What's Up!

December 31, 2003


As you may have heard, a few Air France flights between Los Angeles and Paris were cancelled. The only reason I cared was because those were the same flights I took about 3 weeks prior. Imagine being stranded in Paris. Ya, that's a believable story.

The flight we were on was enjoyable. In my row was me, the Bounty Hunter, and an Icelandic young man by the name of Thor. He reminded me of Sergei Federov (and I almost thought it was him, if it weren't for the fact that we were flying coach). As we're sitting there mid-flight, Thor says something to effect of how he was amazed that a 747 can fly. The Bounty Hunter started up with how it all works with air pressure, but I had to chime in with, "I'm going to have to agree with Thor on this one. I fully understand the mechanics and principles behind flight, but it's still mind boggling to see this boat in the air."

And then the following week, the re-enactment of the first Wright Brothers flight doesn't get off the ground. Humorous. After 100 years of evolution and advancement, during which we put a man on the moon, we can't make a canvas and stick glider fly. Is that embarrassing? A little. Is it an embarrassment? No. I'm convinced that the Wright Brothers flight in 1903 was one of those pivotal moments in history where they were at the right place at the right time, and while their work can be built upon, it can never truly be duplicated.

Can you believe that despite having an absolutely beautiful train depot (Union Station), Los Angeles doesn't have that much train traffic run through its rails. Train service can take you up and down the coast from Mexico to Canada, but there doesn't seem to be any passenger train line going east of the city. Want to take a train to Vegas? You've got to hop on a bus. You want to go to Sacramento, you've got to bus it to Bakersfield and then you can catch a train the rest of the way.

I just checked Amtrak.com to see what it would take to get from L.A. to New Orleans. Only one train line runs east out of L.A., and that follows the old Route 66 (modern day Interstate 40), so you'd have to leave L.A. and go to Chicago and then take a train there down to New Orleans. Other options would have you go L.A. -> Chicago -> Washington, D.C. -> New Orleans. Ridiculous.

Unfortunately, trains and locomotive service is much like radio in that their Golden Age was short-lived as they were eventually, yet quickly, replaced by new innovations (the automobile and television, respectively).

As ESPN recently mentioned on a random SportsCenter, they were going to feature their Images of 2003. As soon as they said that, the one most memorable image I recalled was also the most horrific and most spectacular. It was the Kenny Brack crash at Texas Motor Speedway. As IRL was finishing up its season finale in Texas (arguably one of the fastest tracks on the continent), on the last few laps on the back straightaway, Brack made contact with another driver and veered in the wall hard. I mean HARD, for it bounced Brack's car into the air as it spun end over end. In a matter of milliseconds, faster that you can blink, Brack's car slammed in the wall and was in the air, and somewhere in between, his car disintegrated. Just completely gone except for the cockpit. Not broke apart. Not dented and mangled. I mean completely and utterly shattered. In the photograph, you can see pieces fly off. Before Brack takes his first bounce, the rest of the car will be gone. Like I said, faster than you can blink, everything surrounding Kenny Brack, except for the driver's cockpit, just disappeared.

I remember watching the highlights on the night of the crash on SportsCenter. And when the crash occurred, I yelled out with a tone of horror in my voice, "NOOOOOO! No, no, no! Oh no!" Val came running out of the kitchen to see what was up. They showed the replay again, and Val let out a stunned gasp. Miraculously, and yes it was a miracle, Kenny Brack escaped alive. He needed some emergency surgery to repair various broken bones up and down his body, but he survived, and my one day race again.

Oh, and on a slightly random tangent. Don't drink and drive this Holiday Season. In fact, I'll say it right now. You HAVE had too much to drink, and you're NOT ok to drive. You know when would be a good time to drink and drive? How 'bout NEVER? Does "never" work for you? (This Public Service Announcement brought to you by DASP - Demosthenes Against Stupid People)

But let me finish this piece on a high note. No matter where your travels take you now and in the upcoming 2004, may you travel to new and exciting places, make new friends, have fun, and be safe. Happy New Year everybody!!!

December 15, 2003


After 13 long years, the Golden Boy returns to the ancestral homeland to bask in the fame and adulation of his hordes of fans. Life as an international celebrity isn't easy, my friends.

