Friday, December 30, 2005

A Pandora's box worth opening

Have you tried the personalized streaming-music service from Pandora? It's pretty amazing. Give it the names of some songs or artists you like, and it will create your own radio station of related music. It's not unerring--sometimes it makes some really odd leaps (I mysteriously got Engelbert Humperdinck's "Quando, Quando, Quando" at one point), but you can push an I-don't-like-this button, and Pandora will learn from it. Oh, and it's free, unless you can't stand seeing some ads in the background.

Don't bother trying if you're on dial-up.

I can't remember where I found the link to this. If it's from someone who frequents TVB, thanks!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

There is no hope. None.

Description of liberals found on a far-right-wing blog:
The major problem with the Left today is that they're so disconnected from reality. ... The main reason why they're like that is because they live in an echo chamber. They surround themselves with fellow travellers who all shout the party line without thought, and they get a great deal of positive feedback if they respond in kind.

[Liberals bloggers] just tapped into that. Most of the people who leave comments are just there to write the most amazingly vile, hate filled screeds you can imagine. Then they're praised for doing so, which encourages them to come back for more later.

I guess I could get snarky and say something like, "Look in the mirror much?" But really, why bother?

Seriously, we're fucked. Oh, and Happy New Year.


The most evil, inexplicably popular song of the year, crossed with Mary Worth. Brilliant.

Via The Comics Curmudgeon.

My dog smells like corn chips

Image hosted by Photobucket.comFreddie

Image hosted by Photobucket.comCorn chips

Just put your nose to the back of his neck and inhale. Really, it's unmistakable.

UPDATE: For whatever reason, this post gets a lot of hits via Google searches. For those who are curious, once I changed my dog's food to brands that don't use corn as a filler, Freddie stopped smelling like corn chips. Merrick is one good brand with no fillers. It actually smells like people food.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My favorite diseases

--Monkey pox (it's just adorable!)
--Ebola virus
--Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis

Runners up:
--Genital warts
--Mad cow disease
--Munchausen syndrome
--Nontropical sprue
--Prune belly syndrome

Honorable mention:
--Jock itch


Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Image hosted by I received John Hodgman's The Areas of My Expertise from my Amazon Wish List (note to everyone who did not buy me anything: thanks for nothing) for Christmas. All I can say is, this man cracks me up. His brand of humor is a bit hard to explain--it's not "jokey"; the laughs come from his deadpan style married to a where-did-that-come-from? oddness. Which I guess is to say: Your mileage may vary. But just reading the introduction to this book made me laugh uncontrollably.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


ENGLEWOOD, Pa. - Mary Kathleen O'Connor, 16, doing some studying for school about 6 a.m. Tuesday, said she was the first to be startled by an apparent Christmas tree stowaway.

"I'm looking at the tree and the angel just pops off," she said. "And a second later, this head just popped up. The eyes were, like, glowing. I was thinking, 'Oh my God!' And I screamed."

Other family members came running. "We looked at it and I thought it might have been a fake," said her father, Michael O'Connor, a Frackville attorney. "But then it moved its head. And I thought 'Holy Jeez. We're in trouble.'"

O'Connor called police, and William E. O'Donnell, a state Game Commission deputy wildlife conservation officer, removed an 18-inch-long opossum from the 8-foot Douglas fir the family had bought, bundled, from a dealer in Seltzer.

O'Donnell caged the animal and released it in woods about five miles away. The tree, meanwhile, was still in the front yard where Patricia had hurled it. "The lights are still on it," Michael O'Connor said. "So is the stand."
--The Associated Press

Three Other Things You Wouldn't Want to Find Hidden in Your Christmas Tree
--Alistair Cooke's bones
--Scott McClellan's long-lost soul
--Flesh-eating zombies

A seasonal message, in images...

Image hosted by Image hosted by Image hosted by Image hosted by being sung by Image hosted by and Image hosted by

Have a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a kooky Kwanzaa, a sedentary solstice, etc.

PS: The brown eggnog circulating around is not especially good, but it's your trip.

