Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Finally Realized Who George W. Bush Is!

He's Martin Sheen!

Not as Jed Bartlet, but as Gregg Stillson, the Presidential candidate from the original movie The Dead Zone

I'm just saying, if anyone were to take a shot at Bush, you'd better hope your baby wasn't within grabbing distance.

The Most Specific Manufactured Item Ever

So today I actually went to two different Starbucks... that's right, a big day for me.

At one of them, I noticed the barrista was wearing a black wool cuff on one arm -- between the elbow and wrist -- with the Starbucks logo on it. Since I suffer from a bit of carpal tunnel, I asked her if that was what it was for; I figured all that barrista-ing probably took its toll.

She answered that, no, it was to cover her tattoos. I was surprised. She said they freak some people out. I replied that unless she had a tattoo of me under there, I was not going to be freaked out, and I didn't understand why others would be. (I mean, addicted to piercings is one thing, but some ink?)

But even moreso, I was fascinated that there existed an actual item just for that purpose. She said she was surprised they had something like that, too. But she was really cool about it, and completely okay with wearing it, even though she admitted it kinda itched and hurt sometimes.

Who would design such a thing? Who would walk into Starbucks head office and say, "I have just the thing your employees need!"

That New Carpet Smell? Cat Urine... But Don't Blame the Cat!

This is the definition of a random household tip:

There is a chemical used in the manufacture of some carpets that attracts bacteria. This bacteria can give new carpet a faint smell similar to cat urine. This smell will only get stronger as more bacteria gets attracted... or, if you have a cat, as he/she joins the party. (If you've ever wondered why kitty just had to ruin your new rug.)

The moral: When you get a new carpet, really smell it, no matter how silly you feel. If it doesn't smell good to you, send it back. 'Cause trust me, it ain't gonna get better.

A Great Resource For Picking Your Holiday Gifts

Checking out my TiVo "Showcase" menu -- as I do too infrequently -- I discovered they have added cnet programming for the holiday season. Just select it and you get free informational specials on picking the right MP3 player, digital camera, HDTV and so on.

cnet's website has long been my favorite tech information, how-to and review site. (And I miss their old TV shows.) This is a great chance to learn about high-tech devices and make informed decisions about picking the right ones for your holiday gifts...and avoiding lemons.

By the way, the cnet site also has amazing how-to videos called Weekend Projects that take you step-by-step through dozens of the things you might've always wanted to do: extend your wi-fi range, make better baby videos, transfer your VHS tapes to DVD, get free HDTV with an outdoor antenna, degrunge your computer, and so many more.

A Classic Exchange

Okay, so remember I told you about that NPR radio host who has a show about the entertainment industry but hates the entertainment industry?

What I didn't tell you is that he is spectacularly, aggressively unfunny. I mean, powerful unfunny.

And he thinks he's hilarious.

His show even has a sort of opening monologue, which I imagine sounds like Conan to him, but makes me want to drive off a cliff until I can fast-forward through it.
(Actual joke from last week's show, regarding the BitTorrent deal: "It may be a little BitTorrent too little, a little BitTorrent too late." Ow! My sides!)

Not only that, he makes these odd, arcane references that only make sense to him, and he's not afraid to interrupt to do it. In the last few weeks, for example, he stopped a guest cold with a reference to Philip Morris that the guest had to ask him to explain -- that was good radio -- and he made a joke about Dale Carnegie. Dale Carnegie?? What year is it where he is?

But this week was a tiny little payback, and it was awesome. A discussion of the Xbox 360 (with, of course, the angle of "The Industry is Terrified") with a gaming expert had turned to the anti-modification precautions Microsoft has taken:

GUEST: The Xbox 360, one of the unsung features about it, is not only is the box shut up as tightly as Fort Knox -- because you don't see any screw holes on the Xbox 360, you've got to get a bunch of specialty screwdrivers from RadioShack and some little pieces of metal and plastic to jimmy the thing open -- Then once you get in there it's not just off-the-shelf PC parts like they built the last one out of, it's all proprietary chips and things like that, so they took massive steps to prevent against piracy and--

HOST: [bemused] Sort of a Pandora's Xbox 360

GUEST: Basically [nervous chuckle, long silence]...right [nervous chuckle, long silence]... but... uh, okay... if you say so, it's your show...

