November 30, 2006
Shoot to kill
A well-to-do Boston neighborhood is in full freak-out after three houses were broken into. Or, well, they weren't exactly broken into. The homeowners left the doors unlocked, and some jerk strolled in and stole stuff. A big community meeting was held, and the local newspaper's coverage of it was just too perfect:
Because the perpetrators allegedly entered the homes through unlocked doors and windows, police urged those who live in the Parkway to be vigilant about securing their homes’ entrances.
That's right, you well-educated, wealthy people: Don't simply lock your damn door... instead, be vigilant about securing your home's entrance!
Next week's headline: Private Security Guards, Snipers On Rise In Parkway
(Link via Universal Hub)
♣IF YOU HEAR someone scream and think it sounds familiar, it probably does.
♣YOU AIN'T SEEN French mimes like Jerome Murat. And since we're sharing videos, you ain't seen a Rocky montage that doesn't feature Rocky like this one. And you sure as hell ain't seen a bob until you've seen Martha MacCallum's.
♣ONE BURGER CONTAINING meats from Wendy's, Burger King and McDonald's? A twice-baked potato? A McNugget Burger? The fast food lovers go wild mix-n-matching. They eat, I vomit.
♣MUCH HAS BEEN written about how unhappy Kazakhstan is over "Borat," but the Cleveland Plain Dealer seemed to have a funny, new angle: real Kazakhstan film crew comes to Ohio to do a story on American politics, the cameraman's name is "Bolat," and nobody will take them seriously. Except, uh, read the story. There isn't a single quote from the Kazakhstan crew, or any indication the reporter even got in touch with them. Boo.
♣AND THEN, THERE'S this.
November 29, 2006
This moment is, like, so important
When, in a recent press conference, President Bush said for the umpteenth time that we are "living in historic times," I began to wonder: Was there ever a moment in our past that was not historic? I pestered a bunch of history professors on this topic, and the result is in this week's Boston's Weekly Dig.
November 27, 2006
Nobody even shined my shoes
For reasons that aren't especially clear, it was cheaper yesterday for me to fly first class from Ft. Lauderdale to Boston than it was to fly coach. So, I had a ticket for seat 2C, along the aisle in that treasured little section. I figured I'd take advantage of what amenities there are in first class, so I boarded first and then, despite not really wanting it, ordered a glass of wine. (See above.) Then to complete this picture of class relocation, I took out my copy of the New York Times Sunday Magazine and watched as the peasants in coach filed through, on their way to smaller chairs. Ah, yes, it was the life.
But apparently, it wasn't the life for the people behind me. They were a chatty woman and a bald, red-faced man who kept talking about how much he travels. She asked our flight attendant if there would be a meal on the flight, was told no, sorry, just snacks and drinks, and then she turned to the man:
Woman: First class is kind of like --
Woman: Right, exactly.
Man: Not like it used to be.
Oh, woe is us pampered class! Woe is us!
November 25, 2006
Gather around, Journalism 101 students. Racism-spewing Kramer has a lesson to teach you.
A quick re-cap: Michael Richards, who played Kramer on "Seinfeld," made crazy racist attacks at a nightclub; it was caught on tape, and accusations later flew that Richards had made anti-Semitic remarks as well. His new PR guy told the Associated Press, "He's Jewish. He's not anti-Semitic at all."
"But - as the Jewish Journal has pointed out in a well-referenced article - Michael Richards is NOT Jewish," Martin Lewis writes in a Huffington Post piece that displays his clear lack of grammatical control. So, Mr. Lewis, what is this well-referenced matieral? From the Jewish Journal piece:
According to sources familiar with Richards, the actor was raised Catholic. A biography of him on the Wikipedia web site lists no religion, but does say Richards is very involved in the Masons.
It then goes on to quote the Wikipedia article at length. Let's get one thing clear here, because apparently the Huffington Post and Jewish Journal are confused: Wikipedia, while a useful reference point, is not a source that should be quoted in pieces of journalism. In writing this post, I originally quipped, "I could go on to Wikipedia right now and declare Richards a Buddhist; all of a sudden, the Journal's claim that 'a biography of him on the Wikipedia web site lists no religion' would be wrong." But hell, I just discovered the work's already been done for me. This is from the site, as of 12:08 a.m. on Friday:
Richards was raised as a Catholic, though his publicist has claimed that Richards is Jewish.