PPS: Yes, this post was just a lame excuse to run a photo of Carol Channing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You're out

I like MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, but this exchange has been on his Web site since Dec. 7 (second speaker is guest Mo Rocca):

OLBERMANN: And we're happy to say that you'll be back with us (Wednesday) night in another of your many areas of expertise, perhaps your highest, the White House animal historian in you [sic], as you talked us [sic] the release of the annual Barney* cam video? Briefly, anything to look for in 10 seconds?

ROCCA: Look for a giant Barney scaling the umpire state building gripping Naomi Watts.

Yeah, I realize it's just a mind-bogglingly inept transcript, but seriously ... the umpire state building???

Image hosted by

*The White House dog, not the purple dinosaur.

The War on Christmas: Photojournalism from the front lines

Image hosted by

They got Santa! I repeat: SANTA IS DOWN!!!

If this doesn't get me that Pulitzer, nothing will.

Letters, we get letters

A few months ago, I had a post about a person associated with a certain 20th-century religion noted for its attraction to celebrities. The person shall remain nameless, as shall the faith, as it tends to litigiousness. In sum, a man died after taking some "nutritional" pills. When I made that post, which quoted a news story that ran in the New York Daily News, The Velvet Blog was pretty much invisible. Since then, for reasons I don't quite understand, TVB has gotten a lot more hits from Google searches--many for that person associated with kooky celebrities. Yesterday, someone linked to that earlier post, and well, I'm now spooked enough to take it down, at least for the time being.

The post got a few indignant comments in the last few months, which I ignored. This one, however, kind of creeped me out (name removed to prevent further Google hits):

You guys are funny no doubt. It's too bad you've got to do so at the expense of someone you know nothing about. Did F---- make any money out of this? I consulted with F---- for a year and she charged very little. Is she good at what she does and has she helped alot of people live healthier lives? She helped me immensely. As for the Medicine Man, did he stuff those pills down the guys throat? And for you Mister Jokerman, wouldn't it be even funnier if you took the effort to know something about what you're talking about. You're just one more head in the sand. Where's Lenny Bruce when you need him?

Wow. I've never been compared with Lenny Bruce before, even negatively.

I find this sentence in particular to be bothersome:
As for the Medicine Man, did he stuff those pills down the guys throat?

Have we dropped the bar for personal responsibility so low that to be responsible for someone dying after you gave him pills, must you have also physically shoved them down his throat? Interesting.

While this was posted by "Anonymous," I sense the literary stylings of a certain actor, who shall remain nameless, too, but here's a quote from him:
Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt... You're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is... Psychiatry is a pseudo science. You don't know the history of psychiatry--I do.

Oh, and please keep your feet off the couch.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The halo effect

Ever notice how news photographers like to take pictures of political figures against backdrops that make the subject look somehow dignified?

Have a look at this pic of Sen. Bill Frist, which appeared in papers Friday morning:

Image hosted by

See how the photographer has chosen the angle so Frist's head is framed against the sign in a way that looks a lot like a halo? Even the pose makes him like a Biblical prophet.

Then there's this photo of Sen. John McCain, also from Friday's paper:

Image hosted by

The photographer has deliberately shot from below, against an elaborate ceiling, also producing a halo appearance.

Also, there's this recent picture of President Bush:

Image hosted by

Man, what a freaking doofus.

Quote of the day

I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah.President George W. Bush, at a White House menorah lighting ceremony, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2001

Oy vey.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dear Nancy

Image hosted by

CNN anchor Nancy Grace wants her alleged stalker to pay up.

Most celebs defend themselves against unwanted fans in criminal court. But Grace has gone to Manhattan Supreme Court to seek punitive damages against Joseph Raymond Loegering for emotional distress.

Loegering, 48, "is apparently obsessed with Ms. Grace, believes that he loves her, insists that she can solve all of his problems and will help him to meet with Osama Bin Laden," her civil suit charges. ...

On Dec. 8, he allegedly left her a message saying: "I love you Nancy and I always will."

Loegering's mom, reached in Missouri, told The News' Helen Peterson: "He doesn't have anything. I hope she's not suing me."
--New York Daily News

Dear Nancy:

How are you? I am fine, thank you.

Look, I can't help but think we kind of got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps it was the tinfoil hat that I was wearing. I know it looks odd, but it's just a fashion statement. I saw it on Project Runway. Oh, and it keeps out the mind-control rays. See? Makes sense now, right?

