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Archives: August, 2004


Saturday, August 28

Can you live without me for a week?
Ok, so I said there wouldn't be any more updates this week, but I lied. I'm moving today, and just learned that I won't have Internet in my new apartment until Friday. That means that this blog, sadly, will spend the week in relative silence. But you don't have to, because you can spend the week laughing at this video. See you next week.

Oh, to mourn the passing of lousy food

There is someone out there -- and I am not making this up -- who is actively campaigning for the return of Taco Bell's chili cheese burrito. Wait, better yet: there is someone out there who survived eating Taco Bell's chili cheese burrito, and actually wants another one. And like everyone else with a lame cause, they're sending out press releases.

A co-worker of a friend of mine at a magazine received one of these, and wrote back in disbelief. Here's their exchange.

Sorry, no nude water polo players here
This nude water polo thing has gotten out of control. On Monday, "water polo women's topless photos" was the Strangest Google Search of the day (my new little feature on the left column), and since then, the majority of Google searches that lead people to this site are, in some way, related to nude women's water polo. Don't believe me? Check out this screenshot of a list of the 20 most recent searches from Friday afternoon.

Did something happen at the Olympics that I'm unaware of? Was there a mass orgy in the water polo pool? A game of shirts vs. skins? What? What is making all these people search for nude water polo? If you have any idea -- or, better yet, if you ARE one of these people -- please e-mail me and tell me what inspired you to search for nude water polo players. I mean, I know the water polo hoods are sexy and all, but come on.


Wednesday, August 25

Please note: I'm moving this weekend, so I'm a bit low on free time. HappyScrappy will return next week. In the meantime, feel free to poke around the makeshift blogroll on the left, and check out a strange new development in the Google search section. Thanks.

Update: Oh, uh, it just occured to me that when I move in to my new place, I might not automatically have an Internet connection. Boy, I'd hate that. Anyway, check back, and I'll be blogging away as soon as I can. And also, just for the hell of it, check out the newest photo fad, "Doing a Lynndie," a video of this amazing dog that walks like a human, and this very cheap laugh at a large family's expense.


Monday, August 23

Table scraps:
:The pope has condemned human cloning as man's attempt to improve upon God's creation. Perhaps, though, somebody should buy the pope a dictionary. Memo to pope: cloning means to copy, not to improve. But thanks for at least trying to pay attention to the outside world.
::"He didn't order us to register, but he told us that it was un-American if we didn't." The military is pushing its soldiers to register to vote, and nobody's too sure if that'll help Kerry or Bush.
:::The only thing more confusing than Vanilla Ice endorsing Bush is his fans trying to debate his politics. This link, amazingly, contains both.
::::Tom Ridge, you can finally relax. The A-Team is filling any and all gaps in homeland security.
:::::While BobSagatIsGod.com is clearly a lame bid for attention through outdated pop culture, there's no denying that the graphic on the left is pretty funny.
::::::This woman is insane! Insane! Insaaaaaaaanneeee!

These boots are gonna walk all over you
People seem to be pretty shocked over this incident of eight-year-old Haley Waldman's first communion being invalidated because she can't eat wheat. And it's true, that's a really insensitive and undue action taken by the Church. But like with alcoholism, there isn't just one party causing the problem; you've got the alcoholic, and the enabler. And I think -- understand, I'm about to make a really heavy-handed and unfair argument -- the parents are a bit at fault for allowing this to continue. Here's how.

Eat to live? Nah. Eat to puke.

There may not be a more obnoxious sport than competitive eating -- a movement that, unlike any other, really sticks it to the impoverished nations of the world. "You don't have enough food?" it seems to say. "Well, we've got so much that we're going to stuff it in our faces, and then puke it back up. So how about that!"

Until I read this story about the newest lobster-eating champion (and she's a tiny woman!), I was unaware that there is an official organization, the International Federation of Competitive Eating, organizing this stuff. I went to its webpage, and immediately noticed its seal. It's the graphic in the middle, and features, well, I have no idea. It's something that looks rather regal, like a college or city seal, and very clearly tries to make competitive eating more noble than it is. So, I'm saying this: if you're going to promote a sport that celebrates gluttony in a world of starving people, you might as well just drop the pretenses. To start, I've drafted two excellent prototypes of new seals. The rest I'll leave up to the IFOCE.

Chris Matthews? Who's Chris Matthews?
About seven years ago, a few friends and I went to see Chris Matthews speak at his alma mater, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. The crowd there was enamored with him, and asking him nothing but softball questions that always began with, "Chris, I just love your show and respect your opinion so much, and was wondering..."

At one point, Matthews claims he's not a part of the "media elite," and so a friend of mine gets up to the microphone and asks how Matthews can say that while he has his own show on a large television station. Matthews comes up with some absurd answer, the crowd hisses at my friend, and everybody moves on.

Then, just last week, I'm reading a transcript of a "Hardball" show, and come across the following exchange. He's talking to crazywoman Michelle Malkin, a columnist who thinks John Kerry shot himself in order to get a purple heart medal.

MATTHEWS:  When the president says publicly that he has no problem with John Kerry‘s war record, in fact he finds it noble, is that hypocritical or is that honest? 

MALKIN:  I think it is absolutely honest. 

MATTHEWS:  Because what?  What makes it honest? 

Because how they are attacking Kerry?

MALKIN:  He can‘t—he did not control these—there was no—can you show me directive that said, Swift Boat Veterans do this. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘m waiting for the phone call that said stop doing it, buddies. 

MALKIN:  It is interesting.  I saw the interrogation of Larry Thurlow.  All I can say if the main stream media interrogated these private citizens, and did that as aggressively as...

MATTHEWS:  Nobody has ever called me mainstream before but thank your for the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  I guess I‘m big time now. 

