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Archives: Feb, 2004


Sunday, Feb. 29

Table scraps:
:What was your excuse
for not voting in Australia's elections?
::Here's what happens when college students discover a local news station's online submission form for school closings.
:::This is a fascinating, somewhat scary article about what happened when an editor at the Washington Post suffered an aortic dissection -- the same thing that killed John Ritter.

Pfizer is giving up on testing Viagra on women. "The problem, Pfizer researchers found," according to the New York Times, "is that men and women have a fundamentally different relationship between arousal and desire." The company spent eight years and countless dollars figuring that out -- but I reported that fact back in August. If they read it, they could have saved some cash. Oh, boo-yah!


 Saturday, Feb. 28

Lloyd Grove, computer dupe? The former WashPost "Reliable Source" writer and current New York Daily News gossip columnist seems to have caught a nasty computer virus, and he coughed up digital phlegm all over me. Last night, I received an e-mail with this header:

      Subj:    Pricelist
      Date:    2/272004 6:24:56 PM Eastern Standard Time
      From:   lgrove@edit.nydailynews.com
      To:       KNULPREK@aol.com
      File:      acdbadcbcb.zip

Sadly, there was no content in the e-mail, and I'm sure the file is a virus. But, this does beg the question: is Lloyd Grove a sucker enough to download this virus? And if so, and it got sent out to everyone on his mailing list, what am I possibly doing on his mailing list? Or, the more reasonable explanation: is there a virus out there programmed to mask itself as coming from Lloyd Grove? And if so, of all people, why? I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought he was stupid for leaving the WashPost, but come on, a virus? That's soooo 1999.

Table scraps:
:The Kenyan tourism department would be fools
not to follow this lead.
::It's a burning question: how many social workers are sexually attracted to their clients? For some reason, a study was conducted to get an answer.
:::John Kerry and John Edwards both oppose gay marriage, but that won't stop them from making out with each other.
::::Bill O'Reilly is set to release The O'Reilly Factor For Kids: A Survival Guide. Schools nationwide brace themselves for an onslaught of school bullies and third graders who argue with history teachers.
:::::Hey, did I mention that my story "The Professor of Smoochology" was posted on Salon Thursday? Yes? Twice already? Well, third time's the charm, right? Just click on the link, choose the "day pass" (if you're not a subscriber) and enjoy a story about "How a nebbishy ex-academic who keeps changing his name wound up traveling around the country convincing total strangers to kiss onstage."


Friday, Feb. 27

How to get over those pre-trial jitters? Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia knows how:

He apparently likes to go shoot birds with people directly involved with cases he's about to hear. First, we heard about the uber-conservative judge's duck-hunting trip with Dick Cheney, which took place shortly after the Supreme Court agreed to hear Cheney's appeal to keep his national energy policy task force hush-hush. And now, we learn "Scalia was the guest of a Kansas law school two years ago and went pheasant hunting on a trip arranged by the school's dean, all within weeks of hearing two cases in which the dean was a lead attorney." Hot diggity damn, Scalia! Your ability to remain objective through all of this is an inspiration to us all.

Table scraps:
:In case you didn't
see my self-promotional message yesterday, a story of mine called "The professor of smoochology" was published on Salon.com. It's about "How a nebbishy ex-academic who keeps changing his name wound up traveling around the country convincing total strangers to kiss onstage."
::Why do these men never get a hangover? Because they each have four kidneys.
:::Craigslist users weigh in on the value of marriage.
::::And speaking of marriage, the Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage isn't going anywhere -- so long as these numbers hold. A blogger managed to get an impressively comprehensive tally of how U.S. senators would vote on an amendment, and it's far short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the thing.
::::::Spying at the United Nations? Ho-hum! "It used to be a shame; now it's a matter of status," a UN Security Council ambassador told the WashPost. "If your mission is not bugged, then you are really worth nothing."

There's a Vietnamese restaurant my friends and I frequently go to, and every so often we'll also pop in next door, where there's a Vietnamese gift shop. It's an interesting place: half Hello Kitty-like crap for the Americans, and half Vietnamese movies for the Vietnamese. And every time I look at the covers of these movie boxes, I'm always surprised: I can't tell them apart. They all look the same.

Not the people, but the covers. They always feature actors I don't know who are standing around, or posed in some silly position, or right up close to the camera. They're all essentially the same. There's no flavor, no personality, nothing that tells me anything about the movie. Then, I realized the our movies do the same thing. There's no creativity, no attempt to capture the movie in an image or a scene, or even any sort of artwork. They're just photos -- photos of celebrities standing around. How completely and totally boring.

Magazine covers are the same way, although they weren't always like this. Esquire in particular was once known for its creative, captivating covers, even if today's version looks identical to People or Us Weekly. (And today, the only mags I can think of with good covers are Mother Jones and the New York Times Magazine, probably just because neither magazine writes about celebrities.)

Anyway, I think this is all pretty sad. We value monotony over creativity.

These people don't look real, do they?

They look like a modern-day American Gothic, or like two reasonable people who were asked to pose as the type of people who live as if in denial that the 1950s have gone away. But, no. These are real people, real people out of touch with reality, and they're prepared to sue you or anybody else for uttering the words "weiner" and "poo-poo." Last year, after a radio station in detroit had listeners call up "to describe sexual practices," these people's ears were bleeding so much that they called and complained, leading to a fine against the station. Apparently, they didn't know that if they dislike some programming, they can just change the channel.

And so now, here we have it. Clear Channel, the company that owns almost all the crappy radio stations you remember once being good, has found another way for the public to hate it. It's become Puritanical Channel by bowing to Congress and the FCC, both of which are outraged -- outraged! -- that the American listening public isn't treated like third graders. So, take a good, hard look at the people in that photo, and if you see them, give them a message for me: Fuck off.