Also, I'm sorry about turning up in your bathroom while you were showering. I guess that might have seemed odd. But after I knocked your doorman unconscious and drugged your dog (and what a cute pup, by the way!), I got thirsty. Hydration is really very important, especially when the air is so dry. Apologies.

Did that drawing of Natalie Holloway I left on your bed spook you? Sorry. I know that it looks like I drew it with my own blood, but that's not the case. Actually, I used the blood of your doorman, after I knocked him out. See? Normal.

Now, about Osama Bin Laden ... Christ, I don't know what I was thinking! Of course you can't introduce me to him--that's just crazy! (What about Larry King? Do you think Larry could introduce me to Osama Bin Laden?)

BTW, I think you'll like Mom--she's feisty!!!

I love you Nancy and I always will,

PS: By the way, if anyone calls and asks if you know anything about Greta Van Sustern's tires getting slashed, I so didn't have anything to do with that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Best fake name I received in spam E-mail today

Mohammed Bacon

That just doesn't sound kosher. Or halal, for that matter.

Image hosted by

Revenge of the copy editors

On its theatrical release, the movie below was titled The 40 Year-Old Virgin.

Image hosted by

But look carefully at the new DVD case:

Image hosted by

Yes, they added the missing hyphen (40-Year) that was driving me crazy (occupational hazard*).

*As a copy editor, not a virgin, you perv.

Hello, Defamer visitors!: Please go here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Our creative film journalists

"Film critics, at least the guy ones, have been going ape over Watts" --Los Angeles Times

"Fans go ape at King Kong premiere" --CBBC

"Fans will go ape over two Kong releases" --Sun Sentinel

"Reviewers go ape over movie" --New Zealand Herald


"Going ape over holiday films" --San Mateo County Times

"New Yorkers going ape for $50M 'King Kong' lottery" --New York Daily News

"Going ape over holiday flicks" --Deseret News

"Going ape over King Kong" --South African Star

"New York is going ape over the giant gorilla" --TVNZ, New Zealand

"Critics go ape over remake" --Bradenton Herald

"On DVD: They still go ape over 'King Kong'" --Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Going ape for awesome 'King Kong'"

"And the reviewers are going... ape crazy for it." --The Register UK

"I will go apeshit if I see this stupid, lazy phrase in connection with 'King Kong' one more time." --The Velvet Blog

Monday, December 12, 2005

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned

I ate three-quarters of a box of Mallomars on the way home from Fairway.

It's no excuse, but they only recently came back in season...

Son of more photoblogging

Image hosted by

Amsterdam. Sort of a fluke, but I like how it sums up the city. Canal, Reichsmuseum in the background, tourists checking a map, a local doing her shopping, an artist at work, a bicycle. Really, all it's missing is a bottle of Heineken, someone getting high, and a prostitute. Taken around 1996, I think.

And the city at dusk, from the same trip:

Image hosted by

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Not much to say lately, so I think I'm going to run more photos for a while.

This was taken in Prague two years ago. It's a fave.

Image hosted by

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good.

But enough about the extra powers granted President Bush by the Patriot Act--it's Christmas!

Or are these the holidays?

I just don't know anymore...

(Story via Sadly, No! Patriot Act gag recycled from a Christmas-themed music show I programmed for Theme Scheme Radio. It's rerun season.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Took some photos from the passenger seat of a car going highway speed at night. I really like the way these came out, especially the top one. (Doesn't it look as if there are musical notes hanging in the air?)

Image hosted by

Image hosted by

Image hosted by

Seriously--what are you doing Saturday night?

Yeah, you--that person in Melville who visits regularly but never leaves a comment? You're 20 minutes away, for pete's sake. The folks in NYC who stop by occasionally? C'mon--Bay Shore is an hour away by train.

Come see me at the Eclectic Cafe on Saturday. Just don't laugh at how gray my beard has gotten since that photo was taken.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Smackdown!: Alito vs. Mojito

Image hosted by Samuel Alito

Pros: While President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court was a student at Princeton, he helped lead a conference on privacy and said: "No private sexual act between consenting adults should be forbidden."

