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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Image hosted by

Funny strip. Makes me laugh--or, at least, smile--more often than not.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Velvet Blog: Trendsetter

Hmmm. Is it just me, or does this cartoon...

Image hosted by

... which ran in newspapers last week, bear just a wee bit of a resemblance to a TVB post from last month?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Up the Amazon

Usually, I find Amazon's recommendations--for music and books, anyway--to be just about unerring. Somehow, it figures out what you'd like based on what you've already bought and how highly you've rated your purchases.

But I noticed something very odd when I went looking for a new DVD player, because my old one is crapping out.

When Amazon recommended this Philips model, it's because I once looked at a nonstick sheet for making cookies.

And the reason Amazon thought I'd like this Cyberhome DVD player is because I picked up a Monopoly set.

It seems a bit of stretch.

But here's the weird thing: The Cyberhome model will let me play DVDs from anywhere in the world, which is actually a function I'd like.

How did Amazon know???

Monday, October 10, 2005

A nation divided

Since last year's painful election, it has become obvious that there are two Americas: Those who believe there are two Americas, and those who do not. Those who believe in science, and those who believe dinosaurs walked with man as late as 1973. Those who prefer puffed Cheetos, and those who prefer crunchy. Those who believe that the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes union is a sham, and those who ... well, there are a few things that unite us, but never mind.

This schism is demonstrated in the first-ever poll at The Velvet Blog, conducted last week. A whopping six of you voted: Three agreeing to take part in the poll and three declining.

The current U.S. population is approximately 295,800,000. Using state-of-the-art software* and extrapolating the data--much like the Nielson TV ratings people do**--that means 147,900,000 Americans would, if given the chance, take part in TVB polling, and 147,900,000 would not.

The implications are staggering--as am I, because I'm under heavy sedation.

Based on these poll results, expect to see the following in the coming few years:

--Continued confusion over which type of Cheetos is better will remain, though it should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that it's the crunchy variety

--Ronald Reagan will not seek re-election as governor of California

and, most especially:

--There will be mass indifference to TVB polling.

*Actually, the calculator on my PC.

**Did you know that what stays on TV is determined by two bored housewives, one teenager, a parakeet, and a monkey? It's true--look it up.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSuperior crunchy

Image hosted by Photobucket.comInferior puffed

Friday, October 07, 2005

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

There was no one with more-appropriate judicial experience?

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(4/25/07 UPDATE: This has been getting a lot of hits lately for reasons mysterious. FYI, it was in response to the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.)

Monday, October 03, 2005


I can't figure out to link to OK Go's video directly, so go here and click on "A Million Ways."

Very, very funny.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Flogging? Snogging? Logging?

In the news:
Proponents of the latest Web trends were warned Tuesday that the rest of the world may not have a clue what they are talking about.

I'm online all the time and I have no idea what they're talking about, either.
A survey of British taxi drivers, pub landlords and hairdressers -- often seen as barometers of popular trends -- found that nearly 90 percent had no idea what a podcast is and more than 70 percent had never heard of blogging.

"When I asked the panel whether people were talking about blogging, they thought I meant dogging," said Sarah Carter, the planning director at ad firm DDB London.

Dogging? I love dogging. Taking Freddie to the park, chasing rabbits, getting some fresh air...
Dogging is the phenomenon of watching couples have sex in semi-secluded places such as out-of-town car parks. News of such events are often spread on Web sites or by using mobile phone text messages.


Have there been any studies about whether people who are online a lot have any idea what British taxi drivers, pub landlords, and hairdressers are up to? Because I think I may be out of the loop.
More people (56 percent) understood the phrase "happy slapping" -- a teenage craze that involves assaulting people while capturing it on video with their mobile phones -- than podcasting (12 percent) or blogging (28 percent).

OK, scratch that. I don't understand the British at all.
"Our research not only shows that there is no buzz about blogging and podcasting outside of our media industry bubble, but also that people have no understanding of what the words mean," Carter said. "It's a real wake-up call."

Seriously? Happy slapping???
A blog, short for Web log, is an online journal, while podcasting is a method of publishing audio programs over the Internet -- a name derived from combining iPod, Apple's popular digital music player, with broadcasting, even though portable devices are not necessary to listen to a podcast.

Flogging, meanwhile, is often peformed after happy slapping.
DDB, a unit of New York-based advertising group Omnicom, said the survey results indicate that agencies may be pushing their clients to use new technology -- that is, to advertise on the new media formats -- too quickly. "We spend too much time talking to ourselves in this industry, rather than getting out there and finding out what's really going on in the world," DDB's chief strategy officer David Hackworthy said. --Reuters

Mr. Hackworthy (and really, with a name like that, you I'm so glad you're working with an advertising company), pardon me while I go dogging. Er, no, I mean walk the dog! Walk the dog!

UPDATE: It's not at all happy.