I Believe the Precedent Cited was the "Paranoimia Defense" from "U.S. v. Max Headroom"

The Ontario Attorney General is considering appealing the acquittal of a Canadian man on charges of sexual assault. His defense? He was asleep at the time and suffering from "sexsomnia."

Jay Luedecke, 33, met his female victim at a party. She testified that she later awoke to find Luedecke having sex with her. She pushed him away and called the police.

According to the Reuters report, "Luedecke confessed to police after he discovered [he] was still wearing a condom and realized he had had sex."

A sleep expert testified in court that "Luedecke suffers from a disorder that causes sexsomnia -- involuntary sexual behavior during sleep -- which he had experienced before."

Something I Use So Often I Forgot to Tell You About It!

This is incredibly useful! I use it all the time... So all-the-time it's become second nature to my surfing, and I only just remembered that it's possible not everyone knows about it.

I've written before that Firefox is the safest and best browser out there, and that Google Labs is full of cutting-edge timesavers. Well, here's the kind of interesting and handy tool you find when those two get together.

It's a Firefox extension called Google Send to Phone. Simple concept, brilliant execution. It places a little phone icon in your Firefox toolbar.

Whenever you find some useful piece of info online -- a restaurant address, a phone number, a shopping list for a recipe -- just highlight it, hit the phone icon, and it gets text-messaged to your cell phone. How freaking cool is that!

I Love All Animals...


...but it is hard to love a possum. They look like pieces of other, better animals all glued together. Either that, or one of the Spy Vs. Spy guys naked. Anyway, this is one of the possums who live outside, around and top of my house.

Still, I have no hate for the possums. The only animals with which I've had feuds over the years are raccoons. Years ago, I spent several agonizing months engaged in a battle of wits, trying to keep two of those masked bastards out of my trash cans. The raccoons consistently won.

Friday, December 02, 2005

You Gotta Be Kidding Me...

I just found out that Barbara Walters picked Duchess Camilla as the Most Fascinating Person of 2005. The Most Fascinating.

As if we needed any more proof that Barbara Walters and I are fascinated by very different things.

I will never forget Barbara Walters walking out onto the stage at the Primetime Emmys one year like Queen Victoria, to wag her dowager finger at the audience and regally and disapprovingly lecture the industry on their responsibility to inform as well as entertain, to elevate the national discourse, to raise the level of consciousness, and not to pander.

This within a week of her Tonya Harding interview.

And now this old bloodclot has given a daily forum to Star friggin' Jones and Elisabeth Whatever-Her-Name-Is. Lecture us again, Barbara.

If You've Ever Wondered If Red To You is the Same As Red To Me...

...you'll find this MSNBC story (via digg) interesting. Apparently, our eyes are "wired" very differently, but our brains compensate for the differences. Which leads me to wonder: How do our brains agree on what "absolute red" is if our eyes are so different? Who told them? And how?

I wish I were wasted right now.

Possibly Wise Words...

Learned at Starbucks, musing when I should have been working:

Most women who think they're hot are not as hot as they think they are, whereas most women who don't think they're hot are much hotter than they think they are.

Who's More Hateful: Judd or Jonny Fairplay?


I don't know, but let's throw 'em both in a sack and toss it in the river.

Why I Love The Apprentice (Possible Spoilers)

I don't know about you, but the last two nights have been perfect examples of why I love watching The Apprentice (yes, even the Martha Stewart one).

Both shows offered unusually one-sided victories. Yet watching the scenes where one project manager methodically destroys any chances of victory, in the most psychotic way possible, was fascinating.

Even moreso was that, in both cases, the offending P.M. walked into the judging with a gigantic, shit-eating "Aw Yeah, it's in the bag" grin on their face that was astounding if you'd seen any of what came before. How can people be so blissfully unaware of their own shortcomings? (How likely is it that you and I do that all the time?)

Then, watching the spin in the boardroom? Knowing who was full of shit? The astonishing finger-pointing? The almost supernatural lack of self-awareness? I love it!

The Worst Scoring in a Great Movie

If you happen to see The Untouchables again, as I just did, pay special attention to the scenes with Eliot Ness and his wife.

Wait! Come back!

I know they're boring, and no one who watches this movie ever pays attention to those scenes, or they go to the bathroom or get a sandwich, but that's why all these years we've all apparently missed some of the worst music in motion picture history.

