Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I haven't been to that town, but I've been through it


Remember After Last Season, the most peculiar film I wrote about a few months ago? (What, you don't memorize this blog? Go watch the trailer--it's oddly mesmerizing.)

Supposedly, it's out on DVD tomorrow--only the film's official Web site has no link to buy it (and no e-mail address to write to), and it's not for sale on Amazon.

The mysteries continue.

I must see this movie. I must.

UPDATE: Now available on Amazon! Yes, I've ordered, and paid for rush delivery so I can watch this weekend. And yes, I'm insane.

Beatles songs appropriate for my morning


"The Long and Winding Road (That I Can't Drive Because My Car Won't Start)"
"Baby, You Can't Drive My Car"
"I Want to Hold Your Hand (In the Front Seat of My Car, Only It's in the Shop, So I Can't)"
"Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand (auf dem Vordersitz meines Autos, nur ist es in der Werkstatt ist, so kann ich nicht)"
"Ticket to Ride"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Also, I tried substituting Pearl Bailey for the pearl barley, but it really didn't work


Dunno about where you live, but here on the Island of Long, it feels like fall. And you know what that means: I want soup. (Well, maybe you didn't know that, but you do now.)

Here's an easy one with an incredible depth of flavor: Mark Bittmann's mushroom barley soup.

I swapped out the soy sauce for Worcestershire sauce, and used chicken stock instead of the water. But the real flavor comes from the dried porcini mushrooms. Yum. And even with prep time and cook time combined, you can be eating this about an hour.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reply to none


Last week, someone added my name, and a whole bunch of other names, to some spammy e-mail list. I know because I got notified via e-mail. Other than that, I've had no contact with the spammers.

I have, however, gotten what seems to be a gazillion e-mails from other people who also got added to the list and reply to all with "TAKE ME OFF THIS LIST!" and "STOP FILLING UP MY IN-BOX!!!!" messages. And don't forget the "Don't reply to all on this list, even though I'm obviously doing that right now" messages.

Ugh. People are stupid. It's almost like a performance art piece, carried out over e-mail, trying to prove just that. In fact, excuse me a moment while I go reply to all to point that out ...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You asked for it: The "It Stinks" edition


Recent searches that have stranded visitors on The Velvet Blog:

--velvet hairy video
--tears from a glass eye with a tongue of madness
--zombie farrah fawcett
--what is the relationship between eggs benedict and benedict arnold
--inevitableness vs inevitability
--bad food smells like onions or corn chips
--yogurt helps you poo
--dog smells like rotten cheese
--my dog smells like fish

Geez, people, you know dog shampoo exists, right?

Monday, September 21, 2009

How much would you pay to not have dinner with Sarah Palin?


Concerned reader Nick is trying to find out. (Shipping is free!)

UPDATE: Apparently, no one is willing to pay to not have dinner with Sarah Palin.

Shocking, I know.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mooseburgers at 8


Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God! As I type these words, there's less than four hours left before the auction for the dinner -- excuse me, dinner experience -- with Sarah Palin draws to a close! Bidding is up to $60,000!!! Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God! How am I going to raise enough money to place my $60,001 bid by then?!?!?! I so would pay that much to give her a piece of mind!

Oh, wait ...
A background check for all attendees is mandatory. Failure to pass the background check will result in the winner forfeiting the experience and a refund given.

I guess membership in my high school's Che Guevara Club might be held against me?
The dinner experience with Sarah Palin will take place at a site to be determined ...

I'm torn between Chepo's Mexican Restaurant, the Peking Chinese Restaurant, or Picollino's (right next to Shop-Rite, so that's convenient). Who knew Wasilla was such a hotbed of international cuisine? There's even an IHOP!
... and at a mutually agreed upon time and date to be determined by Ms. Palin and the winning bidder. Ms Palin may bring up to three guests of her own.

Joe the Plumber (America's Plumber!), Joe Wilson (America's Congressman!), and Joe Six Pack (America's alcoholic!)?
The dinner will be paid for by the seller.

Now hold on one rooty-tooty-fresh-and-fruity minute. After spending $60,001 for this, I have to treat you and Joe the Plumber, Joe Wilson, and Joe Six Pack to pancakes at IHOP? (Yes, obviously, I've decided on IHOP. The "I" may stand for International, but it's still the most American.)

