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.