Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I just renewed my membership

I would encourage you to join.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I've never seen this word before. It means "to remove the ambiguity from; make unambiguous". I wonder if they just made it up ("they"?), or if it just isn't used much. Or maybe I don't read enough. In any event, it's hard to believe I haven't seen (or noticed?) it before, since it sort of describes my job.

Fed Judiciary gets medieval on our ass

Yes, you read the tombstone correctly. Blackstone, the most famous of all legal scholars, puts the birth of the writ of habeas corpus at 1305 AD. According to some, it has its roots in the Magna Carta, signed in 1215.

Either way, earlier this week our esteemed federal judiciary, at the behest of our president, buried the "Great Writ", in direct contradiction to Article One, Section 9 of the United States Constitution, which states: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."

As we know, there does not exist a state of rebellion or invasion in this country. But neither our esteemed federal judiciary, nor our great and revered president, argued that such a state existed. Rather, their reasoning hinged on the fact that "Cuba -- not the United States -- has sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay." Which means that:

1. Lawyers for those imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay are, right this moment, rushing to file writs of habeas corpus with Castro's judiciary.

2. Once granted by Castro, these writs will be presented to the Guantanamo Bay prison guards, who will then immediately release the applicable prisoners.

3. Then, Castro will ride his old beater of a motorcycle into Gitmo and respectfully ask all the marines there to please vacate the place, which they will do, immediately, since, after all, Castro and his government have sovereignty there.

4. Then, at this point, pigs will fly out of my ass, journey to the moon, and found a new civilization based on free slop for all newly liberated flying livestock.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nurture or Nature?

Folks, today was a beautiful day in the suburbia-plex. After a long and hard winter, we had temps in the upper 70s, a slight breeze, and not a cloud in the sky.

The first thing I did when I started my car on the way home from work was hit the auto-window-down buttons. I turned up some music, and had a very enjoyable commute home. It occurred to me though, as it sometimes does, the majority of other people were driving home from work with their windows up. According to unscientific research conducted by me at one of the suburbia-plex's many outrageously long red lights, 80% of cars did NOT have their windows rolled down or even cracked significantly. I even spotted 3 convertibles with their tops NOT down. I find this to be a shockingly poor use by local humans of our planet's weather.

I know that there isn't any right or wrong in this situation, and I try not to judge others on this basis, but this is a mindset that I just cannot understand. Truly. It makes my head hurt, trying to understand. And yet, I am clearly in the minority.

Something that is so hard-wired into my brain, something I don't even question (i.e., "should I roll my windows up or down?" does not run through my mind before, during, or after I hit the auto-window-down button). But the other 80% of drivers feel oppositely. Even on a day as perfect as today. That's really hard for me to wrap my head around.

So... maybe I should just stop thinking so much, and just go ahead and feel superior. Yeah, I think that will work.

Book recommendation

with semi-amusing personal anecdote thrown in at no extra charge:

Once upon a time, after I got my first "real" job, but before I had definitively left the parental nest (and therefore still lived in the eponymous "Hick Town"), I used to go to a place called Fry Street on the weekends. For the uninitiated (I assume very few of my readers fall into this category), Fry Street is a loosely defined area full of college bars adjacent to the University most proximate to the aforementioned Hick Town.

Most proximate, but still a half hour drive. Due to a very unfortunate previous event which will not be detailed here, said half hour drive, coupled with my usual Fry Street drinking habits, necessitated that these visits would end with me crashing on a friend's sofa at closing time and driving back the next morning.

One such morning, after a more-than-typical night of tipping many (many) Shiner Bocks, I awoke with the usual feeling of "Where the fuck am I, exactly?". I usually try to work out the answer to this question prior to opening my eyes. Because sometimes you want to circle around that answer a bit, let it come to you in small packets, catalyze it somewhat, rather than have it -- BAM! -- thrust right upon you all at once.

