Tuesday, November 26, 2013


[1] The Update is not ‘finger clicking good’—it sucks;

[2] The Update looks like bubblegum anime sunny saccharine happy meal icons;

[3] I recoil until I end up pulling a muscle in my pleasure center;

[4] This development creates a 15 percent sense of pleasure, on one side, all day long…;

[5] …To the extent that I begin to resent right-sided pleasure;

[6] I wonder, instead, about pleasure registering 14 percent and lower—there, in the realm of ‘low pleasure’ (I reckon) a person may dwell;

[7] One example of a ‘low pleasure’ might include the arrival, finally!, of the subway—not the subway itself (which sucks!) but the fact of its arrival;

[8] There’s a chance, therefore, that I’ll be ferried to my destination but in a herky-jerky besieged noise polluted intercom fritz replete with nasty burning smell, i.e., it is Decay;

[9] Decay and Update share certain characteristics, in fact, Decay and Update might meet on the Continuum, where an erosion of systems may abut an erosion of services;

[10] Are there issues?, there are issues, what’re the issues?, the issues could be remedied by an Update, or the issues could be relegated to Decay;

[11] I decide to go for a pint;

[12] I alight in a pub where a patron orders a craft beer, pays with a 10, receives no change, and the beer arrives in a nine ounce ‘goblet’, not a sixteen ounce pint glass;

[13] (Omitted owing to superstition);

[14] I leave the pub;

[15] O, the lonesome city at sunset, O, the lonesome city;

[16] What’re my options?—Hostility?, Casual Modesty?, Impeachment of Liberal Values?, A Life Lived in Error?, Creating and Enduring Blockages?;

[17] I eliminate Casual Modesty, I eliminate A Life Lived in Error, I eliminate Hostility, but I cannot choose between ‘Impeachment of Liberal Values’ and ‘Creating and Enduring Blockages’;

[18] My mind drifts, I think about Clint Eastwood, I think about Blondie, I think if they’d ever gotten married they’d have been Dirty & Debbie Harry;

[19] Many forces act upon my body: gravity pulls me downward, but the moon pulls me upward, I always know where the moon can be found in the daytime sky;

[20] I used to be 5’11”, I’m now 5’10” and a half, but I think I could still find love.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Grigsby the French Bulldog
Grigsby’s Owner
. . . & Dan Gutstein as Himself

Dan Gutstein

Running Time:
35 seconds

Advance Praise:
“Crunchy!” --Film Flam
“Munchy!” --Flick of the Ritz
“Chippy!” --Cinomatopoeia  
Best Chip-Eye View in a Comedy Short
Best Supporting Woofer in a Comedy Short
Best Snacking (Ever!) in a Comedy Short

Thanks To:
Grigsby’s Owner
Utz Gourmet Medley
Everyone I know!
The Power of the TREAT

If You’ve Indulged in Too Many Treats:


The great runner, Emil Zátopek—also famous for his grimace!

I am a runner in the sense that I haven’t taken a substantial break in 10 years (even on trips abroad) but I do not post world class results. Recently, I ran a 10 miler in 75 minutes, and a half-marathon in 105 minutes, both of which are brisk for me, especially as I am hobbled by this and that injury, but again, these results would not garner me any ribbons, including Le Riband Bleu that has eluded me all my life. About a year ago, however, I switched from running short distance during the week and middle distance during the weekend to running almost exclusively middle distance every time I lace up me jogging boots. It was the solution to my Mid Life Crisis—to run Middle Distance, like, all the time. I would define ‘middle distance’ as seven to 13 miles, but there may be a standard definition out there, somewhere, idling on a beach eating lobster claw. Friends have been asking me recently about (1) running in the abstract and (2) tips involving other matters so I am going to (3) cherry pick, and combine (running + tips) to offer unsolicited advice about how to accomplish a successful run in the Middle Digits. Here goes.

10. The Proper Boot. You should employ a shoe that matches the architecture of your foot. A running shop can help you select Fashion Colors. But I “pshaw” the notion that you must change boots at 400 miles. I ran about 800 miles on the Gel Foundation before Asics combined it and the Gel Evolution into a worthless hunk of wood. My new boot, the Saucony Progrid Stabil, rocks.  

9. Afternoon vs. Morning. I say afternoon. I’ve been up for a while, I’m warm, I’ve vented, I’ve harangued, I’ve centered the eyes, so to speak. If it’s hot, so be it, I don’t think that running in the heat is so terrible. In any event, the world is warming. Better get accustomed to it, I say. Either way, I wouldn’t go middle distance running after some sort of XXL bowl of porridge.   