[Editor's note: Obviously, I wrote this quickly -- as usual -- and confused seller and bidder. I'm leaving it, though, because I so rarely have the opportunity to use the phrase "rooty-tooty-fresh-and-fruity."]
Winner may take personal photos and allowed [sic] to bring one item of reasonable size i.e. no larger than what can be carried by hand (t-shirts, books, magazines, etc.) The decision to sign the item will ultimately be up to Ms. Palin.

Reasonable size? Carry by hand? Crap, I'll never get her to sign Michael Moore, then.
Respect for Ms. Palin and her guest(s) is expected at all times. Inappropriate behavior will result in the conclusion of the experience with no refund.

That's Miss Palin, if you're nasty.
Dinner shall last no more than four hours, but could be less, in the sole discretion of Sarah Palin.

Note: Dinner may last four hours, but will seem like a minimum of 16.
Governor Palin reserves the right to refuse dinner with a winning bidder if, in her sole discretion, the winning bidder is not a suitable bidder based on her subjective standards of suitability, professionalism, background and other factors.

No shirt, no shoes, no service.
In the event the high bidder is rejected for this reason, the high bidder's bid will be refunded, if paid, and the next highest bidder shall be notified, and thereafter, until a suitable match is determined.

A suitable match? Hm. I'm thinking someone who's a cross between Bullwinkle and Joe McCarthy.

So, who wants to chip in on this with me? (And shipping is free!)

Hurry -- we don't have much time!

UPDATE: It went for $63,500, no thanks to you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Postcard of the day


Feb. 9, 1942

Thanks for the nice L.L. The Sacramento one I have has No. 43890 on the back. Is yours different? If so please send it.

Yo' Pal,
Emaline Koslik



I know it sounds like they're writing in code, but I figured it out. Ms. Koslik and Mr. Arp were postcard collectors. "L.L." is postcard lingo for "large letter," as in "large letters with pictures in them," like the top card here. How meta--a postcard message about postcards.

Babylon is about 15 minutes away from where I live, BTW.

As usual, click to embiggen.



Monday, September 14, 2009

Quotation of the day


Meandering through our letters-to-the-editor mailbox, I found this winner:
The local AT&T stores, here, and I called to verify this, says they have 3G locally, and it is a ball faced lie.

Well, that conjures up an image I won't soon be able to erase from my brain.

And I should point out that I used to work with someone who thought the old expression was "Nip it in the butt."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Please, no autographs


The Onion AV Club has a fun piece about encounters with celebrities. Since The Velvet Blog is starved for comments, I'll open up the topic here. Any celebrity run-ins you'd like to share?

When I was fresh out of college, my first job was as an editorial assistant at publisher William Morrow. I met quite a few writers and celebs peddling books there. In passing: Roddy McDowall (tiny!), Barbara Mandrell (hey, it was the '80s -- and, also tiny!), John Irving (very nice, and he signed The Cider House Rules!), Eva Gabor and Zsa Zsa Gabor (separately!), that guy who wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and his wife, who was in The Manchurian Candidate and The Giant Spider Invasion (annoying!)!

The only one I had a real conversation with was actress/comedian/Madonna canoodler Sandra Bernhard. She was surprisingly nice, not at all like her prickly public persona. I knew she had just finished doing a film with director Nic Roeg, so I asked her about that. (It was enjoyable!)

I can't help thinking, though, that celebrities you meet in your office don't really count, somehow. I mean, they're in your place of work for a reason.

So, outside of those, I think I've only really had two celebrity encounters.

The first was actually William Morrow-related, but not explicitly, so it still counts. It was also a little weird.

We were publishing a book by some big writer. I'm drawing a blank on exactly who, but a safe bet is James Clavell. (Oh, BTW, you can also read this old entry on how I schooled the author of Shogun and King Rat, etc., etc., on basic grammar.) The owner of Morrow in the late '80s was Hearst Corp. That's Hearst as in newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, fictionalized by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane. Long dead, of course, but one of his sons -- William Randolph Hearst Jr., I'm pretty sure -- headed the company at the time. He wanted a copy of the manuscript we had just paid multimillions for, and he didn't trust couriers. (The disgustingly rich -- so eccentric!) I was handed a Xerox of the ms. and told to take a cab to Hearst's office off Times Square and plop it into his cold, slightly moist hands.

