The hotel has an agreement with us! You're not supposed to be here!

BTD: That's not true! I can be wherever I want! Get in! Quick!

YTD: Security!

BTD: Hey! Do you want a cab or not?! Get in! Quick!

HOTEL SECURITY: What's going on here?

ME: I don't know. I just want a taxi. I don't want to break any rules.

YTD: That guy's not supposed to be here!

BTD: I have as much reason to be here as you! Get in! Quick!

YTD: You're the only brown taxi here! This hotel has an agreement with our taxi service!

BTD: No they don't! Get in! Quick!

HOTEL SECURITY: I'm not sure about anybody having an agreement with the hotel. I'll have to check.

ME: Look, I don't want to cause any trouble. I just need to get to a restaurant.

BTD: I can take you there, but only if you get in! Quick!

SECOND YELLOW TAXI DRIVER BEHIND BTD: *revs engine* *yells several ominous expletives*

YTD: You don't want to start this!

ME: No, I don't. I don't want to start anything.

YTD: Not you! Him! *gestures towards BTD*

BTD: I'm not starting anything! Get in! Quick!

At this point, I assessed the situation. Clearly, the yellow cabs were in the majority, and the drivers were all angry at the brown cab interloper. The hotel security guy didn't seem to have the first clue, and also didn't seem all that interested in getting involved. The brown taxi driver, though forceful, seemed awfully defensive, to say nothing of angry, so I didn't relish the idea of a taxi ride with him to anywhere. With all this in mind, I closed the door of the brown cab and got into the lead yellow cab.

You would think that would have been the end of it but—this being me and my perpetual string of strange luck—the brown cab FOLLOWED us all the way to the restaurant. After dropping me off, the yellow cab driver and the brown cab driver got out of their cabs and started yelling at each other, face to face. I decided my role in the fiasco was complete, so I went into the restaurant and washed my hands of the whole ordeal.

So, if there's a taxi cab civil war going on in Baltimore right now, I apologize profusely for whatever role I may have played in its inception. Honestly, I just wanted a cab ride. Nothing more.

Posted by Ryan at 08:51 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

Ew, ew and ewwww

It was an accidental beating, followed by an accidental strangulation.

UPDATE: The more I follow this, the more I think this guy is an attention whore who probably didn't actually do the crime. I shall await the DNA judgement on this one.

Posted by Ryan at 09:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Late Night TV

So, I was watching TV kind of late last night, and I was somewhat taken by amused surprise by some of the late night TV ads that run over here in Baltimore.

Most notably, there was one commercial where a very bored looking, and not-too-attractive woman was working some sort of service job, when her boss starts yelling at her. Cut-scene to same woman finding her salvation while looking for alternative employment, like Anne Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada.

Note: this commercial was awash in all the third-rate acting we've all grown to love about late-night, low-budget advertisements.

Cut-scene to same woman, yet again, this time working a brass pole, presumably Without her top, with an equally-bored-looking expression on her face, but with a hint of determination now etched on her features. Like Mary Tyler Moore before her, she was "going to make it any way:" despite the huge and unsightly tattoo splattered entirely over her upper right arm. Like a rough, Anne Hathaway. Hathaway. Whatever. Again, topless.

Cut-scene to text that reads: "Make $1000 a night, part-time." (I think it was "a night," I was kind of drowsy when the commercial aired).

Cut-scene to same bored but now-determined, not-too-attractive woman, defiantly throwing her service uniform at her boss, intent on her new Anne Hathaway life working at:

Larry Flynt's Hustler Club.

Posted by Ryan at 08:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 15, 2006

So, yeah, Baltimore

Not surprisingly, airport security at Rochester, Minn., airport wasn't slowed all that much by the increased precautions, although a Muslim family consisting of a mother, father, two little children, and a baby in a carriage, well, they got the full screening treatment. Of course, it didn't help that both children wore backbacks filled to the brim, and the mother had a thermos of baby formula. In all, it took over 20 minutes for the whole family to get scanned and wanded. Once they were through, however, things went pretty much like normal (and, yes, three other Muslim women went through without a hitch, for those of you about to cry murderous foul "profiling").

Baltimore, near as I can tell, is a more run down version of Boston. Oh, it has its charm down at the inner harbor, but mostly, the farther you range from the inner harbor, the more you tend to notice the increasing grime. My hotel is smack in the middle of the city, practically a stone's throw away from Camden Yards. You can actually see my hotel in the background of that picture. I'll let you guess which it is.

Thanks to a busy conference/meeting schedule, I haven't eaten for shit since Sunday night, when I foolishly ordered a spinich and cheese calzone, thinking that East coast calzones = Midwest calzones. They do not equal each other, in case you're wondering.

The Baltimore Convention Center is, generally, pretty nice. The Seattle Convention Center was probably nicer, but Baltimore has its own unique charm.

I return to Minnesota early tomorrow afternoon, at which point I imagine I'll see a little more delaying security than what I experienced in Rochester. But, maybe not. Everyone I've talked to here says the media reports have been overblown, at least compared to what they experienced, so who knows.