And there it is again! First of all, even if, by some unbelievable set of circumstances, the people that Matthews normally surrounds himself with have not said he's part of the mainstream media, the man just lied because my friend did it during that Holy Cross speech. But more importantly, I'm having trouble understanding what benefit Chris Matthews sees in insisting he's not part of the mainstream media. It's such a laughable argument -- what, are Bill O'Reilly and Tom Brokaw also off the beaten path? Listen, if you're on a major television station, and if your opinions are regularly broadcast to millions of people who know your name and face, you're part of the mainstream. How simple can that be?

I mean, if Chris really doesn't want to be a part of the mainstream, I would be thrilled to see him step down from his position as "Hardball" host and go take a reporter position at some small paper. Why not do it, Chris? Fulfill your dream!


Friday, August 20

Table scraps:
:For some men, "consumer protection" means a lot more than just a financial stake. They have to know if they're getting what they pay for -- or, as they might say, if she's worth it.
::The new Wes Anderson flick, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, looks great (of course). Here's a trailer.
:::Most water polo injuries are minor, says U.S. women's water polo defender Natalie Golda: "They're mostly superficial -- broken fingers, broken noses, teeth, jaws, eardrums, stuff like that." Which tells you something about water polo: It's a sport played by folks who feel that broken noses and busted jaws are "superficial." Here's a fantastic and funny look into the brutality of water polo.
::::A lot of my friends manage fantasy baseball teams. This about sums all that junk up.
:::::Ok, again, sorry for the lousy day of posts. I'm off to attend a friend's wedding this weekend, which makes me feel very grown up and mature -- but not that grown up and mature, because it's his wedding, not mine. Phew!


Thursday, August 19

Table scraps:
:Alright, fine, if I dated a person who was about to become president of the United States, I'd be a bit psyched as well. But I get the distinct impression that this girl has yet to, shall we say, move on.
::Last year, cellphone users worldwide spent $3.1 billion on ring tones. Wait, let me write that again. In a world of suffering and starvation, cellphone users worldwide spent $3.1 billion on ring tones. Ring tones? Ring tones!
:::It's official: Busch may be the official beer of NASCAR, but it's hardly the favored brew of a black bear looking to go on a drinking binge.
::::A friend of mine who has XM satellite radio said the company keeps replacing good stations like jazz and lounge music with the kind of crap you find on regular radio, like Top 40 and alt-rock. But, I bet nothing's as bad as the feeling he'll get after realizing he's paid for a subscription to a Starbucks advertising vehicle: the crap they play in the store, now available in your car! (via starbucks gossip)
:::::With grace and style, this blogger proves that urban style cannot be reproduced by the self-aware. Or, wait, that was more philosophical than I intended. What I'm trying to say is, sideways hats suck.
::::::The guy who jumped into an Olympic pool in a blue tutu (see yesterday's post) is getting five months in prison! That's way harsh.
:::::::Did your local newspaper print a letter to the editor that bears a striking resemblance to this letter? You might want to let them know.

The sign of the sign
Al-Jazeera was present at the Democratic National Convention, but convention organizers would not allow it to hang up a sign promoting itself outside its skybox, even though it let all the other news stations do so. Organizers said they needed the space, but it was pretty clear that the DNC was concerned about being the targets of some absurd spin -- Democrats harbor terrorists, allow them into their convention, let them hang a sign, etc. All in all, a very weak move by the Dems.

Now, of course, the RNC is allowing Al-Jazeera to hang its sign, and I'd say this captures everything that's wrong with the Democratic Party. They don't do things because they're afraid the Republicans will criticize them, and then the Republicans can turn around and one-up them while knowing the Democrats won't say a word. How many times must this be shouted: have some guts, Democrats! Take some risks! I promise, it won't hurt.


Wednesday, August 18

Don't be paranoid, but everyone's watching

Of course, they're just your everyday political fan coming out to a local rally and snapping a photo -- maybe of the candidate, but probably of someone's blurry hand. But after looking at campaign photo after photo, and always seeing one or two cameras conspicuously floating around in the audience, things do start looking suspicious. Maybe they're opposition spies, gearing up for debate fodder. "Mr. Bush, on August 16 in Boise, you clearly almost dropped a baby. How do you respond?"

Table scraps:
:Which animal would you rather pop up from behind the bushes -- a goat, or a dickasaurus? I'm going with the goat. (Also, the goat is easier to catch than dicky.)
::IKEA is selling products with names like Svinga, Malm, Muck, Slabang, Nipper, Ingolf, Herman, and The Lessebo. So, really,
is IKEA just teasing us?
:::The WashPost had a great recap of some
recent Bushisms, including this insane one making light of a time the Iraqi Prime Minister was almost murdered.
::::From the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to the Northeast winter storm of 1993, here are the
top ten catastrophic events for insured property losses.
:::::She received by mail a booklet, "Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live," and said a man yelled at her, "Witch, you're going down." Oh, the joys of
being a pagan in small-town South Carolina.
::::::You without a ethnic girlfriend is like a messenger bag without thousands of buttons proclaiming your political leanings and your extensive knowledge of music. A sassy asian girl is ready to be the hipster's
absoltely necessary accessory. (via Tale of Two Cities)
:::::::Girl goes to deli, has awful veggie burger, meets
John Edwards and Barack Obama. This makes me irritated that I don't live in a swing state, where these people are campaigning every ten minutes. Ironically enough, Massachusetts is just about the last place I'll ever find John Kerry roaming around these days. Oh well. No fun photo to show off for me.
::::::::What are the hazards of being a medical student? That is, besides the tuition cost? How about having to hear about the
gross medical problems of people you're just meeting? That'd keep me out of med school -- well, that and I don't want to be a doctor. And blood grosses me out. But still.
::::::::::Mysterious hand signals on the
campaign trail! John Kerry says "one," some supporter says "four." What does it mean? We may never know.

