Poor Penmanship? What’s YOUR Fuckin Excuse?

 A Pittsburgh-area girl born without hands has won a penmanship award — and $1,000 — from a company that publishes language arts and reading textbooks.

But the more important question probably is, “How well can she type on a keyboard or touch-screen?” She probably kicks ass at it. It’s a shame that great penmanship like ours is wasted in this increasingly digitized world.

This story, and this little Annie Clark, are pretty amazing and adorable. I highly recommend checking the video.

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Could this kid be any cuter?

On Batteries

With more and more of us becoming more and more reliant on all our fabulous gadgets and gizmos, we are also more dependent on the batteries that power these technological wonders. Have you often wondered what is the best way to deal with the battery, vis a vis charging methods? Should you leave your phone charged over night? Should you let the battery run down real low from time to time?

The great life-improvement website, Lifehacker (part of the Gawker media family of bloggish websites), tackles these questions. To be quite honest, I’m not sure they cleared much up about it, but the comments below offer up a good debate on the issue.

(pic source)

How Often Should I Charge My Gadget’s Battery to Prolong Its Lifespan?

When my batteries start losing juice, and need a good kick in the nuts, I just play this for them. Works every time.

Some AZ Peeps More Affected by WORD “Haboob,” Than Sand Storm Itself

Oh Arizona! how I love thee so: it just wouldn’t be Bat Country without ya. You really gotta hand it to the Grand Canyon State, because they are not content with just being the lead runner in the race for America’s most batshit crazy hysterical state; they want to win by a country mile. This latest New York Times story just proves that the nuttiest state in the Union is looking to lap the field.

Recently, a few wicked sand-storms popped up in the Phoenix area, and were referred to in the media by the proper name “haboob.” Well, apparently a few Arizonans were so upset by the use of an Arabic word to describe their precious, culturally-significant “sand-storms,” that they just had to express their outrage in xenophobic rants to the Arizona Republic, here and here; and, as usual, the comment section to these are so enlightening.

Here is a great quote, from the NY Times piece on this nonsense in the first link:

Not everyone was put out by the use of the term. David Wilson of Goodyear, Ariz., said those who wanted to avoid Arabic terms should steer clear of algebra, zero, pajamas and khaki, as well. “Let’s not become so ‘xenophobic’ that we forget to remember that we are citizens of the world, nor fail to recognize the contributions of all cultures to the richness of our language,” he wrote.

This quote should put to bed any doubt that anyone offended by the use of the word “haboob” is a pathetic ignoramus. It must be so exhausting for these morons to go through life getting all bent out of shape of stuff like this. I almost feel sorry for them…almost.

In Memoriam: Edwin Parker “Cy” Twombly, Jr. (1928-2011)

I’m not gonna front as if I celebrated the man’s entire catalog, or anything, but I did want to mention the passing of great American artist Cy Twombly, because he created one of my favorite works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fifty Days at Iliam (pictured below). And based on some of Twombly’s other stuff, I’ve always just dug his artistic sensibility; that being all messy, random and chaotic, ugly and beautiful, like life.

On The Longest Day of the Year.

Ain’t no party like a Solstice party, ’cause a Solstice party don’t stop!

Other than the freaks here at Stonehenge, no one really makes much of a fuss about the Summer Solstice.  Considering the importance the ancients placed on this annual solar event, History’s original summer blockbuster, if you will, you would think that something would carry over.  When you consider how Christmas co-opted much of the traditions of the Winter Solstice, the lack of Summer Solstice play seems even more perplexing.  I suppose with the Solstice falling between two of the Summer’s biggest holidays, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, things are just too crowded.  Or maybe it is because there are too many people like myself, who are just too damned tired from the getting up with the Sun at 5 AM (I’m very photo-sensitive.)  Still, if fuckin’ Cinco de Mayo can gain the legitimate, drink-your-face-off, party status it has accrued over the past decade or so, I see no reason why we can’t go buck-wild in honor of the longest day of the year, when the Great Ball of Fire makes his longest appearance at our daily Northern People Party (The Sun is just great at a party, what with his funny anecdotes and all; he just lights up the room – heyoooooh!)

OK! Off to go mix up a big pitcher of 100 proof vodka and Sunny Delight ®.

So Happy Summer Solstice, Party People!

It is Official: My Wife is a Gamer…


…and I couldn’t be happier. When @jenniCul texted me that she purchased her first ever Xbox game, I was so proud. And I thought to myself, so this is how the Tiger Mom felt upon learning that her projec- I mean daughter, was accepted into Harvard.