In particular, watch the first scene, when Mrs. Ness is packing Eliot's sack lunch, and the later scene when she is in the maternity ward after having their baby. The music is unbelievably bad (and unspeakably loud).

Someone should have taken composer Ennio Morricone and explained baseball to him... the concept of teamwork... what it means to be part of a team.

True Blogs: Streets of L.A.

I cancelled my subscription to the L.A. Times, in part because I couldn't stand that musty smell that comes out when you rip open the plastic bag, so I'm grateful to Ken Levine for pointing out this good list of L.A. blogs the Times ran yesterday.

I would only add this blog that the as-far-as-I-know-blogless Zeke turned me on to: Josh Friedman's screenwriter blog "I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Today's Secret Ingredient is... Coupon!

Here's a chance to stock up on a little Food Network merch: Use code "FH75" at checkout for $15 off a cookbook, cookware, or DVD order of $75 or more at the store.

Look at the Bright Side: It's a Lot Cheaper Than The Fine For Reading Porn To Kids

Susan Gates of Southampton, England was fined £30 because the soft glow of the blue hair of the Marge Simpson doll on her dashboard might be mistaken for an emergency vehicle's flashing lights. (A really tiny emergency vehicle, apparently.)

Said a spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, "It's barking mad! The police actions make Montgomery Burns look like Father Christmas!"

Hear hear. You can read more about this story in the Telegraph.

New TiVo Features Coming: Podcasts, Movie Tickets and More

Starting next week, and over the next couple of months, broadband-connected Series 2 TiVo's will receive a batch of new, free and cool features, including the ability to subscribe to podcasts, check movie showtimes and buy tickets with Fandango, listen to Live365 radio, and browse your friends' Yahoo photos. More details at the TiVo blog.

Even More Appalling, He Forced Them To Assemble a Bookshelf Using Nothing But a Small Allen Wrench

A man in Sweden was fined 2,400 crowns on Wednesday for reading pornographic stories to children as part of a theatre project. The stories were about children having oral sex with one another.

"Yumpin' Yiminy," said the man's lawyer. (Okay, I made that last part up) But the lawyer says he plans to appeal the verdict because the defendant had not meant the stories to be seen as pornographic. Apparently because the defendant is an imbecile.

If this all sounds Swedish fishy, I swear it's true... Read about it at Yahoo News.

Nowhere Man


It's always dangerous to get too caught up in a TV show with a gripping mystery at its core, because you can very easily wake up one morning to find out that the show's been cancelled and you'll never ever get the answer to the question you've been wondering about for weeks, or months.

Or years, in the case of Nowhere Man

Nowhere Man debuted when the UPN network did, ten years ago. It was an extraordinary show, telling the story of a man who had his whole life erased in an instant. It was every paranoid's nightmare. I loved it.

And then it was gone. Now it's back, in a DVD box set of the complete series, coming out at the end of the month. Whether or not the answer is in there, it will still be fun to relive such a masterfully-asked set of questions.

The Fatal Flaw of Surface Will Finally Be Revealed

See, here's what's wrong with a show that follows characters who have no idea the others exist.

How hilarious is it going to be when Lake Bell and Clem return with their "proof" and find out they risked their lives for nothing? When everyone is like, "Oh, those? Yeah, we've got lots of eggs, a baby one... Where have
you been? The bottom of the ocean??"

How Do You Get Rid of a CD or DVD?


So you've been a good little boy or girl and you back up your system to CD's or DVD's every week or month or so. But now you've got a new set of backups... So what do you do with the old set? Throw them away? But your personal data is on there. Your Quicken records... your vacation photos... those Cabo videos of you and your girlfriend...

Or you've been sent one of those "For Your Consideration" DVD's, and it's stamped with stern warnings that each DVD is marked with indelible tracer nanobots with your Social Security number on them and if even
one of those nanobots shows up on the streets of Hong Kong, oh brother, you are going to end up face down on your bunk in Em City.

In both those scenarios, you are faced with a dilemma: how do you get rid of a CD or DVD? Really get rid of it, so you know it's gone, and you can sleep at night, knowing that the movie screener you're responsible for or the Cabo videos don't end up in the wrong hands?

