Wednesday, December 30, 2009

If sock monkeys wrote "Auld Lang Syne"

A rerun from 2006. Hey, I am nothing if not thrifty. I am, after all, one-quarter Scots.

sock monkey We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.
Now, gie* me that banana.


(Lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne" are here, along with a pronunciation guide.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

I know you don't like to eat children, but it's that kind of talk and your cottage in the woods made of candy that keep those rumors alive

Reduced posting ahead. So, a Happy New Year to you all, in advance.

Meanwhile, have you been watching Better Off Ted? If not, do. Especially if you're a Nielsen family, 'cause I think it's on the verge of getting canceled.

Here's the second ep of season 2:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A note from the Dept. of Obviousness

A friend, who asked to remain anonymous (definitely not Bob Johnson from the accounting department at Acme Tool and Die--hi, Bob!), received this e-mail message from the CEO of the company:
Best wishes to all for a very Merry Christmas.

For those who may not be familiar with this holiday, Christians throughout the world celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem on December 25th. Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God and that God is with us in the baby Jesus. Christians celebrate by attending church on Christmas Eve and singing Christmas Carols. It is a time to be with family and friends and to send cards with wishes for peace on earth and good will to all people.

Really. Swear to God. No, I am not kidding. This was an actual e-mail from the CEO.

Probably the last TVB post till after I celebrate by attending church tonight and singing Christmas carols. It's a Unitarian Universalist congregation, so it's quite possible we'll be singing "Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas This Year":

It's our first post-Swayze Christmas, which is kind of bittersweet.

Happy holidays, all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All I can say is: "Amen."

If there's one affectation in writing that makes me insane it's the lack of quotation marks. Really, there's just no excuse for this. Nice article on the topic by Laura Miller over at Salon.

Choice paragraph:
Perhaps the most famous shunner of quotation marks is the novelist Cormac McCarthy, who told Oprah Winfrey that he preferred not to "block the page up with weird little marks. If you write properly, you shouldn't have to punctuate." (McCarthy also disdains the semicolon. And it should be added that the 18th century's most revered English stylist, Samuel Johnson, boasted of writing so cogently he never had to resort to parentheses.) There is a hauteur to such pronouncements; they amount to an assertion of the speaker's superiority. Lesser writers might have to resort to cluttering their prose with "weird little marks," but not a master such as moi.

This is why I have never read Cormac McCarthy and most probably never will.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Satan ... Santa ... oh, whatever

This excerpt from a 1959 Mexican documentary reveals that Satan and his imps really know how to cut a rug:

It may be true, as the saying goes, that the devil has all the best tunes. Now we know that he's also a Bob Fosse wannabe. (Jazz hands!)

It's possible that parts of this movie were ransacked as the frame story in that "Santa Claus and His Helpers" short I posted last week. According to descriptions, this film features Merlin, Stinky, and the rest of the beloved gang, too, and how many Christmas-themed movies could Stinky the Skunk have made? Also, I've yet to watch it, but there's a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version -- part 1 is here. I'm sure this is much less painful than searching for the original feature, which is also cut up on YouTube. I'm saving this for when I've had too much eggnog (which should be any minute now, actually).

Stay classy, readers!

Odd Google searches that have stranded visitors on The Velvet Blog, with commentary:

pronunciation of stick
I'd go with "stik." But "kər-ˈfə-fəl" is acceptable in certain regional areas.

what ever happened to jim donahue winnipeg
He was run out of town. Some say a Ponzi scheme was involved.

tipping guide christmas pool boy
As previously noted, depends on how he fills out a Speedo.

will yogurt make you shit?
The preferred word around these parts is "poop." And, yes.

alaska whores
Hey, this isn't that kind of blog!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Note to self: Dolls must have heads and bodies

Time again for another low-rent Christmas classic, "A Visit to Santa."

I think Santa's been nipping at the Wild Turkey. (Magic Helicopter? Please. No such thing.)

Weirdly, the narrator sounds like David Sedaris doing his excited elf voice in "Santaland Diaries" (albeit in a slightly lower key).

Oh my God ... I just had a Christmas flashback.

