Sunday, July 31, 2005

Jeremiad was a bullfrog

Are the folks in the Metro section of The New York Times sharing a thesaurus?

Saturday, p. 1B:
James Howard Kuntsler, author of the visionary urban-planning jeremiad "The Geography of Nowhere" and the even better "Home From Nowhere," has taken to the Web in a big way.

Saturday, p. 4B:
In case you missed it, Andrew S. Grove has an article in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. ... The article, "Efficiency in the Health Care Industries," was labeled commentary, but it was more akin to a jeremiad.

I had a rough idea what it meant but looked it up anyway.

As an editor, I find odd words come sweeping through as groups. I predict I'll see jeremiad two more times in the next week, then I won't see it again for a year.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Because you're mine, I blog the line

I see I have several subscribers to TVB updates through something called Bloglines. I'm not really clear on what this is, though.

If you use the service, could you explain what it does and how it works?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Whenever I really, really, really hate my job, I stop and say to myself... least I don't measure cow gases for a living.

Movie adaptations of TV shows that I don't want to see

B.J. and the Bear: Jude Law stars as B.J. McKay, an independent trucker rolling the highways of America with his pet monkey (Dakota Fanning). Hip-hop star Ludacris co-stars as nemesis Sheriff Lobo.

The A-Team: Four Vietnam vets, framed for a crime they didn't commit, help the innocent while on the run from the military. Starring Owen Wilson as Hannibal Smith, Ben Stiller as Faceman, Snoop Dog as B.A. Baracus, and Dakota Fanning as Mad Dog Murdoch.

That Girl: Ann Marie (Dakota Fanning) is a struggling actress living in New York City. In between trying to find jobs acting and modeling, she has time for her boyfriend, Don Hollinger (That Kid Who's Now In Every Johnny Depp Movie), and her dad, Lou Marie (Johnny Depp).

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Young single woman Mary Richards (Dakota Fanning) tries to make it on her own in the big city of Minneapolis. Featuring Will Ferrell as Ted Baxter, Luke Wilson as Murray Slaughter, Vince Vaughn as Lou Grant, and Natalie Portman as Rhoda Morgenstern.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Why our Swedish friends at Ikea might want to have an English speaker go over product names

Ikea Jerker

The Jerker computer table does sound perfect for porn surfing, though.

UPDATE: A concerned reader informs The Velvet Blog that the Ikea Jerker is the subject of some sort of Internet cult.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Smackdown: Land of the Lost vs. Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

In this corner: Land of the Lost

Land of the Lost

Premise: Marshall, Will, and Holly, on a routine expedition, met the greatest earthquake ever known. High on the rapids, it struck their tiny raft, and plunged them down a thousand feet below to the Land of the Lost. It was always unclear to me whether they went back in time or it was an alternate dimension. Or something. Oh, and there are lizard-like creatures (Sleestacks) and a monkey-boy (Chaka).

SleestaksImage hosted by

Pros: Shows perils of entering time portals, something kids today are rarely warned about. Almost--but not quite--getting home in every single episode also teaches children that life is cruel, scary, and unfair, something they should really have drilled into their heads at an early age.

Cons: Chaka never sings "Tell Me Something Good" or even "I'm Every Woman," which is disappointing. Supports anti-lizardman bias.

In that corner: Sigmund and the Sea Monsters


Premise: Sigmund, a sea monster/father of modern psychiatry, is kicked out of his home for being a bad monster and for being too close to his mother. He befriends two boys, who keep him in their clubhouse. He persuades them to keep it a secret.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

Pros: Kept Johnny Whitaker off the streets one more year. Teaches children to keep secrets.

Cons: Johnny Whitaker sings the theme song. Sea monsters are disturbingly phallic. Strangely fey genie (annoying talk-show regular Rip Taylor) joins cast in second year.

Image hosted by

On balance: Typical Sid and Marty Krofft psychedelic low-budget extravaganzas.

