Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Worst New Year's Eve ever

Dec. 31, 1990. I celebrated by staying home and defrosting the freezer.

In general, New Year's Eve sucks. It is, I maintain, the most overrated holiday of the year.

If you're curious, the most underrated holiday is St. Swithin's Day, mostly because 1) it's fun to say (really--try saying "Me? I'll be celebrating St. Swithin's Day in Southampton--how about you?" out loud), and 2) it sounds made up. (A close runner-up would be Setsubun, in Japan. Any holiday that involves hurling beans indoors is all right in my book.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Search me.

Recent searches that have produced hits for The Velvet Blog:
--handsome visage
--"chris heinz" whirl*
--christmas songs written by jews
--christmas is pain
--self induce
--induce a coma
--santa riding a bike
--marshmallowed yams
--inflatable turkey philadelphia
--new year's eve sucks
--kitty litter stink

Recent searches that have produced hits for Freddie's blog (really):
--ruff ruff ruff
--ruff ruff ruff
--ruff ruff

I'm not sure what I should draw from this, other than I really ought to write an entry that somehow involves Christmas, Judaism, pain, Sunny von Bulow, cooking, and dogs. Shouldn't be too hard. And Chris Heinz really is dreamy, isn't he?

*Due to the chance juxtaposition of John Kerry's stepson's name on the same page as a quote from "Muskrat Love" ("...and they whirl and they twirl and they tango...").

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Give the people what they want

According to The New York Times's article on blogging last Sunday, I've really missed the boat.

"The favorite topic of personal bloggers is sex."

Well, I'm just not comfortable getting that personal.

So, instead, I offer you some second-hand advice from Tommy Lee, of Motley Crue. According to his new (cough, cough) memoir, Tommyland, threesomes are a bad idea, because someone always feels left out. Instead, you should always--always--push for a foursome. That way, everyone has someone to do.

There. Happy now?

Also from the Times article:

As Web logs proliferate--Technorati, which tracks 5 million blogs, estimates that 15,000 are added each day--the boundaries between public and private are being transformed.

To which I can only ask, WHO IS READING ALL THESE BLOGS????

Sure, I can see following the blog of, say, a dog who posts important dog-related links. Who wouldn't? But, as far as I can tell, of the 15,000 blogs added every day, approximately 14,900 of them are written by Hong Kong teenage girls who, for some inexplicable reason, feel compelled to write in some form of text-messaging English.

It all gives me a headache. But these days, what doesn't?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Department of Corrections

--Several times over the last few months, The Velvet Blog has forecast the end of the world, based on signs such as the appearance of TV shows like Date My Mom, but the apocalypse has not yet happened. TVB regrets the error. However, Fox in January will be broadcasting a program in which a woman who was given up for adoption as a baby has to pick out her real biological father from a group of imposters, so we are very hopeful the apocalypse will be happening early in 2005.

--The Velvet Blog repeatedly forecast John Kerry's victory. George W. Bush won, and TVB deeply, deeply regrets that error, and, indeed, the errors of approximately 52% of the country.

--The Velvet Blog implied that the Republican National Committee had pictures of Sen. John McCain fucking a goat in order to blackmail him into endorsing Pres. Bush's re-election. This was incorrect. The RNC actually had pictures of Sen. McCain screwing a small sheep. The mistake seems understandable, but TVB regrets it anyway.

--The Velvet Blog stated that Sen. Zell Miller has rabies. This is not true, and TVB regrets the error. Sen. Miller is actually just a fucking nutjob.

--In the wake of Jon Stewart's comments on Crossfire, The Velvet Blog repeatedly stated that host Tucker Carlson is a dick. TVB regrets the error. Mr. Carlson is, in fact, just a wanker.

--The Velvet Blog recently implied that Yanni was overplayed on PBS during pledge drives. Actually, Yanni is also overplayed as background music for folding laundry. TVB regrets the error.

--The Velvet Blog said that the "pie goo" is not a technical baking term. Actually, it must be, as someone recently found this site by Googling the term "goo pie." And if that refers to something nasty rather than the makings of pecan pie, TVB really, really regrets the error, but doesn't want to hear about it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Excerpt from David Sedaris's "The SantaLand Diaries," about his experiences working as an elf at Macy's for two Christmas seasons:

The hallway was packed with people, and all of them seemed to stop me with a question: which way to the down escalator, which way to the elevator, the Patio Restaurant, gift wrap, the women's rest room, Trim-A-Tree. There was a line for Santa and a line for the women's bathroom, and one woman, after asking me a dozen questions already, asked, "Which line for the women's bathroom?" I shouted that I thought it was the line with all the women in it.

She said, "I'm going to have you fired."

I had two people say that to me today. "I'm going to have you fired." Go ahead, be my guest. I'm wearing a green velvet costume; it doesn't get any worse than this. Who do these people think they are?

"I'm going to have you fired!" and I wanted to lean over and say, "I'm going to have you killed."

I read a slightly shortened version of this piece to raise money for a charity the other night. It went well. But too bad that only eight people showed up. Still, I got asked to do it at a coffeehouse next year--for money! Woo-hoo! I'm a professional actor at last!

There's an unofficial David Sedaris resource site here--with, sadly, many dead links. Too bad all of Sedaris's Esquire columns have now switched over to a pay site.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Christmas Is Pain

Lyric of the day; imagine this being sung in a Dylanesque rasp.

There's a turkey a gobblin' out in the yard
Now he's gutted and stuffed and he's basted and charred
And your father is whistlin' and washin' the blood down the drain
Christmas is pain

There's a crowd on the hillside with hatchets and saws
With a keen disregard for the forestry laws
And they happily hum while the stumps slowly bleed in the rain
Christmas is pain

And the stockings are hung by the chimney with care
As if anyone in their right mind would hang 'em there
And some tired old crooner is croakin' out carols again
Christmas is pain

[terrible harmonica solo]

And you wait for an hour to see Santa Claus
And he's covered with velveteen, bourbon and gauze
And he pinches your mother and she can't find the words to explain
Christmas is pain

And the hungry are hungering on Hunger Street
While the people on Plenty Street ... eat
And you punctured the roof of your mouth on a sharp candy cane
Christmas is pain

And all the good cheer is just Madison Avenue's
And all the best Christmas songs were written by Jews
And the eight tiny reindeer have left an embarrassing stain
Christmas is pain

[another terrible harmonica solo]

And two-thirds of the world doesn't give half a damn
And the rest are all bloated on marshmallowed yams
And if Jesus was here, he'd be sent to the back of the train
Christmas is pain

And they double the price of whatever you need
Singin', "I pledge allegiance to corporate greed"
And you're forced to spend several hours conversing with your old Aunt Lorraine
who's insane
with a brain on a plane to Spain
where the main stays rainly in the flat terrain
Christmas is pain

--Roy Zimmerman

Go to Roy's Web site (there's a link off his name above) and download some tunes. The CD this is from, "Comic Sutra," is available on Amazon.

Monday, December 06, 2004

It's Pledge Drive Week on The Velvet Blog!

For your $100 pledge, we'll send you Yanni's CD, "Aimless Noodling," as our gift.

For your $200 pledge, we'll send you Yanni's DVD, "Live at the Apocalypse."

But for just $300, we promise to send you no Yanni whatsoever!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Here, let me draw you a map, and I'll leave the key under the welcome mat...

Quote of the day:

"For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do," [outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy] Thompson said. "We are importing a lot of food from the Middle East, and it would be easy to tamper with that."
--The New York Times


Friday, December 03, 2004

Seven items that didn't make the cut as Wonders of the Ancient World

-The Smallish Pyramid of Giza
-The Drooping Gardens of Babylon
-The Humungous Statue of the Guy With No Arms
-The Cave With Pictures My 4-Year-Old Nephew Could Draw Better
-The... Um... What the Hell Is That?
-The Commodore 64
-That Stuff in the Tupperware Container at the Back of the Refrigerator

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Writers are a funny breed

Has the entire writer community gone insane, or does the letters section of The New York Times Book Review have a new editor? Whichever, the section has lately been running what appear to be unedited letters from authors complaining about the reviews of their books.

