The Monday Morning Black Cloud 01.05.03


Welcome to the first Black Cloud of 2004! Now the depressing news.


First the earthquake in Iran, and now an Egyptian charter jet filled with French Tourist crashed into the reportedly shark infest Red Sea, killing all 148 people on the flight. Looks like our “enemies” are being taken care of without President Bush having to order the dropping of a single bomb.

As I write this the story has just been reported. I doubt it was terror despite that being my initial thought. The officials there claim it was a mechanical problem and I see no reason to doubt them. This is just a tragedy. They happen. What I’m very interested in is learning how the United States reacts to this story. I wonder if the ultra right is going to hail this as some kind of punishment on the French from God. I certainly hope not. I don’t think I’d be able to stomach that kind of thinking.

We’ve been mocking the French, and if I understand correctly from my American friend who spent the summer there we’ve been getting mocked by them right back. Let us remember that the French people are our allies. They are our partners in democracy. Let us not seize upon the deaths of 148 tourists to make more jokes about the French. Let me extend condolences to the friends and families of the victims on behalf of 411, if any should happen to be reading.


Breaking news! During his reign as Governor of Vermont, Presidential candidate Howard Dean was repeatedly warned about lax security at the state’s nuclear power plant and was warned that the state was ill-prepared to handle the aftermath of a massive terrorist attack, especially a nuclear attack.

Uh huh. Okay. Let me see if I understand this. I’m a little slow. The fact that the state of VERMONT was not prepared for a NUCLEAR attack is news? What, terrorists are going to blow up the maple trees? BUT WHERE WILL WE GET OUR MAPLE SYRUP?!

Oh yeah, Vermont is fertile ground for a terrorist attack. Aside from a citizen of this great country throwing some fertilizer in a U-haul and blowing up a building in Oklahoma, I’m pretty sure the terrorists have attacked major cities. 2 major cities in particular. Hey! 2 major cities ONLY. But that must be why this is a big story! The terrorists know that we’re guarding our shit in all of the major urban areas, so they’re going to sneak into Vermont and blow up TREES.

Vermont, which has a population 613,090 people. 2,847,969 (rounded up) is 1% of the population of the United States. Vermont has less than a quarter of 1% of the population of the United States. The terrorists are not going to attack Vermont because they want to kill people, NOT TREES.

Are we going to buy into this? Please tell me we’re not going to buy into this. Hey, Conservatives, you want me to admit that there is at times a liberal bias in the media? Fine. There is at certain papers, just as there’s a conservative news bias at other papers. But are you going to read this and tell me that when the AP media releases this story about Vermont being unprepared for a nuclear explosion a year ago while Dean is running for president it doesn’t stink of bias in the media? That the writer didn’t have an agenda? The whole thing is disgusting.

Here is the only number that matters. ZERO. ZERO acts of terrorism took place in Vermont with Howard Dean in office. ZERO acts of terrorism took place in Vermont while Howard Dean was not in office. How many casualties have there been due to terrorist attacks in Vermont? Um, ZERO. You know why you wouldn’t write a story about how over 2,000 people died due to terrorist attacks under the leadership of Governor George Pataki? Because it’s wrong. What they’re trying to do to Dean is no less wrong.

Vermont has it taken care of. I swear this to you, and I will take personal responsibility should our enemies attack Vermont, that webpage is more than enough preparedness for the possibility of a terrorist attack on Vermont. It’s like saying that New York City came in last for preparedness should a cattle stampede break out. It’s like saying that Hawaii is ill-prepared to handle a snow storm, or Alaska a heat wave. Man this petty shit pisses me off.

And now Gloomchen, my favorite writer on the Internet, with

Nihilism and Cupcakes

I’ve been issuing quite a many calls to arms lately. Add another to the list, will you, Jeeves?

I am Gloomchen. I am a writer and editor. It took me years to come out of the closet as such and defeat my “stage fright” of showing my works to others. I’ve come a long way since 1997. I expect others have as well. In fact, I demand others evolve. Hence, welcome to the editor’s anger.

One of my greatest fears upon unleashing my prose into the public eye was less my creativity and more my mechanics. I didn’t want my point to be missed thanks to a misspelled or misused word, a misplaced comma, or an overlooked sentence fragment. In the days when I was first posting my material, this truly was a threat. These were days when most teenagers still filed “internet” under “geek only.” I wasn’t among the idiots wandering around that comprises the majority of the Internet Nation today.

While this may seem to water down tensions in the modern web world for those who fear being viewed as moronic when accidentally changing verb tense mid-sentence, in my eyes, it’s an excuse for sloppiness. Sure, there are plenty of websites which clearly cater to a more sophisticated audience and take pains to present the most professional product possible. However, I’ve most certainly noticed these places becoming fewer and farther between over time, most likely due to the need to be first and do things more quickly than the competition.

