Friday, October 31, 2008

Likes to Be Slapped

I love the long set up.

For the Record

I cannot end October of all months with thirteen posts.

Happy Halloween! If you want real horror, and not the fake kind, go over to Rice and sit outside until around 10:00 p.m., then prepare for Baker 13.

All for now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Already Missing It

by Hester Jewell Dawson

the high fly ball,
arches out above left field,
hangs there in the sky
outblazing the sun
while fifty thousand heads swings and cry
"Over the wall! Over the wall!"
then hold, fixed and dumb
as the ball drops
down and down, a dead bird
into a waiting glove

and there you have it: the song,
the flight, the perilous whisper of truth
or of love or possibly of faith

then the descent
and the end of the game

October by Hester Jewell Dawson ©

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Evn, who thinks strife is the bee's knees, has tagged me with a meme.

I think meme is a fun word and a fascinating term, sociologically speaking.

However, I am usually reluctant to participate in them, on the grounds of Too Cool for School vs. Yearbook Club. Not this time, though. Overriding this impulse is the fact that Evn gets principal credit for my re-entry into the legitimate blogosphere, and, damn it all, he is right. I do love lists.

(Spoiler Alert: There will be four lists in this blog)

Without further ado, the rules of this meme:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. (Check. I am on top of things!)

2. Post the rules on your blog. (Boom! Meta-check!)

3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.

5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

But before we do this, I would like to offer a curtain-raiser. So, without further ado, here is my commentary on Evn's Six Random Things:

(Oh, snap! I linked to it twice!)

1. Funny story about this one. Evn was once (mostly against his will) conscripted into service as the official cockroach killer for the MLA Offices at our college by the head of the program, a dear, departed professor and a surprisingly powerful Jewish woman at our very Catholic university. It was a job he hated. But the rest of the job was super-cool, so he had to put up with it. How super cool could it be, you ask? That office had the world's most awesome porch, and if that doesn't tell you everything, I don't know how to talk to you.

2. Marilyn Manson was also edgy in the mid-90's, if that gives you any perspective.

3. I'm pretty sure this entry is a thinly-veiled metaphor for how much time he spent drinking.

4. Who's bed he ends up in is somehow irrelevant to this particular compulsion.

5. I have nothing to offer here, but I've put myself into the position of having to comment on every one of these, so instead, I'm going to tell you about the whale that exploded (this is a partial repost from an old blog):

Okay. So this Sperm Whale, which is funny enough to begin with, dies at sea and washes ashore shortly after, fairly intact. Taiwanese scientists ( I thought all they did was make action figures) see this as a golden oppurtunity to cut open a dead Sperm Whale, load his ass up on a flatbed truck and drive him through the widest street that gets to their office - you know, the middle of downtown... um, Taiwan. Meanwhile, unbeknowest to anyone but God and whoever could've suspected that John Ritter's number was up, the Sperm Whale is being consumed from the inside by the mites that contribute to the deterioration of all things once living, but particularly in the ocean and being this Whale. Mites have to poop, too, and the way they happen to go about it is by releasing methane and other gases ( in actuality it's the reason you flatulate - that's microscopic bug poo buildup), and these mites have been doing it with aplomb**. But the Whale must obviously be going through rigor mortis or something, because his muscles can't relax enough to let this gas out. So what happens next? (Melissa Singletary from Elvington, Wisconsin writes, "Dear Beakman...") You guessed it. That Whale fucking blows up. All over the Taiwanese marketplace. Spewing blood, slime, feces, and guts all over the place - all over the daily shoppers. ka-BOOM! Guh-ag! Citezens, unexpectedly covered in filth, being vomitting and passing out. Total mayhem. Absolute chaos. And to top it all off, the large intestine wraps around this vespa, arguably the worst idea in motorcycle technology since Fonzie learned to jump over a shark.

