February 27th, 2006

blowhard

And now, your weekly Lileks

I know what you are asking yourself. You are asking yourself “Self, I know that James Lileks is capable of – indeed, seems highly enamored of – getting disproportionately irate over minor episodes of unsatisfactory customer service from the underpaid employees of the cut-rate discount retailers he frequents. But can he actually be driven to heights of peevish distraction by entirely imaginary customer service slights?”

The answer, yourself, is: yes. Yes, he can.

See, what happened was, Jimbo had a dream in which the pizza delivery boy only brought him one pizza, when he paid for two. So he called the manager to complain. And he woke up INFURIATED. Because of the bad pizza delivery service he got in a DREAM. He further reveals, when describing this dream, that in REALITY, he used to call this one pizza place every week for two years to complain about insufficient quantities of sauce, thus confirming that he is the sort of person who would rather bitch endlessly and fruitlessly about something than actually attempt to change it. Lesser men would have just started buying from a different pizza place, but not our Jim.

Further evidence of his bullheadedness comes when his wife makes a rare appearance, and not surprisingly, she is in mid-eyeroll at our hapless hero’s asinine behavior. This is probably why she doesn’t appear often. This time, she is calling into question why her husband finds it necessary to hoard spent wine bottle corks (answer: because they have interesting designs on them) and empty Burger King French fry bags (answer: because someone has to). I can speak only for myself when I say that if I were to start “collecting” greasy food containers just because they had a picture of R2D2 on them, my girlfriend would scorn me so heavily that all of my secondary sex characteristics would fall off, but James Lileks is made of the sternest lime Jell-O.
party time

And now, your weekly weekend

The weekend was harrowingly busy, but generally enjoyable. I got one big freelance rejection, and one big freelance sort-of acceptance (I would really call it more of an encouragement than an acceptance, but still, it was better than the "get lost" I received elsewhere); I got to say goodbye to a few of the people we lost in the Big Bloodbath here at work last week; and I won big at Catan on Friday night. (Of course, that game was immediately followed by one where I got absolutely annihilated and rum_holiday picked up her baprillionth victory, but hey! I won one game and won it big!)

Saturday night I headed over to Sean and Michelle's place for their annual Mardi Gras to-do, with pal and roomate thaitea in tow. It was a blast, as it always is; I literally look forward all year to the crawfish etoufee they make. Andrea and Doug contributed a terrific spinach salad, some great muffaletta, and a king cake that I didn't eat because I am a jerk. (It was very pretty, though.) The high point of the evening was definitely the live music: Sean, his boss, and his boss' wife played some amazing old-time Cajun fiddle music, which caused an outbreak of folk dancing. I drank sazeracs, had lovely conversations, and generally enjoyed the hell out of myself, but the whole thing was rather bittersweet, as I realized this was probably my last Mardi Gras and possibly the last time I'd see several of the people in attendance. (Don't get it twisted -- I'm inexpressably excited about the move. I dig the Twin Cities, I'm incredibly pumped to try full-time freelancing, and I love my girl ninafarina and her kid more than I can ever put to words. I absolutely think I'm doing the right thing at the right time, and that my life is just going to get better and better. But I've lived in this town a dozen years and I'm leaving behind a lot of good friends, and it's hard to shake the sensation, every time I do something these days, that it'll be the last time I do it.)

Sunday I was a horrible filth-pig who hunkered like an animal in front of the computer, scribbling away madman-style and filling my dirty mush with junk while my sad little electric heater burbled away against the cold. Aaaah, the glamorous life of the raconteur.

And how's YOUR motor running?
it says here...

And now, your weekly last week's poll

What we learned:

- The majority (44%) of you receive a manageable 1-10 pieces of spam e-mail per day. An incredibly lucky or skillful 12% of you do not receive any at all, a secret I wish I knew. And only 14% of you know my pain -- the pain of having to get up every morning and sift through 100 or more pieces of junk trying to sell me dick cream, pornography, penny stocks and timeshares in order to get to the hidden business e-mails from my paying editors. Grrrrr.

- In a result that I find inexplicably fascinating, more of you (28-26) admit to having a Swiss army knife or an imitation Swiss army knife than to not having one. This means something, sociologically, but I do not know what it is.

- The question of "best animated comedy" was a very divisive one. "The Simpsons" was judged best with 24 votes, but a surprisingly large number (16) of you voted for its futuristic doppelganger, "Futurama". I was quite taken aback by how few of you (a mere 3) picked "South Park"; and I was dismayed that three of you picked "Family Guy". "The Tick" (6 votes) was more popular than I'd have predicted, while "King of the Hill" (1 vote) was less. Four of you sagely said this was too grave a decision for mere humans to make.

- The question of which fictional US presidents would have gotten your vote seemed to confuse people; I'm guessing that a number of you read it as "which fictional presidents of the United States have you HEARD of?", because how else to interpret the fact that 29% of you would have voted for Kang, who is not only a hideous reptiloid alien from beyond the moon who would have enslaved all of humanity, but is also a Republican? How else do I read the four of you who said you'd have voted for the Smiler, or the dozen of you who'd have voted for Lex Luthor? Josiah Bartlet got the most votes, but I'm guessing that's because not enough of you are familiar with Prez Rickard. A full quarter of you judged the question too geeky to answer, but I say it was not geeky enough, because no one voted for Johnny Gentle.

