pretty neat little trick, eh? 

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Archives: September, 2004

Thursday, September 30

Lesson in lousy mascots, international-style

Ok, any guesses on what those three mascots are up there? I'll give you a hint: one type is aimed at children, and the other is aimed at adults. Need another? Well, one is for fun-n-games, and the other is for fun-n-death. Give up? On the left and right is Neve and Gliz, the new mascots for Mrs. Smith's third grade class -- I mean, the upcoming winter Olympics in Turin. And the cuddly bear in the middle is Mummy Bear, whose job it is to teach kids about the glory of being mummified. (Sing along, kids! He’s wrapped up so pretty / And I can unwind / His neat little ribbons, / And then I find - / His tummy comes open / And what do I see? / Special little organs that / Belong to you and me. And no, I'm totally not making that up.)

(Political) table scraps:
:I'm going to be working tonight and won't have access to a television during the debates, but thankfully I will have a computer. If anybody is in the same boat as me, take note: C-SPAN has live webcasts in both Windows Media and Real Player. Debates start at 9. Kerry, you better start kicking some ass. (Tip: ask Bush about trival sovereignty (video))
::The war in Iraq isn't the only thing the entire world disagrees with America on. There's also the issue of what
sound a rooster makes. As you can see, America's version is just a tad bit off from everyone else's. (Taken from this great collection of international animal sound words.)
:::The major networks won't air
advertisements for "Fahrenheit 9/11" during its news programming.
::::During an election in Alabama years ago, Karl Rove
orchestrated a whisper campaign to accuse an opponent -- a man who had done much to help underprivledged children -- of being a pedophile. It is sickening to think how far this guy will go to get his man elected.
:::::So, what's direction has the Bush-Cheney campaign taken? Well, let's see: Lynne Cheney is out
making fun of Kerry's skin color, and I'd say this cartoon just about sums up on the whole thing in sobering detail.
::::::I often wonder how do some many people actually support Bush? And here's the answer -- because according to this poll, Bush supporters
don't really know what he stands for.

Wednesday, September 29

Table scraps:
:"This tune is the best!" you might say, and you'd be close. This tune is the breast. That's according to some people in Japan, who claim a certain cell phone ring tone can actually increase a woman's bust.
::The Washington Post is running an outstanding four-part series on growing up gay in rural America. The first two stories focus on one boy in Oklahoma, whose high school is full of bigots and whose mother is so ultra-religious that she thinks he's going to hell. Really powerful stuff.
:::How can the band Phoenix write as catchy a song as "Everything is Everything" (video) and fill the rest of their album with such boring material? I'm so disappointed. I was one catchy chorus away from coughing up $13.
::::Parenting success requires that you be consistent, according to the doctor—which is just what his book and his show aren't. Why Dr. Phil sucks.
:::::Funniest Wonkette posting in a long time (and who doesn't love a good Zell Miller flanking?): "I went to the Ronald Reagan Awards Gala and all I got was this lousy turncoat"
::::::Crawford, Texas's Lone Star Iconoclast, the newspaper of Dubya's home town, has endorsed John Kerry. Here's the endorsement.
:::::::Alright, comic book fans: the outfits for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie have been released, and they're, well, exactly how you'd expect them to be.
::::::::Jabba doesn't have time for smugglers who drop their pants at the first sign of an Imperial Cruiser. Top 25 Star Wars lines that can be improved by substituting in the word "pants."

Shadowboxing "The Media" is senseless
Maybe it's all this crap about Dan Rather, but I've just about had it with people barking about supposed media bias. Right now, I'm looking through this cnnEXPOSED website, and it's just about the perfect example of how irresponsible media accusers can be. For instance, I cannot find an explanation for how the organization can be trusted as a barometer of media fairness. Are there experienced and well-respected journalists behind this? Perhaps some researchers? Somebody with independently-gathered information on the topics being reported on by CNN? Or, is its lack of credentials a reason why no names are given in the about section, and no bylines are given on the stories? These mysterious figures get to rant away without the accountability they accuse CNN of not having -- and then to top it off, they allow their readers to evaluate CNN stories as well. From the about section: "CNN's headline stories and other major stories that appear at are critiqued daily and rated with a Slant Index. Readers may also provide their own slant rating for any critiqued story." So, what's the lesson? That any blowhard with access to a website can write media criticism and expect to be taken seriously?

