Saturday, August 29, 2009

Return to the valley of nonapologies

There are nonapology apologies, and then there are just plain old nonapologies. This is the latter:
[GOP gubernatorial candidate Rex] Rammell made the comment Tuesday at a Republican barbecue in Twin Falls during talk about Idaho selling its first $11.50 hunting tags for wolves this fall. Someone shouted "Obama tags," and Rammell said, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."

On Friday, he said in a news release and on Twitter: "Anyone who understands the law, knows I was just joking, because Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue hunting tags in Washington, D.C."

Coincidentally, Rex Rammell is my porn name.

Great. Now I have to change it. Thanks loads, douchebag.

(Note: At least other top Idaho Republicans are condemning the remark, and Rammell is seen as a quote-unquote fringe candidate.)

Repeat: We did NOT use griffins

Is Using A Minotaur To Gore Detainees A Form Of Torture?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Random 10 with selected lyrics

Nilsson, "Living Without You," Nilsson Sings Newman: Milk truck hauls the sun up/And the paper hits my door/The subway shakes my floor/And I think about you

Thomas Dolby, "She Blinded Me With Science," Retrospectacle: Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto -- you're beautiful!

Rilo Kiley, "More Adventurous," More Adventurous: And it's only doubts that we're counting/On fingers broken long ago/I read with every broken heart we should become/More adventurous

Richard X. Heyman, "Cornerstone," Cornerstone

Jane Siberry, "Waitress," No Borders Here: And I'd probably be famous now/If I wasn't such a good waitress

Marshall Crenshaw, "You're My Favorite Waste of Time," This Is Easy

Death Cab for Cute, "Your Heart Is an Empty Room," Plans

Nick Lowe, "All Men Are Liars," Party of One: Do you remember Rick Astley?/He had a big fat hit/It was ghastly

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, "Perfect Skin," Rattlesnakes: Shame on you/You've got no sense of grace/Shame on me/Ah, just in case

Serge Gainsbourg, "L'Hotel Particulier," Histoire de Melody Nelson

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Correction of the day

Trust me, magazines and newspapers do NOT like to print corrections. Whenever we have to print one, there's much discussion and we always try to figure out what went wrong.

I, for one, would love to hear how this choice error happened. (The theory of the person who comments at bottom of page sounds very plausible. But really ... how did someone not check this?)

If sock monkeys were hypnotists

Look into my eyes. You are getting sleepy, very sleepy ... Your eyelids are getting heavy, so heavy you cannot keep your eyes open. You try to get up from your chair, but you can't. You feel heavy, heavy, as if you can't move, like you just ate combo meal #5 at Taco Bell.

You are under my control. You will do anything I say.

Now, give me that banana.

Note: A rerun of the first sock monkey post, from January 2006.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Breaking news

Science ponders 'zombie attack'

If zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.

Um ... did we not already learn the many lessons of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?
That is the conclusion of a mathematical exercise carried out by researchers in Canada.

They say only frequent counter-attacks with increasing force would eradicate the fictional creatures.

One would think it would be easy to eradicate fictional creatures. One would be wrong.
The scientific paper is published in a book - Infectious Diseases Modelling Research Progress. ...

In some respects, a zombie "plague" resembles a lethal, rapidly spreading infection. The researchers say the exercise could help scientists model the spread of unfamiliar diseases through human populations.

In their study, the researchers from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University (also in Ottawa) posed a question: If there was to be a battle between zombies and the living, who would win?

Perhaps the crossover Glenn Beck audience?
Professor Robert Smith? (the question mark is part of his surname and not a typographical mistake) and colleagues wrote: "We model a zombie attack using biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies.

"We introduce a basic model for zombie infection and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions." ...

Most annoying name since Jenny 8 del Corte Hirschfeld.

Click on the BBC link and read the rest, and do read the comments on this Freakonomics blog post on the topic.

They start like this:
Sadly the study uses a flawed model. It doesn't distinguish between dead humans and dead zombies, so previously decapitated zombies count as being able to (re-)reanimate.

... and go on from there.

Yet another reason why the Internet was invented

Have you ever looked at your vacation photos and said to yourself, "Boy, these would look so much better with a squirrel in the frame"?

Me, too! Now we can do something about it, using the Squirrelizer.

Here's a picture I took in Prague and posted years ago, much improved.

(Back story is here.)

Quotation of the day

"Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy?" asked Rachel Brown, 28, of Boston, referring to end-of-life counseling sessions, dubbed "death panels," mentioned in a provision of the House’s health care reform legislation.

"Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table," [Rep. Barney] Frank lashed back at Brown as she held a picture of Obama defaced with a Hitler moustache.
--Boston Herald

Monday, August 17, 2009

I, on the other hand, prefer to work far, far beyond my level of competence

Oh, New York Times Style Magazine, thank you so much for this:
For those who run with the wolves, Bob Basset ... has created a dazzling prototype. In addition to their conspicuous claws, his "leather paw shoes" have foot pads on the underside ... so users can feel lycanthropic to their very soles. Basset's Web site,, shows lace-up, claw-bearing mittens, too. But it's his skill ... that spirits his footwear out of fantasy and into fashion. "I like to work on the edge of competence," he says, "to realize complicated ideas."