8. Stretching. I don’t think there is any definitive evidence that proves the benefits of stretching before a run. It may work for some, and not for others. To me, stretching has always been better after a run, and then I stretch my whole body: ribcage, hammies, and eight other districts. I’d say stretch the way you manage your checkbook: don’t bounce. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds apiece.

7. The First Three-Tenths of a Mile. I jog slowly for the first two-tenths of a mile, then I walk for a tenth of a mile, before I launch into the run. The warm-up period helps the legs (and upper body) approximate the motions and the rhythms. No two rhythms are the same, I have found. Every run is like being on a new date: one is painful, one is great, and one goes on in the dark.

6. Intervals. I practice intervals all the time. Even though D.C. has parks, with uninterrupted stretches, I must sprint to beat lights or to pass other runners (“…suckerrrrr…”) or for no reason at all but to confuse my muscles. Sprint for a while and rest by running slower, never stopping. The problem is, it carries over into other arenas: typing really fast, then slow, as a blogger.

5. Hills and Staircases. Sprint the (outdoor) staircases, and also uphill, but take it slow going downhill. I see many runners charging downhill and I worry for pulled hammies. Not to mention wild, out of control, wind-milling arms where the runners wind up splashing down into the creek. It must be terrifying and beautiful, alike, to lose control, but focus on the terrifying—and avoid.

4. If Tired. Run like Wilfried Bony, a recent transfer to my football club, Swansea City. Wilfried runs deliberately, powerfully. Slow isn’t the word but muscular is. He turns on the speed when necessary. He conserves. He projects significance. Wilfried rumbling toward goal: look out! “Wilfried” as opposed to Bony (pronounced “bonny”) because, just because, he’s Wilfried.

Wilfried in his Swansea home kit. Up the Swans!

3. Weight Training and Cross Training. I believe in both, especially weight training. I do a basic 20 minute workout three or four times per week: biceps, traps, delts, lats, triceps, abs, pecs. At times I have swum (yes, I have) and I have biked (yes, I have). My latest thing is long walks. My latest thing is long walks where the destination may be pumpernickel, stout, kalamata, or coffee.

2. Dealing with Pain and Injuries. I believe in pushing through pain, so long as there is no crunching noise, no gristle noise. If you ignore gristle noise, you could turn into a gristly bear. Currently, I have six injuries: right foot, right ankle, left knee, right thigh, left chest, right giblet. I do, however, sit my hammies on a heating pad after every run to keep ‘em nice ‘n’ warm.

1. Frequency. It’s not advisable to run seven days out of seven on a middle-distance regimen, and I would not advise more than three days in a row. On your days off, cross-train. Eat a meatloaf sandwich or a quinoa pilaf. Go to the cinema with a beer in your backpack. Defend the world against mediocrity. As part of that defense, oh yeah, run them middle distance miles!

If you have completed a middle distance run, then you deserve a TREAT.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Run, fauna, while you still can!

A flora develops carnivorous knowledge, and it spreads, this knowledge, in hedgerows and alpine forests and scrub formations throughout the land, a fauna disappearing here and there—a real head-scratcher to the schools, bales, coveys, clutches, packs, prides, tribes, colonies, sleuths, and bloats, until one flora, one day, entraps a fauna in public, on the side of the road: the fauna, sitting there, in the flora’s gullet, thinking, “Aw, man, what’ll happen to my radical politics now?” Other fauna stand at a distance from the victim, who nods at them in country manner. “Well, this explains everything,” says one in the crowd. “Not everything,” says another. “It doesn’t explain Wal-Mart, Wall Street, and Kmart, and it hardly explains the general misallocation of resources.” Another in the crowd addresses the victim: “What’s it like in there?” The victim replies, “Itchy.” A second questioner says, “Itchy or ticklish?” The victim says, “It’s making me sneeze. I think I’m allergic to being digested.” The sun sets and the sun rises. Some of the fauna drift off to eat a flora, in the hopes that the predatory flora would change its mind and release their kin-fauna, while others drift off to eat other fauna. The sun sets and the sun rises. Now but a few fauna maintain a vigil at the site of the entrapment. They kindle candles, they chant verses, they clutch teddy bears. “How’s it going?” one of the vigilant asks the victim. “Not bad,” says the victim. “Basically, I’m content. I feel like I can be digested and move on with my life.” Another of the vigilant asks, “Are you stuck? You look a little stuck.” The victim thinks this over. “I am experiencing very, very slow peristalsis, whatever that means. So, yeah. I think I’m stuck.” The sun sets and the sun rises. None of the fauna remain at the site of the entrapment, leaving behind all the materials of their vigil: hollowed out candles; heaps of department store bears; and a jumble of Starbucks take-out cups, raw sugar packets, and wooden stirs. “I guess this is it,” the victim thinks. “Not all herbs are herbivores. It gets so—you want to tax everything and hide in the cellar. It’s a cellar’s market, after all.” He thinks no more. He becomes, for a moment, the flora’s ornament: apple-headed, stubborn, and frozen in mild recognition of some great folly, before the flora, sort of, introduces the fauna into the very fiber of its fiber, acquiring in the digested fauna the essential fears and contradictions of its faunal kingdom, while around the flora wheels a watery wind that will nourish the vegetation in its growing polemic—a brash, wasteful imperialism that startles the very purity of the floral roots.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


