My spring break is this week.

I thought that 2006 might have been the last year that I got to enjoy the over-indulgent “holiday” known as spring break, but now it looks like I’ll have a long, fruitful career of academic springs breaks that I can look forward to.  This, of course, is highly contingent on me finding a job after graduation, but, hey, that’s four and a half years from now — why worry?

Back to spring break, we have a few fun events lined up, none of which would be possible if we didn’t live in California.

First, my friend Nicolas and I are going on a little hike tomorrow.  The specific trail is called “Devil’s Punchbowl — Devil’s Chair,” which besides possessing a menacing name, is only an hour and 15 minutes from our apartment.  And it’s up in the mountains, so that will be nice.  We were looking into climbing an actual mountain, but according to the Forest Ranger the trails in the San Bernardino National Forest are not passable without snowshoes.  That’s another confusing fact about California.  It was like 80 degrees out today and only an hour away people wishing merely to walk require squash rackets attached to their boots.  I don’t really get it.

Second, we’re going to Rangers spring training in Surprise, Arizona this weekend.  I cannot wait to experience my first spring training.  Now that the Rangers have finally left that dump known as northern Florida, seeing Brandon McCarthy tear his rotator cuff up the Dodgers and Rockies in person has become a possibility.

Spring break = success.


In regards to your column, posted on ESPN today.

Dear Bill:

I feel that you may have gone a little overboard in heaping praise upon the Suns in your latest column. Sure, if Steve Nash had hit that three-pointer against Agent Zero and the Wiz and if The Good German hadn’t busted a three in the Suns’ collective face a couple weeks ago, then yes, the Suns would be riding a 28-game winning streak.

But let’s talk Mavs, Bill. The Suns have eight losses this season. Two have come against the Mavericks. The Mavs started the season 0-4, the Suns 1-5. Since that start, the Mavericks have been winning 88.8% of their games. Toss out the first four games of the year and the Mavs would be on pace for 72.8 wins this season. Since you can’t round up wins in the NBA (and you can’t on the official census, either, Mr. Every USA Household Averages 1.7 Children Census Guy), we’ll go ahead and give the Mavs 72 wins, thus tying them with the ’95-’96 Bulls for the most wins ever. But you already knew that, didn’t you, SportsGuy?

In winning Western Conference Player of the Week honors this past week, Dirk Nowitzki averaged averaged 32.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals. And that includes only 11 points in 25 minutes in a blowout win against the Blazers. Or read John Hollinger’s latest column (you do have ESPN Insider, don’t you?). He declares that if Josh Howard was hitting the free agent market this summer he’d command a maximum contract. You can take all the Boris Diaws you want, but give me Howard. As a last resort, we could always talk about the Mavs’ fourth quarter defense this season, which kinda dwarfs any defensive improvements the Suns may have made.

Yes, the Suns are a great team, but they’re not iconic. To mention them in the same sentence as your 80’s Celtics, well, that almost seems a little ridiculous. So take your hand out of Amare Stoudamire’s pants, stop giving Steve Nash a belly rub, and give some credit where credit is due. Also, thanks for writing, ’cause you’re really funny.


Parker in Dallas

P.S. If the refs had known last summer that Dwyane Wade is, in fact, not made of porcelain, then your column probably would have been about the chances of a Mavs’ repeat and talk of establishing dynasties, but I digress.

First things first. I bought a new (slightly used) car this weekend, a 2006 Honda Civic.

New Car = Car Payments = Responsibility = Oh Fuck.

Secondly, I just registered to ride my bike in the Sam’s Club MS 150. As the name of the race suggests, it benefits multiple sclerosis research. Each rider has to raise $300 in donations. If you’re reading this and would like to throw a couple dollars my way, I’d appreciate it very much. And any donation is tax deductible, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.*

MS 150

E-mail me at if you’re interested.

