Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My new favorite song

Camera Obscura's "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken." (It might help if you know the song it's in answer to, Lloyd Cole's "Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?" but it's not necessary.)

I Heart Froomkin

Dan Froomkin's online-only column for the Washington Post is must-reading. He also does a once-a-week chat with readers, from which this wonderful exchange comes:

Beafort, S.C.: Mr. Froomkin --

The "compromise" on detainee rights/suspected terrorist treatment sure looks to me like [the president] got what he wanted, while the McCain/Warner/Graham trio pretty much caved.

Assuming this take on the situation is correct -- how does Bush still weld so much power when he is so wildly unpopular?

Dan Froomkin: That is a great question. It deserves attention.

Off the top of my head, I think it has a lot to do with intimidation by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. One scares them about losing; the other scares them about dying.

That made me laugh out loud. Then I shivered a little. 'Cause it's true.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Way in which The Velvet Blog is like Spinal Tap

Marty: The last time Tap toured America, they where, uh, booked into 10,000-seat arenas, and 15,000-seat venues, and it seems that now, on their current tour they're being booked into 1,200-seat arenas, 1,500-seat arenas, and uh I was just wondering, does this mean, uh ... the popularity of the group is waning?

Ian: Oh, no, no, no, no, no,, no, not at all. I, I, I just think that the ... uh ... their appeal is becoming more selective.

Only, of course, TVB never filled 15,000-seat venues.

A Mel Gibson quiz: What mask did Mel wear to his recent "Apocalypto" screenings to avoid attention?

GOLDSBY, Okla. Sep 24, 2006 (AP)— Actor and director Mel Gibson visited two Oklahoma towns this week to attend screenings of his new movie, "Apocalypto."

Gibson did not make a public appearance during screenings held at the Riverwind Casino in Goldsby and Cameron University in Lawton. At the entrance of the casino where the film was shown Friday to a mostly American Indian audience reporters were kept behind partitions.

He arrived at Cameron on Thursday morning wearing a mask and wig so he wouldn't be noticed, university spokeswoman Amber McNeil said.
--The Associated Press

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting V for Vendetta

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Gorilla

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Alien

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Owen Wilson

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Israeli PM Ehud Olmert

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Coming Soon to the Rachael Ray Emporium

Rachael Ray, the Food Network host, has teamed up with Epic Records to issue a series of recordings of songs chosen by her, as well as to distribute ring tones featuring messages from her --The New York Times

--Tickle Me Rachael TMX dolls
--Duets album with Fran Drescher
--Implantable Rachael Ray brain chip lets you hear her voice 24 hours a day

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why I will forever hold a grudge against Vanilla Ice

For ruining the Queen/Bowie song "Under Pressure."

When I heard that bass guitar line in a dramatic scene in Aaron Sorkin's new show, Studio 60, I thought, "Why on earth are they playing 'Ice, Ice Baby'?" Then I realized it was "Under Pressure," and it made a lot more sense.

Damn you, Robbie Van Winkle.

Oh, those shameless hussies in their daring one-pieces!

Don't know what it's like where you folks are, but I'm feeling like summer is pretty much over. A few trees on my block even have golden leaves.

Tom Wolfe, if you're reading this--and I know you are--please put away that white suit.

(I realized after posting this that the woman second from left appears to be wearing a two-piece bathing suit, and she's showing a bit of belly. She is a prostitute. Please avert your eyes.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Obvious, unsurprising headlines

Catholic Leaders Defend Pope

And this is different from what they usually do ... how?

World Bank Can't Allow Misuse of Funds

This follows the former policy of merely shrugging.

Anna Nicole Smith hires celebrity death consultant for autopsy

Given the state of things, you probably just assumed that there was such a thing as a celebrity death consultant, right?

Several killed by series of suicide attacks in Iraq

Couldn't we just save time and run this headline every day?