Now, my angel is no stranger to gaming by any means. She is quite an accomplished healing Priest in Word of Warcraft, and can ambush with the best of the Rogues; she has beaten Fable II; and enjoys driving in the cars and riding on the horses in Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption, respectively. And this is all on top of her genuine fondness for watching me play video games (the story driven ones; Madden, not so much) But this is the first time that she actually went out to the store to buy a game. I feel that makes her Gamer-status somewhat official.

But when it comes to opening the packaging on the Xbox game case, she still has a lot to learn. As you can see here, in her excitement to get at Fable III, and get it into the console, she just tore-ass through the plastic wrap plus the cover, which one usually leaves intact. What a noob! Hahahahahahaha. She is so adorable!

So enjoy Fable III, my love; and kick its ass!

A Commencement Address For The Ages

Wow! If you have 20 minutes, and you want to watch what I would argue will go down as one of the better commencement addresses of all-time, then by all means, check out the video below of the great Stephen Colbert, as he delivers a hysterical and poignant speech to his alma mater Northwestern’s graduating Class of 2011.

Stephen Colbert is so freaking talented, it’s scary sometimes.

Las Vegas: The Fabulous Heart of Bat Country (the Beirut Tourney)

I realize that the exact location where Hunter S. Thompson proclaimed that, “We can’t stop here: This is Bat Country,” is somewhere around Barstow, CA; but I consider these entire United States of America as one huge Bat Country, and its capital – its beating, blood-pumping heart – resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. After returning from my second trip to the desert, I am convinced that Las Vegas represents the most, and perhaps last, true bastion of American Freedom, with New Orleans coming in a close 2nd. Where else can you get a drink at anytime, have a smoke anywhere, and gamble everywhere? And nobody fucks with you.

With a free beer in one hand, a smoke in the other, and money on two horse races as well as the Hawks-Bulls game, I felt like Shoeless Joe from Field of Dreams, when he asks Kevin Costner: “Is this Heaven?” Only, instead of replying, “No. This is Iowa,” Kevin says to me, played by Ray Liotta, “No. This is the Sports Book at Caesar’s Palace.” Freedom.

To make things even better was the fact that I had the opportunity to make the trip thanks to one of my dearest friends, who is like the Yin to my Yang. Whereas I’m a little on the reckless and, well, stupid, side, my main Man is super smart and cool, calm, and collected. When I’m worrying about turning $100 into a $1000, my Partner is there to remind me: “One bet at a time jC.” And I keep my Man on his toes and trusting his gut. The whole trip, it was like we were dancin’.

Here’s an example, that really sums up nicely a Vegas buddy trip with two happily married guys (not to each other, to two awesome ladies who couldn’t make the trip; not that there anyhting wrong with that). So we’re walking up The Strip one afternoon, on our way to play a little Craps, and we pass this casino called O’Sheas, and there is this midg- sorry, dwarf, dressed like a leprechaun announcing a Beirut- sorry, Beer Pong tournament. My Partner and I look at each other and nod; little was said. We were getting in on that shit. See, a little about us: we went to Lehigh University; so we know a thing or two about hitting cups. First of all, the fucking game is called Beirut people! But I think at this point, with how ubiquitous the game is, and considering how everybody calls it Beer Pong even though Beer Pong is a completely different game all together, I’ve almost resigned myself to the fact that Beirut will always be misnamed. But I haven’t give up hope yet. Lehigh, our alma mater, is alleged to have either invented the game, or at the very least gave it the name Beirut –  due to the shelling the Lebanese city took during its country’s civil war in the 1980’s; Lehigh kids are nothing if not classy, and sensitive to geo-political strife. Much of this Beirut/Beer Pong lore can be corroborated here at Wikipedia, for what that’s worth. And, no, I didn’t edit the entry. I never do that shit. But I digress; back to the action. So after not making much headway at a cool craps table, we head on over and register for the tourney. Our team name, seeing as though we were repping Lehigh and Pennsylvania: the AMISH OUTLAWS – AOOOO! Now it had been quite some time, over a decade, since we were at our peak skills; that meant it was time to practice. At first we were a little cold as we threw back and forth across the table into water cups (we weren’t try to get all jammed up quite yet.) But then, it all started coming back to us, and the balls were splashing. Looking over at the other tables – 6 in all – there was definitely some stiff competition. There were some cats who were nailing cup after cup, and taking full advantage of the liberal allowance of leaning. We had out work cut out for us. At this point I started live tweeting, and asking the Lehigh crew for some good vibes.


