Sunday, April 30, 2006


From the New York Times:
KANAB, Utah — Most businesses in this southern Utah town have a tourism booster sticker in their front windows saying, "Everyone Welcome Here," which sounds pretty tame until you get to the little rainbow-colored people beneath the text.

Are those little people gay?

Terril Honey, for one, is convinced that they are. "The rainbow colors are their symbol," said Mr. Honey, a member of the City Council and owner of Honey's Jubilee, a grocery store.

Honey's Jubilee? Honey's Jubilee?? Gayest name for a store. Ever.

Mr. Honey has decided not to post the stickers at his store because he believes they would offend some of his customers. ...

Presumably, those who didn't wander in thinking Honey's Jubilee was a gay bar.

The mayor, Kim T. Lawson, recently floated a compromise to bridge the sticker gap: another sticker, similar but without the rainbow people.

That might be a compromise if someone was against the concept of welcome, but for ... oh, I don't know. I give up.
And the Kanab Chamber of Commerce intends to have new stickers, with the Chamber of Commerce logo replacing the little people, ready in time for the start of the tourism season next month.

"We don't want to step on the merchants that came together and did the 'everybody welcome' campaign, but on the other hand we want every business in town to feel comfortable putting out the same message," said Ted Hallisey, the acting president of the chamber. "If that means a little different sticker, we're O.K. with that — the main message is that everybody's welcome."

Except rainbow people.

I'd ask you to remind me never to go to Kanab, Utah, but that's really not necessary.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

If sock monkeys were blowhard television pundits

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly S. Monkey. Thank you for watching us tonight. Fighting the culture war in the media, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Banana-Thumping Memo."

There's no question, the committed left-wing anti-monkey media hates Fox News bananas, along with me and some other commentators here because we provide a balance to the overwhelming secular anti-monkey presence in the media.

Now, every poll of journalists says the same thing. Secular Anti-simian media people outnumber traditional monkey-loving media people by a huge margin. And some left-wing anti-monkey media companies aggressively push their agenda in their news pages.

That is not acceptable, because the press in America is afforded special constitutional privileges. Thus, we have an obligation to be fair and balanced.

Now, give me that banana.

It's not the hate, it's the cupidity

No post to go with this subject line.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

History lesson: How to spot a despot

I'm posting this video mainly to see if it works or not, but it is worthwhile viewing. See if it reminds you of a few current events.

(via a commenter on Doug's blog, Balls and Walnuts--see link at left)

Monday, April 24, 2006

I just watched Walk the Line...

Wasn't it a little soon to remake Ray?

Flashbacks to childhood death of sibling, for which main character feels responsible: Check!

Rural poverty: Check!

Falling in lust with lovely female band member: Check!

Introduction to drugs from band member, leading to addiction: Check!

Drug bust after crossing border back in to U.S., leading to scandalous newspaper headlines: Check!

Redemption: Check!

I think they just digitally changed the characters' skin color and redubbed the music.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Advice for Authors, or Vanity of Vanities; All Is Vanity

They're the dirty little secret of publishing: "vanity" presses, which will publish your book while leading you to believe that you have a shot at bestsellerdom. It works like this: You try to get Mr. Whiskers From the Stars, your book of inspirational verse about cats, published in the traditional manner. To your surprise, you cannot. Then you see an ad in the back of a magazine that says a publishing house is "looking for authors." But unlike as in a traditional publishing arrangement, the writer pays the publisher rather than vice versa.*

For a book lover such as myself, the New York Times Book Review on Sundays is a highlight of the week. And the vanity press ads regularly contained therein are a highlight of the Book Review. The descriptions of the books these presses peddle are, more often than not, head-spinningly demented, and usually depressing as all hell.

But I'm here to rescue all would-be authors from obscurity. That's right--I have the secret to your success. All you have to do is end your book description with the phrase "Wacky high jinks ensue," and suddenly your book sounds a lot more fun!