Finally, some advertising I can enjoy
This should be the first rule of advertising: any ad should be considered a transaction, in which both parties -- that is, the advertiser and the viewer -- receive equal benefit. Most ads don't accomplish this. They're just greedy space-and-time grabs by companies who think we want to hear about their new junk. But Golden Palace, an online gambling site, has been consistantly generous. Recall the men who ran around during the 2002 European Cup football final in Glasgow, this year's Superbowl and the 2003 US Open Golf -- and on Monday, it managed to inject something interesting into the Olympics by having a guy in a tu-tu take a dive (see story and video). Here, finally, a company is providing a truly entertaining moment in exchange for our attention. Sure, it's illegal, and sure, I'd hate it if Coke or Pepsi were doing it. But for now, I'd like to file my full support for Golden Palace, and all its advertising adventures.


Tuesday, August 17

Table scraps:
:Attention slacker college students:
you can now be biologically reprogrammed to work like a dog. Or, uh, a monkey.
::Hot nude one-on-one action! That is, one-on-one basketball. (The link is just a news story, folks, not a photo gallery. Don't get too excited. But if you do want some yappity-yap about a more explicit nudity-sports combo, check here.)
:::It's about time somebody leveled the playing field. There are, of course, plenty of delightful mail-order brides out there, but now the lonely women of the world can get their hands on a mail-order husband.
::::You know Jane Barbe's voice. She's a source of encouragement in your life. When you screw up, she wants you to hang up and to try your call again.
:::::Ok, sorry, Table Scraps have to be short today because I already overslept and I need to go to work. Better stuff tomorrow.


Monday, August 16

Yet another way to kill time on the Web
There's a free service called TinyURL, which I find pretty useless. It translates any url into an auto-forward url from tinyurl.com, therefore making it easier for some people to copy-and-paste e-mailed links into web browsers. All you do is go to the site, type in a link, and it issues you a tinyurl link. (For instance, happyscrappy.com can become tinyurl.com/4h3ks, but I guess it makes more sense for really long, mapquest-like links.) I think it's dumb because, honestly, how difficult is it to copy-and-paste a long link versus a short link? Are we that lazy?

But I did find a fun use for it: making up tinyurl links, and seeing where they go. It's like a little peek into the junk people e-mail each other! Most seem to follow one of two patterns -- either number-letter-number-letter-letter (like the above link, 4h3ks) or number-letter-letter-letter-number (for example, 3vtx9). Unfortunately, it seems the service creates these at random, not sequentially, and therefore it's difficult to find working links and most of the ones you make up will result in nothing. But, after a few minutes of playing around with it, I found a few amusing things, including some movie photo, a wacky anime fan thing, someone's stock chart for gold, and photos from a Swedish rock concert that I unfortunately didn't save the link to. Anyway, good luck, have fun, and if you find anything particularly amusing, send it to me!

More hair than a Phish concert audience

Maybe that's from the Star Wars Holiday Special, maybe it's just a bunch of guys who rented costumes. Either way, I laughed for a minute straight. I hope you do too.

Table scraps:
:Is Craigslist about to get lousy, with its site full of ads and its name blasted by stupid television commercials? Hopefully not, but nothing's certain now that eBay's bought a substantial chunk of the company.
::Life imitating art imitating a video game imitating work. Or, uh, just a video game.
:::Last night, my girlfriend made Virginia Congressman Thomas M. Davis's cookie recipie, which turned out to be quite delightful. But he's not the only cook on the hill.
::::Dairy Queen is busy promoting its new "MooLatte," which sounds a whole lot like "mulatto." Houston Press wondered, does this company know it sounds racist?
:::::The U.S. men's basketball team lost to Puerto Rico Sunday, but that shouldn't surprise anybody who has watched the not-exactly-gold-medal-stuff NBA in the past few years.
::::::The GOP has a candidate in Florida that claims he's "not homophobic. I'm homo-nauseous." It has one in Tennessee that vows to keep "less favored races" from reproducing. It's not hard to see why the GOP attracts these sort of people, but is anyone asking what, if anything, the Republican party is doing about it?
:::::::This sort of claim needs to get more attention: Pakistani officials are saying the White House is pressuring them to find Osama before the November elections. Is there anything the Bush administration won't politicize? (But the only questions Bush seems to be getting on the campaign train are absurd softballs from his fans.)
::::::::What an awful, hellish world Jeb Bush lives in. In explaining why scientists didn't exactly predict the direction of Hurricane Charley, he said, "This is God's way of telling us that He's almighty and we're mortal." What does that mean, Jeb? Every death is God playing nyah-nyah with the world? A little who's-your-daddy from the diety? Come on, man. You're a scary politician, not a scary priest.
:::::::::Well, this is mighty disgusting. Wal-Mart has rightfully come under some intense critcism, some of which has been broadcast in the press, and now the megastore is hoping to calm things by giving money to journalists. This is one step away from bribery.

Warner Bros. courts hipsters, fails miserably
There's a hysterical story in the NY Times today about Warner Bros. attempting to promote a new band -- the Secret Machines, which the major label amusingly describes as "indie rock" -- by courting MP3 bloggers. It sent a bunch of them a faux-personal form letter, asking them to post a song by the band, and then stumbled pathetically through everything that happened next. First, only one blogger, Music for Robots, actually posted it, and he did so with a disclaimer that it came from Warner Bros. Then...

In the week after the song was posted on Music for Robots, a message board on the site attracted some thoughtful commentary on Warner's move. But a few comments, posted under several different names, stood out because they looked like something one might read on a teen-pop fan site.

"I never heard these guys before, but theyre awesome," read a posting last Thursday under the name Ron. "I went to their website and you can listen to a lot of ther other stuff, very cool and very good!" Another post, sprinkled with casual profanity, asserted that big corporations could still release good music, and cited the Beatles as an example.

A check of site records by (Music for Robots contributor Mark) Willett revealed that all four of the suspect comments had been posted from the same Internet Protocol address, indicating that they came from the same computer or from a computer within the same company. That address was also the source of two e-mail messages that (vice president for new media at Warner Brothers and Reprise Records Robin) Bechtel sent to a reporter, as well as the original messages sent to the bloggers.

The entertainment industry has for some years been going into chat rooms and message boards to promote its products. But Ms. Bechtel said this kind of activity was not part of the Secret Machines campaign. She said the comments could have been posted independently by fans of the band who worked at the company.