- Although xanthussaves got peevish with me over the junk food question, convinced I had asked it before (hey, YOU try writing a new poll every goddamn week), there were some pretty good answers all around. The bowel-destroying meat cake that is the White Castle slider was the most popular response; goldfish crackers and pickle brine were a close second. Also popular: M&Ms, various McDonald's fare, and Jack in the Box tacos, which inspired both spinooti and happinesstogo to 'ah, 100 tacos for $100' reveries. I was going to give the grand prize to defconqueso for the truly upsetting "pork rinds dipped in ice cream", but I decided instead to go with doraphilia's answer, because the image of delicate, delightful, sophisticated urbanite Dora snapping into an extra-long Slim Jim is too good to resist.
flavored with age

Since the last Monday poll was such a dud...

NOTE: because of the screwy way that polls in LiveJournal can't be edited, it destroyed my comment explaining the sports questions. Basically, you are meant to rank, on a scale of 1-10 (lowest to highest), how much you enjoy each of the listed professional sports.

Poll #681118 Montag, Montag

Whose post-9/11 conversion from relatively apolitical semi-celebrity to deranged, frothing right-winger do you find the most annoying?

James Lileks
7(12.7%)
Charles Johnson
2(3.6%)
Dennis Miller
24(43.6%)
Toby Keith
3(5.5%)
Colin Quinn
1(1.8%)
Patricia Heaton
3(5.5%)
The Ultimate Warrior
2(3.6%)
Vincent Gallo
1(1.8%)
Ted Nugent
2(3.6%)
John Rhys-Davies
1(1.8%)
John Popper
0(0.0%)
Tom Selleck
1(1.8%)
I don't know who any of these people are
0(0.0%)
I think all these people are awesome
1(1.8%)
Wait, what happened on 9/11?
7(12.7%)

Football

Mean: 4.04 Median: 3 Std. Dev 3.05
1
16(29.1%)
2
7(12.7%)
3
8(14.5%)
4
4(7.3%)
5
4(7.3%)
6
3(5.5%)
7
3(5.5%)
8
3(5.5%)
9
1(1.8%)
10
6(10.9%)

Baseball

Mean: 5.56 Median: 6 Std. Dev 3.57
1
13(23.6%)
2
4(7.3%)
3
4(7.3%)
4
4(7.3%)
5
0(0.0%)
6
4(7.3%)
7
6(10.9%)
8
3(5.5%)
9
3(5.5%)
10
14(25.5%)

Basketball

Mean: 3.78 Median: 3 Std. Dev 2.65
1
16(29.1%)
2
6(10.9%)
3
7(12.7%)
4
5(9.1%)
5
10(18.2%)
6
0(0.0%)
7
6(10.9%)
8
1(1.8%)
9
1(1.8%)
10
3(5.5%)

Hockey

Mean: 4.15 Median: 4 Std. Dev 2.91
1
14(25.9%)
2
9(16.7%)
3
3(5.6%)
4
6(11.1%)
5
3(5.6%)
6
7(13.0%)
7
4(7.4%)
8
2(3.7%)
9
2(3.7%)
10
4(7.4%)

Soccer

Mean: 3.65 Median: 3 Std. Dev 2.18
1
10(18.2%)
2
11(20.0%)
3
9(16.4%)
4
6(10.9%)
5
7(12.7%)
6
7(12.7%)
7
1(1.8%)
8
2(3.6%)
9
2(3.6%)
10
0(0.0%)

Which of the following Oscar-nominated films have

"Brokeback Mountain"
4(10.3%)
"Capote"
1(2.6%)
"Cinderella Man"
0(0.0%)
"The Constant Gardener"
0(0.0%)
"Crash"
1(2.6%)
"Good Night, and Good Luck"
2(5.1%)
"A History of Violence"
2(5.1%)
"Hustle & Flow"
1(2.6%)
"Junebug"
1(2.6%)
"Munich"
1(2.6%)
"North Country"
0(0.0%)
"Pride and Prejudice"
1(2.6%)
"Syriana"
1(2.6%)
"TransAmerica"
0(0.0%)
"Walk the Line"
1(2.6%)

What is your favorite race-hate term for Arabs?

raghead
5(9.4%)
towelhead
6(11.3%)
diaperhead
0(0.0%)
Muzzie
0(0.0%)
Ay-Rab
8(15.1%)
sand-nigger
11(20.8%)
camelfucker
3(5.7%)
wog
4(7.5%)
OFFENDED, OFFENDED I AM AT THIS QUESTION, YOU DIRTY TOWELHEAD
11(20.8%)
I have one that is much funnier than any of these I will reveal in Comments
5(9.4%)

As you know, I have always been unsatisfied with the name "Leonard", which is geeky even for a geek like me. Please suggest a new given name for me.