Friday, November 30, 2007

Titles that Gabriel García Márquez rejected

--1,200 Months of Monkey Pox
--Ten Decades of Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis
--A Century of Genital Warts

UPDATE: Several hours after posting this, I realized I'd killed the gag by conflating two of the author's titles, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, in my feverish brain. Somehow, I thought one of the titles was One Hundred Years of Cholera. Really. So, please ignore this post.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

UPDATE UPDATE: God Is My Codependent points out that Love in the Time of Genital Warts would have worked.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Forget the third man--perhaps the 23rd?

A few months ago, I pointed out the seemed to be deliberately hiding recognizable names in the cast lists of Albert Brooks movies, among some other films.

Apparently, others have noticed. Check out the complete title of The Third Man as it appears on this Amazon page.

(Whoever vandalized that page, however, would appear to be technically wrong. Those actors do appear, according to the IMDb listing, though they're not credited in the film.)

UPDATE: I see Amazon page got fixed. For a while there, the title read: "The Third Man -- You got the cast list completely wrong."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just shoot me

My digital camera died on me recently, and with a purchase of a new new one, I've found they've become more feature-filled--that means complicated--in the last couple of years. Just reading the instruction manual is giving me a headache.

It has a button marked MF. Really, that can't be good--it won't even disguise its contempt toward me.

I'm on vacation this week, and took a few photos at the Fire Island Lighthouse today. Last one is an old lens from the lighthouse, which was built in the mid-1800s.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vanity of vanities

Second in an occasional series in which we improve depressing (or odd) descriptions of vanity press books advertised in The New York Times Book Review by adding the phrase "Wacky high jinks ensue" at the end of them. All ad copy verbatim (except for the high jinks) from the Nov. 25 issue.

Overcoming George. My depression era family was dominated by my stepfather, George the womanizer, who drank and swore too much and was obsessed with sex. Dad committed suicide, mom was an alcoholic, and the struggle to overcome this situation took effort and perseverance. Wacky high jinks ensue.

A Time of My Life. Norene grew up on a Texas farm during the Great Depression. She went to college--then became a school teacher, dance teacher, television and night club performer, all at the same time. With many pictures included, this book shows Norene truly had the time of her life! Wacky high jinks ensue.

Surviving General Motors With Multiple Sclerosis. [The author] was a proud employee of GM, but when she was harassed and threatened by racist, sexist co-workers, GM failed to respond. Wacky high jinks ensue.

Things You Should Know About Teeth. The book summarizes the key-points about teeth that everyone should know as good general knowledge which vitally forms the first-step toward dental prevention. Wacky high jinks ensue.

Dental prevention? Sounds like a thoughtful Christmas gift.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Suggestion for Hollywood

Given my great recent success coming up with concepts for TV shows, I've decided to branch out into film.

Here's my first idea: Denzel Washington should change the name of his new film, The Great Debaters, to The Master Debaters.

I'm not exactly sure why--I just can't quite put my finger on it. But it sounds like the kind of film that I might watch. Late at night. Maybe on cable.

Hmmm. My subconcious is obviously making some sort of connection here, God only knows what. But I have to learn to trust my instincts if I'm going to make it in Tinseltown.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Book 'em

Concerned reader God Is My Codependent and I have been discussing the new Amazon Kindle, a pricey new e-book device.

I like the idea of an e-book. But this isn't gonna fly.

An e-book that can display PDFs--say, copyright-free books from Project Gutenberg and Wowio and the like--as well as downloaded purchased books from any source would be wonderful. (Can my eyes read books purchased from Amazon as well as the used book store two towns over? Last time I checked, yes. And and an e-book should do likewise.) Picture something like an iPod that you could easily sync up to your computer and move books and periodicals on and off. That would be cool. But $400 for a device that only displays proprietary works protected by digital rights management (meaning I can't give or loan purchased e-books to anyone)? They've got to be kidding me.

Here's a good look at the issues involved in e-books. (Via Pharyngula.)

Three rules

--Do not go out of your way to make a pun, and then follow it up with "No pun intended."

You've created a pun--you even might say you have a pun in the oven*--so own up to it.

*Pun intended.

--Do not invent tortured acronyms. Also, do not use as the first word of your acronym the word that the acronym spells out. This was in a news story I read recently: "Smart Antenna RF Test Alliance (SMART)."

No, that's not SMART. It's SARFTA. And it's STUPID (Stupid Tortured Unhelpful Piddly Initials are Dumb).

--Don't say "No offense, but" just before you say something that's obviously intended to offend. For example, "No offense, but screw you."

