April 29, 2005
Out-of-context quote of the day
"I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Overall, I’d say we had a good learning day." -Diana Russell, after discovering a young boy's 30-inch burrito.
April 28, 2005
A puff of hot air
Item A: Tom DeLay on Castro: "Every dime that finds its way into Cuba first finds its way into Fidel Castro's blood-thirsty hands.... American consumers will get their fine cigars and their cheap sugar, but at the cost of our national honor."
Item B: Tom DeLay apparently doing something at the cost of our national honor:
Time Magazine is to thank for that pairing. But just for kicks, I did a little Lexis-Nexis search to find other loving statements DeLay has made about Castro. Here are a few of the more colorful ones:
"The only happiness Fidel's celebration brings is that it brings his people and the whole human race one day closer to being rid of him and his murderous kleptocracy once and for all." -On Castro's 78th birthday, 8/13/04
"The war on terror is a war against evil, and it is therefore a war against Fidel Castro. Freedom and terrorism cannot coexist, and evil will not stand. And if it will not stand in Baghdad, Kabul, Tehran, or Ramallah, then it will not stand in Havana." -At el Memorial Cubano in Miami, 2/20/04
"There is no such thing as a 'Cuban tourism industry.' There is only Fidel Castro and his thugocracy." -On an amendment allowing American tourists to travel to Cuba, 10/10/03
"This tyrant is teetering on the abyss." -On Castro, 1/01
"Fidel Castro is responsible for killing American citizens over international waters. Fidel Castro is a tyrant. Fidel Castro has killed more people than we even know." -Responding to Bill Clinton shaking Castro's hand, 10/10/00
"I'm for freedom, and you're for Castro." -To South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford for supporting the end of a travel embargo to Cuba, 7/20/00
Public television is in good hands
From an interview with Ken Ferree, chief executive of PBS, while discussing how to turn around the network's declining viewership:
Q: Maybe the real problem is a lack of creativity.
A: We're working on that right now. We have a new initiative we call ''American History and Civics.'' There's been a long decline in teenagers' knowledge of civics.
Zzzzzzzz... oh! Oh! Sorry, I must have nodded off. What were you saying again about more creative programming?
April 27, 2005
When barbed wire is just distracting
That's a gate at a Massachusetts state prison, which my girlfriend and I passed during a walk yesterday. But look at that security: Crazy rounds of barbed wire on top, but a huge gap connected by a losely hung chain and padlock that any skinny prisoner could slip through. Maybe that's why prisons encourage gym use -- the bulkier the prisoner, the harder it is to sneak through the gates.
Of course, for a prisoner to even get to that point, he'd have to hop an enormous wall and escape notice from the armed guards in the towers. So I'm not exactly sweating it, but it's worth a raised eyebrow or two.
♣"I AM TIED up all this afternoon; I am out of town all of next week. You have until 11:55 to return the computer, and whatever copies you've made, to my office, because I'm the only hope you've got of staying out of deeper trouble than you or any student I've ever known has ever been in." And so ends what could have been one of the most terrifying moments for the idiot who stole a UC Berkeley professor's computer. Strangely, though, it appears he was doing a bit of scaremongering.
♣COMEDIANS ALWAYS SAY you have to know your audience. Otherwise, this might happen.
♣HOW NOT TO get hired by the state police: Speed down highways at 140 mph, almost cause accidents, and flee troopers that try pulling you over. On a related note, here are other ways not to get hired for a summer internship, a job at Yahoo! and a job fixing this person's computer.
♣BURGER KING SELLS a whopping total of three veggie burgers per location a day, compared to 300 Whoppers a day. (That's a stat about halfway down in this interview.) You know why that is? I mean, aside from Burger King's primary customer base being full of meat-eaters? It's because the veggie burger sucks. I mean, really sucks. I've been a vegetarian for about 12 years now, and I've had a lot of crappy veggie burgers, but Burger King's was absolutely the worst. I was stuck at an airport for a few hours once, and it was the only thing I could eat in the whole damn terminal. Awful. Awful. They did an excellent job of reproducing the same cheap, low-grade, greasy feel of a regular fast food burger, but without the meat. It was, like, Grade-F corn, or whatever the hell was in there. Awful.
♣AM I A geek for being totally impressed by this video of people doing hand tricks with their pens?
April 26, 2005
At Skywalker Ranch, every cow gets milked for all its worth
Not satisfied with merely destroying his legacy with two (and soon to be three) awful movies, George Lucas recently announced that he'll drag the bruised and bloodied body of Star Wars through television as well.
