Friday, June 30, 2006

Would you like fries with that shake?

[Note: After writing this, I decided to redact names, in an effort not to get dooced. Though, in the end, as will become obvious, it probably doesn't matter.]

A co-worker just handed me a copy of an editorial from Folio, a trade publication for the magazine biz. It's in the June print edition.

The germane paragraphs:

First the bad news: Print advertising in tech magazines is declining by five percent. That's according to [the CEO of the publishing company where I work], and it feels about right, and no one is disputing him.

Hey, that's the company where I work! Five percent decreases? That doesn't sound good.

In fact, at a speech at the Jordan, Edmiston CEO Dinner at ABMs Spring Meeting last month, [the CEO] also flatly said that the weekly news tabloids--an absolute staple of tech publishing and many other sectors for decades--are finished.

Hey, I work at a weekly news tech magazine! Finished? That doesn't sound good.


This is interesting for two reasons: First, [the publisher] has some of the biggest: [two of the company's magazines] are two, and both were juggernauts--among the top ad-revenue producers in [business-to-business] media. But the whole notion of a newsweekly in the age of blogs and 24-hour, seven-day online news is ... what's the word: Quaint? Absurd?

Hey, I'm the copy chief for that first one! Quaint? Absurd? That doesn't sound good.

Second, [the CEO] is the first CEO to my knowledge to so publicly denounce the core mission of print weeklies: News. They've been a dying breed for years, and though they may survive as vehicles for analysis and business intelligence, it's getting harder to justify the economics of a print weekly.

Dying breed? That doesn't sound good, either.

Perhaps I should focus on my other calling.

Given that the person in question must realize this editorial has circulated from hand to hand all over the company (and in fact is also available on Folio's Web site), one might assume that he would send out a memo explaining his comments.

But one would assume incorrectly.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Warning: Do not watch this video and operate heavy machinery immediately thereafter

Very trippy, and perhaps my favorite music video ever. The quality of this copy, unfortunately, is not great, but it was the best I could find on YouTube. (Director Michel Gondry went on to do the wonderful Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

If sock monkeys were Defense Secretaries

There's another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn't exist.

Now, give me that banana.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This is just a wild guess, but...

I have this sneaky suspicion someone at Hewlett-Packard's ad agency is a fan of Jonathan Safran Foer.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Cover of Foer's last novel

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting HP's new ad

Do android heads of Philip K. Dick dream of electric sheep?

I can't say Philip K. Dick was a great writer, exactly. Great ideas, yes. Wild, intriguing, mind-bending concepts, yes. But when you're tossing off stories as fast as you can in order to scrape together a living, it's probably too much to ask for stylish, careful writing, too. That said, I've probably read at least a dozen of his novels, maybe more. (Did I mention the great ideas and wild, intriguing concepts? Sometimes, that's all I need.)

That's not to say he couldn't write a great novel or short story when his heart was really in it. A Scanner Darkly, Ubik, The Man in the High Castle, and a fairly high percentage of his short pieces are truly compelling.

And because his No. 1 topic was the nature of what is really real and what is really not real, I think that if he were alive today, he'd love this news item about his missing (android) head.

My favorite story about PKD, which he recounted in a speech that was later recycled as an introduction to a collection of short stories: During the time Nixon was in office, Dick was eating at a Chinese restaurant in Yorba Linda, Calif., where Nixon grew up. He got a fortune in his cookie that read: "Deeds done in secret will soon come to light." He mailed the fortune to the White House with this note: "I think I got your fortune. Do you have mine?"

He received no response.

(Who knows if it's true or not? It should be.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Send this the cheapest way possible; or, How I corrected the grammar of the author of Shogun

The year was 1987. I was an editorial assistant at publisher William Morrow, where I'd been employed since the fall after I got out of college in '84. (Let me go off on a tangent for a moment: In the fall of '84, the starting salary for an assistant at Morrow was $12,500. Yes—in Manhattan. Even in 1984, that was a pittance. At least I wasn't at St. Martin's. The starting salary there was $9,500. One does not go into publishing to make a lot of money.)

By '87, I was working for the publisher of the company. She was ... oh, how do describe her? A co-worker and I used to call her T. Rasa--for tabula rasa, as she was a bit of a blank slate.