If you do that, well, no offense, but screw you.

Wait ... actually, that one's sort of satisfying. Never mind.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

I took my dog, Freddie, to the N.Y. Tech campus nearby to run around and chase squirrels the other day. I snapped a picture of the trees with their vivid autumn foliage and thought it would be perfect for enlarging and framing.

At first glance, when I looked at the resulting shot on my computer screen, it was quite beautiful. Orange and yellow leaves clinging to half-bare branches, and a thick carpet of them on the ground.

Then I took a closer look and realized I had also taken a picture of Freddie in the middle of pooping.

It's almost Thanksgiving ...

You know what that means: It's time to rerun the post on my Scottish grandma's oatmeal stuffing recipe:

My mom used to make her mom's oatmeal stuffing every Thanksgiving. Since my sister took over T-day duties and doesn't like the oatmeal stuffing (she makes the bread variety), well, I miss it a lot. The stuffing's not bad in a chicken--I've done it--but somehow it's tastier in a turkey.

The recipe is simplicity itself: Saute a chopped medium onion (or, if you're feeling fancy, a big shallot) and rib of celery in oil. Add salt and pepper and two cups of oatmeal rolled oats or quick-cooking oats and continue sauteing until the oatmeal gets toasty. Then stuff the turkey. (Obviously, you can cut this in half for a chicken. Or bake it in a covered dish alongside the bird with some chicken stock to keep it moist.)

That's it.

Maybe you had to grow up with this to love it, but I do.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

News quiz

Who said the following? Whoever would say something like this would obviously make a better president than Constitution-trampling W!
When the Founders drafted the Constitution, they had a clear understanding of tyranny. They also had a clear idea about how to prevent it from ever taking root in America. Their solution was to separate the government's powers into three co-equal branches: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. Each of these branches plays a vital role in our free society. Each serves as a check on the others. And to preserve our liberty, each must meet its responsibilities -- and resist the temptation to encroach on the powers the Constitution accords to others. ... The President's oath of office commits him to do his best to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." I take these words seriously.


Wait .... the president said that? Embarking on a comedy tour, I guess, and working on new material.

(I saw the quote on another blog today, but darned if I can remember which. I thought it was T-bogg and was going to link, but nope. So, a hat tip to whomever. UPDATE: It was Greenwald.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quotation of the Day

I get my hair cut every two days. After all, your hair is your head suit. --Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) on 30 Rock

Funny, funny episode last night. You can watch full eps of 30 Rock online. Last night's is a good place to start--probably the best of the season so far.

UPDATE: It's been pointed out to me that I'm not supporting the writers strike by linking to NBC's site.

So go download it illegally instead.

You go, writers!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A fine dive

Hey, I have a couple readers around Nashville, right?

The wonderful, Nashville-based pop duo Swan Dive is doing a free show at the Nashville Public Library this Saturday. Expect lots of bossa nova--the band's most recent album, Until, is all Brazilian-inspired.

Tell them The Velvet Blog sent you. They won't know what that means, but tell them anyway. Oh, and ask that they play "One Sided."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Name of the Day

From a front-page New York Times story, so, no, this isn't like Liz Onya or Heywood Jablowme*:
Peter B. Teets, the new head of the nation’s spy satellite agency, appointed a panel of experts to examine the secret project, telling them, according to one member, “Find out what’s going on, find the terrible truth I suspect is out there.”

The terrible truth, sir, is that your name seems to be sending a seriously mixed message.

*Which, yes, actually made it into a New York Daily News "Voice of the People" piece.

Cheers and Jeers Bouquets and Brickbats for The New York Times

Cheers Bouquets for The New York Times for yesterday's editorial:
It is extraordinary how President Bush has streamlined the Senate confirmation process. As we have seen most recently with the vote to confirm Michael Mukasey as attorney general, about all that is left of "advice and consent" is the "consent" part. ...

It's worth reading the whole thing. Except ...

Jeers Brickbats for The New York Times for this part of that same editorial:
On Thursday, the Senate voted by 53 to 40 to confirm Mr. Mukasey even though he would not answer a simple question: does he think waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning used to extract information from a prisoner, is torture and therefore illegal?

This is how the Times always refers to waterboarding.

To me, "simulated drowning" would involve, oh, 3-D goggles and an Imax screen and someone throwing buckets of water at you.

Waterboarding is real drowning just short of actually, you know, killing you.

The NPR program On the Media discusses use of the term.

Frank Rich's column from yesterday is also worth a read.