But in this instance, I was in a relatively safe (if not clean, or orderly) place. Once I had determined this to my satisfaction, I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, ignored the pounding in my brain pan, and slowly opened my eyes. The first thing I saw was the spine of a book inches from my face on the coffee table. The book had a curious name that -- in my stuporous state -- I couldn't quite parse correctly: Cryptonomicon. I stared, trying to puzzle out the name, and my misfiring brain kept making associations with Necronomicon, which has something to do with witchcraft, or satan, or something.

But so I finally, without moving my head, picked the book up and looked at the back cover for the blurbs. These contained words like: "brilliant", "visionary", "mind-boggling", "genre-busting", etc. I'm a sucker for good blurbs -- especially the kind that come from more august sources than "The Akron Gazette" or suchlike. Which these did. The NY Post (not exactly the NYT Book Review ("electrifying... hilarious"), but still) called the author, Neal Stephenson, "the rarest of geniuses" (to which I say, NY Post, you might want to tap the brakes a bit there, buddy).

So on the way home I stopped at Recycled Books (a sprawling used book store that you should definitely patronize, if you have the means) and got my own copy. It isn't for everyone (lots of tech stuff, jargon, and highly detailed descriptions of things that some people don't care much about... oh, and plus, not exactly a tie-a-nice-bow-on-top airplane-fiction type ending, which will kill it for some people).

But all of this is really just an excuse to post the following quote, from page 51:
After a series of conferences in a room at the town's Holiday Inn, the veteran emerged, accompanied by one of the five most famous lawyers on the face of the planet, and announced that he was filing a civil suit against the Three Siblings that would, if it succeeded, turn them and their entire community into a flat, smoking abrasion in the earth's crust.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Let them eat set design"

This was Sophia Coppola's response when told that viewers of her film, Marie Antoinette, were starving for character development, a story, a cohesive structure, and some semblance of a point.

This was truly one of the worst movies I have ever seen, as I will detail below. But let's start by saying what was good about this movie: the costumes, set design, locations, and cinematography are extravagant and gorgeous. If this had been a one hour History Channel HD special on the topic of "Wow, look how well we can recreate pre-revolution France when we have millions upon millions of dollars to spend", then ok, fine. I would watch the thing without complaint. Or maybe an elaborate set up for a still photography series to be published in a glossy Vanity Fair type mag.

But no, this was a big budget Hollywood film, probably released in 1000+ theaters. As such, it requires viewers, paying $8-$10 per ticket and $12-$15 per popcorn bucket, to be entertained for three hours (honestly, I don't know how long this movie was, but it seemed like 5 hours) and to leave the theater feeling some small level of enjoyment or at least with the feeling that they had gained some knowledge or insight. Or something.

I had been wanting to see this movie. I saw a trailer for it a few months ago, and the trailer made it look like it was a modern riff on an interesting historical tale. Kind of like A Knight's Tale or one of those Ann Hathaway movies from a few years ago. One of those movies that juxtaposes present day pop culture and modern sensibilities within a historical setting. I think the word I'm looking for is anachronistic. For example, A Knight's Tale has a soundtrack of pop music transposed onto a medieval story -- to good effect, according to me.

The Marie Antoinette trailer had pop music. And the clips in the trailer made it look like the point of the movie would be: imagine Marie Antoinette as a Mariah Carey/Lindsay Lohan/Paris Hilton type of spoiled diva princess character, and see how she flails and sasses around in Versailles before getting her head chopped off, all set to a Depeche Mode/Madonna/Prince soundtrack. Sort of like Mean Girls meets A Tale of Two Cities.

THAT might have been a decent 95 minute movie. Good for a few laughs and a couple of feel-good moments. But THAT is not this movie. My guess is that this is what the studio's marketing department did with the trailers and ads after their focus groups (and non-brain-dead studio execs) saw the film and went into convulsions.

As nearly as I can tell, this movie was supposed to be a dead serious biopic about Marie Antoinette. Here are some nuggets:

1. The first ONE HOUR of the movie is spent laboriously describing why, exactly, Marie is sent by the Empress of Austria to France, where she is married off to the French King's grandson, to be the eventually Queen of France, and how she is then expected to produce an heir to the throne with said grandson, and how she has a really hard time with the latter part of this because Louis XVI just isn't into having sex with her.

