Saturday, January 31, 2015

3,728 and counting

Once more my girl Maria couldn't muster the needed mojo to beat Serena Williams.  Williams, on the other hand, managed to come up with enough to beat Sharapova like a drum, even while battling a cold.

Troubling.  Although it's hard to feel too troubled for someone with a net worth of over 100 Large.

Maria's a person, just like you and me.  Not just a bank account.
Nicely said.

The good news is that Virginia plays Duke tonight.  When, I would ask Virginia fans, was the last time you thought a statement like that was good news?  Anyway, let's think positive thoughts.

And tomorrow, unless you live in Russia or someplace, in which case it would be the day after tomorrow, the Seahawks play the Patriots.  In the Superbowl.

My prediction is 31-21 Hawks.  What I actually think is going to happen is that the Patriots are going to win by seven.

I hope my prediction is correct.

Friday, January 30, 2015

3,727 days

That's how long it's been since Maria Sharapova has beaten Serena Williams.  Wow.  Can that possibly be true?

Apparently so.  November 15th, 2004 being the key date.  Los Angeles.  The WTA Tour Championship.  Since then, not so much for my Russian friend.

Me?  I'm a big Sharapova fan.  On the other hand, I think Serena is a colossal jerk.  And let me add that I'm quite fond of her sister Venus, lest someone mislabel calling a jerk a jerk an act of racism rather than an act of telling the truth.  Which is a problem that crops up far too frequently in today's world.

Nonetheless, 3,727 days is a long time.  Ten point two one years.

The good news is that the Williams woman has a bit of a cold.  I remain quietly vigilant.

Speaking of things we lust after, here's the new Ferrari ...

Not fabulous, but at least it doesn't make me want to vomit.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let The Spectacle Begin

Finally, a Formula 1 car that doesn't look like shit ...

Actually last year's McLarens were okay looking, although not as tasty as this one.  Plus none of last year's McLarens contained somebody named Fernando Alonso.  Now one does.  And one can't help but notice the addition of the word Honda on the side of the car.  Yowza!

Me?  I have very little interest in owning a Honda, although they are certainly fine cars.  I think I skew towards Toyotas.  But those boys can really build a racing engine.  Back in the old days, McLaren/Hondas were the beasts that roamed the earth.  I wonder if they can repeat the trick.

Now let's see what the shiny red cars look like.  This, for the record, was last year's version ...

Without exaggeration, the worst looking Ferrari in the history of the brand.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


In crafting the world in which "Saigon: Too Big To Fail" takes place, I created a fictitious bank called PierceMcKinley/Rothschild.  I did so because I wanted the freedom to attribute a vast assortment of violent, greedy and antisocial deeds to a systemically-vital banking entity without concern for litigation.

In the end, I might have saved myself the trouble.  The violent, greedy and antisocial activities of the country's actual banking community far exceed my ability to make shit up.  So in that regard, I stand humbled in their presence.

The good news is that the t-shirt looks outstanding.

An Interview with the Greek Chorus

What are your goals for this new blog, Geoffrey?
Use less commas.
Excellent starting point.  In The Year of Magical Painting your fondness for the comma fluctuated between the psychopathic and the psychedelic.
Yes it did.  I apologize.  
Please--you have nothing to apologize for.  What's a few commas between friends?
Now you sound like Harold Pinter.
Any other goals?  
I will attempt to sound less like a pant-load.
Hmmm.  Maybe we should just start with the punctuation.
Maybe.  Life coaches always tell you not to try to change lots of things at once.
Exactly.  Focus on one thing at a time.  
Exactly.  May I, in turn, ask you a question, Xerxes?
Of course.
What happened to Persephone?
She didn't want to relocate.
I thought we offered a pretty attractive package.
I guess it wasn't enough.  Anyway, she called me up and asked me if I wanted my old job back.  I was at loose ends at the time and the thought of a regular paycheck seemed attractive so I said yes.
Well, welcome back.
Thank you.  But I have to say, the minute that fucking talking dog makes an appearance on this blog I'm out of here.

Lance Steps Up to The Plate

One theory goes that Lance Armstrong is to Ryan Braun the way George Steinbrenner is to Billy Martin.  To quote the great Reggie Jackson, "One's a rat.  The other one's a mouse studying to be a rat."

All that said, Lance gave me more sporting thrills than any of those baseball people so I have a tiny fond spot in my heart for him even though he is clearly a massive shit of a man.  And I had to laugh when he recently weighed in with this when asked about his doping:

"If I was racing in 2015? No, I wouldn't do it again," Armstrong told BBC Sport for an upcoming documentary.  "Because I don't think you have to do it again. If you take me back to 1995 when it was completely and totally pervasive? [I'd] probably do it again."

Considerable truth lies therein.  You see, people, the thing about baseball is that there were a ton of players NOT cheating during the zenith of the baseball doping era.  Which makes the assessment of bad vs. good relatively simple.  Black and white, if you will. Whereas in cycling, the luxury of the binary gestalt is absent to those of us who stand in judgement of our fellow man.  Of the twenty-one podium spots (seven times three) available on the Tours de France that Lance won, only one is occupied by somebody who hasn't since been found guilty of doping.  One spot!  Some dude who somehow came in third one year.  Everybody else, plus just about everybody in the peloton who didn't make the podium, was up to their asses in blood transfusions, human grown hormones, etc.

All of which brings me to The Look.

That being when Lance, on the slopes of l'Alpe d'Huez, rose in his saddle, turned and stared at his arch-rival Jan Ulrich (riding, as I do, a Bianchi).  Who, it should be noted, was likely riding with blood so full of red corpuscles that it was at least as thick as high-fructose corn syrup.

No words were spoken, but the gauntlet was thrown down.  "Stick with me if you can," Armstrong appeared to be saying.  Then he turned back around, accelerated up the hill and put so much time into Ulrich that the Tour was essentially over, barring injury or accident, on that day in the mountains.

That was a moment.

My complaint with Lance was not that he was doping.  It was the righteous indignation with which he confronted the people who accused him of doing it, and the heavy hammer he used to beat them on top of their heads.  Which is why, if there is a Hell, he is going there.

He'll be seated next to Dick Cheney.

I'm not sure you used the word 'gestalt' properly.
Nobody ever does.
No they don't.  It's like 'fascism' in a sense.  Ask a hundred people what fascism really means and I doubt five will answer correctly.
But that doesn't stop them from using it in a sentence when they feel they need to.
No it doesn't.  
Nicely said.
Thank you.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Seamus Heaney--my favorite poet--translated Beowulf some years ago.  His first sentence was one word.


The idea, Heaney said, was to emphasize that the story was very much just that ... a story.  Told first around campfires, then in the Great Halls of the Norsemen, then in the classrooms of Oxford or Cambridge or the University of Virginia, for a thousand-plus years.

Sew:  a needle pulling thread.

No, that's not it.  It's more like when you begged your grandfather to tell you a story back when you were a kid and he finally relented, took a deep breath and said "So."  And then the story began.

So that's why "Saigon: Too Big To Fail" begins with the same line.


I spent eight years writing The Year of Magical Painting.  It remains, with Beowulf and some few others, one of the great achievements of western civilization.  But I'm not as interested in painting right now as I am in writing.  So I put the lid on TYOMP and started this, because it's obvious that a writer today needs a blog the way a man, Neil Young might suggest, needs a maid.

Are we invited?
Of course you are.