Monday, August 29, 2005

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Do do sudoku that you do so well

They're all the rage, worldwide. Millions upon millions of people are obsessed with them. And I just don't understand--at all.

They're sudoku, and blame the Japanese for this global craze.

The point of these puzzles is that the numbers 1 through 9 should appear once and only once in any row or column. And I've read a number of explanations of how to do this ... but I just can't. My mind simply goes numb after looking at that grid for more than 10 seconds. For that matter, my mind goes numb after reading the instructions.

I like puzzles, really I do. But I hate these damned things.

Friday, August 26, 2005

We have a winner

Image hosted by

Indeed, there are no killer ferrets.

Grammarian, your prize, a 50-pound bag of Purina Ferret Chow, is on its way.

Coming soon to the Sci-Fi Channel: A quiz

I made up only one of these--I swear. But which one?

The Man With the Screaming Brain
Wealthy industrialist William Cole (Bruce Campbell, who also wrote and directed) awakens to realize part of his brain is that of a Bulgarian cab driver. Resurrected by mad scientist Stacy Keach (TV's Mike Hammer), the brain-mates have something else in common: The woman who killed them.

Those pesky scientists are at it again. This one is trying to find a cure for the West Nile virus. Unfortunately she turns herself and a junkie into mutant mosquito creatures. Starring Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can't Lose).

Dragon Storm
In the Dark Ages, the bitterly opposed rulers of two neighboring kingdoms (John Rhys-Davies, Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark, Maxwell Caulfield, Waxwork II: Lost in Time) must put aside their rivalry to combat an alien-dragon menace.

Killer Ferrets
When a science nerd (Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bedel) splices her pet ferret's DNA with her late pitbull's genes, havoc rules over a small town, and the visiting British sheriff (John Rhys-Davies, The Lord of the Rings) must put down the carnivorous critters before they tear the throats out of the best players on the high-school football team. Featuring Charlie Schlatter (Diagnosis Murder).

David Keith (Sci-Fi Pictures' Epoch and Deep Shock), Vanessa Angel (Weird Science), John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, TV's Sliders) and Jenna Gering star in this adventure about a killer cat, a sexy scientist, an arrogant Englishman and several unlucky campers. Watch kitty litter the woods--with bodies!

Attack of the Sabretooth
Theme-park owner Niles Green thought that stocking his Fiji nature preserve with real sabretooth tigers would make him rich--but the tigers are the only ones making a killing in this rip-roaring creature feature. Brian Wimmer, Richard Carradine and Stacy Haiduk star.

(Descriptions taken from Sci-Fi's site. No cheating.)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

TVB employs the Pat Robertson defense

Did The Velvet Blog try to counteract a bad day yesterday by looking at pictures of cute dogs and kittens? Of course not. The implication is absurd. We categorically deny any such assertions, and suspect the liberal media of misquoting TVB yet again.

Has TVB taken a turn for the scatological, with posts about pee-fueled batteries and cow manure? What??? That's just sophomoric! The Velvet Blog would never sink to such depths. We must protect the children from such language.

Earlier this week, did TVB unfairly compare popular comedienne and fashion authority Joan Rivers to a living fossil? There is no proof of this, and such a charge is simply unfounded. What the TVB said was, "Joan Rivers should be taken out." And by that, we meant "taken out on a date and shown a really good time." By a death squad.

Does TVB have an impossibly adorable dog? Well, yes. That much is true. But would the liberal media ever admit this? Of course not!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

OK, this is just plain freakin' weird

First poop. Now pee.

What's next?

No, wait--don't tell me. Seriously.

PS: I ran Blogger's spell checker on this entry before posting, and it wanted to know if, instead of freakin', I meant foreskin. Just for the record, no, I did not.

This whole thread has gotten so odd, I've decided to run a picture of my dog, just to change the topic.


Isn't he a cutie? Discuss.

Monday, August 22, 2005

We have a winner!

The first person with the correct response was trinamick. The answer is indeed cow manure. I'm still trying to figure out how to shove cow poop into my gas tank.

Trinamick, as our lucky winner, you will soon be receiving a load of bullshit. Don't spend it all in one place.

Congratulations, and thanks to all for playing!

News quiz: Guess the [mystery substance]

As oil prices soar, [mystery substance] is getting more attention as an alternative fuel source, particularly in Texas, the country's biggest producer of [mystery substance].