As I gaze upon this tangled mess that my beloved haven of information has become, I wonder: where have all the editors gone? Or, worse, since when can someone be defined a “writer” when they have no basic concepts of grammar, punctuation, or spelling?

There’s truly no excuse for anything more than the occasional gaffe. Nearly all software these days come bundled with spell checkers, not to mention the increasing instances of grammar checkers as well. On top of this, the world has and at its disposal. One doesn’t need to have the old Strunk and White handy to have style, but it wouldn’t hurt to spend the eight dollars on Amazon in an attempt to discover the definition of such.

Still, the world is lucky. The average reader is so used to seeing 31337speak barfed all over their screens that anyone who doesn’t type “teh” is a veritable Shakespeare. Still, one question remains, one of the most important in the world of writing: who is your audience? Are you writing to the lowest common denominator or are you writing for those with more than just a saltine floating around in their craniums?

And hey, audience — you’re not excused, either. Why support drivel? Do you enjoy reading twelve pages where “its” and “it’s” are used more interchangeably than Legos? Is this making you feel more intelligent? Are you supporting a moron simply because you have nowhere else to go?

This leads me to my favorite excuse for all lazy internet writers:

“It’s just the Internet.”

I hate to break this to you, Christopher Pike, but I don’t care if you’re writing for third graders or Harvard grad students. What you write is a reflection of your intellect. If you don’t care about your grammar, spelling, or punctuation, you’re telling the world that you have no problems displaying that you are a moron. You’re telling them that you don’t respect their intelligence. Most of all, you’re indistinguishable from any other moron on the entire Internet. You’ve just made yourself as unspecial as possible. You’re another generic pseudo-writer to be overlooked.

While one may say true genius transcends the constraints of English structure, to those blasphemers, I call shenanigans. Creativity is not an excuse. Internet, get your shit together. In the event that you realize you truly don’t understand what you might be doing wrong, find yourself a good editor. They’re not hard to find — hell, I’m not doing anything tonight and I could use a few bucks.


Postscript: And as a note to those who would care to dissect this blather for errors, don’t bother. I know where my mistakes lie, and most of them are so buried in debatable style that it’s not worth arguing. I don’t claim to be perfect, but I will claim to be readable. No further discussion is necessary. Thank you for your time, and have some celery.

Brittney Spears Marries, Annuls Just As Quickly. Dennis Rodman Impressed.

Yes, the Princess of Pop, the queen of sucky music, the Madonna smooching, Fred Durst denying, pseudo lesbian/homophobe got married to an old friend from her home town and just as quickly got the marriage annulled . The briefly lucky man, Jason Allen Alexander, was said to be devastated. “First Seinfeld, now this. I’m going to blow my damn brains out.”

As I always do when I hear terrible news, I turn to Gloomchen for support.

VPJG: Gloomchen, you talk about life in my… in our column. That’s right, it’s ours. Not Randle’s though. Anyway, I have some terrible news.

gloomchen: Sad?

VPJG: It’s not about me! It’s about… well, she doesn’t consider me a friend but I consider her one.
VPJG: We’ll call her B, okay?

gloomchen: Sure, that’s a perfectly respectable letter of the alphabet.

VPJG: Anyway, B was in Vegas, just partying, having a good time, you know?
VPJG: And she and an old friend of hers were joking around about getting married, and then the joke went too far and she got married!
VPJG: I mean, she had to get it annulled so we could eventually be together, and she did. But now the whole world is judging B harshly. How can I use this to get into B’s pants and heart, and what I advice should I give her on this matter?

gloomchen: You should get her together with my friend, whom we’ll call C.
gloomchen: C is a dirrty, dirrty whore.
gloomchen: But she doesn’t accidentally get married.

VPJG: How does she avoid it? I mean, B isn’t too dirty. Sure, she experiments with older women and f*cks the flavor of the month, but that’s just girl stuff! How does C avoid the big M?
VPJG: Not that big M. C didn’t avoid that M if I remember correctly. Marriage.

gloomchen: B didn’t, either. She’s not good with Ms in general, so it seems.
gloomchen: Thank goodness you’re a JG. Perhaps you could offer her this alphabetical logic.


gloomchen: Otherwise, you can teach her that C avoids M by being a dirrty, dirrty whore, and perhaps you could help show her the way.

VPJG: So if I were to teach B to be somewhat less innocent, not only could I be with her but maybe we could include C and even the big M!
VPJG: Not marriage.
VPJG: The other M.

gloomchen: Oh, now you’ve definitely got it.