My favorite so far is from last Sunday. Ron Felber, author of a book about a Mafia-connected doctor, writes:

"Further, much more than a parade of 'set pieces' highlighted by Carlo Gambino's 'rectal exam' (written tongue in cheek, by the way)..."

Note to Mr. Felber: The phrases "rectal exam" and "tongue in cheek" should never be used so closely together.

More decorating tips

I just noticed that different neighbors have left up some of their Halloween decorations.

Skeleton in trees in late October? Festive (I guess).

Skeleton in trees in December? Creepy (definitely).

Monday, November 29, 2004

BTW, "pie goo" is not a technical baking term

For my yearly Thanksiving pecan pie, I got inspired and tried a little kitchen improv. I melted a square of baking chocolate and mixed the results into the pie goo. It turned the whole thing dark and fudgy.

Pardon me a moment while I admire my own brilliance...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I blame my neighbor's decorations

For some reason, I can't get the song "Christmastime Is Here," from A Charlie Brown Christmas, out of my head.

It's WAY too early.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Let's see... So, I'm writing a review of a movie about Alexander the Great, and it isn't very good

"Alexander? Not so great" --Globe and Mail (Canada)

"Alexander the Not-so-Great" --Ottawa Citizen

"Stone's 'Alexander' turns out not so great" --Boston Globe

"Alexander Not So Great" --Hartford Courant

"Not So Great" --Newsday

"'Alexander' is far from being great" --Kansas City Star

"Not exactly great, but not bad" --Miami Herald

"'Alexander' the Great: Barely even mediocre" --USA Today

"Review: 'Alexander' far from great" --CNN

"Misconceived 'Alexander' is far from great" --Philadelphia Inquirer

"'Alexander' the Great disappointment" --ASU

"Stone's mistake: 'Alexander' the grating" --Charlotte Observer (OK, that one made me laugh)

"'Alexander' the great loser" --Philadelphia Daily News

Sorry to bore my loyal readers (yes, all four of you) with these collections, but 1) I love movies and 2) I hate lazy writing.

Monday, November 22, 2004

And while we're at it, Happy Easter

My neighbors, who put up the Giant Inflatable Turkey the day after Halloween (the Giant Inflatable Witch and Giant Inflatable Ghosts went up sometime around Oct. 1), took down the turkey on Nov. 17 and transformed the yard into a veritable Winter Wonderland: Santa riding a bike (um, why?), reindeer, elves, giant (uninflatable) snowflakes, and approximately 500,000 tiny light bulbs.

Poor Giant Inflatable Turkey. It must really hurt to not even make it to your intended holiday.

What are you thankful for?

I'm thankful that I've not yet killed any of my co-workers and landed in prison. (I'd never last--I'm too pretty.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

"What do ya mean, where am I calling from? I'm near a waterfall."

There's a guy in the last stall in our men's room carrying on a conversation on his cell phone while he poops.

I find this deeply disturbing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Or, Why we can't all just get along

From that great philospher, Emo Philips:

I was in San Fransisco once, walking along the Golden Gate Bridge, and I saw this guy on the bridge about to jump. So I thought I'd try to stall and detain him, long enough for me to put the film in. I said, "Don't jump!" and he turns... You've heard of the elephant man? He was kind of like that; he had a, well, you could say he had the head of a horse. And my heart went out to him. I said, "Why the long face?" ...

He said, "Nobody loves me."

I said, "God loves you, you silly ninny."

He said, "How do you know there's a God?"

I said, "Of course there's a God. Do you think that billions of years ago a bunch of molecules floating around at random could someday have had the sense of humor to make you look like that?"

He said, "I do believe in God."

I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?"

He said, "A Christian."

I said, "Me too. Protestant or Catholic?"

He said, "Protestant."

I said, "Me too! What franchise?"

He said, "Baptist."

I said, "Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Baptist."

I said, "Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist."

I said, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist or Northern Conservative Reform Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist."

I said, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Eastern Region?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region."

I said, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912."

I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over the edge.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Yet another sign of the coming apocalypse (and not a minute too soon)

Description, from MTV's web site, of a new program. No, I'm not making this up, though I wish I were.

MTV is taking dating to a whole new level with Date My Mom. Each episode features a different brave guy looking for love in the weirdest place...on dates with three different moms. He's not looking to hook up though, he's spending time with the moms to discover everything he can about their daughters. Our brave guy's job is to try and guess just how far the apple did fall from the tree. He won't be able to see a picture of the daughters on his dates, so he'll have to work hard to get the truth out of the moms. In the end, everyone meets up on the beach to hear his decision. This is the spot where he'll finally get to see what these daughters look like. Will he pick a hottie or will he be hurtin? Check out all of the action on Date My Mom.

Sigh. This is wrong on so many different levels.

(By the way, when I wrote a few months ago about an idea for a reality show called Who Wants to Hump My Mom?, I was kidding.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


From Manohla Dargis's review of "The Polar Express" in today's New York Times:

"...Most moviegoers will be more concerned with the eerie listlessness of those [computer generated] characters' faces and the grim vision of Santa Claus's North Pole compound, with interiors that look like a munitions factory and facades that seem conceived along the same lines as Coketown, the red-brick town of 'machinery and tall chimneys' in Dickens's 'Hard Times.' Tots surely won't recognize that Santa's big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler's Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will.' But their parents may marvel that when Santa's big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum."

But, to paraphrase a Mad magazine piece that my friend Grammarian reminded me of yesterday, the producers can easily use the quote in ads with judicious editing:

"Most moviegoers ... will be awestruck! Parents may marvel!"

Monday, November 08, 2004

I'm like Ed Wood meets Emeric Pressburger!

"It's like 'Cinema Paradiso' meets 'It's a Wonderful Life'!"

"It's like "Pretty Woman' meets 'Notting Hill' for teens!"

Ugh. Those two quotes come from a New York Times article on the low-budget film market. (What does that second quote even mean?)

If it's that easy to get a film made, I humbly suggest the following ideas:

It's like "The Sound of Music" meets "The Dirty Dozen"!

It's like "Jaws" meets "Deep Throat"!

It's like "Clueless" meets "Emma"!

It's like "Gone With the Wind" meets "There's Something About Mary"!

It's like "Die Hard" meets "Die Hard II"!

It's like "SpongeBob SquarePants" meets "The Virgin Spring"!

If any of these get made, I demand 10% of the gross, plus points. Whatever that means.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thoughts on the election

Shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.

Well, I just got back from Canada. Anything happen in the U.S. while I was gone?



Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Vacation's all I ever wanted...

Yeesh. A Go-Go's reference? Please.

I'll be insanely busy the rest of the week, then I'm on vacation for two weeks, so it's doubtful you'll hear from me again for a while.

My advice while I'm gone:

--Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. Snacks are. Eat chocolate. Not the cheap stuff, either--it's just not worth it. Buy the good stuff and savor every bite. Just don't make a pig out of yourself.

--Vote early and vote often.

--Signal before changing lanes.

--If you happen to run into Tucker Carlson, call him a dick.

--Chew thoroughly before swallowing.

--And keep your dirty shoes off my clean kitchen floor!

This news just in: Tucker Carlson still a dick

"I thought that he [Jon Stewart] looked ridiculous," Carlson said in an interview Monday, "and I think the tape makes that clear." --Oct. 30, Associated Press


Monday, October 18, 2004

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Somehow, I doubt this will pass the Turing test

Real "conversation" I had with a co-worker, after I left my desk and put on the auto-respond function:

mijhsan: I'm back.

