Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quotation of the day

Heather Mills can't figure out why she's getting so much male attention, says The New York Post. "I get asked out all the time," marvels the ex-model, 41, whose marriage to Sir Paul McCartney ended last year, and my girlfriends--who are better looking than me--say, 'How the hell does this happen?'" Mills, who netted nearly $40 million in the divorce, theorizes that "Maybe it's because I'm comfortable with myself." --The Week

Maybe, Heather. Maybe.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Define "win"

Bush's Real Sin Was Winning in Iraq
... Mr. Bush's disfavor in Washington owes more to his greatest success. Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable.
--The Wall Street Journal

Three candidates slain ahead of Iraq polls
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Gunmen killed three Iraqi election candidates in separate incidents on Thursday, two days before Iraq holds provincial polls that will test the war-weary country's fragile democracy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 random things you did not know about The Velvet Blog

1. The Velvet Blog shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand, thereby setting into motion World War I.

2. The Velvet Blog enjoys long walks on the beach, existential philosophy, and bowling, sometimes simultaneously.

3. The Velvet Blog dislikes long walks off short piers.

4. The Velvet Blog is already debating the wisdom of compiling this list.

5. The Velvet Blog finds that rainy days and Mondays always get it down.

6. The Velvet Blog lies about its height.

7. The Velvet Blog has met both Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor, but not at the same time.

8. The Velvet Blog is not completely convinced the refrigerator light goes out when the door is closed.

9. The Velvet Blog knows the words to the Hungarian national anthem, but has no idea why.

10. The Velvet Blog is up to the tenth item on its list of 25 things you don't know about it.

11. The Velvet Blog notes that the only word that rhymes with "eleven" is "schmeleven."

12. The Velvet Blog has an identical cousin and believes The Patty Duke Show was a total rip-off of its life.

13. The Velvet Blog prefers six of one over a half-dozen of the other.

14. The Velvet Blog wrote the Book of Love.

15. The Velvet Blog invented the Internet.

16. The Velvet Blog's mother voiced the reindeer "Clarice" in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

17. The Velvet Blog lied about No. 16, and even stole that lie from a former co-worker because it thought it was funny.

18. The Velvet Blog is shameless.

19. The Velvet Blog still holds a grudge against Ralph Nader, and, furthermore, would like to point out that he appears much shorter in person than he looks on TV.

20. The Velvet Blog just found its shame--it got stuck between the sofa cushions.

21. The Velvet Blog likes both Darrens and refuses to pick sides, but prefers the first Mrs. Kravitz.

22. The Velvet Blog strongly believes that "The Velvet Glob" should not be counted as an anagram for "The Velvet Blog."

23. The Velvet Blog likes pie.

24. The Velvet Blog sometimes gives up a little too soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Can I pencil you in for Tuesday at 11?

Recent search queries that have stranded visitors on The Velvet Blog, with commentary:

pros and cons of wind tunnels
Pros: Windy. Cons: Windy.

song titles with the word party in them
I'm going to take the easy way out and just refer you to the nearest Andrew W.K. album.

yanni live at the apocalypse
From your mouth to God's ear.

visual description of benedict arnold
Subject was last seen looking treasonous in a white powdered wig. Proceed with caution.

When the moon, is in the seventh house (is in the seventh house). And Jupiter, aligns with mars.
And peeeeaaaace will guide the pla-a-nets. And lo-o-ove (and love) will steer the stars.

lifetime movie about mentally handicapped girl
Can you narrow that down? A lot?

why is velvet affairs sending me letters
Do not cross the Office of Velvet Affairs. Seriously--don't.

pictures of santa clause naked
It's nearly February. Isn't it time to look for nekkid pictures of George Washington and Abe Lincoln?

billy jack dog food
It's the dog food Billy Jack eats!

what happens if you touch the jellyfish
You end up in a bad movie.

my eye doctor office hours
9 to 5 Monday through Friday, 9 to 1 on Saturday.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I can snicker if I want to

In the scale of embarrassing place names, Crapstone ranks pretty high. But Britain is full of them. Some are mostly amusing, like Ugley, Essex; East Breast, in western Scotland; North Piddle, in Worcestershire; and Spanker Lane, in Derbyshire.

Others evoke images that may conflict with residents’ efforts to appear dignified when, for example, applying for jobs.

These include Crotch Crescent, Oxford; Titty Ho, Northamptonshire; Wetwang, East Yorkshire; Slutshole Lane, Norfolk; and Thong, Kent. And, in a country that delights in lavatory humor, particularly if the word “bottom” is involved, there is Pratts Bottom, in Kent, doubly cursed because “prat” is slang for buffoon.

As for Penistone, a thriving South Yorkshire town, just stop that sophomoric snickering.
--The New York Times

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Answer: The Czech is in the whale

Question: What do you say when Václav Havel gets swallowed by Moby-Dick?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Speech! Speech!

A transcript of President Obama's inauguration speech is here.