Mel Gibson will be hosting a television special on the holocaust, and P. Diddy will be hosting a PBS special on the history of classical music. Well, fine, so I made that up. But at ABC's request, Justin Timberlake really almost wound up hosting a television special about Motown (see second item). Someone at the network must have missed the memo about Timberlake being white, and about Motown being a part of black heritage. It's all resolved now, though: even though the black community was upset about the decision, ABC says it has changed hosts because the golden white boy had a scheduling conflict. Which is good, of course, because the last thing ABC wants to do is say they understand the black community. Says ABC: "Open wide, black community -- we've got George Lopez for you! What? He's not black? Oh shut up, he's close enough."


Thursday, Feb. 26

So, you've planned it out perfectly. You bought the ring, you've made the decision, you've designed an elaborate scheme to propose to her in a very public setting. Let's say, um, you dressed up in a sports mascot. And you had her chosen to participate in some hokey basketball halftime show. And then you propose in front of thousands of people. What do you do -- I ask you, because I wonder this myself, after seeing plenty of these sort of public proposals -- when she turns around and runs away? (And then it gets worse when a news station has a slideshow, a video, and a news story about it.) This is indeed everyone's worst nightmare. Whenever I reach that point in my life when it's time to propose, I vow to make it a nice, private affair -- or, at the very least, make sure there are no news cameras around.

Table scraps:
:
Do you love exotic, expensive cars? If so, this might hurt to see.
::Turkmenistan is losing it. Car radios, smoking in streets, opera and ballet were already banned, and now it's illegal for men to grow beards or have long hair.
:::Bush has some difficulty understanding the concept of taking turns. (read just past the opening statements)
::::What it's like to have an OCD girlfriend.
:::::Tuesdays with Morrie author Mitch Albom, who I normally can't stand, hits a home run here: Mel's got to take a stand against his holocaust-disbelieving father. His refusal to do so, according to the NY Times, has already damaged his career.
::::::So, just how does somebody join an Indian tribe?

The professor of smoochology is in! I just landed my third piece in the sex section of Salon.com. It's called "The Professor of Smoochology," and it's about "How a nebbishy ex-academic who keeps changing his name wound up traveling around the country convincing total strangers to kiss onstage."

Interested? Yes, you are. Please note, though, that as a non-subscriber of Salon, you can still access all content. Just click on the above link, and a few paragraphs into the story, you'll be presented with a "day-pass" option. Take it. It will show you an advertisement, and then give you full access to the site for a day.

Thanks, and enjoy.

The Passion, or the passion? Here are some quotes from major media reviews of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" mixed in with reviews of porn flicks. Can you tell which is which? (Answers below)

1. "No child should see this movie. Even adults are at risk."

2. "I felt abused by a filmmaker intent on punishing an audience"

3. "Yet it does so in a way that makes the watcher uncomfortable "

4. "...that's the way (he) likes it. In fact, he likes it worse."

5. "Itís like a Hollywood summer blockbuster movie Ė they should have spent some of the production money on a good script or better actors."

6. "When asked by a friendly questioner during an outreach screening if he could have toned the film down, the director replied, 'Dude, I did tone it down.'"

7. "The true sophistication in the movie comes from the relationships that are built between the characters"

8. "...where both men are standing face to face, and sheís holding on to dear life..."

9. "...they all seem to be genuinely into the performance"

10. "The audience profile for (the movie) is fairly narrow: true believers with cast-iron stomachs; people who can stand to be grossed out as they are edified."

Answers: 1. Passion reviewed by the New York Daily News; 2. Passion reviewed by Newsweek; 3. Naked College Coeds reviewed by Fuckfish.com (note: all porn reviews are from Fuckfish.com, and some links may contain nudity); 4. Passion reviewed by the LA Times; 5. The Devinn Lane Show #4; 6. Passion reviewed by the LA Times; 7. Young Girls in Lust #2; 8. Sport Fucking; 9. No Cum Dodging Allowed #2; 10. Passion reviewed by Time. Clips of major media reviews, and more, found here.


Wednesday, Feb. 25

Point of interest: On Monday, I posted something about the Chicago Tribune falling for a joke on a satire website called Denounce, which I called "an Onion rip-off." The guy who runs Denounce wrote me to explain that, "I founded Denounce in 1980 on the PLATO computer network, as a take-off on 'Announce', which was the official notes file for announcements regarding new system features and programming tools. Everything in the Denounce notes file was fake, but very close to being plausible."

So, there you have it. I hadn't heard of the site before, and I don't know if I'll run into it again, but I do agree it's annoying when something comes along, gathers all the attention, and then any predecessors are stigmatized for it. (Although, friends of mine will scoff at this, since I once disregarded It's A Wonderful Life after watching it for the first time in 2001 because, as my friends are quick to remind me, I said "I've seen it before.") So, Denounce, your name is cleared here.

Table scraps:
:
McSweeney's has made me very happy for three reasons: 1) This collection of not-aired-yet anti-teen-smoking ads, 2) More movie reviews by the pope, and 3) They're opening a Brooklyn-based chapter of their non-profit urban writing workshop.
::Now that it's official that Bush hates gay people, we must consider: what does it take to amend the Constitution?
:::Urban Outfitters releases perhaps its most ignorant t-shirt yet.
::::How Mr. Craig Cockburn finally broke through spam filters.
:::::This might have been the worst toilet in Scotland, but here's the best toilet in England.

Meet the common cold:

He's soft, he's cuddly, he's yours for $5.95. Is there anything that can't be made into a plush toy? Let's see. Satan? Check. Raccoon in a garbage can? Check. A living chocolate bar, van Gogh, pizza and Freud with wind-up music? Check, check, check and check. The Hulk with a giant green penis? Check. Ok, I'm satisfied. There's a plush for everything.

Mel Gibson isn't done being crazy. After "The Passion" finally fizzles, he said, he'd like to commit other Bible stories to the silver screen. "There are good stories in that book -- it's worth looking into them," he told the Variety. But of course, not every story in the Bible is as over-the-top as Jesus's death, and Gibson clearly is out to make his project as sensational as possible. ("I wanted to push people to the edge," he said.) So, what else can we expect from everyone's favorite star-turned-nutbag?