Auto response from JDonahue62: Hi mijhsan, I'm unavailable at the moment.

JDonahue62: i'm back.

Auto response from mijhsan: Hi JDonahue62, I'm out to lunch.

JDonahue62: let's both sit back and let our IMs talk to each other.

Disturbing referral

Hmm. Someone seems to have found The Velvet Blog by Googling ways to induce a coma. (Got a hit here because of my jest from a few days ago about wanting to wake up after the elections are over.)

That seriously creeps me out. Also, the fact that Googling the phrase "induce a coma" puts TVB on the first page of results. And that the #1 listing is for a page headlined "Wanking yourself into a coma." Really.

This is making me completely rethink Google's reliability.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Let's see. I'm writing a story or review about a movie called "Shark Tale."

What catchy phrase can I use that no one else will come up with? I've got it!!!

"You and your family will be hooked!" --Jeffrey Lyons, NBC

"By the first two minutes of the movie, I was hooked!" --Gene Shalit, NBC

Note: The makers of this movie are using the above two quotes right next to each other in ads!

"Good animated movies always seem to offer a little more under the surface than "Shark Tale" delivers. I wasn't hooked." --Summit Daily News

"So far, the movie has hooked in $87.7 million, according to studio." --People

"Shark Tale has hooked some of the hottest names in the music biz for its soundtrack." --USA Today

"""Shark Tale," Dreamworks SKG's animated fish comedy hooked the No. 1 spot..." --CBS Marketwatch

"But back to the movie that hooked the biggest audience by far this weekend. The opening of the PG-rated "Shark Tale" will be a feather in the cap of the studio's animation division..." --Hollywood Reporter

"Families are still hooked on Shark Tale." --Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Pic hooked $347,000 in the Philippines..." --Variety

"Released Down Under before its domestic launch this Friday, "Shark Tale" hooked $2.4 million on 273 in Australia..." --Variety

"The animated fish story, which features a Who's Who of celebrity voices, hooked the No. 1 spot..." --New York Post

"For Robert De Niro, it was Katzenberg and his team that hooked him." --The Times of London

"Hooked on animation..." --Winnipeg Sun

"The creators of 'Shark Tale' hooked a whole school of big-name celebs to bring movie's finned folks to life." --Chicago Sun Times (Red Streak)

"In fact, from the opening sequence of a worm being cast into the ocean, I was hooked (pun most likely intended)." --The Citizen

"Why these actors are hooked on their animated 'Shark Tale' characters." --San Bernardino Sun

"Shark Tale has a story line that's sure to have you hooked." --City News Ohio

Monday, October 11, 2004

Is that a radio transmitter in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

I would say we'd reached the height of the silly season. Only I've been feeling so cynical lately there's a nagging voice inside me that says "ridiculous, but ... not completely impossible."

From The New York Times:

What was that bulge in the back of President Bush's suit jacket at the presidential debate in Miami last week?

According to rumors racing across the Internet this week, the rectangular bulge visible between Mr. Bush's shoulder blades was a radio receiver, getting answers from an offstage counselor into a hidden presidential earpiece. The prime suspect was Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's powerful political adviser.

When the online magazine Salon published an article about the rumors on Friday, the speculation reached such a pitch that White House and campaign officials were inundated with calls.

First they said that pictures showing the bulge might have been doctored. But then, when the bulge turned out to be clearly visible in the television footage of the evening, they offered a different explanation.

"There was nothing under his suit jacket," said Nicolle Devenish, a campaign spokeswoman. "It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric."

Ms. Devenish could not say why the "rumpling" was rectangular.

Nor was the bulge from a bulletproof vest, according to campaign and White House officials; they said Mr. Bush was not wearing one.

Please, if I start spouting off about Area 51, the grassy knoll, or the faked moon landing, just put me out of my misery.

Oh, and just for the record, I never want to see the words "Bush" and "bulge" juxtaposed again. OK?

The power of a truly silly idea and the Internet

Type the word "Freddie" into Google. You'll get 1.8 million matches.

#10 on the list--behind some hits for Freddie Mac, Freddie Mercury, and Freddie Prinz--is my dog's blog (see Links list if you don't know what I'm talking about).

Un. Be. Lievable.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

In related news, down is up and black is white

"MIAMI Oct. 7, 2004 -- Vice President Dick Cheney asserted on Thursday that a report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, who found no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991, justifies rather than undermines President Bush's decision to go to war. " --The Associated Press

Sounds legit to me

Freddie already posted this important news story, but I'm sure he won't mind if I cross-post.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Fact-checking the debate

Worth reading. Oh, and this, too.

I have to admit that I didn't watch much of it. About two-thirds of the way through, though, I tuned back in and closed my eyes--Cheney is a lot easier to take if you don't actually have to look at him.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

People I hate

-People who go through stop signs
-People who go through stop lights
-People who weave in an out of traffic at 70+ mph
-People who tailgate
-People who pass you, then get into your lane and slow down
-People who rubberneck at accidents
-People who stop in the middle of the road for no discernible reason
-People who change lanes without signaling
-People who change lanes without checking their mirror
-People who use their cell phones while driving, without using a hands-free set
-People who see a policeman on the side of the road and slow down to 10 mph under the speed limit
-People who drive SUVs for no good reason
-People who appear to be watching TV while driving
-Dick Cheney

Monday, October 04, 2004

Is there a safe way to self-induce a coma?

Honestly, I don't think I'm mentally prepared to withstand the assault of jaw-dropping political ads, hot-air-filled pundits, and dubious polls over the next few weeks. I mean... where's Claus von Bulow when you need him???

Thursday, September 30, 2004

The new new math

Quote of the day, from the rather dismal Web page of reader quotes for a self-published book:

"If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be 'simply amazing.'"

Perhaps I amuse easily, but that cracked me up.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer

I don't know about you, but I'm both looking forward to and dreading Thursday's presidential debate. In order to make it even slightly bearable, I've devised this drinking game.

If Kerry uses a sentence that must be diagrammed in order to be understood: One shot.

If Bush mispronounces a common word: One shot.

If Bush uses the words "Osama bin Laden": Drink an entire bottle of Jack Daniels (I've made this a rather high penalty, as it seems unlikely).

If Kerry uses the phrase "W stands for 'wrong'": Quarter bottle of tequila. (Look, he's my candidate, but that phrase always hits my ear as insanely awkward. In print? Maybe. Out loud? Nope, doesn't work.)

If Bush intimates that the country is more likely to be attacked if Kerry gets elected: Half a tub of bathtub gin.

If Howard Borden says "Hi, Bob!": One shot.*

If Bush suggests Iraq occupation is going well: Shoot television.

If Kerry bungles this: Shoot me.

*Sorry--wrong drinking game.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Innovative idea for election reform

Each state picks an official Election Monkey. All 50 Election Monkeys are locked in a room with jumbo-size photos of the candidates. Winner is the candidate whose photo has the least poop thrown at it after a set time period (say, one hour).

Makes more sense than the Electoral College, no?

Friday, September 24, 2004

Insert sarcastic headline here

Love the headline of this movie review.

(I have the feeling this will be fixed soon, so for the record, the headline for this review of the flick The Forgotten was "Use this hed* for secondary film reviews/stories.")

I work at a magazine, and let me tell you, I've been known to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking I've let a "dummy" headline like that sneak into print.

*It's true, people in publishing spell "head" as "hed." I've never been able to figure out why. Is it that much of a timesaver to drop one letter?

Sept. 27 update: It's still up--amazing!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Monkey News Update

Headline of the day:

Man Shoots Wife, Mistakes Her for Monkey

OK, OK, it's a sad story, and it's terrible for the family. But just how appearance-challenged, shall we say, was she?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I've flip-flopped--Rufus T. Firefly gets my vote!

