December 2006


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.

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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.

I joined MySpace (myspace? mySpace? Myspace?).

Effective immediately, I’m resigning as prime minister of the anit-myspace coalition.

See you all on the dark side.

Until the arrival of the big day.

Only an hour until we leave for my grandma’s house. As usual, Irving won’t know what hit it. This is because my nine-year-old cousin, Caleb, is the only person I know under the age of 60 who walks around all the time juggling bowling pins.

Actually, he’s the only person I know who juggles (bowling pins or otherwise).

Happy holidays. 

Bird Streets Dispatch:

Sitting at home, watching The Office. Russ attempts to call me. My favorite show is on, so I don’t pick up. Russ shows some persistence and uses the underappreciated and little-used landline. I pick up on his urgency and decide to answer.

Our conversation goes as follows:

R: Are you watching this game?

P: Dude, no, The Office is on.

R: Switch over.

P: I can’t. I have Time Warner Cable. The NFL and Time Warner are currently locked in a battle to the death over the availability of the NFL Network. I can’t flip over.

R: Fair enough. You’re never going to believe what just happened.

P: Tell me, then. But hurry the fuck up, Michael Scott is wearing a bandana on his head and talking like the guitarist from the E Street Band.

R: Ok, Chad Johnson (or “Ocho Cinco” to those of you south of the border) just scored a touchdown. After dropping the ball, he went over to the goalpost, pulled out an artillery shell, set it down in the end zone, lit it, and the goddamn thing shot up and exploded. Or in other words: Chad Johnson just set off fireworks in the stadium as a part of a touchdown celebration.

P: Holy shit. Did he get ejected?

R: Yes, all the refs threw their flags at once and he got tossed.

I curse Time Warner for not giving me NFL access and then spend the next 15 minutes trying to find a video online. ESPN comes up empty. CNN comes up empty. And when YouTube proves fruitless, I realize that I’ve been had. The wool was pulled over my eyes. I was duped.

I decide to seek revenge two hours later.

P: Are you watching Sportscenter?

R: No, why?

P: Jeremy Roenick just scored a goal, went behind the bench, pulled out a Russian-made rocket with a monkey sitting inside, and shot it to the moon.

I don’t think he believed me.