First up will be a 3-D animated half-hour series based on his popular Clone Wars cartoon shorts.
The second and most ambitious project will involve a live-action series. He wants it to be similar to the serialized The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV series he executive-produced in 1992. Lucas plans to film the entire first season all at once, with shooting to begin in about a year.
Sources say the third project will be called "The Vader Variety Hour." Guests will come on, perform a routine, and then be choked to death with Vader's mind.
And when Lucas is done with that -- this is not a joke; it's in that article I linked -- he's going to remaster all his films in 3-D. Because, you know, that gimmick totally didn't die with 1977's "The Disco Dolls in Hot Skin." But hey, I can think of another idea that peaked in 1977. (Well alright, 1980, but it was all downhill from there.)
Milk that cow, George! Milk the women and children, too.
April 25, 2005
Making your home look like squalor in four easy steps
Step one: Get a digital camera, and take a picture of any area of your living space. I choose my kitchen:
Step two: Identify an area that is generally not given any attention, either by guests or your cleaning tools. I choose this little bottom corner:
Step three: Set your camera to focus up close, turn the flash on, stick your camera in that area and take a picture. Here's that corner:
Step four: Cringe. I suppose some people might then go on a wild cleaning binge, but I choose to just cringe and forget about it. But boy, that corner was creepy. I felt like the flash was going to awaken some supernatural beast in there -- because really, look at that opening at the top. What the hell is behind there? Could be anything, right?
♣YOUNG GIRLS WHO enjoy classic romantic fairytales like Cinderella are more likely to become victims of domestic violence in later life, a controversial new report revealed yesterday. Sounds silly? But consider the argument: Fairy tales feature submissive women who require a man, and the moral suggests that a woman's love can change a man's behavior.
♣MUSIC PIRACY PARANOIA has gotten out of hand. Heaneyland has the details.
♣THE OLD, MYSTERIOUS problem has been solved: The reason for failure, according to the Associated Press, is that faulty ones "have leaky hulls that prevent the moisture pressure buildup needed for them to pop and lack the optimal hull structure that allows most ... to explode." So, what are we talking about? Popcorn kernels that don't pop, of course.
♣I WASTED TOO much time on Saturday playing this game. Unfortunately, though, I really suck at it.
April 22, 2005
Hands up! Baby, hands up! Gimme your heart, gimme gimme your heart, give it give it.
Lots of Reuters photos
April 21, 2005
Putin her on
"Oh, Mr. Minister! So glad you could make it. Such a firm handshake you have, I always forget! Ha ha!"
"Condi, please, don't be rude. Say hello to our Minister of Democracy. He's standing right there."
"Yes, that's right. Shake the air, bitch."
April 20, 2005
Crossing the language barrier
Yesterday afternoon, my phone rang.
Lady: Hello? Spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish.
That is, she's speaking no English. I manage to catch a word here and there, thanks to some useless Spanish classes I had to take in high school, but still...
Me: I'm sorry, I don't--
Lady: Spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish?
Now I decide it's time to employ my extremely limited knowledge of the language...
Me: No, no habla espanol.
Lady: Spanish spanish spanish?
I think back to my Spanish class: What did I just say? Does "habla" mean "I speak" or "you speak"? I hope it doesn't mean "you speak," as in, I just told her she doesn't speak Spanish. If she's communicated anything in the last 20 seconds, it's that she speaks Spanish quite fluently. Maybe "hablo" means "I speak." I have no idea. I give it a shot:
Me: No hablo espanol?
Lady: Spanish spanish.
I've got one bit of Spanish left in me. Here it goes:
Me: Lo siento, no--
Lady: Oh, I'm sorry, I have the wrong number.
And then she hangs up.
April 19, 2005
Last month, Fox launched a series of "starter set" DVDs -- essentially a disc containing the first two episodes of a popular show, which sells for less than $10 and aims to lure people into buying the entire season. The back of each DVD has a blurb that starts out like this:
Action, comedy, drama suspense—if you like it on TV, you’ll love it on DVD! And now here’s your chance to “try out” your favorite shows in your favorite format.
Wait a minute: How can you try out your favorite shows? You're either trying them out because you've never seen them before, or you love the show and don't need a starter disc to get you going. Get your story straight, Fox.
♣WORRIED ABOUT YOUR privacy? Don't ever plug your name into ZabaSearch.com, because you'll never sleep at night. (Or, maybe you will: It has a lot of old addresses and phone numbers for me, but interestingly, nothing current.)