Who can resist a platform like this???

Mrs. Teasdale: If it's not asking too much...
For our information,
Just for illustration,
Tell us how you intend
To run the nation.

Firefly: These are the laws of my administration.
No one's allowed to tell a dirty joke.
And whistling is forbidden
(He whistles and conducts the guests)

Guests: We're not allowed to tell a dirty joke
Hail, hail Freedonia.

Firefly: If chewing gum is chewed
The chewer is pursued,
And in the hoose-gow hidden.
(He chews)

Guests: If we choose to chew, we'll be pursued.

Firefly: If any form of pleasure is exhibited.
Report to me and it will prohibited.
I'll put my foot down,
So shall it be.
This is the land of the Free.

The last man nearly ruined this place,
He didn't know what to do with it.
If you think this country's bad enough now,
Just wait till I get through with it.

The country's taxes must be fixed,
And I know what to do with it.
If you think you're paying too much now,
Just wait till I get through with it.

I will not stand for anything
That's crooked or unfair.
I'm strictly on the up and up,
So everyone beware.

If anyone's caught taking graft
And I don't get my share,
We stand 'em up against the wall...
And pop goes the weasel!

So everyone beware,
Who's crooked or unfair,
No one must take a bit of graft
Unless he gets his share.

If any man should come between
A husband and his bride,
We find out which one she prefers
By letting her decide.

If she prefers the other man,
The husband steps outside.
We stand him up against the wall,
And pop goes the weasel!

Guests: The husband steps outside,
Relinquishes his bride.

Firefly: (simultaneously) Ah-ah-ah...

Guests: They stand him up against the wall,
And take him for a ride.

--From Duck Soup, of course

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Seven Less-Deadly Sins

Vague peevishness

The most important election--ever?

I do happen to believe this is the most imporant election--in my lifetime, at the very least. But I was amused by this article that ran in The New York Times on Sept. 5:

The Most Important Article in Our History

If the presidential election were Mae West, her reply to a flatterer calling her the "most important election ever" could easily be: "I bet you say that to all the elections, big boy." Surprise, all you election 2004 superlative-pushers, from Bruce Springsteen to the Christian Coalition: This election is the "most important" in our history - our lifetimes, a generation, whatever - only if you ignore a slew of others.

Here is a sampling of comments stretching back more than a century and a half.

1864 Lincoln vs. McClellan

"We have had many important elections, but never one so important as that now approaching."

Gen. James H. Lane,
pro-Lincoln campaigner,
The New York Times, March 31

1888 Harrison vs. Cleveland

"The Republic is approaching what is to be one of the most important elections in its history."

New York Times editorial, July 2

1924 Coolidge vs. Davis

"I look upon the coming election as the most important in the history of this country since the Civil War."

Joseph Levenson,
Republican leader,
The New York Times, July 20

1976 Ford vs. Carter

"I think this election is one of the most vital in the history of America."

President Ford,
debating Jimmy Carter, Oct. 22

1980 Carter vs. Reagan

The International Union of Electronic Workers said it felt it was important to take a stand early because the critical problems the nation faces may make the 1980 election "the most important of this century."

Associated Press, Nov. 2, 1979

1984 Reagan vs. Mondale

"This is the most important election in this nation in 50 years."

Ronald Reagan, Nov. 5

1988 Bush vs. Dukakis

"It may be the most important election of this century."

Senator Robert C. Byrd,
Democrat of West Virginia, Oct. 22

1992 Bush vs. Clinton

"I ask you to join with me for these last three days to reach out and call your friends and family and neighbors to tell them this is the most important election in a generation."

Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, Oct. 30

1996 Clinton vs. Dole

"This is the most critical election in the long history of the American labor movement."

John Sweeney,
AFL-CIO president,
The Washington Post, March 3

"It's the most important election of our lifetime."

Ralph Reed,
Christian Coalition director,
The Tulsa World, April 14

"Talk about a bummer! Can you imagine how the Republicans must feel at this, the beginning of the most important election year in decades? Pass the Prozac, please."

Robert Beckel,
Democratic political analyst;
commentary in The Denver Post, Jan. 31

2000 Bush vs. Gore

"The first national election of the 21st century is the most important election (so far) of the 21st century."

Ebony magazine, November

United States Representative Zach Wamp said last week he believes "2000 historically is the most important national election in my lifetime."

Chattanooga Free Press, Nov. 22

2004 Bush vs. Kerry

"This is the fourth presidential election which Pearl Jam has engaged in as a band, and we feel it's the most important one of our lifetime."

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam,

"This is the most important election I can remember, at least since 1968."

Al Franken, comedian,
Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 8

"Christian Coalition of America believes this is the most important election in our nation's history."

Press release, Aug. 24

"We share a belief that this is the most important election of our lifetime."

Statement on Bruce Springsteen's
Web site on the Vote for Change tour

"My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime."

Senator John Kerry
Democratic National Convention,
July 29

"For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives, but in our history."

Vice President Dick Cheney
Republican National Convention
on Wednesday

Larry King: "Is this the most important election ever?"

President Bush: "For me it is."

"Larry King Live," Aug. 12

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Beware of amorous poultry

Headline of the day:

Turkey Drops Adultery Proposals

Disappointingly, this turned out to be about the country.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Department of Clarification

From Al Franken's blog. Sorry, I'm not sure why, but I can't link this at the moment:

If ever anyone needed proof that Bob Novak has no shame, scruples or ethical principles, they should look no further than his display this weekend. Novak, who has refused to tell law enforcement officials which administration officials helped him illegally leak the name of an undercover CIA operative, went on CNN to demand CBS News reveal confidential sources who gave them President Bush's National Guard records. "I'd like CBS, at this point, to say where they got these documents from," Novak said, and then repeated himself: "I think they should say where they got these documents." The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt was perplexed, asking Novak, "You're saying CBS should reveal its source?" He replied, "Yes." Hunt asked again, "You think reports ought to reveal sources?" Novak, then embarrassed said, "No, no. Wait a minute...I'm just saying in that case." Hunt summed up, "So in some cases, reporters ought to reveal sources?" Novak replied, "Yes."

Sunday, September 12, 2004

And they make your breath smell like flowers!

I'm listening to some vintage radio broadcasts of "Dragnet," given to me by my friend Grammarian. The shows are oddly fascinating and stylized, sounding to my ears like a weird combination of "Law & Order," Samuel Beckett, and David Mamet (minus the swearing). Equally intriguing are the commercials, mostly for Chesterfield cigarettes. Here's one, verbatim, as delivered by "Dragnet" star Jack Webb:

"Before a case goes to trial, a working detective has to get all the evidence. He interviews witnesses, takes statements, checks and rechecks. He tries to get all the facts. As a smoker, you, too, should be interested in facts. You should know, Chesterfield is the first to give you scientific data in support of smoking. Nose, throat, and accessory organs [are] not adversely affected by smoking Chesterfields--the first such report ever published about any cigarette. Remember that, and next time, buy Chesterfields."

Wow. Who would have thought smoking doesn't affect your organs' ability to accessorize?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Is that a promise or a threat?

"If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States." --Vice President Cheney

What--you'll drop Zell Miller on us? I couldn't take that again!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Overdeveloped sense of irony? Or just a moron?*

Bumper stickers on the gas-guzzling SUV in front of me on the Long Island Expressway this morning:

Be Green

One Planet, One Future

Partnership for an Idiot-Free America

*I'm voting for the latter.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Rise and Fall of Freddie the Dog


7 a.m.: Wakes up; licks balls

7:15 a.m.: Pees in yard

7:20 a.m.: Eats

7:30 a.m.: Goes for walk; poops

9:00 a.m.: Licks balls

10 a.m.: Someone posts Freddie's blog URL on home page

11 a.m.: Picks cookbook off shelf in kitchen; eats

12:05 p.m.: Freddie's blog gets 1,000 hits

12:06 p.m: Scratches ear

3 p.m.: Licks balls

5 p.m.: Blog gets 2,000 hits

6 p.m.: Eats; pees; poops

7 p.m.: Another 500 hits

8 p.m.: Paris Hilton stops by; Freddie considers humping her leg, shudders deeply, and decides against it

9 p.m.: Freddie denounced by Swift Boat Veterans: "His wounds were superficial."

