Archive for March, 2009

sic transit

My first ever job was at the age of 13, delivering newspapers for the Ann Arbor News. From this experience, I learned the joys of honest work, self-reliance, blowing my paycheck on comic books and candy, getting shaken down for spare change by my customers’ high-school-aged sons, getting threatened with a thorough ass-kicking by the fathers of those sons when I questioned their family’s entrepreneurial spirit, how to spot the early warning signs of frostbite while pushing a shopping cart full of Sunday editions through 3-foot-high snowdrifts, and the joys of waking hallucinations while attempting to deliver papers in minus-20 fahrenheit weather while running a plus-104 fahrenheit fever from my first ever case of strep throat.

All in all, a classic, Norman Rockwell-style slice of Americana.

But it appears that despite the best efforts of the Ann Arbor News to kill me off before I even lost my virginity, I have in fact not only survived, but outlived them: the “Snooze” will publish its last edition this July.

Despite our adversarial relationship during my adolescence, and despite the fact that the Snooze’s demise will be a very small footnote in the long and sad stories of the decline and fall of both the newspaper business and the state of Michigan, it’s still a tragedy: their old building downtown was a block-long monolith that buzzed with activity when I walked past it on a daily basis in high school. Hundreds of people, hundreds of jobs, now vanished like so many others from what I still think of as my “home town.” In a generation, nobody will remember they were even there.

roll with the rockstars

Today’s slice of prime weirdness: Public Enemy, performing “Bring Tha Noise”

…on the Jimmy Fallon show? With perennial NPR favorites the Antibalas horns backing them?!

(if the embed doesn’t work, try here:

For the younger folks in the audience wondering what the deal is with the old guys rapping on the boring guy’s show: you may not credit it, but these guys used to scare the piss out of white people. (Including, to be fair, lil’ ol’ me.) Now… heh. “Radio stations / I question their blackness / they call themselves black / but we’ll see if they play this.” Time finds irony in the oddest places.


im in ur homepage, terrorizin ur eyez

Some days, I get the best email. All names redacted to protect the slightly guilty and thoroughly confused:

From: (redacted)
To: (me)
Subject: leave me alone!

I don’t know how you got on my start up page. Get off it. Cops can find you if you ever break these laws again.

As I said, get off my computer& do not come back. Terrorist!

That’s final. No more yakitiyak.


Well, he certainly told me! Wait, what? I’m on his start up page? How very odd. Normally I’d just roundfile something like this, or respond with a hearty ‘fuck off’, but my curiosity is piqued:
From: (me)
To: (redacted)
Subject: Re: leave me alone!

Either you are very confused, or someone is sending out very strange spam with your return address on it. Good luck in either case.

…a little time passes:
From: (redacted)
To: (me)
Subject: Re: …

What I’m getting are tiny red words that, when enlarged, is your page. I am using a blank firefox page for my starting page when I get online. Is there something else I can do or not do so we don’t bump into each other?

Thanks for being far more polite than I was.
He set his starting page to… oh god. Oh lordy. This is almost as good as the time the New Orleans Catholic Dioceses started sending half of their email to “”, including the passionate secret love letters.
From: (me)
To: (redacted)
Subject: Re: …

Hi (redacted), I have a theory as to what’s going on here:

My personal web page is, in fact, ‘‘. I suspect that you’ve set firefox’s homepage to just ‘blank’, and as a result either firefox or your ISP are “helpfully” taking you to the first google result for ‘blank’, which is in fact my homepage, as you can see here:

What you should try doing is setting your homepage to firefox’s built-in empty page, which is somewhat confusingly named. Under “Preferences -> Main -> Homepage”, fill in:


…and then restart firefox and see if you don’t get a proper blank page instead of my web server. :)

Best of luck,

…a few days pass:
From: (redacted)
To: (me)
Subject: Re: …

hahaha! I am one step ahead of you. that’s just what I did& all is fine.
Best to you& yours.

Victory: terrorism, I guess.