Posted by Ryan at 10:39 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 11, 2006

My New ThunderJournal! *lightning strike*

I have officially, personally, made a definitive decision about something that's been bothering me now for over four years.

I've never liked the word "blog." I don't care if it is the result of meshing the words "Web" and "Log." Blog = Dumb. I do not tell people I blog. I tell them I have a Web site.

Well, I'm sick of saying I have a Web site. That has all the verbal punch of a gurgling whisper, even though it is still better than saying "blog."

Let it be known, from this point on, Rambling Rhodes is no longer a blog. I've thought long and hard on this, and I've decided that Rambling Rhodes should only be referred to as a. . ."ThunderJournal!" *lightning strike*


This is my own personal ThunderJournal! *lightning strike*


When I'm writing, I'm not blogging, I'm ThunderJournaling! *lightning strike*


In fact, now that I think about it, I'm not even going to consider myself a journalist any more, either. I'm a ThunderJournalist! *lightning strike*


I can't believe how cool this thing is now. It's so hip, and now, and wicked, and sweet. I'm marvelling at the sheer ultra-coolness of my entirely revamped ThunderJournal! *lightning strike*


Posted by Ryan at 02:23 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 10, 2006

Flight Plan

As someone who is scheduled to fly to Baltimore for a tech conference on Sunday, I find shit like this to be a tad disconcerting. Lousy terror plots. *shakes fist*

Posted by Ryan at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 09, 2006

Must be a joke. MUST BE!

HillaryBust.jpg">I'm so sorry.


Posted by Ryan at 03:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 08, 2006

Okay, that was weird

I haven't done a good bathroom-related post in awhile. It's not because I've lost my enthusiasm for providing bathroom-related content, it's just that nothing much has happened lately for me to report on.

Until just now.

I was using a urinal, when some guy came in to use the other one. Which wasn't unusual. It was his "technique" that was unusual.

He litterally stood about two feet away from the urinal and let the amber stream fly. From the corner of my eye I could only see a yellow line originating somewhere behind me from an invisible source, right on into the porcelain retainer.

Gradually, the strange pee man shuffled inch by inch closer to the urinal, as if he was fighting against the pressure of his forceful piss, and by pee standards, I guess it did sound pretty forceful. At any rate, by the time I wrapped up my own peeing business, the other pee dude had taken up a more traditional urinal proximity.

It's really weird to see a pee stream right next to you, but you can't see the source. It was like a dimensional door opened so an alien from the planet Klaxor could take a piss.

Posted by Ryan at 03:21 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 07, 2006

An open letter

To stupid people. All stupid people.

A meerkat is a varmint. Yes, it is a cute varmint, and it does cute varmint things. That said, it's still a varmint. If I were to be bit by a varmint, and I was given the choice between killing said varmint or undergoing a series of rabies shots. . . goodbye varmint. You were a cute varmint, but now you're a dead varmint.

And that's just me. If I had a child, and the choice was between my child undergoing possibly unnecessary rabies shots, or erradicating an entire family of varmints? Goodbye varmint family!

That is all.

Posted by Ryan at 09:31 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

August 03, 2006


According to my Site-Meter, in the last half-hour I've had visitors from such exotic countries as:

United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates

That's right, bitches, my blog was able to bring the Iranians and Israelis together. Who needs the U.N. when you have my ass picture bringing about global tranquility? The Nobel Peace Prize is just within my grasp.

UPDATE: I also just had a visitor from Syria. Hello, Syrian visitor!

UPDATE II: And an Iraq visitor!

I'm telling you, this increased blog traffic is interesting as hell.

Posted by Ryan at 11:06 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


This person is an idiot. There are other idiots like this idiot, but I'll focus my ire on only this idiot for now.

Violent video games: Not for kids of any age

Which begs the question: at what age do kids become. . . not kids? According to this idiot: NEVER!

U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum has ruled that "the state failed to show that the graphic video games were harmful to children" (Star Tribune, Aug. 1).

That's because District Judge James Rosenbaum is NOT an idiot. Whereas you, sir, ARE an idiot. It's an important distinction.

I don't like video games and think they are just a bunch of trash that doesn't build up anyone's mind, character or morals.

Really? Did you grow up playing, say, The Oregon Trail? Have you ever actually sat down and marvelled at the sheer volume of mythological images and themes referenced in a LOT of video games? Have you ever played some of the first person perspective games that challenge the hell out of you to navigate incredibly complex maps and puzzles? I dare you, idiot, to pick up a joystick and try to solve the complexities of Myst and its derivatives. Do that and come back and tell me video games don't build your fucking mind. Myst kept me up nights it was so irritatingly complex. Of course, an idiot like you would see Myst on screen and sneer dismissively in a predictively idiot way, you fucking idiot.

However, I don't understand why so many adults think they can accept and handle video and other images that are supposedly harmful to children.