2. Why is Louis XVI not into having sex with her? After an hour of watching, we have no idea except that the presence of a "stable boy" is just barely alluded to.

3. To really, REALLY beat the idea into our heads that "Louis XVI isn't into having sex with Marie", we see the same scene (I mean, it is just short of identical) repeated six (6!) times of the two lying in bed, and Marie making the most perfunctory advances to him, and him rolling over and saying good night. I don't know that I've ever seen anything quite SO redundant outside of a Defensive Driving film.

4. So, after all of that, Marie flirts with a handsome Swiss guy. Briefly flirts with him. After some other stuff happens, we see Marie giving birth. Did the Swiss guy get her pregnant? I have not the slightest idea. But somewhere in there we see the Marie-Louis XVI bedroom scene again, and this time he inexplicably rolls on top of her, end of scene.

5. And after Marie gives birth the first time, she inexplicably gives birth several more times. Have Marie and Louis XVI unexplainedly solved their problems in the bedroom? Or is Marie catting around on him? Not even the smallest clue is given, and this after a ONE HOUR buildup of this storyline, during which, like, NOTHING else happened.

6. Then there are some lame-appearing parties, where the characters drink some champagne and wear fancy costumes. It is shown that some of the characters don't like some of the other characters. Who are these people? What are their motivations? The only two characters we even know the names of are Marie and Louis XVI, and the latter says about 18 words during the entire movie. In fact, this may be the only movie I've ever seen where there is no dialogue. I don't remember a single scene in which more than 4 lines were strung together. I mean, the main character barely even speaks!

7. At the very end, we find out that there exist such things as French citizens who do not live at Versailles, and these people are upset about something. What is their complaint? I couldn't tell, and so probably it isn't really very important. Seriously. If this movie were not based on actual historical events which I happen to know something of, I would not have the slightest clue why an angry mob formed outside the palace in the last 3 minutes of this movie. I don't think the French citizenry was ever mentioned prior to this, and we damn sure never saw any of them.

8. Also in the last 3 minutes we see some political-type persons urging Marie to flee with her children. She is adamant in refusing, stating that she must not leave her beloved Louis XVI. WHY? They've barely even spoken to each other, they have no discernible bond whatsoever, and we know virtually nothing about this guy other than he is (probably) a nit-wit. For that matter, we really don't know a hell of a lot about Marie either, other than she has very extravagant taste in shoes and desserts.

9. At the very end, we see Marie heading off in a carriage. There's no payoff. I for one would have been slightly mollified if each and every person appearing on the screen during the previous 3 hours were shown being horribly and graphically beheaded. Even if we were never shown why this was happening. Which we aren't, and which, unfortunately, they aren't. aaarrrggghhhhh!

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Or maybe just plain laziness. Either way. The other day I drove by a house that had a For Sale sign in the yard. Being possibly in the market to buy such a house, I u-turned my automobile and pulled into the driveway. What had attracted me to this particular house was that the sign said "POOL!" on it. I've always wanted a house with a pool. Not so much to swim in, though I might do some of that, but more so I can sit beside it, drink beer, and look at it. Kill me.

But anyway. I got out of my car, and looked through the gate at the pool. It was pretty nice. There was no one there at the time, so I took a a picture of the house, a picture of the For Sale sign, and another picture of the street sign on the corner, for later investigation. I left. Later, being in front of the internets, I looked up the website of the real estate agency mentioned on the For Sale sign.

So first off, this website sucks. Maybe I'm a dummy when it comes to the internets, but I had to click through like 12 pages before I got to the right place to do a "property search". Then, it has this really annoying form with too many fields. Then, you can't just fill in the "postal code" field and get a list of all properties offered in that zip code. No, you also have to fill in the "city" and "state" fields (why???). THEN, since you didn't fill out all the right fields, it zeroes out all the fields that you DID fill in, so that you have to start all over. Aarrgghh.