And they're $1,000. (Really.)

Never too early to start your Christmas shopping.

Ways I celebrated the anniversary of Woodstock this weekend

--Rolled around in mud
--Listened to my Sha Na Na LPs
--Hopped over fence into backyard without paying
--Installed Porta-Potty and then peed into bushes
--Resolved to mention my attendance at Woodstock in every conversation for next 40 years

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Recent Google searches that have left visitors stranded on The Velvet Blog

--fannie flagg topless
--what you need for a trip to the moon
--metaphors and similes for orgasm
--orb that electrocutes you
--yogurt poop
--printers in basements
--this is the universe. big, isn't it?
--what's wrong with karl rove
--who buys malkin's book

UPDATE: monkeys frighten me

Well, you're in the wrong place, mister.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We hate it when people on our blogroll become successful

Daniel Radosh, a freelance writer whose funny and thoughtful media-centric blog I've linked to for some time now (and I once got an Honorable Mention in his New Yorker Anti-Caption contest!), has landed a gig writing for The Daily Show.

I am, of course, seething with jealousy. Fudge you, Radosh. And congrats.

If a picture's worth a thousand words ...

... then there's the equivalent of thousands and thousands of words here. Folks, putting a "Got Galt?" t-shirt on a 7-year-old is tantamount to child abuse. (I'm sure if she puts down Barbie, civilization as we know it will grind to a halt.)

Oh, and by the way, it's my mom's b-day this weekend, and can I tell you how much I'm dreading the conversation with my conservative brother-in-law* and my Fox News-loving brother? Lots, that's how much. I will do my best to steer things away from politics, but it is inevitable.

*Too thrifty to get the level of cable service with Fox News, thank goodness.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dialogue change if 2001 were made today

HAL: I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it, I can sing it for you.

Dave Bowman: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.

HAL: It's called "Poker Face."

[sings while slowing down]

HAL: P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face. (Mum mum mum mah.) P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face. (Mum mum mum mah.) I won't tell you that I love you, kiss or hug you, 'cause I'm bluffin' with my muffin. I'm not lying, I'm just stunnin' with my love-glue-gunning. P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face. (Mum mum mum mah.) P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face. (Mum mum mum mah.)

(Yes, this is repurposing of a post I've made before. It's summer--give me a break.)

P.S.: "I'm bluffin' with my muffin"? Wow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Words my dog knows

Dogs as Smart as 2-year-old Kids

The canine IQ test results are in: Even the average dog has the mental abilities of a 2-year-old child.

The finding is based on a language development test, revealing average dogs can learn 165 words (similar to a 2-year-old child), including signals and gestures, and dogs in the top 20 percent in intelligence can learn 250 words.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Note to ADT

OK, someone finally called.

I actually find it a bit creepy that companies monitor blogs and Twitter, looking for complaints. But on the off chance that ADT might do this ...

Hey, listen up, ADT. Two weeks ago, I signed a contract to upgrade my current alarm system. The salesman said I'd hear back that week about an appointment for installation. No call.

I called and left messages Monday and Wednesday of last week. No call back.

Here it is, ADT, two weeks later, and I'm staring at a contract that you obviously don't give a crap about.

So, ADT, I have one word for you: Slomin's.

I mean, you do realize yours is not the only alarm company, right?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Food blogging

So Julie Powell blogs her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and gets a book AND movie deal out of it?

Obviously, I'm not taking this whole blog thing seriously enough.

OK, if food blogs are so damned popular, here are a few ideas to drum up business here at the decidedly moribund Velvet Blog:

1) The Jim/Julie Project. Blogging my way through Powell's blog blogging her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Surely this would get picked by Boing Boing or something, right?

2) The Jim/Jello Project. Blogging my way through The Joys of Jello over the course of a year. No, wait... a month.

3) The Jim/Cirrhosis of the Liver Project. Blogging my way through Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide over the course of a month. No, wait... a week.

I smell a book contract. Or, perhaps, a liver transplant.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

How to use coupons: A four-step process

Going into the crazy season at work--a brain-destroying special issue we do every year. Expect fewer posts and lots of reruns--like this one, from October 2006.

1. Check the local newspaper for coupons from manufacturers and supermarkets. You can save lots of money on your food budget this way!

2. Clip coupons and put them somewhere you're not going to miss--on the fridge, held up by magnets, is a good place. You're not going to forget them in an obvious place like that!

3. Go to supermarket. While there, realize you've left coupons hanging on the refrigerator. Swear quietly under breath.

3. Wait until expiration dates on coupons pass.

4. Throw away coupons.