A Glass of Chianti

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Liveblogging the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Come on, you know you want to read...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Oh! I remember what I was going to say

...like, a month ago, when this aired. Tipped off by a post over at Claw of the Conciliator, we* bring you: Evangelical Church Shopping: King of the Hill-style. The treatment of a certain type of suburban Protestantism is quite well done and the selection of clips from the episode gives you a good flavor of that whole church scene if you are sheltered enough to be unfamiliar.

The noticeable absence of good King of the Hill fansites (and, well, vocal fan base) has bothered me, to be honest. When I need a Futurama reference explanation there are, literally, dozens of places to go: pretty comprehensive episode summaries, memorable quote lists, goofy sound depositories, etc. But for KotH? A smattering of plot summaries with hardly a memorable quote in sight. It's always struck me as odd, frankly, because KotH is a show where there is something for everyone. It strikes a really good balance between humor that relies on characterization to bring the laughs (ex. Peggy describing herself as a "substitute teacher of EspaƱol" isn't funny except, ummmmm, it is!) and humor that is more situational in nature. Even when the show gets wacky (DDR in Japan, people), it's heartfelt and hilarious. Plus, any show that manages to get the atmosphere of a postmodern art gallery as pitch perfect as "Ceci n'est pas une King of the Hill" (throwaway sight gag: a canvas with "Close your eyes and think of Freud" hanging on the wall) is quality stuff.

I guess people who tend to gloss over the show do it because it seems to be perceived as a kind of a "regional" thing. Personally, I don't see the humor as more regional than Family Guy, and you never hear people complaining about the fact that much of the humor seems to hinge on whether you think a place/person/pop culture reference with a Q in the name is funny inherently or not. I'm sure Rhode Island is hilarious and someday if I get there I'll breathe the magic air and start laughing at all those regional things that are going over my head. And I'll name my first born Quamie or something quazy like that. To contrast, Tom Landry Middle School is funny no matter what.** Even if you don't find the idea of a middle school being named after a football coach to be amusing, the fact of the matter is that the show isn't based on mere references to the region. The heart of the show is that there are real characters who aren't contorted and abused to get the laughs behind the broad humor. That investment in the characters pays off in the end. Plus, there's Chuck Mangione! Often! The only way KotH could be better is if Chuck Mangione were Randy Travis.

Anyway, Megachurches (and the rest of the Evangelical ambrosia) and Hank Hill - TV was made for things like that.

*We, meaning I, of course... I'm just practicing speaking on behalf of other people without permission. I have a few months still before I need to be fluent in that.
**I'll grant that it probably way funnier if you've spent time in Footballland.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Saying goodbye to my homemade oscilloscope is proving tougher than I thought. Sad that it is easier to dispose of old Helmholtz than it is to find a good home for him (there just aren't enough kids around wanting to do home acoustics experiments these days, I guess).

This new generation.... *sniff*

Friday, May 26, 2006

Back from Yankeeland

Isn't he just the handsomest?

After spending almost as much time on a plane stuck on the runway as I did in New York itself, I'm back in blogging form. The Yankee (now a not-really-but-sort-of graduate of some Yankee law school) is now studying for some test that I can't really figure out why they're making him take since he's clearly brilliant. Witness: Things went well, though. When we weren't hiking up little Yankee hills or going to neverending cocktail parties, Angus and I were seeing some interesting Yankee sights. (As an aside, I now find the fact that Fort Worth has no Van Cliburn Lane fairly sickening.) Now, though, I sleep, as I didn't get back home until 3 a.m. *sigh*

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Off to Yankeeland

I'm off until Thursday to see a pretty great guy graduate from school (Yay!) and to enjoy the part of the world that (I hear, anyway) has more seasons than just Hot and Still Hot.

The best news in all of this? School's out! That means daily blogging will resume here in Chiantiland while every other blogger takes the summer off.

