Thursday, September 30, 2004

The new new math

Quote of the day, from the rather dismal Web page of reader quotes for a self-published book:

"If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be 'simply amazing.'"

Perhaps I amuse easily, but that cracked me up.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer

I don't know about you, but I'm both looking forward to and dreading Thursday's presidential debate. In order to make it even slightly bearable, I've devised this drinking game.

If Kerry uses a sentence that must be diagrammed in order to be understood: One shot.

If Bush mispronounces a common word: One shot.

If Bush uses the words "Osama bin Laden": Drink an entire bottle of Jack Daniels (I've made this a rather high penalty, as it seems unlikely).

If Kerry uses the phrase "W stands for 'wrong'": Quarter bottle of tequila. (Look, he's my candidate, but that phrase always hits my ear as insanely awkward. In print? Maybe. Out loud? Nope, doesn't work.)

If Bush intimates that the country is more likely to be attacked if Kerry gets elected: Half a tub of bathtub gin.

If Howard Borden says "Hi, Bob!": One shot.*

If Bush suggests Iraq occupation is going well: Shoot television.

If Kerry bungles this: Shoot me.

*Sorry--wrong drinking game.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Innovative idea for election reform

Each state picks an official Election Monkey. All 50 Election Monkeys are locked in a room with jumbo-size photos of the candidates. Winner is the candidate whose photo has the least poop thrown at it after a set time period (say, one hour).

Makes more sense than the Electoral College, no?

Friday, September 24, 2004

Insert sarcastic headline here

Love the headline of this movie review.

(I have the feeling this will be fixed soon, so for the record, the headline for this review of the flick The Forgotten was "Use this hed* for secondary film reviews/stories.")

I work at a magazine, and let me tell you, I've been known to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking I've let a "dummy" headline like that sneak into print.

*It's true, people in publishing spell "head" as "hed." I've never been able to figure out why. Is it that much of a timesaver to drop one letter?

Sept. 27 update: It's still up--amazing!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Monkey News Update

Headline of the day:

Man Shoots Wife, Mistakes Her for Monkey

OK, OK, it's a sad story, and it's terrible for the family. But just how appearance-challenged, shall we say, was she?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I've flip-flopped--Rufus T. Firefly gets my vote!

Who can resist a platform like this???

Mrs. Teasdale: If it's not asking too much...
For our information,
Just for illustration,
Tell us how you intend
To run the nation.

Firefly: These are the laws of my administration.
No one's allowed to tell a dirty joke.
And whistling is forbidden
(He whistles and conducts the guests)

Guests: We're not allowed to tell a dirty joke
Hail, hail Freedonia.

Firefly: If chewing gum is chewed
The chewer is pursued,
And in the hoose-gow hidden.
(He chews)

Guests: If we choose to chew, we'll be pursued.

Firefly: If any form of pleasure is exhibited.
Report to me and it will prohibited.
I'll put my foot down,
So shall it be.
This is the land of the Free.

The last man nearly ruined this place,
He didn't know what to do with it.
If you think this country's bad enough now,
Just wait till I get through with it.

The country's taxes must be fixed,
And I know what to do with it.
If you think you're paying too much now,
Just wait till I get through with it.

I will not stand for anything
That's crooked or unfair.
I'm strictly on the up and up,
So everyone beware.

If anyone's caught taking graft
And I don't get my share,
We stand 'em up against the wall...
And pop goes the weasel!

So everyone beware,
Who's crooked or unfair,
No one must take a bit of graft
Unless he gets his share.

If any man should come between
A husband and his bride,
We find out which one she prefers
By letting her decide.

If she prefers the other man,
The husband steps outside.
We stand him up against the wall,
And pop goes the weasel!

Guests: The husband steps outside,
Relinquishes his bride.

Firefly: (simultaneously) Ah-ah-ah...

Guests: They stand him up against the wall,
And take him for a ride.

--From Duck Soup, of course

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Seven Less-Deadly Sins

Vague peevishness

The most important election--ever?