Listen, there's nothing wrong with keeping a watchful eye over news providers. With all the media consolidation and sometimes lazy reporting, it's not bad to be skeptical. And certainly, no media outlet is perfect, be it CNN or a local rag. But I think we reach a fairly despondent point in this dialog when agendas are hidden by promises of equality. (Think of the tagline "fair and balanced," a phrase that ironically appears in cnnEXPOSED's manifesto.) And I don't direct this just at cnnEXPOSED, but at all these silly organizations that, without any credentials, start throwing accusations of bias around like confetti at a New Years party. Every one of these efforts approaches the task with the same set-up: bring an agenda, declare it the marker of fairness, and then scathingly compare all news delivery to that set agenda. Is that valid media criticism? No, it's pitching opinion as fact, taking advantage of a largely confused public that already uses the term "The Media" as if it's some sort of creature with a central nervous system, and in some cases it's also blatant politicking.

Monday, September 27

Eat in, take out? More like take in, eat...

And to think, this isn't some joke whipped up by Maxim; it's the actual logo for Sam LaGrassa's, a pricey sandwich shop in Boston. Word is the food's pretty good there, too. But who knows -- for a few extra bucks, maybe the service is really good.

Table scraps:
:This is a really welcome blast from the past: BBC has tweaked the old text-based computer game version of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." I remember playing this on really old computers, the names of which I can't even remember now. Apple 2GS? The tiny macs that started up with a happy face? Whatever they were named, they're called "doorstops" now. But this game, oh, it's alive and well.
::I've gotten an e-mail forward about an impending military draft from two people, so let me just set the record straight for anybody else who's seen it: there is no known upcoming draft, nor are the two bills referenced in the e-mail credible attempts at restarting one. Read here and here for more information.
:::Perhaps it's no surprise, but professional wrestlers keep dying! Big Bossman just recently picked up the Big Nightstick in the Sky. How sad.
::::Sex while driving: a hot idea, until you get into a head-on crash.
:::::I don't know if this is true or not, but it would be pretty funny if it was: did the first three hurricanes that hit Florida specifically target Republicans?

Friday, September 24

Ahhnold, which ones are the girlie-men again?

Somebody out there has made some really brilliant photoshopped versions of the candidates in drag. I wish I could give credit to somebody for this, but this great series of photos was e-mailed to me twice already, so I think it's high time to just post them. Take a look...

Table scraps:
:As you might recall from Monday's post, CVS is offering discounts on stomachs. But now it seems we're not the only ones confused about it.
::This might be a bit dramatic, but it's worthwhile to consider what it would be like if the violence taking place in Iraq was instead taking place in America.
:::Who do you want choosing the next president? The voters? Congress? The Supreme Court? How about a guy named Richie Robb? Get used to the idea, because he might actually be the deciding factor.
::::In the No, Really, This Isn't A Parody Department, there's a candidate out there named Jerry Kohn -- try that one out as a spoonerism -- and he's running as a libertarian. You know, those people who think the government shouldn't be involved in funding anything but the military. Oh, yeah, but he's a public school teacher. Is this like gay politicians who vote for anti-gay measures? Maybe, but a little less malicious, and less effective.
:::::Worst ways to get dumped: by e-mail, via a friend, by not being told you're being dumped, and now to top the list: by powerpoint presentation!

::::::One more victory for people who don't understand the constitution of the United States, and one more loss for the separation of church and state.
:::::::Great photos. I'm not really sure what else I can say.
::::::::The Washington Post has refused to run this week's Boondocks strips, which center around a reality show called "Can a nigger get a job?" And I'm saying this: when you don't run a cartoon, all you end up doing is drawing more attention to it. What's the point?

Thursday, September 23

Terry Gross manhandles Bill O'Reilly
A big high-five and a free milkshake to NPR "Fresh Air" host Terry Gross, who did a great job deflecting Bill O'Reilly's self-important badgering on his show Wednesday. It makes my physically ill to watch O'Reilly, so I instead waited and then read the transcript. I wanted to see how Gross would be treated, considering the last time they spoke was when O'Reilly stormed off her show. Gross began by telling O'Reilly, "Well, Bill, I pledge that no matter what you ask me, I'm staying for the entire interview." But here was my favorite interaction:

GROSS: The point, Bill, is that I think the interview was very fair. The ombudsman criticized it. That's fine. That's the ombudsman's job; to stand back and pass judgment on how things were done. He's an independent voice.