♣NOT JUST ANYBODY can say he has a slime-mold beetle named in his honor. But George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld can. Yeah, ok, but it would have been better if it were a dung beetle.
♣I'M A BIT disappointed in the girl in this video. (Have your sound on.) I won't tell you what happens, but suffice to say the girl could have easily played along. Instead, though, she walks away. Good job killing fun, girl. Good job.
♣THIS VIDEO, HOWEVER, is totally impressive: A cappella versions of old Nintendo tunes.
♣AND THEN, THERE'S this.
April 18, 2005
Oy, you've got such a large torah
Jews eat matzah on Passover because, unlike bread, it does not rise when baked. Got that? Don't eat anything that rises.
Oh, wait: Viagra ruled kosher for Passover.
(It should be noted that my dad provided both the link and the joke for this one.)
UPDATE: It should be noted that my dad, upon seeing the above credit, e-mailed me to say he was just repeating something he heard on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.
Please welcome the new CEO of General Motors, Ben Dover
Maybe I'm just still on the lookout after noticing the unintentional sexual innuendo on that Democratic attack website, but does anybody notice anything a bit odd about this section of GM's webpage about its Hot Button promotion?
This weekend, I saw a commercial for the Hot Button, which, because the "o" in "button" doubles as a logo, really looks like it says "hot butt." Surely, I thought, that had to be accidental. So I went to the website to grab a copy of the logo, and then saw its little tagline, "Push it real good." Still accidental?
Well, if you want to get technical about it
In England, a school made an absurdly strict dress code decision, claiming a white girl can't have the same cornrow hairstyle as her black peers:
A teenager was sent home from school after the headteacher ruled she was the wrong race to have a braided hairstyle.
Olivia Acton, 13, was told she could not join her classmates at Middleton Technology College because her tightly plaited hair was too "extreme" for the strict uniform policy.
However, two other pupils at the school who have an Afro-Caribbean background are allowed to attend the school with similar hairstyles because it reflects their cultural heritage.
But hark! Dress code rediculiousness aside, this girl most likely does have an Afro-Caribbean background to reflect. How's that possible, when she's very clearly white? Well, who was reading their New York Times last week? Anyone? Anyone? Well, I was:
When Don R. Harrison Jr. was growing up in Philadelphia, neighborhood children would tease him and call him "white boy," because his skin was lighter than theirs. But Mr. Harrison, a "proud black man," was still unprepared for the results of a DNA test, taken as part of a class at Pennsylvania State University, to determine his genetic ancestry.
"I figured it would be interesting. I'm light-skinned and I wanted to know my whole makeup," said Mr. Harrison, a 20-year-old sociology major. But he was shocked by results showing him to be 52 percent African and 48 percent European: "which I had no clue about, considering both my parents are black," said Mr. Harrison. "So I'm half white."
Those DNA results he got are from a class project at Pennsylvania State University, which show that the students are way more genetically diverse than they thought they were. So wear those cornrows loud and proud, sister!
April 15, 2005
So right, so wrong
Democrats unleashed an attack website against Tom DeLay, which includes a clever searchable database of how Republican congressmen are financially tied to him. Unfortunately, though, this is how they phrased it:
Well, yeah, I sure hope my member isn't tangled up with delay!
♣"YES, I BREASTFEEDED him. He is my son," says Namita, caressing the monkey. Yes, you read that right: The monkey.
♣WHEN I FIRST discovered Google satellite maps, I asked my girlfriend if she could think of a funny place to zoom in on, which I could then post on the blog. She suggested Area 51, so I typed in "Roswell, NM," saw a tiny-looking town, and shrugged. "There's no way I'm finding Area 51," I said, and eventually gave up and just posted an overview of my apartment building. But it turns out, as this person discovered, Area 51 might actually be somewhat viewable through Google's satellite system. And for starters - oops! -- it isn't in Roswell. (And on a related note, if you'd like some technical analysis of Google sats, this is your place.)
♣SO, HOW DO you respond to getting a piece into the New York Times and not knowing it? Well, you either have an extremely anxious day like I did, or you be like this guy, and continue not to know about it until a Times editor calls and apologizes for stealing your story.
♣A USEFUL TIP: If a large chunk of a plane rips off while you're in high altitude, don't hold your breath. But say, how bad does it have to
get before you're actually sucked out of the plane?
