Friday, March 30, 2007

Or perhaps they should try tattooing important information on their bodies

Given the poor memories of Giuliani, Gonzales, the GSA's Doan, etc., etc., etc., do you get the feeling that Memento guy is holding some Republican office somewhere?

I'm blind ... I'M BLIND!!!!

Really, if TV stations are going to run footage of of Karl Rove rapping, THEY SHOULD WARN PEOPLE FIRST. Think of the children.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

M Appeal


A clip from The Avengers. I'm posting this for one reason only: Frequent TVB visitor God Is My Codependent has heretofore refused to watch the show, despite my recommendations. There--now you have no excuse. (This clip was chosen pretty much at random from YouTube--I'm not saying this is the best episode ever, but it is Emma-centric.) Anyone who gets the subject line (it's more than it sounding like "Emma Peel") receives bonus trivia points.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time to time (to time)

I love movies, and I love a good, well-thought-out time-travel plot. (Yeah, I can be a bit of geek.)

The low-budget (reportedly $7,000!) film Primer was a big hit at the Sundance festival and the art-house circuit a few years ago, and I finally caught up with it on DVD last fall. I meant to write about it at the time, but never got around to it. A few mentions on other blogs recently got me thinking about it again.

I'm a fairly intelligent guy. (That's hard to tell by reading this blog, but I swear it's true.) But I simply couldn't wrap my brain around this movie. Not only could I not tell when things were happening, I couldn't even figure what the characters were trying to do, other than scam the stock market.

Here's the most complete summary of Primer's plot I could find.

I defy anyone to read that and not go diving for the economy-size bottle of Excedrin in the medicine cabinet. Complexity is one thing ... this is another.

Now, why hasn't Jack Finney's Time and Again ever been filmed? It would seem a natural.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Velvet Blog Award for Least Interesting Magazine Titles

From a press release I just received:

EU Consulting is a Europe-based tissue product news, analysis, forecasting and consultancy business serving the tissue, recovered paper and consumer packaging industries. The acquisition adds EU Consulting’s publications World Tissue Business Monitor and Outlook for the World Tissue Business to RISI’s existing portfolio of tissue industry products which currently includes Tissue Monitor and World Tissue Forecast.

I was going to insert a joke here, but everthing I came up with sounded way too dirty.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Things that have broken in the last week

--The kitchen faucet
--The blender
--The dryer
--My ability to touch any household appliance without assuming it's going to break

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Velvet Blog's Greatest Hits (Updated)

What is it that keeps people coming to The Velvet Blog? Is it my rapier-like wit? My animal magnetism?

No, it's some weird-assed random shit that people do searches on, never to return to these welcoming shores again.

Every single day, I get about 25 or more people looking for pictures of Samoan facial tattoos here, despite the fact that I have no picture posted, and even the link to what I thought was such a picture turns out to be not Samoan at all, but New Zealandish. (Wait, is that a word?) There are times that I get 20 hits for this in a row. It's a little odd.

This post about the woman who paid thousands of dollars to rent her phone is inexplicably popular six months after the fact. I'm apparently not the only one who thinks Ester Strogen is a made-up name.

People love pictures of mad dogs and Donald Rumsfeld. But they also love pics of raindrops on roses and copper kettles, so it all balances out in the end. Again, I don't have such pictures, but I link to them and this is enough to get image searches on a pretty frequent basis.

Many, many people are concerned that Deborah Norville has a problem with one of her eyes. The left, I think. I don't mention her eyes in that post, but people still come here regularly because the word "eye" appears close by in the archive for that month. No one seems to be discussing her eye from what I can find on the Web, but people search for this information all the time. I suspect some type of cover-up. (Her eye looks fine in photos, IMO.)

I'm not the only one who likes that song in the Penney's commercial. If Forever Thursday ever puts out an album, it's going to be huge.

My response to Harriet Meirs' nomination to the Supreme Court gets lots of hits--not from people looking for Meirs info, but Judge Judy fans. Well, she is quite the looker!

Yes, this was a clip show.

UPDATE: Someone from the office of the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms just found TVB by searching for "deborah norville's butt." On the taxpayer's dime, Mr. Gainer?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Peaceful

Found this on YouTube:



That's Kenny Rankin, circa ... 1968? '69? Not sure.

Anyway, won't you join me in demanding that his '74 album Silver Morning be released on CD? C'mon, Rhino--enough with the one-hit-wonder collections! There are more than enough of those. And I could live without yet another disco collection. Let's get some long out-of-print albums back in circulation.

As far as I know, Silver Morning has never been on CD in the U.S. (there's a "used" copy or two on Amazon, but they're bootlegs or perhaps overseas editions). Neither has the album that preceded it, Like a Seed (the song above, "Peaceful," comes from that LP--and yes, Helen Reddy had a hit cover version). There's a decent best-of (also called Peaceful). His later material is well represented on CD, but I'm not much of a fan of that era--it's rather syrupy and overorchestrated for my taste.