Morrow was very excited to sign James Clavell for his next novel. Clavell is best known for Shogun, a huge best seller, but it had been a while since he'd published anything new. The company paid a ton to get it—although I remember hearing some reservations. For starters, the book was set in Iran, and there was some concern that, out of his usual Far East locales, his regular readers wouldn't bite.

The book was called Whirlwind. No, wait—I take that back. It was called, at his insistence, James Clavell's Whirlwind. Or as we in the office used to refer to it, James Clavell's James Clavell's Whirlwind, by James Clavell.

The manuscript was beyond huge, and deadlines were tight—Morrow wanted to turn the book around quickly and get it out as soon as possible. Making that a bit tricky was the fact that Clavell lived in the south of France, at Cap Ferrat. Getting anything to him was a bit of a production number. He didn't want anyone to know his address, so we had to use a specially arranged courier that would deliver edited pages to a hotel near his house. I'm assuming he sent out a minion to pick it up from the hotel—who knows? The arrangement was unusual, but the powers that be did whatever he wanted.

One day, I had edited pages to get to Clavell in France. I arranged the courier, as usual. The same day, I also had another package to send out to someone else, but it wasn't important. I put a note on it for the mail room: "Send this the cheapest way possible."

You can write the rest of the story yourselves, can't you?

While the package for Clavell did indeed go via his regular special courier, the note, "Send this the cheapest way possible," was somehow placed inside the package. Right on top of the edited pages. Where he couldn't possibly miss it.

He opened the package, saw my note, and freaked out. He called the president of the company at his home; my boss, the publisher, at her home; and quite possibly every person he could think of at Hearst, Morrow's parent company at the time.

When I walked in the next day there was—shall we say—a Whirlwind of activity. The first person to corner me was, I believe, T. Rasa. After I picked myself up from the floor, I stammered out an explanation for what had happened, and pointed out that even if there was a note in the package, he must have noticed that a) he got the pages overnight and b) via his regular courier. From me, of course, the wrath of the Morrow bosses passed on to the mail room.

Tempers calmed down, and I thought I was in the clear.

Then I received a letter from Clavell. It began:
Dear Jim: Speed should always be the first criteria when sending me a package ...

The first criteria? The first criteria??? The singular is criterion, you best-selling dope!

Oh, sure, you may be a world-famous writer—but you don't know a simple thing like that???

I sat down to write him a reply.
Dear Mr. Clavell: Rest assured, speed is always the first criterion when I send edited pages to you ...

You have a multimillion-dollar advance, bucko, I thought. And I am struggling to pay rent. But in my heart, I will always have the knowledge that I just corrected your grammar.

Oh, and the book came out in the spring of '88, and it was a bit of a bomb. Who the hell wants to read a book by James Clavell that's set in Iran?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

To blog the unbloggable blog

This is how I do posts for The Velvet Blog: Some odd idea hits me, usually when I have no time to do anything about it. So I start a file in Blogger, write down a phrase to remind me of the idea, and hit "save as draft." Then I go back to it when I have time to write--at lunch, before work, at night, whenever.

But sometimes those draft ideas come to naught. They just linger on indefinitely, and for some reason, I hate to just delete them.

And because I love all of you so much, I now invite you in to take a look at my rejects: Blog posts I never wrote.


On Dec. 2, 2005, I saved: downwithclowns.com. There is no Web site with this address, so I guess this was going to be some sort of anti-clown diatribe.

Jan. 5: Smackdown!: Gilmore Girls vs. Gastineau Girls. This might actually be funny. I don't know why I never wrote an entry to go along with it.

Jan. 27: school lunch menus. I think I saw an odd (real) school lunch menu somewhere, and it seemed like a good idea at the time to spoof it.

March 24: charlie brown teacher voice. This was going to be about how when a certain person at my office speaks, all I can hear is the wah wah wah wah sound they use for adult voices in the Peanuts specials. I decided not to do this when I realized one or two people from work read this blog. No need for blackmail material.

April 14: italics: good thing they can't read my thoughts. I have no clue what this means.

April 20: clavell: cheapest way possible. The story of my uncomfortable confrontation with best-selling author James "Shogun" Clavell in a previous job. Sooner or later, I'll probably write this.

May 19: infrequently asked questions. An idea from God Is My Codependent. The antithesis of a FAQ. Great idea, but somehow, I could never come up with enough that was funny.

May 31: "Sure, but to you, everything sounds dirty," he ejaculated. This was going to be a post filled with filthy Spoonerisms. Never got past the first one.