Cons: If appointed to the Supreme Court, thought to be the most far-right-wing Justice ever. Likely to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Image hosted by Mojito

Pros: Likely to spur the initiation of private sexual acts between consenting adults. Also, it's very refreshing.

Cons: Too many, and you might actually need the protection of Roe v. Wade.

Winner: Mojito--did I mention it's very refreshing?

Recipe for a mojito:

3 parts light-dry rum
12 yerba buena or mint leaves
1/2 lime
2 dashes bitters
simple syrup (can be made at home with equal parts sugar and water, boiled)
crushed ice

The mint leaves should be crushed with a mortar and pestle. Mix everything together and serve.

Information on Alito and recipe for mojito courtesy Wikpedia.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Clue that both of your local PBS affiliates are in the midst of pledge-week hell

One is showing "Doo-Wop Extravaganza" and the other is airing "The Best of '50s Pop."

Can "Yanni: Live at the Apocalypse" and "Andre Rieu: Waltz with Schmaltz" be far behind?


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"It's my party, and I'll lie if I want to"

Vice President Cheney protested yesterday that he had been misunderstood when he said last week that critics of the White House over Iraq were "dishonest and reprehensible."

What he meant to say, he explained to his former colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute, was that those who question the White House's use of prewar intelligence were not only "dishonest and reprehensible" but also "corrupt and shameless."

It was about as close as the vice president gets to a retraction.
--Dana Milbank in the Washington Post

I just want to clear up a misconception, too. When I said Vice President Cheney was dishonest, reprehensible, corrupt, and shameless, what I meant was that he's dishonest, reprehensible, corrupt, shameless, and when he was young, he was so ugly that his mother had to hang a pork chop around his neck to get the dog to play with him.

Glad I could clear that up.

Image hosted by

Misty watercolor memories

Many years ago, I worked at a publishing house that had a consulting editor named Congdon. The young woman from HR who sometimes sat at the reception desk consistently called him Mr. Condom. She was completely oblivious to this, and it wasn't a joke on her part.

She'd call me and say, "Mr. Condom is here to see you." And I'd reply, "Oh, Mr. Congdon is here, is he?" And she'd say, "Yes, that's right, Mr. Condom is here."

I didn't have the heart to correct her.

UPDATE: Hmm. For the subject line of this post, I wanted to quote from the song "The Way We Were." I assumed the line was "misty watercolor memories." That is, like a watercolor painting. Judging by a Google search, most people think it's "misty water-colored memories," which means memories the color of water. That doesn't make much sense.

Barbra, I know you're a loyal reader, so please clarify.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Emotional rescue

Let me tell you, it's been a real emotional roller-coaster around here lately! First, I received some truly shocking news. Believe it or not, I found out ... No, that's wrong. It hasn't been an emotional roller-coaster, exactly. I mean, what's that, really? You get in a nice safe car and you go up and down, but you're never in any real sort of peril, right?

It's been more like the whirling tea-cup ride, like at Disney World. What's the name of that? The Mad Hatter's Tea Party, I think. You get in, and then whoever's in the tea cup with you spins the thing around so fast that the G forces push back your cheeks like you see on astronauts' faces on takeoff and you think all the skin is going to peel off their skulls because there's just no freakin' way that a body could take all that punishment, or maybe your neck will just snap right off! SNAP!!! Yeah, that's it--it's been emotional Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah ... my appalling news! Really, you will NOT believe this! I found out ... now, get ready for this ... No, no, no. That's still not right. What's the game where you keep hitting rodents with mallets? Smash-the-Rat? Flatten-the-Squirrel? ... Whack-a-Mole! Yes, that's exactly what it's been: an emotional Whack-a-Mole game!

So, back to the story. I found out--and, trust me, this is going to curl your hair and knock your socks off--oh, dammit, I'm telling this all wrong!

Now that I've had a little time to think things over more, it's really been more like an emotional Tilt-a-Whirl. You know, you get strapped into this big apparatus, and it starts spinning, and the floor drops out, and people start screaming and losing that extra-large Diet Pepsi with Lime and corn dog with extra relish they just gulped down and they just want to die or at the very least stop spinning. Yes, that is it! An emotional Tilt-a-Whirl!

