Monday, November 30, 2009

They relaxed the requirements this year

Classic Bob and Ray:

Interesting article on the whole funny Elliott clan in yesterday's Times, here (which is why I spent most of yesterday evening trolling YouTube for Bob and Ray clips).

Could someone please put Get a Life--featuring Bob and starring his son Chris--back in print on DVD? Sealed copies of the long-since-discontinued Vol. 1, released in 2000, are going for as much as $282 on Amazon, and it has only four episodes!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

And you can quote me on that

Wow. You know, it's difficult to live your life in public the way I do--constantly being followed by spotlights and paparazzi and police dogs and ninjas.

But every once in a while, I stumble across some bit of information online that takes even a media-savvy person such as myself by surprise.

It turns out that an organization that calls itself Thinkexist has been collecting a list of quotations by me and posting them online without my permission! Let's take a look and try to place them in context, because without that, they simply don't make any sense:
"This is a better time of year to get a late-model car, ... and that will be reflected in the online price."

Hm. I can't exactly remember saying this, but I'm going to guess it's when I was interviewed by Vroooom!: The Cheapskate Late-Model Car Enthusiast With Internet Access, which, in all honesty, has a very limited circulation.
"It's very popular with the people who use it."

Odd, I don't remember saying this, either. Given the fact the The Velvet Blog currently holds the No. 1 Google ranking for the phrase "yogurt poop," I'm going to guess this quotation had something to do with Activia customers.
"More than 95 percent of MBNA customers always pay more than the minimum every month. Of those who do pay the minimum, very few do so for more than two months in a row."

Oh, that one I dimly remember--I was going through Benadryl withdrawal. Damned allergies.

Well, I see the ninjas are outside on the lawn again. Pardon me while I go spray them with the garden hose.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Something to be thankful for

You know, I can be a bit of a brooder. A Gloomy Gus. A picklepuss.

But then I see all the headlines about the Food Network's Paula Deen being hit in the face by a ham, and suddenly the sun comes out, at least metaphorically. It's even difficult for me to pick a favorite. "Chef Paula Deen Accidentally Hit by Charity Ham"? "Paula Deen's Hamtastrophy"? "Swine Flew: Paula Deen Struck By Errant Ham"? Don't make me choose, people.

Thank you, God. And thank you, ham.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! (Except for those of you in Canada. You had your shot last month--don't be greedy.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That's what she said

The Daily News ponders the root of the universe:

Given the phrasing of the question, I'd say it's a toss-up between the first two choices.

UPDATE: 24 hours later, and the Daily News' poll "Hardon" remains up. Someone should really call a doctor.

(Note: A cross-post with Do stop by if you haven't already.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Found in "draft" status in my Blogger account but, fortunately, never posted

No one will ever remember that Woodstock thing that's going on

Why Jimmy Carter will win a second term this November

Leisure suits are so much classier than tuxedos

(Note: This post was written and put into draft status back in August. In retrospect, I should have left it there.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Real ghostwriter of Sarah Palin's book: Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The evidence? Feast your eyes, my friends, on this actual sentence from the book-like thingee she's selling:
"As the soles of my shoes hit the soft ground, I pushed past the tall cottonwood trees in a euphoric cadence, and meandered through willow branches that the moose munched on."

But I have to admit: I got punked. A Slate reader posted the following sentence, implying it was from Palin's book, and I fell for it:
"The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn't work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle."

That is one terrible sentence. What's the subject? Is there a subject? Could it possibly be diagrammed? If so, would it look like the web of a spider on acid? Probably.

But it's not by Palin. It's from Barack Obama's Dreams of My Father.

Wow. Back to your day job, mister. (That horrible sentence aside, I enjoyed Obama's book--it's quite moving.)

(Palin sentence from Slate.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When Geraldo Rivera is the voice of reason ...

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Shouldn't "real" news shows be comparing Rudy Giuliani's realistic past statements with his current fear-mongering, nonsensical ones? Why the hell is it left to a comedy show to do journalists' work?

Also, someone please remind me--should I be laughing or crying? I can never remember.

It's almost Thanksgiving ...

Time to rerun my grandmother's oatmeal stuffing recipe:

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 rolled oats or quick-cooking oats and continue sauteing until the oats get 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.

I'll have that with extra heart attack, please

Oh, it's so hard being a busy mom! Kids can be such picky eaters, and, let's face it, that new-fangled "pizza" the little tykes are going mad for these days just doesn't have enough meat in it.

What to do ... what to do ...

Hmmm. Maybe this sounds crazy, but what if we took a pizza, removed the crust, replaced it with meat, and added soup? Would that work?

Presenting ... the meat-za!

(Click image twice to embiggen to all its meaty glory.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A matter of life and death

Or, rather, A Matter of Life and Death: My all-time fave film, which I've plugged on this blog a few times before, will be on Turner Classic Movies in the middle of the night tonight--3 a.m. Monday, to be exact, though check your listings if you're not on the East Coast. Set those DVRs or VCRs.

Here's that remarkable opening scene again:

Also, I'm going to assume TCM's programmers have a sense of humor. A Matter of Life and Death is followed by The Age of Consent, the name of the last film directed by Michael Powell, half the team behind AMOLAD. Only it's not Powell's Age of Consent, but a movie with the same title from 1932. That couldn't possibly be a coincidence, could it? The odds seem pretty much astronomical.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants

David Lloyd, the comedy maestro behind the classic Mary Tyler Moore episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust," died this week.