  • The porn of all porns: Mary Magdalene does Nazareth
  • Waterworld II: Same movie, but with Noah and animals
  • An art-house film called 40 Days and 40 Nights, in which theatergoers sit in a theater and stare at a picture of a cactus for month and a half, after which Mel Gibson, dressed as Moses, comes into the theater and tells them to follow him into the lobby.
  • A reality movie called You Should Have Let His People Go, in which Mel Gibson wanders around Egypt and kills people's first-born sons. Occasionally, he'll also spread lice.
  • A creepy anime tentacle movie called The (gar)Den of Eden, in which Eve finds that the snake is interested in her fruit -- and it ain't the apple, if you know what Mel means, and I think you do.


Tuesday, Feb. 24

Table scraps:
:
Laborers in India dig up land for a telephone tower, and discover a dinosaur egg.
::Is it van Gogh, or no?
:::Don't you worry about Haiti and that rebel uprising. Al Sharpton is on the job.
::::This looks like a fetish, but honestly, I don't know what it is.

All hail the obvious! I was surprised when gawker.com posted instructions on how to tell if a Pepsi bottle contained a winning code for a free iTunes song. The instructions are simple: tilt the bottle, and look up at the cap. I shook my head and wondered, why, oh my deal gawker, why are you posting something so stupid and obvious? Is there not a soul who doesn't already know this trick? It's like posting, "The secret to getting water in your house is to turn the sink on!"

But I was wrong. Apparently nobody else knew this trick, and it spread across the Internet like Janet Jackson's boobs. And now, major media is hopping on the story, giving publicity to the genius 19-year-old who discovered it. That's it, I need to start pointing out the obvious. I want my 15 minutes of fame. Here's some hot tips for you all...

HOT TIPS FOR EVERYONE!

Hey, does your eye ever hurt when someone sticks a finger in it? Next time, try to not let someone stick a finger in your eye, and your eye won't hurt! (see illustration above) And hey, are you having trouble eating a bowl of soup? Try a spoon -- it works! Oh, and hey, did you stop going outside because you were too cold? Next time, try putting some clothes on. That'll help!

I've had a few questions asked about the reader picture page, so I figure I'll just quickly address it. The entire point of the page is for readers of happyscrappy to stick their faces on the page, for whatever reason they think can reasonably explain their desire to do so. For me personally, I thought it would be interesting to literally see who's reading this site, and it seemed like a fun way to make the site a bit more interactive. I've gotten a fair amount of responses, although of course the site traffic here far outweighs the number of picture contributors. If you haven't sent a picture in, you're free and encouraged to do so. Just send me a photo and any text you'd like to accompany it, and up the photo shall go. It's that simple.

Rathergood is really rathergreat, isn't it? I've been watching this guy's weird animation for years, and it's nice to see him make some money off of it -- even if it's by whoring out his characters for a sub shop. The new Quiznos ad, which I've only actually seen once, is pretty close to the guy's original schtick. It doesn't make me want to get a sub -- in fact, it sort of does the exact opposite -- but that's ok. Quiznos may not get my money, but until they pull the advertisement, they get my thumbs up. And really, isn't that all any company can hope for?


 Monday, Feb. 23

Satire goes haywire! In a story about business networking this past weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported on a fictional program called PriceKut, which was actually made up by an Onion rip-off website called Denounce. The ChiTrib wrote: "Amazon.com will join the fray when it rolls out PriceKut, a social network where customers can meet each other to discuss bargains, but only after first purchasing something at the site." Of course, the Denounce author was then quick to gloat about it.

The rule here should be pretty simple: if something comes from a fake news website, there's a good chance it's fake. I don't know why people seem to forget that. Case in point: a few years ago, the Beijing Evening News reported that Congress was threatening to move to another town unless someone built them a retractable dome, which was an Onion story China was just all-too-eager to believe.

Oy vey, these jokes! A friend forwarded me a new press release sent out by the PR folks for "Jesus Plays the Catskills," a book I can only assume is for people who can't read. If the author took these jokes on the road, he'd be booed out of open mic nights. Too bad he forgot that comedy is all about timing, and readers don't quite get jokes fast enough when they're struggling to understand the quasi-dialect. Anyway, for your reading displeasure, here's this:

"JESUS PLAYS THE CATSKILLS" - ANTIDOTE TO GIBSON FILM?

Mel Gibson's new movie, "The Passion of the Christ," may be riling some Jewish groups because of its portrayal of Jews as Christ's killer, but here's what the victim himself has to say in Sam Weiss's outrageous but hilarious new book, JESUS PLAYS THE CATSKILLS

"For two tousand years everyvon taut vas de Jews dat killed me," says the Prince of Peace to the audience, pacing the stage with mike in hand, "but den kem de Vettiken Consul II vitch chenched all dat. Now ve know de trute - vas de Puerto Ricans."

Author Weiss, who describes himself as a "spiritual fellow with a far-out sense of humor," acknowledges he has already offended some Christians with his lighthearted portrayal of Jesus as a Jewish comic in the Borscht Belt, and that some Jews have been upset by the Jewish dialect in which the book is written.

Nevertheless, he expressed surprise at the uproar, insisting he fully respects major core beliefs expressed in the Gospels, such as Christ's "virgin birth." As Jesus's father puts it to his son when asked whether he had sex with the Holy Mother before Christ was born, "Vhat, you call it sex vhen in de middle from it you modder says to me, 'Joe, de silling could use penting?' You call it sex vhen de only vay to get her in de mood vas to use a four letter vord: SALE?"

Rule #1 in high-tension prisoner/body exchanges: make sure you're handing over the correct body. Oops, Israel! Have you not been studying your prisoner/body exchange etiquette?

I saw an IMAX movie yesterday, which reminded me of why I dislike IMAX movies. This is a medium that needs to stop being impressed with itself, and start doing something constructive. It has the ability to make large moving pictures, which is captivating for about two minutes -- that is, the first two minutes of the first IMAX film you saw, about a decade ago. But, now it's time for IMAX to start adding content. It needs to be more informative, and less amazed at how big of an image it can produce. I'd even settle for something like a Discovery Channel-style documentary -- just something, anything, that allows me to walk out of the theater thinking something besides, "Well, those were big monkeys / mountains / glaciers / African tribesmen." We need an IMAX revolution.