Which I did. I don't remember much about him other than he was old. But, oddly enough, this isn't a story about meeting William Randolph Heart's progeny.

Rather than take another cab, I decided to ride the subway back to work. And as I sat down on the NYC subway system's gloriously uncomfortable seats, I looked over to my left and realized I was perched next to Phillip Glass, perhaps the most famous of the late 20th century's serious composers. It was really hot that day, more so down in the subway, and I thought at first I might be imagining things. But no, it was definitely Glass. I was struck with the compulsion to hum circular rhythmic patterns under my breath, but somehow fought off the urge.

The other non-work celeb encounter, also from the late '80s:

I met a bunch of friends for dinner in New York one Saturday. Kim worked in midtown and recommended an inexpensive Italian joint around the corner from her office. Midway through the meal, Lee (hi, Lee, who reads this blog but never comments!) leaned over the table and whispered in my ear: "Don't say anything, but Shirley MacLaine is sitting over there."

I turned around and looked at the woman sitting with a South American-looking fellow at the table diagonally across from ours, and there indeed was Warren Beatty's sister eating pasta. And I blurted out, in a voice much, much louder than I had intended: "OH MY GOD! IT'S SHIRLEY MACLAINE!!!" She flinched a little.

Shirley left before we did, and we asked the waiter about her. He said she seemed pissed off and tipped poorly.

Hmm. I wonder why.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coochy? Cuchi? Coochi? (Now with bonus Charo! And Carol Burnett!)


Kinda busy. Here, this video of Charo on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon should hold you over for a while:



(via The Onion AV Club)

UPDATE: Vintage Charo:



Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Onion or no Onion?: A news headline quiz


Which of these are real headlines, found on the front page of Yahoo, and which are fakes?

--No thumbprint, no money, Florida bank tells armless man
--European man invents 'cash for clunkers' board game
--Thai man shares his home with thousands of scorpions
--Germany's new AIDS-awareness ad starring Hitler draws fire
--Online doggy dating: Owner posts personal ad for his dog

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Improving headlines


Sorry, this just won't do:
Surviving Bee Gees say to reunite for live shows

First of all, "Bee Gees say to reunite"? I don't get the verb at all. Second, just the surviving members? Live shows? Yawn. Let's fix this sucker!:
Surviving Bee Gees said to reunite for live shows; those not surviving will reunite for undead shows

There. Much better.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Unfortunate typo of the day


Drat! It's been fixed. However, a Google search will confirm that a sentence in this story originally appeared online as:
Days after, I remember taking a bath and balling my eyes out.

We all deal with our grief in highly personal ways.


h/t: God Is My Codependent

Friday, September 04, 2009

Flogging, dead, horse, shooting, fish, barrel, lather, rinse, repeat


Yeah, yeah, yeah, pointing out just how truly insane the spittle-flingers have become is sort of a gimme at this point. And cherry-picking comments is highly unfair. But still, I feel compelled to point out that the comments at the end of this Atlantic blog post about how odd the protests are over Obama's upcoming stay-in-school-rah-rah-rah speech are priceless:
...There is no way that we are going to allow this lier to get to our kid's head's using the excuse that he (WANT'S TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO GOOD ECT.) There is some thing hidden in it for him. If he would run this country as much as he just want's to always be on the news camerias and air time, then maybe we would actually get some where.

Laugh? Cry? I can't decide anymore.

Perhaps, as Dolly Parton said so memorably in Steel Magnolias (Or was it Sylvester Stallone in Stop or My Mom Will Shoot? No, definitely Parton/Magnolias), laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.

Headline of the day


Pentagon to send unmanned Reaper drones to fight pirates

What year is this? 2525 or 1750?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Name of the day


Dan Nutkis, CEO of the Health Information Trust Alliance.

Really.

If sock monkeys were Alaskan fame whores


sock monkeySarah Crazy Monkey Matriarch kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging -- she wouldn't give it up. She would say, "So, are you gonna let me adopt him have your banana?" We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby have our banana.


Update: Alaska's former First Impregnator, Levi Johnston, is, according to news reports, considering an offer to pose for Playgirl. This is surprising for a couple reasons. First, proud redneck posing for a magazine whose readership is made up of gay men pretending to be straight women? Second ... wait ... Playgirl still exists????

Tuesday, September 01, 2009