Well! Looks like there is, in fact, a religion listed in his Wikipedia biography. Hey, Martin Lewis: When you consider something "well-referenced," does it have to be correct or can it just reference something?
November 22, 2006
♣I LAUGHED A little too much at this:
♣PLEASE WELCOME A new blogroll addition, Consumerist. I found the site after it cited my comments to the Wall Street Journal about the Cold Stone Creamery song. Any site dedicated to being a grumpy consumer is highly welcomed here.
♣IT'S OFFICIAL: EVEN invertebrate like to hump.
♣THE CRIMES IN this story are many: a woman eating a daily breakfast of McDonald’s hashbrowns and milk, the same woman throwing her garbage on people’s lawns, and a lame-tastic lede that says, “Bill Kilar’s lovin’ it, that is he’s lovin’ not waking up on most mornings and finding trash tossed in his yard.” I’m glad the lady was arrested, though. Now, if only people would be so vigilant as to track down and fine every person who throws cigarette buts out of their cars. Am I the only one that wants to slam my horn when that happens?
♣I HAVE HEARD some crazy crap spoken by some crazy people on public transportation, but it doesn’t get better than this.
♣EVER WATCH NFL games and wonder which game the rest of the country is watching? Or, better yet, how TV execs decide which game to show in which market? This site can’t answer the latter, but it has great maps of the former. (via Not Myself)
♣WHO'S A PERV? The New York Post is more than happy to tell you.
♣HERE'S A PROBLEM with creating a political party and then abandoning it: Someone else can always come in and take over. That's especially embarassing if, say, your name is Joe Lieberman, you created the Connecticut for Lieberman Party for the purposes of running against Ned Lamont, won, declared yourself an Independent Democrat and effectively left the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, and then watched as a critic of yours registered as the only Connecticut for Lieberman Party member and then declared himself chairman.
♣FURTHER PROOF THAT cars make people insane.
November 21, 2006
Heard it through the apevine
That’s it: The Internet has officially accomplished everything we could have hoped and dreamed for. It’s like Gillette making a razor with five blades; there simply isn’t anywhere left to go. Revolutionizing communication, democratizing publishing, changing the speed and complexion of our culture -- that’s all well and good, but I don’t see how it can get any better than a site that allows you to make a phone call, say something, and then watch as it’s spoken by an animated monkey. Honestly. With your voice! And you can make the monkey wear funny hats. I’m telling you, this is the pinnacle. It’s all downhill from here.
Here’s what I had the monkey say, and then I e-mailed it to almost everyone I know. If you make your own recording -- and I highly advise that you do -- why not post a link to it in the comments section? We’ll have a little monkey talk-off. There’s probably a more expeditious way to do this, but I got my link by e-mailing the video to myself, and then copy-and-pasting the link that was sent to me. It’s simpler than it sounds. I promise.
November 20, 2006
Or maybe it was all that Bush-funded abstinence-only education
Image via The Cool Hunter.
As a gag gift a few months ago, some friends bought me this book, “Penis Pokey.” It’s a series of children’s-book-like thick graphical pages, each with an image in which there’s a hole where a long, protruding object would otherwise be: a fireman with a hose, an alien with a big nose, a monkey holding a banana, you get the idea. We’ve hung it on the wall in our living room -- it’s true, we run a classy joint here -- and it’s been funny to watch new visitors react exactly the same way. That is:
1. Picks up the book
2. Flips through a few pages and laughs
3. Face goes ashen.
4. Looks at me with alarm.
5. Asks, “Have you, you know...?”
And the answer -- the real, truthful answer -- is: “No, because I knew this moment would come.” I was tempted, believe me. The first night I had it, I was a fly and button away from turning my nether regions into a scene from Loch Ness. But then I realized my friends would inevitably be flipping through this book, and I didn’t want to lie about how, uh, intimately I was familiar with it. Now that’s friendship!