Sunday, Feb. 22

Sci-fi fans, your day has finally come. Ender's Game, the classic Orson Scott Card book, is being movie-ized by Warner Brothers, and the guys that wrote X-2 are now writing the second draft. I read the book when I was a kid, and remember being blown away by it. Of course, any movie project can threaten to destroy the memory and integrity of a book, but the X-2 guys seem talented enough, so I have high hopes. And for those of you who have read it, I'm sure you'll agree: there is no possible way Haley Joel Osment will not be cast as Ender.

Table scraps:
:
"There are countries where you can go and suck away for all you are worth. People in high places do it for all they're worth. I'm not an expert, but you read about it in the papers. But this is Asia." -A Singapore judge on why the country should retain its ban on oral sex
::Hey kids, who's up for a fun game of Russian roulette?
:::A correction: Turns out Arnold has no plans to tear off the California state house's roof so that lawmakers can smoke. I posted a link to the story on in this past Tuesday's table scraps.
::::No drinking and driving. No cell phones and driving. And now, no porn-watching and driving.


Friday, Feb. 20

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! For some completely inexplicable reason, there are some tough words being flung between, of all people, Snoop Dogg and Bill O'Reilly. Maxim Magazine asked Snoop whom he wants to fight, and he said, "Bill O'Reilly, that bitch-ass. 'Cause he's a bitch." (see third item). Bill, as per usual, came back with something lame: "I'll be happy to have lunch with him anytime." But no. I want a fight. Lunch will only be acceptable as a precursor to the fight, during which Bill and Snoop must taunt each other, with Snoop taking a bite of a burger and saying, "That's what I'm going to do to your face, bitch-ass bitch," and Bill taking a bite of caviar and saying, "You're not my homie, homie." Then, the fight:

Oh, bring it on. Please, please, please bring it on.

Table scraps:
:
The British spend more on booze than on fruits and veggies. Bottoms up!
::Does 'Stairway To Heaven' really contain Satanic messages when played backwards? Hear it for yourself.
:::Want to not buy a sweater? This model can make that happen.
::::Will Viagra make you want to, uh, love God in church? One man finds out.

Are the extremists defecting? Here's an interesting piece in the Washington Times about the religious right threatening to stay home on election day, claiming that Bush hasn't done enough to support their causes. (Among their complaints, amusingly, is that he "upped the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts, which has boldly promoted the homosexual agenda for schoolchildren.") This is a pretty solid flip-flop from the 2000 election, in which the left-of-lefts -- myself included -- became disinfranchized by the Democrats and voted for Ralph Nader. This time around, though, it's the right-of-rights defecting, while the ultra-liberals are more united -- not necessarily around a candidate, but around ousting Bush. Of course, I'm glad to see the Christian right stay home, but you'd think they'd have a bit more common sense. Their ideas aren't mainstream, and Bush is the closest thing they're ever going to have to a president who will support them, even if he can't do it fully. The more the Christian Coalition doesn't understand comprimise, the worse off they'll be. So, good for them. Stand up for what you believe in by staying home. Amen.

Oh, check that: Nader might be running, although I can't imagine he'll get much support. He's in my heart, but he won't be on my ballot. Sorry.

Got a few extra bucks? The Bush administration has opened their doors to the highest bidder on eBay. Why not become a Condi's Cougar, or maybe even a Powell's Power-hitter? Hey, just chuck a few bucks at them, and your policy or regulation is sure to be a hit with the American people!

(Ok, fine, so I made the eBay thing myself. But take a look anyway. And for future reference, it'll be stored in the Crowd Pleasers section)

From the Bad PR Department: As Mel Gibson scrambles to convince people that his new movie about Jesus isn't anti-Semitic, his poppa has swung into action with a real confidence booster. According to Daddy Gibson, the holocaust is mostly "fiction." In a radio interview, he goes on to say that "They claimed that there were 6.2 million (Jews) in Poland before the war and after the war there were 200,000, therefore he (Hitler) must have killed 6 million of them. They simply got up and left. They were all over the Bronx and Brooklyn and Sydney and Los Angeles." Now, if that doesn't say "my family loves Jews like we love acid reflux," then I don't know what does. Can we please vote the Gibsons off the island now?


Thursday, Feb. 19

From the Department of True That: This from a review of a band I've never heard of: Play 'fun' sing-along punk pop with lyrics about partying, fucking and fighting. 'Cause that's what the kids want, right? Problem: Generic punk pop is shit, and the kids are starting to realize just that. ...and you know what? True that.

Update: Canada hasn't learned to take a joke yet. After yesterday's on-air apology from Conan O'Brien, which followed Canada's national shock that a sock puppet called Triumph the Insult Comic Dog had insulted them, Ontario's minister of culture and francophone affairs said, "It's too late, but it's better than not giving his apology. The comments should never have been made." In related news, chickens worldwide have unionized and plan to sue anybody who makes a "Why did the chicken cross the road?" joke.

Table scraps:
:
Moo the vote!
::You think you're a packrat? You're wrong. This lady is a packrat.
:::Somebody has triedcoffeefortheveryfirsttime.
::::Fred from SNL strolls around NYC posing as a foreign tourist trying to speak English. This is pure brilliance. (See: "Am I a taxi?", second down on the right)

Laura Bush just discovered that gay people love each other. It's "very, very shocking," she said to the Associated Press. Later in the interview, Laura reflected on her relationship to her husband, and compared herself to a dog: "I'm actually very disciplined. I don't really have to watch everything I say because I'm pretty well-behaved." Three cheers for traditional marriage, right Laura? Now, if everyone could please just back up 100 years or so, Laura and George will be much more comfortable, and much less very-very-shocked. Thanks.

