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...

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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???

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*The White House dog, not the purple dinosaur.

The War on Christmas: Photojournalism from the front lines

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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

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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.

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Revenge of the copy editors

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

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But look carefully at the new DVD case:

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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

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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:

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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.

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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?)

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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.

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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?