Hah! Yeah, right. Climb back up the mountain, Warner Bros., and don't come back down until you're bankrupt. Oh, and stop calling bands on your label "indie rock." That's just insulting.

Seeing isn't beleiving
If you've watched the Olympics so far, you've surely noticed that the competition is unrolling in front of just about nobody. The seats are emptier than a rainy outdoor Milli Vanilli reunion concert. This is nothing new, though. Even four years ago in Sydney, before all this fear of terrorism, free tickets were given away because the International Olympic Committee was concerned there weren't enough people in the stands. They're doing that now in Athens.

"It is very important for the IOC that when people throughout the world watch the Games on television, they see filled stands. It reinforces the claim that the Olympics is the world's biggest sporting festival," says an international marketing expert in Greece, who for some reason is quoted anonymously in this AFP piece. But hey, if people aren't buying tickets, and if this event isn't exciting people the way it once did, then isn't it fair to say that the Olympics might not be the world's biggest sporting festival? Or, at least, not the most popular? And, instead of just giving away tickets so television audiences will be fooled into thinking this is an event people care about, maybe the IOC would want to consider the reason that nobody actually does care about it? Or, maybe scale back the Olympics itself? Wouldn't that make more sense than just scrambling around every four years, trying to convince people to watch something they don't care about?


Friday, August 13

OH MY GOD, MR. PRESIDENT! DUCK!!

...actually, on second thought, just stay there thinking like you did in the classroom on 9/11. (And yes, that photo is totally not photoshopped. Nor, of course, is this one, of him punching a rugby player.)

Table scraps:
:I really hope this is something that gets a lot of media play: a non-partisan government agency is releasing a report today that shows Dubya's tax cuts have shifted the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class. The problem with this president doesn't get clearer than that.
::While out on a temporary release 15 years into serving a life sentence in prison, a rapist in England enters the lottery and wins
£7 million. Does he get to keep the winnings? Nobody's too sure.
:::After many phone calls and e-mails, Jenny finally got her number.
::::Not a word of this is made up: "Kansas City police have taken a licking for a new program that rewards motorists who drive safely by stopping them and giving them coupons for free ice cream."
:::::"I walked past the town house I used to live in on West 61st Street, and I kept thinking: 'That's who I was. I was a somebody with a chauffeur, a limo, a town house. Now I sleep on a floor.' " And so it goes for Al Goldstein, the man who pioneered porn. (And here's a classy photo of him.)
::::::America has 53 states, World War II began in 1938, and the Senate is only for Democrats. At least, that's what you'd learn at this school for immigrants.
:::::::And you may ask yourself, what the hell is this? That's a good question. (And while you're looking at small animated gifs, watch this one as well.)
:::::::This is the most genius marketing technique ever -- well, if you're selling stuff from America in France. If it were the other way around, all the blowhards would blow so hard we'd have another war by next Tuesday.


Thursday, August 12

Announcing a new little feature thingy
Yesterday, a third person found this page after google searching a very raunchy porn title that I happened to mention in a previous entry (see table scraps, Aug. 9). And that got me thinking: maybe it would be fun to share some of the really irreverent google searches that somehow land people on my site. Really, there are new ones every day. And so, on the left column, between the other happyscrappy links and my makeshift blogroll, you'll now find a section i like to call STRANGEST GOOGLE SEARCH THAT LED SOMEONE TO THIS  SITE (OF THE DAY). Enjoy.

How to write for television news
This very weird story -- about a woman who was on a couch for so many years that her skin literally grafted to the fabric -- reads awkwardly. That's because it is written the way a television newscast would be read, which turns out to be a fairly good insight on how to make nay news story sound sensational enough for television. Let's try it, shall we?

Example (aka, the lead from the above story): A dramatic rescue ended tragically in Stuart, Florida, a rescue so difficult firefighters say they have never seen anything like it. It happened late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at the home of a 600-pound woman who was having trouble breathing.

Strep throat vaccine: An ages-old struggle may be coming to a close, a struggle that has gone on so long that people died in the process. It happened yesterday, when researchers claimed victory in the fierce fight against strep throat, a deadly killer that kills people until they're dead.

Motorola's financial woes: One company took a beating in the stock market yesterday, a beating that some experts say could be bruising. It happened yesterday, when Motorola Inc.'s stock fell 5 percent, a fall that might just keep on falling.

Man named poet laureate: Ted Kooser has been writing since he learned how to write, and that writing paid off -- big time. It happened yesterday, when Kooser was named this country's new poet laureate, a high-profile gig that some experts say is so high that even a poet would know it.

Anyway, you get the point.

Table scraps:
:With a guy named Hu as your president, China has been the victim of many a pun. ("Hu's on first," for example.) But if you're really devoted to a punny China, don't forget to take a tour of cities in China that start with p-u-n.
::Try imagining something awful. Not funny-awful, just awful. Like, say, family members killing each other. Now, make it extreme -- like, killing each other at a wedding. Now, make it absurd -- for instance, serving the body to unknowing wedding guests. But really, could fiction ever be
stranger than fact?
:::Michael Moore still hasn't responded to the Illinois newspaper's claims that he manipulated its front page.
Bad move, Mike. We, the people who went to see your movie and loved it -- or, I guess, hated it -- deserve an explanation.
::::Who the hell over at the Boston Globe let this guy write about music? Here's
a review of, I think, Rush. But, I'm not really sure, because the writer spends most of the time writing about crappy high school band concerts.
:::::Overly bored cops, or overly strict laws? What is the reason for two kids being arrested, booked, shackled, and then hauled into juvenile court for skateboarding?
::::::St. Augustine, Florida got all excited when they thought Ringo Starr was staying in town. The local paper even wrote a story about it. But, alas, it was just a chubby guy with a gotee.
:::::::That New York Times reporter you see strolling the streets of Baghdad may not be packing heat, but there's a chance the guy two feet away is.
::::::::Toys 'R' Us is poised to become Toys Aren't Us.
:::::::::Huckapoo: the most anonymous, still-in-production, teeny-teeny-bopper girl group you could hope for. Here's the scoop.