Jack Bauer indicted for Enron fraud! All this time we thought he was kicking the asses of some baddy bad guys on "24," and he was really just cooking the books at a corrupt energy company. Take a look:

 

Photos: left, Jeffrey Skilling, ex-Enron CEO, who was just charged with fraud and insider trading; right, Kiefer Sutherland, aka Bauer, who kicks ass. Thanks to Rob for the good spot. (The photo, which doesn't run with the CNN story I linked, was on the cover of CNN.com at 11:30 a.m. It may still be there now. Who knows.)

Fun quiz time: The Mysterious Stomach Ache edition. Stomach aches are funny things, because sometimes their origins are hard to trace. For instance, does my stomach ache because I need to fart? Was it the dinner I ate last Tuesday? Maybe it's because that guy just kicked me in the stomach. Nobody knows!

Here are four possible causes of stomach aches, two of which recently happened in the news. If you guess incorrectly, you win nothing. Likewise, if you guess correctly, you still win nothing. Choose wisely. Here we go! a) her stomach ached because she was about to give birth, even though she didn't know she was pregnant. b) his stomach ached because he was actually born with 1.5 stomaches, and the mini-stomach had indigestion for the first time. c) her stomach ached because she had just eaten a human finger, which she mistook for sausage. d) his stomach ached because he had swallowed $650 worth of coins. The answers are here and here.


Wednesday, Feb. 18

What is profane? Thanks to two Republican congressmen, who have introduced House Bill 3687, we now know that "The term profane, used with respect to language, includes the words shit, piss, fuck, cunt, asshole and the phrases cock sucker, mother fucker and ass hole, compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle and infinitive forms.)" So much for a family-friendly Congress, it seems. I can't wait for a debate on this, when Republicans will introduce modified bill: "The term profane, used with respect to language, includes harsher synonoms of the words poo-poo, pee-pee, doing-the-nasty, her-private-part, poopy-shoot, and the phrases 'oral stimulator of his thingy', 'someone who finds a mommy and then does naughty things with her,' and 'that place between the butt'..." 

One Knot Magazine writer sighed, "Well I know fuck-all about hyphenated compounds, but I'm sure as hell glad that I can still bust out with 'Cock lick!' whenever I win a Golden Globe."

Table scraps:
:
OutKast says to shake it like a Polaroid picture. Polaroid says otherwise.
::John Edwards posters for those with nowhere else to turn.
:::Travelosity hops on the gnome-travel bandwagon about five years too late.
::::Donald Rumsfeld is a kung-fu gesture master!
:::::Is imitation the highest form of flattery? The Onion says "no."
::::::Is it a jungle out there, away from Internet dating? One man finds out.

Allow me to share my favorite knock-knock joke.

     You: Hey, I know a funny knock-knock joke. Say 'knock knock.'

     Unsuspecting fool: Knock knock

     You: Who's there?

     Unsuspecting fool: ...

     You: Ha ha ha!

I'll admit that I regularly perform vain Google searches on myself, although the results have never been too exciting. It's mostly stuff I've published -- some of which, unfortunately, is really old crap I wrote for zines when I was in high school -- and various happyscrappy links. But when this 17-year-old boy googled himself, he discovered that he had been abducted. Surprise!

John Kerry was excited about his win in Wisconsin last night -- but not as excited as he was about sitting on a toilet and taking a crap in his pants:

Did I spend half an hour making that stupid graphic just to crack a "John on the john" joke? Yes and no. Because, after seeing this Washington Post photo of Kerry (from this story), I ask you: can anybody really see it and not think he looks like he's celebrating atop porcelain? Really, I had no choice.


Tuesday, Feb. 17

Forget Atkins, and just start screwing around with everybody! One passionate kiss will burn about nine calories and one round of sexy sex will burn about 212, according to a new study. So, it's time for some fun math! If 212 burned calories is equal to a two-mile walk -- and it is, according to the study -- then The Proclaimers' hit song was worth about 250 horizontal mambos. And instead of having gastric bypass surgery, weatherman Al Roker could have lost the same 100 pounds by making out with everybody who lives in Southington, Connecticut*. So, is it fair to say that Bush's proposal to double spending on abstinence promotion isn't just out of touch with reality, but is actually promoting national obesity? I think it is.

*I'm not joking about that, either. One pound equals 3,500 calories, so 100 lbs equals 350,000 calories. Each kiss equals 9 calories, which means 38,889 kisses also equals 350,000 calories. The population of Southington is 38,800.

Table scraps:
:
In this game, you throw paper into a wastebasket. I hear the game makers' next product will challenge you to wash dishes. Whoo-ee!
::With California in a fiscal crisis, Governor Musclehead is focusing on what's really important: tearing the roof off of the the state capitol building so politicans can smoke.
:::Jenny, Jenny, someone's selling your number.
::::Here's the thing about today's magazines: they officially suck.

Got a good laugh out of that photo? Ok, now go here.

A month after the South Park movie came out, a friend of mine had a brilliant idea: let's call Canadians and ask what they thought of the movie. After all, if anything was going to upset our northern neighbors, songs like "Blame Canada" were. I was an editor for my college's student magazine at the time, so we considered stunt to be research for an official magazine poll, and a group of staff members giddily huddled around a phone and dialed random Canadian phone numbers. Most Canadians received us with good cheer, and said they either weren't bothered by the movie or never had an interest in seeing it. This confirmed something I've always believed about Canada, which Bowling For Columbine also concluded: calm, reasonable people live there. And so, it is with great befuddlement that I read about the national uproar over Conan O'Brien's Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. I must wonder, did Canadians not expect Triumph to be insulting? Perhaps they would have been surprised by his antics if his name was Triumph the Pleasantly Courteous Dog. But it's not. It's the Insult Dog. Lighten up, Canada.

I would have otherwise made no mention of this Kerry-intern scandal, since anything broadcast by the Drudge Report and not confirmed by legitimate news sources isn't worth your time or mine. However, it turns out that I went to college with the girl at the center of this faux-scandal. According to this AP story, she graduated Clark University in 1999. I graduated in 2002, which makes us classmates for a year, although I didn't know her. Small world, isn't it? Clark alumni also include a guy from the Blue Man Group and the founder of Au Bon Pain. Although, when the Clark PR machine starts churning, all you'll ever hear about is Sigmond Freud's brief visit to campus in 1909, which it commemorated 90 years later by erecting an incredibly ugly statue of the guy in the middle of campus. Go Clark!