For years, researchers have studied [mystery substance] as a [deleted to avoid giving it away]. But at a time when state and federal energy bills have called for increasing renewable energy sources, there is more focus on developing [mystery substance] as an alternative to coal or natural gas.

"I see it as a valuable tool in our tool box," said John Sweeten, resident director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Amarillo. "Sixty-dollar-a-barrel oil recruits a lot of interest in biomass. At $10-a-barrel oil, there's not much interest."

The Panda Group of Dallas plans to fuel a $120 million ethanol plant set to open next year in Hereford with [mystery substance]. ... The company said it will realize an energy savings equivalent to 1,000 barrels of oil per day turning [mystery substance] and cotton gin waste into clean-burning fuel to power the plant.

Biomass is renewable organic matter, such as [mystery substance] and crops like corn, grain sorghum and soybeans, all of which can be processed into ethanol.

"Anything that's renewable and is at least competitive with other prices, it's better for everybody," said Donald L. Klass, director of Biomass Energy Research Association in Washington. ...

Nearly 5 million [deleted to avoid giving it away] ... produce billions of pounds of [mystery substance].
--The Associated Press

OK, guess away--and remember, Texas is the biggest producer of [mystery substance].

And no cheating.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Quote of the day

From The New York Times, in an article about the Discovery Institute and the drive to remove actual science from schools:
Denis Hayes, director of the Bullitt Foundation, described Discovery in an e-mail message as "the institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell," ...


Friday, August 19, 2005

News story I mistakenly thought was about Joan Rivers

I mean, all the signs are there:
Strange fossil defies grouping

Joan Rivers: Check!
A strange 525 million-year-old fossil creature is baffling scientists because it does not fit neatly into any existing animal groups.

Joan Rivers: Check!
The animal, from the early Cambrian Period, might have belonged to a now extinct mollusc-like phylum, academics from America and China say.

Joan Rivers: Check!
The ... fossil ... had a flattened body and horizontal fins which, researchers think, could have been used to support it as it moved along the sea floor.

Joan Rivers: Check!
It also had well developed senses, including a pair of eyes on stalks.

Joan Rivers: Check!
The trouble is the animal, named Vetustodermis planus, did not possess a set of features, or characters, which placed it clearly within any known group. When it was first described in 1979, Vetustodermis was included in the annelid category. Later researchers argued against this classification, saying it was, in fact, either an arthropod or a mollusc. ...

Joan Rivers: Check!
Jonathan Todd, a palaeontologist from the Natural History Museum, London, UK, is also mystified by the baffling animal. "It is an intriguing beast," he told the BBC News website. "It is another strange thing from the Cambrian. It doesn't look much like an arthropod and I don't find its molluscan affinities particularly convincing." --BBC News

Joan Rivers: Check!

See? Easy mistake to make.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comJoan Rivers Image hosted by Photobucket.comVetustodermis planus

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Winner: Name of the day

From a news story I just edited:
...Orson Swindle, a former member of the Federal Trade Commission.

Congratulations, Mr. Swindle!

Choices, choices

What's just so great about 24/7 cable-news coverage and the Internet is that you can pick whether you want good news or bad news. Want to be cheered up? You can find a news source to do that. Want to be sent into a dizzying tailspin of depression? You can find a news source to do that, too.

I filled up my tank with gas this morning, spending about $24 (small tank, but, ouch!), which got me to wondering where prices were headed, so I checked Google News when I got to the office. These two headlines appeared right next to each other:

Supply fear pumps up oil prices
Oil prices dive as demand fears ease

Are fears going up or down? Are prices going up or down? I've read both stories, and the only thing that's definitely going up is my level of confusion.

In fact, I'm so confused, I'm just going to turn to the real news: P. Diddy changes name to just plain Diddy.
"I felt the 'P' was coming between me and my fans," Combs, 35, told Katie Couric on NBC's Today show Tuesday. "We had to simplify it. It was, you know, doing concerts and half the crowd saying 'P. Diddy,' half the crowd chanting 'Diddy.' Now everybody can just chant 'Diddy.'"

Yes, that must have been very, very confusing.

But thank God the media gave us the scoop.

Hey, whatever happened to the investigation into Karl Rove?

What--it's not in the paper?

