Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just wondering

If the Fu Yu in East Rockaway, L.I., merged with the nearby Hoo King in Oceanside, would they rename it Hoo Yu Fu King?

Yes, The Velvet Blog is working blue today.

Note: I'm a little short of time to actually think of new blog posts--work is crazy and I'm having trouble stringing two coherent thoughts together. I noticed I had saved this post as a draft nearly two years ago and never triggered it, probably for reasons of taste. Obviously, my standards have lowered.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An Associated Press news story ... from the future!

I find the tense of this AP story, posted online about half an hour ago, deeply odd:
Former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton closed out her history-making 2008 quest for the White House Tuesday with a prime-time appearance at the Democratic National Convention, ... Clinton paid an advance visit to the convention hall in late morning with her daughter, Chelsea. While her appearance was the main event of the night, it was far from the role she envisioned more than a year ago ... --The Associated Press

I'm glad the reporter didn't go on to review the speech. Still, I'd have gone with "will close out" and "will be the main event" for online copy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I, for one, welcome our new robot rat overlords.

(Trivia points to the reader who identifies the source of the "I, for one, welcome our new [adjective] overlords" setup -- which, yes, I admit to overusing. Sue me.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Top chef secret

So, Julia Child was a spy. Or was she?

One thing's for sure: She was a one-of-a-kind TV presence.

Pretty busy the next few weeks. Expect posts to be even more half-assed than usual.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Demystification of the Olympics opening ceremony that I really didn't need to know

They faked some of the fireworks? Oh, fine, for the sake of TV spectacularity.* The little girl who sang was lip-synching because the vocalist wasn't cute enough? Well, no one wants to see an ugly kid, especially in high-def. The adult performers were wearing Depends disposable undergarments? Ummm ... what?
"You wanna know a secret?" an International Olympic Committee member from Las Vegas asked me in the lobby of the Shangri-La's Kerry Centre Hotel in Beijing. "The performers are wearing diapers during rehearsals so they don't have to take bathroom breaks." --Huffington Post

*Warning: Not an actual word.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yet another sign of the coming apocalypse (which really can't come too soon)

Were you aware that there is cable-TV game show called Hurl? It goes like this: 1) Two young men eat. 2) They are then attached to contraptions that twirl them up, down, and sideways. 3) The person to throw up first is the loser.

Although one might argue that civilization is the bigger loser.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Death by the numbers

Number of Google News hits for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who died last week: 297

Number of Google News hits for Bernie Mac, who also died last week: 5,333

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dear Subconscious:

Frankly, Subconscious, you puzzle me. I realize you have things to work out when I'm sleeping. I'm not sure why you continue to torment me with dreams about celebs I don't care about in real life. You know: Screech. Ryan Seacrest. Etc., etc. But I'm just going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure you're doing very important work, and, well, if I don't understand, I must just be a dope.

But I really need to complain about that dream you sent my way the other night. You know, the one in which former Attorney General John Ashcroft appeared on TV with the Singing Senators to perform a version of the god-awful Black Eyed Peas' hit, "My Humps." Do I need to remind you that the song contained two of George Carlin's seven words you can't say on television? (Yes, @#(%@! and ^&@#*.) And that as the dream closed, I wrote a letter of complaint about this to the Federal Communications Commission, hoping to get Ashcroft into trouble?

That's playing dirty, Subconscious. There's simply no reason for behaving this way. This sort of thing must stop.

In retaliation, I'm going to force you to watch this YouTube video of Ashcroft warbling a song of his own composition, "Let the Eagle Soar."

There--how'd you like that? I can play dirty, too.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tired ... so very tired

A few days ago, Sen. Obama remarked in a speech that doing little things, like making sure your car's tires are properly inflated, can make a difference in the amount of gas you use. The Republicans have decided to thoroughly mock this as the most ridiculous thing ever.

Can I give you a little firsthand experience? In the past, my 2002 Saturn generally got to the three-quarters-full mark on the gas gauge around the time my trip odometer hit 100 miles (that is, after I reset the odometer to 0 when I fill the tank). Since gas prices have risen, I've made a few changes to way I drive. I speed up at a slower rate from full stops (thereby avoiding "jackrabbit starts," which waste gas). I try to coast into stops at lights and stop signs rather than keeping my foot on the accelerator to the last moment and then braking. On the highway, I've been keeping to around 56-57 miles per hour rather than the 63 or so I used to do.

And guess what? I'm getting to around 120 miles on the trip odometer at the three-quarters-full mark. That's with my AC on in the hot weather.

Can you imagine if everyone did this?

Republicans are handing out tire gauges with "Obama's energy plan" on them as a form of ridicule. Remember when they handed out "purple heart" Band-Aids on the floor of the Republican Convention four years ago to mock Sen. Kerry's service during the Vietnam War? That was a slap in the face of every veteran who earned that distinction. And this seems like slap at every American who'd like to save a few bucks at the pump.

I haven't been checking my tire pressure, by the way. But I'm going to start.

UPDATE: "It's like they take pride in being ignorant."

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sometimes, it's better to leave people guessing

A co-worker sent me a link to this Associated Press story a little while ago. I assume it will be fixed shortly, but, for the record, the item first was sent out as:
Conservative political commentator Robert Novak has announced his immediate retirement after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. ...

Novak has been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades. He announced late last month he has a brain. The revelation came less than a week after he struck a pedestrian with his Corvette and drove away.
--The Associated Press

It's already getting fixed on most sites. Link above was still wrong when I made this post.

Meanwhile, newspapers are laying off copy editors. Coincidence?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The dark side

I found this New York Times Magazine story about online "trolls" to be downright disturbing.

There are some sick folks out there. It's also made me question (again) the wisdom of using my real-world name here.