The answer is a CD/DVD shredder, and not those awful ones you see at office supply stores that literally
shred your discs, turning them into deadly splinters of sight-endangering doom. The one I use and like (I'm sure there are others) is the Aleratec 240114 DVD/CD Shredder

Rather than chop up the disc, the Alera neatly etches a cool waffle pattern on the surface. The disc is utterly useless, your data is gone, and your skeletons remain in the closet.

Of course, if you have secrets that are so highly sensitive that foreign governments would marshall all their most advanced technologies to crack them, then no, you're better off with the deadly shard system.

But for you and I this is more than enough peace of mind. Plus it's just really satisfying to feed the discs in, knowing you're wiping out your past mistakes.

It's Going To Sound Like I'm Being a Smart-Ass But I'm Not

Bush says we can get out of Iraq when the Iraqis are trained to defend Iraq themselves.

Umm, so here's my question, and I'm really asking: how long does that take?

The American men and women defending Iraq now were trained in, like, a month or two, right?

I'm honestly asking: Correct me if I'm wrong, but our troops were at the mall, or snowboarding, or working to support their families, and then they went for several weeks of basic training, and then, bing bang boom, they went to defend Iraq.

No timetable. No debate. They were considered "ready to stand up."

It's been years we've been training these Iraqis. WTF??? I refuse to believe Americans are smarter than Iraqis, so I can only believe that either the Iraqis are not, as my teachers used to say, "applying themselves" or we're not getting the whole story.

I mean, am I missing something? Fer Chrissake, put these Iraqis through the Stripes/G.I. Jane thing, let them climb a wall and crawl under some live ammo for a few weeks, suit 'em up, give 'em rifles and let's go!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Apprentice in L.A.! As Donald Would Say, "This is Yooge"

From Broadcasting & Cable:

"NBC is picking up The Apprentice…and moving it to southern California. The network announced Tuesday the show has been picked up for a sixth cycle, which will be based outside of New York City for the first time.

"Donald Trump will return to the boardroom, and executive produce along with Mark Burnett and Jay Bienstock. NBC has started casting for the new season.

"The current season will finish on Dec. 15 with a live, two-hour finale from Lincoln Center. NBC has already said that it will not bring back the Martha Stewart spin-off of the show."

Mission Impossible 3 Could Be The Greatest Movie Ever...


...depending on the size of April Scott's role.



Anatomy of a Straw Man, Or Why Bill O'Reilly Is a Dick And He Knows It

So of all the days that Bill O'Reilly throws a big wad of crap out into the world, the other day he outdid himself.

On his radio show -- which I was unlucky enough to catch part of -- he was holding forth on what he sees as the debasement of Christmas. He started out by reminding listeners that they can visit his website to find a list of advertisers (you won't believe this) that say "Happy Holidays" in their ads instead of "Merry Christmas."

One more time:

There is apparently a list on his website of advertisers that say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

Bill goes on to remind his listeners that "some" are boycotting the advertisers that say "Happy Holidays." Bill points out that that is "your right as a consumer" to do so.

Then (and this is reason one why he is a dick), he says, "I'm not calling for that boycott, I'm just pointing out which stores won't, which stores will." And he reminds his listeners once again they can find that info at his website.

Where he's not calling for that boycott.

But then he goes on to explain the history of how "Merry Christmas" became "Happy Holidays" and you've really got to hold onto your hat for this one, because it's a wild ride, Mr. Toad.

I'll skip through the part about how it was all funded by George Soros and his legal arm the ACLU as part of a smear campaign ten years ago to change the country from a Christian-based country (whaaa?) to a secular country like in (shudder) Western Europe.

Bill then serves up the meat and potatoes. Because Bill is upset. Because a lot of people are making a lot of fuss about municipal Christmas displays, and that really burns Bill's loofah. He has an explanation for why this is happening, of course.

I would say it's because there's a Separation of Church and State, so it seems wrong for the State to spend money that belongs to everyone to celebrate a religion that doesn't belong to everyone. Or any religion. So really State should stay out of the religion business. Which, as it happens, is what Separation of Church and State means. (Isn't it cool how that worked out? It's almost as if the Founding Fathers knew more than Bill O'Reilly!)

But you probably could have guessed Ol' Blotchy has a very different explanation.

Now follow along with this, because somewhere in here, what you and I know to be real and true is going to be abandoned. See if you can spot where it happens.

Bill begins by saying, "85% of the country calls itself Christian."

