Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Via everyone

Hm. Well, I had embedded here a YouTube video of William Shatner doing a dramatic reading of Sarah Palin's goodbye speech, from Conan O'Brien's show. But NBC, in its wisdom, asked YouTube to take it down. If you explore NBC's site, you might find it. I dunno. (Note to NBC: When videos go viral, it might be best to skip the Tamiflu.)

It was pretty funny. Yet nothing can ever top Shatner's version of "Rocket Man" (and this is by far the clearest version of this video I've seen):

Borders fine-tunes its advertising

To find this semi-amusing, I guess you have to be aware who Michelle Malkin is. If you don't know, well, I envy you. She's a far-right-winger who sometimes subs for Bill O'Reilly, writes a nutty column and blog, and once published a book in praise of the United States' decision to put Japanese Americans in camps during WWII. (I know her mostly because Sadly, No! makes fun of her a lot.)

Her new book is called Culture of Corruption, a damning look at the Obama administration thus far. Here's the thing--books have long lead times. Back in my book publishing days, a book took about nine months to turn around, from when the author handed it in until it was in bookstores. Sometimes longer. Granted, this was quite a while ago; let's say it now takes four months. That means she must have finished sometime in March. The man had only been in office since the end of January--seems a little premature, no?

Anyway, what made me laugh was the advertising copy for Malkin's book in the latest e-mail from the Borders bookstore chain:
As President Obama faces one of his first divisive challenges in office, Malkin offers a strident take on the administration thus far.

Is that where we are these days? Being strident is a plus, something to highlight in sales copy? Funny, I'd be more likely to read something if it's called "reasoned" or "well researched" or something. But I guess Borders knows who buys Malkin's books.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What to do when you're done teabagging

Did you Go Galt ... and no one noticed? Your Ayn Rand t-shirt provoke more eye-rolling than cheers?

Time for a new Libertarian hero! Something that really sums up the movement!

Hey, I know, how about a feral pig?
MIAMI — Thomas Paine and Ayn Rand, make way for Porky. Or is it Wilbur?

Arnold Ziffel! Arnold Ziffel!!
No one really knows what to call the 150-pound pig roaming free in Panama City, Fla., but by eluding the authorities for five months, shaking off a Taser and four tranquilizer darts on Tuesday, the porker has become more than just swine.

The pig is now a local libertarian hero. Supporters describe the animal as a freedom-loving outlaw with a taste for corn. His Facebook page lists more than 200 fans, like Mary K. Sittman, who asked this week, “Is the pig a symbol of our desire to live free of government controls? ...”

Uh ... OK, I would have gone with "symbol of our squealing inner piggishness," but sure! Go for it!
In an interview, Ms. Sittman said the pig, which lives in a lush, muddy park near her home, had “to be a real survivor.” It is this independence, she said, that appeals to residents in her mostly conservative area in the Florida Panhandle.

The pig is also frugal fun. “Now we have something free to do on a hot summer night,” said Ms. Sittman, 62, a real estate developer semiretired by the recession. “We can go pig-spotting.”

I have nothing to add here, actually.
Local officials, though, see the pig as more of a hogzilla in the making.

Jim Crosby, division manager for Bay County Animal Control, said the pig charged him and his deputies on Monday and nearly tore a chunk of flesh from their calves. A woman walking her dog near the park on Thursday reported that the pig also rushed her.

“It has been fed by people and chased by some teenagers,” Mr. Crosby said, adding, “We are afraid the pig could hurt humans or could run into the road and get hit by a car.”

Ms. Sittman was somehow unpersuasive. But Mr. Crosby has won me over.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Something I learned from the full-page ad for the movie Orphan in today's Times and the questions it raises

"Horror has a new name, and it's Esther."

I wonder how Horror came to pick this new name. Was Horror trying to sound like someone's 80-year-old aunt?

I also wonder how inconvenient the process was. Did Horror have to go to the DVM and get a new license? How about her Social Security card? Credit cards? What about Horror's birth certificate? If Horror ... er, if Esther runs for elected office, will bloggers claim she isn't eligible and where the hell is the vault copy of her birth certificate?