The mating habits of men on a mission
One's the suspected murderer of his wife and unborn child. The other is a lobster. Here are their mating habits. And be honest -- which one is smoother?

Scott Peterson: (Account of him seducing a single woman, Amber Frey, while his wife was at home) Peterson first took her to an intimate dinner at a fancy sushi bar, where he paid extra for a private room, she said. He then asked her to come back to his room at the Radisson Hotel so he could change. He wasn't wearing a wedding ring, Frey said.

Once in the room, he suddenly produced a bottle of champagne and box of strawberries from his leather bag. (from NY Post)

"[He] put one [strawberry] in each of our glasses," Frey said. "I remember eating one. They were a little bit sour."

A lobster: The female sprays urine into the male's apartment, basically drugging him into submission. Then she moves in with him and gets PMS--premolting syndrome. She gets irritable, shoves a lot of gravel around the place. He is understanding and tender; he waits until she molts, until her legs can stand, then he turns her on her back and mounts her. The female has a seminal receptacle, a kind of fanny pack. The male guides his swimmerets down into the pouch. Then he rolls some sperm packets into a plug for her seminal receptacle so no other males can get there. (from US News and World Report)


Wednesday, August 11

Table scraps:
:Ok, it may not be your thing, but you still must admit: what you see here are some really nice tits.
::Is this photographic proof that the world of television is skewed in one very distinct way -- that only in tv-land, as this website says, hot chicks love fat schlubs?
:::What? You don't want to buy a bag of poop? Well, I think you just haven't been told of how wonderful it is. Hit it, boys.
::::"Gonna rob, gonna rob, gonna steal and be rich and take all these ignorant people's money, gonna find the jewels, gonna find the cash, gonna.... oooh, mini corndogs!"
:::::What does it look like when two men who hate each other hug? Probably a lot like this.
::::::That's it. I'm threatening a lawsuit until I'm on the cover of Vanity Fair. It worked for Reese, right?
:::::::Adobe got its name from the river Adobe Creek that ran behind the house of founder John Warnock. IBM was started by an ex employee of National Cash Register, and to one-up them in all respects he called his company International Business Machines. At least, that's according to this list of company name origins.

Hey, you win negative sympathy points!
Julie Prive was a clerk at a market in 2002, and began collecting discarded losing scratch tickets. One day, though, she picked up a ticket and discovered what its buyer hadn't -- that it was worth $4 million. Then along comes Raymond MacDonald, who claims he was the one who bought the ticket, and is therefore entitled to the money. His proof? He claims he has a distinctive "scratch signature" that is on the ticket. (I wonder, is is markings made by a penny?)

Anyway, the ticket clearly belongs to Julie, the clerk. Whoever threw it away -- MacDonald or someone else -- lost the rights to it when they tossed it. But what makes this case even more pathetic is that MacDonald isn't some guy down on his luck. He won $2 million from a scratch ticket a few years ago!  A jury would -- and should -- throw tomatoes at this man.


Tuesday, August 10

Does this explain why my bills are all wet?

I ran across this box while going online to pay my credit card bill, and it really bothered me. Maybe it was because I had just gotten off the phone with mbna customer service, and the guy was totally unable to help me. Or, maybe it was because I don't really like credit cards. But either way, I saw that box and exclaimed out loud: Oh, come on, the fucking dog isn't fetching any bills.

Petty, yes. But really now. This isn't a company seeking an animal mascot, a la Aflac's duck. It's marketing a service to people who are already customers, and I just can't imagine anybody would begin to use it because they were charmed by a stock photo of a dog. Scout ain't fetching nothing, and we all know it. Don't treat me like a moron, mbna -- just tell me you can collect bills and send them to me. The gimmick is insulting.

Table scraps:
:If you enjoy hiking, did some form of home improvement in the past year, and own your own weight-lifting equipment, then statistically speaking, you probably listen to NPR's Public Radio Weekend.
::There's probably one person out there who just really loves writing about the ins and outs of money laundering. And I hope that person sees this ad.
:::Our high-profile public servants and pundits may be talking about war right now, but very few of them have actually seen it from behind the barrel of a gun. Here's a great list of who's served in the military, and who hasn't.
::::"I kind of said to myself, "Is this guy for real?'" Police chief is stunned when a drunk driver pulls him over, and asks to be arrested.
:::::You may all recall Dubya proudly claiming that he doesn't read a single newspaper a day, and instead relies on aides to tell him what's going on in the world. So, what a relief it is to hear that Kerry reads at least four or five a day.


Monday, August 9

Why not just come right out and say it?

I saw the ad on the right on Gawker.com, and thought what I'm sure just about everyone else who sees it thinks: is this a not-so-subtle ad seeking fat women? I mean, I don't mean to be crass or anything, but what else can be deduced by it? When a person who isn't attractive is being set up on a blind date, the common joke is that they have a great personality. And here, itTakes2 takes it another step towards the obvious -- a big personality!

Then there's the arms. Every other dating ad I've ever seen features some impossibly beautiful person -- the type who, I think it's fair to say, simply doesn't need a dating service. But here, there's no body. There's no face. There's just arms. Arms reaching out for a big bowl of pudding, or maybe a steak.

Out of curiosity, I clicked on the ad, and was brought to a page whose banner contained this graphic:

Maybe she has a big personality, but it's probably not the first thing most guys are thinking. So, what's the deal? Is she misleading, or is the ad?