Right there, let's stop. I believe the inherent implication is that the other 15% should... what?

That's right: Go fuck themselves!

Bill then says, "Of the 15% who aren't Christian, maybe one percent find the word "Christmas" offensive. If that! So all of this is bogus! Some nut finds Christmas offensive! So what? Tough!"

There!

Did you spot it?

The Republican's best friend: a straw man.

In this case, it was The Man Who Finds The Word "Christmas" Offensive.

No one ever said they were offended by the word "Christmas." That's ridiculous. That's a whole new concept Bill introduced. Why? Because it's easy to knock down. A straw man.

Bill keeps swinging away at our crow-scaring friend:

"If you know a person who is offended by the word Christmas, I guarantee you walk away from that person! I'm not gonna invite 'em over for dinner, because I think they're unstable! I think there's something wrong with them!"

And there you have it. Bill has now marginalized anyone who disagrees with him... first as being part of 15% of the country... then as being part of one percent of the country... then as being part of an imaginary unstable section of that one percent.

What a dick.

So let's create a straw man of our own.

Let's call him Bill O'Reilly.

Let's say that, oh, I don't know, 70 percent of the country is opposed to the war in Iraq. Let's say that this peace-loving 70 percent decides to have Peace rallies in every major city in America on one day in December, and have big beautifully-lit Peace Sticks to mark the occasion.

And then let's say that every city in America gives kids the day off from school, and has Peace Stick day assemblies with Peace Stick day songs, and spends tax dollars to put up Peace Sticks and decorate them.

Bill O'Reilly would scream himself blue in the face about his tax money going to decorate Peace Sticks, something he doesn't support.

But Bill! Most Americans support the Peace Sticks!

Besides... Who doesn't like the word "peace"? If I ever met someone who was offended by the word "peace" I wouldn't have him over for dinner.

I'd think the guy was unstable!

One More Question About Last Week's Amazing Race

Given that Monument Valley is so breathtakingly beautiful that it could turn atheists into true believers in God's awesome power, how is it that the hyper-religious Weavers were so unimpressed, even scornful and mocking? Isn't that strange? Or is it just that everything the Weavers do is strange?

I don't think Mr. Weaver's dead, I think he just got while the getting was good.

The Best Gets Better


With the release of Firefox 1.5, the best and safest browser out there just got better, safer... and faster. Better pop-up blocking, automatic updates, tab arranging, and lots of other improvements, including a perceptible speed improvement for your web surfing.

Lizzie Grubman Took a Car...

I don't know about you, but I had never heard the words "Lizzie Grubman" until the unfortunately-faced PR whatever-she-is backed over 16 people with her SUV in 2001. And, frankly, I haven't heard a word about her again until now.

See, Land Rover introduced a new Sport SUV a few months ago. And guess who they hired to handle the East Coast PR for it.

Oh no, they di'n't. Oh, yeah, they did.

Lizzie Grubman.

Now, in fairness to Land Rover, when she slammed into those pedestrians she was driving a Mercedes SUV, not a Land Rover. See? It's a huge difference!

Yeah, you're probably right, they really should have slept on that hiring decision.

Anyhoo, bad press followed (surprise!) and now Natalie Bow has been fired (or a shot has been fired across Bow) as a result of this awful decision. (Read all about it in Inside Branded Entertainment)

I think it's astounding that anyone is still hiring someone who ran down 16 people to do anything in public relations.

But then again, someone is going to hire Michael Brown for disaster preparedness consulting, so what do I know?

I Have No Idea Why I Want One But I Do


A 360 degree LED television! A "centrepiece for your new entertaining area... quite literally" according to gizmag (via digg)


Fan Fiction

Sure, we've all heard of fan fiction -- stories written by fans that tell stories, sometimes erotic, about the characters in TV shows. And we've all heard that there are countless fan fiction websites devoted to shows like Stargate and Star Trek: The Next Generation and Lost...

But did you know there is
Diagnosis Murder fan fiction? How about Greatest American Hero? Presidio Med?

All this and a lot more, including movie fan fiction, is freely available for browsing at fanfiction.net. The site's well designed and there's a real feeling of empowerment here, as you can feel fans taking the lives of characters they love into their own hands and shaping new adventures for them.