Bush and Congress Butt-heads

Er, wait ... That should be "Bush and Congress Butt Heads." Butt is a verb. I must have misread that originally. Well, I guess this one is a little surprising after all. Sorry.

(Thanks to God Is My Codependent for this subject)

One ringy dingy...

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- A widow rented a rotary dial telephone for 42 years, paying what her family calculates as more than $14,000 for a now outdated phone.

Ester Strogen, 82, of Canton, first leased two black rotary phones - the kind whose round dial is moved manually with your finger - in the 1960s. Back then, the technology was new and owning telephones was unaffordable for most people.

Until two months ago, Strogen was still paying AT&T to use the phones - $29.10 a month. Strogen's granddaughters, Melissa Howell and Barb Gordon, ended the arrangement when they discovered the bills.
--Associated Press

Real reason she paid $14,000:

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She was actually renting Salvador Dali's famed "Lobster Telephone."

She'd have been better off with an unsalted stick of Land O'Lakes. Much cheaper.

Also wanted to point out that, when spoken aloud, the name "Ester Strogen" is almost indistinguishable from the word "estrogen."

Update: God Is My Codependent points out that if you use her first initial and last name, closed up, you do indeed get "estrogen."

And "Ester" (not Esther, the usual spelling) is a chemical compound.

Does this smell like a hoax?

What's Elmo up to now?

NEW YORK ( -- The top-secret 10th anniversary Elmo, codenamed "Elmo T.M.X," will finally be unveiled to the world next Tuesday. But will it live up to the hype?

Fisher-Price, a division of No.1 toymaker Mattel, has been extremely tightlipped about the special Elmo. No one, except a handful of company executives and a few toy industry analysts have seen the toy.

Fisher-Price has even tweaked its packaging to play up "top-secret" nature of Elmo T.M.X.

However, Fisher-Price promises that this Elmo will do something that has never been seen before in a plush toy, including the nine Elmos that have preceded T.M.X.
--CNN Money

New functions:
--Elmo can read your mind
--Elmo foretells the exact date on which you'll die
--Elmo knows where your dad keeps the gun
--Elmo does special dance that conjures up Rosie O'Donnell Satan (Note: revised to make less scary)

Foods I won't eat because they resemble other things

Food: Lobster

Resembles: A large prehistoric bug

Reasoning: They're just plain freaky looking. If you saw a gigantic locust, would you eat that? What you really like is the melted butter. My advice: Melt a stick of Land O'Lakes and just sip at that. (But be healthy about it--use the unsalted variety. You need to watch your sodium.)


Food: Cauliflower

Resembles: A brain

Reasoning: If vegetables ever organized and tried to take over the world, cauliflower would be the leader of the revolt.


Food: Brains

Resembles: Cauliflower

Reasoning: Do I really need a reason? They're brains!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Get me a jury and show me how to say "In July" and ...

By request, more of Orson Welles at work.

NSFW. Or, at least, turn down the volume.

He will drink no wine before its time

And it's always time somewhere, it appears.

Look, I admit that I feel guilty about laughing at this. Orson Welles made two of my all-time faves, Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil. So enjoy this while cringing for the genius that was.

BTW, I was never able to understand the Paul Masson slogan: "We will serve no wine before it's time" (i.e., before it is time to serve the wine) or "...before its time" (i.e., before the wine's time)? Neither way particularly makes a lot of sense. And I think the wine was pretty bad, too.

Via Gawker.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It's time for a quick tour of my hometown!!

If I add enough exclamation points, it'll be very exciting!! Promise!!!

The Greetings from Large Letters with Pictures in Them is a whole subgenre of vintage postcards. Riverhead isn't exactly a resort town, so I'm kind of surprised there are so many cards from the era (late '40s/early '50s), especially one of these.

My dad graduated from this high school, as did both of my siblings. By the time I came around, though, it was a middle school. There are a bunch of this same exact building on eastern Long Island--several towns shared the plans.

A trip to Riverhead isn't complete without a visit to the fire department.