And may I say how nice it is to be able to type "President Obama" rather than "President-elect Obama"?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lost time

John Hodgman--the humorist who in the last couple of years has risen to fame as the star of series of Apple commercials and is also a semiregular on The Daily Show--is so damned talented that it makes me jealous. His writing is an idiosyncratic mix of funny and geeky and odd. But the piece in the clip below, a monologue that comes from his second book, More Information Than You Require, turns downright moving toward the end. And as an actor (admittedly, just an amateur one), I also admire the way he performs this.

Note to David Sedaris: Watch your back.*

It's 18 minutes long, but make some time for this:

*I remain fan of Sedaris, but if he does have one fault as a writer, it's this: A number of his pieces take a turn toward pathos at the very end, and it usually feels unearned and a bit jarring. "Repeat After Me," from Dress Your Family ..., springs to mind immediately, but there are other examples.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Which is funny, because I'd really like to throw one at him

Typo of the day, from The New York Times:
Howie Mandel has returned to work on his new shoe, "Howie Do It," The Associated Press reported. He had been hospitalized on Monday with an irregular heartbeat in Toronto.

At first, I thought it might be a really big shoe, like Ed Sullivan's. But it actually looks like he stole Allen Funt's.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


When it's 6:45 a.m., it's still dark, and you're trying to leave the house early in order get a jump on traffic, make sure the top of your Thermos is off before attempting to pour in coffee.

Really, people, I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If James Joyce wrote postcards ...

(Click to embiggen.)
Sept. 7, 1908

give me a swing will yer Agnes. ha. will yer ah yes.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

First dibs on that shank bone

I was shopping for dog food last night and noticed something rather surprising. Evanger's dog food is kosher. Seriously--it says so right on the label.

The company's Web site contains this helpful info:
The Chicago Rabbinical Council has approved the food Evanger's has created, a pet food that is not only great for everyday, but suitable for all holidays, including Passover. Evanger's pet foods are not Kosher for human consumption.

Well, that last bit is kind of a relief.

I didn't buy it, as Freddie is Unitarian. But my new goal for 2009 is to be invited to a dog bar mitzvah.

Does the Pope have wafers for Catholic dogs? Are there flea-dip dunkings for Baptist pups? How many bitches may a Mormon dog keep these days? This opens up so many questions!

There were rumors that Tom Cruise offered canine e-meter readings on the set of Valkyrie, which I discounted at the time.

Now I'm not so sure.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

This is the universe. Big, isn't it?

Yay! My All-Time Favorite Movie is finally on DVD.

Here's the opening scene of Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death (also known as Stairway to Heaven). I can't begin to explain why this film moves me so much. It just does. (I got completely choked up by this scene as I watched the disc last night. David Niven is so brave! Kim Hunter is so beautiful!)

If this scene doesn't hook you ... well, you just don't like movies. It's available on Netflix here. Rent it, and remember to thank me later.

UPDATE: There's a good rundown of Powell and Pressburger's output here.

UPDATE UPDATE: This has been getting a lot of hits lately from people searching on the phrase that is the blog post's title. Yes, it is quote from this film, if that's what you're searching for, though I don't think the phrase is in the clip above.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Remember that highly esteemed political analyst, Joe the Plumber? You know, that average Joe who wasn't actually a licensed plumber (or named Joe), the guy who signed a manager and looked into doing a talk show and recording a country album immediately after he was all over the cable news?

Yeah, him.

He also signed a quickie deal in order to get a book out in time for Christmas gift giving. Really, the perfect present for the person who has everything. And what says "quality" more than writing (cough, cough) and publishing a book in about a month? He was even doing a lot of publicity for it, including the usual conservative suspects, like Glenn Beck -- and completely trashed John McCain, the man without whom he'd still be doing unlicensed plumbing work, in the process.

Curiosity recently got the better of me, and I checked on the book's status on Amazon. It's still listed as having a December publication date, with this added note: "This book has not yet been released." Hmm. It's Jan. 5. I think we missed Christmas.

And furthermore, though it's available for "pre-order," the tome currently stands at #82,937 on Amazon's best-seller list. For comparison's sake, Will Shortz Presents Ferocious Sudoku: 200 Hard Puzzles (one of perhaps a gazillion sudoku books) is at #6,569.

The clock is ticking, Joe. I have this nagging suspicion you reached your use-by date somewhere around Nov. 4.

UPDATE: The hilarity continues.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Heart of a pirate

Coeur de Pirate || Comme des enfants from Dare To Care Records on Vimeo.

When I go to another country, I try to do several things aside from the usual seeing of sights. 1) Go to a supermarket. I love seeing unfamiliar foods. 2) Buy a cookbook of the local cuisine, preferably in English. 3) Buy a CD of a local musician.

This past October while in Quebec, I picked up the debut of Beatrice Martin, a seemingly wise-beyond-her-years 18-year-old who records under the name Coeur de Pirate.

I have no idea what she's singing about, but the whole album is as lovely as the song in the video above.

If you like it ... well, you seem to be out of luck. I just checked Amazon's Canadian site, and it's not there. Nor is it on iTunes, or the Web site of the record label that posted the video.

UPDATE: Well, that was oddly difficult to find. It's here.

UPDATE UPDATE: Her MySpace page is here.

Friday, January 02, 2009