Monday, December 31, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cody "Snake" Willard

"Tell him I'll respond to this Abrams dude when he's got enough guts to man up to the bar with me. Anytime."

-- Fox Business Channel host Cody Willard

First of all, you'll have to take my word for it: there actually is a Fox Business Channel. You probably even have it somewhere on your system, but I wouldn't recommend watching this thing.

Second of all, Willard was responding via TV Newser to MSNBC's Dan Abrams. Abrams repeatedly commits what is apparently a cardinal sin at Fox: he shows clips of their mistakes. Very unfair. Fox only believes in news that
isn't documented.

But the funniest thing about this quote? Willard does his show from the bar at the Waldorf=Astoria.

The Waldorf=Astoria????

Yes, Cody Willard is actually proclaiming himself
the baddest dude at the Waldorf.

I mean, just look at the picture below. Oooooh, I'm shakin'...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Slice of Life: Actual Transcript of Call I Just Received

What follows is an actual transcript of a phone call I got this morning, from one of my insurance companies. If it was truly recorded, that tape should go into the Corporate Illogic Hall of Fame:

CALLER: Hello, Mr. Markowitz?

ME: Yes?

CALLER: Mr. Michael Markowitz?

ME: Yes?

CALLER: This is ________ from ___________. This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes. May I have your _____________ for identification?

ME: No, I'm sorry.

CALLER: Uh... what?

ME: I don't give out identifying information to just anyone who calls. You can understand that.

CALLER: But we need it for identification purposes.

ME: Why? You called me.

CALLER: We need to identify that you're Mr. Markowitz.

ME: And not someone sitting in his house, just waiting for a random phone call? Seems an unlikely scam. Why don't you email me whatev--


ME: What?

CALLER: Sir, we need, for ID purposes--

ME: I'm sorry, regardless of what "you need" you're calling from a blocked number, asking for personal information. I'm going to have to hang up.


ME: Besides, ________ has never called me before. They've always emailed me.

CALLER: I don't believe we ever email people.

ME: Oh, okay. Thanks. Bye.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm Burned Out on D.J. Assholica

I just downloaded the hotly-anticipated (at least by me) Burnout Paradise demo, and realized to my horror that EA had taken the only awful thing about the SSX series and grafted it onto the Burnout series:

that really, really annoying D.J.

This guy (or, rather, others like him) had made it impossible to enjoy my virtual snowboarding, and now he was yammering away on my pretend car radio, with no off switch.

Well, the good news is, he does have an off switch: just go to options and turn off "Tips." Yeah, it should be an audio option, but turns out this idiot is annoying even in the abstract.

Anyway, flick that option and EA will kindly shove a wet towel in his mouth, so you can enjoy your mayhem in peace. See you at the Wharf!

You Want Solny? Samsum? I Make For You Very Good Deal!

I always thought of as a reliable, low-price online retailer. Thanks to this ad, I now think of them like one of those electronics stores run by men of questionable Middle-Eastern descent. You know, the ones that have been having a "Going Out of Business" sale for twenty years or so?

Although that would explain's baffling, irritating, sleazy, customer-unfriendly practice of offering fantastic discount codes, but only for new customers. Perhaps they don't expect to even have repeat customers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An Important Message From Conan O'Brien

My Favorite Movie

More than twenty years ago, I first saw Chuck Workman's short film Precious Images. I've been a movie lover all my life, and this masterpiece really got to me. It went on to win the Oscar.

I begged everyone I knew then or had ever known before to nab me a VHS tape of it. I finally got one, and in the last twenty years I've watched that tape over a thousand times. It always inspires me.

Well, yesterday I realized the tape was finally, officially, a goner. Thank goodness for the Internet, because now I have a non-deteriorating copy, and a corner of the Web in which to store it and share it.

Now if Workman's Writers Guild Foundation tribute, Words, were only available online, I'd post it, too. Precious Images and Words make our argument better, I think, than the picket lines do.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Darker and Darker

There was once a show on MSNBC called Morning Joe, where a casually-dressed, funny and genial Joe Scarborough ruminated on the events of the day with John Ridley and Mika Brzezinski and Chris Licht.

Then the show moved to 30 Rock, John Ridley became an unperson, Chris Licht moved into the control room, and Joe started wearing suits and ties and sitting -- or is it floating? -- in front of a weird, moving background of coffee stains (you have to see it to know I'm not kidding)... and now he is more shrill and table-thumpingly wrongheaded than ever before.

Friday he went more than a little berserk. First he started screaming what he thought the White House should have said about the NIE scandal: that it was a strategy for peace all along. Which would be fine, except it's a lie. The White House can't claim to have a months-old strategy for peace that Bush says he only learned about last week.

Then he went off about how moved he and all Evangelicals were by Romney's speech. How real Americans are touched by such inspiring rhetoric, despite what New York cynics say. How Romney was truly Kennedy-esque.

But, Joe? Kennedy said the separation between church and state was absolute. Romney said those who say it's absolute are wrong. He said secularism was a religion... and apparently the only religion not allowed in America.

(Whenever Joe defends some nonsense by saying we city folk don't need to understand it because it was being said directly to Evangelicals, it makes those decent religious folks seem like a secret, racist cabal. They should ask Joe to stop "defending" them.)

Joe said all Romney was saying was that for our Founding Fathers faith and freedom were intertwined. David Shuster valiantly tried to point out that there is a difference between "intertwined" and "freedom requires religion".... that it was like saying it doesn't matter what football team you root for, but you better like football if you want to live in America.