♣SOME WISHFUL THINKING spoken by Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking Democrat Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a congressional hearing: "And many of us were -- the reason it [the hearing] was initially
postponed was that many of us were in Rome at the president's funeral --
excuse me, Freudian slip, I beg your pardon -- at the pope's funeral that
the president attended."
♣AND THEN, THERE'S this.
April 14, 2005
It's a conservative's life for me!
I never thought I'd want to live in Rush Limbaugh's world, but then, during a rant about America's youth, he said this:
What the hell is the point of view of young people? Blow jobs, that's what they're doing out there. They're out there getting oral sex all day long, that's what they're talking about.
Whoa -- getting oral sex all day long? Rush, where do I sign up?
Look, it's a field of collieflowers!
Ok, fine: Look, it's a cheap sight gag! (Sunflowers via Blurty)
April 13, 2005
Shoot to kill -- isn't that what they say?
There's John Lockwood standing next to his remote-controlled gun. People can pay to connect to it through the Internet, and shoot animals outside his home. But I'm wondering, can I pay to turn that gun around? I think one bullet will do the trick.
♣TOO GOOD TO be believed: The British Broadcasting Corporation sent an e-mail requesting an interview with reggae star Bob Marley, 24 years after his death.
♣AMUSING THINGS IN Wisconsin: A 28-year-old guy enjoys college so much, he's spent 11 years there. And a Catholic school is scrambling to distance itself from a book called "Whores on the Hill," written by a former student.
♣HERE'S ONE HELPFUL urinal.
♣IF YOU MISSED it when it was posted a week or so ago, don't forget to check out a tasteless comic I wrote: Tales from an adolescent sex life.
April 11, 2005
All the me that's fit to print in...
Would you believe it, a story of mine ran in yesterday's New York Times and I had no idea. Here it is: Strongman Training Helps Burt's Son Get to First Base
So, how does such a thing happen? Briefly, like this: In January, the Times was interested in a pitch of mine, and the story went through two drafts before being accepted. I was never really told when it was going to run, but had a sense it was going to be yesterday, based on an e-mail I got from the editor last Monday.
Yesterday morning, my dad leaves me a voice mail: "Congratulations. We're very proud of you. I'm going to pick up the paper now." I hop out of bed, get the paper, flip through the sports section, and find no story. I call my dad, who tells me he can't find the story either, but he typed my name into the nytimes.com search bar and found a copy of it. I don't know what to make of this. Was it a mistake? Did I somehow get relegated to online-only? Just what the hell is going on?Continued after jump...
Suddenly, I'm not so afraid of the Patriot Act
Look at that line -- "Jury duty: Your civic obligation." Oh yeah? How's this: Getting my damn name and address right: Your governmental obligation.
I received this summons for jury duty over the weekend, and not only did they send it to an apartment I lived in a year ago (and therefore it had to be forwarded), but they spelled my name "Geifer." For those who might not know -- say, like, the Massachusetts judicial system -- it's "Feifer." But there it is, folks: Your government in action. At least the post office knows who the hell I am -- or at least, whoever scribbled "FEIF" on this envelope does. I sure hope it was the post office.
Meanwhile, there actually is someone named Jason Geifer, and he seems to be doing quite well in the East Pasco Bowling Association. I always knew he'd make us proud.
♣WITH STARBUCKS WINNING its crusade to shut down every local coffee shop, it's so sad how hard it is to find any survivors. Luckily, I've found this: The delocator, searching for a non-corporate cafe near you. (via Not Myself.) But speaking of Starbucks, a food critic wants to know: Why are the pastries there so damn awful? My answer: I don't know, because they're too damn expensive.
♣A BIT OUTDATED, but I'm finally getting around to posting it: Nytimes.com accidentally included a reporter's notes in a story it posted; apparently the author had trouble finding someone who liked the Pope.
♣A WORTHWHILE STUDY: A realistic assessment of how many 12-year-olds I could beat up before they overtook me.
♣FIRST, I WAS irritated because Mitch Albom produced what could have been a straight forward correction -- but, because the man can't write anything that's not somehow overly sappy or not seeped in unnecessarily elongated sincerity, he wrote this instead. Then, I got more irritated after reading his explanation that his screw-up (he said two NBA players attended a game, when they hadn't) was "hardly the thrust of the column," then reading the column, and then realizing it was totally the thrust of the column! Mitch: You totally, totally suck.
April 08, 2005
Because otherwise, you might not know who the hell he's talking to
Hey young people, we're changin' Social Security for you! Hey old people, we're not changing' Social Security for you. Hey young people, sorry about all these standardized tests. Hey old people, we're going to test the fuck out of your kids! Hey young people, stop having sex! Hey old people -- um, well, did I mention Social Security yet?