Coolest. Thing. Ever. And then, as an afterthought, the article mentions that the dead whale had been reknowned (prior to it's pickup by the Taiwanese scientists) for it's 5' penis. The way I see it, the penis crashed through the window, knocking a hat and jacket off of a manequin, only to have the clothes land on the penis which now stands in the manequin's place. It's so funny I was laughing and retching all at once. Now why can't CSI be more like that? Oh, wait. It is.

** - aplomb refers to some chick from Hawaii that lounges outside and feeds the lazy coconuts.

6. Sometimes I ge the feeling that certain things don't exist (like Norweigian as a language), and Erasure is becoming one of those things.

Tired yet? We're only halfway through our lists! On to six random things concerning me:

1. I love old episodes of Match Game that they show on Game Show Network. Unreasonably, man. Part of it is Gene Rayburn's microphone, but mostly it's two things: 1 - the "G" list celebrities. Charles Nelson Reilley, Brett Sommers, Nipsy Russell, McLean Stevenson, Richard Dawson, and Kitty Carlisle Hart couldn't carry a fresh bowl of oxygen, let alone an audiences' attention for half an hour. How was this popular? 2 - the premise of this game show is categorically insane. Host Rayburn reads a fill-in-the-blank sentence (mad lib style), and the contestant makes a guess at what the "stars" answers were. Only thing is, the stars could've written anything. And this is Charles Nelson Reilly we're talking about. If Rayburn read, "Old Tom said, 'I think my doctor is a quack. Every time I go in for a check-up, he demands that I pay him in blank," Charles Nelson Reilly wouldn't write something like "crackers" (the duck analogy, plus a hoary old way of saying someone's nutballs), or "pennies" or anything remotely resembling an answer, he'd write, "Soaps from Rosalind Russell's guest washroom" or some other shit. I am not kidding when I tell you that most of these episodes were decided by scores that looked like hockey games or baseball games from the deadball era.

2. I met more important people working at a dry cleaners than I have in five years in the theatre / museum business. So there.

3. I have no concept of proportions when it comes to cooking. I can only make industrial sized dishes for families of twelve. Hope you like leftovers! Unfortunately, this leads to scads of over-eating, as my parents somehow lived through the great depression despite being born a good twelve & twenty-two years after it.

4. I get a bug up my butt about certain jokes, and if I don't get a laugh out of them, I will hang on to them and drag them into the ground until they work. Some lines I have found absolutely hilarious which somehow have yet to find an audience:

"That's the best idea I've heard today, and I've heard four ideas today."

"Every little girl wanted a pony when she grew up, but not for breakfast."

"I am not an animal! I am a hunan being!" - best when shouted by Chinese delivery boy

5. Evn's dream post inspired me to tell you about the weirdest dream I ever had, when I was fifteen. (1995)

It's Thanksgiving day, and the Rockets are playing the Knicks. For some reason, I'm in the Knicks' locker room with my friend Andy (NOT a basketball fan, by the way) listening to the game on the radio, where we hear Gene Peterson tell the audience listening in that after the game, the Knicks have arranged to have a Thanksgiving feast back in their locker room. Sure enough, there's an impressive spread there - everything you think is supposed to be a Thanksgiving food, it's there.

Suddenly, the phone rings. Andy answers, and it's our 9th grad algebra teacher, Mr. Pickering. Mr. Pickering asks, "What kind of food have they got back there?" So Andy answers, turkey, stuffing, etc., only to be interrupted by Pickering, "Do they have any pie?" We look around, and sure enough, there's a peach pie. Says Pickering, "I'll give you ten bucks if you steal that pie for me." So Andy does.

The game ends in a one point Rockets' victory, and the Knicks come back to enjoy their dinner. They are rather put out to discover that the pie is missing, and it comes to pass that due to some obscure rule about basketball being invented with peach baskets for the original hoops, theft of peaches is grounds for a double technical. Why it didn't matter that the game was over or that Andy and I had no ties to the Rockets' organization was apparently irrelevant, and Allan Houston sank the two free throws to win the game for New York. Needless to say, the city was pissed.