Monday, Feb. 16

Table scraps:
:
Sorry folks, IsDickCheneyDeadYet.com is already taken. Damn.
::Bush and Kerry are actually 16th cousins, thrice removed.
:::Create your own New York Post headline!
::::Hurry up, ladies! Bill's looking for 2-6 women to have 2-15 kids with!

I was disappointed to learn, as I recently did, that John F. Kennedy never actually told the people of Germany that he was a jelly donut. However, here's another funny presidential translation error, courtesy of my jokey day-to-day calendar: "The president says he is pleased to be here in Poland, grasping your private parts." That was the mangled translation of Jimmy Carter, who in 1977 visited Poland and, through a translator, said, "I'm pleased to be here in Poland, shaking your hands." I'm willing to trust my calendar, although I can only find one reference on the Internet to this. Oh well. That's good enough for me.

Hold your nose! A pipe burst in my apartment this morning, and the water was shut off before I had a chance to brush my teeth. So, this morning's postings will all be written with stanky morning breath. Mmm-mmm-good, isn't it?

Stereotypical tourist photos be damned. Sure, the human race may have sucked any cleverness out of D.I.Y. photography tricks such as the holding-up-the-leaning-tower photo or the holding the Washington Monument photo. But let it be known that there is still plenty cleverness left in photographing toy cars next to real cars:

Are you an evil alien clone? According to a guy that shot and killed his wife -- and then was accidentially called by a reporter -- there are only 3 million humans left in the world, and the rest, like his wife, are all evil alien clones. Now, that may sound crazy, but consider this photo:

Impossibilities: 1) Laura Bush leaves the White House, and goes somewhere besides another reading-to-children photo op. 2) She goes down to the Daytona 500 and starts shaking hands -- shaking those dirty, filthy hands, oh dear lord Laura, NO!!! -- with the drivers and pit crew. 3) Ben Affleck is there, looking dapper as ever and, according to the Reuters cutline, working as a "pace car driver." Somehow -- and I don't know how, but somehow -- evil alien clones must be involved here.

(Or, well, ok, maybe she was just there as a campaign prop. Still, I think there's plenty of evidence to pin her as an evil alien clone.)

On a related note, I highly encourage you to click on the above link for Laura Bush's reading-to-children photo op. Her opening statement will make your head explode: "This is called Tom Rabbit and it's written by somebody called Martin Waddell. And guess what Tom Rabbit is, can you tell? But what kind? He's a stuffed animal. He's somebody's toy. Any of you all have a stuffed animal like this? Nobody? Do you have a teddy bear? Well, this is kind of like that. This is a rabbit instead of a teddy bear."

This goes a long way to explaining how the White House operates. Bush: "You know how people serve in the military? Well, I did something kind of like that, except I didn't serve." Or, "You know how we invaded Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction? Well, we kind of did that, but we didn't find any." It all makes perfect sense now.


Sunday, Feb. 15

When Wes Clark came crawling to the Kerry campaign, John Kerry was so excited that his right ear nearly doubled in size. Take a look:

My best guess is that the ear actually belongs to the guy behind him, which was unintentionally brilliant comedic timing for this photographer. Even better, the shot -- which was taken by the Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times -- got picked up by the AP and distributed across the world, presumably because nobody there noticed how goofy it is. As far as I know, though, no paper gave it a cutline like, "When Wes Clark speaks, John Kerry is all ears." Or, well, all 1.5 ears.

(Oh, and if you missed my Kerry-Edwards eyes merger, there's more photo-fun for you to check out.)

Is there any way Kiefer Sutherland and Jack Bauer can trade places? 24 is the only show on television I get truly excited about, so it pains me to root for Bauer, Sutherland's ass-kicking character, and then hear about Sutherland getting his ass kicked. I want willing suspension of disbelief, and dammit, it's not easy when this guy can't even hold his liquor. Can't somebody keep Sutherland out of trouble, at least until 24 is done?

When you can't find the right word to make your point, just invent one. That's apparently a strategy of the editor of the Beacon Hill Times, a little weekly newspaper in Boston. I was in a coffee shop scanning the rag there yesterday, and read the following line in an editorial about liquor laws: "Objectors to more all-alcohol licenses awfulize the situation." Awfulize? What? It really annoys me -- in fact, it makes me downright alpamoratical -- when people make up words. Editors who don't know the English language awfulize newspapers. Boo-yah fakooza!


Saturday, Feb. 14

Happy Hallmark Da-- I mean, Valentine's Day. I'll be out today, but if yesterday's collection of V-Day info wasn't enough, here's a little more to tide you over.

Guys, are you looking to get your gal a piece of jewlery? Well, you're in luck: astronomers just found a 10 billion trillion trillion carat diamond, and I bet that'd look just super in a ring or necklace. Of course, you'll first have to figure out how to travel 300 trillion miles to where it's just floating in space. But if you really love her, you'll do it.

If you don't have somebody to buy a $3 card for today, that's ok. You're in good company.

And if you're the president of the United States, you can show who you really love by fellating yourself. Oh wait, you already have -- in your budget presentation to Congress, no less. According to the New York Times' Paul Krugman, "this year's budget contains 27 glossy photos of Mr. Bush. We see the president in front of a giant American flag, in front of the Washington Monument, comforting an elderly woman in a wheelchair, helping a small child with his reading assignment, building a trail through the wilderness and, of course, eating turkey with the troops in Iraq. Somehow the art director neglected to include a photo of the president swimming across the Yangtze River. It was not ever thus. Bill Clinton's budgets were illustrated with tables and charts, not with worshipful photos of the president being presidential." With that kind of self-love, how does Laura Bush ever compete?