Quite a voice, eh?

Is it too early to start wishing for blissful sleep?

A few weeks before the 2004 elections, I asked for instructions to von Bulow myself because I just couldn't take the pre-election blather and nastiness.

The 2008 elections are far, far away, but I'm already fed up.

Remember the anti-Clinton "1984" ad? Of course you do--it was everywhere a few days ago, so unless you're drunk or have been away from your computer or your TV exploded, you've seen it.

Now, here's the fallout. Enough! Enough!

Really--please Mr. Gore, could you just declare already so we can look forward to solid candidate? Please?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Testing, testing

Hmmmm. I store some images for this blog on Blogger and some on PhotoBucket, depending on how I want them to appear on the page. All of the PhotoBucket images have disappeared--just for the time being, I hope.

Meanwhile, enjoy this Wikipedia entry on the BBC's test patterns.

The TVB Movie Club

Watched Stranger Than Fiction on DVD the other night and really enjoyed it. If you like films along the lines of Adaptation or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or even Groundhog Day, it's definitely worth a rental.

If you don't know anything about the plot, keep it that way. Best go into it knowing only that it's a bit of a mind bender.

If you've already seen it, though, you might like to read an early version of Stranger Than Fiction's script.

And here's the story of an odd coincidence involving another script with the same basic plot.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Google Search of the Day (now with Updates!)

spontaneous combustion vietnamese meatballs

I'm #1!! I'm #2. I'm #1!!

UPDATE: So, Mark from The Long Cut mentioned this milestone on his blog, and now The Long Cut is the #1 Google hit for spontaneous combustion vietnamese meatballs.

To explain this in terms of The Brady Bunch, The Velvet Blog is Jan and The Long Cut is Marcia.

UPDATE UPDATE: Back to #1! Take that, Marcia!

Mmmmm ... pie ...

Hey, apparently, it's Pie Day! Oh, I love pie: blueberry, cherry, apple, pecan. I make a great pecan pie. Maybe I'll make a ...

What? It's not Pie Day?

It's Pi Day?

Oh, well, then perhaps I'll go beat up a nerd or something.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Well, if it comes down to this guy and Rudy, I might vote for him, but I still give Obama the edge

You can read the whole story of the "satanic vampire" running for the office of president here, but to me, these are the two key quotes:
"They never even asked to see my impaling stick," Sharkey said.

"Under the First Amendment, what it boils down to here is whether or not he's a vampire who wants to impale the president," Richards said. "I guess the question is, if he's a vampire, why is he the one staking people? Shouldn't he want to bite the president and feed on him? [This], I suppose, is perhaps further evidence that this is not a true threat."

On second thought, I wouldn't vote him. We've had enough bloodsuckers in the White House lately.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Which is funny, because now my eyes are bleeding

I just found this sentence regarding Windows Vista on the Web site for the tech magazine where I work:
The new operating system's hardware upgrade stigmata and other factors are pushing some people to consider alternatives ...

Windows users have such a crucifixion complex.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Five things you didn't know about me

--My life is the basis of a popular Colombian telenovela, Me Gusta Tu Sombrero.
--I am convinced that I invented the spork, despite voluminous evidence to the contrary.
--The only boy who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man.
--Iway amway uentflay inway igpay atinlay.
--I am able to receive HBO in my dreams, but in them, The Sopranos is actually a documentary about sopranos.
--I am bad at counting.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Remember when you heard new songs on the radio instead of in TV commercials?

May 8 update: For those of you who have stumbled over this entry hoping to discover who does the song in the current J.C. Penney commercial: It's Joshua Radin's cover of "Only You," a song originally performed by Yazoo (a.k.a. Yaz). And yes, it's on iTunes.


A couple of months ago, I found myself looking forward to an oft-repeated TV ad for Target that featured a song I hadn't heard before and couldn't identify. A little sleuthing unearthed its ID as "Fly Me Away," by Goldfrapp--whose debut CD I own, but the track came from an album I was unfamiliar with, and somehow I didn't recognize the lead singer's voice. iTunes to the rescue.

More recently, I've been unable to get unstuck from my brain a song that's being used in J.C. Penney's current ads. It's by a band called Forever Thursday, and the track streams from that link. Yes, I'm a sucker for whispy female vocals, and I like the repetitive woodwind thing going on in the background.

As there seems to be no more music by Forever Thursday anywhere on the Internet, I'm not sure if it's a "real" band or not. The vocalist on the song is Melanie Horsnell, and I like that Beatlesque first song she has streaming on her MySpace page, "I Just Want Some Love."

So, what have you discovered lately?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Life's a bleach, and then you dye

Time for roundup of old ads on YouTube.

In this one, Judy apparently has cleaned out the liquor cabinet before doing the laundry:



UPDATE: A concerned reader points out that this actress, Judy Graubert, was a regular on The Electric Company, which reminded me that she played Alan Arkin's wife in the unjustly obscure Simon. I thought she looked familiar.