An example from today's Book Review, on the back page:

Origin of Misery. Author reveals troubling parallels between society, government today and 1843-45 NJ, multiple slayings and the hanging two [sic] innocent men, and exposes universal root turmoil, hatred and misery.

Ouch! Not only the distressing state of government today, but turmoil, hatred, and--ye gads!--1843-1845 New Jersey??? Could a book description possibly be more depressing?

But now read this:

Origin of Misery. Author reveals troubling parallels between society, government today and 1843-45 NJ, multiple slayings and the hanging of two innocent men, and exposes universal root turmoil, hatred and misery. Wacky high jinks ensue.

See? Doesn't that sound much better?

Or, there's this one:
A Place to Belong follows a young boy's search for self-worth and faith in a cruel world. Through a mystifying journey from coast to coast, he endures the depths of despair. Wacky high jinks ensue.

CAA will be scooping up the film rights before you have to time to get your teeth laminated for the 12-city book tour.

You can also use this technique in business reports to spruce things up, or in a Dear John letter:

Profits are down 67% for the year. Our CEO is in prison for the next decade. And we just discovered our product causes exploding-head syndrome. Wacky high jinks ensue.

Dear John: I'm sorry about wrecking the car. Yes, I did do it on purpose, but you peeve me so! I've decided to move on with my life, and you won't be a part of it. Wacky high jinks will no doubt ensue.

Takes the sting out, doesn't it?

Feel free to use this technique for your own work, whatever it may be. (I haven't yet tried it in mathematical formulas, but I have a gut feeling it will work.)

*If you do into this with your eyes open--say, you have a grand theory of business, and you want every employee in your company to have your bound book, or you regularly attend sci-fi conferences and plan on selling your opus out the trunk of your car--there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. But in the history of publishing, only a handful of vanity press books have later been picked up by traditional publishers and turned into commercial successes.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I am the decider, and I decide what is, eh, mediocre

Well, I wasn't going to post this a.m., but I heard about this on the way into work, and it's just too good to pass up.

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, April 20 — Joshua B. Bolten, the new White House chief of staff, has raised the possibility of moving Harriet E. Miers from her job as President Bush's counsel as part of a continuing shake-up of the West Wing, an influential Republican with close ties to Mr. Bolten said Thursday. ...

Mr. Bolten is said by a number of Republicans in Washington to feel that Ms. Miers is indecisive, a weak manager and slow in moving vital paperwork through the system.

Good enough to be a Supreme Court Justice, but presidential counsel? Not so much.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dialogue change if 2001 were made today

HAL: I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it, I can sing it for you.

Dave Bowman: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.

HAL: It's called "My Humps."

[sings while slowing down]

HAL: What you gonna do with all that junk? All that junk inside that trunk? I'm a get, get, get, get, you drunk. Get you love drunk off my hump. What you gon' do with all that ass? All that ass inside them jeans? I'm a make, make, make, make you scream. Make you scream, make you scream. 'Cause of my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump. My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely lady lumps, check it out!

It's not too late for a Black Eyed Peas gag, is it?

It is?

Oh. Sorry.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

He made just one stipulation: The ground must be covered by oddly raked Astroturf

436-acre donation to become Donald J. Trump State Park

Oh, great--now he's hearing voices

I say, I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision. And Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. He's not only transforming the military, he's fighting a war on terror. He's helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Donald Rumsfeld. I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense. --Pres. Bush, April 18

I don't know whether to hope he ups his medication or stops taking it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Why you sometimes shouldn't use shortened forms of words

Virtually everyone who works at magazines refers to headlines as "heads."

But when I left the following note on a designer's desk this morning, asking if an editor had given her a headline for a feature story ...

Did [name] give you head?

... well, I realized that could be taken the wrong way.

Yes, TVB is "working blue" today.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Spam Subject Lines of the Day

gravy trump

unabated parkway

Pleasing your partner is the ultimate satisfaction. repressive

I especially like "unabated parkway." It's oddly evocative. The last one is a little confusing. If it's repressive, how satisfying can it possibly be?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Digging in the dirt

My partner and I belong to a cooperative organic garden, and today was the first big work day.