 Friday, Feb. 13

Ready to get all lovey-dovey? Not everyone is. In South Carolina, many high schools have banned V-Day gift deliveries. In India, Hindu V-Day opponents threatened that the faces of openly-celebrating lovebirds "will be blackened and their heads will be shaved." (But India's still working through some rough patches with its ex, Pakistan, so maybe they're just not in the loving mood this year.) And in Iran, the government has threatened to arrest unmarried couples that appear in public. (And we all know it had a nasty break-up with its ex, Iraq, which surely explains the coldness.) Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has been celebrating by selling racist SpongeBob SquarePants V-Day Cards. (A printer mistake has been blamed, but I can't imagine the excuse is really that simple.)

But at least one person is ready to celebrate the big love-fest, and that's a Worcester, Mass. elementary school student who recently won the Worcester Historical Museum's valentine card-making contest. Here's the winning entry, which comes from a museum promotional packet (and no, I'm not making this up):

Did you know - that if you would be my Valentine...
I'll be that happiest boy in the world.
Sorry if I scared you with my soaring heart!
Sorry if it poked you with its sharp body part!

Tomorrow, everyone gets poked with a sharp body part! Hooray!

Coming and going: Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake goes from WWF stardom to collecting subway tokens in Boston. A writer goes from New York City to Winnipeg to find the meaning of home via Weakerthans lyrics. The winner of a $314 million lotto jackpot goes from jerk with some money to jerk with a lot of money. Barbie goes from committed relationship to surfer groupie.

As you may have noticed, there's been a bit of change here at Happyscrappy. But in a way, the site has finally come full circle.

When I started this whole thing around 1997, it was nothing more than a page full of observational drivel. It was, if i may be so bold, a sort of precursor to the blog. Then, as more people started coming, I diversified the page and eventually added a menu at the front so that all sections of the page were equally accessible. It stayed that way for years, but I now think there's a flaw in the system: with a menu, a visitor to this page isn't immediately presented with content, and that's a surefire way to lose their interest. In a way, I think the design from 1997 made the most sense, and so that's what I'd like to go back to.

Happyscrappy itself isn't actually changing much, although this main page is where you'll find all new content, updated often multiple times a day. When something is added to another section of the site -- the comics, for instance -- I'll let you know about it here. And of course, all the page's sections are linked on your left.

This blog-like format is taking the place of both the Picture of the Day and the Feature of the Week. Longer features will still be created, but they won't be shackled to any specific time frame (which I'd inevitably be late on anyway). Instead, they'll be linked here as they're posted.

I've also shelved away all the really old stuff -- the "home ramblings," which are the aforementioned original drivel, all the past features, and the goth page -- into a section called The Dustbin. I did this because they mostly don't represent me or my writing style anymore, and so while nostalgia prevents me from getting rid of them, I'd prefer not to actively promote them anymore. In the history of this page, I've actually only killed one section of content, and that was the movie reviews that went bye-bye around 1998. (I'm willing to bet there are at least a few of you reading this that actually remember that.) Although, today does mark the end of the totally pointless Letter of the Week, which, believe it or not, was once a feature all its own. To this day, people still request letters, which always amuses and confuses me. Anyway, maybe one day I'll get the nerve up to totally delete all the Dustbin stuff, but today isn't that day.

So, as always, thank you so much for visiting and enjoying this page. Your feedback is always welcome and encouraged (see my e-mail address above), and I hope you'll choose to stick around and enjoy the new -- but not extremely new -- Happyscrappy.


Thursday, Feb. 12

Go San Francisco! While Massachusetts squabbles back and forth about whether hate and discrimination will be entered into the state's constitution, San Francisco has gone ahead and, with the blessing of the mayor, married a lesbian couple. The Terminator's head is going to explode after this one. Let's take stock: has the institution of marriage collapsed? Has God send down a wrath of hellfire and fury? No and no? Oh, well, I guess the religious right was wrong after all.

Cell phone cameras are actually good for something! This is shocking news, at least to me. An Atlanta woman took a photo of some idiot who posed as a stranded motorist and then whipped out his, uh, phone antenna, and the photo led to his arrest. And all this time I thought the cameras were only good for poor-quality photos of random people, particularly, for some reason, always on a subway.

Proof positive that a dictator who loves war isn't necessarily good at it (from the New York Times): "A complacent Saddam Hussein was so convinced that war would be averted or that America would mount only a limited bombing campaign that he deployed the Iraqi military to crush domestic uprisings rather than defend against a ground invasion, according to a classified log of interrogations of captured Iraqi leaders and former officers."

The story also says the leaflets that were dropped on Iraqi army forces before the war -- the ones that instructed them to run away and not engage Americans in battle -- didn't actually convince them of anything, but it did unintentionally scare them. Because, they thought that if Americans could drop leafletts on their heads, they could drop bombs, too. This reminds me of the reason so many people fear the pie-in-the-face prankster that famously hit Bill Gates -- because if he can hit you with a pie, the logic goes, he can hit you with something else. Thus, a pie exposes vulnerability, and they don't find that very funny. At least one person out there, though, finds it pretty sexy.

And in other political news, Colin Powell needs a nap and his bottle. During a congressional hearing yesterday, he had a mini-hissy fit when a Hill staffer shook his head in response to something Powell was saying. "Are you shaking your head for something, young man, back there? Are you part of these proceedings?" Boy oh boy, Colin, if you can't handle a little head-shaking, you're in for a world of hurt this campaign season.

Have you bought a Valentine's Day present yet? Trying to find something a bit more original than some flowers or chocolate? Well, here's the scoop: first, hire a wordsmith from eBay to write a personalized love note from you, and then out-do yourself with a bear that will tell your girl that, shit, she be a fine bitch:

It's now official: bugs are really, really old.

I know it's time for a haircut when I purposely wear a winter cap for an hour before I go cover an event for the newspaper, so that my hair isn't too absurdely poofy and I can be taken seriously. (Don't believe me? Here's an old shot of my hair at its extreme length, and here's one post-haircut.)  I'd get a haircut -- really, I would -- but I haven't had the time. Maybe today. So, that's my excuse. And here's a surprisingly historical explanation (and almost a reasonable excuse) of a poodle's goofy haircut. But what, I must ask, is Donald Trump's excuse?