June 20: Ideas for sequels to "Freakonomics." Because for some reason the word "Superfreakonomics" popped into my head. But it's kind of a one-joke idea that's not even particularly funny. Besides, I never even read Freakonomics.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what the dusty corners inside my head look like.

No posts for a few days. Lotsa deadlines.

Sometimes it's better not to ask any questions

After Grandma's scone recipe, I asked: What the hell is cream of tartar?

Concerned reader God Is My Codependent sent me a link explaining it, which I promptly lost. So I looked myself and found this definition on the BBC's site:
Cream of tartar is a by-product of winemaking; it's derived from refined tartaric acid, which forms on the inside of wine barrels, or from the whitish crystals (known as 'white diamonds') that precipitate out of some wines.

Well, that's just downright odd. And it sounds vaguely illegal.

So, what brings you here?

Recent searches that have brought visitors to The Velvet Blog:

--What's wrong with Deborah Norville's left eye?
--roaming chicken jokes
--barney's favorite diseases
--poop jokes
--the difference between a card holder and a cigarette holder

Glad to be of service.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Eat me

In an effort to keep The Velvet Blog as random as possible, here is my Scottish grandmother's scone recipe:

2 cups flour (plus a little extra for coating dough)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
1 cup sour cream (reduced-fat sour cream works fine)
"good tablespoon" butter
raisins or currants (my grandmother didn't use a measurement--I use about 1/2 cup of currants)

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and sugar. Mix in butter with fingers. Add egg and mix. Then add sour cream to make "wetted" dough--it'll be sticky (very sticky, actually). (You might want to do this with your hands, too.) Add raisins or currants, if desired. Take about 1 tablespoon of dough and toss lightly in flour. Drop in hot frying pan (*no* oil--if cold water bubbles, pan is hot enough) and flatten with spatula. Cook till light brown, then turn.

I've never seen another scone recipe that was cooked in a pan rather than the oven. These are always a big hit when I make them.

What the hell is cream of tartar, anyway?

My grandmother left a couple notebooks of recipes when she died. Most of them were of the "handful of this" and a "pinch of that" variety. My sister did her best to quantify things.

If you're good, I'll give you her shortbread recipe.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Picture yourself in a boat on a river

Did you know you can embed songs from Napster on your blog? You can, so I'm posting this to see if it works.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Edit]

(Whoops--it appears you have to sign up with Napster in order to hear it. Sorry, I didn't realize. However, it's free and you do get to hear most songs on Napster for free, up to five times.)

Advice for spammers

If you're sending out an e-mail trying to sell me something bogus--say a message with the subject line "Losing weight has never been so easy!"--it's probably best to go with a fake sender name other than "Believed E. Tragicomedy."

I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Bill Gates: The $40 Gazillion Virgin?

Is it just me, or is there an odd resemblance?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Bill at a recent event

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Steve Carell as the delayed virgin

The far-away look in the eye, the somewhat vacant smile?

No? Just me, then.

Friday, June 16, 2006

RFID is for lovers

At the magazine today, I had to write a caption for a photo that goes with a story about how drug companies use RFID chips to track pharmaceuticals. The picture is of someone using an RFID scanner over a box of OxyContin, the frequently stolen pain med (you know, Rush Limbaugh's favorite).

So I wrote:
Tracking OxyContin doesn't have to be a pain

OK, it won't win me any awards, but it's serviceable.

Then the art department changed it to a picture of Viagra, and now I'm incapable of writing anything that doesn't sound smutty.
Tracking Viagra doesn't have to be hard

Get your hands off my Viagra!

Keep in touch with your Viagra

RFID gives you boners

Dammit!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Three food expressions you rarely hear

--Wake up and smell the baba ghanoush.
--Screw you and the heirloom tomato you rode in on
--Oh, they're all wacked out on herring

Monday, June 12, 2006

Why I took down all those nekkid pictures of myself

So, employers are getting blog-savvy and checking up on job candidates.

People who write on their Web sites about their fondness for blunts, binge drinking, and blowing things up are idiots who don't deserve jobs.

That said, the subject of Web anonymity and the lack of same makes me a little uneasy. When I started this blog two years ago, I identified myself as "Jim D." After about six or eight months, I decided to use my real name. I figured, what the heck? Maybe an old college friend will track me down.