O'REILLY: Right.

GROSS: Does Fox News have an ombudsman?

O'REILLY: Yes. We have an ombudsman some place, I think.

GROSS: I don't think so.

O'REILLY: He's in the closet.

GROSS: Give me a call when you find him.

I love this last exchange for two reasons: One, Gross has a great come-back. Two, she called O'Reilly on a lie, and he immediately backed off it. That's how these brow-beaters operate: they'll just lie to make their point, and assume the person being interviewed won't or can't challenge them on it. It would have been way better for Bill's argument if FN actually has an ombudsman -- what a hoot that would be! -- and so he just said they do. When Terry said no, he indirectly relented. What a scumbag.

Sergeant, man her battlefield!
The Pentagon is considering court-martialing U.S. troops stationed overseas who visit prostitutes, apparently in a move intended to cut down on the human trafficking that occurs near overseas military bases. This is pretty interesting, because prostitution has been a long-standing and well-ignored tradition in the military, dating all the way back to the Civil War. In fact, legend has it that Union Gen. Joe Hooker often brought a group of ladies along to raise the spirits of his men, and they soon became known as "Hooker's women" -- and that, of course, was soon shortened.

I know this because I wrote a story for Salon about the military and prostitution. When I was researching it, I called a number of different military PR folk, and each seemed confused and fairly unprepared to answer any questions about prostitution. One even said to me, "You know, you're going to anger a lot of people with this story."


Wednesday, September 22

Waking up in a cold Harvard sweat

What happens when you take a bunch of unfunny rich kids with a huge sense of entitlement, and let them run a small institution? I'll give you a hint: the best that can happen is something akin to that stupid graphic I made to the right -- that is, a fairly meaningless parody like, oh, the junk today's Harvard Lampoon produces. And the worst that can happen? How about the Lampoon staff bringing James Brown to their office, promoting it as a show, and then instead making the crowd watch a monster truck crush eggs?

Oh, it happened. A friend of a friend was in attendance, and his full report is right here... 

Table scraps:
:Mos Def, one in this strange long line of hip hop artists who try acting, is taking on roles in two upcoming movies based on two of the best books I've ever read: A Confederacy of Dunces, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Hey, Mos Def: don't screw it up!
::Hurricanes: nature's way of evening the score with Floridians who can wear shorts in the winter? Perhaps, unless you're like me and hate wearing shorts in the winter. Then Florida is down two points.
:::"It's like nothing can stop him. We'd go on vacation for a week, and I'd just dump a bunch of food in his bowl. When we got back, he'd be swimming like a champ." Max the goldfish is going strong after 20 years.
::::Here is perhaps the saddest title for a self-help book: "How to date a white woman: a practical guide for Asian men." First tip: Hide this book when she comes over!
:::::New Gary Benchley: Rock Star story today.
::::::City women lament the cold, hard truth: somehow, for some reason, men do not make good fuck buddies. (And in a very slightly semi-related story, one city man must be lamenting the cold, hard truth that his hired fuck buddy had Indian food before coming over.)  
:::::::Every time I read about Ali G, it sounds really funny. One day, I'll actually watch the show. But for those who have, here's his secret to scoring interviews, and this great New Yorker piece (written by this guy).

Monday, September 20

Does the hospital takes competetor coupons?

My friend Rob found this coupon printed out along with his receipt from CVS, and wondered, as we all might, where the store keeps its new stomachs. In the medicine aisle? In the pharmacy? Just below the snack food? And really, what would the average consumer do with a new stomach -- keep it as a pet? I'm not sure what you could really do with a disembodied stomach, except maybe feed it. Sounds more like an impulse buy to me.

Saturday, September 18

Ha ha! That hand buzzer gag works every time.


In a semi-related note, here's a pretty interesting way to summarize the presidential campaign thus far: just look at the Google news results for "Bush accuses" and "Kerry accuses." Nothing but spitballs. If Zell Miller ran things, there'd totally have been a high-noon duel by now.