Where was I? Oh, right. So--and I really, can we keep this just between us? Because I really don't this news to get around-- ... eh, I'm still not capturing this. I guess it's really more like an emotional It's a Small World After All. Man, aren't those dolls just the creepiest? Definitely not an emotional Country Bears Jamboree, though--jeez, that's completely wrong. An emotional Sleeping Beauty's Enchanted Castle? An emotional Mr. Toad's Wild Ride?

... No, it was definitely an emotional roller-coaster.

Never mind.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Quote of the day

We have so much in common. We both like soup. And the outdoors, and snow peas. We can talk or not talk about anything for hours and still never run out of things to not talk about.

Whoever IDs the source of that quote first gets a gold star.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Thanksgiving reflection

It's that time of the year to count our blessings.

Many years ago, I was stuck in perhaps the worst job ever, working for someone who quite literally drove people insane. (Really--I'm not making this up.) One morning, upon answering the phone, I had this conversation:

Me: Good morning. Factoid and Blister.*

Woman: I need to refill my Valium prescription.

Me: I'm sorry, you have the wrong number.

Woman [screaming]: I WANT MY VALIUM!!!

So, what am I thankful for this year? I'm thankful I'm not that woman.

To all my legions of loyal readers--yes, all ten of you--may you have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving, and may your turkey be stuffed with Valium. I hear it goes great with cranberry sauce.

Oh, and to all my new readers in Canada: Sorry, fellas, you jumped the gun and celebrated T-day a month ago, so no Valium for you. If you're good, maybe for Christmas.

*Company name changed to protect the guilty.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The new TV math

Image hosted by Photobucket.comHarvey Fierstein plus

Image hosted by Photobucket.comLinda Blair (while possessed) divided by

Image hosted by Photobucket.comFran Drescher equals

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMSNBC anchor Rita Cosby

The first time I saw Rita Cosby on MSNBC, I thought: That poor woman, having to appear on air while getting over a horrible bronchial infection! But now I realize it's her actual voice. Amazing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Why are you here again?

Recent searches that stranded visitors on TVB:

Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912
Hotel Lawanda
short people have no reason to live
dressing up like a pop star the easy way
banging head against wall
what shall we do with the drunken sailor
Christmas is pain
drunken sailor and Reagan
chief misappropriates funds
how much does a 500 pound gorilla brain way [sic]
christmas songs written by jews
what is Stacy Haiduk doing now
santaland diaries i'm going to have you killed fired
angelina jolie senator harkin
his prosthetic hook
pauly dinah shore
bush quotes verbatim by comedians
what would groucho do?
do political leaders feel guilty?

Plus there's all the image searches, which have gotten oddly prevalent lately: the Aflac duck, Karl Rove, and Count Chocula. (Hmm. All I need is a headline, and there's a Handy Visual Guide.) But the most people have come looking for a bag of money with a $ on it, though I haven't used that piece of art for a long time. The thing is, I can't figure out what keyword they're using to get here.)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The rest of China's 9 gazillion citizens can, presumably, go Cheney themselves

On Sunday morning, [President Bush] underscored his concerns about China's crackdown on religion by attending a service at the Gangwashi Church, one of the few state-approved and state-monitored congregations in the country. That visit was a highly symbolic one: His huge motorcade--more than 50 cars--took him to the church, off an alley near Tiananmen Square. He took part in a traditional Protestant service and signed the guest book with the words, "May God bless the Christians of China." --The New York Times

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Velvet Blog: Live!

Well, sort of. I'll be appearing at the Eclectic Cafe in Bay Shore, N.Y., on Dec. 10, reading one of David Sedaris's warped holiday tales, "The SantaLand Diaries."

But be sure to book those hotel rooms early. (Ha! I crack me up.)

PS: I admit my head shot was taken, um, about 7 years ago. Be prepared to see a bit more gray in the beard. (Hey, it's a nice photo and I'm not going to waste it. Perhaps I should have it artificially aged, like the police do with photos of children who've been missing a long time. Anyway, I once acted in a play starring a guy who was quite bald, and he had a full head of hair in his lobby photo. It's a theater tradition.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Handy Visual GuideTM for distinguishing among two completely useless things and a really great place you can bury stuff

Image hosted by Photobucket.comTree stump

Image hosted by Photobucket.comPresident Bush

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA hole in the ground

Nothing to do this weekend?