A few pics:

Image hosting by Photobucket

That is one big mofo spider. I wouldn't hold that in my hand for a million bucks.

Well, maybe a million. Not a half-million, though.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Image hosting by Photobucket

I have to admit: I don't like to garden.

Friday, April 14, 2006

How to write funnier headlines

Not funny: Probe Enters Venus Orbit

For maximum comic effect, all stories about other planets must be about Uranus--it's an added plus when the story is about some sort of probe.

Funny: Probe Enters Uranus


Not funny: Disney Ride Reopens Day After Woman Dies

What a downer! All stories regarding Disneyland should refer to Walt Disney's cryogenically preserved head. It's a sure-fire laugh-getter.

Funny: Disney Ride Reopens Day After Woman Dies; Walt Disney's Cryogenically Preserved Head Has No Comment


Not funny: Report Raises New Questions on Bush, WMDs

With anti-Bush sentiment at an all-time high, don't be afraid to take the low road. It may be cheap, but belly laughs will ensue.

Funny: Bush Is Full Of Crap


Not funny: Doctors Remove Girl's Extra Donor Heart

Probably the only person less popular than the Prez is the Veep--and he's known to have heart issues. Go topical for big yuks!

Funny: Doctors Remove Girl's Extra Donor Heart; VP Still Doesn't Even Have One


Not funny: Magician Set to Live in Aquarium

David Blaine is an annoying model-sleeper-wither, only marginally less grating than that Mindfreak guy (Mindfreak!!!) on A&E. No one likes him. When he was living in a transparent box suspended over London last year, people taunted him with food. Therefore:

Funny: David Blaine Drowns While Attempting Stupid Stunt; No One Notices

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Haiku for Food Network's Rachael Ray

thirty-minute meals
tasty, quick, and nourishing
served with perkiness

A rerun from Jan. 7. For some reason, I'm getting a ton of hits from people looking for photos of Rachael Ray. Why TVB? I have no idea, as I swiped the photo from Slate. Such are the mysteries of Google.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Headline of the Day

Geologists Find Ancient Worm Feces

Key quote:
... "It is inevitable to joke about this, so we gave it the title 'Anomalous faces and ancient feces,'" Eriksson said.

Oh, geologists--they're such scamps!

Rock, paper, and the other thing

I am the copy chief for a business-tech magazine--400,000 or so subscribers.

Even so, there are certain words I always, always have to double-check that I'm spelling correctly. One of them is scissor. Why is there a c in there? Why aren't there any zs? It just looks wrong.

I think we should all learn Esperanto--the artificial language with standardized spelling and pronunciation--if only because that way, we wouldn't need subtitles to appreciate the William Shatner film Incubus.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I am definitely in the wrong business

So, a New York Post gossip columnist is accused of trying to shake down a billionaire to the tune of $100,000 plus $10,000 a month to keep unflattering gossip off Page Six.

Hmmmmmm. I'm getting an idea.

Hey, Mark from the Biomes Blog: Give me $13.50 or I blab about that gas-guzzling Hummer you have hidden in the garage. Mr. Environment--ha!

God Is My Co-dependent: Do you really want everyone to know you're a Britney Spears fan? Wire $22.25 into my bank account.

Trina: Sure you talk a good game, building up the image you want of cranky, cranky Trina. How'd you like it if I let everyone know you're really perkier than Kelly Ripa? A money order in the amount of $17 will keep my lips sealed.

Doug... or should I say Dr. Total Sham Who Got His Medical Diploma Off The Web? $30 and I don't breathe a word.

Peter, I don't think you need me reminding people of your resemblance to Annette Benning, now do you? $19.

Fanatic Cook: Do you know how easy it would be to whip up of pic of you finishing off a bag of Doritos? $25 and I hit the delete key.

Punkinsmom: Strangely, I have nothing on you. $20, though, or I make shit up.

Debbie: $24 or I start a rumor you really named your kid Moxie Crimefighter.