Oh, well, at least we've had our Daily Diddy Update. Now, pardon me as I hide in an isolation chamber for the next few years.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Smackdown!: The Aristocats vs. The Aristocrats

In this corner: The Aristocats

The Aristocats

Premise: The beloved, pampered housecat of a retired opera star in 1910 Paris finds herself stranded in the countryside with her three children, the victims of a plot by their owner's butler to cheat them out of a huge inheritance. They must find their way back to their home and owner, with the help of an independent-minded tomcat and other animal accomplices, while evading the butler and foiling his plan. (Via the IMDb.)

Pros: Better than Catwoman.

Cons: Made at the time when Disney animation was really getting crappy. Plus, I once had a strangely realistic dream that I was being smothered by a cat, so this brings back some really bad memories.

And in that corner: The Aristocrats

The Aristocrats

Premise: The filthiest joke in the world, told over and over and over again.

Pros: C'mon, it's the filthiest joke in the world!

Cons: While filthy, it isn't actually, you know, funny.

Winner: A draw, if only because I hope that one day, some clueless parent goes into Blockbuster to rent his kid The Aristocats and comes out with The Aristrocrats by mistake. Now, that's comedy.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Disturbing news of the day

Remember a few years ago, an urban legend went around that claimed the reason Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC was beacause what it served wasn't really chicken, but a grown-in-the-lab substitute?

Theoretically, it's possible.

My advice: Don't eat the Soylent Green.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Great Divide

WASHINGTON--President Bush's standing with an American public anxious about Iraq and the nation's direction is lower than that of the last two men who won re-election to the White House--Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton--at this point in their second terms. ...

Bush's job approval in recent polls ranges from the low- to mid-40s. It was 42 percent in the latest AP-Ipsos poll. ... Reagan was at 57 percent at this stage of his presidency and Clinton was at 61 percent, according to Gallup polling at the time. ...

The partisan divide for Bush is stark--80 percent of Democrats disapprove of his overall performance while nearly 90 percent of Republicans approve.

I had NO IDEA how big the dems/reps gap was.
Charles Black, a veteran GOP strategist and close Bush ally, said Republicans are sticking with Bush for two reasons: ...

Mesmerism and myopia? Apathy and opiates? Ignorance and greed? The attention span of a gnat and ... hey, what's that shiny thing over there?
... personal affection and loyalty. --The Associated Press


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Alien update

Well, The Velvet Blog has now been sent into space!

If any aliens contact me, I'll let you know.

Image hosted by

I sure hope it's the Quisp guy.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Dear Alien: Please don't kill us

In the news:
Is there anybody out there? And if there is, what will alien lifeforms make of bloggers signed up to a new service to beam their online rantings into outer space?

That the planet is made up of 16-year-old Hong Kong girls who love the color pink?
"We are giving bloggers the opportunity to send a piece of their lives into space to potentially connect with extraterrestrials," said Ted Murphy, president and CEO of the Florida-based firm MindComet.

If aliens turn out to be Pauly Shore fans, I'm sunk. If aliens turn out to be mean, laser-wielding Pauly Shore fans, I am totally screwed.
Blogosphere meet atmosphere: The free service,, will beam web feeds of blogs -- weblogs, or personal Internet diaries -- into deep space via a powerful satellite broadcast.

"I've always believed that other intelligent life forms are out there, and now, for the first time, they will be able to peer into the life of average Homo sapiens," Murphy said.

I'm still trying to find out if there are intelligent life forms down here. Judging by a pretty large percentage of blogs, it's not looking good.
Human beings have been sending television and radio signals into space for decades, packed with images of war and anger. MindComet wants to offer any alien beings a new way of looking at Earth. "This program gives us the opportunity to show our race in a different light," Murphy said.

Oh, sure, a different light is good. But blogs???
But bloggers beware: Extraterrestrials could have sensitive ears, and online perorations should be suitable for an alien family audience, devoid of risque or explicit content. "We strongly urge our users to refrain from language or content designed to provoke our alien neighbors," Murphy said. --Yahoo News

Who knew aliens were such pussies? Yeah, I'm talking to you, Predator.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Thank God!

It's so comforting to know that, in 2014, if I need smug, condescending advice from a blow-hard with questionable credentials, I'll be able to get it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Diet of lies

In the news:
In their battle against the bulge, desperate dieters have tried drugs, surgery, exercise, counseling, creams and even electrical fat-burning belts.