Friday, September 17

Table scraps:
:The Drudge Report has been giving good play to this photo of a girl crying after her Bush-Cheney sign was supposedly ripped up by a Kerry supporter. But what Drudge doesn't seem to know (or care about) is that the father of this girl pulled the same stunt in 2000, and no doubt set this one up for the cameras.
::We've heard what Bush and Kerry were doing during Vietnam, but now it's time to consider the real question: what were they doing during World War II?
:::A non-BBWA -- that is, Big Beautiful Women Admirers -- goes and checks out a BBWA gathering. Turns out, he says, the BBWAs might be on to something.
Page 253: At Andover, George W. Bush writes a morose essay about his
sister's death. Searching for a synonym for "tears," he consults a
thesaurus and writes, "And the lacerates ran down my cheeks." A teacher
labels the paper "disgraceful."
 Just one choice moment from a great summary of Kitty Kelley's new book about the Bush family.
:::::My best guess is that this is a site for photos of bearded drunk men who have passed out. But really, that's just a guess.
::::::Hatebeak: a death metal band with a parrot as a lead singer. Think something like that can't actually exist? So did I. But here's an mp3 of their song "God of Empty Nest," and here's an interview.
:::::::It's like Jurassic Park, but with cuter villains: a group of imported monkeys takes over a research island and kills all the vegetation around them.

A child's place is on a street corner
Hey, here's a great idea: since teenagers often don't have anywhere they can hang out, and malls provide a generally safe and indoor atmosphere for them to be, let's work really hard to kick them out of the malls so they're forced to be in more dangerous areas. Oh, wait, someone's already doing that? Oh, good work.

The height of political dialog
Does the disconnect get any larger than this? At a campaign rally featuring Laura Bush, a woman stood up wearing a shirt that says, "President Bush You Killed My Son" and asked why her son died in Iraq. In response, the crowd chanted "Four more years!" Pretty sad and sick, huh?

Thursday, September 16

Table scraps:
:Television newsman to the world: think it's funny that reporters stand out in the middle of hurricanes to report? Well, he thinks it's heroic, so screw you.
::"I always remember two types of students. One is the very excellent student, the type as a professor you feel honored to be working with. Someone with strong social values, compassion and intellect -- the very rare person you never forget. And then you remember students like George Bush, those who are totally the opposite." Dubya's former Harvard Business School professor thinks back on his now-famous student.
:::You heard it here third! On Sept. 10, this fellow predicted the inevitable: that Hurricane Ivan would be called "Ivan the Terrible" by all newscasters. And sure enough...
::::From the What The Hell!? Department: Here's a reporter clearly making fun of somebody with psychological problems -- and he can't even report it correctly! What's with all this stuff about the police and fire departments getting back to him today? What, was he afraid another paper would scoop him on the local crazy, so he couldn't wait a day? This is miserable.
::::I lock, U-Lock, we all lock for bike safety! That is, except that the new U-Lock can be opened with the back of a ballpoint pen in about 30 seconds.
:::::One man bought all 15 of the Colt M-4 rifles that the store's general manager, Stephen Palano, had in stock. The M-4 is a semiautomatic version of the weapon used by American Special Forces and paratroopers. With the ban on assault weapons expired, aren't you just loving your neighbors right now? Hopefully so -- because if you get in a fight, they can blow your head off.
::::::What's more pathetic: that a television station dedicated to showing nothing but commercials is about to air, or that people will no doubt watch it?
:::::::I can't voice enough support for a grammar cop going around charging eating establishments for their poor writing skills. Some day the world will learn that it really isn't that difficult to learn grammar, or at least to spell-check things.

Shirt, shoes, penis-vagina combo required

Look at those people from the Sandals Caribbean Resorts website -- happy-go-lucky, attractive, and free to enjoy their heterosexuality without any of those gays around. Phew! If they were honeymooning and some gay couple that got married by activist judges in Massachusetts was also there, I'd fear that those beautiful people up there just might not make it. And then, like, they wouldn't reproduce, and we'd be overtaken by Muslims, and then everyone would be Communists. Boy, we sure lucked out.