This one is currently being adapted for the Broadway stage:



Everything sounds classier in French:

Monday, March 05, 2007

Of manatees and Mentos

While it's a bit inconsistent, 30 Rock has turned into my favorite comedy of the season. When it hits, it's hilarious (though that doesn't happen every week). This conversation on last week's episode cracked me up:

Tracey: Ken, I'll be going soon, but I just wanted you to know that I've loved being your mentor, and it's been an honor having you be my manatee.

Kenneth: Mr. Jordan, I hate seeing you like this. What can I do to help you?

Tracey: I'm just going through the classic stages of grief. Fear, denial, horniness, wisdom, sleepiness, and now depression. ...

Kenneth: Now, stop that Mr. Jordan! You need to take some of your own advice! Aren't you the man who told me to live every week like it was Shark Week? And that nothing's impossible except for dinosaurs? Don't give up on life, sir!

Tracey: [Thoughtfully] Wow ... The manatee has become the Mento. Wow ...

Kenneth: [Silence]

Hmm. Funnier when you see it.

You can watch episodes online here. Start with episode 12, with Isabella Rossellini and Paul "Pee-wee Herman" Reubens as guest stars--but I think it gets rotated off the site after this Thursday's episode.

Not to keep blogging a dead horse, but...

Salon's Peter Birkenhead on The Secret, and Oprah Winfrey's hucksterism (she spent two episodes praising it):
But what really makes "The Secret" more than a variation on an old theme is the involvement of Oprah Winfrey, who lends the whole enterprise more prestige, and, because of that prestige, more venality, than any previous self-help scam. ...

Why "venality"? Because, with survivors of Auschwitz still alive, Oprah writes this about "The Secret" on her Web site, "the energy you put into the world -- both good and bad -- is exactly what comes back to you. This means you create the circumstances of your life with the choices you make every day." "Venality," because Oprah, in the age of AIDS, is advertising a book that says, "You cannot 'catch' anything unless you think you can, and thinking you can is inviting it to you with your thought." "Venality," because Oprah, from a studio within walking distance of Chicago's notorious Cabrini Green Projects, pitches a book that says, "The only reason any person does not have enough money is because they are blocking money from coming to them with their thoughts."

Yup.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Listen--do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?

Oh, it's everywhere, like a nonfiction ... well, a non-novel Da Vinci Code.

It's The Secret, and oh, is it crapola:
This principle, said to be known by an elite few, including Beethoven and 19th-century robber barons, holds that the universe will make your wishes come true if only you really, truly believe in them.

Hm. Hasn't worked in Iraq yet, has it, Mr. President?

Are there more prosaic uses for the principle? But of course:
Victoria Moore, a saleswoman in Silicon Valley, said the principles of "The Secret" help her snag coveted parking spots. "But if I let in the slightest bit of doubt, it doesn't happen," she added. Elizabeth Cogan, a self-described shaman from Sparks, Nev., said the principle works at restaurants, where she envisions herself not having to wait for a table.

What if I wish really hard for this whole phenomenon--yes, it was on the CBS Nightly News last night--to just go away?

Oh, but here's my fave part of this article--it seems that the writer of the book royally screwed over one of the participants in the DVD version that came out first:
Ms. Byrne [writer of the book] had promised Ms. Hicks [who participated in a big way on the DVD] 10 percent of DVD revenues to appear in "The Secret," both parties said. But they had a falling out, and Ms. Hicks could not even bring herself to watch Ms. Byrne this month on "Oprah," the movement's moment of triumph.

In a backhanded compliment Ms. Hicks said, "I've got to give [Byrne] credit," adding that her former collaborator has shown a monomaniacal dedication to the law of attraction. "I've never seen anybody do that like she's doing it," Ms. Hicks said. "And never mind honesty, and never mind doing what you said you were going to do, and never mind anything. Just stay in alignment."

Ouch. It's difficult to feel too much sympathy for the Hickses, though:
Last Sunday evening the Hickses relaxed in their $1.4 million luxury bus parked outside the Rancho Cordova Marriott near Sacramento, where they had just finished a six-hour workshop on the law of attraction in the hotel ballroom. Three hundred people had paid $195 each to hear Ms. Hicks, a former secretary, summon otherworldly spirits she says speak through her. The spirits, who collectively use the name Abraham, answered participants' questions.

"I don't have a lover yet," one woman said.

Abraham, whose speaking voice is rounder, quicker and more computerlike than Ms. Hicks’s natural voice, replied by repeating the woman's phrase roughly 20 times and then explained it contained its own negativity, which was leaving the woman paddling upstream on the river of life.

The audience applauded.


The Hickses spend most of the year traveling the country, leading workshops based on the teachings they say Abraham has given them. They record the workshops and have 10,000 subscribers, who pay up to $50 a month for CDs and DVDs of Abraham's wisdom.

That's half a million a month, just from subscriptions.

Yeesh.

P.T. Barnum would be proud.