Monday, December 31, 2007

Mr. Megnorium Munger Penorium

That's what Kate called the movie I took the kids to the other day. Her re-titling was the best thing about the experience.

The holidays this year were a time of melancholy to some extent in our family, the kids knowing that Uncle Rick wouldn't be around for this or any future Christmas. But they're holding up pretty well. On a recent rainy afternoon, I took them to the Admiral Theater for a matinee of what we had hoped would be a fun movie. A few minutes in, Dustin Hoffman With Ridiculous Accent (DHWRA) reveals he's dying. That's the premise of the film. DHWRA is giving up his stupid store which is full of crap-ass old-fashioned toys and a few Hot Wheels there because of paid product placement that all come to life and move very slowly for no real reason at all.

CHARLIE: Oh no, he's not really going to die, is he?
ME: Well, I think he might. He's saying something about going to heaven.
CHARLIE: Is heaven where you go when you die and you see your mom and dad again?

Mr. Megnorium apparently has been alive and bothering people for 240 years and runs this magical Penorium. DHWRA employs Natalie Portman Resembling Audrey Hepburn On Quaaludes (NPRAHOQ) to help him. She used to play piano when she was younger, a fact we are reminded of constantly even though it does not ever matter. As DHWRA gets ready to die and my poor son gets ready to weep, DHWRA decides to give NPRAHAOQ the store so apparently she can be cursed to 215 or so more years of annoying people. There is also a kid who makes mournful expressions and owns many hats. And Jason Bateman who helpfully grits his teeth along with the rest of us.

Apparently the broader message of the film is "toys are magical and we all should be more like kids". Yeah, that would be great if all adults acted like kids and played with toys. Why doesn't anyone make a positive uplifting movie about how kids need to discover the magic of dressing sensibly and taking on responsibilities? That would be fantastic.

As the apotheosis of DHRWA approached, my son went to the back of the auditorium and covered his eyes and ears. He did not want to see DHRWA die. By this point in the film, however, I was completely okay with this development. The sooner DHRWA goes to heaven, the sooner he gets off my screen. Kate, meanwhile, happily watched the whole thing and enjoyed some popcorn. Should have gone to Bee Movie in the theater next door.

JILL: How was Mr. Megorium's wonder whatever?
ME: You mean Mr. Megnorium Munger Penorium? It was chock full of death.
JILL: Ooh. Should have gone to Bee Movie.
ME: This is what I'm saying.
JILL: Who was in it?
ME: Excruciating Dustin Hoffman, bored Natalie Portman, and Jason Bateman picking up a check.
JILL: They should just show the actors literally picking up a check in movies like that.
ME: That would be great! Like in the closing credits, just do a whole montage of the actors out of costume and makeup picking up actual checks and driving off the lot.
JILL: Happily whistling to themselves as they stop by the bank.
ME: Maybe an animation of the numbers in their bank account rolling up.

KATE: I want to get some toys from Mr. Megnorium Munger Penorium!

Goodbye 2007

and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Because that's my job. I will remove the door from its hinges and hit you with it myself. Repeatedly.
But oh 2008, you sexy minx. We're going to have a great 12 months together.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Excuse Me? Lady at Starbucks this morning?

Hi. Look, I know you had some terrible news to tell your 10-year-old daughter this morning. I think it was about a dog that had died. Could have been a divorce. Could have been something else. Whatever it was, it made her burst into tears and sobs. It devastated her. You held her close and let her just cry and cry and cry.

My question is this: did you really have to relate this news to her AT A STARBUCKS?!

My follow-up question is this: like, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Maybe there IS a beatific scheme

So I used to write book reviews for I know, I know, so does everyone but I got paid and didn't use stars and mine were under the "editorial review" section. One of the more popular ones I did was Freakanomics. Since I wrote that review, and subscribed to a Google alert for my own name (haven't you? you should), I see it pop up on loads of small sites trying to sell the book as Amazon affiliates.

My original review can be found here.