But despite this, I finally found the house in question in the search results list. This list has a few items of info for each property: (1) address, (2) number of bedrooms, (3) number of bathrooms, (4) price, (5) name of agent, and (6) MLS number. And there is a link designated "Property Details".

So far so good.I click on the link. The "Property Details" page for this house contains the exact same information as the search results list with the addition of two other relevant items: a "picture" and a "description". Unfortunately for me, the consumer, a person who has a down payment in the bank and a decent credit rating and a possible desire to purchase this particular property, the "picture" is a placeholder that says "no picture available" and the "description" is a single sentence that says "This xxxx square foot Single Family Home(s) in xxxx county has x bedroom(s) and x.00 bathroom(s)."

In response to this -- possibly the WORST instance of marketing I personally have ever witnessed -- I opine as follows:

1. No picture??? How *#$%& hard is it to take a $#*%@# picture? I'm a casual consumer, not really even actively searching for a house to buy, and I took not one but THREE pictures! And this shit-for-brains real estate agent, who stands to make upwards of ten thousand dollars in the event that the house is sold, can't be bothered to take a single fucking picture??

2. The description is a single sentence which adds NO information whatsoever beyond what is already listed on the same page? This brain-dead moron of a dwelling hawker deems it too much effort to type the word "pool" so that the most (probably the only) attractive feature of this property can be made known to the consumer??

Here is an example of a "property description" typically promulgated by a halfway decent real estate agent:

"Picture perfect!!! From the beautiful drive up, into welcoming wood floors, soaring ceilings & crown molding, frieze carpet, loads of storage, open kitchen & den. Into the backyard oasis complete with pool and spa with fountain. Three living areas, walk-in closets, brushed aluminum fixtures, and lots of extras. This home is perfect for formal gatherings or outdoor get togethers. See it now or see it sold!"

Salesy, yes. Blatant puffery, yes. But guess what? YOU ARE TRYING TO SELL SOMETHING! This particular listing goes on to enumerate approximately 40 other items of information about the property. Some of these items might not be of any relevance to a given buyer. But guess what else? They sure as hell might be! And it probably took all of 15 minutes to enter this stuff into the little database thing.

But no, Adam Driver, ACE SALESMAN, of Keller-Williams Realty, can't be bothered with any of that. At some point, sooner or later, Adam Driver, ACE SALESMAN, will collect his 6% because someone, inevitably, will purchase that house. But it damn sure ain't gonna be me.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kansans are smart

The Kansas board of education has see-sawed back into the science camp by voting to remove anti-evolution propaganda from its science curriculum. The nytimes.com story is here (requires registration; use bugmenot.com)

I guess the NY Times online edition is now like one giant blog (complete with Pulitzer-winning bloggers). Each story seems to have comments right on the same page. Of course, this story got lots of comments (gee, you wouldn't think New Yorkers would be quick to express their derision for, and superiority over, those nutty anti-science religious folks in flyover country, wouldja?).

But of course they are all so very witty. One of the commenters said: "If you promise not to pray in my classroom, I promise not to think in your church."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Past, present and future melting together

For those of you who may be linguistically inclined, or who have a basic understanding of grammar and enjoy humor, I present this piece of brilliance, written by Michael Kinsley. Originally titled "TV News Killing Our Precious Verbs", I think it was first published as a op/ed piece in The Washington Post in 2001. As soon as I saw it back then, I knew I had struck gold, so I copyright-infringed it onto my hard drive for posterity. But fortunately Slate has it in their archives, so I don't have to further infringe on any copyrights by re-posting in its entirety.

It is worth noting here my basic stance on grammar, spelling, usage, form, etc: While I believe that proper grammar and spelling are important (especially when using words to call someone else an idiot), and are generally a reliable indicator of the intelligence and/or level of education of the speaker or writer, and while I am a linguistic nit-picker by training and profession, I dearly love to invent words, use words incorrectly on purpose, play with crazy sentence structures, and such-like, and I believe language is something to be experimented with, improved upon, and enjoyed in its infinite variety. I also occasionally enjoy drinking to excess and babbling incoherently, at loud volume. So there.