Joe would have none of it.

When Shuster quoted the New York Times, Joe was scornful. Wasn't this the same New York Times that once said Bush would drag us back into the Dark Ages?

Joe said in the next segment he'd be defending waterboarding. Which seemed ironic to me, since waterboarding was big back in the Dark Ages. I don't think Joe meant it to be ironic. I deleted the show without finishing it, so I'll never know.

This morning Joe wasn't on, and Morning Joe was a pleasure once again. I won't be watching the show any more once Joe returns from sick leave.

MSNBC, can there please be such a thing as Morning Joe without Joe? Maybe a Decaf Morning Joe?

"Mr. President, We Have Big News About Iran..."

If you were President, you'd reply:

(A) Super. Adios.

(B) Thanks for stopping by.

(C) Back at ya whenever.

(D) Tell me more.

If you're me or you or any other multicelled creature, you say (D). But Bush wants us to believe -- seriously -- that his answer was one of the other three. Seriously, that's HIS explanation.

And Cheney knew the contents of the report, but didn't tell Bush. I'm not kidding, that's the official story!

Of course they're lying. They tried to lie us into another war, and got busted. And apparently, may still get us into the war anyway. Because this issue is fading. Amazingly.

I'm begging you, Congress: Hearings. Now. Seriously.

See Mock, Paper Scissors for a synopsis of what Congress seems to be unable or unwilling to admit: Bush has finally committed an impeachable offense that even a third-grader can understand and for which there is no defense. And if he didn't, he's not competent to continue in his job.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In Other Words...

From today's New York Times:

“This is a bit of an example of Facebook being, as we refer to it, ‘out over your skis.’ They got a little bit ahead of themselves,” said Elizabeth Ross, president of the digital advertising agency Tribal DDB West..

You know what, Elizabeth? Just say "they got ahead of themselves." If you have to explain your little "sayings" when you say them they're not worth saying, are they?

You'll notice I left out the "little bit." That's because you don't need it. Speaking of bits, it's not "a bit" of an example. It's an "example." Do you get paid by the "bit"? (And since I tend toward windbaggery myself, if I'm calling you on verbosity, take it seriously.)

Try this next time: "Facebook got ahead of themselves." Isn't that better?

People of Tribal DDB West: If you are trapped in a meeting with this woman, and she is taking three times as long to say something as she needs to, you have my sympathies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Well-Fed Mac

The only thing I love more than discovering cool new Mac apps is getting them at a discount.

If you scroll down on the right hand side of this page you'll find a link to the best way to do that: MacZot. Every day you get an offer for a new Mac app in your inbox. It's addictive and inexpensive... a great combo.

Another way to find great apps is through bundle offers, and there's a really good one going on right now. Go to Give Good Food For Your Mac and find a lot of really useful apps on sale. The more you buy, the bigger your discount.

The only downside for me is that these apps are so good I already owned a lot of them!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Who's the Band?" "That's Right."

"It's Not Perjury or Obstruction of Justice If There's No Underlying Crime"

Remember how often we heard that one during the Libby trial? It was right-wing talking point numero uno.

And now that Scott McClellan has seemingly implicated Bush in the cover-up, Fox News will schlep it out again and again.

"It's not perjury or obstruction if there is no underlying crime." They really believe that, I guess.

So I assume the Fox News nuts will also spring to the defense of Barry Bonds. Right?

I mean, if they don't... well that would make them hypocrites. Right?

You'll Want to Sit Down For This One

"It is not up to generals to set policy."

-- John Bolton, responding to the near-unanimous military opposition to action against Iran, on Hardball. He no doubt forgot to cite the "Petraeus Exception."

WGA Strike: If Howard Gould Ran for Congress, I'd Move to His District Just to Vote For Him

Monday, November 19, 2007

Based on This Ad, I'm Dangerously Close to Voting for Mike Huckabee

I gotta admit, I'd like to have a President who knows about the legendary Chuck Norris facts website. My favorite fact? "Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried."

Anyway, here's the Huck's new ad:

P.S. Posting this is not a real endorsement.  Please vote for Joe Biden.  Seriously. 

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Let's Get Our Buttercup Priorities Straight

Let me understand this: Buttercup is untrue. She builds you up only to let you down. She messes you around.

But not calling when she says she will? That's "worst of all"??


Okay, she tells you time and again she'll be over at ten. So deal. Expect her to be late. Do a sudoku or something. You need to relax.

No Lost? No 24? No L&O's or CSI's? My Message to the AMPTP:

A Classic Commercial That Has Haunted Your Nightmares For Years

The eeriest thing about this ad is that they traveled back in time to get an 18-year-old Helen Hunt to star in it. Also, the supersized Oompa Loompas are pretty scary.

But the best part is when Business Guy gives the hand signals that mean, "I have a huge dick and it's time for my phone sex, what can I do?"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Squidoo/WGA Strike 2007

Squidoo Entertainment has a great WGA Strike resource and info page.

There are so many strike roundups and forums out there... If anyone else can suggest a good one, please do.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What to Do When You Have No SIgnal

In my never-ending quest to infertain as well as enterform, here are a couple of weird-but-useful tips.

I previously told you how to squeeze a little more juice out of a dead cell phone battery. But what if you have no signal? Or simply not enough bars to suit you?