But today, I ran across this one, which apparently translated into some other language and then re-translated back to English. And it's got my name on it. So if you ever wondered what it would sound like if I reviewed books after a fairly traumatic head injury, or was Borat, I suspect it would read like this:

Economics is not widely thoughtful to be digit of the sexier sciences. The period philanthropist Prize succeeder in that earth never receives as much message as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if much slights are supported on the idea that economics is dull, or that economists are afraid exclusive with direction itself, Steven D. Levitt module modify whatever minds. In Freakonomics (written with author J. Dubner), Levitt argues that whatever manifest mysteries of routine chronicle don’t requirement to be so mysterious: they could be light and prefabricated modify more fascinating by asking the correct questions and art connections. For example, Levitt traces the modify in ferocious evildoing rates to a modify in ferocious criminals and, dig further, to the Roe v. Wade selection that preempted the cosmos of whatever grouping who would be dropped to impoverishment and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing accumulation concentrated from inner-city metropolis drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a joint scheme much same McDonald’s, where the crowning bosses attain enthusiastic money patch scores of underlings attain something beneath peak wage. And in a country that haw signal or assuage worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don’t rattling concern much and that a backyard tearful bet is much more chanceful than a gun. These instructive chapters are distributed by demonstrative passages from Dubner’s 2003 strikingness of Levitt in The New royalty Times Magazine, which led to the aggregation existence written. In a aggregation filled with brave logic, much back-patting veers Freakonomics, still briefly, absent from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there’s a beatific scheme think for that too, and we’re meet not effort it yet. –John Moe

Friday, December 21, 2007

This is how it goes now

So the Mariners signed Carlos Silva, a mediocre pitcher, to a four year deal. Yeah, it was for way more money than he's likely worth but what jumps out more is that he'll be clogging up the rotation for four years of Jarrod Washburn style suckitudedness. Silva used to be with the Minnesota Twins. And I'm moving to Minnesota just in time for the start of baseball season.

Hmm. My fave rave team will always be the Mariners, stuck with Silva. But I'll be following the Twins, free of Silva. I guess I'm glad to have a Silva-less id even as I have an overly Silva-ful superego.

If There's a Moptop In Your Hedgerow...

A clip from the parallel universe Ed Sullivan show. Zeppelin and Beatles, fused.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You Must Not Know About Kate (age 5)

A special message to fellas of the future:

Since some of you may eventually romance Kate, I think it would be best if you realized that she is quite fond of the Beyonce' song Irreplaceable and is learning more and more of the lyrics.

And keep talking that mess, thats fine
Could you walk and talk, at the same time?
And it's my name thats on that jag
So go move your bags, let me call you a cab

Standing in the front yard, telling me
How I'm such a fool, talking 'bout
How I'll never ever find a man like you
You got me twisted

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me

Also, she's quite fond of Cheap Trick. And Spoon.

My point is this, fellas of the future: Kate may not be the tallest girl you ever date but she may be more than you can handle.

Monday, December 17, 2007


That's an acronym, meaning "Hey Look At Our House". We've set a target date of January 10th to get the Moe home on the market. All we need to do hit that target is one thing: develop super powers. Meanwhile, as HLAOH approaches, we've been doing the best we can.

Five years ago, we took our massive unfinished basement and finished it off, creating a master bedroom and a big playroom. The only room left unfinished was what was to be a bathroom but we didn't feel like sinking multiple thousand dollars into something we did not yet need. So when we met with our realtor some months ago I suggested simply buying an easel and putting the word BATHROOM on a piece of poster board on it and sticking that in there. That way, people could imagine the possibilities. No, I was told in a tone ordinarily reserved for dense toddlers, you need to build a real bathroom. People simply won't come look at a one-bath house.

Our other big issue has been painting various rooms. Our choices currently stand at three options:
1. Big time professional painting company charging a few grand.
2. Me painting, hampered by the fact that it's time consuming and I pretty much suck at it.
3. A massive handy home invasion where I buy hundreds of brushes and everyone I've ever met stops by and paints two square feet.

For HLAOH, I also need to make it so that the holidays involve no effort or stress and, additionally, that my children are not the least bit interested in touching or playing with anything paint-related and also that they never need anything from their parents. No sweat.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dear Seattle,

I'm writing you this letter to let you know that I'm leaving you. I've met someone else. Someone named Paul. St Paul. I'm going to be moving in with Paul this coming Spring. You've probably heard me say a lot about Paul on this blog. Maybe you've even had some inclination of my infatuation. Well, we're making it a permanent thing, Paul and I.

Look, we've had a great relationship, Seattle. I've kind of grown up with you, really. I was just a teenager hanging out with Federal Way when our eyes met. I used to take the bus just to meet with you for a few hours and feel cool. Later, after I was done with college and over my flings with New Jersey and Montana, we re-connected and I moved in. And we've had a great run. We went to the theater, we hung out at the radio station, you became friends with my wife and kids. I could have stayed with you forever. I probably almost did.