Don't forget outrunning rabid wolverines. That makes the fat melt right off. They've got to be rabid, though. Otherwise, they're just too adorable.
Now some psychologists have a new idea: Lying.

Like, "I've got big bones"? "The camera adds 50 pounds"? "I'm retaining water"? "Slow metabolisms run in my family"?
A team led by psychologist Elizabeth Loftus of the University of California, Irvine, found that it could persuade people to avoid fattening foods by implanting an unpleasant childhood memory about the food -- even though the event never happened.

You mean those memories of my Scottish grandmother's potted head--a gelatinous meat dish she made, not her actual head--maybe they were implanted? What about the memory I have of being a secret agent and going to Mars?
In a paper published in today's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team said it successfully turned people off strawberry ice cream. In earlier studies, the team has done the same with pickles and hard-boiled eggs -- in each case, by manipulating the subjects to believe the foods made them sick when they were children.

The scientists say they have also successfully implanted positive opinions about asparagus by convincing subjects that they once loved the vegetable.

What about brussels sprouts? C'mon--that's impossible! Nobody likes brussels sprouts!
The method, if perfected, could induce people to eat less of what they shouldn't and more of what they should, Loftus said. Good memories about fruits and vegetables -- and bad ones on low-nutrient, high-calorie foods -- could be implanted.

Along with whom to vote for in the next election.
In the strawberry ice cream experiment, Loftus and her team asked 131 students to fill out forms about their food experiences and preferences, including questions about their experiences with strawberry ice cream.

The subjects were then given a computer analysis of their responses that was supposed to indicate their "true" likes and dislikes.

A group of 47 students, however, were also inaccurately told that the analysis made it clear they had gotten sick from eating strawberry ice cream as a child. Of these, almost 20 percent later agreed on a questionnaire that they had, in fact, been sickened by the treat and that they intended to avoid it in the future. ...

OK, this is now officially creepy.
Deliberately implanting memories also "raises profound ethical questions," said Stephen Behnke, director of the ethics office of the American Psychological Association.

Ya think?
"Say, for example, we could change a person's belief about their entire childhood," he said. "Would doing so be ethical?"

Seriously, I did go to Mars, right? The miners were on strike, and I think I may have killed Sharon Stone.
... Scientists have so far failed to implant false beliefs about two common food items, chocolate chip cookies and potato chips. --The Los Angeles Times

Oh, the power of cookies. It cannot be stopped.

Pardon me a moment as I run to Fairway and pick up some brussels sprouts. God, I love those little things--tiny green nuggets of sulphury goodness.

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Know what I need?

A nice long vacation. Man, that would be sweet.

Monday, August 01, 2005

If it wasn't true, why did he sing "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy"?

Jimi Hendrix might have stayed in the Army. He might have been sent to Vietnam. Instead, he pretended he was gay. And with that, he was discharged from the 101st Airborne in 1962, launching a musical career that would redefine the guitar, leave other rock heroes of the day speechless and culminate with his headlining performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock in 1969. --The Associated Press

I guess that's just a long intro to this link to The Archive of Misheard Lyrics. It's a fun site--readers submit lyrics to pop songs that they've misheard--but I've got to believe a large portion of submissions are completely bogus.


Song: Born in the USA
Artist: Bruce Springsteen

The real lyrics were:
Sent me off to a foreign land to go and kill the yellow man.

But I misheard them as:
Send me off to a foreign land to go and kill Piano Man.

I'm not crazy about Billy Joel either, but would the Boss really sing that?

Song: Ain't No Woman (Like The One I Got)
Artist: Four Tops

The real lyrics were:
Ain't no woman like the one I got

But I misheard them as:
Ain't no woman like a one-eyed goat

Yeah, well, that's believable.

Song: Brown-Eyed Girl
Artist: Van Morrison

The real lyrics were:
You're my brown eyed girl

But I misheard them as:
You're my one eyed girl

Better than a one-eyed goat, I guess.

The real lyrics were:
Brown-eyed girl

But I misheard them as:
Four-eyed squirrel

At this point, I'll just take the damned goat.

The real lyrics were:
Hey where did we go...

But I misheard them as:
Hey there amigo...

Um. That's not the lyric???