November 17, 2006
It's a smart day
Some days, I want to write intelligent things on this blog. Other days, I'm swamped with work and think it's funny to read that Time political columnist Joe Klein will be appearing at a college's Hooker Auditorium, in the Clapp Laboratory. This is at Mt. Holyoke College, who must have suffered some rising blood pressure when the Hooker and Clapp families gave their donations. Then again, the college's press release describes Klein as the author of "penetrating profiles." So, uh, there you go.
And in other chucklehead news, remember that crazy 2004 Pacers-Pistons brawl that involved players and fans punching each other? The one that was dubbed Malice at the Palace, and which, after the Pistons' next game, the New York Times quipped in a headline, "On the Pistons' Court, a Basketball Game Breaks Out"? Well, The Smoking Gun has finally discovered the five words that sparked the melee: You can suck my balls.
November 15, 2006
Did someone feed my shirt after midnight?
I don’t typically wear anything that needs dry-cleaning. But after a series of weddings -- the last of which I had to wear some seriously already-sweat-in pants -- it was time to take my first solo trip to the dry cleaners. I dropped off two shirts and those pants on Friday. Yesterday evening, I go to pick them up.
The clerk is a middle-aged Asian guy who I suspect doesn’t speak much English. He brings out the pants and what appear to be three shirts. At first, I think, “Score! Free shirt!” But then I think the shirt probably won’t fit me anyway, and this little business will be stuck paying for someone else’s lost shirt. So after I pay, I start thumbing through the shirts and say, “Three shirts, huh? I thought I brought two shirts. There’s an extra shirt in here?”
The guy walks over, thumbs through the shirts, and confirms: “There’s an extra shirt in here.” He says it casually, as if he already knew that.
“There’s an extra shirt?” I say.
“Yes,” he says.
“Oh,” I say, and pause for a moment. “Ok.”
“Thank you! Goodnight!” he says.
Apparently, we’re done here. On my walk back home, I begin wondering if this is normal. I had never dry-cleaned my own stuff before, so maybe it’s common for them to give away shirts. Maybe they have a ton of them in the back. Maybe another customer didn’t want his. I don’t know. How much does one of these shirts cost, anyway? I realize I don’t know that, either.
When I get home, my girlfriend squashes this line of thought: “The problem here,” she says, “is you have an extra shirt.”
We discuss the possibilities of this for a moment, and then I call the dry-cleaning place back. This time, a guy who speaks English answers, and I explain to him what happened. He tells me two things: One, if the extra shirt isn’t my shirt, I should bring it back -- but they’re closing soon, so, hey, bring it back whenever. No rush. And two, before I do that, I should try all the shirts on. If they fit, the extra one’s probably mine. “That happens a lot,” he says. “Customers bring in more shirts than they realize.”
All the shirts fit. I’m guessing they’re mine, even though I distinctly remember bringing in only two shirts. Either way, they’re in my closet now, so I guess the deal is done.
Hey hey, ho ho. Pope Leo X has got to go.
When you take an anti-Bush poster and put it in a museum, does its message change? I contemplate this and other deep thoughts in this week's Boston's Weekly Dig, in a review of a cool exhibit of protest prints throughout history.
(The photo above isn't quite up to the art museum's standards, but I thought it was funny anyway. I found it here.)
November 14, 2006
Yeah, yeah, MLK Jr. was a great guy -- but my, that’s a nice suit you have on
This was at the top of the news photography page at Yahoo at 6:30 p.m. yesterday. Both photos are from the groundbreaking at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in D.C. -- but the one on the left, curiously, was filed under “fashion.” Someone at Yahoo must be quite the red hat connoisseur.
The only possible explanation comes from the photo’s cutline, which identifies, among various civil rights leaders and King’s family members, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger in the crowd. Because, you know, when the maker of sub-par urbanwear is in attendance, not much else matters.
November 13, 2006
♣SORRY ABOUT THE light posting last week. It was a madhouse of work. This week is looking to be a little easier, so don't give up on me just yet.