VPJG: Gloomchen, you are always such a help. By the way, I have a friend PB who keeps getting into fights he can’t finish. Any advice there?

gloomchen: I was always better at talking my way out of fights, I’m a peace-loving sort. But my friend MT says to go for the ear.

VPJG: Well thanks. Gloomchen, you are truly the queen of queens. I’ll tell B and PB to go for the ear.

gloomchen: Indeed, the ear it is.

VPJG: One last thing! I have a friend, G. G has some nude photos on the Internet and G is seemingly lusting for power at a gig I got G. Any advice for power hungry naked G?

gloomchen: Ummmm… hook her up with B, C, and M?

VPJG: Marriage or Madonna?
gloomchen: Oh god, not marriage. No matter how big a bitch G might be, I wouldn’t wish marriage on my worst enemy.
gloomchen: But by sending her to B, C, and M, it would be someone else’s gig she’d be lusting after.

VPJG: That’s true. You ever think about breaking into music, Gloomchen?

gloomchen: And you’d be free and clear of power hungry folk, aside from Canadians, of course.

VPJG: How I despise Randle.
VPJG: Talk to you later life expert!

gloomchen: Lata!

VPJG: And now my own little me and Gloomchen’s bitter ex-husband, Stephen Randle with

The Short Sports Report>/u>

Morning all, don’t you just love Mondays? I do, because I get to write about sports, and unlike my wrestling column, I get to rant as much as I want. Being positive is great, but complaining about the state of sports just feels right. You think the IWC is negative, you should see some of the things sports analysts say, or just talk to a Yankees fan about five minutes after the World Series ended. And we’re off

– The World Junior Hockey Championships finish today or maybe they already finished this morning, I don’t understand this whole newfangled system of time zones. Anyway, surprise, surprise, it’s Canada facing USA, and even if I weren’t Canadian, based on the fact that they’ve outscored their opponents by about 40 goals, I’d have to suggest that the outcome isn’t really in doubt.

– The NFL playoffs are underway, and I don’t care. I mean, I’ll watch it, but the only real reason to pay attention would be if I had money down on someone. And with the incredible parity in the NFL, betting is getting to be less and less of a good idea. I suppose the best part of the playoffs, since I work at a sports bar, means that I get to work more, and thus, I get more money. I do so love currency.

– Seven coaches got fired or had their contracts expire to end the NFL season, as usual, so the hiring rounds have begun. And I’m all for equality, but how silly is that rule that teams MUST interview minority coaches before making a decision? Come on, the only guy this has benefited has been Dennis Green, who is always set for interviews, and yet never seems to get hired. And hey, why is it only black coaches? I don’t see any Asian or female coaches out there, and they could be just as qualified to run a football team. Such an age we live in, where we fear to do anything because it might offend someone.

– Meanwhile, the coach of the New England Patriots was named coach of the year. What a concept, the coach of the best team was named best coach in the league. Nothing like giving an award to someone who deserves it. I’m looking at you, A-Rod.

– Speaking of which, it’s all quiet in the baseball arms race, which is kind of like saying the tornado hasn’t hit the coastline yet.

– Not just because I like the Leafs, but Owen Nolan going down with a potentially very serious eye injury after taking a stick to the eye raises one of my favourite issues about hockey. WEAR A VISOR! I don’t care if the kids at school make fun of you or say you “hide behind a visor”, this sort of thing is happening waaaay too often. Yeah, sure, only Brian Berard and now Nolan have suffered actual eye damage, but how many times have there been close calls? Every game I watch, there’s usually at least one guy who collapses to the ice clutching at his face, and gets up with a trickle of blood flowing from about three centimeters below his eye. And don’t go telling me that visors obstruct vision. Football players wear gigantic helmets crisscrossed with solid metal, and they don’t seem to have any problems. But then, it’s hard enough to get NHL players to wear helmets that do more than cover their heads, so maybe I’m just talking to myself here.

– All the college bowl games are over too, except for the one that determines the so-called National championship. I swear, I failed advanced calculus in university, and I still understood it better than the college ranking system. Did the concept of a playoff system never occur to these people? Who wants to watch a bowl game between two roughly .500 teams playing only for the money it will bring to their school, besides maybe the people who actually attend those schools? I mean, congratulations, you won the Outback Bowl, too bad all that means is you now have a slightly better record than you did previously.

That’s it for this week, you know how to get in touch, and if you don’t, figure it out. Hey, if I do everything for you, you won’t learn nothing. Until next time

The Cloud Lifts

And that’s it for this week. Tune in next week for more news and what not! For Gloomchen and Stephen Randle this is Joshus Grutman wishing you a good week and a happy New Year.