You might try sticking your cell phone in your armpit for a minute or so. When you take it out, you just might have a much better signal. Yeah, I'm serious. It actually works most of the time.

When it comes to cell phone technology, I'm no Hedy Lamarr, but the way I understand it, when you hide the phone it loses its signal. Therefore, when you take it out, it is forced to find the best new signal it can.

Armpits won't help you if you want to lock or unlock your car, but you're too far away for the keychain remote signal to reach. (Or maybe you're lost in a parking garage, and want your car to chirp until you find it.)

Once again, you'll feel silly, but it works: point the remote into your chin and push. As it was explained to me, your body becomes a sort of antenna, and you'll more than double your range. Try it, and marvel at becoming one with your tech.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tangier by Far Than the Cleveland Kind

You may have had an Asian Steamer... or even a Bamboo Asian Steamer if you've been to Thailand. But until you've done it 3-Piece style with a lid, brother, you ain't living!

If you try this at Crate & Barrel, a word of warning: You break it, you bought it.

I Have a Feeling This Place Has Terrible Customer Service

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Okay, I Said I Wouldn't Write Anything During the Strike...

... but I figure a post about the WGA strike should be exempt. Right?

If I hear one more person claim the Internet can't be made profitable I might scream. And not just because they sell millions and millions of units on iTunes, from which Apple makes only a small percentage. (I don't know what the cut is on Unbox or Xbox, but I assume it's comparable.)

And it's not just because every time I watch an episode on one of the networks' websites I see ads. But then again, taking ad money and not splitting it with anyone is an old network trick from way back.

What really drives me crazy is the whole "no way to make money online" crap. "It's the Wild West!" "No one's figured out how to monetize the Internet!"

¿Como se dice Google?

If the networks and studios are having trouble making money with their online business model, it's because they don't have one. They're treating the Internet like it's a big Tower Records, another place to sell their wares. And we all know what happened to Tower Records.

Google, meanwhile, is the most wildly profitable enterprise in the history of the universe, and they don't charge a penny for their products and services. They recognize that, in this century, data is more valuable than content.

The networks and studios should give the content away. Take a cue from Radiohead and shareware. Watch it, enjoy it, pay what it's worth. (Radiohead's seen almost 40% compliance. That's pretty damn good for the honor system, don't you think?)

Also, audiences would, I think, happily pay a la carte for extras like deleted scenes, commentaries, press kits, behind-the-scenes videos, and so on. And what about membership in the kinds of online clubs that Todd Rundgren pioneered. Pay a yearly fee of, say, $50, and get access to an on-set webcam, sneak peeks, cast interviews, etc.

I joined the Who fan club and got a year's worth of daily entertainment and content and a concert DVD at the end. Have you ever joined a fan club for a TV show? Chances are you got a mug and a 10% discount on other crap you could buy.

And we still haven't gotten to the money they make from that crap: hats and shirts and bobbleheads, and cobranding with Target and McDonalds and all the rest. And have you ever picked up a Circuit City or Best Buy circular and seen your favorite TV stars' faces on all the TVs on sale? Someone makes money on that, don't you think?

Now, though, comes the real payday.

Through all of this the studios are collecting extremely detailed demographic data. They could take all this data and use it for targeted ads and auctioned space, just like Google. And then sell the data to the many indstries that would salivate to have it. Imagine if a network sold, say, BMW or an ad agency something they can actually use, instead of an ad during a show no one's watching.

And that's just ONE way to make a fortune off the Internet. And are there flaws? Sure, probably. I'm just a guy sitting here. But at least I took a moment to think of a plan. What are the studios and networks doing?

If we take them at their own word, absolutely nothing.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Star to Teens (After Check Cleared): Drop Dead!

The bottom line in the latest Star Jones mess is that teenage girls struggling with their weight and self-esteem say they were hurt by Jones' no-show.

The former "View" host wanted $25,000 to speak to 1,500 overweight girls and their mothers, members of the Detroit nonprofit Full and Fabulous, in February of last year. According to director Sharon Dumas-Pugh, Jones took their $17,000 deposit, two air tickets she upgraded to first class on their dime, and a suite in a five-star hotel - but never showed up for the event at Detroit's Martin Luther King Jr. High School when Full and Fabulous couldn't come up with the rest of the cash. Instead, she went to the Super Bowl (which was being held in Detroit) and a fashion show, and arranged her own book-signing at a Borders..."

"We prayed, we tried to get the rest of the money. Almost all of these are low-income kids. On Thursday night, some of the mothers and I went around to the Super Bowl parties asking for donations.

"She is just so selfish. The travel agent told her if she and her husband could arrive at 5 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., it would save us $800. The agent told me, "Star had a temper tantrum and said, 'Nobody tells me when to travel!'

"These kids had bake sales and washed cars to raise that money... Disappoint these girls? Oh, no, I don't think so."

-- NY Daily News, 11/6/07

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Too Good, and Yet It IS True. Eye Fi is an SD Card With Wi-Fi!

Is It Possible to Love an Appliance?

My Magic Bullet is jealous.

Until now, the miraculous Magic Bullet was the kitchen appliance I dug the most. But I now have a new love: my Rocket Grill

This thing turns frozen meat into delicious dinner in under ten minutes. Unattended. With no clean-up. AND with grill marks.

I may use my Magic Bullet more... but I marvel at my Rocket Grill and its seemingly magical powers.