Rap Lyrics I wish I had thought of: Part III

In honor of today's news, here's a small bit of one of the most underrated rap songs in existence:

I'm buzzin'; Dirty Dozen; naughty, rotten rhymer
cursin' at you playahs worse than Marty Schottenheimer
This, of course, from Eminem's Just don't give a F***, off of The Slim Shady LP. In my view, this song is without parallel in the realm of rhyming cleverness. There's not a weak rhyme in the whole thing.

There are also a lot of great examples here of internal rhyming (i.e., rhymes within a line), something that Eminem didn't exactly invent (especially since poets have been doing it (at least in English) for about 500 yrs), but did pioneer to a large extent in the context of rap.

I'm tempted to post the lyrics to this song in their entirety, and write 4 pages worth of annotations. But unfortunately, your humble blog author has a day job, and it's just not in the cards on this day.

Congress to Al Quaida: We support you!

Really just an excuse to post this funny graphic.

But so Tony Snow says that the congress maybe, possibly, intends to announce its support for Al Quaida with its proposed anti-Surge resolution currently under consideration in the Senate. He says: "What message does Congress intend to give? And who does it think the audience is? Is the audience merely the president? Is it the voting American public or, in an age of instant communication, is it also al-Qaida?"

Stoopid rhetoric, yes. But he also does have somewhat of a point. This resolution is P.R., pure and simple. It has no legal effect whatsoever. And it probably does give the insurgents in Iraq something of a morale boost.

But: (1) the insurgents in Iraq are NOT Al Quaida, at least that anyone knows of (if they were, I think the people of this country, myself included, would favor continuing the fight), and (2) the administration has maneuvered congress into this position by unilaterally imposing this new strategy and refusing to listen to competing viewpoints before announcing it. The administration has further made very clear its belief that congress has no power or authority to do anything in the circumstances other than publicly express its disagreement -- which is exactly what it is doing with this resolution.

This is a very strange state of affairs; one which the administration has brought about by its own high-handed methods.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rap lyrics I wish I had thought of: Part II

From Ice Cube's It Was a Good Day:
Today was like one of those fly dreams
Didn't even see a berry flashin those high beams
No helicopter looking for a murder
Two in the mornin got the Fatburger
Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp
And it read, "Ice Cube's a pimp"
Drunk as hell but no throwin up
Half way home and my pager still blowin up
Today I didn't even have to use my A.K.
I got to say it was a good day
No annotation necessary on this one. Ice Cube used to be greatness (including his great performance in Boyz n the Hood), but now he's kinda lost it. I guess people mellow in their old age -- you know, stop packing heat, cut down on their 40oz consumption, star in dumb kids' movies, etc. Some day it may even happen to your humble blog author. But not today, my friend, not today.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Beware the ides of March

Watch the HBO series Rome while you can, people. It appears that HBO has lost a pile of money on this show, and so it will not be returning for a third season. Not surprising, since it is shot on location in Italy, and the first season, only 12 episodes, cost an exorbitant 100 million dollars.

The second season, of which the 5th episode airs tonight (Sunday), probably cost more. But this is an epic show, and all the money spent really does show up onscreen (especially if you've got HD plasma).

Be warned, however: even considering other HBO shows like The Sopranos and Deadwood, this show is over the top in terms of nudity, violence, cursing, and other fun FCC anathema.

Rap lyrics I wish I had thought of: Part I

From Nelly's Tho Dem Wrappas on the classic Country Grammar LP:
They all screamin my name, different shades and race
Take them all backstage and lett'em plead they case
Make a million like Jigga, standin in one place
SoundScan like Thriller without changin' my face
HipHopLawyer's Translation for Old White People (TM):
When I'm onstage singing rap, there's always a lot of girls of different ethnicities yelling "Nelly, you're great!"

So I invite all of these girls to come backstage, have them line up, and ask them why they should be among the small group I take back to my hotel suite.

I can make a million dollars, just like Jay-Z, but without having to sell out.

