Friday, May 05, 2006

Letter meme (by way of Greg Sorenson):

This is how it works: comment on this entry and I will give you a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your [web-based area of blather], including an explanation of what the word means to you and why, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along.

Greg, in an apparently sadistic mood, gave me "V". Oh, hell, why not?

Vinnie. I’ve never seen My Cousin Vinnie, but I had three cousins – count ‘em, three – with that name. Of course, my maternal grandfather’s first name was Vincenzo, so this was to be expected.

Vintners. In tribute to my grandfather Vincenzo, who made wine. I rarely drink beer any more these days, and much prefer the fermented products of Vitis vinifera to hard liquor. This may be why, although my cholesterol level is not exactly low, I supposedly have a thoroughly enviable HDL/LDL ratio.

Vernor’s. I could lose my honorary Michigan citizenship for this, but I really can’t stand the stuff. I can almost tolerate it if it’s cut heavily with lemon juice, but the naked stuff is much too sweet and too devoid of tartness for me to find it pleasant to drink.

Vanessa cardui. Sweet painted lady/Seems it’s always been the same.

Vaccination. Got three of them last month (hepA, typhoid, and yellow fever) in preparation for my upcoming trip to Central America.

Vegetarians. I’m not one and probably never will be, but I always seek out vegetarians as dinner companions when I’m on quizbowl road trips. The reason: Since vegetarians find little of interest at most fast-food or chain restaurants, they’re always willing to find adventurous ethnic eateries. And, since I don’t demand meat at every meal or even every day, I’m quite happy to follow them to totally vegetarian places. Ask me about the vegetarian pan-Asian place we found in Austin last weekend. Yum!

Venomous. Why I think big stinging bugs are cool is anyone’s guess. But I do.

Video Free Europe: My long-departed 1980s garage band. Hey, Vinnie, pour me a couple of vinos and you might get me to sing “Rocket Run”.

Voodoo, Wall Of: There was much, much more to them than “Mexican Radio”, but that could become the topic for a whole 'nother entry.

Vote. You really should.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The late Jacqueline Susann may have been a writer of crappy, lurid, formulaic novels, but she was one tough lady. (She had to deal with not only a disabled child, but recurrent cancer that finally killed her at age 56, so keep in mind that I'd feel a little bit uncomfortable about dissing her; in fact, I shouldn't even slam her novels, since I've never actually read any of them.) But tough she was by all accounts; so much so that the equally late Truman Capote did diss her, during her lifetime, by publicly comparing her to "a truck driver in drag".

I heard about that incident just about when it happened, which means I would have been in high school, and somehow the image never left my mind. In fact, on the few occasions in the last 30-plus years when I've actually had an image of Jacqueline Susann come to mind, the expression "truck driver in drag" has immediately been stamped right over my mental picture of her. There hadn't been such an occasion in a few years, but on Sunday morning, early in the finals of TRASHionals 2006, moderator James Dinan began a tossup question with the line: "Truman Capote once compared this author to a truck driver in drag ..."


We eventually lost that final, due in part to my bad habit of sitting too long on tossups in situations where a neg would be a bad thing but a calculated risk would in retrospect have been worth it. But, the ghost of Jackie did briefly come through for me (or maybe it came through against the ghost of poor Truman), and I can now say I've been applauded by the house in a TRASHionals final, and even got JD to say, "Dang!" And, though I would have liked my own martini glass, all three of my teammates (Craig, Mike, and Anne) have already had previous TRASHionals wins, and it was as always great to have a gig with such amazing players for this year's TRASH tournaments. Besides, Austin was a great place to spend a long weekend, and quizbowlers are, as always, clearly my kind of people. F'rinstance:

Ron White (on TV): "I was sittin' naked in a beanbag chair eatin' Cheetos ..."
Geoff Zmyslowski: "A day in the life of Kevin Federline!"

I'm back in Rochester now and I have to get up for work tomorrow, so I won't even try to top that. Many congrats to Tim, Jason, Keith, and Mark on their TRASHionals 2006 championship -- they were awesome.

(Postscript: In no way is this post meant to insult truck drivers in drag. My opinion is that, regardless of occupation, sexual orientation, or attitudes towards the novels of Jacqueline Susann, an adult's fashion preferences are his or her own business.)