But as time has gone on, I realize that outing myself like that could have unintended consequences. I took down one post about a certain culty religion after I started getting antagonistic comments when another blog linked to it--I really don't want to find a snake in my mailbox, and given the use of my real name and the fact that I've mentioned my geographic area more than a few times, it would be very easy to find me.

I also took down an early post about Boss Appreciation Day. It was, um, not terribly appreciative. There are a few people at work who know I keep this blog, though only one visits regularly that I know of. But that particular post probably would not have endeared me to those above me in the hierarchy here if it had been spread. So down it came.

Topic for discussion, should you care to chime in: Do you use your real name on your blog--and why or why not? Have you ever taken down something because of possible repercussions?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My first attempt at filmmaking

I like to see this is a part Orson Welles, part Michael Powell, part David Lynch. A touch of Spielberg. A pinch of Cecil B. DeMille. A soupcon of Hitchcock.

But all me.

Enjoy.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What's the traditional present for a second anniversary?

I hope it's a monkey--I've always wanted a monkey!

Yes, it's The Velvet Blog's second anniversary already (well, it's next week, but I'm celebrating a little early). In blog years, I think that's akin to reaching puberty. Soon, TVB's voice will be breaking and its face blooming with acne. Oh, memories!

Let's take a stroll through Year Two, shall we?

Remember when we invented new stupid celebrity nicknames? Man, that was fun. And then we were visited by a large gorilla of indeterminate size? That doesn't happen every day.

Remember when Dick Cheney stopped by? God, that was scary. Then remember when a blog I've never even heard of in my life accused me of plagiarizing that entry? That was weird. And it really sucked, too.

Remember my brief, queasy fascination with the ubiquity of Dakota Fanning? That was creepy. Then we examined the phenomenon of abandoned blogs. And that was sad. But then we compared Krofft Brothers shows, and things cheered up.

Remember when the weather got really Old Testamenty? That was strange. And then we compared apples and oranges? You're really not supposed to do that--but TVB has no fear when it comes to comparing fruit!

Remember when we went on an emotional roller-coaster ride? Fortunately, the meds have kicked in. Remember when this was, if only briefly, the No. 1 Google hit for "Freudian psychoanalysts"? Then again, maybe the meds haven't fully kicked in.

Remember when I gave publishing advice, despite the fact that my only published book is somewhere around No. 2,500,000 on Amazon? Remember when we improved headlines? I'm probably better at that.

Remember when TVB tried to palm off a sad best-of post as an anniversary celebration? Lame-o.

Oh, and remember the first TVB post ever?

No, I don't either. I blame the Vicodin.

I apologize for this in advance

The trailer for Otto Preminger's Skidoo is below.

Caution: This is bad. Mind-bendingly bad.

You've been warned.



See? I told you.

Yes, I have a bootleg copy of this film, which has never had a legit video release.

What the hell is wrong with me?

(In my defense, I got it because Nilsson wrote the score.)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Isn't it shocking?

Let's see... I'm a writer looking for a fresh way of expressing dubious amazement. What could I come up with? Maybe a movie reference? No one ever's done that before, and readers will respond with delighted recognition!

"Many clueless North Americans remain shocked, shocked, that jihadis live among them--despite the open secret of our northern neighbor's reputation as an Islamic terrorist safe haven." --wingnut columnist Michelle Malkin, June 7, 2006

"While we in Canada react with wide-eyed surprise and claim to be shocked--shocked!--that terrorists..." --Ottawa Citizen, June 6

"This just in! New study shows little kids watch lots of TV! Yeah, I know you're "Shocked, shocked!" --American Spectator, June 1

"Just days ago, as George W. Bush let the media know that he was shocked--shocked!--to learn that U.S. Marines allegedly (the evidence so far is looking pretty strong) had gone on a killing spree last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha..." -San Francisco Chronicle, June 5

"US House leaders were shocked, shocked, that the FBI searched the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., as part of a criminal investigation." --Wilmington Morning Star, June 5

"In 1978, with Penthouse at its split-beaver Zeitgeistal zenith, Bob Sr., in between emptying his Savile Row–tailored pockets to produce Gore Vidal's colossally bizarre Caligula (Sir John Gielgud claimed to be shocked—shocked!--that hard-core material appeared in the film), founded Omni magazine." --New York Magazine, June 4