What's all this ranting about? I heard that Sandals, a couples-only chain of luxury resorts, has a ban on gay couples, and wanted to verify it myself. So, I wrote the company claiming I was a gay man looking to honeymoon with my husband, and said I was following up on a rumor I heard about the resorts. That was about a week ago. Their response just came...

Tuesday, September 14

Putin on the ritz

Alright, so perhaps I created too tortured a metaphor in that graphic, but the point here is this: does anybody recognize the extreme moves Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced in the name of fighting terrorism? After all, his proposals read like a like a bad infomercial for a dictatorship: He centralizes government! Governors are no longer elected! Opposition parties are banned! It slices! It dices! It sleeps with your wife!

So, any guesses? Why, Putin's moves are just an extreme version -- granted, a very extreme version -- of what the Bush administration did in America in the name of fighting terrorism! Yes, the good ol' Patriot Act, the invasion of a country for oil and pride... it's no wonder the Bush administration, which bills itself as a defender of Democracy, won't criticize Putin for essentially revoking democracy in Russia. ("This is a domestic matter for the Russian people," a White House official said to the NYT.) If Bush criticized Putin, he'd be so obviously hypocritical that even Putin would call him on it. (Note to Democrats: new talking points?) 

The most manditory optional thing there is
I've often wondered what it is about the Pledge of Allegiance that creates so many conflicts in grade schools. The average school isn't terribly patriotic -- there might be a flag out front and slanted American history textbooks inside, but the only real act of patriotism performed every day is the mechanical recitation of the Pledge. And every year, some kid decides, for whatever reason, to exercise his or her constitutional right and not stand. And then the school freaks out.

For now, it's a 13-year-old in Wisconsin, whose school has pretty much used intimidation tactics to make her stand. And eight years ago, it was me in high school, when my homeroom teacher Charles Redler (yeah, Charlie, let's see if this shows up when people Google you) challenged me to take him to court to prove I didn't have to stand. A battle ensued -- not in the courts, of course, but in the headmaster's office. (I won.)

So, what is it about the Pledge? Why get so defensive about it? Here's my guess: it has nothing to do with patriotism, and everything to do with controlling kids. Grade schools are designed to keep kids in line. Teachers are sometimes considered disciplinarians first and educators second. When a kid shows defiance, he needs to be punished -- not really for himself, but as an example to the rest of the class. But the right not to say the pledge -- and in essence, break the classroom rules -- is the one act of defiance that is constitutionally protected, and schools don't have any idea how to handle it. The knee-jerk reaction is to scold the kid, and unfortunately, it sometimes takes the intervention of an outside agency to set the school straight. That's pretty pathetic, isn't it? There's a learning opportunity here -- of political differences, of constitutional freedoms, of many things. And if grade schools could just break out of their routine for even a minute, they'd see that.

Monday, September 13

They don't call it "gratuity" for nothing -- or, well, maybe they do
Are manditory tips at restaurants enforceable by law? We'll soon find out, after a man from New York City was arrested after not leaving a proper tip at Soprano's Italian and American Grill. He faces up to a year in jail, but he contends that the food and service weren't good enough to warrant a full tip. Restaurant owner Joe Soprano, on the other hand, considers the short-changed tip the equivalent of theft.

"They shorted the check and didn't leave any money at all for the waitress," he said. "This is not a vendetta. This is just about standing up for my waitresses."

Oh yeah? Well, Joe, that's great that you consider yourself a heroic defender of waitresses, but here's how you can really stand up for them: pay them more. The tipping system exists because waitresses get paid so poorly, and it's a way of passing the costs of staffing on to customers without actually boosting the cost of the food. But if you're so insistant upon being a good employer -- to the point that you're willing to have your customers thrown in jail -- then I think you might as well spare everyone the trouble and just pony up a few extra bucks on the paycheck. Right now, you're quite literally passing the buck, and in more ways than one.

High-concept, low-concept: a review of sorts
I found two very different, and yet equally interesting, blogs this weekend. Here's high-concept: a guy finds a digital camera memory card with 227 pictures of somebody's life, and decides to construct a fictional biography for this person, day by day. He starts with the introduction, then introduces some characters, and regularly rambles on at length about nothing. It's a great idea but not always very fulfilling, because whoever is writing this is staying too true to real life. Instead of having fun with the idea, the blog is written a lot like it's just someone's personal blog, full of mundane details and private thoughts. And that, as anyone who has read through livejournal entries knows, is often totally boring. But maybe that's part of the concept. After all, that's the thing about high-concept projects, isn't it? So much opportunity to pass things off as, "You just don't understand..."