Frankly, this sounds like a pain in the neck, and, in sum, I wonder if Esther has really thought this through.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Postcard of the day

Greetings from Monkey Island:

Aug. 3, 1942

Dear Hope,

Hope you aren't working to hard. I am on a vacation so will see you soon.

Love, Marolyn

Click to embiggen.

If sock monkeys wrote Gravity's Rainbow

sock monkeyA screaming banana comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A trip to the moon

In case you missed it, NASA has remastered the video that astronauts took on the moon. While that's good, and those responsible certainly have done a remarkable job, the fact remains that NASA lost the best-quality tapes. I mean ... we go to the moon and NASA can't even find the original tapes??? Yikes.

The restored video:

The unrestored video:

As you can see, the tapes we had were in simply terrible condition. It's a true disgrace.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"In a flurry of flame and fur, fangs and wicker, thus ended the world's first and only hot air baboon ride"

The results of the 2009 Bulwer-Lytton bad-writing contest are up and, as always, they're must reading. (The subject line above was a runner-up in the Adventure category for Tony Alfieri of Los Angeles. Congratulations, Mr. Alfieri!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Smackdown!: Paul Potts vs. Pol Pot

PhotobucketPaul Potts
WHO?: Cell-phone salesman who, in 2007, became an everyman Britain's Got Talent winner and a ubiquitous YouTube sensation by singing arias in a vibrato-heavy tenor.

PROS: Brings opera to the masses.

CONS: Middlebrow entertainment posing as high art. Repertoire consists of the most overplayed of opera's "greatest hits" mixed with pop schlock. Is currently on tour in the U.S. with several other, even schlockier vocalists.

PhotobucketPol Pot

WHO?: Cambodian leader of the Khmer Rouge, a brutal Communist movement dating from the mid-'70s. Set high standards for truly insane, violent dictators that today's truly insane, violent dictators only dream of matching.

PROS: Is currently dead.

CONS: Believed to have killed 21% of his country's population, as many as 2.5 million people, by some estimates.

WINNER: All things considered, I've got to go with Paul Potts, even though the Times reports that in a recent NYC appearance he sang "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" in Italian, with an operatic arrangement--which, last time I checked, violated the Geneva Conventions. Pol Pot's singing voice was reportedly quite "pitchy," but genocide is worse than the death of taste.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Waiting for a Krappy Day: A Play

Kind of busy/distracted. Here, have a rerun from June 2006:

The scene: An overgrown garden. Two large terra cotta planters are on either side of the stage. Each character stands in his or her own planter, facing the audience.

The characters:

Kay--Any age group. She wears filthy clothes and is wearing a tattered wig. She holds a disintegrating copy of "A Confederacy of Dunces." Her t-shirt bears the slogan "I'm with stupid."

The Spaniard--Tall and distinguished. He, too, wears a t-shirt. His slogan reads: "No, estoy con estupido."

Before the lights go up, the stage is in total darkness. Loud metallic clanging fills the air. Suddenly, the noise stops. The lights go up in a blinding fury. The action begins in medias res.


KAY: Yes?


KAY: See what?


KAY: God is dead.

[The lights go out and the clanging starts up again. It continues indefinitely, until the audience gives up and goes home]

Please contact Samuel French Inc. for staging rights.

Unfortunate metaphors similes of the day

The television host Joan Lunden, 58, has become a celebrity spokeswoman for surrogacy since she and her second husband, Jeff, became parents of two sets of twins, now 4 and 6. ... Although she considers her children too young for a talk about embryos and uteruses, Ms. Lunden already has a metaphor ready for when the time comes: cupcakes. “It’s almost like we can’t cook the cupcakes in our oven because the oven is broken,” she said. “We’re going to use the neighbor’s oven.” --The New York Times

There are other cryptic crosswords Ms. Miller can play to fill the void, she said, like the puzzle in Harper’s Magazine. But in her opinion, no constructors can match the “brilliance” of Ms. Cox and Mr. Rathvon. “You get the pleasure of solving each clue, so there’s that ‘aha’ moment over and over -- it’s like having multiple orgasms,” she said. --The New York Times

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Breakdown of abbreviations used in Michael Jackson's ad in tomorrow's real-estate section

A rerun from Feb. 27, 2008. Hey, it's topical again!
Michael Jackson's famed Neverland Valley Ranch in California will be foreclosed and sold on March 19 unless the pop star pays a balance of nearly $25 million, property records showed on Tuesday. --Reuters

FSBO: 2,800-acre estate. Features EIK. LF. PZAPFWPPC. Owner's ON may be under SGLRC; you may keep it if found beneath cushions. MCTIWIF. EWLMBTT. Inexplicably, SMJL. Custom-made RJJR. EMS stored in HUHC. Shrine to ET. PTS.