6. I once played the character of Mufaro in a production of Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. Let's just say there was no other choice that day, and Mufaro was PROBABLY cuckolded.

So there are my six things. Now, I just have to tag six people, and my list-making is complete!

However, instead of tagging people I know, I'm going to select six blogs at random from the blogosphere and tag them, just to see who I get to do it.

And the winners are...

Justin Driscoll


Mimi on the Beach

When Tara Met Blog

Matt B. Thompson

Lowercase "l"

That's four lists! And this blog took me just long enough for Pete to throw up right next to me, so I'll put conclusions aside and go pick this up.

All for now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I am Jor-El, Master of Scheduling!

I'm still in the honeymoon phase with this blog, and am therefore somewhat of a blogging monster, as I have been called before by a friend and commenter on my last blog (over at the space, which, in retrospect, was not so much mine).

This will not last, so I intend to get as much good stuff in before the inevitable slow of my output.

Um... well,... all for now, I guess.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Name is Captain Brusin'

If you travel in and around the Memorial / Heights area of town, you may have passed the Citgo on Heights Blvd. which is next to the Art Car Museum and just a stone's throw away from the Hickory Hollow (wow, does that ever sound quaint and small-towny).

This Citgo, for reasons unknown to me, charges prices for its' gasoline which have little, if anything to do with the current market. In Houston, TX, the current going rate for gas is about $2.65 - $2.75 per gallon. So imagine my surprise to see this Citgo charging $2.99 9/10 for a gallon of unleaded fuel this morning on my way to work.

This situation begs the question: Citgo on Heights Blvd., who do you think you are?

I'm not even mad, just curious. I can avoid buying gas at this Citgo rather easily, as there are several gas stations within less than a mile of this gas station / convienence store. I've thought about this as much as I can, and I've come to the conclusion that the answer is one of the following.

1. Every day, you check the national gas price average, and set your prices. This is too bad for you, because no one will buy your gas here. Even if the national average is $2.99, we're operating a quarter below that in the Bayou City (it's under $2 in Harlingen, TX), and since the average gas tank holds about 12 gallons, you're looking at a difference of about $3.00 at your gas station alone, and I need that $3.00 to save up to buy milk. And not the over-priced, convienence store Oak Farms milk you sell at Citgo, either. Regular grocery store milk.

2. You really have no intention of selling gas. I actually think this is the most likely answer, although why you wake up every morning, and exclaim, "Dag, yo! I can't face a line of customers coming into my store for fuel today, wanting to pay me money for it and shit!" is beyond me. It kind of reminds me of Lou's Grocery Store in Bacliff.

What's that, you say, Citgo on Heights Blvd.? You've never heard of Lou's Grocery in Bacliff? Well, let me explain.

Between Kemah and Dickinson, TX on the South-Southeast side of Houston, about halfway down to Galveston, there's a little town called Bacliff. It's a peculiarity of a town, a place where land titles mean almost nothing because banks gave away multiple copies of them for free back in the early 1900's, so no national chains exist there, except for a Jack-in-the-Box along Hwy 146, which connects Kemah to Galveston. It's a mix of port resort and shanty town, truly a wonder to behold. If you've ever wondered where sex offenders have to live, it's in places like Bacliff, due to a school district never wanting to build a school there what with their overabundance of sanity.

Bacliff has one grocery store. ONE! And it's Lou's (most people drive to the Wal-Mart in Dickinson or League City). Only, the thing is, Lou's is not a grocery store. Lou's has beer and liquor, cigarrettes, lotto, and canned food like you might find at you, Citgo on Heights Blvd., but I'm pretty sure their produce section is made up entirely of props. Wilted props. Fresh foods at Lou's are like the regular movies in a video store that you know makes its' money on porn, so the regular movies are all dusty D releases from 1993, and nobody in their right mind would ever rent them. Come to think of it, Lou's smells kind of like a video store that is 12% "real" movies and 88% Cal Vista releases.