And for the low-concept blog: an anonymous New York City escort has begun spilling sordid details of her life in the hands of many men. It doesn't have too many stories on it yet, and she's often annonyingly sparing with details (not just of the sex -- which personally, I could do without anyway -- but of everything). Still, there are enough interesting moments to make it worthwhile -- and with her job, really, how can there not be? Most gratutious line so far: during the RNC, she met up with a GOP die-hard who boasted about his ties to the party. She writes, All of his hypocrisy made me really want to puke. Being a professional, though, I knew I had to grin and bear it - a task made even more difficult by his immense girth. Yikes!

Wal-Mart: going to extreme lengths to suck
Wal-Mart knows it has problems. People are increasingly hateful towards it; a Los Angeles suburb successfull rejected it, Chicago and Vermont have actively fought it; and a major sexual discrimination lawsuit is about to slap it silly. In the NYT recently, it seemed to actually admit that it isn't doing a good job of understanding communities' needs -- although, of course, the need is really for Wal-Mart to just go away -- and even used the word "comprimise." And yet, just days after that piece ran, Reuters publishes news of a Wal-Mart being built on the outskirts of major Mexican archeological ruins.

Perhaps more than any place in America that Wal-Mart has invaded, this type of traditional community stands to suffer greatly from the store's presence, since it will no doubt put small stores out of business and force this community to change the way they've lived for hundreds of years. And so, I really have to wonder: what is Wal-Mart's strategy here? They've hurt Americans enough, so they'll go hurt another culture instead? Is that the so-called comprimise? Is this what it means for a company to get creative -- to think of the most outrageous thing it can do to hurt the most unsuspecting people? This is really out of control.

Table scraps:
:Jesse Ventura has things hanging off his face -- skinny, twisted little hanks of facial hair, sticking out about 5 inches from his jaw, like some kind of alien mandibles that might start rubbing themselves together or start popping insects into his mouth. That just about says it all. (But don't miss the photo-morph!)
::What the hell? Keep close watch of this little graphic -- are there 12 or 13 people standing there? Wait a bit before answering the question.

:::Marion, Shirley, Beverly -- why, for a guy driving in Massachusetts, there are so many great places to enter. There's a funny song (
lyrics, mp3) about it, too.
::::Giving a new meaning to oil change?It doesn't take a private detective to figure out what happened on the
hood of this car.
:::::Having trouble finding a date? Why not ask your
friendly taxi driver?  "He's better than," says one happy customer. "With Ahmed, the women actually call you back."
::::::The Secret Service, normally in the business of physically protecting the president, has
somehow been transformed into playing politics for the president and attempting to manipulate press coverage. I wonder how that happened...
:::::::For about twice the price of a regular postage stamp, you can
slap your own image on a legitimate stamp and use it to mail things. There are censors making sure nobody orders stamps featuring something uncouth, buth The Smoking Gun found that it's easy for things to slip through the cracks.
::::::::Candidate: to or not to pronounce the first
d? Syrup: to say it sear-up or sih-rup? These questions and 120 more, scored and mapped out across the country by dialect.
:::::::::In 1927, some clever man recorded moving images on a phonographic disc. In 2004, they're just
really creepy looking.

Friday, September 10

Edwards to Cheney: boo-yah, bee-atch!
John Edwards had a great response to Dick Cheney's dopey economic assessment today. Cheney told a crowd in Cincinnati that the latest economic numbers are misleading, because they don't take into account all the money people make off of eBay. In a statement, Edwards replied:

"If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking."

Zell Miller then came to Cheney's defence, and challenged the children who run lemonade stands to a duel.

For every poll -- turn, turn, turn...
I had been reluctant to post any post-RNC polls, because they're clearly just part of a natural bounce and I don't want to contribute to the image of Bush as the frontrunner. But, today's earlier posts were at 1 a.m., and I was a little grumpy and disillusioned, so I slipped up. My friend Roberto, a regular poll reader, wrote to admonish me, and provided a great round-up of the polls and some perspective for them all. So for all you wonks out there, his full e-mail can be read here.