I can sell as many albums as Michael Jackson, but without having to get 50 plastic surgeries.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sushi is good.

I'm not a connoisseur. In fact, I know very little about sushi -- other than it tastes good, and I enjoy the presentation and the whole little routine that goes with eating it. I've gotten minimally proficient at using chopsticks but it's still hard to use them for the larger fried-type rolls.

I've been trying to branch out with what I order, but my favorite is still probably the California Roll. I also like a lot of other rolls, and I'll eat some of the nigri pieces in moderation (these are the clumps of rice with the fish sitting on top).

I like to see how much wasabi I can mix into my little bowl of soy sauce without crying and having to blow my nose. In case you don't know, wasabi is a blob of stuff that is pretty much identical to horseradish except that it's green.

Friday, February 9, 2007

I have absolutely no valid

justification for posting this photo.

Update: Now that I think about it, this picture is posted for purposes of enhancing security. No wait, the security of our children!

"Security" is the new "Children"

Maybe you've seen the story about Nancy Pelosi and her government jet dust-up. Capsulized, the story is that Pelosi, as the new Speaker of the House, is now entitled to fly on military aircraft back and forth to her district. But because it is a long way from California to D.C., she needs a big jet in order to make the trip without a refueling stop.

Predictably, House Republicans have criticized the request for a large jet, seizing on the fact that it will waste energy, cause excess pollution, waste taxpayer resources, etc, in obvious contradiction to her stated positions on these issues. Whatever.

In rebuttal, the House Sergeant at Arms (this is apparently a bureaucrat charged with arranging these things) has issued this statement:
The fact that Speaker Pelosi lives in California compelled me to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable. This will ensure communications capabilities and also enhance security. I made the recommendation to use military aircraft based upon the need to provide necessary levels of security for ranking national leaders, such as the Speaker. I regret that an issue that is exclusively considered and decided in a security context has evolved into a political issue.
Note the overuse of the word "security". Much like politicos in the past have used the word "children" to justify just about any lame-brained scheme under the sun (my personal un-favorite is Janet Reno's use of this justification for burning to the ground a house full of children), the new hotness is to shout, loudly and often, the word "security" in justification of all manner of ridiculousness. Because, see, much like the children of yesteryear, security is the most important and worshipful thing we can possibly have.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

All work and no play

makes Jack a dull boy.

This, of course, is the phrase -- repeated over and over -- that makes up the entirety of Jack's novel in The Shining.

My father used to make frequent (copious, even) use of a typewriter. He would often type the phrase "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country" to test the ribbon, the platen settings, or whether the keys were oiled up right. Or just to warm up the fingers. Or probably sometimes just to get some words onto the blank page.

Of course, if you really want to test the keys, you will type "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Because it contains all 26 letters (I am told this is called a "pangram").

I wonder if these phrases have fallen into disuse along with the typewriter. I don't use a typewriter, and never really did, but sometimes I find myself typing these phrases for no apparent reason.

Having solved all other problems...

the NY legislature turns its parental gaze upon the issue of protecting iPod users from themselves.

Our intrepid friends over at ...Get Off My Lawn beat me to the punch on this one, but I've a few things to add:

1. State Sen. Carl Krueger (D, Brooklyn) is clearly a grandstanding attention whore who, while being an idiotic asshat, clearly realizes that this proposed legislation has no possibility of becoming law but is good for getting his name kicked around in the local and national media.

2. Presumably there are already laws which prevent: (i) pedestrians from crossing intersections against a "Don't Walk" light, and (ii) vehicles from crossing intersections against red lights. Presuming the reliability of traffic signals, only if one of these existing laws are broken could there EVER be a pedestrian/vehicle accident.

3. As CNET points out, the Sony Walkman has been in use by NY pedestrians for about 3 decades already, so this can hardly be a new "problem".

4. Someone will need to explain to me how reading an email on a blackberry differs, in any relevant way whatsoever, from reading an article in the Wall Street Journal -- an activity that I suspect has been engaged in with some regularity by pedestrians in NY for, oh, let's say the last hundred and twenty years or so.