'Cause here's the thing: Lou's isn't going to sell celery or watercress. It knows better than that. So it stocks up on what it does sell, and calls itself a grocery store much like you call yourself a gas station instead of The Vice Stop. Admit it, Citgo. You make your money on lotto tickets, tobacco, and porn. The end.

3. You honestly think you can sell this gas and make a profit. Citgo. Citgo! You are not the Shell station on San Felipe and Weslayan, the only gas station that the River Oaksies go to. You are 100 yards from I-10, and nobody's buying it. I can't imagine that the art cars even go to you. In fact, this is so dumb, I secretly suspect that you, Citgo on Heights Blvd., are really Gary Sheffield.

All for now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goatee Powder? But I Sold My Goatee to Buy You Face Whitener!

There are plenty of reasons for you, my fellow Houstonians, to watch this year's World Series, namely Eric Bruntlett, Ben Zobrist, Scott Kazmir, Carl Crawford, Gerry Hunsicker, and Dan Wheeeler & Brad Lidge's reunion, which, as I have noted above, needs to be punctuated with an O. Henry twist.

That said, I'm about Philly-ed out. Both Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, the heads and tails of the idiocy coin, refuse to stop extolling the virtues of Ryan Howard as MVP in 2008. Let's put aside for a moment that Howard is only the second most awesome Ryan Howard in his own state. It cannot be ignored that he was absolutely wretched for a good 1/4 of this season. MVP? Not even of his own team.

No, the 2008 MVP in the NL belongs to (and I can't believe I'm saying this again) Albert Pujols, the one and only unkillable baseball monster, who ranks near the top in every significant statistical category (Howard leads in home runs and RBI's, but is awful just about everywhere else). If you removed Pujols from the Cardinals lineup, they would have gone 2 - 160 this year. Remove Howard? You might get better defense out of the gaping hole at 1st base.

Howard won the MVP, more deservedly, in 2006, and his teammate Jimmy Rollins won, somewhat inexplicably, last year. Rollins winning the MVP award is like giving Godzilla 2nd place in a Godzilla look-alike contest and awarding 1st prize to Anne Murray; that is to say, you're pretty close, but for the love of Mike, Godzilla was in the running.


Were you in the rain last tonight? If so, this was one of the top ten scariest nights of my life. I was never more sure that I was going to lose my car to high water. I started sweet talking it like it was my dog. My thanks to the strangers on the balcony, Aaron, and John Malkovich for spending the evening out on the street with me while we waited for the street flooding to go down.

All for now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Favorite Swear Word

Thanks to Evn for the inspiration:

Favorite curse words strung together: "Shit! Balls shit!" - This happened when I dropped a full cash box on a windy day last May.

Favorite story of a curse word: I do some work for an elderly couple on occasion, moreso because I'm fond of them than anything else, and frequently this work involves helping them get set up for parties, Christmas, etc.

One day, upon discovering her husband had brought home black tape to help tape up white lights against her white painted door frame, the wife exclaimed to him, in front of me, "Jesus' dick!"

And it truly was the best Christmas ever.

All for now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Aw, crap.

I've always thought my last name guaranteed me that there would never be something on youtube that someone else would do and I'd stand the chance of never living down.

For the record, I am Joseph Milillo. All i's, l's, and o's.

All for now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This is Going to Screw Up J.D. Drew's Legacy

...of being largely undependable in games of baseball.

Maddon's manaagement of the bullpen towards the end of this game was somewhat incomprehensible, if you ask me. Maybe they really wanted to win this series at home, I don't know. For all I know, TBS is doing it all with digital technology.

All for now.

Operation Beatdown

FOX Sports just put up a graphic of the most HR's by teammates in a postseason. Barry Bonds & Rich Aurilla of the Giants have 13, and then there are 4 pairs tied with 12 apiece. Of those, only 1 pair played for a team that did not make the World Series that year: Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman of the Astros in 2004. Of course, the broadcast team failed to note that.