Your jobs:
Congratulate The Yankee.
Enjoy the weather that (I'm sure) is nicer where you are than it is down in Texas.
and no having babies while I'm away! ;)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The two things that keep you coming to A Glass of Chianti

Updates on The Yankee. (Hooray!)

Penguin poop in the news.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Crushing on our Secretary of State

This just further confirms that if modeling my life after Alan Greenspan doesn't work out (a conclusion that is becoming increasingly clear) and my second choice of shadowing Terry Teachout fails to launch that Miss Rice is a pretty solid third choice.

Ten of her favorite musical pieces.
Mozart: Piano Concerto in d
Cream: "Sunshine of Your Love"
Aretha Franklin: "Respect"
Kool and the Gang: "Celebration"
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2
Brahms: Piano Quintet in f minor
U2: Anything
Elton John: "Rocket Man"
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7
Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov

The Mussorgsky was the surprise for me. "The greatest opera of all time" makes me tilt my head a bit, but I can understand, what with the Russian interests and all.

Miss Rice,
Knowing that you're fond of chamber music, any time you feel the insatiable need for a performance of Shepherd on the Rock, we just need to book a soprano. You know what would make a good program companion? I hear Brahms wrote a couple of somethings for clarinet and piano. I'm sure it was just an oversight that they weren't included on the list.

I can promise that I can keep up musically but I'm afraid that I'd never be able to keep up on the fashion portion of the evening. That being said, I'm hard pressed to think of any clarinetist who could...

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Don't let it bother you. The author sounds like an insufferable bore. He certainly wouldn't be invited to my dinner parties not on account of his opinions, which are his own and are likely to be well-informed, but on account of his personality which comes across as gross and priggish.

When something falls short, a review is easy because you just have to describe what a performance is not to get a partial picture to the reader. It is vastly more difficult to describe the parts that don't fall short than the parts that do, especially when you have a ten dollar vocabulary and some musical training, because it's just so easy to fall back on those words and completely avoid thinking. What happens to a reviewer in this situation when nothing is lacking in a performance? Realizing that you write better pans than praises, you wrack your brain in order to find something that could possibly be construed as going wrong (favorite second-rate music critic target: programming; second favorite target: atmosphere) because you know that if you don't, your review will fall flat.

This is why most of the words of praise that has are really left-handed compliments that I'm sure he finds quite clever. He is incapable of describing the essence of what a given performance is, so he shoehorns the evening into something he can write about without thinking.

My review of his livejournal oeuvre? Fine writer. Can't review worth s*it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The worst Mother's Day gift idea ever

This is wrong for so many reasons (the least irritating of which is the condescending tone). First, a mom who wants a brain game (i.e. not my mom) wants a book of Sudoku or crossword puzzles or awesome logic puzzles, not a GameBoy. Second, a mom who does want a GameBoy (i.e. not my mom) wants a GameBoy who plays something like Dogz.

While trying to figure out who thought this ad campaign was a good idea, I (clearly not a mom) will be spending Mother's Day playing GameBoy Castlevania in all the incarnations that my library of games can supply.

via my e-mail box (ad here)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

He's no Phil Gramm

But he's not a bad substitute. John Cornyn has had this as a pet project of his ever since he was the lowly Attorney General of Texas and it's a smart idea. Being cheap and an autodidact of the most mundane sort, this proposal appeals to my two most basic character traits.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Why I am considering changing my preferences to "allow only users on my Buddy List" to contact me

Conversation starters in the past 48 hours (and how I love each and every weekend rush):
Shuler1231: Hey whats up..name is Chris...6'3 tall, brown hair and eyes..good build..what do you look like?