When I was four or five-ish, my parents brought me to the parking lot of Billy Blake's department store (a now-long-defunct '60s discount chain) for the arrival of Santa -- in his decidedly unmagic helicopter. He began climbing down the rope ladder when ... the pillow under his coat fell out.

Cries of bafflement were heard from the wilds of suburban Long Island to the North Pole. Mom, thinking quickly, explained that it was not actually Santa, but one of his many helpers.

Confused, I went on believing until the year* I noticed the remnants of a price tag on the box of a board game. Santa, if he existed -- I reasoned -- would have his elf indentured servants make toys. He would not buy retail.

*2005, give or take.

PARENTHETICAL ADDENDUM: Punkinsmom's comment makes me want to point out that I wasn't kidding about the price tag on the board game -- that's really how I figured out I'd been the object of what amounts to a years-long practical joke (somewhat before 2005).

Flying reindeer? Fine! Fat man comes down the chimney? No problem!

Remnant of a price tag on supposedly elf-made game? Now hold one darn minute there, mister!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The devolution of our office Christmas party

Mid-'90s: Country club; open bar

Late '90s: Nightclub; orgy rooms featured gold tubs filled with champagne to soak in

Early '00s: Lower level 2 of the parking garage; punch

2009: No party, but there's a rumor we may get stockings filled with coal and sticks

CLARIFICATION: For satirical purposes, the excesses of the dot-com era have been exaggerated. The orgy-room tubs were merely gold-plated and filled with a (non-vintage) California sparkling wine.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Name of the day

I passed a sign for:
Dr. Daniel Massiah

on the way to see my parents yesterday.

I know doctors think they're God, but puh-leeze.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Warning: If you love your children, keep them away from your computer monitor for the next 20 minutes

Christmas is all about traditions. In order for the holiday to make sense, mom must make the same cookies with the same cookie cutter, dad must fall off the ladder while hanging the lights, grandma must make you an itchy sweater. And, of course, you must watch really atrocious Christmas-themed videos with The Velvet Blog.

Lots of bad goodies ahead for you. But let's start the season with this K. Gordon Murray masterpiece I just discovered. It's called "Santa Claus and His Helpers," and features all the beloved Christmas characters from your youth--you know, Merlin the Magician, Stinky the Skunk, and Ferocious Wolf.

So put on your Snuggie, grab that cup of hot cocoa (with a shot of Kahlua), and get ready for meeting the Magic Teletalker a little over 2 minutes into this video, an image that will haunt your nightmares for years to come. (Really. I'm not kidding.)

Mr. Murray, who appears to have a hatred not only for children, but indeed for all mankind, is also responsible for the previously mentioned Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters (which also features Stinky the Skunk and Ferocious Wolf) and Puss N' Boots.

He has much to answer for.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Internet Trolling Sucks: The Cabling

A few months ago, I noted that Cablevision sucks. That post gets quite a few hits, on account of the fact it's true, and people often search on that phrase.

This evening, it garnered this rather odd response (which I deleted at that post, for parsing here):
You're an idiot.

Howdy, stranger! Welcome to my blog!
There are no more analog broadcasts going on. Cablevision is doing it's customer's a favor...

Oh, you had me had two incorrect apostrophes in a row!
Cablevision is doing it's customer's a favor by taking the digital feed and converting it back to analog so people can still get some channels without a converter box.

And FAIL and FAIL again. First off, Cablevision is not doing any of its customers any "favors." Rates are high. And--oh, in the name of all that is holy, must I explain this again?--converter boxes are for over-the-air transmission of digital signals. No cables of any kind involved. Cable companies do not traffic in converter boxes. Why would they? Let's look at this mathematically: Over-the-air transmission + digital converter box = no money for cable company. Cable companies + cable from the street to your home + cable box = money for cable company every month. See?
The only reason they don't rebroadcast all of the channels is because of bandwidth constraints.

If so, why doesn't the company explain that? Why, in the run-up to the digital transition, did it lie in its advertising?
If you want all the channels you have to have a digital converter...

...from Cablevision. Any other TV provider requires a converter box...

...on any TV in the house to receive channels. Everyone should know what they are talking about before they start ranting like fools.