♣DON'T WORRY, REPUBLICANS. A Harvard psychologist has some encouraging, research-supported words for you: "When partisans imagine being devastated when their candidate loses, they focus on how they will feel when they think about it," he told the WashPost. "What they fail to realize is how seldom they think about it."
♣A TIP TO those trying to evade arrest: If you're guilty of something and you post a confession on MySpace, it doesn't much matter if you've refused to talk with the police. Oh, and if you happen to be guilty of driving drunk, crashing and killing two friends, it probably doesn't help your cause if you write in that confession, "Both of them knew what they were getting into."
♣SEE? NOW HERE'S someone who was paying attention to the above lesson. Instead of going on MySpace to declare that he had a screwdriver up his ass, he gladly told police. (The most amusing part of the story is how everyone passed the buck on removing it.)
♣AND ONE MORE from the Dumb Criminal Department: Counterfeit bills aren't very convincing if they're only one-sided.
♣YOU LIKE THAT two-dollar bill your uncle gave you when you were seven? So does the rest of America.
♣NO DOUBT, SOME religious group is turning this commercial into a parable on the importance of parenting.
♣Q: SO THE small talk became smaller? A: Yeah, a lot of things became smaller. Ted Haggard's male lover tells all.
♣IF YOU LIVE in Boston and are dying to know about the inherent value of the city's tallest building, I've got you covered in this month's Boston Magazine.
♣AND THEN, THERE'S this.
November 08, 2006
Democracy throws a lame party
Massachusetts had a pretty bruising gubernatorial campaign between Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and out-of-nowhere Democrat lawyer Deval Patrick. As expected, Patrick swamped Healey yesterday, and will become the first black governor in state history.
But forget all that for a moment. What's important here is that I was at Healey's party-turned-funeral, covering all its warts for Boston's Weekly Dig.
November 07, 2006
Finally, something we can all agree on
I wanted to post a picture of that sign two years ago, but didn't have a digital camera back then. This'll do, though. Doesn't it feel like crossing the ribbon at the end of a grueling marathon? Whew. No more campaigning? You mean, those sign-wavers on the street corner weren't always there? Will there be commercials on television anymore? Will the newspapers be blank?
Enjoy it while it lasts. The campaign for 2008 starts tomorrow. (Well, ok, it probably started two years ago, but still...)
November 06, 2006
Romancing the stone
I don't know these people. Pic from here.
If I have the time, I can read the Sunday New York Times almost cover to cover. But there’s one section I always skip: Vows. Not that it’s much of a surprise; Vows isn’t exactly typical male reading material. But really now: Who wants to read a straight-up story about a happy couple being... happy? What a snoozer. Wake me when one of them gets a kidney transplant and mysteriously changes personalities.
But on my way to Minnesota last week, I picked up a Detroit Free Press during an hour-long layover in Motown and found exactly the ingredient Vows is missing. It’s this: happy couples being happy... and icky.
The Freep has a regular feature called “Love Story,” which highlights random couples and recounts their courtship. Maybe it’s normally as dry and lame as Vows, but on Thursday, when I was there, it was amazing. Here, in Tracy’s voice, is how Fred, then an old, estranged friend, got back in touch with her and declared his love:
On my way to work one morning, I noticed a lottery ticket with a number 106 stuck to the window of my car. It was used as a note pad and said, 'I'm going to get with you.' I had the ticket run through a lottery dealer to find out where it had been purchased, and realized that it was at the party store next to Fred's work. The number 106 was Fred's license plate on his car. I was so excited and knew it had to be him.
Swoon! Then he gave her a wedgie, and bought her a heart-shaped can of sardines. Pay close attention, Vows editor. We need less Manhattan, more Poughkeepsie. Then, by golly, Vows would be the first thing I’d turn to on Sunday.
November 02, 2006
Hey, kid, the front desk is over there
That sign is from the hotel I'm currently staying in, which is within spitting distance of the Mall of America in Minnesota. I forgot to mention the trip, but that should explain -- and will continue to explain -- the light posting this week.