Irunoften: i napped
Irunoften: now im grogy
Me: Oh my. I'm sorry.
Irunoften: i needed it
Me: Well, good then.
Me: I'm glad you're rested.
Irunoften: pic?
This is my favorite so far. A conversation with a guy who has some incredibly fast typing skills. Time: 5 minutes, 31 seconds
OMFlint: hi i'm jon.
OMFlint: you are truly...
OMFlint: the first texax clarinet...
OMFlint: teacher...
OMFlint: i have ever met!
OMFlint: being honest.
Me: :-D It's a fun job. Really.
OMFlint: its really a pleasure to meet you.
OMFlint: i'm in banking.
OMFlint: i do have a picture.... do you?
Me: I do have a picture, though I can't imagine why you'd like to know.
OMFlint: i can send my pic.
OMFlint: you can if you'd like.
Me: I'm fine. I don't need a picture for a conversation.
OMFlint: its just nice to learn who you are talking with.
Me: I suppose so, though it's pretty clear to me that a picture won't tell you much about a person.
OMFlint: i agree.
OMFlint: did you like my pic?
Me: I didn't even check.
OMFlint: can you?
Me: Sure.
Me: I don't know what you want me to say. It looks as if you are, indeed, human.
Me: And I have learned exactly nothing by looking at it.
OMFlint: welll i'm very sincere.
OMFlint: your age?
Me: I'm 26, and I'm glad you are sincere.
OMFlint: i'm 34.
OMFlint: i love travel.
OMFlint: love great restaurants...
OMFlint: really into sports.
Me: Those are all nice things.
OMFlint: i like romance.
Me: Do you ahve a favorite place that you've been?
OMFlint: i like being attentive to a woman.
OMFlint: i really admire the greek islands.
Me: I've never been there before. What is so nice about the islands?
OMFlint: well they are very free spirited.
Me: The islands? or the people? ;)
OMFlint: there are no restrictions... when it comes to relaxation.
OMFlint: both.
OMFlint: great food...
OMFlint: great restaurants...
OMFlint: wonderful beaches...
OMFlint: well
OMFlint: the women there...
OMFlint: are very open with their sexuality.
OMFlint: they exude it.
OMFlint: are you as open about your sexuality?
Me: As the islands? Probably not.
OMFlint: i understand.
OMFlint: i was referring to in such an environment.
OMFlint: not in daily life.
Me: You have really confused me.
OMFlint: its far different than teaching clarinet.
OMFlint: was trying to establish...
OMFlint: just how diverse you are.
Me: I see. Well, I have diverse interests if that is what you mean.
OMFlint: i find that very nice.
OMFlint: are you planning on sending your pic?
OMFlint: you seem mature...
OMFlint: i like your name.
OMFlint: its different.
OMFlint: you teach....
OMFlint: an instrument...
OMFlint: of the intellectual.
OMFlint: so yes...
OMFlint: i'm intrigued.
Me: OK. Well, then let's start there.
OMFlint: are you at all intrigue???
OMFlint: i have played for a alot of years.
OMFlint: on and off.
OMFlint: love playing dave matthews.
Me: Ahhhh. That's interesting. What is your favorite song to play?
OMFlint: are you at all intrigued???
OMFlint: how tall are you?
OMFlint: are you a very thin person?
Me: YOu're just striking me as strangely fixated on how I look.
OMFlint: any clarinet teacher i have ever known...
OMFlint: has not been a slender person.
OMFlint: i'm not fixated on it...
OMFlint: its just that i am curious as to who i might be talking to.
OMFlint: you know what i look like!!!
OMFlint: big difference.
Me: But I don't care. And I wouldn't have checked, except you asked me to.
OMFlint: your probably ugly

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Such a disappointment

I don't think there's been a bigger let-down in television since Texas Ranch House (the newest entry in the PBS House series of pseudo-historical reality TV). I was hoping for something like Frontier House with a couple of families and with the addition of a mini-cattle war. What I got was The Clunes II crossed with the feminist bent of the worst parts of Colonial House.

Had they advertised this as what it is - The Cooks' dress-up summer vacation - I wouldn't be so angry. As it is: Worst. PBS. Reality. TV. Show. Ever.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Am I going to have to do it?

Do I really have to be the person to request the disco version of Byrd's "Ave Verum Corpus" on Sunday morning?

Anything to get this last week's bebop arrangement of "On Eagle's Wings" out of my ear. Anything.

(Via oboeinsight)