OK, shits about to go down soon. Thanks for the good vibes, Party Peeps. The AMISH OUTLAWS are gonna show em how we do Beirut Lehigh style!
Jennifer C
JenniCul Jennifer C
@johnnyCul nice!! Gooooo Amish outlaws!
Larry Grodsky
Biyootz Larry Grodsky
@johnnyCul you don’t need luck kemosabe
david prah
dpeazy david prah
@johnnyCul need no luck brutherr
The tournament begins, and we make quick work of our first round opponent, at which point I proclaim to my partner, “We’re taking this shit!” His reply: “One cup at a time, jC; one cup at a time.” Dancing. And then we kept winning.
johnnyCul jaycee
AllRIGHT! The AMISH OUTLAWS won our 1st Round matchup on the Vegas Beirut Tourney (we refuse to say Beer Pong) Onward! #winning
johnnyCul jaycee
The AMISH OUTLAWS move on to Rnd3 in the Vegas Beirut Tourney! AaaaOooooo! #winning
Our first trouble came against a team with skills that were clearly inferior to ours, and one member who was clearly wasted; however, since bouncing is allowed  in these tournaments – and swatting said bounces, inexplicably, is not – this drunk fool was able to nail a handful of cups simply with blind pussy bouncing. And I cost the AMISH OUTLAWS a cup by succumbing to my instincts, and swatting some of that weak shit right the fuck out! It came down to one cup on each side, and they nailed it, right in my eye, as I was talking some sublime shit. I was talking a lot of shit. All was not lost, however, because will still had our one buy-back opportunity, which pretty much every team took advantage of. Thanks to our buy-back, we were able to keep rolling. Sometimes we were both hot and annihilated, and sometimes one of us picked up the other as we gutted out a tough win, and we each hit our fair share of final cups. We danced our way into the Final-4. So out of 30, 40, maybe more, teams, the AMISH OUTLAWS found ourselves standing toe-to-toe with 3 other teams, who actually consider themselves professionals at Beer Pong, and travel all over to tournaments. This one cat told me they were heading to Atlantic City for one in a few weeks.
But alas, the magical rumspringa that was the AMISH OUTLAWS run in the Vegas Beirut Tournament came to an end right there in the semi-finals, where we lost to the eventual champs, these two big meat-head Beer Pong pros from Cali, with zero personality. We wanted that title, but more than that, we wanted to represent Lehigh and Pennsylvania like the motherfuckin champs we all are! And I feel we did that; plus we put on a hell of a show for the spectators in attendance.
johnnyCul jaycee
The AMISH OUTLAWS rolled our way into the Semis: aka the Final 4 in the Vegas Beirut tourney, but our run ended there. We repped Lehigh HARD
johnnyCul jaycee
Final word on the #Vegas Beirut Tourney: the AMISH OUTLAWS rolled our way to Semis(Final4), only to get beat by eventual champs. #LEHIGH
david prah

dpeazy david prah

@johnnyCul #Vegas #LEHIGH #beerpong you have made me proud. To the regiment. Decisions and dignity
So that is story of the AMISH OUTLAWS: I feel that it illustrates the synergy between two old college roomates, and the random fun and freedom of Las Vegas. Back in college, when we played Beirut, great pains were taken to avoid alerting the campus authorities about our activities. Beirut was technically a big no-no on campus back the Day. What a pain in the ass that was.
You haven’t truly lived until you’ve played Beirut in Vegas, with people setting up your cups for you, and a janitor mopping up the schwag on the floor at your feet. The beer never tasted so good: It tasted like Freedom.
Stay tuned for more musings on our recent visit to Fabulous Las Vegas, including a review of the wild new show at the Caesar’s Palace Spiegelworld: Absinthe.

Mom Uses Public Shame Play in Response to Son’s Poor Grades

Unfortunately, however, her plan backfired when he got hired by a local radio station upon their discovering his golden voice. HeyOOH!

But seriously, though, I’m not sure what to make of this. On the one hand, I can understand where psychologists, who argue that shaming a kid could lead to even worse scholastic performance and behavior, are coming from; but if nothing else is getting through to this young man, I can totally sympathize with the whatever-it-takes parenting method (short of beating his ass) she is deploying.

I really hope this kid starts applying himself, using this situation as the catalyst to helping him realize the value of an education, and that all works out in the end.