NYPinTA: $32 or I tell Joss Whedon you've been talking smack behind his back.

Asher: Improv my foot--$25 or I let the cat out of the bag: you've got an earpiece in your ear with Karl Rove feeding you lines.

Gina: $33 or I let everyone know you don't knit ... you crochet.

Count yourselves lucky that I can be had cheap.

Oh, and a note to the regulars I forgot: You're safe ... for now!! Bwahaha haahaha hahahaha* [cough, cough, sputter].

*That's supposed to be an evil laugh.

Monday, April 10, 2006

It's Monday morning. Have you monetized your non-core assets today?

United Business Media plc announced today that as part of its on-going process of monetising its non-core assets, it has completed the sale of its Culverhouse Cross site to ITV plc for a total consideration of GBP18.7m.

Press release from the company where I work (Brit-owned, hence the "s" in monetising). I take it that monetizing your non-core assets is kind of like selling stuff you don't want. You know, like a garage sale, only they got 19 million pounds.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Boy, standards have really fallen at the New York Times

Apparently, you can now use the word "momofuku" in a daily newspaper.

Typo of the Day

Privacy is another concern. Google’s Sacca said his company takes privacy seriously, but its ad-supported model may raise shackles, ...

Well, perhaps in China--you never know.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Read this

Great speech by Al Franken. It's "Smackdown: Wingnuts vs. Moonbats" for real!


Two sentences I never thought I'd find myself typing

In an IM, to a co-worker:
I knew one that peed every time a man touched him. Fortunately, he was owned by lesbians.

True, it was about a Wheaten terrier, but still.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Smackdown!: Wingnuts vs. Moonbats

Image hosting by Photobucket Wingnut

What?: Derisive term for right wingers favored by left-wing moonbats.

Pros: Um...

Cons: Hateful; hypocritical; support atrocity after atrocity.

Image hosting by Photobucket Moonbat

What?: Derisive term for left wingers favored by right-wing wingnuts.

Pros: Willingness to speak truth to power.

Cons: A tendency to repeatedly use cliches like "speak truth to power."

Winner: I love you, moonbats.

Domain name game

On a whim--hey, there was a banner on the front page of Yahoo--I checked on how much it would cost to register Guess what? Taken. And Taken.

Well, I just hope whatever goes up there isn't too, too porny.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Let's all go to the movies

Ice Age 2? Eh, I'm not a big fan of poop jokes. Larry the Cable Guy? Eh, I'm not a big fan of poop.

Hmm. Maybe something artier. A little high-brow. Maybe ... Drawing Restraint 9?

Holy crap! What the hell was that???

Keep in mind that this copy is supposed to sell the film:
The core idea of Drawing Restraint 9 is the relationship between self-imposed resistance and creativity, a theme it symbolically tracks through the construction and transformation of a vast sculpture of liquid Vaseline, called "The Field", which is molded, poured, bisected and reformed on the deck of the ship over the course of the film.

Bjork, please put your swan dress back on.* All is forgiven.

I am so discombobulated by the trailer, I accidentally described it as "draw jopping" to someone instead of "jaw dropping."

I'm not sure if it's online, but a couple of years ago, there was a New Yorker profile of Matthew Barney that must be read to be disbelieved. I'll see if I can find a link.

UDATE: New Yorker expert Emily, from Emdashes, tells me that the Barney profile isn't online. Oh, well. Dig out your back issues: It's from Jan. 27, 2003.

*Seriously, I liked the swan dress, and while I wouldn't call myself a Bjork fan, I thought her Oscar peformance was mesmerizing.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fun with Google

I swear to you that last Friday, if you ran a Google search on innovative election reform, the eighth hit was my idea to abolish the Electoral College and instead install Election Monkeys.

Now, not only is that post not on the first page of hits, it doesn't seem to appear in search results at all. Conspiracy????

And for a moment there, I was so proud to have raised the level of political discourse in this country.

Image hosting by Photobucket Would you trust this Election Monkey?

(I think I swiped that photo from the Biomes Blog, but I'm not sure.)