I do happen to believe this is the most imporant election--in my lifetime, at the very least. But I was amused by this article that ran in The New York Times on Sept. 5:

The Most Important Article in Our History

If the presidential election were Mae West, her reply to a flatterer calling her the "most important election ever" could easily be: "I bet you say that to all the elections, big boy." Surprise, all you election 2004 superlative-pushers, from Bruce Springsteen to the Christian Coalition: This election is the "most important" in our history - our lifetimes, a generation, whatever - only if you ignore a slew of others.

Here is a sampling of comments stretching back more than a century and a half.

1864 Lincoln vs. McClellan

"We have had many important elections, but never one so important as that now approaching."

Gen. James H. Lane,
pro-Lincoln campaigner,
The New York Times, March 31

1888 Harrison vs. Cleveland

"The Republic is approaching what is to be one of the most important elections in its history."

New York Times editorial, July 2

1924 Coolidge vs. Davis

"I look upon the coming election as the most important in the history of this country since the Civil War."

Joseph Levenson,
Republican leader,
The New York Times, July 20

1976 Ford vs. Carter

"I think this election is one of the most vital in the history of America."

President Ford,
debating Jimmy Carter, Oct. 22

1980 Carter vs. Reagan

The International Union of Electronic Workers said it felt it was important to take a stand early because the critical problems the nation faces may make the 1980 election "the most important of this century."

Associated Press, Nov. 2, 1979

1984 Reagan vs. Mondale

"This is the most important election in this nation in 50 years."

Ronald Reagan, Nov. 5

1988 Bush vs. Dukakis

"It may be the most important election of this century."

Senator Robert C. Byrd,
Democrat of West Virginia, Oct. 22

1992 Bush vs. Clinton

"I ask you to join with me for these last three days to reach out and call your friends and family and neighbors to tell them this is the most important election in a generation."

Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, Oct. 30

1996 Clinton vs. Dole

"This is the most critical election in the long history of the American labor movement."

John Sweeney,
AFL-CIO president,
The Washington Post, March 3

"It's the most important election of our lifetime."

Ralph Reed,
Christian Coalition director,
The Tulsa World, April 14

"Talk about a bummer! Can you imagine how the Republicans must feel at this, the beginning of the most important election year in decades? Pass the Prozac, please."

Robert Beckel,
Democratic political analyst;
commentary in The Denver Post, Jan. 31

2000 Bush vs. Gore

"The first national election of the 21st century is the most important election (so far) of the 21st century."

Ebony magazine, November

United States Representative Zach Wamp said last week he believes "2000 historically is the most important national election in my lifetime."

Chattanooga Free Press, Nov. 22

2004 Bush vs. Kerry

"This is the fourth presidential election which Pearl Jam has engaged in as a band, and we feel it's the most important one of our lifetime."

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam,

"This is the most important election I can remember, at least since 1968."

Al Franken, comedian,
Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 8

"Christian Coalition of America believes this is the most important election in our nation's history."

Press release, Aug. 24

"We share a belief that this is the most important election of our lifetime."

Statement on Bruce Springsteen's
Web site on the Vote for Change tour

"My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime."

Senator John Kerry
Democratic National Convention,
July 29

"For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives, but in our history."

Vice President Dick Cheney
Republican National Convention
on Wednesday

Larry King: "Is this the most important election ever?"

President Bush: "For me it is."

"Larry King Live," Aug. 12

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Beware of amorous poultry

Headline of the day:

Turkey Drops Adultery Proposals

Disappointingly, this turned out to be about the country.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Department of Clarification

From Al Franken's blog. Sorry, I'm not sure why, but I can't link this at the moment:

If ever anyone needed proof that Bob Novak has no shame, scruples or ethical principles, they should look no further than his display this weekend. Novak, who has refused to tell law enforcement officials which administration officials helped him illegally leak the name of an undercover CIA operative, went on CNN to demand CBS News reveal confidential sources who gave them President Bush's National Guard records. "I'd like CBS, at this point, to say where they got these documents from," Novak said, and then repeated himself: "I think they should say where they got these documents." The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt was perplexed, asking Novak, "You're saying CBS should reveal its source?" He replied, "Yes." Hunt asked again, "You think reports ought to reveal sources?" Novak, then embarrassed said, "No, no. Wait a minute...I'm just saying in that case." Hunt summed up, "So in some cases, reporters ought to reveal sources?" Novak replied, "Yes."