10 p.m.: Dick Cheney pronounces Freddie a "flip flopper. First he likes squeaky squirrel toy. Then he likes squeaky hippo toy. Is this the dog we want in office?"

10:15 p.m.: Freddie spotted with J.Lo; press dubs them "Freddifer"

10:30 p.m.: Pees; poops

11:00 p.m.: Checks SiteMeter report; licks balls; sleeps


7:00 a.m.: Wakes, eats, pees, poops, licks

7:15 a.m.: Ben Affleck stops by, warns him of backlash; Freddie considers humping his leg, but decides against it; Affleck leaves to make another crappy movie

7:30 a.m.: More licking

8:00 a.m.: Paramount rush-produces starring vehicle for Freddifer

11:00 a.m.: Plays in yard

12:00 p.m.: Zell Miller diagnosed with rabies (c'mon--it was obvious)

1:00 p.m.: Checks SiteMeter, sees hits are up to 5,000-something; licks balls

7:00 p.m.: Paramount realizes it has bomb on its hands; decides to release Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! to theaters without screening for critics

8:00 p.m.: Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! opens; general consensus: "Too much ball licking."

9:00 p.m.: Site hits taper off; falls asleep early


8:00 a.m.: Realizes ordering thousands of Freddie mugs and T-shirts was probably a bad idea; licks balls

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Wanna know what's sad?

My dog's blog gets more hits than mine does.

I... er, he started it as a goof. A dog-related link a couple times a week, written in dog language. Yesterday, the site got a hit from someone who had posted a message somewhere about how stupid and unfunny it was (traced back through SiteMeter). I... er, Freddie almost deleted the blog. (He's very sensitive. As am I.)

Then someone put the URL on their company's home page. Then another popular link page picked it up. And another.

And since 10 a.m., Freddie's page has gotten more than 1,000 hits.

The Internet is very, VERY strange.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"Creepy," sure--if by that you mean "insanely romantic"!

News story of the day:

Woman Turns Husband's Remains Into Diamond

A Minnesota woman has honored her late husband by turning his cremated remains into a yellow diamond so she could always keep a part of him with her.

Nancy Wodziak wanted to honor her husband Richard in a special way after he died from a brain tumor last October. So, she became the first person in the state to turn a loved one's remains into a diamond.

Wodziak received her brilliant, half-carat yellow diamond after eight months of waiting.

"This certainly seems like a neat idea as far as diamonds are forever," Bradshaw Funeral and Cremation Services spokesman Justin Bradshaw said. "Some people feel it's a neat thing and that they're glad that I told them and other people I think feel that this is not for them."

"I think that's creepy," a woman said in the report.

--Local6.com News

We're bringing the war... back home!

From "How Can You Be in Two Places at Once, When You're Not Anywhere at All?":

LURLENE: I'm going out there, Morrie! Help me into this parachute!

MORRIE: No, no, honey! You can't go out there! It's too late!

LURLENE: Zip me up! It's never too late, Morrie! I'm going out there, because ...I'm bringing the war back home!

SOUND: [Cuts to a giant amphitheatre, crowd stamping and cheering]

MC: Awright, boys! Awright! Quiet down now! Here she is, that lovely piece of cake we've all been waiting for, Miss Lillie LaMont!

LURLENE [Singing]:

We're bringing the war back home,
Where it ought to have been before!
We'll kill all the bees and spiders and flies,
And we won't play in iceboxes lying on their sides!
We'll wash our hands after wee-wee,
And if we're a girl, before!
And we'll march, march, march, et cet'ra!
'Til we never do march no more!

(All together now, boys!)
We're bringing the war back home,
Where it ought to have been before!
The pretty donut girl on the corner
Will be smilin' with a wringer in her hair!
We'll wash our hands after wee-wee,
And if we're a girl, before!
And we'll march, march, march, et cetera!
'Till we don't have to march no more!

(Hum along now)

SOUND: [Crowd humming under]

NARRATOR: We'd like to express our appreciation to the United States Marines, The British Commonwealth Occupation Forces, the French Legumes, and the Hong Kong Fireworks Company, without whom all of this would not have been necessary!

LURLENE: [singing]:

We won't have to march!
We won't have to march!
We won't have to march no more!

--The always brilliant Firesign Theatre, though I never did get the "wringer in her hair" line

The only plausible reason I can come up with for last night's speech

Dear Sen. McCain:

We have pictures of you fucking a goat.

The Republican National Committee

Monday, August 30, 2004

Oh, c'mon, you Republicans--if you're offering a "big tent," you need something to prop it up

"A theater discount controversy in New York is revealing a clash between Republican tastes and off-Broadway themes. The city's tourist bureau has stopped offering Republican delegates discount tickets to the off-Broadway show Naked Boys Singing. The GOP complained that it wasn't appropriate. The show has an openly gay theme, billing itself as a celebration of male nudity in comedy, song, and dance. The production's been running for six years and has received some praise from critics. But officials of the Republican Party decided it might be offensive to their audience. Even so, before the discount was revoked, about a dozen people used the special Republican code to buy discounted seats. Those tickets will be honored." --Associated Press, Aug. 27

Not quite sure I follow this--the RNC asked a group to stop giving its delegates a discount? Because... it thinks its delegates that want to see the show should pay full price?

Friday, August 27, 2004

I'll have a little hypocrisy with a schmear, please

"I resign because the smear campaigns that the Kerry folks were putting up was frankly distracting from the important and crucial message about the future that the President of the United States wants to get out. ... The campaign flatly did not coordinate with this group and this group did not coordinate with the campaign and I was at the nexus of making sure that didn't happen." --Benjamin Ginsberg, who resigned from the Bush campaign after it was disclosed that he was also working with the Swift boat demafers

So he coordinated the incoordination? How does one do that, exactly? Working closely with both groups to make sure they don't work closely? Must take some fancy footwork.

Dog days

The Deavers' errant pit bull, Cass,
Bit the postman on the ass.
Her lower teeth destroyed his sphincter,
Now his walk's a bit distincter.

--David Sedaris

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I'm sensing a trend

The business-technology magazine where I'm copy chief rarely runs book reviews, but publishers often send review copies of their wares. We recently received copies of The Naked Corporation: How the Age of Transparency Will Revolutionize Business; The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age; and The Naked Employee: How Security Is Compromising Workplace Privacy.

How about you? Have you noticed more nudity in the workplace lately? I'm half expecting the declaration of Clothing-Optional Fridays.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Vote early and vote often

Well, here's one election that I'm sure will stay clean.

UPDATE: I was wrong. This poll for America's most beloved advertising icon was going so well, until the Jolly Green Giant accused Mr. Clean of war atrocities, McGruff the Crime Dog killed and ate the Energizer Bunny, Ronald McDonald squeezed Miss Chiquita's ass, and the Keebler Elves were found in a compromising position with the Coppertone Girl. Meanwhile, the Seatbelt Dummies, Juan Valdez, and the Morton Salt Girl died after drinking out of the Kool-Aid Pitcher (what in God's name was in that thing, anyway?).

It looks like Master Lock will win by default, despite the fact that no one has any idea what the hell he looks like.

The Velvet Blog pledge to you, our greatest resource

We here at TVB swear to uphold the strategic value proposition of our synergies and branding, as long as it profitizes our end users. We aim to achieve a benchmark paradigm of our core competencies as we empower our functional partnering strategies to uphold discretionary values, even if that means re-engineering our reciprocal alliances. Or your money back.

