Friday, December 22, 2006

Best. Title. Ever.


As you may have noticed -- because it's usually quoted in this blog's header -- I have adopted a new credo, a new cornerstone for my personal philosophy, courtesy of Homer Simpson:

"Well, excuse me for having enormous flaws that I don't work on!!

So I have to give kudos to the band Places To Live for naming their new EP Well Excuse Me For Having Enormous Flaws That I Don't Work On. Though this does mean I'll have to come up with a new title for my memoirs.

You can order the EP at their MySpace page, and you can go to their website to download the song that's been monopolizing my iPod all day, "Yo Nadine! Let Me Walk Witchoo!"

Conan Casts the Iraq Study Group Movie

Bill O'Reilly's Favorite Moments He Was Made to Look Like an Asshole of 2006




By the way, seeing Oprah in this montage reminds me of how gracious and respectful she was to O'Reilly when he was on her show, even though he told lie after lie.

This was also the year that Oprah defended Bush's phony reassurances during Katrina by saying "But I didn't think that was lying. I thought he just had not been informed. There's a difference."

This was also yet another year where Oprah didn't use her forum to call out the Administration, in no uncertain terms, for lying us into the war.

But when it came to James Frey? Oprah mercilessly flayed him this year. For lying. (In a book which, to be honest, I'd never heard of.) She even assembled a distinguished panel of journalists and literary figures to help her rake him over the coals.

In that broadcast, she switched into "sanctimony mode" (as opposed to her other, equally-phony "girlfriend-under-the-hairdryer-next to yours" mode), and intoned the following:

I read this quote in The New York Times from Michiko Kakutani, who said it best, I think. She says, "This is not about truth in labeling or the misrepresentation of one author. … It is a case about how much value contemporary culture places on the very idea of truth."

And I believe that the truth matters.

If only Oprah thought the truth mattered when it's about stuff that matters.

Scared Yet?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Undesirable Affects

The Gutmacher Report, a comprehensive sex study published in Public Health Reports, has been getting a lot of media attention. The 25-year-long study proves what every thinking person already knew: 95% of the 38,000 respondents -- including 33,000 women -- had sex before marriage.

Even among those who remained abstinent into their 20's, 80% had premarital sex before they were 44. And apparently the numbers have been roughly the same since 1950.

Naturally, this news doesn't go down easy with the Bible-thumpers and the right-wingers. Especially after their recent triumph: extending abstinence-only programs to include people between the ages of 20 and 29. Yes, that's right. The Bush Administration is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get people in their 20's not to have sex. It would be funny if it weren't so hilarious.

Until you remember that's hundreds of millions of our tax dollars, frittered away for nothing.

But, as always when these knuckleheads "solve" a problem, they end up making it worse.

The real purpose of abstinence-only programs is not to promote abstinence, but to build a 700-mile wall between young people and information about safe sex. To keep sexually-active teens from hearing, for instance, that condoms can prevent pregnancy and STD's. Little stuff like that.

Because, the morons reason, if young people hear that birth control exists, they'll take it as permission to have sex. (Like they ever needed permission.)

It's like saying that once teens hear there is such a thing as fire extinguishers, they'll run around splashing gasoline and lighting matches.

Wait... some teens do start fires... I saw a story like that on the news a couple of months ago, so it must be a national epidemic. (Remember: everything you see on the news is happening everywhere all the time.)

So should we eliminate fire extinguishers from the public schools, and spend all that money on Smokey the Bear posters instead? Should we fire teachers who mention the word "hydrant" in the classroom? Block all phones in public schools from calling 911? Because all this talk of "firemen" and "rescue" only makes kids want to start fires.

Sure.

By denying people access to information about safe sex, Bush is literally paying to cause disease and unwanted pregnancy. (If he's so determined to waste a fortune ruining the lives of young people, why not just "bring them democracy"? But I digress.)

Anyhoo, typical of the right-wing response to the Gutmacher Report is this tidbit, from the Christian Broadcasting News. The article has the headline "Premarital Sex Study Questioned." Well, you see a headline like that, the story must be filled with quotes from scientists and other experts, right?

Wrong.

One person.

The article quotes only one person who questions the sex study.

Has CBN somehow merged with The Onion? I mean, come on: "Premarital Sex Study Questioned"???

If we're going to do news stories based on interviews with only one person, what's next? "Newspaper Stolen From Porch"? "Supermarket Manager Mean"? "Those Sons of Bitches: This is How They Get You"?

Next time I'm sick, will the headline be "Flu on the Rampage"?

But in fairness to CBN, that one person is not just any person... She's a concerned person:

Speaking for Concerned Women for America, Janice Crouse, who strongly supports abstinence-only education, views the results of the survey with much skepticism, "Any time I see numbers that high, I'm a little suspicious."

Well, it's hard to argue with the science behind that.

She strongly believes, "The numbers are too pat."

Yes, don't you just hate numbers? Always so pat. They think they're so smart and exact, being numbers and all. Why can't they be baseless and iffy, like beliefs? Or, even better, strong beliefs!

(This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Stephen Colbert's "truthiness" is the Word of the Century.)

Then the article parachutes into the drop zone:

Regardless of the affects [sic] of such surveys, many conservatives realize that there is much work ahead of them in the battle promoting abstinence before marriage.

Affects, many and much? This is some article! If I were Bill O'Reilly, I'd give CBN one of the Peabodies I don't have.

The point is this: Any time someone claims that this study is a load of liberal propaganda, and that our grandmas and grandpas weren't having sex, that life was so much more innocent back in the day, you can shut them down with just one sentence.

One simple sentence that no one ever says, but that can come in so handy so often:

When Ronald Reagan married Nancy, she was in her third month of pregnancy.

End of story.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SRS iWOW


For years, SRS has been working miracles, creating Virtual Surround Sound from ordinary speakers. Now SRS technology is available as a Mac iTunes plug-in called iWow, which you can try for free. (There's a PC program available, too.)

Once I tried iWow on one of my Macs, I immediately bought it for all of them. It may be all in my head (literally), but it truly does make the sound richer and more satisfying. It was also the answer to a prayer: one of the recent OS X updates rendered my Macbook speakers practically inaudible. This simple plug-in solved the problem... at least for iTunes.

For Those Of You Planning Your Wedding, I Found the Music For Your First Dance

I Can't Help It, It Makes Me Laugh

By Far, My Pick for Person of the Year

If this is indeed the year of the uploaded video, then I say that this is the real Person of the Year:



And no tribute to the spirit of 2006 would be complete without revisiting what was, for me, the greatest moment of 2005. Here's how much I love it: It's one of my ringtones.



Boob Job

Last week Defamer was kind enough to give a shout-out to one of my projects, referring to "upcoming prestige project Boob Job."

Unfortunately, a long time ago I made a bet that no one would ever mention something I wrote in the same sentence as the words "prestige project." I now owe my mother ten bucks.

Speck 40% Off Sale


I love my Converse Chucks, so it only seems natural that my favorite Macbook case would be the Speck Canvas Sport, with its Converse-inspired design. It ordinarily sells for $39.95, but until December 21st, Speck has it for 40% off with coupon code HOLIDAY40.

Sucks for me since I paid full price, but it works out for you. They have other products on sale, though unfortunately not the Specktone Retro (below), an iPod speaker system that I have and love. (Even so, at $99 it's a good deal.)

Now if only Speck would make a Canvas Sport for the 17" Macbook Pro.

Laura Bush Had a Cancerous "Sore That Wouldn't Go Away" Removed Last Month

Its name was Donald Rumsfeld.