Wednesday, Feb. 11

If you're looking to get into the business of interrogating clowns, you're in luck. A new study has identified the difference between a fake and real smile, and your new job will probably be the only practical application for it. For instance, during a real smile, "the mouth muscles move, the muscles that raise the cheeks Ė the orbicularis oculi and the pars orbitalis Ė also contract, making the eyes crease up, and the eyebrows dip slightly." But beware, future clown-interrogators: it ain't as easy as it looks. Try this test. I got 14 out or 20. Where were you on the night of April 14, Mr. The Clown? Or should I call you... Bozo? Yeah, I got the chops.

How close is Dick Cheney to death? So close that MSNBC.com wrote his obituary and accidentally posted it. (see second item). Sadly, the lead of the obit isn't "Vice President Dick Cheney died at an undisclosed location today..." Of course, considering the scant number of times Cheney actually appears in public, it's possible the man is already dead, and we wouldn't actually know about it until he fails to show up for the first vice presidential debate.

I love pizza. I really do. It puts me in the mood... to eat. But a British company wants it to put me in quite a different mood. (And so, apparently, does this potato)

Quiz time! Here's what Radhakant Bajpai had to say about a recent event in his life: "________ is indeed a very special occasion for me and my family. God has been very kind to me." What happened? a) he was digging in his yard and found fossils of a previously undiscovered ancient relative of the chicken, b) he was granted the Guinness World Record for longest ear hair, or c) his daughter was chosen to marry the prince of Tajikistan. Find the answer here (and be sure to take note of the funny typo above his picture).

Lame piano jokes! Lame piano jokes!

Q: What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
A: A flat minor.

Q: What do you get when you drop a piano on an army base?
A: A flat major.

Looks like America vs. The Breast is finally wrapping up, as the class action lawsuit has been dropped. This from the Associated Press: "Less than a week after filing a class-action lawsuit because of her outrage over Janet Jackson's Super Bowl stunt, Terri Carlin believes she's made her point." I wonder, exactly what point does she think she made? That breasts are evil? That Americans are incapable of responding to things in a sane, mature manner? That the legal system is really just a plaything for people who are easily offended? Point taken, Terri. Point taken.


Tuesday, Feb. 10

This is a sentence I never ever ever ever ever want written about me: "The branch speared in through his groin and up to his abdomen." However, it is something I'd like to see written about this guy.

Here's a pretty easy way for criminals to avoid leaving DNA evidence: don't urinate in the snow at the scene of a crime.

Eight months ago, two 12-year-old girls lied to their parents about why they came home late from school. They said they were attacked by a homeless man --and then, when a homeless man was found and arrested, they testified, all misty-eyed, against him. He's been in jail since then, and the girls finally decided to come clean. So, police showed up at their school and led them away in handcuffs. The mother one one of the girls cried to the Los Angeles Times: "They handcuffed her, with her arms behind her back. She was scared and started shaking. She's a little girl, but they handcuffed her like she was a murderer." Let's say this all together now: aww, boo-hoo, lady. Boo-f'n-hoo.

My friend Joe had the idea for a hip-hop casino. As he explains it, he went to Vegas and noticed that everyone there was white, so he was surprised nobody had tried to lure the black demographic out with some sort of shameless marketing gimmick. The hip-hop casino would be perfect: there could be rap shows, a roulette board could make a record-scratching sound when spun, on and on. After all, if other companies shamelessly target the "urban" demographic, why not casinos?

We decided that because of the sheer convienence of his name, clearly the casino would have to be called...

...the Jay-Zino. Who's up in the Jay-Zino? Get your bling-bling at the Jay-Zino!

Had I not wasted half an hour making that above graphic, this would have been today's picture. His parents must be so proud.

So, it turns out Al Franken didn't actually "body slam" a protester at a Howard Dean rally, despite reports from a trashy tabloid that he had. (And yes, I posted the original story when it ran in late January.) That's sort of too bad, because I liked the idea of Al Franken as a rough-n-tough go-getter, the kind of guy that'll put his fist where his mouth is. But, considering the strength of the Republican spin machine -- "The liberals are the ones full of hate! I hate them!" -- I suppose it's best that Franken leaves all the bullying up to Bill O'Reilly.

The controversy surrounding Duckgoosegate continues here at HappyScrappy. As you might have seen in this week's feature, an observant reader called me out on misidentifying an animal in the previous feature. Turns out, as I learned from yet another e-mail (this one from a close friend) recently, there's more corrections to be made. After this, I think it's safe to assume that everything that can possibly be said about the differences between ducks and geese will have been sufficiently aired. But alas, I shant deprive you of useful bird-knowledge. Read on:

From: Roberto Scalese
Sent: Monday, February 09, 2004
To: 'KNULPREK@aol.com'
Subject: Correcting a correction...

Mr. Feifer,

May I call you Mr. Feifer? In your latest feature, an alert reader, Andy McGill, pointed out that you were calling geese ducks. If didnít know you, Iíd say it was a stupid mistake. But I do know you, and itís about par for the course. You have a humorously large blind spot in your world perspective, brother.

Anyway, I write to be helpful! The goose and fake goose in question are actually a real and imitation Canada Goose. Everyone calls them Canadian Geese, but birders (which is the name bird watchers give themselves. Community journalism teaches you a lot of things you never wanted to know) get all persnickety when you call them Canadian. This may sound like a rebuke to Andy, and I assure you it is not. Itís a rebuke to you, Jason, because you didnít bother to fact-check even after you were corrected by a sharp reader.

With this shameful chapter in your life now in second gear, I demand you rethink your position on fowl and write an ode to Canada Geese. Itís only fair.

Respectfully,
berto

(Please note: no ode to Canada Geese will be written. Quack, eh?)

This is the situation journalists -- or, at least, this is the situation I -- dream of being in: you're doing something routine, not on the job, when big news happens and you're the only reporter around. So it was for The Advocate editor Bruce Steele, who happened to be on the American Airlines plane when its pilot had a freaky religious experience, and managed to snag an interview with him as he left the plane. Go Bruce, you lucky bastard.


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