It is so nice to buy something "off the TV" and come away happy. After having been burned on hot dog toasters and rotating pizza grills, and the King of all Crap, the Rotato. And don't even get me started on those potato gloves!

Which brings me to my next question: My hand is quivering over my credit card, ready to pounce on the Jack Lalanne Health Master 100 Blender/Juicer. Anyone out there have this thing? Is it a Rotato or a Magic Bullet?

Pause (Second in a Series)

"...but the fact of the matter is we're bankrupting the next generation. We're spending the money of our grandkids and those yet to be born. They don't have a seat at the table.

Our present mandatory spending cycle leaves us in an unsustainable position. The comptroller tells us that, the Government Accountability Office -- everybody that looks at it says it's unsustainable.

Can you imagine something that's unsustainable and threatens our economy for our grandchildren and those yet to be born not being discussed more on the campaign trail?"

-- Sen. Fred Thompson, Republican Debate, 10/21/2007


Senator Thompson,just for a moment, please realize that those of us who are against the war are saying the exact same thing. Simply substitute "policies in Iraq and Iran"" for "present mandatory spending cycle." And add the Pentagon to the list of critics. It's all we're saying.

And when you speak about Social Security? When you criticize the present government policy? You're not doing it because you hate America, are you?

Neither are we.

Just consider it, for a moment. Please.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Special Operations Warrior Foundation

I've just been made aware of a very important charity, worthy of your contribution: The Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Like the site says:

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) provides free college scholarship grants, along with financial aid and educational counseling, to the children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations personnel who were killed in an operational mission or training accident.

And here are just two of the testimonials to the work of the SOWF:

"In October 1993, my life and my family's future dreams were shattered with notification that my husband was killed in Mogadishu, Somalia. In 1996 I was contacted by the Warrior Foundation with a generous offer for counseling and scholarship assistance for my two sons. I thought it was too good to be true. Your generous contributions will allow for my sons to fulfill the educational dreams that Matt and I had planned for them."
-- Trish Rierson, the widow of Sergeant First Class Matthew Rierson who was killed in Somalia, October 1993.

"Please keep up the terrific work on the SOF Warrior Foundation. It helps us all to do our job better to know our families are taken care of."
-- Captain William McRaven, Naval Special Warfare Group One

Come to think of it, this isn't a charity at all. Our donations are a small attempt at repaying the enormous debt of gratitude we owe these elite heroes for their devotion to protecting our freedoms. We owe their families, too, for their innumerable sacrifices. Even before the ultimate sacrifice, these families give so much so we can be free. They're heroes, too.

Please take a moment to
really "support our troops" in the way they'd like best: by taking care of their families. Click the logo below to make a contribution.

And if you're so inclined, please do me a favor and choose the "SSG Joseph Curreri Memorial" from the "Program Area" drop down menu. Thanks.

Pause (First in a Series)

In an attempt to raise the level of discourse, and to bring light instead of heat, I'm starting a new feature. Instead of arguing with or berating those I disagree with, I'm going to simply call for a "Pause." A moment where they can just consider an idea. Not a long argument, just one single idea, one line of thought.

I did it once before, when I asked in a post if it wasn't possible that the beauty of Evolution actually flatters God. Of course I did it in a long-ass post, so ....

Okay, so here's the first one:

Nearly every day for the last week or so, George W. Bush has scolded the Congress for sending SCHIP to his desk again. He's angry that they're wasting the nation's time passing a bill they knew he'd veto.


Mr. Bush, is it possible... just possible... that you wasted the nation's time vetoing a bill you knew they'd pass again?

And if those two concepts are equally plausible, then isn't that why God, when He created Man, gave him the gift of compromise?

Thank you for your time. You may resume moving about the White House.

Once and For All, Can Someone Please Decide?

Seriously, is the party over here, or is the party over there?

I've been driving around the block for years.

The U.S.S. Enterprise Putter

At the end of Caddyshack, Rodney Dangerfield has one of my favorite lines in movie history: "Hey, everybody! We're all gonna get laid!"

Well... if anyone there had one of these putters? Not so much.

And since I'm in a Caddyshack mood:

Just Because Halloween is Over Doesn't Mean You Can't Still Be Scared

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hey, It's Better Than Drunken Clowns

Who knew there was a whole category of collectible figures yet to be explored?

Boym Partners' "Buildings of Disaster" collection boasts both lovely craftsmanship and witty blasphemy. Qualities I admire.

These limited edition, bonded nickel works feature such notorious locations as The Dakota, Chernobyl, and (as seen below) Ford's Theatre,
Neverland Ranch, and the Texas Book Depository, and . There's even a tiny little OJ chase, if you're feeling nostalgic.

Available at Velocity Art and Design, which actually has lots of extremely cool stuff. (via Uncrate).

"Will It Blend?" The Greatest Thing Since "Will It Float?"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If I Were a Defense Attorney...

... this would be a Golden Age.

Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face, then waited 24 hours to report it (presumably so his blood alcohol could level out), then refused to speak to the police. I've pointed out that this seems to present a fantastic precedent for everyone accused of, say, killing someone while driving drunk. Just stash the body in the trunk, wait a day or two, then have a friend call the police while you go on vacation.

Now comes another groundbreaking legal precedent, courtesy of the right wing.

Every time someone accuses Bush of lying our troops into a folly of a war, and callously sending them off to die for nothing, the conversation is shut down by someone's "outrage" over this "insult to our troops."

And this idiotic argument works! It's even kept Congress from defunding the war!