Note to God Is My Codependent: Let it not be said I don't listen to my audience.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Well, I guess Celebrity Paintball Challenge is next, then

Remember when I invited you to take a quiz and guess the real reality show? The real one was the (yawn) celebrity cooking show, which was quickly canceled.

One of the fake ones was Celebrity Rap-Off which later actually made it on the air, if under a different name and on a different network.

One of the other fake ones was Celebrity Garage Sale. Well, guess what? A&E just announced a new show, and it's called ... Celebrity Garage Sale:
The cable network has shot a pilot for the project, titled "Celebrity Garage Sale," in which [Illeana] Douglas tries to help her famous friends get rid of their unwanted junk, personal items and dusty memorabilia by having their own garage sale. ... The pilot features Tom Arnold, whose garage sale is said to have raised $5,000 for Camp del Corazon, a summer camp for children with heart disease.

OK, I got the host wrong, but still.

I ... I ... Why the hell am I not working in television? I mean, other than the fact that it's soul sucking and all that.

WTF?: Bacon Edition

I was in the supermarket the other day and saw this:

Now, I like bacon. I really, really like bacon. I don't eat it a lot, but once in a while, I'll splurge and get Applegate Farms' Sunday bacon. It's pretty damned amazing--what all bacon should aspire to taste like.

I also like beef. A nice steak? Mmmmmmmmmmm, yes, please.

But beef bacon? Beef?? There's just something inherently wrong with that.

I'm going to take a leap here and guess this is a Southern thing. As The Velvet Blog has a few readers down South, I'm going to ask you chime in here. Have you had this? Is it as odd as it sounds?

I mean ... turkey bacon is understandable. I don't particularly like it, but I understand it. It's for people who like bacon but for health or religious reasons avoid it. (Tofu bacon and the like, though, please take the next train out of town. Soybeans should not pretend they're meat.) But for some reason, the idea of beef bacon makes me feel mildly ill.

UPDATE: Hmm. More investigation on this serious matter is warranted. The brand of beef bacon in my local Stop & Shop is made in .... Brooklyn!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Your moment of Zen

Do you miss The Daily Show as much as I do? (In case you missed the news, the TV writers' union is out on strike. Dramas and sitcoms have episodes in the can, but the strike affected nightly shows like this and Letterman and Colbert right out of the gate. Still, if the strike drags on, expect Celeberity Garage Sale to make it on sooner or later. "Reality" shows are not affected.)

Here's a clip from the very first TDS episode Jon Stewart ever hosted, on Jan. 11, 1999:

Did you know that all Stewart-hosted episodes are now online? Well, they are!

Go here and search by date or topic.

TVB predicts a really awkward Thanksgiving

Sister Beats Brother in Ohio Mayor Race

MONTEZUMA, Ohio -- Score one for the big sister: The mayor of this Ohio village held off a challenge from her younger brother and kept her office.

Daniel Huffman was hoping to unseat his sister, Charlotte Garman, in Tuesday's election. However, residents of the village, with only 138 registered voters, stuck with Garman, who has been mayor for eight years.

Garman, also the postmaster in this western Ohio community, landed 43 votes; her brother had 24.

Huffman, a carpenter and electrician, has said his decision to challenge his sister for the seat probably didn't sit well with her.

"I really don't believe she's tickled about it," said Huffman, 45.

Huffman said before the election that his sister, who is four years older, had done a tremendous job as mayor.

"Mom! Charlotte kicked me under the table and won't pass the mashed potatoes!"

Monday, November 05, 2007

What The Velvet Blog's declaration of martial law means to you, the TVB reader

--Those who leave comments I disagree with will be jailed without hope of trial.
--Option of ground pepper on dinner entrees replaced with mandatory pepper spray in face.
--A complimentary coupon book with discounts to local businesses for TVB visitors named "Marshall."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Postcard of the Day

Skyline of lower Manhattan at night from under the Brooklyn Bridge, New York.

Click to enlarge (and you should).

Compare with this.

And click on the "postcards" link below for more.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Name of the Day

Apple France's marketing director, Hugues Asseman.

UPDATE: Somehow, The Velvet Blog is now the fourth second hit on Google for "Hugues Asseman"--just for making fun of the guy's name. I kind of feel like a huge ass, man.

Handy Visual Guide for distinguishing between a ... um ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Maureen O'Hara

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Rita Moreno

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Merino sheep

I've had this Handy Visual Guide in my queue for months. I could never think of a punch line to tie it together. I'm pretty sure there's a gag in there somewhere.