Forever and ever, amen.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Hello, Mr. Pot--Have you met Mr. Kettle?

So, another Swift boat captain, William Rood,came out to defend Kerry. The Swifties behind the controversial ad struck back:

"The Swift boat group, which garnered much of its initial financing from men who have supported Mr. Bush's and his father's political endeavors, has been ready to defend itself and quickly provided a statement Saturday saying Mr. Rood's article was politically motivated." --The New York Times, Aug. 22

Oh, I see--his motives are political. Glad we got that cleared up.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Could it be?

A thousand hits?

Yet another sign of the coming apocalypse, no doubt.

"John Kerry stole my shoe!"

That's a quote from a very funny spoof of the Swift Boats for Disinformation ad, from the Morning Sedition radio show.

Anyway, today's New York Times story about the ad is must reading.

That ad just makes me want to throw things--large, heavy things.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Olympic update update update update

Dammit, disappointed yet again. Will the Olympics give me no satisfaction at all???

Olympic update update update

Hmm. Turns out "shuttlecocks" are those things you bat around in badminton. I mean, who knew?

Looking forward to the broad jump, anyway.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Olympic update update

The breast stroke turned out to be a letdown, too. Still, I can't wait to see all the shuttlecocks on view.

How about we just boycott idiocy instead?

"ALBANY, N.Y. -- Upset by rock musician Bruce Springsteen's opposition to President Bush, the New York Conservative Party's candidate for U.S. Senate is launching a 'Boycott the Boss' television commercial. 'He thinks making millions with a song-and-dance routine allows him to tell you how to vote,' Marilyn O'Grady says in the 30-second spot. 'Here's my vote: Boycott the Boss. If you don't buy his politics, don't buy his music.' Springsteen, nicknamed the Boss by his band members and fans, was among more than 20 musicians who announced Aug. 4 that they would hold a series of anti-Bush fundraising concerts in 28 cities in October. 'I feel this is one of the most critical elections in my lifetime,' Springsteen said at the time. A Springsteen publicist said Monday that the singer did not plan to comment on the ad." --Associated Press, Aug. 18

Note to Marilyn: If you get elected, I hope you do something about the pesky freedom-of-speech tradition we have in this country. Imagine! Americans actually having opinions--and speaking out about them! It just gives me the shivers.

Now, please give me a moment as I perform a lobotomy on myself.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Olympic update

Well, the snatch and the clean-and-jerk turned out not to be what I was expecting. But I still have high hopes for the breast stroke.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

That's it...

I'm moving to England.

Fact and fiction

Everybody needs a fact check every once in a while.

'Twas beauty killed the beast

In honor of the late Fay Wray, take a look at this original King Kong poster. Man, they don't make 'em like this anymore.


Today, of course, all the characters would be lined up in a slight V pattern with all their faces in half-shadow, like about half the current movie posters (blame Scream).

Yes, I just figured out how to post photos, and I'm practicing.

Monday, August 09, 2004

I've decided what this blog needs

And that's more news about monkeys.



Is that not the cutest monkey you've ever seen?

It won't accomplish anything, but I felt better

I was checking the news headlines over at Google over lunch, and blundered over a conservative column that just got my blood boiling. (It begins: "John Kerry will lose this election, and he will do so decisively. The defeat will go down as perhaps the only thing this candidate has ever done decisively." And goes downhill from there.) So I sent the writer a note:

That was the best parody of right-wing twaddle I've ever read! Congrats!

And my blood pressue went back to normal.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I guess everyone's doing it

"According to McLaughlin, several recent entries on PrezGeorgeW.typepad.com have compromised military operations, while other posts may have seriously undercut the PR efforts of White House press secretary Scott McClellan." --The Onion. And if it's in The Onion, you know it's true.

This explains a lot

"Third, this bill meets our commitment to America's Armed Forces by preparing them to meet the threats of tomorrow. Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. We must never stop thinking about how best to defend our country when we all must always be forward-thinking." --Extract from this morning's speech by President Bush, from a White House transcript distributed to news outlets. Did he actually say this? Did the White House bungle the transcript?

Update: Tape played on Al Franken's show. The transcript is correct.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Just want to point out I don't pick the ads

Something on this page makes Google/BlogSpot think I would like an ad shilling for the Republican convention and candidates on the top of my page (not everyone sees the same ad, though).

So let me put a few keywords on the page that will make a different ad pop up.

Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win! Kerry must win!


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

And is that Ed Sullivan and John Belushi I spy at the next table?

Correction of the day:

"A BIG thank-you to all the readers who called and e-mailed to point out a mistake we made on Saturday, when we identified the man sitting with Lily Tartikoff at Mr. Chow in Los Angeles as Brandon Tartikoff, her late husband. The brilliant NBC programmer died of cancer in 1997. We regret the error." --The New York Post, Aug. 3

Why children should be encouraged to watch more TV

"[Eleven-year-old Aaron Perez] was bitten [by a shark] while wade-fishing with his family July 25 at Bryan Beach in Brazoria County. It was the second of three shark attacks along the Gulf Coast this year. ... Aaron said he was standing in a school of fish when the shark, believed to be a bull shark, grabbed him. He said he began punching the creature in the gills, as he had learned on The Discovery Channel the day before." --The Houston Chronicle, Aug. 3

We report, you get thoroughly confused

"There was a bounce after last week's Democratic Convention. But it went to President Bush, not John Kerry. ... In the USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, Kerry's support dipped 2 percentage points among likely voters compared with a poll the week before the convention. Bush's standing rose 5 percentage points." --USA Today, Aug. 3

"The new [Washington Post-ABC News] poll indicates Kerry now claims the support of 50 percent of all registered voters, compared with 44 percent for Bush, with independent candidate Ralph Nader at 2 percent. On the eve of the convention, Bush led Kerry 48 percent to 46 percent." --Washington Post, Aug. 3

This just in: The British are coming! The British are coming!!

"Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday." --The New York Times, Aug. 3

Sunday, August 01, 2004

And if there's anything the Bush campaign must fear, it's voters paying attention to what's going on

"President Bush's campaign plans to use the normally quiet month of August for a vigorous drive to undercut John Kerry by turning attention away from his record in Vietnam to what the campaign described as an undistinguished and left-leaning record in the Senate. Mr. Bush's advisers plan to cap the month at the Republican convention in New York, which they said would feature Mr. Kerry as an object of humor and calculated derision. ... Campaign aides described the period this year as an opportunity to shift the dynamic for their campaigns, because the race is so tight and because voters appear to be paying attention to what is going on. --The New York Times, Aug. 1


I was much amused by this NPR interview with the producer of a new DVD compilation of highlights from Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life show--clips from the program as well as risque outtakes that couldn't air back in the 1950s.* But I probably got the biggest laugh from something unintentional. After a lengthy conversation about how Groucho would say off-color things to his guests that he knew would be edited out (one of the reasons the show was filmed and not done live), Scott Simon, the NPR host, thanks the DVD producer, Robert Bader, and calls him "Mister Bader." (Try saying that out loud. I wonder if he's also a master debater.) I sat there in my car and wondered, What Would Groucho Do with a name like that?

*To a contestant on the show, a woman with (I think) 20 children:

Groucho: "Isn't that a burden?"

Woman: "Well, I love my husband."

Groucho: "I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while."

Mr. Bader (Editorial note: ha! ha!) says that no film of this exchange exists, but he confirms it really happened.

Friday, July 30, 2004


Oh, honestly--this is the best the fringe right can do? Pathetic.

Folks, I think we're in for a jaw-droppingly low-road campaign.

It's going, it's going...