So here's my advice to lawyers:

The next time you're defending a very guilty con artist or holdup man, and the prosecution opens by detailing your client's heartless crime committed against, say, an elderly couple...

... instead of offering an opening argument, simply rise and say, "I don't know about you people but I love and respect our senior citizens, particularly this loving and decent couple. And I am not going to stand around and let the prosecution characterize them as 'dupes' or 'victims' or worse! What kind of message does that send to our seniors?! You can all stay if you want to, but my client and I are leaving!"

And then walk out. Seriously, what are they gonna do to you? The law only has whatever power you give it. That's the Bush Administration credo.

Remember: if you commit a crime, respecting the authority of the law is the worst thing you can do. It's why Marion Jones will likely go to prison for the exact same crime Scooter Libby skated on. Her mistake was apologizing.

Monday, October 22, 2007

"What have you done to its eyes?!"
"He has his father's eyes."

Speaking of Herbert from Family Guy, if he has a blow-up doll it probably looks like this. That can't be the effect McDonalds was going for, but they achieved it. Then again, they probably didn't mean to give me screaming nightmares for the rest of my life, either, but they did that, too.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Comedy Central has launched a great new Daily Show website that is on its way to offering the entire TDS video library. In recognition and appreciation of this awesome development, here is one of my favorite Stephen Colbert pieces ever:

(Some have reported plug-in trouble with the Comedy Central player. If you have this problem, try the player on the bottom.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is America To Me?

Yeah, I Know...

I know Larry Craig is a hypocrite and a liar. And I know he is just about the creepiest media personality since David Gest.

But my advice to Larry?

DO NOT RESIGN. If they want you out of your office, make 'em send a SWAT team. Don't leave until they start lobbing tear gas.

Why should you resign? It's not like you SHOT A GUY IN THE FACE or something.

That's right, Dick Cheney shot an old man in the face, and not only did he not resign, he has, to this day, refused to be interviewed by police! Hell, he made the old man he shot apologize to him!

So Larry, you stay put, you big gay hypocrite freedom fighter, you.

Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)

Just So I Understand the Fox News Grading System...

Rudy Giuliani:

Failed to prepare city for terrorist attack

Caused the deaths of innumerable rescue workers through incompetence and dishonesty

In the two months following 9/11, spent more time at Yankee games than at Ground Zero

Abandoned "search for victims" as soon as gold reserve worth hundreds of millions of dollars was retrieved

Sent victims' remains to Fresh Kills landfill, later used some of the remains of our honored dead to fill potholes

Blew off 9/11 Commission meetings for paying gigs

Made millions as "anti-terrororist consultant"


Sean Penn:

Plunged chest-deep in contaminated water for days carrying Katrina victims to safety


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Last Post for a While

When the Congress and the press kept rehashing a MoveOn ad instead of the actual war, I started to slip. When someone said on TV that she didn't know if the world is round, I slipped a little further. When George Bush's biggest contributor singlehandedly killed any hope of oil revenue sharing in Iraq, and nobody noticed, I really slid.

But today I hit bottom (see below).

I have to take a break while I decide what country to move to.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If Only She Could Get Americans to Sound This Good

I Can't Believe I Didn't Win Big Brother!

I really thought I had a shot.  See, when Zach described how he had played out his brilliant, master strategy, he said it involved:

1.  Not talking to anyone in the house
2.  Coasting
3.  Eating alone

Then I realized: Hey!  I've done those things, too!

But both of us lost.  I was rooting for Dick almost all along, so I was pleased.  If you really think about it, except for Carol or maybe Nick, Dick might have been the nicest person in the house.  Seriously.  Think about it.  

As always with Big Brother, the evil people don't know that they're evil.   Dustin is still trying to process the notion that America hates him.  And Amber!  Did you see her summon up all that indignation over Danielle's "immoral" behavior toward her boyfriend?

It was great.  Amber, a former meth addict who hid abortions from her boyfriend, is the arbiter of morality.

Eric swore to Jessica that the America's Player thing had nothing to do with what happened between them.  Uh, Eric?  Didn't America actually dictate your first kiss?  

Jessica will be SO pissed when she finds out (and Amber will surely be outraged).  I have a feeling that's why that moment was left out of the montage.  Eric must have begged them, on bended eyebrows, not to include it.

Speaking of Jessica, last night was fascinating.  All summer long, forced to make do without a lot of makeup and clothes, she looked so cute.  But last night she had the chance to put her Kansas trash look back on.  She went from looking like a semi-hot UCLA student to looking like someone you can bang in the Dairy Queen parking lot if you bring beer.

(I had previously predicted that Jessica's looks would break really bad in about a year.  After last night, I'm cutting that down to three months.)

And Amber, for some reason, wore a California King sheet.  If only she had been one of the dogs Michael Vick killed.

Zach is an imbecile.  You really shouldn't have more hair product than hair.

Why was there no second hour?  Survivor gets two hours for a really boring town meeting, so why did this show end just when it got interesting?  So they could show an NCIS rerun??

Forget blood diamonds, the real tragedy in this world is the amount of body glitter Julie Chen and the jurors were wearing.  Unless you've had a run-in with Auric Goldfinger, your skin should not look like that.

The only good thing about Big Brother ending is we'll never again have to hear Julie say, "Eric is working for yooooooooo, America."

Jameka and Amber still believe they were in the LNC alliance.  They went to the first meeting, then never showed up again!  They're like the Rudy Giuilianis of the house.