*Caddyshack reference

Bought two new CDs at Good Records today:

Red Monroe - Red Monroe

Red Monroe – Red Monroe

And …

The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America

The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America

Red Monroe is a local band. According to the guy at the record store (and Sam at BigDlittled ), their debut album sounds like Radiohead-circa-Pablo Honey era. I’ve heard the band Travis before, so I decided to pass on the debut and get their latest record instead. From the two tracks I heard in my car on the way back to work it sounds like Doug Martsch of Built to Spill and Isaac Whatever His Last Name Is of Modest Mouse got together (sexually), had a child, and named it Red Monroe. Not a bad thing at all, really.

The Hold Steady, on other hand, really like power chords. A lot of power chords. And big, sweeping Bruce Springsteen choruses thrown down in the middle of songs about drinking and hooking up. Thumbs up.

I go through stretches during which I can’t think of anything to write. As this blog is currently the only outlet for my writing (though hopefully that’ll change soon), it suffers accordingly when I have nothing to say. Well, unless I suck, in which case these periodic lulls provide you a welcome respite.

Anyway, this past week serves as an example of the flip side — I feel like all I want to do is write, which is good, in light of the following news:

About a month ago I met with two guys at Pegasus News about possibly writing for their website. In the words of founder Mike Orren, Pegasus News started as:

“a local news and information service dedicated to bringing you everything — and we mean everything — you could possibly want to know about the things that most interest you about the place where you live.”

As of right now, that means Dallas. Or D/FW, if you prefer. The Metroplex, if you really must.

So anyway, I got a story assigment today, about which I am disproportionately excited. I’m supposed to find out why consumers in Denton County, on average, pay 1/3 the cost for energy than do their neighbors in Dallas County. It’s about as sexy as spraining an ankle … and I couldn’t be happier.

My background knowledge is pretty extensive. In high school, (Coppell High School — Dallas County. Relevancy!!) I used to crank our air conditioner down to about 62 every night and then face the wrath of my dad in the morning. Whoops.

If you happen to be reading this and have extensive knowledge of the deregulation of the power industry, I’m all ears.

Until then, I’ll keep writing.

This was posted on “Unfair Park” about 10 minutes ago:

Plano: Heaven or Hell? You Decide.

Filed under: Media

A Friend of Unfair Park writes:

Not sure if you’ve followed this “story” on Slate, but apparently Mickey Kaus, Virginia Postrel, and Andrew Sullivan have been engaging in debate (loosely centered around the success of Brokeback Mountain in Plano) regarding whether Plano is a prime example, if not ground zero, of the modern “red state” city.

Kind of interesting, in my opinion, that Plano is touted nationally as either a sort of exurban, yuppie paradise or a city full of closed-minded pricks who spend their whole lives trying to root out sodomy.

Here’s the link to the Slate piece. Me, I think Plano’s just about the best city to drive through in all of the U.S. and A. –Robert Wilonsky

 The “Friend of Unfair Park” is me. Rock on.

For a long time, I always considered Gerald Ford to be the least interesting among twentieth century presidents. Sure, one could argue that Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge don’t bring a lot to the table (and didn’t when they were in office, either). Harding, at least, provides a perfect study in corruption and the exact wrong way to implement the spoils system. Silent Cal, on the other hand, brought us funny exchanges such as this one:

Woman at White House dinner party: Mr. President, I have a bet with my husband that I can get you to say more than two words.

Coolidge: You lose.

But Gerald Ford seems unremarkable. How does he come off? As a career politician, but a congressman, and one with no aspirations for the White House. He appears to be a thoroughly decent guy, albeit one with a predilection for falling down stairs. He might have been the last of a certain breed – the practical, pragmatic, Rockefeller Republican. A little isolationist, but not polarizing. Ironically, his most polarizing act – the pardon of Nixon – seems to me to be his least political. Of course, it can be argued that it was nothing but political, but I truly think that Ford wanted to spare the nation the embarrassment of having a former president involved in a criminal trial. And he made the right call, at least in my opinion.

In short, Gerald Ford seems human. And maybe, in hindsight, that is what made him interesting. His presidency was not extraordinary … and that’s exactly what it needed to be. He wasn’t a sweeping reformist, he had no grand plans for the country. He restored dignity to the White House and let the nation catch its breath after the tumultuous Nixon years.

And that’s how he’ll be remembered, and there is no shame in that.