As it turns out, I was offered a free trip to Greece. I may be dumb on occasion, but I'm not an idiot and I took them up on the offer and was jetted to Athens for 6 days. Which surprised many friends and family, because the usual minimum stay in Greece is 1 month. So when I say I was there for a week, people were surprised. Like I was committing heresy or something. Nonetheless, it wasn't a trip for pleasure, it was a business trip. Life as an international celebrity isn't easy, my friends.

Have you ever been to Greece? Probably not, unless you have family there, or have it as a stop on a multi-country travel itinerary. But if you get the chance, visit Greece. It's a beautiful country, and also host of the 2004 Olympics. Hey, why don't you go then. That'll be festive.

Sure, I could go on and on about how great it is, but let me share some more interesting tidbits.

First off, let me vent about the only thing I truly hate about Greece. Smoking. Smoking remains the national pastime of Greece, with people smoking about a pack a hour. And people smoke everywhere (I'm surprised people weren't smoking in church). Restaurants, bars, in cabs, in bathrooms, in the operating rooms, hell even in the airports. When I got off the connecting flight from Paris, as soon as people got of the plane (I mean literally, in the gangway connecting the plane to the terminal), people had the cigarettes in their mouths and when they got to Baggage Claim, were already lit up, puffing away. It was only a 3 hour flight, but people were smoking like they hadn't had a drag in weeks. I think someone was actually smoking two cigarettes at the same time. Talk about being in Flavor Country. But luckily, that is the one and only thing I can say I hate about Greece.

The other thing I'm not too fond off, but am able to adapt to is that in Greece, traffic laws are "suggested" at best. I'm not even sure if they're "implied." Let me give you some examples of driving conditions in Athens. Most moderate thoroughfares are 2 lanes. When people want to park along these streets, they are at least considerate enough to other drivers to park on the sidewalk to free up street space. What about the pedestrians on the sidewalk? Screw the pedestrians! So this leaves about 1 1/2 lanes for cars to work with. And these 1 1/2 lanes can usually see 2 cars and a motorcycle driving 3 abreast. (by the way, in Athens, the automobile-motorcycle ratio is about 55-45, as opposed to here where it's like 85-15)

See, the cars in Greece are very, very small. A Honda Accord would be considered a larger vehicle in Greece. Apparently, registration fees are charged according to engine size. So if you want a big SUV with a 5.0 liter engine, it will, no joke, cost a small fortune in registration costs. So everyone is driving little 1.8 liter 4-banger cars. There is even a car, called the "Smart" that's being distributed by Mercedes-Benz, that is, I kid you not, half the size of my Aztek. Just imagine cutting your car in half. That's the Smart. So, with the aforementioned 1 1/2 lanes to work with, it's actually quite impressive to see these roller skates zipping through traffic like it's a slalom course.

Also a peculiar thing about Greek driving is that they don't have street lights like we do. Our lights overhang into the middle of the intersection so you can see it. In Greece, they're on the corner like a stop sign. So, if you're in the farthest lane from the corner, and the first car up, you can't see the light. Don't worry though. The Good Samaritan behind you will lay on the horn and notify you that the light is green and time for you to go.

In general, when driving in Greece, you should be aware of the general paradox in effect. No one has the right of way, but at the same time, everyone has the right of way and are not shy about taking it. Like the Matrix, it can't be explained, it has to be seen. Let's just say that if you want to go for a leisurely drive, take it outside the city. In the city of Athens, when you drive, go with certainty, go with authority, and go with alacrity.

Enough of that, let's move on to the language. My grasp of Greek isn't that great. I can understand most of the basic Greek. Speaking it is iffy, but on this trip, my tongue loosened up to a point where I was ending up speaking at least half of my conversation in Greek, and at times all Greek. .Although at the beginning of the trip, I lost all my Greek. Luckily things changed. Reading it is another story. Can't do it. On the times I do decipher the language, I always mispronounce everything. Blah!

Well, that's a quick rundown of Greece in general. A wonderful place, and God willing, will see my presence again next year. And as to the official reason why we went to Greece... let's just say that the life of an international celebrity is an easy one, my friends.

October 27, 2003


Wildfires A'Blazing
In the southern California area, brush fires and wildfires are not uncommon. But in the course of 4 days, on terrain that hasn't seen rain for "at least 100 days," we have at least 7 major fires burning. And a couple have allegedly merged together into superfires that have 25 mile long fronts (that's still rumor). The fires are turning into a single disaster that's hitting 7 counties, not only with the burning, but the winds have kicked up so much ash and soot that at one point, it looked like it was snowing.