And the winner is...: Land of the Lost

Deciding factor: Because Johnny Whitaker doesn't sing Land of the Lost's theme song.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Then who the heck is watching Tucker Carlson?

Chimps have very strong and immediate likes and dislikes. Observational evidence to date has revealed that chimps find nature-sound CD's soothing. Younger chimps prefer kids' movies, Disney specials, "Barney" and the like. The mature chimps' tastes, on the other hand, tend toward melodrama and anything with lots of action and aggression. Soap operas like "Passions" and "General Hospital" are big hits, the latter, it seems, because lab chimps have gotten so used to people in white coats. "The Jerry Springer Show" and N.F.L. football games are also quite popular. Golf, baseball and PBS programming (except, of course, for nature shows) are not. --The New York Times

In related news, people who regularly watch "Jerry Springer" often throw poop at the screen.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Things I did on vacation:
--Fell asleep on the sofa in the middle of the afternoon (multiple times)
--Read 892 pages of the new Harry Potter book (only 793 left to go!)
--Swore at (and made obscene hand gestures in the general direction of) the bees living under the deck in my backyard
--Went to see Lisa Loeb (wasn't really a big fan, but she was playing nearby--and she completely won me over)
--Pulled out crabgrass
--Visited friends
--Made ice cream
--Ate ice cream

Things I did not get around to doing on vacation:
--Broker peace in the Mideast
--Get nominated to the Supreme Court
--See March of the Penguins

Things I do not want to do tomorrow:
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work
--Go to work

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Taking some time off and endeavoring not to go near a computer for a while.

Probably no updates till July 23 or so.

Be good.


Disney World on Wednesday reopened a thrill ride that was closed when a 16-year-old British girl almost died of cardiac arrest after riding it. ... An elderly, diabetic woman also died in February after riding the Magic Kingdom's "Pirates of the Caribbean," but the medical examiner said her death "was not unexpected." --The Associated Press

What the story leaves out is that her diabetes was caused by going on the It's a Small World ride too many times. (There--you're going to have that damned song stuck in your head all day, and it's my fault. Sorry.)

Rule of thumb: If the Pirates of the Caribbeann ride is too thrilling for you, definitely avoid the Whirling Teacups. I nearly had my neck snapped on that #*$@&!! one.

In related news (albeit old news, as the dateline is from last October):

Disneyland skippers on the Jungle Cruise ride are once again armed, but not dangerous. It's part of the company plan to "restore the magic" in the California theme park.

For more than 40 years, drivers had fired blanks at mechanical hippos that appeared to be charging the boat in the fake Amazon River.

That stopped in 2001, a change a former skipper said was a nod to "political correctness." But now, the skippers are getting their guns back, and are again free to open fire.

Blanks? They're blanks??? Then it's true--the terrorists have won.

Image hosted by

Baby monkey update

Image hosted by

Can you believe he's 9 days old already? God--he'll be driving soon. (Via The Associated Press.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Smackdown: Karl Rove Vs. Dr. Mabuse

As a longtime film buff, all the recent descriptions of Karl Rove kept reminding me of something, but I couldn't quite figure out what.

Today, I realized the answer: Karl Rove is Dr. Mabuse.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comKarl Rove
Image hosted by Photobucket.comDr. Mabuse

Mabuse was the antihero of several films made by Fritz Lang, in the 1920s, '30s, and '60s (and thereafter by other directors).

Here's a description (from here):

Driven by his insatiable lust for power and destruction...

Rove: Check!

he sets out to amass an illicit fortune...

Rove: Check!

take over Berlin, and destroy society en route to total world domination.

Rove: Well, I don't know about Berlin, but otherwise: Check!

Dr. Mabuse has all of the requisite traits for this ambitious career path: a brilliant, relentless criminal mind...

Rove: Check!

superhuman powers of mind-reading, hypnotism, and will-bending...

Rove: I assume so. I mean, it would explain a lot. So, check!

the savoir faire to operate smoothly amongst the social elite...