At the very least, the fact that his Mom seems so actively engaged in her child’s well-being, however unorthodox, bodes better for his future.


The Rooster


My office now doubles as a sniper-perch because we have an issue with squirrels getting up into our soffit (the area between the roof and walls that leads to the attic.)  There are few sounds worse than that of some creature scurrying about inside your walls as you lie in bed trying to fall asleep, especially in a new home.  I need to make sure that these glorified rats are out of our house before getting the entry points (they are pushing their way through the siding where the soffit meets in corners) sealed up, or else we could have them tearing about up there as they are trapped and dying a cruel death; and then there is the putrid aftermath.  Bottom-line: they gotta go!

Of course trapping the squirrels is an option, and one that I spent time and money pursuing.  I purchased a Have-a-Heart (r) humane trap, and fully intended to snatch em up and take them on a nice little trip across the river to New Jersey (apparently, squirrels will find their way “home,”covering distances of at least 10 miles.)  After doing some research, this option became less and less appealing, as I learned that trapping and releasing isn’t very humane at all.  Squirrels maintain their own territory, and one displaced to a new area would most likely be doomed to attack or death of starvation.  Also, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of transporting frightened, wild animals in my truck (illegally, most likely.)  And on top of that, the creature could injure itself as it bombed around inside the trap.  But all these issues became moot, because these clever fucks would not get into that trap.  I watched them gobble up the chunky peanut-butter left out in the woods in front of my office window, but once it was placed inside the trap, the squirrels approached but wisely declined to enter.

The trapping “solution” became a huge waste of time, with the setting, checking, and returning each night (squirrels only come out during the day, and I wasn’t interested in catching anything else.)  The squirrels continued to taunt me with their frolicking and foraging outside my window by day, and their scratching in the walls at night.  Clearly it was time to explore other options.  And I wasn’t about to pay a few hundred bucks for someone to take care of this problem for us.  I’m a half-assed do-it-youselfer, after all.

I decided to purchase a high powered, spring-action, break-barrel, Daisy (r) 1000 Powerline air rifle, that fires both pointed, snub, and hollow-point pellets at 1000 feet-per-second.  (Ralphie would have blown his fucking head off with this bad-boy at the end of A Christmas Story.) If I’m gonna shoot these little bastards, I’m not looking to just injure them and cause undue suffering; this Daisy (r) Powerline – named “Robin” – will most definitely produce a quick kill with a well placed shot to the center-mass.  And after successfully sighting my first ever scope, I fully intend on delivering a well placed shot to the center-mass.

(Not for nothing, but the “Sniper Solution” to our squirrel problem is by far the most fun, that’s for sure.  I’ve been having an absolute blast sighting my scope and taking target practice, and I’m getting pretty good as I get more comfortable shooting and breaking in “Robin the Rifle.”  When I’m working and writing at my desk, I take occasional target breaks and fire some pellets right from my office window, pictured above, at a series of cans and targets I positioned in the woods.  I really need to get a picture of “Robin’s” rifle barrel sticking out of my window from a distance, just to see how bad I am freaking out the neighborhood.)

Now look, I don’t particularly enjoy the act of killing (well, animals, anyway).  Hunting and fishing don’t really do it for me, because, again, I take no pleasure in killing animals.  But I sure as shit don’t particularly enjoy animal breeding within the confines of our home, and I take even less pleasure in paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to repair the extensive damage that squirrels are capable of causing.

And with all that being said, know that I have absolutely zero problem with people who hunt and/or fish.  As a general rule,  I try to keep my hypocrisy at as low and manageable a level as possible: I’m no fucking vegan or anything, and unless you are, you have no right to bitch about hunting.  Because, as far as I’m concerned, hunting an animal, and quickly taking it out in its own environment, is far more of a humane scenario than that same animal being raised from birth in a horrible, disgusting, food-factory (and I love food-factory products.)  And of course there is the whole over-population issues for some game animals that leads to a brutal, starving existence.  But I digress…

In the wintertime, squirrels limit their outdoor activity to the mornings only, and then spend the rest of the day and night in the confines of their nests, which in this case, happens to be the warmth and comfort of our fucking house!  And in the case of really bad or cold weather, squirrels can just chill out in their dens for days!

If these little rodents had just settled for a tree nest like most of their brethren already do, we would have no problem co-existing on this tiny plot of earth; but noooo, the squirrels around here have been living large for over a year, after movin’ on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky.

So starting tomorrow morning, the motherfuckin’ rent is due!