Hurricane Ivan: too late for sloppy seconds

But have no fear, Florida. Word is that Zell Miller will be challenging Ivan to a duel. (And no, I didn't make that graphic, although I really wish I did.)

Table scraps:
:Someone has finally chronicled what every graduate eventually comes to realize: no matter what you do, and no matter how cool you are, you will look stupid in your senior year photo regardless of how you pose. (That is, unless you set a football helmet on fire.)
::It's been a while, but there's finally a new Gary Benchley: rock star letter.
:::Since the Taliban only conduct hit-and-run attacks, the Army has a new method of luring them out of their hiding spots: taunting. The latest, blared over loudspeakers, is, "The Taliban are women! They're bitches! If they were real men, they'd stop hiding under their burkas and they'd come out and fight!"
::::Here's a great boo-yah moment between a reporter and Bush's spokesman.
:::::Kerry is accusing Bush of running a campaign of fear, and he's totally right, especially with that Cheney comment about a Kerry win leading to a terrorist attack. But polls keep showing Bush way ahead, which makes me fear something else: the people I share this country with. Who are these people? Who paints something like this? Who am I surrounded by when I walk outside my home? This election season is really scaring me.
::::::Somewhere, someone's head is exploding: PETA activist works at McDonald's. Why? "Wherever I work right now will have something I don't agree with. Restaurants serve meat. Clothing stores have leather. It won't make a difference where I work. I'm not going to quit my job because somebody has a problem with it." Well, shit, how are we supposed to get on with a revolution with that kind of attitude?

Thursday, September 9

Treason! Slander! Lusty intrigue!

Who's that on the cover of the new pulp novel Little Girl Lost (via Radosh)? Why, is it Ann Coulter, crazy conservative hackwoman? Suddenly, her lunatic rantings are all making sense: calling Joe McCarthy her role model, and saying liberals are racist, the French are "a bunch of faggots" and only property owners should be able to vote. Oh, poor Ann, you don't mean it -- you're just doing extreme things because because you're a Little Girl Lost in a pulp novel! No wonder all your antics are so outrageous. You just can't do them any other way. Will somebody please show Ann the door to, say, a book in braille? I think we'd all sleep better at night.

Table scraps:

:Puppy power! I couldn't be happier about someone being in severe pain than when a man tries to shoot seven puppies, and one of the puppies shoots back.
::Did you know there are such things as Nigerian Dwarf Goats? Did you know there is a Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association? Did you know there are so many words for the individual parts of a goat?
:::When you need an oil change, get it for your car, not for your body.
::::Hey, why does Disney always kill the parents in movies? Oh, I know the perfect place to go to discuss this: Yes, perfect.
:::::Well, nobody ever said the Army was making a fashion statement.

Wednesday, September 8

Looking for a room with a view?

Chuck and Loretta Aydelotte, realitors in California, would love to show you around the beautiful home at 117 Tuscany Way, in Danville. There's so many reasons to call this place home: the the spacious kitchen, the smart wooden floors, the beautiful lawn -- why, when a happy couple buys this house, they'll be so overjoyed that they'll have wild sex in every room, and then move to the back lawn. Too bad the dogs beat them to it, though.

Who are these little people in the school?
As I'm sure we all felt, the folks who run grade schools seem to have little, if any, understanding of what kids are all about. And so, how priceless is this quote from a Boston Globe story about a new school principal's first day on the job:

''I got called a dog today," Orlov said. ''I guess that's a term of endearment."

You lucked out with that one, Orlov. But if the kids start calling you "dickface," maybe look it up on the Internet.