The ash and smoke have also blanketed the sky to a point where the sun is red. And I mean red. You know how Superman has no powers when there is a red sun? Well, he'd be dead if he lived in L.A. That's how red the sun was. On good days, the sun gets an orange tint, but it'll be a while before it's yellow again. Blah!

And the worst part of it all is that there are suspicions that 2 of the fires were arson. Now I'm not a violent man. Actually, I'm quite the pacifist. But I'm all for torturing the morons who do stuff like this. I don't want to kill them. Unlike them, I value life, but we just need to convey to these individuals that what they did is wrong and intolerable... and to convey it via harsh pain. Ok, let me get of my soapbox and on with the rest of this rant.

Smells Like Fish
How 'bout them Marlins! Two World Titles in only 10 years of existence. And they were on the brink of contraction only two season ago. Be sure to jump on the bandwagon, there's plenty of room. And what about Josh Beckett? Pitching a complete game shutout to close it out. Man, they are going to be partying in Miami until the next fire sale.

But for all the talk about the Yankees being a great team, in the last three years, they've lost in the playoffs to the eventual World Series Champions all three times (2001- lost to Arizona in WS; 2002- lost to Anaheim in ALDS; 2003- lost to Florida in WS). You can't say that the Yankees are done though. When you're in a division where you get to beat on Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Boston, you're bound to have a winning record.

Oh, and on a side note, the Oakland A's should be banned from the postseason. What's the point of going to the playoffs if you can't win a series. I think the last time Oakland advanced past the first round of the playoffs was during Jose Canseco's prime.

That's It! I Quip!!!
Val once asked why I don't sit down and write my novel. I told her that I can't hammer out a long piece of work right now. All I can do is fire off world class quips and anecdotes. It's what I'm good at, but last I checked, no one was looking to fill a "quipper" position.

All Hail the Governator!
I made a vow that I wouldn't talk about the Recall Election in California either here or on the random radio show. And I won't. However, more than a couple of random radio show listeners e-mailed me and asked why I didn't run.

Eyes Like a Hawk
So I'm walking through the Virgin Megastore and what CD, out of the millions, do I spot out of the corner of my eye? Wilson Phillips Greatest Hits. And I almost bought it.

Dare I Say, "Enamored?"
For some bizarre reason, I've become, dare I say, enamored with the new 3rd jersey of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Don't ask me why. I just love it. And not that I'm a big fan of the Jackets, I just love the jersey. Possibly even more than the new 3rd jersey for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim that I've had my eye on. I need to find a job where I can where a hockey jersey every day.

Because It's Funny To Say
Man boobs

This just in off the wires... Canadian Beats World at Rock, Paper, Scissors
This my friends, is not a joke. I did indeed pull these off the What's Up newswires. And wait 'til you get the bottom. Sometimes, you can't make this stuff up.

Isn't that kooky? It gets even better, check out the World Rock Paper Scissors Society's website at www.worldrps.com. I'm so not making this up.

Halifax Hoooooooooooooozzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahs
Somewhere, I proposed that a great name for a hockey team would be the Halifax Hoozahs. And when I signed up for fantasy hockey, my team's name was the Hoozahs. I even designed jerseys and everything. And now I have request to purchase a jersey. Sure, it's a friend of mine and I know he's joking, but if I had one, I'm sure he would buy it. Take a peek at the jerseys for the Hoozahs and for the X - Philharmonic (my fantasy basketball team) at www.worldofdemosthenes.com/dsports

"I'm Watching the Rugby World Cup."
So, we finally got cable. Cable guy came over and did his thing and we've got over 200 channels of random stuff. Now it'll take me 10 minutes to proclaim that nothing's on TV. However, when Val called, I quickly asked her, "Hey, you want to know what I'm watching?" And excitingly, she asked, "Cable?" Val's wanted cable for ages, and now, mainly so we can watch The WB in piece. That was only channel we couldn't get a decent reception on with the rabbit ears, and Val loves, loves, loves Angel and Gilmore Girls. So at the very least, we can watch broadcast TV with clarity.

But since we've gotten cable, Valerie has said that I have a rugby problem. Just because the Rugby World Cup is on, and all I been watching for the last 4 days is rugby, why does that mean I have a rugby problem. Although, I've got to get home first so I can make sure to catch the game tonight. I think New Zealand is playing tonight. Don't ask me why I'm a fan of the All Blacks. I'm not Kiwi or anything. It just happens. (see Blue Jackets jersey above).