Table scraps:
:And here I thought I was posting something totally obscure. In yesterday's Table Scraps, I linked an imdb listing for a porno called "1,001 Ways to Eat My Jizz, Part 3: Biscuits and Gravy Edition," which I figured nobody would have ever heard of. By 9 a.m. this morning, two people had found my page after doing a Google search for the movie's title. I hope I'm not the only one disturbed by that.
::This website claims you'll be watching, "The
Balloon Man movie (9mb quicktime), meant to peak your interest in the Balloon Man CD, an impending SharpeWorld release." But the entire time, you'll be thinking only one thing: What the hell is happening here?
:::Here's a really interesting WashPost piece about how American forces are dealing -- or, really, trying to deal -- with remaining Taliban fighters, who scare villagers and hide among the rocks.
::::Two great and highly useful guides at McSweeneys: how to tell if you're another Vietnam, and how to know if you're overhearing 50 Cent lyrics or if someone is actually threatening your life.
:::::How many hoops must a gorilla jump through, before it can see a damn dentist? (Alright, so that's not as lyrical as Bob's version, but whatever.)
:::::::Bobby Fischer wants to renouce his U.S. citizenship. And for those of you wishing to do the same, here's how.
::::::::Here it is, the mathematical formula we've all been waiting for: (es+u+cs+t) squared +s+ (tl+f)/2 + (a+dr+fs)/n + sin x - 1. That, of course, is how to determine the scaryness of a movie. Because, you know, nobody actually sits down and watches movies anymore, so it's good we have something else to do the judging for us.

Don't get caught somewhere in middle America
Omaha has practically declared war on prostitute customers, since the names of arrested johns will be posted on downtown billboards. A woman with a local activist group supports the idea because prostitution "devastates neighborhoods as well as families, she said." But I wonder what hurts a family more -- a father privately getting arrested for using a prostitute, or his name publicly being broadcast, thus bringing the entire city's attention upon his family? Before, his family could deal with things quietly; now, the pressure is on. Everyone knows. Everyone's watching. So, again, what's doing more damage to neighborhoods and families -- the crime, or the punishment?

Technology for the socially inept
Two cell phone companies are offering "Escape-A-Date" calls, in which an automated service will call you at a pre-set time to give you an excuse to skip out on a particularly bad date. And while that's sort of stupid -- come one, you can't figure out a way to do this without the help of a company? -- the actual service is the one lacking in common sense. Take a read, and consider what's lacking (this from an AP story):

With both Cingular's Escape-A-Date and Virgin Mobile's Rescue Ring service, a customer can arrange to be called at a set time, using the cell keypad.

When the cell rings, one of Cingular's eight "emergency" messages says: "Hey, this is your Escape-A-Date call. If you're looking for an excuse, I got it. Just repeat after me, and you'll be on your way! 'Not again! Why does that always happen to you? ... All right, I'll be right there.' Now tell 'em that your roommate got locked out, and you have to go let them in. Good luck!"

Can you guess what's missing? It's simple common sense. Most cell phone volumes are set really high -- a product, I believe, of cell phone designs such as the flip-phone, which really are not made to comfortably rest on a face, therefore forcing a person to hike up the volume. And since everything's so loud, a person close enough to any cell phone -- say, like, across the table on a date -- is sure to hear it.

So, there you are, chatting away on what you think is a fairly good date, and suddenly your date's cell phone rings. He answers. You hear, from across the table, somebody on the phone say, "Hey, this is your Escape-A-Date call..." Either way, I suppose, that's the end of the evening. But if your date wanted to end things awkwardly, did he really need to enlist Cingular to do it?


Saturday, August 7

Table scraps:
:Sometimes I just want to curl into the fetal position and quietly weep for humanity. Someone rather witty has reviewed the unbelivably gratutiously titled "1,001 Ways to Eat My Jizz, Part 3: Biscuits and Gravy Edition" on imdb.
::
The WashPost television reporter makes a great point: the networks said they wouldn't heavily cover the conventions because they're just infomercials with no new news, but now they're all devoting portions of their Friday newsmagazines to infomercials for products they profit from.
:::The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. A fitting tribute to the nice guys of the world.
::::Although it's an impressive gesture, the airport is probably not the place to be a tough guy and tear off your shirt Hulk Hogan-style.
:::::Here's why politics and babies should really never mix.
::::::A company in Texas is running with a fairly old idea: dinner and a movie, in one. But what I was most impressed with is the local "Mr. Sinus Theater," in which comedians sit in front of the screen and make fun of the movie. It's obviously a rip-off of the tv show "Mystery Science Theater," and I love that htey named it in homage of that.


Friday, August 6

Anti-pornography, anti-intelligence?
Oh, this is just priceless. Playboy.com posted a "Women of Home Depot" feature, and then some idiots on Long Island showed up at a local Home Depot to protest. "We are asking Home Depot to get out of the porn business," said Robert Lloyd, executive director of the anti-porn group, Long Island Citizens for Community Values. Your wish is granted, Robby: Home Depot had nothing to do with the feature, just like every company ever featured in a "Women of..." section have nothing to do with it.

What did you think, that Home Depot gathered up its female employees and sent them to Playboy? Maybe they had a little fashion show over by the bug spray department first? Or -- oh! oh! I know! -- perhaps they tried on all the aprons near the outdoor grill section, and customers voted like they were on hotornot.com. Come on, Robbo! Somebody here is a little too obsessed with porn, and it isn't Home Depot or women in Playboy.

Table scraps:
:These people are looking for a good place to eat. Instead, though, they should really look for a fourth grade english teacher.
::Topeka needs a few kind words, but it may not find them from Topekans.
:::Traveling is fun, right? Maybe, but England doesn't want to hear it.
::::He literally cannot control that vanity. It seeps out of every movement of his lips, it squeezes through every tight-lipped grimace. Every grin is a study in smugsmanship. Norman Mailer takes on Dubya's face. (And now, from the privacy of your own home, you can too.) (And hey, while we're on the Bush-bashing, here's a great actual quote from the guy, spoken yesterday.)
:::::Here is a great, sober piece from a writer trying to get over the death of her old friend. Sad, insightful, take a read.
::::::I was really unimpressed with Burger King's subservient chicken web advertisement, but now something good has come of it: a parody called subservient president.
:::::::Nothing says "lonely" like buying a stuffed torso called the "Boyfriend Arm Pillow" to snuggle with on those cold, lonely nights.
::::::::Fun with book titles? Fun with book titles! Fun with book titles.