And those ratings just keep going down.
Baddies need banks too
From swiss-bank-accounts.com, a site run by a Swiss bank account brokerage services company, here's one of the "7 myths about Swiss bank accounts":
6. Swiss bank accounts attract only criminals and dictators
Not true! The vast majority of Swiss bank account holders are honest people who want to keep their savings in a country renowned for its stability...
I love it: No, no! The vast majority of account holders are honest people. Only a small minority are criminals and dictators. Really! Like, five percent! Maybe a bit more. Ok, whatever, ten at the most. But seriously, come on, whose customers aren't at least ten percent criminals and dictators these days? Let's get real here.
April 07, 2005
I live right here:
Here's a fun way to burn time today: Go to Google maps, click on "satellite" on the top right, plug your address in to the search bar, zoom in, and marvel. Then plug in every damn address you know, and when each one pops up, say, "Wow, yeah, there it is." Then show the person nearest the computer, and watch in awe as they plug in every address they know. Satellites are great!
And yes, that above is where I live. If you can figure out how to get here based on that photo, well shit, come on over and I'll make you pancakes.
Non sequitur of the week
This is from Larry King's interview last night with Jane Fonda. Check out his smooth transition from light topic to heavy topic:
FONDA: See, right after I did "Barbarella" almost I became an activist. And so for my -- I wanted to divorce myself from it. But now looking at it, I enjoy it. I find it charming. And he had such campy vision.
KING: Was he a great director?
FONDA: He was a wonderful director. He had real style. And he loved to make his women beautiful.
KING: Your mother committed suicide?
FONDA: When I was 12.
KING: You didn't know it, though, right?
How do you do it, Larry? Such poise, such clarity, such power of transition. Has anyone told you your head is shaped like an upsidedown eggplant?
April 06, 2005
Come on, who's gonna make a fart joke? I know someone wants to.
Oh, fine. So I'm the bad guy.
A whole new meaning to 'QB sneak'
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has been accused of knowingly infecting a woman with herpes. Given that knowledge, and thanks to a Lexis-Nexis search, here are a few quotes about Vick from articles in the the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that may now have some new meaning:
"Mike's got a great arm; he can sling it" (11/14/04)
"Michael Vick is here! Michael Vick is here!" (6/26/04)
"Look out when he gets settled into the new system" (1/31/05)
"Vick is giving the position a new wrinkle" (6/22/04)
"They tuck it, and they're no longer a threat to pass. But Mike's been able to stay a [double] threat because of the way he carries the ball." (11/2/04)
When he passed it, he went long. But was she a wide receiver?
April 05, 2005
The 1960s called. They want their graphic back.
Man, I hope somebody didn't get paid to make that AP graphic.
Speaking of breaking, some of you may have noticed the recent lack of substantial updates and wondered if this blog is not, in fact, a bit broken. It is not, I assure you. A few projects fell into my lap, and they've taken up a lot of my free time. Hopefully I'll be able to share one of them soon, but in the meantime, trust me: They're good stuff. And I'll do my best to keep blogging regularly until they're over, at which point you'll once again be treated to the usual round of garbage I serve up over here. Deal? Deal!
April 04, 2005
♣ONLINE PERSONAL AD from a not-so-go-getter. (Best line: "So, in short I don’t think I am a 'great catch' but I am definitely worth the shot.")
♣DAFFY DUCK IS not an easy guy to navigate, much like this game isn't an easy thing to stop playing.
♣ANN COULTER RECENTLY spoke at a place called the Lied Center. Oh irony, you are a good friend.
♣"WE CAN'T HAVE title holders out there walking when they're seen in the public," explains Ms. Wheelchair America's treasurer. And that's why Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin had to get the boot.
♣IT GIVES "SIT on my face" a whole new meaning: Furniture Porn, the movie. And if you just can't get enough of stop-motion object sex, check out this collection of banner ads I posted a few years ago.
♣AND THEN, THERE'S this.
April 01, 2005
Who's at my unoccupied house?
This is a photo and cutline from the latest story in a New York Daily News campaign to embarrass the New York Post for an advertising promotion it did. But if you think the story is absurd -- and it is, especially because so many papers do what the Post is doing -- check out the cutline. Is that a person I see standing in the doorway of their unoccupied house? Maybe it's just the ghost of journalism standards, keeping a sad, watchful eye on what's happened in its absence.