I was so inspired that I have begun crafting my own fan fiction. I have, so far, written more than a dozen stories starring myself and
The Today Show's Natalie Morales and Alexis Glick.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mac Mini Reincarnated as an Apple PVR?


Think Secret is reporting on rumors that the Mac Mini will be reborn as the long-rumored Mac PVR, equipped with the new Front Row software and a possible iPod dock. For those of you who've never actually held a Mini in your hands, it's impossible for you to imagine how perfectly compact a form it is. I have a Mini in my media center to serve my iTunes and it fits nicely... if it had TiVo functionality that would be sweet.

Jon Stewart on Duke Cunningham:

"As Cunningham's legal troubles were emerging, then-Majority Leader Tom Delay rose to defend Cunningham by insisting, 'Duke Cunningham is an honorable man of high integrity.' It was the same speech in which Delay said of another colleague, 'Achilles has the strongest heel I've ever seen.'"

--The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, 11/29/05

The Man With the Shortest Fuse in the World

Apparently, if you're in Des Moines, Iowa, and a man asks you, "What's up?" do not answer "What's up?" or you will find yourself asked, "What's up?" again!

And then... if you dare to answer "What's up?" back?

Well... you're just asking for trouble.

The scenario above may seem far-fetched. But it happened to an undercover police officer, and it was at that point that the man, Stewart Jenkins, launched the bon mot, "I'll show you what's up." (Ohhhhhh, that's never good.)

Then Jenkins went inside to get his .38. (Ohhhhhh, that's really never good.)

Of course (say it with me) Jenkin had outstanding warrants, and he was on parole, and it all added up to a really bad set of decisions on Stewart's part (allegedly). Oh, and a search of his house turned up a whole shitload of crack. Allegedly.

(P.S. Should Mr. Jenkins ever read this in prison, let me just say that I think he got a totally raw deal, and it was a set-up and this cop had it in for him. It's really unfair the way The Man sticks it to a guy just out trying to find out what's up.)

I'm So Sad...

...because soon... not this post... not the next one... but soon... a post will knock those rod-raising bikini pictures of Jessica Simpson off the page.

REALLY Bad Customer Service: The Sequel

You'll love this:

So back on the 19th, I posted the following:


Then I went to CompUSA. I had ordered a cell battery at CompUSA.com and they sent me the wrong one, so I headed over there to swap it. The disaffected girl at the counter told me with a shrug, "If you order online you can't exchange it at the store, you hafta email them or whatever." No, "I'm sorry" or anything like that. Then she sneezed on me.

That same day, the 19th, I emailed CompUSA to ask them what to do (or whatever). Eight days later, the 27th, I emailed them to ask why I'd heard nothing and got the following reply:


RMA was issed on 11/21/2005 9:02:50 AM to this email address

Thank you.
CompUSA Customer Service

And no, your eyes don't deceive you. That is "issed"... as in a cross between the way the RMA was "issued" and the way I was "dissed" by this "fuck you" of a reply.

So I, more than a little irked, wrote back:


Um, so.... Can we assume I didn't get it? What, do you think I got the RMA and then decided to wait a few days and send another request for it because I'm a liar and this is so much fun?

Can you resend it?

Or if that's too much trouble can you point me to an URL where I can access it online?

Can you give me some guidance as to where or how to return the item you mistakenly shipped me?

What the hell is going on?

As you can see, I had decided to throw society's shackles of politesse aside, in hopes of freeing up our discourse sufficiently to get a friggin' RMA out of this yokel. Or maybe, I thought, I'd be pegged as a "problem customer" and I'd be kicked upstairs... to a person who'd see this exchange for what it was: a failure on CompUSA's part. He'd run down the hall, printout in hand, seeking to remedy this customer service shortfall ASAP, I imagined.

Was it to be?

Today I got this email:

We have requested that your return information again. Please check you
email and bulk folders.

Thank you.
CompUSA Customer Service

Okay, let's parse this. The first part has an elegant Tonto-Tarzan-Frankenstein simplicity to it. "We have requested that your return information again." Requested that... what? That it be sent to me? Not sent to me? Thrown away? Fed to crocodiles? Wadded up and shoved up my ass?

And then we get to the second sentence, which puts me in mind of the Italian chef from The Simpsons. "Ah, Lisa and Bart! Please check you email and bulk folders! Then look in you bowl! I make-a for you a nice-a RMA with marinara!"

