June 26th, 2005

flavored with age

Sun Day

1. I finally got off my Cities & Knights of Catan schneid and won a game this weekend, getting a solid victory in the first of two games at the OK Corral. Of course, I got whipped in the second game, but at least I'm back in the saddle. Entertainment was provided by their exciting new remote-controlled robot air conditioner, and the evening's alcohol was Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss, which tasted a lot like a mediocre lager with ground-up certs in it.

2. The White Sox, on the other hand, did not get off their losing-to-the-Cubs schneid, spoiling my baseball date with Claire Zulkey and her parents by getting blanked at the hands of Mark Prior. Booo, the White Sox, booo I say.

3. On the way home, I encountered lots of fallout from the Homosexual, Well-Wishers and Allied Tradespeople Carnival, who cavorted about in a joyous fashion. However, I must regretfully announce that I now hate gay people, because they take all the good parking.

4. Picked up and read this weekend: Beware of God, a collection of short stories by Shalom Auslander. If you haven't heard of him, he used to write a lot of short humor for Esquire, and it was absolutely killer -- viciously, savagely funny, smart and crazily angry without any sacrifice of style. As you might guess from his amazingly-enough-not-a-pseudonym name, he was raised Orthodox. Despite the high praise on the back (from Augusten Burroughs and A.M. Homes), I was a little worried about the quality of the material: everything I'd read of his before was pretty straightforward humor, and I didn't know if he'd have any skill at short fiction. I didn't have to worry though -- almost all the stories are outstanding, powerfully funny and written with simple but effective prose. They're all about God and how people relate to him: a chimpanzee acheives consciousness and begins to feel guilt, shame and isolation ("Bobo the Self-Hating Chimp"); God personally executes a man who's overdue to die while Satan and Death argue endlessly about the best way to do it ("Somebody Up There Likes You"); two hamsters argue about the nature of their god, a dumpy shipping clerk ("Waiting for Joe"); a Jew awakens to find his head grafted onto the body of a Gentile, creating a theological dispute among his family ("The Metamorphosis"); a religious war breaks out in the funny papers ("Smite the Heathens, Charlie Brown"); a vacationing father-to-be finds an early version of the Bible that makes it clear the whole thing is fiction ("Startling Revelations from the Lost Book of Stan"); and a dead man goes to heaven and discovers who's in charge ("God is a Big Happy Chicken"). Highly recommended for fans of good literary humor; he's not just the dirtiest Jew since Yahweh, he's also the funniest since Woody Allen.

5. My gal ninafarina is moving this weekend. Wish her well. Why should you? Well, have I mentioned she's awesome? That's a good reason.