Thursday, September 29, 2005

Handy Visual GuideTM

Strawberry jamStrawberry jam

Pearl JamPearl Jam

Toe jamToe jam

Really, you don't want to see toe jam.

(With thanks to Grammarian.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Benevolent dictatorship

New rules for comments (which have been turned back on):

1) Any comments I don't like will be deleted.

2) I can be persuaded to like a comment by gifts of premium dark chocolate.

3) Any comments that contain phrases that search engines will pick up and attract visitors looking for unsavory or illegal materials will be deleted.

4) Not even the bestest best chocolate in the world will budge me on that one.

5) Comments that contain horrible spelling or grammar errors will be mocked. Comments that point out horrible spelling or grammar errors in my posts, however, will be deleted.

6) War is peace; freedom is slavery; questions are a burden to others, answers are a burden to oneself.

7) If comments are beating a topic to death or become overly personal, they will be turned off and/or deleted.

8) How the hell did that guy running around the stadium in Lost last week end up in that bunker? Was that really Walt, or was the blonde chick hallucinating?

9) Comments including the word BWAAAAAA! will be mocked or deleted at the Benevolent Dictator's discretion.

10) Complaints? Stuff 'em.

11) Problems? Alert FEMA.

Now ... finally ... because you were too freaking stupid to understand A Brief History of Time ...

Admit it. You have A Brief History of Time on your bookshelf. You bought it because everyone else bought it. "Have you read that Stephen Hawking book yet?" your office manager would say by the water cooler. "Of course!" you'd reply. "Fascinating!"

But you didn't really read it, did you?

Oh, sure, it was on your coffee table or by your bedside. But every time you cracked it open, your eyes would slowly glaze over. Then you'd look up and suddenly it would be three hours later and you were naked on the front lawn and you had no idea how you got there. Drunken blackout? No. Really bad shrimp salad? Nope. Alien abduction? Um. Maybe, but probably not.

No, you got three pages into A Brief History of Time and your brain exploded from overwork and you freaked out. Yeah, you freaked out because you knew you would never--never--understand that damned book. That goddamned book that even your office manager was reading--if she was really reading it. And you felt stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Well, good news!!! Stephen Hawking is back with a book even you can understand! It's A Briefer History of Time--briefer 'cause all the words are small for tiny little brains! Phrases like "hot big-bang model" (no, you idiot ... it is NOT about Tyra Banks) and "imaginary time." Whatever that means.

So, pick it up and when your office manager says, "Have you bought that new Stephen Hawking book?" you can say, "Yes--it's on my coffee table right now ... in imaginary time. Hey, is America's Next Top Model on?"

Monday, September 26, 2005

Truth in advertising

I stopped for a cuppa coffee at 7-Eleven on the way home and was struck by a package of Mr. Salty pretzels.

After I threw it back at the cashier, I couldn't help but admire the name of the snack. The idea of naming your product after what it actually is seems refreshingly naive, and very un-2005. I'm kind of surprised that Nabisco hasn't changed the name to something like Mr. Not Quite as High in Sodium as You Might Fear.

I don't think we'll be seeing Mr. Trans Fats or Ms. This Cupcake Contains No Ingredients Found in Nature any time soon.

UPDATE: Did I just imagine this, or did 7-Eleven have a decade-old bag of pretzels on the shelf? I can't find any evidence of Mr. Salty still being produced.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Texas: Big and dumb

From the Houston Chronicle:
Jack Colley, coordinator of the state emergency operations center, said the state evacuation plan included getting fuel to stranded motorists, but that the number of people coming out of Houston was a surprise.

"The number of people, the amount of cars, the amount of compliance with this (evacuation order), there's some things you can predict and some things you can't, that are unpredictable," Colley said. "We are compensating. They may run out of gas, but we're going to get them gas."

Colley said it is too early to tell if mistakes were made in the planning and execution of the evacuation.

Yeah, the fact the people would leave after a mandatory evacuation just weeks after a hurricane demolished the city of New Orleans must be so hard to predict.

BTW, if there is ever a mandatory evacuation of Long Island, I am so freaking dead. You can sit at the bridges and tunnels for hours with just ordinary traffic.

You asked for it!

Recent searches that have stranded visitors on The Velvet Blog:
having a bad day
denture adhesive makes me throw up
mongolian dairy industry
how to do sudoku
frogs that shoot laser beams

I really have no explanation for that last one.

Do I get an eclectic group of readers here or what?