I'm currently reading a biography of Roberto Clemente that my father-in-law gave me. I'm only a little ways into it, but I'm more in awe of this guy than I was before, and it gets me to thinking about Derek Bell and his "Operation Shutdown" in 2002. Rather than tell the story, let me just refer you here:

Also, to this picture:

Now, imagine if Roberto Clemente were alive today, or for the purposes of this argument, in 2002. If you imagined it properly, Clemente beat Derek Bell's ass into the ground, intimidated him into giving his paycheck to needy orphans, then un-retired and played right field his own damn self at age 68.

Yes, life is unfair sometimes.

All for now.

At Least it Was Pouring Rain

If you are among the many who were irritated last night that the HOV lane was moving at a snail's pace, um, well, that was me.

I got a flat tire around Little York, and as you well know, there's not much you can do but pull over as far as you can and change it. At least you were able to sneak by a little.

I am also grateful that I had good friends in the car with me who lent invaluable assistance. Of course, had I not, I would have also been breaking the law by using the HOV solo, making it a kind of fun Catch-22. Anyhow, thank you, C & B.

I hate that I have a donut instead of a full spare, but that's going to change when I make my little trip to Discount Tire today here in a few minutes. Based on my luck with the auto repair gods, here's hoping that this doesn't turn into a maddening ordeal.

All for now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Sorry about the formatting in that last blog. I'm still learning how to use this thing, and this was the best I could get it at the moment.

All for now.

Bob Ghengis Khan

Boy, Tampa looks scary dominant. They're eating the Red Sox alive in this series after looking in over their heads in Game 1.

A List: The 10 Best Films (or Film Series) About Time Travel

10. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Needs to be included for the sake of being so bad it's barely watchable. On the other hand, it should be noted that this is the only Star Trek film that is practically a comedy, which almost makes it good in light of the fact that the original Star Trek cast seems much more comfortable parodying their characters than they do playing them straight.

9. The Flight of the Navigator

Good stuff all around here. Of course, viewed through the filter of our sense of irony, Paul Ruebens' voicing the space ship is ridiculous, but Pee Wee was still a few months away when this movie was released. Also, the use of Bulgarian as an alien language is sure to offend someone, so it's got that going for it. Bottom line, you could show this to a kid today and most of them would still love this.

8. The Indian in the Cupboard

Better than advertised. One of the most inventive uses of time travel, and a faithful recreation of the book. Features an early appearance in the career of Steve Coogan, and Frank Oz, who rarely does something crappy (not to be confused with unpopular) directs.

7. Time Bandits

I'm sure a lot of people would like me to rank this higher, but aside from its wicked sense of humor and fantastic casting, this is a pretty sloppy movie, and it's time travel logic is virtually non-existent, and remains inconsistent with it's view of dwarves. Terry Gilliam will direct a time travel film that eventually ranks much higher on the list.

6. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.

The first one is more about time travel than the second one, but the second one's time travel is crucial to the plot, even if it's gimmick is a recycle from the original that comes across paler than the actor who played Death. Probably the funniest of the time travel movies, I can only hope to be so on top of my game when I introduce historical figures to my best friend's hot stepmom.

5. Frequency

Jim Caveziel and Dennis Quaid really sell this movie, along with director Gregory Hoblit's attention to creating a richly detailed 1969 in Queens, the year the Mets won their first World Series. The plausible details along with the evocation of popular culture makes this film a standout. Also, good song for the closing credits.

4. Army of Darkness

When your film franchise is already pretty awesome, the only way you can make it more awesome is transport your hero into the middle ages. Raimi and Campbell get the most out of the "fish out of water" situation and in the process redefine hero to the nerdcore culture.