Rove: Savoir faire? Ok, this one doesn't fit.

the remorseless heart of a cold-blooded multiple murderer...

Rove: Check!

and balls of ice-cold steel.

Rove: Double check!
Rounding out his résumé, he is also a master of disguise...
Rove: Check!

To prove this point, here is Rove dressed up like his hero, The Brain:

Image hosted by

an accomplished speculator able to manipulate the economy...

Rove: Check!

and a man who–-like all would-be world dominators worth their salt–-will stop at nothing to achieve his nefarious ends.

Rove: Check!

Oh, Karl. If only you had a little more savoir faire, you coulda been a movie star... in Germany... in the 1930s.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rove, Rove, Rove your boat, gently up the river

I don't really have a post to go with that subject line. Except, perhaps, to ask--how did "up the river" come to mean "go to prison"?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Leaving an editorial behind at the bookstore

Image hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by Photobucket.comImage hosted by

Couldn't help noticing the title of right-wing radio host Mike Gallagher on display at Barnes & Noble the other day. To the book's left was the new offering by Sen. Zell Miller (remember his rousing speech at the Republican convention last July?). I decided to make the Gallagher book's title completely true by moving the new Bernard Goldberg book directly to its right.

Really, when you title a book Surrounded by Idiots, you have to expect this kind of thing.

It's Baby Monkey Monday!

Cute baby monkey

A zoo official holds a seven-day old Stump-Tailed macaque at the state zoological park in Gauhati, India, Saturday, July 9, 2005. Via The Associated Press

The Velvet Blog: Bringing you pictures of cute baby monkeys since June 2004TM

(Thanks, Jovi.)

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Island of Lost Blogs

I like blogging (OK, I said was quitting, but I came back, no?), but there's an element to the whole scene I find just a little bit sad--namely, the blog not taken. Have you ever noticed how excited people are when they start one of these things? And how--very often--their first (or second) post is their last?

Months ago, I read that there were something like 15 million blogs. What's the number now? 20 million? More?

But what percentage of them have only one or two entries?

I started down this track the other day as I mulled over updating my profile. On my list of musical likes is the Fountains of Wayne. I clicked on the FoW link on my profile, which took me to all the other Blogger members who listed the band as a fave, looking to see what else, if anything, we had in common. Clicking around just the first couple of pages, I found:

Blog: Transmissions From the Space Heater
First post: April 26, 2004
Last post: April 26, 2004
Total posts: 2
Entry: This first transmission is the most dangerous, as it may give away my position, at which point it would ALL be over, my friends. Let's just hold our collective breath ("from birth to death, the only thing we share is breath"), and try to summon the courage to go on.

Blog: The Park in Tacoma
First post: May 10, 2004
Last Post: May 10, 2004
Total posts: 1
Entry: Well, here I am blogging to my blog's content. I am not sure exactly where this will eventually end up, but I will offer up some different themes I personally enjoy that may shape my blogging.

Blog: 10,000 Monkeys Can't All Be Wrong
First post: May 11, 2004
Last post: May 12, 2004
Total posts: 2
Entry: I've resisted writing a blog for a VERY long time. I mean...What's the point? Do you really want to know what kind of breakfast cereal I had? Or who cares if I was late for work?! So Why am I blogging.... I guess because I can...and who knows. Maybe someday somebody will read it.

Blog: Letters From a Distant Author
First post: May 24, 2004
Last post:May 24, 2004
Total posts: 1
Entry: While living in Morioka Japan, there's been many an opportunity to dwell on relationships. And like most who blog, I'm feeling pretty frustrated over the whole thing.

Blog: NedsdeN
First post: June 4, 2004
Last post: June 4, 2004
Total posts: 2
Entry: Hey there. My name is Ned ... I've been reading Blogs for a while and thought I would try it out and jot some of my thoughts down. Today I'm just listening to some music (Nickelback-Figured You Out), working, and trying to puzzle through an issue with Mpegs.