And really, if anything, I have an Iron Chef problem.

[Note: for those in America, rugby is a sport that's a cross between soccer and American football. Imagine the hitting and tackling of the NFL, and the protective equipment of... let's say synchronized swimming. Yes, the United States is in the World Cup, but we kinda suck. Ok, we suck a lot.]

This Just In...
Just before What's Up went to press, we just got this in.

In Pool B play in the Rugby World Cup, The USA Eagles ended the longest losing streak in Rugby World Cup history with a thrilling 39-26 defeat of Japan at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, Australia.

The last, and only, time the Eagles won was a debut victory: 21-18 over Japan in 1987. Although, earlier in the Tournament, they had come within an injury time touchline conversion of causing the upset of this World Cup against Fiji, but eventually lost that game 19-18.

And that my friends, is the rant. Consider yourselves enlightened and thanks for listening (or reading, really. Yeah, literacy!!!)

October 6, 2003


Demosthenes here with a quick public service announcement to everyone out there.

Don't ever piss off God...

If you were ever curious about what a "smoting" looks like, here you go. Until next time, take care of yourself and be good to one another.

Thanks to Anna P. for the pic

September 10, 2003


People often ask why I don't write professionally for a newspaper or a magazine. It's been said that my writings are witty, entertaining, and well-spun. While I am enamored with the idea of being a writer (more novelist, less journalist), I'm going to list why my chances are slim. I'm not being pessimistic, I just being honest.

1) Anti-Deadline. I like writing for fun. And sometimes, the muse isn't upon me. But if I have to write by a certain time, my stuff tends to come off as rushed. Why? Because I'm a procrastinator, and I'd be writing it at 2 a.m. on the day it's due.

2) Too wordy/Too many big words. My penchant for flowery language stems for the fact my vocabulary is, indeed, expansive. On occasion, when the inspiration strikes me, I have a tendency to just carry on and on with verbiage that often exceeds many individual's reading comprehension level.

3) My overuse of the word "ass." 'Nuff said.

4) My inability to write anything "serious." Everyone knows that I'm a funny guy. My works always come off and fun and entertaining. At the very least, it comes off as conversational. You know what I heard the most from my professors while in college? "Demosthenes, I loved the style of the paper, but you should be careful because not all professors would appreciate the colloquial tone." Well guess what, not a single prof had a problem with the way I write, but knowing my luck, I'd get an editor that has a large insect lodged in his posterior (or as the hip kids say, "a bug up his ass."). And when I've had to write seriously, my writing tends to come off as extremely sarcastic (yeah, big surprise there). Although, after writing the Freedom of Dissent piece earlier in What's Up, maybe there's hope for me yet.

5) Sometimes, the jokes don't work, and I'm ok with that. I understand that sometimes, I'm just not funny. It happens to the best of us. However, I'm ok with that. Others may not be. Also, a quick sidenote, sometimes the humor isn't appropriate for print, if you know what I mean.

6) The overuse, of the comma. Commas, are our friends. However, I've been known, to go a little overboard, with them. Yet, with all the commas, I never, sound like, William Shanter.

7) Fear. Specifically in a sense that I'm afraid that someone is going to try and change me and my writing. And tell me that wouldn't just blow. The reason why my work is so effective, is that it's just me. If editors try to change that, well they'll be in for quite a shock, and I'll most likely be out of a job.

So there you have it. I don't know what "it" is, but now it's yours, you have it. The overall moral of the story is that I don't have the nose for hard news, nor do I have journalistic skills to go and get the scoop on a headline. I simply like to wax poetic about some random topic du jour. And luckily, I know I have a small, but loyal, following that like to hear what I have to say (mainly because it makes them laugh). So my friends, if you're looking to find a home for Demosthenes "the journalist," look no futher that What's Up: The Official Newspaper of the World of Demosthenes.

Thanks for listening, and consider yourselves enlightened!

August 24, 2003


Hey hey, party people, I have returned! WooHoo! And to the scores of fans (ok, maybe tens of fans) who have been waiting patiently, behold, a new What's Up!

Shot the Lights Out!!!
New York during the outage
So I was gone for 12 days gallivanting through western New York, and what a good time we all had. Stops on the trip included: Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Seneca Falls, Rochester, Syracuse, and Toronto. (and when we finally leave, the entire area goes dark. Coincidence? No way man, we shut the joint down!)