3. Back to the Future I, II, and III

What really gets me about Back to the Future is how involved Robert Zemickis and Bob Gale are in answering all of the questions that fans pose in the face of the films' apparent plotholes, only to prove in the process that there are, in fact, none. Count me among those who think that when something becomes popular, it's because somebody did something right. Back to the Future is a combination of many of the right elements coming together all at once.

2. Twelve Monkeys

It's hard to watch sometimes, but I can't get over how SMART this movie is, and how good Terry Gilliam is at creating an atmosphere that makes film's closing paradox feel like the perfect ending. Also, Brad Pitt demonstrates for the first time that he can act. It's a shame he's been compelled to be more showy in an effort to recapture some of that glory. Bonus points to him for doing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which may eventually find it's way onto this list.

1. Groundhog Day

This one is so good it would probably make my list of ten best movies, period. Murray and Ramis get explore the truth of human nature while making us laugh. Even Andie McDowell can't spoil this one for me, and she ruined Galipoli without even being in it. Fantastic, fantastic movie, and maybe the most unique use of time travel.

In the time it's taken me to write this, Boston has saved a little face. But not much. Current prediction: Rays in 6, Phillies in 5; then Rays in 6 for the WS.

All for now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not 100% New Material

Hello. My name is Red Delicious, and I make lists. The following is a list of things I will be writing about as we get to know each other.

1. Baseball. I write a lot about baseball. Specifically, the Houston Astros, but most Major League teams and their Minor League affiliates will be subject to my scrutiny. You may love baseball, or you may hate it. Bear with me - I'm by no means exclusive, and I suck at adhering to formats, so you'll get a little bit of everything from me. That said, I will at diverse times discuss the overall awesomeness of Roy Oswalt, hereafter sometimes referred to as Rock.

2. Dogs. I've got two. They are 3 years old and nine months old, respectively, so I anticipate they'll be a part of my life for a long time. This does not mean I will be maintaining a "doggy blog," or anything like that. Let it just be known that These Apples fully supports the Tao of Canines, and will post observations of their behavior.

These are my dogs, and they are more awesome than most things to me.

3. Playmaking. I majored in it. I enjoy it. I'm not going to hawk it in a desperate grab for attention, but I will probably promote it now and then. Most of the time, I prefer the autocracy of directing.

4. Insanity. This comes up a lot. When inspiration strikes, you will hear from me about exploding whales, Gary Sheffield, the news media, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

5. Nerdery. Be warned: you will read about Batman, Gnomish Bards, The Barenaked Ladies, Car Talk, Earth-That-Was, time travel, cartoons, protocol droids, and John C. McGinley on this space.

6. Texas. Texas is the bees' knees. Deal with it.

7. Comedy. I'm a big fan. If I think something is hilarious, I'm going to want to share it with you. Many times, this has to do with someone like Seanbaby, or the guys at Fire Joe Morgan, or McSweeny's. I will not repost what I don't write myself, but I may link. And I will talk about it as though you have read / seen / heard it. Whenever I bring something up you recognize and don't want spoiled (i.e. "Dwight Schrute's recent erratic behavior...") consider it a spoiler alert.

8. Poetry. Every now and again I write poems. I like to put them on my blog when I do. If you like it, great, but you don't have to tell me and you're certainly welcome to ignore them if you don't care. I won't think any less of you if you do.

9. Baseball. This bears repeating. I write a LOT about baseball.

10. Evil. I've said this before, but newcomers to my writing may not realize that it is the personal mission of These Apples to fight evil and injustice wherever they may lurk, then brag to our friends about it, invariably lying about the degree of success (which is cool because nobody's going to go to Hitler's grave to see if he really rose as a vampire). If you or anyone you know has a problem with evil, it is best to contact These Apples in lieu of local law enforcement. In fact, many policemen have been known to escort and protect Dick Cheney, which makes their evil recognition / combatting powers questionable, at best.

So that's it. I'll probably start by re-posting the stuff I'm proud of from the old blog before I phase it out. In the meantime, feel free to stop by and say hi.

All for now.