5. State Sen. Carl Krueger (D, Brooklyn) states the following: "This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it's becoming not only endemic but it's creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand." While I don't have enough time, in my entire life, to tell you all of the things wrong with this statement, I feel it is my duty to point out that the word "endemic" means "belonging exclusively or confined to a particular place". Umm. Far be it for me to attempt to parse this absurd statement, but it appears from the context that perhaps the word State Sen. Carl Krueger (D, Brooklyn) was actually looking for was "ubiquitous" or "pervasive", which, according to my admittedly limited research, are actually opposites of "endemic".

Monday, February 5, 2007

I thought we had overthrown the Taliban...?

The Taliban appears to be making a comeback. According to MSNBC, a Taliban judge has sentenced at least 20 people to flogging and prison for attending a party where alcohol was served and men and women danced.

Oops, I'm sorry. Did I say Taliban? I meant to say, the royal government of Saudi Arabia. Those sentenced are among the 433 foreigners arrested in connection with this party. The rest are awaiting trial and/or sentencing. This was originally reported in an unnamed "state-guided" newspaper.

Perhaps what is needed here is a troop surge in Afghanistan to topple this oppressive regime. Damn, there I go again. I meant, the royal Saudi government. And now that I think about it, this regime is not at all oppressive. In fact, they are a bright and shining example of a freedom-loving democracy. Silly me. I do apologize for this.

But still, since we can't send troops or even issue a statement against this, maybe we could at least do something. I think what might be appropriate is to send Ren and Ariel (from Footloose, duh!) over there to give a rebellious speech in front of the city council or school board, or whatever, and then stage a rebellious old fashioned barn dance where everyone will learn lessons of tolerance and openness to new ideas. Yeah, that will work just fine.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Bob Saget lives a charmed life

I used to hate Bob Saget in a very powerful way. On that show with the Olsen twins he was so f'ing smarmy, with that uber-irritating family-ish smirkiness. But that I could despise and ignore. What really got him onto my most-hated list was his even-more-smarmy hosting of that America's stupidest videos show. Back in the day when I had basic cable and no tivo, I routinely came across this show, or was subjected to it when visiting friends. THAT thing drove me into a suicidal rage.

But this all changed when I saw Bob Saget in those couple or so episodes of Entourage. Then it became clear to me that the joke was on the pathetic producers and fandom of those shows, and that his incessant smirks were intended to include people like me in on his joke. He hated it as much as we did! But he was getting mondo $$, and his constant smarming was as if to say, "see? you can take comfort in the fact that I'm bilking these idiots out of a lot of money, and laughing at them, all the while, right to their faces!"

[Note that smirk on his face in the photo. If you will allow me to translate, it says: "No, I haven't crossed the line and tapped either of these two, but I sure as hell have tapped far more than my fair share of girls just as cute who weren't my co-stars and who have a better sense of what constitutes good makeup and healthy eating habits. BooYAHH!!!"]

So, props to Bob Saget. Here's hoping you enjoy your mansion, your expensive call girls, and your top-shelf chronic. Hoist a glass of that Cristal for all of us former haters out here.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Funniest name I've seen since...

Dick Trickle. Which is damn funny. But not relevant here.

So Hizzoner the mayor of San Francisco, who has the ultra-suave name of Gavin Newsom, has admitted having an affair with the wife of his campaign manager. Which really, you know, kind of shows a real lack of, uh, several things, but loyalty and self-control to name a couple.

But the real gold in this story is that the woman in question is named Ruby Rippey-Tourke.


I dare you to say that out loud a couple of times.

Or maybe my sense of humor is just stuck at around the 10th grade level.

UPDATE: Here's Arianna Huffington's take on the Newsom Affair. I tend to agree with her assertion that these types of stories are not "news" and should be left alone, though I think there are some valid counterarguments that would appear difficult to overcome. Probably deserves more thought.

By the way, is she right or left? I forget, and I think it is refreshing that her leanings were not obvious to me when reading the linked article.