Go to Pickle Fest! There's the pickle juice drinking contest! The pickle toss! Music from not just one or two, but many different groups! Prizes, prizes, prizes! And LOTS and LOTS of food! With extra pickles!!!

God Is My Codependent, who runs the Ten-Foot Poll, lives nearby and can surely put you up for the night.

And, here--enjoy this picture of a pickle dressed like a pirate. Why? Because.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Oh, what the heck--it's my blog, and I can bore you if I want to

I know slide shows of other people's vacations can be painfully dull.


Quebec City at dusk:

Image hosted by

We went to a few concerts held inside a church called St. Roch. There was some rather eerie lighting in there for the shows--I didn't tweak this at all:

Image hosted by

Also in the church:

Image hosted by

A light wreath on the outside of a market in Montreal:

Image hosted by

Same wreath after playing around with color. Kind of freaky:

Image hosted by

I love my new digital camera!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Shall I bore you with vacation photos?

Well, I'll just share this one, from Quebec City, because I really like it:

Not guilty

I've always had a problem with the concept of the guilty pleasure. There's very little I like that I actually feel guilty about. The horrible films of Edward D. Wood? A pleasure--they make me laugh. Really, is there a film funnier than Plan 9 From Outer Space?

My fondness for certain '70s pop that some might call schlock? Again, I feel no guilt. I like Seals & Crofts. Yeah, some of their hits were way saccharine, but so what? A number of their album cuts were actually quite beautiful, and the session players on their LPs were top-notch. (Not long ago, I was surprised as hell when radio surfing to find that a popular hip-hop song of recent vintage was built around a sample of the bass hook from an obscure S&C album track. There was no mistaking it, and I'm probably the only person to notice.) Anyway, no guilt trip there.

But when I heard the phrase "guilty pleasure" a couple of times recently, I realized I do have a couple. Two, actually.

--White Castle hamburgers. There simply is no defending these things. They bear only the slightest resemblance to the substance we call "food." The buns make Wonder bread look like the finest French croissant. The meat--is it meat? I'm not sure--is a pale little gray slab. The onions are overwhelming. The whole thing is sort of ... well, damp is the best way I can describe it. And yet ... and yet ... once every three months or so I HAVE to go to White Castle. I'm drawn to it like a certain world leader is drawn to a bottle of scotch when his poll numbers are down.

--America's Next Top Model. I hate reality shows. Really, I do. But I've somehow gotten sucked into this weekly parade of the beautiful leading the stupid. It has nothing to recommend about it. I can actually feel my brain cells dying as I watch. But every Wednesday night at 8, there I am in front of the TV, guilty as charged.

So, I've confessed. How about you? What do you really feel guilty about? Please no "I love disco"-type admissions--that's just too easy.

Image hosted by White Castle hamburgers

Image hosted by America's Next Top Model

Whoops, sorry--that's backward.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

OK, OK, one other thing ...

This New York Times headline made me laugh:

Withdrawal Is Greeted With a Mix of Regret and Relief

Oh, isn't that always the case?

Oh, Canada!

I'm leaving on vacation--Quebec City and Montreal--in a few days, and probably won't be posting again till Nov. 13ish.

Till then, enjoy this story about our frosty neighbors to the north.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

You know what we need?

A leader who says things like:

Let me say a few words about important values we must demonstrate while all of us serve in government. First, we must always maintain the highest ethical standards. We must always ask ourselves not only what is legal, but what is right. There is no goal of government worth accomplishing if it cannot be accomplished with integrity.

Second, I want us to set an example of humility. As you work for the federal government there is no excuse for arrogance, and there’s never a reason to show disrespect for others. A new tone in Washington must begin with decency and fairness. I want everyone who represents our government to be known for these values.

What's that you say? George W. Bush said that???


You know what we need? Someone who actually means those words.

What shall we do with a drunken sailor?

Seriously, I think it's time to retire this cliche.