Blog: Vinny's Place in Space
First post: June 4, 2004
Last post: June 4, 2004
Total posts: 1
Entry: I was inspired by one of my coworker's Blogger sweatshirts (thanks Viv) to create my own Blog. I figured this might be an exciting time to start up something new. We'll see how well it goes :O) Welcome to my Blog yo, hopefully it turns out to be a fun and interesting place

Blog: Orange Post-it Note
First post: June 7, 2004
Last post: June 8, 2004
Total posts: 2
Entry: Hey, all potential blog-readers (all two of you)! I'm Laura, and I'll be your stewardess today. If you look to your left, you'll see a random blonde girl bouncing a basketball and shouting the words to 'Bright Future In Sales' [a brilliant song by Fountains of Wayne. I am lobbying to make it our national anthem.]. On her feet are fuzzy blue slippers, and surrounding her are some black mice. They worship her. If you look to your right, you'll see all of her weird friends...

Blog: Jennifer's Daily Thoughts
First post: June 8, 2004
Last post: June 10, 2004
Total posts: 2
Entry: I'm gonna try this journal thing again... hehe. If you don't know, I had one a long time ago and now I can't find it! Oh well. Nothing really exciting has happened today...

I'm not sure what to make of this. Perhaps Fountains of Wayne fans are just really shitty at follow-through.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I feel so used.

No phone call. No "Dear Jim" letter.

Yet I've been deleted off the blogroll of a formerly regular reader.

What did I do to drive him away? Was it too much toast? Confusing Ben Affleck with the Aflac duck? (It could happen to anyone--they're equally charismatic!) Not enough pictures of cute baby monkeys? Too many pictures of Dick Cheney? (Is it even possible to have too many pictures of Dick Cheney???)

I guess I'll never know.

Sad, sad monkey

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I wonder why the wonder falls on me

Instead of coming up with new shows along the lines of Who Wants to Hump My Mom? or Who Gets the Adorable Orphan?, perhaps the good folks (ha! ha! I crack me up.) at Fox could, every once in a while, try sticking with the good shows they accidentally broadcast.

Wonderfalls DVD

Last year, four episodes of a show called Wonderfalls--in which inanimate objects give cryptic advice to a Niagra Falls underachiever--escaped onto the air. They were funny, unique, quirky, and thoughtful. Executives at Fox, horrified at their mistake, promptly canceled the show and stuck nine completed episodes on a shelf in the linen closet, behind the fluffy bath towels, where they thought no one would ever find them. Apparently, a mole in the organization discovered the rusting film cans and arranged for a three-disk DVD collection, with all 13 episodes. The set is available here.

Buy it. Seriously. (OK, if you don't trust me, rent it.)

Oh, and an insanely catchy theme song by XTC's Andy Partridge sweetens the deal.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

You know what's wrong with Karl Rove?

I mean, other than that trying-to-take-over-the-world thing?

What's really wrong is that he's never leaked any information to The Velvet Blog. I would've taken that Valerie Plame info and turned it into something amusing and insightful. But, noooooo. He's got to leak it to Bob Novak, one of the biggest hacks in the universe.

Thanks for nothing, Karl.

Oh, and start saving up cigarettes. I hear they're still useful as currency in prison.

Image hosted by

Suddenly, the world seems to make even less sense

Image hosted by

Did you know that there have been five--five!--Peaches in Peaches & Herb? And that the one to have the hit with "Reunited" was Peaches #3?

What the hell is Herb doing? Burying them in the basement?

"Reunited" my ass.

Monday, July 04, 2005

This also describes a president or two, no?

"Even if he was mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises and Cardozos and Frankfurters and stuff like that there." --Sen. Roman Hruska on Nixon's nomination of G. Harold Carswell to the Supreme Court

I can't believe he-who-must-not-be-named is going to be able to get in two justices. Ugh.