Someone has uploaded the episode to YouTube. I'm sure it'll come down soon, but for the moment:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sounds like something that would happen in a junior high locker room

Presenting the first in an occasional series of scans from the recipe files of my partner's mother, the late Jeanne Feinberg. She was a gourmet cook--really!--but, let's face it, the 1950s-1970s era was an odd one when it came to American cookery.

Brace yourselves, people. I'm starting you off easy. There's some weird stuff coming up.

Click to embiggen ... if you dare.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

First step toward world domination

I'll be making the occasional post over at, and I hope you'll follow me over there. (The proprietor, writer Daniel Radosh, was recently hired by The Daily Show and turned his site into a ménage à blog, if you will, asking frequent commenters to contribute.)

My first post is here. (There will be an "About Us" page over there soonish, with a link back here.)

Please don't heckle me.

Still waiting for the future

The vision of the future on these 1939 World's Fair postcards is much more interesting than our dreary reality. What the heck went wrong?

As usual, click to embiggen.

World's Fair Station
May 25, 1939
9:30 PM

Mrs. C. Morbus
1038 Jackson Ave.

2nd time here thought I would run in to you like our cemetary [?] place is too big for me to get around have book of 20 admissions so can come often

Mrs. Mackey
Tina Schulenberg

Sounds like our correspondent may have had a fondness for amphetamines.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Room spinning ... must sit down ...

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a heated race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, Gov. Charlie Crist keeps moving away from his support of President Barack Obama's stimulus package that the governor called "fantastic" and "remarkable" when lobbying for its passage.

Faced with an increasingly difficult primary challenge from former House Speaker Marco Rubio of West Miami, the governor now claims he didn't endorse the $787 billion economic stimulus that included a generous contribution for Florida.

"It seems to be the president's answer to almost every challenge that's facing our country is to spend more money," Crist said Thursday.

Ah, yes. As a result of Tuesday's mixed election results, federal stimulus money is toxic! Toxic, I tell you!
He commented in response to a question while on his way back to his office where he planned to work on putting together a special legislative session to get more stimulus money for a high speed rail system in the state.

That's right! Can't accept those federal stimulus dollars ... wait, what did you just say?
He commented in response to a question while on his way back to his office where he planned to work on putting together a special legislative session to get more stimulus money for a high speed rail system in the state.

Um. I thought that's what you said.

Do go on.
But on a national cable news show Wednesday night, Crist said he saw the stimulus more as Florida taxpayers' dollars coming back to the state and that he didn't endorse the Obama plan. ...

Ah, yes. And if instead of calling it "stimulus" money we called it "Viagra," then everyone in Florida would have a boner. If the stimulus lasts longer than four hours, please call your doctor.
Crist conceded Thursday the stimulus money has been good for Florida.

"The opportunity, as I understand the numbers, to have about, more than 20,000 teachers not lose their jobs because of it, construction continuing to go forward, I want to talk about more," Crist said. "It'll help Florida."

Well, hard to argue with that. Jobs is jobs, am I right or am I right?
Rubio's campaign released a video with excerpts showing several examples of Crist praising the president's stimulus plan.

"Unfortunately for Charlie Crist, the evidence of his stimulus support is on video," Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos said Thursday. "By denying he infamously supported the stimulus, Charlie Crist is hoping he can reinvent his record and that voters forget he once embraced it."
--The Associated Press

Because people working is just what this economy doesn't need.

Well played, Republicans! Well played!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Smackdown!: Serial killers vs. serial commas

PhotobucketSerial killers

WHO?: Insane people who, to paraphrase an old Lay's commercial, can't kill just one.

PROS: Umm ... they cull the herd?

CONS: Crazy. Stabbingy. Shooty. Poisony.

PhotobucketSerial commas

WHAT?: That comma used between the last two items in a series of three or more. In "A, B, and C," it's the comma between "B" and "and."

PROS: In complicated sentences, can help avoid confusion.

CONS: I've got nothing.

WINNER: I know people who hate the serial comma. At least once a year, I have to defend its use in the pages of our magazine. "We don't like it! This other magazine I'm pointing to right now doesn't use it!" a few editors will say. That's all they've got. "It can add clarity in complex sentences--and we often use complex, tech-heavy sentences," I inevitably point out. And we keep using it.

Also, when I was a lowly editorial assistant at William Morrow, a novelist once a wrote a note to his editor: "I loathe the serial comma."

Really? I envy the leisure time you use to develop loathing for helpful punctuation. Perhaps you could use that time for something more useful--say, extra whacking-off time.

This is just a long way of crowning the serial comma the winner of this Smackdown! You kick serial-killer butt, dude. The forces of copyediting darkness will have to pry you out of my cold, dead sentences.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Good dog

More pics from the trip. (The last, I swear. But if you're dying to see more, contact me via e-mail, and I'll send you an online link.)

These, too, are from Stephen Huneck's art gallery/Dog Chapel in Vermont. People place notes devoted to their pets on the walls--those are the notes in closeups here. (Click to embiggen, and they're readable.)