And surely you'll want to remember our beautiful Post Office forever! Come on in, and check out the Most Wanted posters!

I have no clue where this is. And this card appears to be older than the others--probably the '30s, perhaps even earlier.

A very nice (if rocky) beach on the Long Island Sound.

The Catholic church I grew up attending. Well, sort of. When I was a kid, there were so many members and the church was so small that I grew up going to mass in what was the parochial school's gym. Not very inspiring.

Don't forget to visit the Big Duck while you're in town!

OK, I may have been lying about the exciting part.

(Click to enlarge.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

You know that dream, right? Or, Why I will never be asked to write a restaurant review for The New Yorker

From the Sept. 11 write-up of a place called The Little Owl:
The crowd is equally motley: Times readers in natural fibers, an interior-decorator type wearing white slacks printed with sprigs of coral. As in a scene from a weird dream, you might spy a friend from college sitting at the bar with Mandy Moore.

The review is two-thirds over before the food is mentioned. As as far as the dream ... well, I didn't go to college with Zach Braff, so it seems unlikely.

(And you know I often dream of celebs.)

For the many people who have landed here after running Google searches, hoping to find information about what's wrong with Deborah Norville's left eye

Jane Pauley's off her meds and poked it out.

The woman holds a grudge, I tell ya.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I try to get vintage postcards from places I've visited. I bought this last year in Quebec City. It's a rather dreary card, as you can see, but I bought it for the message on the back.

June 18, 1945


So far, I have fallen in love twice, won a dollar on the horses--and put my hair up umpteen times a day. Keep the homefires burning.


Saw St. James', which is an exact replica of St. Peter's in Rome, only not as as perfectly beautiful.

Only a few words, but I feel like I know Tink. (Well, it looks like "Tink," anyway. If someone can decypher the signature better than I, chime in.)

As always, click to enlarge.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It really isn't very interesting when they give you low-cal chicken fat--there's so little left

A clip from the Ernie Kovacs show.

There's a commercial first. Sorry.

Ernie was an ahead-of-his-time TV comedian who had several short-lived shows in the '50s. The character in the clip above is poet Percy Dovetonsils, a regular. Probably the most famous of his recurring bits involves the Nairobi Trio, three gorillas--Kovacs and two others, one said to be Jack Lemmon--who mime in cheap costumes and masks to playing music and hitting each other over the head. Did I say ahead of his time? He was downright surreal. (BTW, I was reminded of Kovacs the other day when Mark at the Biomes Blog--see blogroll at left--linked to a clip of Harry Nilsson, in which he spoofs the Trio while singing "Coconut." There's a Nairobi Trio clip here. And the Nilsson clip Mark linked to is here.)

I became a fan during the '70s when Kovacs clip shows were a staple on the local PBS affiliate. There are remarkably few clips of Kovacs on YouTube, Google, Yahoo, etc.

Quotation of the day

The Phantom TollboothThe Watchdog quizzes our hero, Milo, on how he became mired where he didn't want to be:

"I guess I just wasn't thinking," said Milo.

"PRECISELY," shouted the dog as his alarm went off again. "Now you know what you must do."

"I'm afraid I don't," admitted Milo, feeling quite stupid.

"Well," continued the watchdog impatiently, "since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking." And with that he hopped into the car.

"Do you mind if I get in? I love automobile rides." --from Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth

A kid's book, perhaps, but very wise. And filled with all sorts of life lessons.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Velvet Poll

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Sorry, had to take down the poll. Something about it was making TVB take forever to load.

For the record, the final vote: four in favor of the glass being half empty, three for half full.

Monday, September 04, 2006

If sock monkeys wrote "The Raven"

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
On this home by horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Now, give me that banana."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Surrealism in the mail

I look at this and feel like I'm tripping. I have never seen anything like this while in Pa., by the way.

Click to enlarge--and you really ought to.

(No. 1,237 in the TVB vintage postcard series. Collect them all!)