Niagara Falls is a wonderful sight, but what is intriguing is the differing dynamics between the U.S. side and the Canadian side. The U.S. side is mostly State Parks and the actual city of Niagara Falls, New York, is pretty unassuming. All in all, the U.S. is pretty subdued. The Canadian side however, is a whole 'nother story. The city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, is stocked with casinos, entertainment options, and the like. It's flashy, loud, exciting, and says, "Please come to Canada. We're fun!" It's bizarre to say the least.

Yes, we went on the Maid of the Mist. Yes, I wore my slicker. And yes, it worked to keep my body very dry. My exposed head, not so dry. And we did visit the above-mentioned casinos at Niagara Falls; both on the Canadian side and the new one on the U.S. side. What's funny is the casino on the American side is an Indian casino right in the middle of the city. How did this come to be? Apparently, in an attempt to revitalize the city, local officials approached the local Indian reservation (about 20 minutes away) and said something to the effect of, "Hey, this was once all your land. Why don't we give you back some of it." Boom! Indian land in the middle of Niagara Falls, NY, and the casino goes up. Crafty.

At Seneca Falls, we visited the Women's Rights National Historic Park. It's where the first Women's Rights convention was held, hosted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I would rank this as civilly important as Independence Hall in Philadelphia. I'm all about Women's Rights. Would that make me a male feminist?

I was only in Toronto for a few hours (we had gone on a whim), so I didn't get to do too much (didn't go up the CN Tower, only made into the Hockey Hall of Fame Gift Shop but not the actual Hall, because the whole thing closed on us). Why so haphazard an excursion? Well, Toronto is only about 1 hour from Niagara Falls. So, as we decided to check out the Canadian side of the Falls, we just kept driving towards Toronto.

Toronto is a beautiful city (the little snippets we saw), and it looks like there is a new construction boom. A lot of highrises going up, and they appeared to be highrise apartments. Drove by SkyDome and the Air Canada Centre. SkyDome just looked huge! If time permitted, we may have done the SkyDome tour. As we walked down Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, it did whet my appetite to return and I wouldn't mind a trip specifically to T.O. and spend some significant time there.

All in all, fun was had by all. Sure, the Buffalo/Niagara region isn't exactly what one would think of when they want to go for a little getaway, but it was a great trip. And now that I have returned, I'll go back to sitting on my ass.... I mean work.

The New Mecca
It's official. World of Demosthenes International Headquarters is now located in the city that's nicknamed "The Big Strawberry," the happening burgh of Garden Grove, California.

It's a swell place and not too far from the KTST Studios, which is of course the home of the random radio show!

Now that I've got a new place, I think it's time to initiate some poker nights!!! (mainly because I need to start supplementing my income). If I may go on a tangent, during my trip to Buffalo/Niagara, there was some poker played and some money won, but it was HOW I won that apparently was, as one eyewitness put it, the "stuff of legend."

For those that were wondering, the reason why ALL the World of Demosthenes websites were down was not because of the move. All of the World of Demosthenes servers are located in Toronto, Ontario, which was blacked out, as mentioned above.

Random Photo
I can't remember whether Ryan actually hit him with a pitch of not, but Robin Ventura felt the need to storm the mound. As Ventura rushed headlong into Nolan Ryan, Ryan effortlessly got Ventura in a headlock and punched him repeatedly in the head. Absolutely fabulous.

Honestly, does Robin Ventura looked like he started this scuffle? But man, Ryan looks the guy that's going to finish it! I stumbled across a picture of the incident (which occured like 10 years ago) and thought I would share with you.

Los Angeles Fizz
Speaking of Toronto, it was a shame I could not surprise my buddy JM while I was there. Of course, the day we went was a National Civic Holiday (more than just a description, it's also the name), so I probably would have not been able to find him. Anyway, he runs a little football pool amongst friends, and again, I (read: me and Val) will participate. My team name is the Los Angeles Fizz, but the funniest part of all this was when one of the fellow participants started to track my picks, and was surprised that he couldn't find a pattern. So when asked how I made my picks, my response was simply, "I tell Val the names of the two teams, and she guesses." It's only funny because that method has won me some money. So there! The Oracle of Football lives on!

Weekly Goodie Goodie
The Weekly Goods have returned! Don't believe me. See for yourself.

And now, after the move, the trip, and the merger have all been completed, I've got nothing to do. Idle hands.....

What's Up Archive
February 2003 - July 2003
September 2002 - January 2003
April 2002 - August 2002
November 2001 - March 2002

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