That, ladies and gentlemen, was a home run.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Oh, sure--everyone said the same thing about Dick Cheney, and look how that turned out

"There was a time when Chris Heinz, recently named one of People magazine's most eligible bachelors, figured he had a lock on the role of campaign pretty boy. Then his stepfather, John Kerry, picked the boyishly handsome John Edwards as his running mate." --Seattle Post Intelligencer

"'I think he's wonderful,' said Gina Wickwar, an Edwards delegate from Logan. 'He's so telegenic. That's a nice way to say handsome.'" --Deseret News

"Just to get this out of the way, shall we simply stipulate that Edwards is handsome, buoyant, and cheerful?" --Christian Science Monitor

"John Edwards was handsome and chivalrous, planting a chaste kiss on her forehead after their first night out." --Kansas City Star

"Another rising star is John Edwards, Mr Kerry's running mate, who will speak on Wednesday night. He is handsome and more charismatic than Mr Kerry." --The Economist

"Can a candidate be too handsome to be taken seriously?" --Naples Daily News

"When the Easter Island long face of John Kerry was joined by the improbably handsome visage of John Edwards, Republicans were quick to liken the vice-presidential candidate to a model in a shampoo ad." --Irish Examiner

"He is a handsome hunk (voted the sexiest politician alive by People magazine)..." --Times of India

"Edwards, 51, has been described as "boyish" and "charming" and "handsome" and "youthful"..." --Sydney Morning Herald

"Edwards is anchorman-handsome." --San Jose Mercury News

"Edwards is young looking, handsome and attractive to young voters in general and to women voters in particular." --UPI

"Let's just face it--he's a dreamboat." --Jim D.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

But seriously...

If you didn't catch Barack Obama's speech on the broadcast networks last night (oh, right, I forgot--the convention isn't newsworthy anymore), you owe it to yourself to read it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Monday, July 26, 2004

When Silly String is outlawed, only outlaws will have Silly String

"Hollywood residents and businesspeople tired of being in the silly-string crossfire every Halloween have asked officials to ban the colorful streams of compressed foam. Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge ... said the non-biodegradable foam can fall into storm drains and harm marine life, and also can endanger police, particularly those on horseback. ... Several other communities, including Santa Clarita, Calif., and New Orleans, have restrictions against the use of silly string." --Newsday, July 26

Silly String is compressed foam???

Let's see. I'm writing a review of a bad movie called "Catwoman." What dismissive phrase can I use that no one else will come up with?

"Get out the kitty litter" --Toronto Star

"'Catwoman' ... could turn out to be the kitty litter of summer blockbusters." --New York Post

"'Catwoman': No amount of kitty litter could save this stinker" --Seattle Times

"Kitty litter: Halle Berry fleshes out a fashionable feline female " --Newark Star Ledger

"Kitty Litter" --Rocky Mountain News

"Kitty Litter" --Winnipeg Sun

"There's really nowhere to go when your script is just so much kitty litter" --Portland Tribune

"The stink of a $90-million box of kitty litter" --Chart Attack

"There isn't enough sand in the world to hold this much cat litter" --Evansville Courier and Press

"Ewwww, who spilled the litter box?" --Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Can be safely consigned to the litter box" --The Globe and Mail

"It belongs in the litter box" --Miami Herald

"Halle's 'Catwoman' is one for the litter box" --Delaware County Times

"Unfortunately for Oscar winner Halle Berry, this movie belongs in the litter box" --USA Today

"Discards such anachronisms as story and character like so much kitty litter" --Washington Post

"I've whiffed litter boxes that gave off a less offensive odor than this hairball." --Akron Beacon Journal

"It might take Halle Berry more than nine lives to shake the karmic kitty litter from her reputation." --St. Louis Post Dispatch

"Script that should have been tossed out with the kitty litter" --Telegraph.co.UK

"Patience -- which is exactly what you need to sit through this kitty litter..." --Catholic News Service

"Meow -- Halle Berry looks great, but 'Catwoman' is kitty litter" --Philadelphia Daily News

"You almost expect the character to seek out a litter tray" --BBC News

"Batch of big-screen kitty litter" --Calgary Sun

Great name for a bizarre TV preacher's wife, which can also double as a stripper name

Rexella Van Impe

Friday, July 23, 2004

Spam quiz

Match the fake spam name with the sender's spam message.

1) Creamier H. Pyramid
2) Secondly H. Casseroles
3) Clinked U. Penologist
4) Southerlies R. Skills
5) Weirdly Q. Dudder
6) Friendship H. Wheeziest
7) Assigning Q. Isolationist

A) Ponzi scheme
B) Good old-fashioned recipes
C) Thoughts on reforming the U.S. penal system
D) Finding work in the South
E) Information on strange occurrences
F) Low prices on asthma inhalers
G) Thoughtful treatise on why we shouldn't get involved in other countries' politics
H) Hard-core #*#$-munching #*#$#@#s and huge #$#*(!s.

Scroll down for answers.

Answer to all: H

One point for each correct answer.

1-6: Loser!
7: Can you believe the size of that @#$*#?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Alternate theory: Perhaps she sang one too many of those damned mariachi songs?

"Singer Linda Ronstadt not only got booed, she got the boot after praising filmmaker Michael Moore and his new movie 'Fahrenheit 9/11' during a performance." --MSNBC, July 19

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Real BlogSpot blog names, with commentary

Kevin's Dead Cat
This stinks.

sOledAd..a KeEpiN for thE lonEly...wHEn thE meMorY is gONe...
I'm trying to forget this aSaP.

i miss yoo.
And I miss yews. Damn, those were nice trees.

don't you mean melvin doo?

I'm Fat: Fat with Dreams. Fat with Hope. Fat with Love.
It's not "fat." It's "strategic adipose reserves."

Must make it tough buying gloves.

Hey... Listen!

And they whirl and and they twirl and they tango
The fact that I immediately got the "Muskrat Love" reference makes me very, very sad.

Feral Cats in the News ~ the Feral Cat Blog!
Hopefully, the muskrats will clear this up.

Vomit The Soul
Consider it done.

The One ANd Only Meeee!!
Thank God.

i cHoOse tO loVe u iN siLeNcE..cUx iN siLenCe i fiNd nO reJecTioN...
Wrong. Leave.

i tried to say goodbye
Try again.

WittySquirrel's Insane Ramblings...
[Insert nut joke here]

The most dangerous of all Roberts
I've already called the police.

Old Naked Woman
Mom, I'm telling you for the last time, it's not funny.

am i crazy? what am i doing?
Yes. I don't know.

The Wonderful World of Pizza, Care Bears and Neurotic Medical Students
Drop the med students, and you've got a deal.

The Better Blog
No, not really.

Irritation Station
Try Gold Bond powder.

Why Daddy Drinks
Does it have something to do with how shitty his life is?

i'm a miserable piece of shiet
Dad, is that you?

Niels' weblogs
Really, Niels, do you need more than one?

HelFire's Blog and other stuff
Condemned for misspelling "hell." Also worships Satin.

The View from Missouri
Looks dull from here.

The New Shit
Can it really be as good as the old shit?

without the masks, where will i hide?
Try kneeling under the desk. Really. It works.

LivIng Each daY PurposefullY
Today's purpose: Learning how to capitalize.

Journey Inside My Mind
So that's left at the neuron and right at the synapse?

Crack is Whack
If this isn't Whitney Houston's blog, I'm going to be really pissed.

Nymphomania or Narcolepsy?
Hmmm. I've got to go with the nymphomania.

Become A Male Porn Star
Finally! This one I'm bookmarking.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Somehow, I get the feeling it's not working

"Pop tart Britney Spears wants to toast the Post. The 22-year-old pop sensation is demanding a retraction, an apology and some moolah from the paper after it splashed a photo of her guzzling what they said was whisky on its front page yesterday.