Table scraps:
:Best Bushism ever? Quite possibly. In a speech talking about medical lawsuits, he said, "We've got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." Did he mean it? Who knows! For a guy who was smokin' crack at Camp David, anything's possible.
::This really shouldn't be funny, but let's be honest: we're all more concerned with being amused than the actual welfare of other people. And so with that, I present to you this outstanding clip (video) of a grape-stomping news clip.
:::Are you the African heir to $75 million, and need an American to help you claim the money? No? Well, then you'll need to go to the University of Nigeria to find another story. (Related: my own run-in with an African scammer.)
::::Krispy Kreme makes a good donut. Too bad they didn't make as good of a business plan.
:::::Used merchandise is usually a good deal if it's only been used once -- but what if it's a cremation system cremains processor?
::::::At least Alan Keyes is good for one thing: insane political statements. In the latest one to surface, he told an interviewer that Jesus would not vote for his opponent, Barack Obama. Wow. That's really something, isn't it?
:::::::This month's Zink Magazine has a great letter to the editor about a piece I wrote a few months ago: Jason Feifer's article on nudity was really fun. His house-bound birthday suit experiment was so hilarious that my girlfriend and I decided to close the curtains and strip down for the rest of the afternoon. It was kind of like the Garden of Eden, only with more shameful activities and less guilt. -Jeff. And to Jeff I say, you are quite welcome.

Tuesday, September 7

Technical support is Satan's day-job
Well, after three days, more than four hours of technical support, and many, many angry moments, I've moved closer to Boston and am finally back online. Comcast's server was somehow rejecting my registration, and so I went through series after series of "troubleshooting" with their fairly inept tech-support folks. Finally, I figured out the problem myself -- or, rather, I figured out the solution. I'm still not sure what the problem was. It's too long and boring to go into, but rest assured: Comcast will be getting another angry phone call from me soon, and I better be hanging up with some free Internet to my name. (I have nothing to back that threat up with, but still...)

So, anyway. I'm back. It's good to be here. On with the show.

Hurricane Frances: pretty doggone fun!

I'm from south Florida, and my parents (whose friend I think made the above graphic) still lives there, but luckily they dodged the hurricane pretty well. There were just a few downed trees in the backyard, but that's about it. Not bad, especially considering all the insanity people go through before a hurricane strikes. This Dave Barry column captures it pretty well.

Three simple ingredients for a happy man
The mystery of the "nude women water polo" Google searches may be at an end. As you might recall (check out the entry from Sat., Aug 28), my site was getting an extreme number of visitors from people searching Google for nude female water polo players -- thanks, I suppose, to me mentioning the sport a few days prior. One such man wrote in to explain the phenomonon:

Basically, water polo is one of the dirtiest sports around, according to the fine people at the Washington Post.  Female players, in order to get the jump on the opposition, will often pull the bathing suits of the opposing team in order to... I don't know, dunk them or something.  Often, this results in bathing suit breakage.  Making waterpolo the greatest sport in the world.

WHY, you ask?  It combines the three greatest loves of the average American male:

1)       sports
2)       breasts
3)       girl-on-girl action

That is all.

Makes you proud to be a man, doesn't it, fellas?

Table scraps:
:If the Home Shopping Network was always this violent -- and this funny -- I'd tune in every day. (video)
::Oh, Michael Moore. You're not submitting "Fahrenheit 9/11" for consideration as best documentary at this year's Academy Awards -- because you're submitting it for consideration as best picture. And surely, it was a great film. But come on, Mike. It's better when you're at least trying to act humble.
:::Oh, wait, are the Olympics over already? Really, I swear, I was going to watch them. At least once. To catch all the excitement. But, over? Well, ok. Post-Olympic photoshopping is more exciting anyway.
::::"Parents point it out to their children, because the kids don't know what it is." A payphone joins the exhibits at
Harvard's Museum of Natural History.
:::::"I'm not going to let you go double on him," the man said into Zack's ear as he held him in a Full Nelson. No, it's not a gay porn story. But it is a great tale of mishap and misunderstanding on Chicago's subway.
::::::Is this good news or bad news? Kevin Smith is making Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks, after Jersey Girl came out and (I suppose) he realized that he's not cut out for writing cheesy pink-n-fuzzy flicks. And while it's good we won't have any more extended cry scenes from Ben Affleck -- at least, not by Kevin's direction -- is it a bad sign that, after a few flat flicks, Kevin's returning to the $27,000 flick he made that launched everything? Is this forward momentum? Well, whatever. I'll see it either way.
::::::::One woman received a visitor from the dead -- but it's not what you might expect.
::::::::A large-breasted wooden mermaid statue in one couple's backyard has not sat well with some neighbors of a Washington suburb, but it's been just delightful for others. "They're my inspiration in the morning!" one man says -- of the breasts.