Sunday, September 12, 2004

And they make your breath smell like flowers!

I'm listening to some vintage radio broadcasts of "Dragnet," given to me by my friend Grammarian. The shows are oddly fascinating and stylized, sounding to my ears like a weird combination of "Law & Order," Samuel Beckett, and David Mamet (minus the swearing). Equally intriguing are the commercials, mostly for Chesterfield cigarettes. Here's one, verbatim, as delivered by "Dragnet" star Jack Webb:

"Before a case goes to trial, a working detective has to get all the evidence. He interviews witnesses, takes statements, checks and rechecks. He tries to get all the facts. As a smoker, you, too, should be interested in facts. You should know, Chesterfield is the first to give you scientific data in support of smoking. Nose, throat, and accessory organs [are] not adversely affected by smoking Chesterfields--the first such report ever published about any cigarette. Remember that, and next time, buy Chesterfields."

Wow. Who would have thought smoking doesn't affect your organs' ability to accessorize?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Is that a promise or a threat?

"If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States." --Vice President Cheney

What--you'll drop Zell Miller on us? I couldn't take that again!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Overdeveloped sense of irony? Or just a moron?*

Bumper stickers on the gas-guzzling SUV in front of me on the Long Island Expressway this morning:

Be Green

One Planet, One Future

Partnership for an Idiot-Free America

*I'm voting for the latter.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Rise and Fall of Freddie the Dog


7 a.m.: Wakes up; licks balls

7:15 a.m.: Pees in yard

7:20 a.m.: Eats

7:30 a.m.: Goes for walk; poops

9:00 a.m.: Licks balls

10 a.m.: Someone posts Freddie's blog URL on home page

11 a.m.: Picks cookbook off shelf in kitchen; eats

12:05 p.m.: Freddie's blog gets 1,000 hits

12:06 p.m: Scratches ear

3 p.m.: Licks balls

5 p.m.: Blog gets 2,000 hits

6 p.m.: Eats; pees; poops

7 p.m.: Another 500 hits

8 p.m.: Paris Hilton stops by; Freddie considers humping her leg, shudders deeply, and decides against it

9 p.m.: Freddie denounced by Swift Boat Veterans: "His wounds were superficial."

10 p.m.: Dick Cheney pronounces Freddie a "flip flopper. First he likes squeaky squirrel toy. Then he likes squeaky hippo toy. Is this the dog we want in office?"

10:15 p.m.: Freddie spotted with J.Lo; press dubs them "Freddifer"

10:30 p.m.: Pees; poops

11:00 p.m.: Checks SiteMeter report; licks balls; sleeps


7:00 a.m.: Wakes, eats, pees, poops, licks

7:15 a.m.: Ben Affleck stops by, warns him of backlash; Freddie considers humping his leg, but decides against it; Affleck leaves to make another crappy movie

7:30 a.m.: More licking

8:00 a.m.: Paramount rush-produces starring vehicle for Freddifer

11:00 a.m.: Plays in yard

12:00 p.m.: Zell Miller diagnosed with rabies (c'mon--it was obvious)

1:00 p.m.: Checks SiteMeter, sees hits are up to 5,000-something; licks balls

7:00 p.m.: Paramount realizes it has bomb on its hands; decides to release Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! to theaters without screening for critics

8:00 p.m.: Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! opens; general consensus: "Too much ball licking."

9:00 p.m.: Site hits taper off; falls asleep early


8:00 a.m.: Realizes ordering thousands of Freddie mugs and T-shirts was probably a bad idea; licks balls

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Wanna know what's sad?

My dog's blog gets more hits than mine does.

I... er, he started it as a goof. A dog-related link a couple times a week, written in dog language. Yesterday, the site got a hit from someone who had posted a message somewhere about how stupid and unfunny it was (traced back through SiteMeter). I... er, Freddie almost deleted the blog. (He's very sensitive. As am I.)

Then someone put the URL on their company's home page. Then another popular link page picked it up. And another.

And since 10 a.m., Freddie's page has gotten more than 1,000 hits.

The Internet is very, VERY strange.