But then I met St Paul and I think Paul might treat me better. Paul wants to give me a bigger house and doesn't want all that much money for it. In fact, Paul doesn't want to charge me much for anything. Paul has these great schools for the kids. Paul can give me career opportunities that you, Seattle, quite frankly, have a much harder time giving me. But the biggest reason I'm moving in with Paul is for the adventure of it all. Granted, Paul's from Minnesota, a place not normally associated with the Born To Be Wild ethos, but when the offer came, I just didn't want to spend the rest of my life wondering what would have happened if I had taken it. I do love you, Seattle, I really do, but I needed a change. You only get one life and having been to REI I wanted to go the Mall of America, too.

I know you're not the type to come running after me asking me to stay, Seattle (that aloofness is actually part of the problem - sorry!) but I'm sure you'll point out that Paul has a bit of a heating problem and do I really want to live in an environment like that. Well, I spent a few days with Paul last week when the temperature was, like, 5 degrees and yeah, I still want to be with Paul and so does my family. Paul can make me hotdish on a cold night. Also, to my surprise, Paul makes some reeeeeally good coffee and beer so that's actually all covered.

And hey, Seattle, we can still hang out. I'm probably not moving out until March. We have to sell the house for one thing, which is a lot of work getting ready. Then there's the packing and all. Also, we have loads of family and friends that live with you and we'll come back to see them. Airfare is actually super cheap between here and there. And look, if after a couple of years we don't get along with Paul anymore, we could always come back. I know you'd have us even if you wouldn't exactly throw a parade (not your style, I respect that).

Okay, Seattle. I gotta go. But listen, I'll be writing a LOT more about this in months to come. And if you know anyone who wants to buy our house, maybe some software executive from the east coast who just fell in love with you, let me know.

Take care,

UPDATE: Well, no one said there wouldn't be tears.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Among the things that separate Barack Obama from you and me

Instead of thinking of the perfect zinger to shut someone up ten minutes later, he thinks it up on the spot. And it does zing:

I could be completely wrong, but it wouldn't surprise me if this ends up being remembered as a big moment in the '08 race.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tough News

Anita Rowland lost her long battle to cancer yesterday. She was one of the first real bloggers here in Seattle and was a longtime enthusiast for the power of the net and its ability to bring people together. She was one of the first people I interviewed on The Works (my old business-tech show on KUOW) and her kindness and energy were always apparent in her life on and off line. Here's Anita's site, which features a message from her husband. Rest in peace.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Kate (Age 5) Defines Gratitude

(this is a bit old, from her birthday in October)

JILL: Look Kate, this is from Stephanie.
KATE: Oh, let's see what it is!
(unwraps paper to reveal box)
JILL: Ooh, it looks like a shoe box.
KATE: Oh, I love it! Now I have something to put my SHOES in! A shoe box!
JILL: Well, actually Kate, there's probably another gift actually inside the box.
KATE: There is?! Wow!

She would have been happy with a box. You know, so her shoes weren't just loose in the house. Ah, if only such simple needs would endure.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Posting has been light because travel has been heavy. I was in Des Moines, Iowa this week covering Huckabee who is suddenly the #1 GOP contender. I'm doing this series for our show called "I'm Also Running For President", which is supposed to spotlight candidates that are running even though they are unlikely to get elected or even discussed. And when I first started looking into doing a story on Huck, he fit that description. But by the time I had worked out getting to where he was, he had become Paul McCartney in A Hard Day's Night.

When I covered Dodd a few weeks back, they let me have 15 minutes of one-on-one time with him, which was easy to do because I was the only reporter at the events. But at the Huck events there was a throng. News cameras, print reporters, fresh out of journalism school web reporters with tiny cameras, people hitting their heads as they pushed through crowded hallways at the financial company Huck toured with all us media in tow. When people are hitting their heads - repeatedly!- in hallways, you know a guy's doing well.

I had no chance for a direct interview so I had to settle for lobbing questions wherever I could. I got in something about campaign finance, other reporters got things in on health care and torture. And, knowing Huckabee played bass, I asked him who he preferred: McCartney or Entwistle. He stopped shaking hands, looked right at me, and was at a loss for words. Finally, he said that he would go with McCartney narrowly just for the overall musicianship although he was a huge Entwistle fan. As executives lined up to meet him, Huckabee told me about this one time in LA when he got to play Entwistle's bass and how awesome that was. "Mitt Romney can't play bass," I pointed out. "Not as good as me," Huckabee boasted.

I was going to tell him that I was just recently at the Hard Rock in Vegas where Entwistle died of a cocaine-induced heart attack but I figured that might not lend much to the conversation.

Anyway, after that I was back in St Paul for a couple of days. Back in Seattle now.

Also: it was so god. damn. cold. over there. Like 5 degrees. It made you believe God did not exist. Then it made you resurrect God just so you could curse God.

Also: I'm on to you, children's museums.