FSBO = For sale by owner
EIK = Eat-in kitchen
LF = Llama farm
PZAPFWPPC = Private zoo and amusement park festooned with Peter Pan characters
ON = Original nose
SGLRC = Solid gold living room couch
MCTIWIF = Macauley Culkin trapped in walk-in freezer
EWLMBTT = Emmanuel "Webster" Lewis may be there, too
SMJL = So may Jerry Lewis.
RJJR = Refrigerated Jesus-juice rack
EMS = Elephant man skeleton
HUHC = Hardly used hyperbaric chamber
ET = Could be Extra-Terrestrial or Elizabeth Taylor; probably both
PTS = Priced to sell

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Velvet Blog takes yet another stab at predicting the future

William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and an outspoken Palin defender, acknowledged Palin’s [resignation] was “an enormous gamble” but said it could prove smart.

“Now she can do her book, give speeches, travel the country and the world, campaign for others, meet people, get more educated on the issues--and without being criticized for neglecting her duties in Alaska,” said Kristol.

July 15, 2009. Sarah Palin appears on Hannity's show, pulls out an endangered sea turtle from her Prada handbag, and guts and eats it on camera.

William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and an outspoken Palin defender, acknowledged Palin’s endangered-turtle eating was “an enormous gamble” but said it could prove smart. "I've got to hand it to her. Not many politicians would have gambled with her audience's sympathies like that. It simply makes her look more like the kind of person who can make the tough decisions our nation faces."

Aug. 17, 2009. Sarah Palin appears at a press conference wearing a tin-foil hat and talks about the alien encampment she can see from her house.
William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and an outspoken Palin defender, acknowledged Palin’s alien-watching and fashion choices were “an enormous gamble” but said it could prove smart. "Why isn't Obama wearing a tin-foil hat? Not very presidential."

Columbus Day, 2009. Sarah Palin kidnaps an Native American infant from a reservation hospital, then displays him at a press conference as her own, saying she had kept her pregnancy secret.
William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and an outspoken Palin defender, acknowledged Palin’s kidnapping of a Native American baby was “an enormous gamble” but said it could prove smart. "Her love of family is truly remarkable. She is an example to us all."

Jan. 15, 2010. Sarah Palin appears as a guest judge on American Idol. She scalps Paula Abdul, and plops Abdul's hair extensions of top of her own head and tells first contestant, "You are an inspiration! I'd like stuff you in the trunk of my SUV, bring you up to the tundra, and have you sing for the bears. Then I'd like to shoot the bears and offer their entrails to you."
William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and an outspoken Palin defender, acknowledged Palin’s American Idol appearance as “an enormous gamble” but said it could prove smart. "That singer's take on 'I Will Always Love You' brought tears to my eyes. That Palin would drive a contestant all the way to Alaska just to sing to bears before sacrificing them moved me deeply, just as it would any red-blooded American."

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Postcard of the day

Oct. 2, 1938

Hello Strangers

Haven't seen you for so long sure do miss you. I hope to see you soon. This is just to show we are thinking of you. Hope to see you soon.

Jimmy & Jo

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Velvet Blog predicts the future

Soon, there will be no written communication at all. People will communicate using facial expressions, from photos they took on their cell phones while looking in mirrors and uploaded to some Web service that succeeds Twitter and doesn't allow any characters at all. "Is there any milk?" will be shown by someone holding an empty milk carton upside down while shrugging and looking quizzical. "It's in the fridge, dumbass," will be conveyed by the respondent standing in front of a fridge, pointing at it and looking exasperated. Etc.

Can you prove that it won't happen?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

One of my favorites, too

Kinda busy. Here, watch this video of Harry Nilsson singing "Mr. Richland's Favorite Song."

A knockout, yes?