"Speaking of which, we were shocked--shocked!--when we witnessed Murray mutate for a moment into Schiff when he said at the Pasadena Senior Center debate that he opposed the war in Iraq but considered it a federal matter..." --Pasadena Weekly, May 31

"THE BRITISH "BUFFY"? The comparison has been drawn more than once about "Hex" (Thursday at 10 p.m., BBC America), a supernatural drama about a boarding school teen, her lesbian roommate, fallen angels, possession and (are we shocked, shocked?) sex." --Newsday, June 3

"As his trial resumed this past week, we learned that the deposed leader of Iraq was shocked--shocked, I tell you--by the Abu Ghraib prison photos..." –-Winona Daily News, May 24

"If we're still shocked--shocked!-- to find bribery in some of our building departments, we shouldn't be." –-San Francisco Chronicle, May 27

"Cops there were shocked--shocked!--to find out that such a crime took place right under their noses--which apparently are located below their eyes." --Arab News, Saudi Arabia, May 29

"In a word, both Democrats and Republicans were shocked, shocked, at the FBI's recent overnight raid on the Capitol Hill office of US Rep. William Jefferson..." --Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 28

" Now, members of Congress are shocked--shocked--at Gen. Michael V. Hayden's association with warrantless eavesdropping by the National Security Agency he directs." --Seattle Times, May 11

"'At the same time, they're under quite a bit of pressure from Washington to demonstrate that they're shocked, shocked, that leaking is going on in this establishment.'" --San Francisco Chronicle, May 6

"Some of the honorables in Congress are shocked--shocked--that George W. Bush would nominate a military man to head the Central Intelligence Agency." -–Washington Times, May 17

"Most are shocked--shocked!--to learn that human-to-human bird flu could kill 150 to 350 million people." –-East Valley Tribune, May 8

"What? Vista might be delayed? I'm shocked.... SHOCKED!! " –-Slashdot, May 18

"A company faked a demo? I'm shocked....SHOCKED, I tell you!" –-Slashdot, May 16

"Still, he insists he is shocked--shocked!--by Schrefer's depiction of Upper East Side private school kids and their oft-abused tutors." -–New York Post, May 9

"Two years ago, the vice squad was shocked ... shocked... to learn that dancing was going on." –-Dallas Morning News, May 17

Can we call a moratorium on this one?

We can? Oh, good. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

(Note: No big selection process here--picked from a Google News search)

Did we survive 6/6/06 without getting all hellish?

Let's take a look at the news and decide:

CIA covered up Nazi war crimes

Indonesia's Mount Merapi Spews Hot Lava

CSI: Kids. Field trip unearths real body in Florida park

Rogue vet debarks neighbor's puppy

Republicans retain House seat in California

Keanu Reeves: I want to marry

Hm. Pretty much business as usual, then.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The power of the Internet

From the New York Times:
Shanghai: It began with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of the country's most popular Internet bulletin boards from a husband denouncing a college student he suspected of having an affair with his wife. Immediately, hundreds joined in the attack.

"Let's use our keyboard and mouse in our hands as weapons," one person wrote, "to chop off the heads of these adulterers, to pay for the sacrifice of the husband."

I always thought the Internet would be great at bringing people together.
Within days, the hundreds had grown to thousands, and then tens of thousands, with total strangers forming teams that hunted down the student, hounded him out of his university and caused his family to barricade themselves inside their home.

It was just the latest example of a growing phenomenon the Chinese call Internet hunting, in which morality lessons are administered by online throngs and where anonymous Web users come together to investigate others and mete out punishment for offenses real and imagined. ...

The affair of the cuckolded husband first came to public attention in mid-April, after the man, who goes by the Web name Freezing Blade, discovered online correspondence between his wife, Quiet Moon, and a college student, Bronze Mustache.

Coincidentally, that's my porn name.
After an initial conversation, in which he forgave his wife, the man discovered messages on his wife's computer that confirmed to him that the liaison was continuing. He then posted the letter denouncing Bronze Mustache, and identifying him by his real name.

Which, oddly enough, is Hipster Goatee
The case exploded on April 20, when a bulletin board manifesto against Bronze Mustache was published by someone using the name Spring Azalea.

Can I just say for the record here that the Chinese have the best screen names?
"We call on every company, every establishment, every office, school, hospital, shopping mall and public street to reject him," it said. "Don't accept him, don't admit him, don't identify with him until he makes a satisfying and convincing repentance."