 The football version of ‘Cowboys and Indians’


On a recent car ride, my brother and I tried to engage in conversation by calling each other “kike”, you know, to possess a word which is not, in all likelihood, being spoken by anyone anywhere. “Yo,” I may have said, “you’re a low-down, shiftless, ‘skonky’ kike!” It didn’t even work. He got amused by the word ‘shiftless’ and we entered into secondary hysterics. Some slurs, I imagine, will always enrage the object of a name-calling session while other names, to be insulting, depend upon the context. I doubt that a stranger, in any event, could utter the word ‘redskin’ to a Native American without causing offense. Would a white man (a white-skin) walk over to a person of color and greet him as ‘brown-skin’? There are many African Americans who play football for the Washington Redskins. I can’t imagine that any of them would tolerate the word ‘black-skin’ if spoken to them or emblazoned, for example, on a game-day program.


The Washington Bullets basketball team changed its name in 1997, in large part to disconnect itself from the soaring murder rate in the city proper. That’s to be applauded, except that the replacement name, the Washington Wizards, is terrible. It’s not intimidating; it shortens to The Wiz (or The Whiz); and it offers forgettable options for logos, mascots, branding, et cetera. Nobody would suggest that the Redskins franchise should change its name haphazardly, but at the same time, numerous options present themselves. The Bullets might have transformed themselves into the Sea Dogs, a name reputedly mentioned as a finalist for the switch. Who were these Sea Dogs but English pirates who operated in the Caribbean, and by naming a team the Sea Dogs, I doubt that any pirates, seas, or dogs would take offense. It shortens to “dogs” (“Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who?”) and fits with other franchise names that refer to marauders.


That said, let’s take a quick look at the 32 current franchise names in the National Football League, broken into four categories:

Animals with Local, National, or General Significance
Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons
Baltimore Ravens
Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears
Cincinnati Bengals
Denver Broncos
Detroit Lions
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins
Philadelphia Eagles
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams

Lions and Bears mauling each other but not slurring a group of people

Figures from American History, Industry, and Lore
Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys
Green Bay Packers
Houston Texans
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Jets
Pittsburgh Steelers
San Diego Chargers
San Francisco 49ers

Mythological Beings and Marauders from World History
Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants
Oakland Raiders
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tennessee Titans

Native American Imagery
Kansas City Chiefs
Washington Redskins

I cannot vouch for the wholesomeness of every team name listed here (bears have surely mauled and eaten lots of people, probably even some Native Americans) but on the surface, 30 of these 32 names do not slur an entire group, and the 31st name, the Chiefs, at least conjures leadership as opposed to skin color. It, too, has been the subject of protest from Native American groups. On some level, it defies understanding why the Kansas City and Washington franchises cling to their names, given the many other kinds of names employed (and branded) successfully by other franchises.


In its (bumbling) defense the Washington Redskins leadership cries about the “horrors of rebranding” and the “loss of tradition.” Let me pause to laugh a little bit. In the tenure of the current owner, Daniel Snyder, the team has changed coaches and quarterbacks so often, without much in the way of results, that there is, at present, very little tradition of winning, and frankly, rebranding could be just the thing to generate excitement in the club. At any rate, Snyder earned a lot of his money through direct advertising—so the apparent horrors of rebranding escape me. We’re not talking billions, at any rate. Snyder only has a few of those. No, we’re talking millions, which Snyder has lots of, lots and lots of millions does Mr. Daniel Snyder have, yes.


Simply put: if Daniel Snyder, owner, cannot walk up to a Native American and say, “Hey, how’s it going, redskin?” then the team name Washington Redskins cannot and should not be on TV every week.