I still want someone to explain to me what happened after Amber's big anti-Eric blow-up. The chain of events has a big hole:

Dick warned everyone that Eric and Dustin were liars.  Amber found out it was true: Eric had betrayed her.  Dustin promised to vote Eric out.  Next thing we saw was Dustin betrayed Amber, kept Eric, Dick was proven right... and still everyone hated Dick and loved Eric and Dustin.  Why?   What did we miss?  I gots to know.

Jen, you moron.  It is not possible to grab a lit cigarette from someone's hand without burning your hand.  And it's not the smoker's fault.  

My Head Hurts

Something happened the other day, and I still haven't recovered.

Sean Hannity was red with rage about something Hillary Clinton said. (The "willing suspension of disbelief" thing.) He and his guest were shouting about it. (On Fox News, they even yell when they agree.)

Is she calling General Petraeus a liar? Suggesting that a decorated soldier would lie to Congress? A brave hero of the Armed Forces, say something that's not true? The gall of it! That's treason!

Who was the guest?

Convicted felon and liar Oliver North.

Are We STILL Debating About Michael Vick??

Lawrence O'Donnell is a very smart man. But he said something very stupid last week on NPR. And three times in this still-young week, I saw someone on TV say the same thing. It goes like this:

"Isn't it ridiculous to send a man to prison for killing dogs, when we as a society kill cows and pigs every day? What's the difference?"

Specious doesn't even begin to describe this argument. When someone says this to you, please repeat after me:

"The difference is we don't kill cows and pigs for fun."

It's not "entertainment" to watch cows and pigs die. It's not something we do while drinking beer with our friends. The people who actually kill the cows and pigs do it as a job, not a diversion. None of them would describe it as "invigorating" or "amusing." They wouldn't do it in their yards.

And hunting? I despise hunting. But at least hunters stress the importance of killing quickly, of lessening the suffering. Even the proudest, most ardent hunter wouldn't describe the death of the animal as "entertaining."
He wouldn't kill the animal an inch at a time while cheering.

Forcing dogs to fight is a bloodsport. Seriously. Bloodsport.

Thunderdome, Spartacus, Christians-and-lions kinda stuff. Who could defend it?

Michael Vick did not make a mistake. He sponsored and enjoyed a savage bloodsport for six years. Presumably enough time to realize it was wrong. Or at the very least, illegal.

Plus, and it bears repeating:

He killed dogs with his bare hands!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Sorcery, I Tell You!

Teleport is a free (donations accepted) software KVM switch for Macs. In other words, it lets you control all the Macs in your network using one keyboard and mouse (or trackpad, if you're 'Booked). Just as if you were using multiple displays: drag the cursor to the edge of the screen, and you're controlling the other computer. You can drag and drop items, even cut and paste. Easy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sheikh Yersoda

If you know any old wives, they've probably told you the Tale of the Shaken Soda Can Tap. Today alone I've gotten two emails about it.

The story goes like this: If some bastard shakes up your soda, and you don't want to be wet as a Mento, simply tap the side and/or top of the can a few times and you can safely open it.

People. Trust your faithful and friendly correspondent:

Make no mistake, this trick does work. The same way tapping your head after you drink the soda will eventually make you piss.

In other words, it's not the tapping that works the magic. It's the time it takes to tap.

Soda packaging technology has come a long way. For years, soda's been canned such that all you have to do is wait 20 or 30 seconds after shaking for the pop not to pop. (It's probably less than 20 seconds, but who wants to experiment?)

Speaking of the tapping/time equation, I've always believed that the pleasure of smoking comes not from the tobacco, but from the fact that smoking forces you to stop and take long, deep breaths. God, I miss smoking.

Now I Know Where The Washington Times Gets Its Editorials

"I wasn't pondering the great events of the world last week. I was pondering my putts..."

-- TWT Editor Tony Blankley, on how he spent his vacation

Emmy Notes

I can't think of a year when there were so many categories crowded with worthy nominees. It was hard to pick. I'm glad Emmy mixed it up for a change (no offense, Tony Shalhoub).

Some of the wins made me very happy. Terry O'Quinn is extraordinary on Lost, particularly this past season. His work is so delicate and precise, his gifts should be the envy of every actor. I wish Michael Emerson could have won, too... but he already has an Emmy for his astonishing work on The Practice, so I don't feel too bad. Still, Ben is an incredible, complex character, and Emerson fleshes him out in a million unexpected ways. (The same could be said of the unjustly ignored Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly)

As a longtime Emmy judge, I always feel it's important to separate the actual work from the show. (Actually, I think it's vital.) People in the media don't understand that you can honor great work even if it's on a mediocre show.

For instance, I thought Grey's Anatomy had a dreadful season, but I thought Katherine Heigl was great, her best work ever. The show could have used a lot more Izzie. (And by the way, it was inexcusable that the Emmy announcer mispronounced her name.)

And while I love James Spader, I was hoping for Hugh Laurie or Keifer Sutherland to win. For Laurie I make no apology; he was incredible this season. Whatever you thought of 24 this season (and come on, relax, it wasn't that bad) Sutherland's work was as good as ever. And not since David Duchovny and X-Files has one actor been called upon to appear in so many scenes every week. (Compare Keifer's shooting week to, say, Marcia Cross's. When she's there.)