"Spears said through her lawyer that she was actually drinking ginseng --a nonalcoholic herbal supplement that supposedly boosts ... mental clarity." --New York Daily News, July 16

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Ah, so that's why we're in Iraq!

"Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) complained during debate that supporters of the amendment had been called intolerant. 'Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?'" he said. --Newsday, July 15

I'll buy this argument as soon as they amend the Constitution to prevent Larry King from marrying for the 23rd time

"President George W. Bush had actively supported the amendment and issued a statement following the vote, saying in part, 'I am deeply disappointed that the effort to pass a constitutional amendment affirming the sanctity of marriage as being between a man and a woman was temporarily blocked in the Senate.'" --various news sources

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Monday, July 12, 2004

Secondary reasons to delay the November elections

American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, Newsweek has learned. --Newsweek, July 19 issue

--Tuesday mornin' blahs.
--Did I postpone the elections? Sorry, I meant to reschedule my dentist appointment.
--God told me to.
--April fools!
--Just to get that bastard Al Franken's goat.

Bad name for a candy bar

Whatchamacallit: C'mon, people, that's not even trying!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Disaster strikes

Is there anything worse than buying peanut butter, bringing it home, stirring up the PB and the oil, digging in ... and finding out you bought creamy instead of extra chunky?

Saturday, July 10, 2004

[Heavy sigh.]

"The issue [moving a Senate vote so that John Kerry couldn't vote] also came up on the Senate floor Tuesday, when Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said [Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist had personally told him 'that he didn't want to accord Sen. Kerry the opportunity to vote today knowing, of course, Sen. Kerry was here today.' As he travels the country campaigning for president, Kerry rarely is in Washington to vote, but he wanted to cast a vote for veterans, a Republican-leaning group that he is targeting in his tight race against Bush. Republicans were eager to deny Kerry the moment he sought and delayed the vote." --ABCnews.com, June 24

"The 30-second commercial, which starts airing today, is part of Bush's first major advertising effort in nearly three weeks. The commercial criticizes Kerry for missing 'over two-thirds of all votes' in the Senate while campaigning, and asks: 'Kerry has his priorities. Are they yours? Kerry's campaign countered yesterday that the Democrat's priority has been serving the public for more than 30 years - as a naval officer in Vietnam, a county prosecutor, a lieutenant governor and a senator. Campaign staffers questioned how Bush could argue about absenteeism when the president has spent at least 233 days at his Texas ranch since he took office." --ABCnews.com, June 8

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Also, Dick has all the powers of Hell at his command.

"Asked what differentiates Edwards from Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush declared flatly, 'Dick Cheney could be president. Next?'" --L.A. Daily News, July 8

Is that perhaps the scariest sentence ever spoken in the English language?


Say it loud, and there's music playing. Say it soft, and it's almost like praying.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

"Wish you were here."

This could be useful.

Consider them marked.

"Mark my words: Now that good old Al [Gore] has come lunging in, the anti-war movement is dead." --Ann Coulter, July 3

Note to self: These words are really, really stupid.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Friday, July 02, 2004

Or, in other words, 90% of the people on the subway with you

"The [FBI] bulletin also lists 'visible indicators' that have been observed prior to suicide bomb attacks in other countries. These include heavy clothing in hot weather, 'protruding bulges or exposed wires' and 'chemical odors,' disguises and attempts to gain position near crowds or VIP targets, irregular baggage and 'tightened hands or hands continually in the pockets of trousers or outer clothing.'"

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

What a difference a letter makes

"An account in the Soccer Report column on June 22 about Ethan Zohn, a former player in Zimbabwe who won $1 million on the CBS reality show 'Survivor: Africa' in 2002 and has capitalized on his moment of fame by starting an international nonprofit AIDS awareness foundation on the continent, misstated a word in a comment he made. Mr. Zohn said, 'We can make value judgments all we want, but through some cultural differences it has been all right for men in Africa to have multiple sex partners' --not 'all right for me.'" --The New York Times, June 29

Monday, June 28, 2004

Bad ideas for ice-cream flavors

Donald Rumsfeld Raisin
Cherry Springer
Cherry Springer Spaniel
Dulce de Lecher
Chunky Monkey Pox
Condoleezza Rice and Beans

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Whew--I'm glad they make the important corrections quickly

"An article last Sunday about Ben Stiller misstated the name given to a facial expression used by his character, a male model, in the film 'Zoolander.' It is blue steel, not blue ice." --The New York Times, June 27

Saturday, June 26, 2004

In other words: Yes! YES!!! Yes, I said it!!! Yes! YES!!!

CAVUTO: All right. Now, did you use the "F" word?

CHENEY: That's not the kind of language I usually use.

CAVUTO: All right, because the reports were that you did.

CHENEY: Yes, that's not the kind of language I ordinarily use.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

We report, you ... ah, screw it.

"Most Americans now say that sending U.S. troops to Iraq was a mistake, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll finds. For the first time, a majority also says that the war there has made the nation less safe from terrorism." --USA Today, June 24

"Even as insurgents increase their attacks in the days leading up to the June 30 handover, the public's belief that going to war with Iraq was the right thing to do is holding steady." --Fox News, June 24

Because YOU have the gel insoles, that's why

"In a just-revealed notation on a 2002 memo about interrogation tactics, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indicated that making terrorism detainees stand for up to four hours was no biggie in the physical stress department. 'I stand for 8-10 hours a day,' Rummy scrawled. 'Why is standing limited to four hours?'" --Washington Post

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Suggestions for celebrity baby names

-That Wailing Thing I Gave Birth To And The Nanny Takes Care Of
-Roast Loin of Pork
-What Was I Thinking?
-Rance Jr.
-Extra Crispy
-Moxie CrimeFighter

Thursday, June 17, 2004


"I had mixed feelings coming [to the White House] today, and they were only confirmed by all those kind and generous things you've said. Made me feel like I was a pickle stepping into history." --Bill Clinton, June 14

I feel like a gherkin walking into the past.

No, no, no. OK:

I feel like a zucchini strolling backward through time.

All right, close, but not quite there.

I feel like a cucumber sailing through the space-time continuum.

Argh. Poetic, but just not right.

I feel like a pickle stepping into history.


E-mail message of the day

You are good to client who esteems! That your mail account number still possess 15 days matures, and asks you to apply for once more either the paying expense emploing, in case you sense that what question to possess asks to the tube Grain person gets in touch with e-mail.

Who is the tube Grain person??? I MUST GET IN TOUCH WITH THE TUBE GRAIN PERSON!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


So how do you know if you, a loved one, or someone who reports to you is suffering from burnout? Here are the early-warning signs.

1. chronic fatigue - exhaustion, tiredness, a sense of being physically run down
2. anger at those making demands
3. self-criticism for putting up with the demands
4. cynicism, negativity, and irritability
5. a sense of being besieged
6. exploding easily at seemingly inconsequential things
7. frequent headaches and gastrointestinal disturbances
8. weight loss or gain
9. sleeplessness and depression
10. shortness of breath
11. suspiciousness
12. feelings of helplessness
13. increased degree of risk taking
14. chronic list-making
15. longness of breath
16. breath
19. exploding head
20. exploding head residue
21. waxy yellow buildup
22. that less-than-fresh feeling
23. exploding head residue buildup
25. the heartbreak of psoriasis
26. the inability to know when to end a gag
756. deja vu
757. deja vu
857. inability to know your ass from your elbow
75,908,374,059,183,476,098,758,906,713. using really big numbers
75,908,374,059,183,476,098,758,906,715. deja vu all over again

(With thanks to Uke3K.)


There was a depressing story on NPR this morning about how models are predicting Bush will win in a landslide, based on the present state of the economy. But really, who cares who Naomi Campbell is voting for?

Monday, June 14, 2004

You know you want it

I got an e-mail today with the subject line: Vicodin: you know you want it.

And I thought, brother, you don't know the half of it.