Now it should be pointed out that I am checking me email folders. I am checking me email folders right now. That's how I am reading me fucking email. As for me bulk folder, me don't have bulk folder, and if me did have bulk folder, me would have checked last time, wouldn't me? Me not idiot. Me think of that last time... Many moons ago. When order new.

So I am left to wonder? Why is this person not simply sending me the RMA number him or herself? Is this a battle of wits? Am I destined to lose? As in any War Game, is the only way to win not to play? Should I simply give in, call them, sit on hold for fifteen minutes, and not get off the phone until they tell me the RMA number?

Or... Should I write an even nastier, snider, more childish email, wait for another dense reply, then report back to you? And are you just telling me to do that for your own amusement? Sayyyy, what's your game???

MSNBC.com's The Week in Pictures

Every week, MSNBC.com gathers some of the remarkable, the moving, the funny, and the unique pictures of the previous week and makes them available in one place: The Week in Pictures. It's a great site, though a warning: not all the pictures are as benign as these; some are as genuinely disturbing as the news itself. But that's life.

Monday, November 28, 2005

When Ads Look Like Hostage Situations, Part Two

When Ads Look Like Hostage Situations

"That's right, everyone's smiling..."

Set Lingo

The Artful Writer has a useful glossary of some movie set jargon, such as transpo, apple box, cowboy, etc. It's worth checking out, but then again the site is always worth checking out.

Yes, Because Having Sex Without Getting Money For It Would Be Demeaning


Adrants spotted this billboard in Iowa, where they're apparently fighting teen pregnancy with an appeal to core American values.

"Oral Sex at the Synagogue"

That was the headline on a very sensitive Newsweek column by a rabbi discussing the role the clergy must take in discussing sexuality with children. I, of course, should have read further; instead I just ran, pantsless, down to the temple. Imagine my dismay and embarrassment.

If You Have a Really Big Yard...


...you have just eight days left to bid on the original HOLLYWOOD sign. It's up for auction at eBay (item # 5640511574), and as of this writing, the bidding is at $24,100.00 and the reserve is not met, so head on over. And yes, they do have Paypal Buyer Protection.

Is It My Imagination...


...or could Sony charge three times as much for this MP3 player if it vibrated?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

60 Minutes Misses Again

It's amazing. Could someone buy the folks at 60 Minutes a calendar?

Every time they report on a story, they report it 10 or 20 years too late. Someone told them that the size of American homes is growing, which is definitely true; in fact, it's doubling, thanks to McMansions.

They're a blight or a blessing, depending on who you talk to, and they're a hot button issue. Fascinating. Timely. Perfect subject for a report.

So no wonder 60 Minutes got off that topic within about four minutes.

And instead got onto 70,000 foot monstrosities and seven-bathroom mansions and indoor volleyball courts and the kind of opulence that may have been newsworthy back when Robin Leach had a camera crew.

I mean, the 6o Minutes story actually had a flyover of the Aaron Spelling mansion. The Aaron Spelling mansion! When's the last time you saw that old chestnut? Isn't that house, like, a landmark by now?

What makes this even more unseemly is that these are exactly the kind of homes that Mike Wallace and Morley Safer, et al always seem to be photographed partying and vacationing in. And God only knows what kind of places they live in. So why criticize these houses? Because they're owned by strangers?

And on a side note, when... oh God when... WHEN will they, sobbing if need be, take Andy Rooney out behind the barn and let us hear that one, single crack of a rifle that lets us know that his -- and our -- misery has finally, mercifully, come to an end?

"What Can Brown Do For You?"

--Headline on Friday's Countdown with Keith Olbermann story on former FEMA head and unindicted racial exterminator Michael Brown becoming a disaster-preparedness consultant.

Denis Leary's "Merry F#%$in' Christmas!"


I could be wrong, but a Denis Leary Christmas special with guests William Shatner, Chris Elliott, Carmen Electra, Charlie Murphy and The Barenaked Ladies has to be worth a look-see. We'll find out tonight.

Speaking of Chris Elliott, I just got his new novel,
The Shroud of the Thwacker, and if I weren't so busy with work (and TV) I'd be extremely excited to be reading it. Soon...

One of These Pictures is of a Wax Figure Being Moved

The other is of a Pierce Brosnan wax figure being removed.