Moving on... I honestly don't get the not-shaving thing. I can see if you're sporting a rugged layer of stubble. Or if your image demands some scruff. Then it's cool. But Jeremy Piven showed up with the full Fred Flintstone. And by the way, I honestly don't understand how it's possible for Jeremy Piven to not have time to comb his hair. Especially since he doesn't have to be in the room when it's combed.

Those censorship cutaways were disgraceful. Haven't we all learned to live with the silent bleep by now? Do we have to flee to the roof every time someone says something iffy? If Ray Romano's bleeped word was, in fact, "screwing" then that's just ridiculous. The 'Til Death promo was racier than that.

And I certainly hope that Sally Field was censored for the "goddamn" and not for the sentiment. I don't think being anti-war is so controversial, do you? Not in any time, and certainly not in this time. But I will say, her speech would have been a thousand times more effective had she not accidentally revealed it was memorized word-for-word. Takes the fun out of it.

The Office and 30 Rock are the best comedies on TV. And Tina Fey is, perhaps, the sexiest woman on TV. With Jenna Fischer close behind. Speaking of Jenna, it's impossible for me to believe that there exists a human who thinks America Ferrera is better than Jenna Fischer or Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

If Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell had to lose, at least it was to Ricky Gervais. His work on Extras was jaw-droppingly good. But if ever there was an argument for a three-way tie, this category was it.

Lewis Black is the king. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Conan O'Brien just make me smile by existing. I may be the only one, but I became weary of Elaine Stritch's schtick about ten years ago.

Whether you love or hate Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, they are not now, nor will they ever be, comedies.

I did not think it was possible, but the Jersey Boys medley was both incredibly boring and incredibly gay. All I could think of while watching those guys was, "Is the opposite of an 'electric performer' an 'acoustic performer'?"

And if you only favor one-quarter of the audience, that is not called "theater-in-the-round." That's called "using humans as scenery."

And, finally, I won't name names, but three of the winners last night have been personally rude and/or assholic in encounters with me. I'm just saying.

Some Stars' Fans Are Super Devoted

"My assistant is following me around with a fan blowing me."

-- Patricia Heaton, on the Emmy red carpet

Monday, September 10, 2007

Budweiser Clydesdale Strange Choice to Open VMA's

From a conversation I had today with a friend, who shall remain nameless:

ME: Britney Spears has, like, eight hours a day to work out. I'd be surprised if she's done a single crunch.

MY FRIEND: Yeah, instead she's been doing Cap'n Crunch.

Quotes of the Summer

"There's only room for one Casanova in this house."

-- the delusional Eric, on Big Brother 8

It's like watching Mister Burns hook up with Jessica Rabbit."

-- Holly of BB5, commenting on the vomitatious
canoodling of Eric and Jessica, on House Calls.


-- Janelle of BB6 and BB7, describing how
Eric's and Jessica's kissing makes her feel.

I would give anything to see Eric's face when Casanova learns that America finds him icky.

Meanwhile Zach has outdone even his "... because I'm Zach" quote with his fuckbrained speech last night about how Jameka deserves to go further in the game because other players have played well, so it's unfair to those who haven't. Huh??

Tragedy + Now = These Two Assholes Laughing

Believe it or not, there are more. Find them at bigboss969696's YouTube channel

Problems Got Him Pessimistic

According to Adrants, Tennessee Education Association President and Director of Hayseed Affairs Dr. Earl Wiman is steamed (or grilled) about the Hardee's/Carl's ad with the teacher dancing for her class while a couple of knuckleheads rap about "flat buns," all to the glory of a patty melt.

While Earl's doctorate is apparently in Advanced Moronics, the commercial is pretty dumb.

First of all, this idea was done better by Van Halen about 20 years ago. And with more women.

Second, a patty melt is made with rye (or sourdough) bread... not buns.

Third of all, I literally don't
understand the commercial because the hot teacher does not have (to my mind) flat buns. I find that she has deliciously curved buns. I associate "flat buns" with pre-teen girls and boys, so I have no sexual interest in them. But hey, that's me.

The"teens" in this ad, besides looking like tools, also look about thirty; you can tell they're not actual teenage boys because they're rapping about burgers instead of
watching the incredibly hot girl dancing on the desk.

(Something tells me these guys know how many foot taps mean what in the Minneapolis Airport men's room.)

But while all that makes it difficult for me to defend the ad, I have to. Because I'm offended.

Offended that any Tennessee educator like Dr. Earl Williams wastes one precious minute bitching about bullshit like commercials, when he comes from a state that is red, but not well-read.

Tennessee, under Dr. Earl's chaw-spitting leadership, ranks as follows among our 50 states:

43rd in indicators of child well-being

46th in percent of persons age 25 and over with a high school degree

41st in percent of adults with a bachelor's diploma

50th in total education spending per capita

49th in elementary and secondary education spending

35th in per capita spending on higher education

44th in overall health ranking

45th in the "Condition of Children" index

49th in library systems

48th in total library operating expenditure

50th in home and community-based care

It is estimated that 20 to 39% of Tennesseans are functionally illiterate.

Let's keep our eye on the ball, okay, Earl? Spend less time worrying about X-rated material, and more time worrying about the X's your students use to sign their names and mark their moonshine.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dish... Drawer... Dish... Drawer... Dish... Drawer...

There's a dishawasher commercial that baffles me. I'm not married, so I'm going to throw this one out to you experts:

Ladies, if you were emptying the dishwasher, and your husband was sitting on his easy chair, watching you and murmuring a bored narration...