Texas, prepare thyself for teenage mommies
Have you ever read stories about people who live under the dark cloud of a dictatorship, where all the media is controlled by the government? I often wonder what it's like in these lands, where people have no concept of what is actually happening in the world, and instead have only warped and narrow views that have been filtered by what they're permitted to read. Well, if some people have their way, that's how children in Texas will learn about sex. Their sex ed textbooks will have no information about condoms, or the pill, or really anything other than some sort of meaningless abstinance message.

I'm sorry, I know I've gone on and on about this topic a dozen times before, but still -- if this happens, Texan children won't be told how to have sex safely. Then they'll hit puberty, and have sex anyway. At that point, here's the only thing they'll have taken away from their sex ed books: that condoms don't exist, that birth control doesn't exist, and that sex is a risk -- and one they're willing to take. That's a great message, Texas. You should be proud -- disabling your children so you can blindly hold on to your outdated beliefs. Yee-haw.


Thursday, August 5

Note to NYC: not everybody cares
I like New York City. But I hate New York City's attitude that it is the cultural center -- nay, the cultural vortex -- of the world. Remember that "Sex and the City" episode where Miranda prepares to move to Brooklyn -- Brooklyn! Like, down the road. -- and her friends freak out as if she's moving to Mongolia? Well, that's what I don't like about NYC. (Oh, and the constant best-bagels-and-best-pizza claims. It ain't true, kids. But if it makes you happy...)

Anyway, Gawker.com had a great observation today about how this mentality seeped into the New York Times. The story? The further people live from NYC, the less their newspapers write about terrorist threats to NYC. Breaking news? Shocking? To New Yorkers, probably. I can't imagine the mental anguish a New Yorker would feel if she or he traveled to, say, Boise, and discovered that the people there actually care about things that happen in Boise. "Boise?" the New Yorker would scream, eyes narrowed in confusion. "But, have you seen Boise? It's so boring here! How can you care about this? Here, your poor souls, let me tell you about the meat-packing district..."

You don't like it, or it doesn't like you?
I was idly reading this little rant about the difficulties of hosting dinner parties for people with such varied diets, and came across a line that needs public praise. The author is discussing people who should not be accomidated at a party, and lists the top culprit as: those who pretend to have food allergies as an underhanded way to make sure they are never served something they don’t like. I know someone who claims up and down that she’s allergic to oregano, and I also know her claims are not true. A gal like that gives real food-allergy sufferers a bad name. Amen to that! (Not that I have any serious food allergies, but I'll freely speak for those who do.)

Chicago, your train has arrived
My friend Jon started a great online journal called This is Grand, which is "chronicling the stories that take place on our city's finest social institution." That is, the public transit system. It turns out, when you design a system in which strangers share the same space, they're not always civil and predictable. Who would'a thunk? In particular, check out this story of flying fruit and this one about an Indian healing ceremony.


Wednesday, August 4

Table scraps:
:Wow, I have a lot of respect for Ted Turner after reading this piece he wrote. It's a good summary of the FCC's media rules, and gives an interesting perspective from his spot in the media mogul's seat.
::This is straight out of a B-rate movie: a woman is called to the witness stand, and summons her alter-ego -- a child named Jimmy -- who admits to armed robbery.
:::NPR's Bob Edwards has found something new to do with his time -- satellite radio. And lest you wonder why he took the gig, perhaps it's worth considering the name of the show: "The Bob Edwards Show."
::::Sunni and Cher? Weird Al Sadr? Yes, it's just two of the exciting performers at the Iraqi Insurgency Variety Show!
:::::"What really struck me is how the American administration was able to manipulate the American people," said one woman. "How can a government do that?" "Fahrenheit 9/11" opens in Lebanon. (Oh, and while we're on the subject of Lebanon, I hope you don't have many questions for the Beirut airport, because it doesn't really have any answers.)
::::::So, let's get this straight. First, the Vatican denounces feminism (see Monday's entries), and yesterday, it announces a new sports department. What, is tomorrow Dress Up Like Christ Day? What the hell is going on over there? Who's in charge of that operat... oh, right. Ok, so now do we now have an argument for why popes should be able to retire?

From the Unintentional Innuendo Department:
The New Yorker has a great little piece about the Boston Herald's coverage of the DNC, which laid out the absurd degree to which it went to make the Democrats look bad. But particularly noteworthy is this (presumably unintentional) sexual wordplay by Globe editor Marty Baron. In response to the Herald editor's description of the Globe's DNC coverage -- "We knew that the Globe was going to give it a big blow job." -- Marty said, "Folks at the Herald can bloviate all they want, but the truth is that a lot more people in this region buy the Globe than the Herald." You say blow job. I say bloviate. Let's call the whole thing off.

Wait, wait, we've got a black guy too!
Alan Keyes should be nothing but insulted that the GOP courting him to run against Barack Obama. Even before Obama's original opponent, Jack Ryan, dropped out because of his embarassing sexual history, it was fairly clear that Obama was going to win. People love him -- he's smart, young, enthusiastic, well-spoken, able to reach all sections of society, and yes, he happens to be black. The GOP has since been scrambling to find a replacement to run against Obama, and has gotten so damn desperate that it actually considered running former football coach Mike Ditka -- because even though the guy has no ability to serve the people of Illinois as a senator (and really, isn't that what a political party should be devoted to?), he has name recognition and might win. Ditka eventually declined.

Now, the GOP wants to run Keyes, an uber-conservative failed presidential candidate whose only real moments in the sun were a failed show on MSNBC and the time he jumped in to a mosh pit to win Michael Moore's endorsement. So, why Alan Keyes? Two words: he's black. Obama's black, so the GOP wants a politican -- any politician, really -- that's black. The party doesn't care what Keyes thinks, and it doesn't care if he's able to serve the region. It just cares about playing the race card, and that should make Alan Keyes disgusted. Will it? We'll see.