Hey, idiot, supposedly harmful does NOT = HARMFUL. There is, literally, tons of shit that's supposedly harmful to children, but hasn't been proven to be harmful, as District Judge James Rosenbaum so helpfully explained, because, as stated, District Judge James Rosenbaum is not a world-class idiot, like yourself.

What makes adults think they are less vulnerable to corrupt or violent images than children?


This is the most idiotic statement of this idiot's idiotic letter. But what the hell, I'll take a stab at it.

Dear idiot:

What makes me, an adult, think I'm not vulnerable to corrupt or violent images? Hmmm, let me think. Well, for starters, I know that, if I'm horribly wounded by a rocket propelled grenade launched by a dessicated corpse in Area 51, chances are I probably won't be healed by a magically hovering health cube. I also know that, if I were to open fire with an incredibly heavy chain gun in some office somewhere, I'd probably do pretty extensive damage, rather than just blowing out windows and a random desk chair, while the pencil sharpener JUST WON'T DIE! But, mostly, idiot, I know that, when I put in a game cartridge, or fire up a computer CD or DVD, and press the power or click "Play Game," I know that I'm playing a fucking GAME, you fucking cock knob. And, when I'm done playing said game, I know that I won't feel compelled to slap a magazine of bullets in my Glock and take out a few neighbors. Yes, there may be, out of the millions and millions and millions and millions of people who play video games, a few who can't separate fantasy from reality. But, you know what? If they didn't have video games to feed their psychosis, they'd just find some other outlet like, say, role playing board games, to fuel themselves until they snap. Perhaps you'd like to ban board games? While you're at it, movies too, perhaps. And when all is said and done, when video games and board games and violent movies and television are all gone, and the only images floating around are those of Care Bears and Smurfs (no Gargamel or Azrael, as per your idiotic dictate), and the next round of violence breaks out somewhere in America, I'm sure you, dear idiot, will be right there with your next theory of the ROOTS OF CORRUPTION and VIOLENCE.

For the record, idiot, I grew up on video games, video games that were then, like now, deemed excessively violent. Yet, strangely, I have never harbored the desire to kill ANYONE. Oh, sure, I've gotten into the occasional scrap or two, but they were mostly due to me hitting on the wrong woman at a bar when their boyfriend was standing behind me. I can assure you, idiot, that the ass whuppings I received on those occasions had very little to do with my childhood history of playing Atari Battle Tank or Ninja Gaiden, and everything to do with bad timing and worse judgement.

So, in conclusion: you are an idiot. Go forth and figure out how best to become not an idiot. That is all.

With apologies to the Kool Aid Report for intruding on their usual crusade against stupid letters to the editor.

Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker. Dark Knight. Heath Ledger. Batman. The Joker.

Posted by Ryan at 09:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 01, 2006


I tallied just over 27,000 visitors to this blog last month; I was just shy of 2,000 yesterday; and it looks like I'm poised to easily surpass that today. These numbers are rather amazing to me.

And it occurred to me that this blog has pretty much obliterated any sense of personal online anonymity. Between this blog and the IBM magazine articles I've written over the years, my name is a simplistic Google search away.

When I started this thing as an outlet to strengthen my writing, I never really expected it to be viewed by 27,000 people a month. Hell, for the first year or so I was, maybe, tallying 20 views a day, with most of those being me. So, as I watched the insanity that was my Site-Meter for July, I felt more than just a little bit e-Naked. The number of people looking for my infamous ass picture truly was rather amazing. I mean. . . WHY?

Sure, I've done little experiments in hit-whoring over the years, but they've never really amounted to much. July, however, drove some fairly sobering thoughts into my head.

Firstly, any job I ever actually manage to get a sit-down interview for, I can be fairly certain that the person conducting the interview will have read at least some portion of my blog in preparation. And that's assuming they'd ever want a sit-down interview in the first place, considering the crassness and potty humor on display here.

Secondly, I'm not sure there's any going back at this point. Oh, I suppose I could, someday, if the traffic gets too scary, take all of this down, pour gas on it, and strike a match (a la Plain Layne/Odin Soli), but Google, specifically, and the Internet in general tends to remember ALL. I can never really expect to say "nope, didn't do it; there's nothing to see here; ignore all that excremental humor."

Thirdly, I can't fool myself: there's a very bigly part of me that really wants to see how wild and crazy this blog traffic can get. Sure, it could all just be an anomalous month or so of increased traffic, but it could also continue growing and growing as the Internet thirst for my ass picture reaches infinite proportions.

Finally, I've said it before, but it really is true: the Inter-Web is weird. I mean, why this blog? It's nonsensical, infantile, crass, un-focused and not at all visually compelling. Compared to a lot of blogs on my usual-read list, this blog sucks the mighty wang, and yet those blogs get 1/5 the traffic. It makes no sense.

All this thinkering could be pointless, of course, because as I noted, it could all just be a fluke month of unusually high traffic. But, having just tallied my 1,080th visitor at 1:30 p.m., there's part of me that thinks it may be here to stay.

Posted by Ryan at 12:32 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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