Would you:

(A) hit him upside the head with a frying pan?

(B) make him sleep in the garage for at least six months?

(C) Both?

The Other Big Brother Antisemite

The worst antisemite I ever knew was a Jew I used to work with. He constantly made loathsome slurs against Jews, absolutely unconcerned that he was offending most of the Jews and Gentiles in the room.

In the same office there was a guy who complained that when he was a kid he was beaten up constantly. He assumed it was because he was the only Jew in his Ohio town. I have news for him: this prick would have been beaten up if he grew up in Tel Aviv. The reasons you would want to kick in his face have nothing to do with Judaism.

Now, on to Big Brother. Here's a
very typical quote from Eric:

"I have no game whatsoever. I'm just a 5'7" Jewish kid."

Who's worse? Amber, a gentile who badmouths Jews with the most vile stereotypes? Or Eric, a Jew who constantly uses the word "Jewish" as synonymous with "loser" or "lame."

Admittedly, Eric has no game. So stipulated, Your Honor. He also has no athletic ability, charm or coordination.

He always reminds us not to expect much of him because he's 5'7" and Jewish. Instead he should remind us not to expect much of him because he's a twitchy imbecile and a slimy nerd. With scary eyebrows. And nipple rings that look less like a "statement" than a way to hang him up in your laundry room.

Actually, Eric looks like someone tried to xerox Chuck Nice, but the talent, looks, brains and charm got lost because there was no toner. And by the way, Eric? Chuck
is black, but unlike you he doesn't insist on doing "ghetto gestures" with the back of his hands, as if he were a grade-Z Jay-Z poseur.

Still, as much as I hate Eric, I feel obliged to warn him about Jessica: run away. Get away from this girl as fast as you can. I mean it.

The only reason she's with you is because of her pathetic lack of self-esteem. The hair, the makeup, the outfits? Red alert. Also it's not a good sign when a woman adopts a phony voice she thinks is "cute" and "sexy." If only she knew that her voice is less Betty Boop than Droopy Dog. With a pinch of Truman Capote.

Also, I know you love the feel of her chesticles against your drawer-pulls, Eric, but take a really good look at her. She is perhaps one or two years from breaking really bad in the looks department. Seriously. At this point he makeup is doing all the heavy lifting.

And that passive-agressive way she's been treating you ever since you screwed up her game? You know, the way she got mad at you for blaming yourself? Only to drop little snide-bombs about how you screwed up? That's your future with her, my friend. Marry her and you'll spend the rest of your life apologizing through locked bathroom doors.

Eric is the kind of person who tells a joke, laughs, then drops the smile when no one's looking and furtively looks around to see if people liked his joke. He seems to have the nagging feeling that when his back is turned everyone is glaring at him. Jessica is the kind of person who stops laughing when his back is turned and glares at him. It's a recipe for disaster.

On second thought, Eric, marry her. You deserve each other.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Print and Save This Post

Sunday on Meet the Press, the plastic thing that used to be Mary Matalin complained that when Democrats' personal lives differ from their public stances it's okay, while when Republicans do it they're "hypocrites."

Several more right wing puppets said similar things this weekend. The thrust seemed to be that just because someone says one thing and does another it doesn't make him a hypocrite. That legislators should be permitted to advocate policies even if they're not "perfect" on them.


I could point out that Democrats don't call Democrats hypocrites because the very spine of the Democratic party is tolerance. That Democrats don't hold themselves up as perfection the way Republicans do. Republicans are deserving of judgment because they themselves are so judgmental.

But instead I'll just print this post and save it.

The next time some Republican asshole criticizes John Edwards for getting an expensive haircut or living in a big house... or feels that Al Gore flying in a private jet is smirk-worthy... while ignoring Republicans' big houses and expensive haircuts and private jets (without offsets)...

I'll know them for what they are: hypocrites. And to be a hypocrite on the actual subject of hypocrisy is probably the surest sign that you are a moron or a crook.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

If You Want To Know What It's Like to Slide Into an Alternate Universe, Watch Five Minutes of Fox News

"Look, to send more money in there -- and that's all the people in New Orleans ask for, 'Just send us more money.' That's what Louisiana's for, 'Just send us more money.' -- They don't have their act together. You still have a completely corrupt police department and law enforcement system and criminal justice system and dysfunctional political community and an absence of strong leaders and so on. It is a recipe for wasting money."
-- Fred Barnes, The Beltway Boys

Literally one minute later, Barnes was defending funding the Maliki government in Iraq.

I haven't seen any polls on this, but I suspect that an overwhelming portion of the American public blames the Bush Administration for the failure of New Orleans to be rebuilt. Now that's partly a press problem, but it's also a Bush problem, and it's a constant Bush problem. They do not know how to rewrite the story so people understand the truth as they see it, and it's chronic.
-- Morton Kondracke, The Beltway Boys.

"The failure of New Orleans to be rebuilt"??? I'm certain Mort also blames the Lindbergh baby for "failing to not be kidnapped." Also, how has he
avoided seeing polls about Katrina?? And finally, is this how openly contemptuous of the truth Fox News has become: They want the Bush Administration to rewrite the Katrina story "so people understand the truth as they see it"?? Yikes!

"I'm sorry to see Karl Rove go. He's one of the great political minds of his generation and a very honorable guy."
-- Fred Barnes, The Beltway Boys

No comment necessary.