Monday, September 19, 2005

I can't define objectionable, but I guess I'll know when I see it

Have you noticed the "Flag" button on the top of Blogger pages? It appeared with no explanation about two weeks ago. I finally clicked on it to find out more:

The Flag button is not censorship and it cannot be manipulated by angry mobs. Political dissent? Incendiary opinions? Just plain crazy? Bring it on.

Translation: The Flag button is censorship, and it can be maniputated by angry mobs.

... When a person visiting a blog clicks the "Flag?" button in the Blogger Navbar, it means they believe the content of the blog may be potentially offensive or illegal. We track the number of times a blog has been flagged as objectionable and use this information to determine what action is needed. This feature allows the blogging community as a whole to identify content they deem objectionable. Have you read The Wisdom of Crowds? It's sort of like that.

You mean, like the wisdom of the crowds that elected He Who Must Not Be Named president twice? Yeah, I trust them loads.

Note: users may click the "Unflag" button if they change their mind.

So, readers, if you find a page objectionable, keep going back repeatedly until you no longer find it offensive.

Can I flag the Fox News site as objectionable?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Weekend weather report

Folks in the Northeast should expect rivers turning to blood and a plague of frogs this weekend. Bad combination--get out those wading boots! Better yet, stay indoors, as these are mutant killer frogs that shoot laser beams out of their eyes. Whatever you do, don't say "ribbit, ribbit" at them--they hate that.

Farther down the coast, stock up on the Rid and Raid, because Doppler 3000 Color Radar is showing huge clouds of lice and flies. Really, it's not looking good, so stay inside and think about cutting off your hair and wearing lots of layers. Did I mention these are biting flies? Well, they are.

Cattle will be falling over dead in the Midwest today, and it looks like anthrax. Get those windows sealed, OK? And remember: Shallow breaths mean the spores don't go too deeply into your lungs.

Southern California should expect a plague of boils. Man, that couldn't be a worse place, could it? Expect slowdowns in the entire entertainment industry throughout the region.

Folks in Texas and New Mexico need to stock up on rock salt, because a massive hailstorm will be coming their way. Better yet, stay in the basement, because these babies will be as big as canned hams.

The Pacific Northwest can count on a constant stream of giant locusts this weekend. Make sure you have large pots of grain--I hear you can appease the Locust God that way.

Folks in Alaska endure awfully long nights for most of the year. Well, they better get used to it, because there will be no light in the state at all from now on. Have lots of candles ready. Those scented ones are great, aren't they? They really set a mood. Autumn Pumpkin Spice from Ye Olde Yankee Candle Shoppe is especially nice.

And last, it looks like firstborns will be dying off just about everywhere. My advice? Duct tape, and lots of it.

Well, that's about all for the weather. Steve, over to you for sports.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Headline of the day.

UPDATE: Well, the headline was "Weiner Pulls Out," in reference to Anthony Weiner, the former candidate for the Democratic nomination for mayor of NYC. But the good folks at 1010 WINS just changed it to "Weiner Withdraws From Race." Is that really better? As a concerned reader has just pointed out to me, if they wanted to avoid the double entendre, why not change it to "Weiner Bows Out Of Race" or the like?

Meanwhile, a frustrated race has no comment.

Can we pick one pronunciation and stick with it?

While listening to the radio and TV in the last 24 hours, I have heard:

--new ORlins
--new orLEANS
--new ORlee-ins

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Political Science

Lyric of the day:

No one likes us--I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money--but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me

They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
--Randy Newman

Let's be clear--this is satire. No one is actually advocating this as a good idea. Nor does Randy think that short people have no reason to live.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Why I will never buy a Ford; also, reduced blogging schedule ahead

The story of [Henry] Ford's rise is indeed exhilarating. The rest, perhaps inevitably, is a letdown. An inspired and playful innovator -- he once hot-wired a urinal in the company's early days to give a user an unexpected shock -- becomes a tiresome crank. --The New York Times

Speaking as guy who wants to maintain all his workng parts in order, where's the inspired, playful part?

The magazine where I work is putting out a special issue soon, which means that for the next two weeks I'll barely have time to pee--in a hot-wired urinal or not--or update TVB.

Back after Sept. 19.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Best name for a television show ... ever.

China's runaway summer hit, "Super Girl," ended last weekend with a television viewership that eclipsed the population of North America. State news media reported that more than 400 million people watched the finale of the show, an "American Idol" knockoff. ... The program was ... sponsored by a dairy company. Hence, the full title of the show: "The Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Super Girl Contest." --The New York Times

I would so watch a show called "The Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Super Girl Contest."