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Saturday, June 21, 2003

I Got The News

Wow, lots to report in the week since this poor blog was last attended to…

Cleveland looks a lot better in June than in November. The summer sun seems to stay in the sky all night long, and not even the butt-ugly modern statues that seem to dot the area can dim it. I highly recommend strolling along Mayfield Road in Little Italy, right off the Case Western campus in eastern Cleveland. I do not, however, recommend the McDonalds at Euclid and Mayfield.

I was there to help out staffing the PACE National Scholastics Championship, a high school quizbowl national championship. I spent the whole time thinking “Damn, these kids are smart. I was smart in high school, but the stuff some of these people know at this age….” Even the weakest teams I saw there were more than respectable.

Sadly, in between here and Cleveland is [cue ominous music] the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It’s under construction. But it’s never, as far as I know, not been under construction. That means long stretches of two lanes with no shoulder in either side. And now that Bud Shuster’s not in Congress anymore, expect the road to continue to suck rocks. Although given the road’s history, Shuster didn’t seem to help that road all that much – his main legacy is the badly-named Interstate 99, which runs from nowhere in particular to Altoona, which itself is almost nowhere in particular.

Bar trivia update – This week was not kind to the Answer Guy, as both myself and my fellow panelists were stumped by the meaning of the world that won the National Spelling Bee, since, unlike many people, I am repulsed by the sight of little kids under that kind of pressure. Which is also why I refuse to watch “American Juniors” or any of those other shows that involves children. Thus Team Grand Slam, with the Answer Guy filling in for Fearless Leader once again, plummeted to #31 from a surprise showing of #2 last week. At Fado, our ever growing squad of crack QB veterans was once again undone by the picture round – although at least we got half of them right this time. We weren’t even able to take runner up this time.

I spent all day Friday at a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) seminar out in “conveniently located” Tysons Corner. For those of us in Washington without cars, Tysons Corner is a haul – bus to train to bus, followed by a possible long walk on streets that may or may not have sidewalks that sometimes disappear for no reasons, crossing ten-lane roads that have no crosswalks to the weird looks of passing motorists not used to seeing anyone walking around.

After 13 hours of lectures on corporate governance, real estate, Internet law, and health care law came karaoke night.
* Drunks inflicting “Wanted: Dead Or Alive” on my poor ears not once, but twice.
* Intoxicated white girl trying to rap “O.P.P.” but most of the song sounded like it was in a foreign language, possibly Basque.
*If you’ve ever thought that Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” would sound better sung by two men with less range than me with copious f-bombs inserted, well, you should have been there.
* Edmund’s voice died about halfway thru Duran Duran’s “Rio,” an idea I had pegged as “fraught” from the time I first saw it written on that slip of paper, in no small part due to its five minute length, which tries the patience of listeners at karaoke night – unless it’s “American Pie” of course. I tried to cover for him by yelling the words as loudly as I could along with him.
* I went up there following two women singing “Sweet Caroline,” which is the hanging John Wasdin curveball of karaoke. It’s one of the easiest songs to sing in the karaoke canon, and everyone knows the words, so even if you suck, the crowd doesn’t notice. Plus it helped that the girls were stacked.
*So I did a mediocre (by my standards) rendition of Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right.” Easy, inoffensive, and, well, a classic. It went over pretty well.
* Props to Tricia, who went after Aretha Franklin’s “Givin’ Him Something He Can Feel” (better known to Gen X in its En Vogue version) and pulled it off reasonably well, getting all the girls singing along with her.

Excuse me while I find a rock to throw at the windshield of the car whose beeping car alarm has now gone off for the third time in front of my house….


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