Impassioned people teamed up to uncover the student's address and telephone number, both of which were then posted online. Soon, people eager to denounce him showed up at his university and at his parents' house, forcing him to drop out of school and barricade himself with his family in their home.

Others denounced the university for not expelling him, with one poster saying it should be "bombed by Iranian missiles." Many others said the student should be beaten or beheaded, or that he and the married woman should be put in a "pig cage" and drowned.

I love how it's human nature, the world over, to get really, really worked up over the important stuff.
"Right from the beginning, every day there have been people calling and coming to our house, and we have all been very upset," said the student's father, who was interviewed by telephone but insisted that he not be identified by name, to avoid further harassment. "This is an awful thing, and the Internet companies should stop these attacks, but we haven't spoken with them. I wouldn't know whom to speak to."

In hopes of quieting the criticism, Bronze Mustache issued a six-minute online video denying any affair with Quiet Moon, whom he is said to have met at a gathering of enthusiasts of the online game World of Warcraft. At the same time, Freezing Blade has twice asked people to call off the attacks, even joining in the denials of an affair--all to no avail.

World of Warcraft? They're both video-game nerds???
At its height, the Bronze Mustache case accounted for huge traffic increases on China's Internet bulletin boards, including a nearly 10 percent increase in daily traffic on Tianya, the bulletin board with the most users. ...

Zhan Jiang, a professor of journalism at China Youth University of Political Science, in Beijing, said: "As freedom of expression is not well protected here, we have to choose the lighter of two evils. The minority who are hurting other people in such cases should be prevented, but this behavior should not disturb the majority's freedom of expression."

But there are obvious drawbacks to unfettered discussion, as the Bronze Mustache case illustrates. "What we Internet users are doing is fulfilling our social obligations," said one man who posted a lengthy attack on the college student and his alleged affair. "We cannot let our society fall into such a low state."

Asked how he would react if people began publishing online allegations about his private life, he answered, "I believe strongly in the traditional saying that if you've done nothing wrong, you don't fear the knock on your door at midnight."

In related news, Mr. Anonymous will soon join the U.S. Department of Justice in a high-ranking post.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Waiting for a Krappy Day: A Play

The scene: An overgrown garden. Two large terra cotta planters are on either side of the stage. Each character stands in his or her own planter, facing the audience.

The characters:

Kay--Any age group. She wears filthy clothes and is wearing a tattered wig. She holds a disintegrating copy of "A Confederacy of Dunces." Her t-shirt bears the slogan "I'm with stupid."

The Spaniard--Tall and distinguished. He, too, wears a t-shirt. His slogan reads: "No, estoy con estupido."

Before the lights go up, the stage is in total darkness. Loud metallic clanging fills the air. Suddenly, the noise stops. The lights go up in a blinding fury. The action begins in medias res.


THE SPANIARD: Que?

KAY: Yes?

THE SPANIARD: Si?

KAY: See what?

THE SPANIARD: Que?

KAY: God is dead.

[The lights go out and the clanging starts up again. It continues indefinitely, until the audience gives up and goes home]

Please contact Samuel French Inc. for staging rights.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Rhetorical Question of the Day

Why are my neighbors--every single one of them, it seems--incapable of opening their car doors without setting off their own motherfreaking car alarms?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Poop machines

Folks, we're fighting the wrong immigration battle.

The real foreign menace isn't coming from the south, but the north.

Yes, Canada.

Think of what Canada has sent us so far: William Shatner. Celine Dion. Loverboy. Corey Hart (take off the damn sunglasses already--it's night!). Need I go on?

But nothing, nothing compares to the worst menace from the north: the Canada goose.

It's impossible to go to a park on Long Island and not step in Canada goose poop. It's everywhere. In fact, I can't remember the last time I've seen an America goose. Or, for that matter, good old red-white-and-blue America goose poop. (The Canadian variety is greenish and, well, icky.)

I'm fairly sure this is a conspiracy. The career of Canadian actor Ryan Gosling only confirms this. Sure, soften us up with your Canuck hunks, and then another flock of geese sneaks over the border!

Why, just look at the awful critters from my local park:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Oh my God! Babies! Oh, they're adorable! And fuzzy!!! I just want to reach out and grab one and put it in my pocket!

I take it all back.

Sorry, Canada.

(I also love your delicious ham, even if we do call it bacon.)