True, that.
What else can you expect from a liberal lunatic?


Oh, and "Rob" signed off with the a link to a nonexistent Blogspot ID page, so no way to thank him for his friendly comment in person.

I admit I originally thought it was someone within Cablevision--my stats showed the visit came from Lindenhurst where, well whaddya know?, there's a Cablevision customer service office. And I could see it came from someone using Cablevision's Internet service. But while I assumed the visit came from a search for "cablevision sucks," and therefore I figured it was a company employee with time on his hands, the search actually was for something like "when will cablevision get new converter boxes" (and FAIL! again).

Sorry, Cablevision. I still think you suck. But I doubt anyone in the company is that stupid.

"Christmas Is Pain"

Roy Zimmerman, with his Dylan takeoff, "Christmas Is Pain":

If only Bob D. had covered this on his own Christmas album.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Surprising things I have in common with Gwyneth Paltrow

--1996: Confirmed as the next Calvin Klein model.

--Met with James Cameron for the role of Rose in "Titanic" (1997).

--Spends Thanksgiving every year with Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw at their home in the Hamptons.

--Name can be heard over the P.A. system in many episodes of the medical drama "St. Elsewhere" (1982).

--Has been friends with Maya Rudolph (of "Saturday Night Live" fame) since the age of seven.

--2002: TV commercials and print ads for Spain's department store chain El Corte Inglés' spring line.

--Is a close friend of Madonna.

--Favorite alcoholic drinks are Guinness and red wine.

--Earns $3 million per year endorsing Estée Lauder on television and in print advertisements.

--Was hospitalized and then released (14 January 2008).

--Attended the 55th Tony Awards. Can be seen dancing with the revival cast of "The Rocky Horror Show" during "The Time Warp".

--Auditioned for "Vickie" in "Reality Bites" (1994), but lost out to Janeane Garofalo.

--Born at 5:25 PM (PDT).

--Said upon breaking up with Brad Pitt: "It really changed my life. When we split up, something changed, permanently, in me. My heart sort of broke that day, and it will never be the same."

--Friend of Cameron Diaz.


(Information from IMDb. Yes, a repurposed version of the Cameron Diaz gag. Sue me.)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Quotation of the day

Efforts to reach Christ for comment were unsuccessful.

Runner-up, from same story:
Christ didn't try to get out of jury duty and was "perfectly happy to serve."

(hat tip: God Is My Codependent)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Warning: Do not read this post if you're hung over (or feel like eating for the next 24 hours, at least)

Presenting another entry in an ongoing series of clippings from the recipe files of Jeanne Metzger Feinberg.

If you're feeling up to it, click to enlarge, then meet me on the other side.

I admire the psychedelic properties and symmetry of these illustrations--it's like a Busby Berkeley number on your plate!--but Velveeta on shrimp? Oh, my. That is wrong on too many levels to even count.

Also, for those of you too chicken to look at the full glory of this, let me present the ingredient list of the Supper Sandwiches: Toast. Peanut butter. Sweet pickle relish. Velveeta sauce.

NOTE: Will asks me to point out that his mother was a huge Julia Child fan and he has NO IDEA why these culinary monstrosities were in her recipe file.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thanks for clearing that up

Anyone who works in journalism will tell you: There is nothing more frustrating than the style guidelines of The Associated Press. To say they are often maddeningly vague would be an understatement.

I was trying find something on AP's Web site this morning and happened upon a Q&A page. It features this helpful hint:

Got it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Paul Theroux was robbed

Yay--the annual Bad Sex Awards, for terrible smutty writing, are in!

The winner is Jonathan Littell, from his novel The Kindly Ones:
"I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg."

Remind me not to have breakfast at his house.

But I'd say Paul Theroux should have won for this passage from A Dead Hand:
"She took my head in both hands and guided it downward, between her fragrant thighs. 'Yoni puja--pray, pray at my portal.'"

Remind me never to cross Theroux's portal. Or pray, ever again.

(Hat tip: Idle Musings)

Quotation of the day

"What if one of them were a ninja? Obama could have been killed." --Ed Schultz, MSNBC, on the Salahis

I have two words for you: Garden hose.