Monday, August 2

Cheney doesn't want those types following him
The Bush camp made a fairly unprecedented request of the Arizona Daily Star -- asking the race of a photographer before granting permission for the photog to take pictures of Dick Cheney. A spokesman for the Bush campaign said the information was needed for security purposes, but the Daily Star managing editor sums it up best: "One has to wonder what they were going to do with that information," she said. "Because she has Indian ancestry, were they going to deny her access? I don't know." Or, maybe my friend said it best, when he e-mailed me the following: "You have to work really, really hard to make this not look
racist, and the excuse given is super-lame. My God, I sometimes feel like
I'm the only one who can see this kind of poop coming from the Bush team. It
makes me want to puke in my mouth."

FCC: the Free Christ Commission?
James Broadwater, a Mississippi Congressional candidate and religious nutbag, was duped into appearing on HBO's Ali G Show, and is now rather pissed about it. In his little online rant, he makes a really interesting statement about how he hopes HBO can be reeled in from what he considers an edgy and offensive show. He writes, "The Bible says, 'Silence the mocker and strife will cease,' and this stunt pulled by HBO is just one more reason why I believe that the liberal, anti-God media needs to be brought under the strict control of the FCC, and that as soon as possible."

Of course, the FCC has no jurisdiction over cable television, since it doesn't broadcast over public airwaves. (And wouldn't you hope a Congressman would know that?) But moreover, since the FCC has appointed itself as the fundamentalist indecency police, has it now become the catch-all answer for religious puritans who shun modern culture? Just look at Broadwater's statement. He doesn't want the FCC to regulate based on pre-existing rules; he wants and expects it to take on HBO because he considers it anti-God. That's a fascinating development in the way some people think of the FCC. And really, he's not wrong. Since Michael Powell took the chairmanship, the FCC has been acting as an arm of the religious right, or at least the social conservative expectations that come from it. So, why wouldn't people like Broadwater -- or, really, anybody --assume it plans to continue that kind of ideological enforcement?

Table scraps:
:"It’s gonna stop, or I’m gonna beat the shit out of him myself. And I’m serious.” These are not the words you want to use if you're a county's director of schools talking about the local paper's managing editor, who has been running stories about school department controversies. Oh, and you're being recorded.
::Even though I'm now fully employed, I still have a few freelance pieces that I wrote but have yet to run. One of them surfaced yesterday -- a look at the deep jazz roots of one small Massachusetts town, for the Boston Globe.
:::When you're a prostitute, be careful about how you advertise. For instance, if you give your phone number out on the radio, the cops might just swing by.
::::Kerry Edwards, your chance to cash in is fading. The Indiana man registered the website of his name, kerryedwards.com, back in 2002, and then tried to cash in with a $150,000 minimum online auction for the address. The Kerry-Edwards campaign isn't biting, and apparently neither is the general masses. He did get a $30,000 offer, and here's my advice: take it! Come November, it'll be worthless anyway.
:::::This is a great idea -- poorly-drawn comics based on spam subjects.

Say it ain't so, Mike
A small Illinois paper called the Pantagraph is accusing Michael Moore of doctoring its front page for appearance in "Fahrenheit 9/11," and is seeking $1 in damages. There's no explanation on why it took the Pantagraph this long to make these accusations, but it would be mighty unfortunate if it were true. Conservatives would surely spin this to suggest that one little falsity is evidence of a vast web of lies -- something, much to their dismay, has yet to be found in the film.

Wait, there were bloggers in Boston?

This panel from this week's "This Modern World" (too many uses of the word "this" have just occured) perfectly captured the rash of convention-blogger news stories that came out in the past week. It seemed every media outlet had its own story, which always hit the same exact points: Wow, bloggers exist! Whoa, they're at the convention! Whoo, look what they're saying! Just check out a sampling: The New York Times headlines, "Blogged in Boston: Politics Gets an Unruly Spin." The SF Chronicle notes, "Unbound by tradition, Boston bloggers exercise fresh freedom of press." The AP muses, "Blogged down in Bean Town." And on and on and on.

Mary was only good for making babies, right?
A lot of lawmakers are off on summer vacation now, but it's good to know that the Vatican is still working hard at doing what it does best -- alienating people. It just released a 37-page document claiming that feminism is destroying families -- and lest we forget that the Vatican also hates gay people, it works in a great tie-in by claiming that feminism makes "homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent." And that, of course, makes perfect sense. When I want women to have equality in the workforce, my girlfriend grows a penis and we have homosexual sex. Right. Sure. Thanks, Vatican.

Incidentally, was that an accidental endorsement of homosexual relationships? While it might be an insult inside their tiny-minded land, the promise of a relationship based on equality -- something the Vatican just suggested can be found in gay relationships -- is generally considered a good thing. And by the way, should anyone really take seriously a declaration about feminism from male-dominated organization that stresses celibacy? What was the title of this report -- Feminism is bad : A study by men who will never live with women?

What is almost equally as frightening is the headline that the ultra-conservative Washington Times gives this story. By contrast, the link above came from the San Francisco Chronicle, which headlined the story, "Vatican document attacks feminism." And, say, Newsday went with an equally accurate headline, "Vatican: Feminism a threat to family." But the WashTimes? It went with, "Pope affirms both genders' moral equality." Now that's scary.

Lay off M. Night already
M. Night Shyamalan is taking quite a beating for his new film, The Village. That's a shame, I think -- not just because the movie was really good (and even better if you've ever read Plato's Republic), but because I'm afraid it might discourage this guy from making more intelligent movies, and instead encourage him to bow to the critics' expecatations of cheap thrills. Slate called him the "Village Idiot." Ebert just about pissed on his mother's grave. But here we have a young filmmaker who really knows how to pace a movie, and how to build suspece with what he doesn't show, not what he shows. He's clever, crafts great allegories, and has the kind of Hitchcockian sensibilities that most of today's MTV-like five-second-scenes directors haven't even heard about. It's about time someone's making smart movies. Here's hoping he continues.

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