"I have said Congress spends money like a drunken sailor. But I never knew a sailor, drunk or sober, with the imagination of some of these people. I am certain the only way it will stop is when citizens rise up and demand it." --John McCain, per

The GOP's drunken-sailor act has gotten so bad that even Democrats, who used to figure no one could outspend them, have been making noises about fiscal restraint. --Las Vegas Review Journal

Johnson knew that raising taxes to pay for either would be the death knell for one or the other, or both. So he did the expedient thing: He spent like a drunken sailor and refused to pay for it. The government essentially printed money instead. Sound familiar? --Buffalo News

Bush is transferring unprecedented wealth to his mates by dumping the capital gains taxes on inheritance. Critics say this will cost the US economy more each day, every day, at a time when the strains on the budget are apocalyptic. Howard may throw our money around like a drunken sailor at election time, but only for pork barrelling in marginal electorates. --The Australian

House and his predecessors have always been responsible for writing the annual budgets, and have done so without an outside consultant. "Billy's answer to things is to spend money like a drunken sailor and you cannot do that," House said. --Times Herald-Record

We have a government that spends like a drunken sailor, misappropriates funds ... and is running its operations more inefficiently than at any time. --Canada Free Press

During budget meetings this summer, Gonot openly blasted Lother for spending $1.15 million on overtime in fiscal 2005. The rift deepened in August when Gonot accused the fire chief of spending like a "drunken sailor" when it came to overtime. --Sun Sentinel

"I can't tell you how many Republicans have come up to me and said 'I am off the reservation because of the fiscal policies of this administration, spending so much money like a drunken sailor,'" Nelson said. "All of these things are coming home to roost.." --San Francisco Chronicle

This administration is just incapable. Look at the way we are spending money like, somebody said, a “drunken sailor”. --Daily Independent (Nigeria)

He spends federal money like a drunken sailor with no regard to future generations who have to pay for his reckless fiscal policies that benefit big business ... --Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

"People have said I spend money like a drunken sailor," Lash told the RTC delegates. "That's wrong. I was never in the Navy. And I don't drink." --Greenwich Citizen-News

On the other hand, Bush is still spending like a drunken Demo - uh, sailor, and now wants to sell the farm, so to speak, with his relief spending... --Cheyboygan Daily Tribune

The Bush administration has spent money like a drunken sailor. --Ventura County Star

I'm open to suggestions for a replacement.

"Spends money like a Republican bazillionaire buying a second term as mayor of New York City"?

Nah, too wordy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Burt Bacharach: "Streety"

I admit it proudly: I like the songs of Burt Bacharach. A lot. Not in a campy way, and not in a "guilty pleasure" sort of way. I simply like the songs. Pop music doesn't get better than Dionne Warwick's recordings of the songs he wrote with Hal David. Hell, I even went to Radio City Music Hall to see his joint appearance with Elvis Costello, and I really liked the album they did together.

But there is just so much wrong with this story. Let's begin, shall we?
It could be just what the world needs now--Burt Bacharach writing lyrics. The legendary, 77-year-old composer has found his voice in a politically charged album "At This Time" that features his first lyrics ever in a nearly 50-year career creating some of pop music's best-known love songs.

When the phrases "Burt Bacharach" and "politically charged" come so near to one another, well, birds do not suddenly appear, if you get my drift.
"You could say, 'How does a guy who has written love songs his entire life suddenly decide to rock the boat?"' Bacharach says about the album that will be released internationally on October 24, with a U.S. release on November 1.

"I had to do it. This is very personal to me," he said of his first solo album in 15 years.

Challenged by his producer to take risks, Bacharach responded with songs set to hip-hop beats with lyrics, co-written with Tonio K., expressing nostalgia over bygone days and frustration with U.S. political leaders.

OK, I'll grant him the political frustration--I mean, anyone who had a heart would surely know. But when Bacharach goes hip-hop, I might have to just walk on by. Still, a man with that much musical experience didn't go overboard in this direction, right?
Rap impresario Dr. Dre provided some drum loops.

"It's very streety, as streety as I can make it," Bacharach said about the hip-hop influence.

Uh oh. I think we all need to say a little prayer, because I just don't know what to do with myself.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"Like comparing apples and oranges"

Image hosted by Apple

Image hosted by Orange

What's the big deal about not comparing apples and oranges? They're both fruit. Roughly the same size. High in fiber. Taste good juiced.

Yeah, you know what? I'm going to compare apples and oranges if I damn well feel like it, and no one is going to stop me.