Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Extremely belated disclaimer

Having only just now read Dave Barry's description of his own colonscopy (published last February, well before my own), I have some reactions:
  1. I really did only just now read it, so any similarities of my account to his are wholly coincidental, save that there are only so many things one can say about "HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BUTT!"
  2. Okay, the tube is actually about two meters long. I started to say "only two meters", but there is no such thing as "only two meters" when it's going... where it's going.
  3. Nobody told me you could spike the nuclear laxative with vodka. I don't drink, but I might have been tempted to start had I known.
  4. I think my favorite sentence must be this: "And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"I was at first nauseated, then realized it was an opportunity"

The words above were spoken by the woman pictured to the left. Her name is Deborah Lawrence, "a collage artist [who] frequently combines politics and satire in her work." The object in her hands is a Christmas ornament commissioned by "a local arts organization" selected by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA).

First Lady Laura Bush asked members of Congress to pick local artists to create ornaments representing their districts for display on the Christmas tree at the White House. It sounds like a pretty neat idea to me.

So why is McDermott's office denying that it, or he, "had [any] role in the design of the ornament"? Because this is the only one of the 370-some ornaments that was rejected. Why was it rejected? Because it is a pro-impeachment ornament.
Lawrence...told The Washington Post she saw the ornament as a perfect way "to highlight Jim McDermott because he's a hero of mine."

"I was at first nauseated, then realized it was an opportunity," she said.
An opportunity. To personally insult the outgoing President. She couldn't put politics aside, even for Christmas, even for what is ultimately a trivial gesture intended as a little positive PR for Washington state's 7th district.

I was at first nauseated, too. But I still am.

(USA Today | White House rejects impeachment ornament)

Friday, November 28, 2008


A WalMart Sunset
Originally uploaded by ryanbooth

Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede [Daily News]

A worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said.

The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

I'm speechless.

And if you want to be really horrified, check the readers' comments on the original story.


2 killed inside Toys R Us in Palm Desert [KABC 7]

Two people were shot to death in a crowded toy store Friday in a confrontation apparently involving rival groups, city officials said.

The violence erupted on Black Friday, the traditional post-Thanksgiving start of the holiday shopping surge, but accounts of what occurred inside the store were fragmentary or second hand and it was not clear whether it involved any shopping frenzy.

Palm Desert Councilman Jim Ferguson said police told him two men with handguns shot and killed each other and that there were 25 witnesses. Ferguson said he asked police whether the incident was a dispute over a toy or whether it was gang-related. He said police told him they were not going to release further details until the next of kin were contacted.

"I think the obvious question everyone has is who takes loaded weapons into a Toys 'R' Us?" he said. "I doubt it was the casual holiday shopper."

Maybe that isn't such a bad idea.

Monday, November 10, 2008

National holiday?

Not satisfied with the nation of Kenya having declared a national holiday to commemorate the election of Barack Obama (who wasn't born there, wasn't raised there, and never lived there), the downtown Topeka McDonald's will be hosting "Yes We Can" rallies on Tuesdays through the Corona- er, inauguration, to promote an American national holiday for Barack Obama as well.

Isn't that, you know, premature? Shouldn't we wait, oh, I don't know, until he actually does something?

Okay, I do realize that many people are still in the grip of obamamania and shouldn't be held responsible for anything they say until at least after inauguration day.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

What landslide?

Well, what could be more unbiased than that?

From Eject! Eject! Eject!:
On Tuesday, the Left – armed with the most attractive, eloquent, young, hip and charismatic candidate I have seen with my adult eyes, a candidate shielded by a media so overtly that it can never be such a shield again, who appeared after eight years of a historically unpopular President, in the midst of two undefended wars and at the time of the worst financial crisis since the Depression and whose praises were sung by every movie, television and musical icon without pause or challenge for 20 months… who ran against the oldest nominee in the country’s history, against a campaign rent with internal disarray and determined not to attack in the one area where attack could have succeeded and who was out-spent no less than seven-to-one in a cycle where not a single debate question was unfavorable to his opponent – that historic victory, that perfect storm of opportunity…

Yielded a result of 53%.

Folks, we are going to lick these people out of their boots.
The Republican party had eight years under President Bush to identify a suitable standard-bearer to carry their message into the 21st century. And they found John McCain?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Coolness in Technology

The "Zipper" has become an iconic image of New York since its introduction eighty years ago Thursday at 1 Times Square, which was then the home of the New York Times. It was given a complete face lift when it was acquired by Dow Jones in 1999, but it retains the all-amber look familiar to locals and tourists (although nowadays it's generated by LEDs, not light bulbs).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Palate cleanser

What's wrong with this picture?
  1. Nothing, if you're Long John Silver.
  2. You should see the other guy.
  3. I have nothing against her left leg.
  4. It's a Hallowe'en party. She's dressed as Thanksgiving leftovers. (Two breasts, a busted wing, and one thigh.)
I can't even figure what they were going for.
From Photoshop Disasters.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Congratulations and Good Luck

Best wishes to President-elect Barack Obama.

Mr Obama will inherit numerous problems large and small, most of which his party has ascribed to his predecessor. This tactic may prove to bite them all in the ass, if (as I strongly suspect) the president really doesn't have the power to have done everything he's blamed for.

With a solidly Democratic House and a near-filibuster-proof Senate, who will Kos and the Democratic Underground (overground?) blame when things go wrong?

President Obama will be on the spot to turn everything around. He's my president too. Have hope and don't expect overnight miracles.

What a country!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Buh-bye, Circuit City

I can't say this surprises me, but according to a PDF available from Circuit City themselves, the 155 stores that they're closing no later than the end of the year include all of the Atlanta area stores. The closest store staying open -- for now, I guess I should add -- is in Rome.

I seem to recall that some culling of the home-electronics herd was expected this Christmas, due to widespread availability of HD televisions at a much lower price point than expected.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I'm very tired

Elective Sunset Super-Wide, originally uploaded by Fort Photo.
I'm voting for McCain.

I could tapdance around saying it, but I can't make the points I'm about to try to make until you know that.

So. In an effort to be as fair-minded as I possibly can -- and because I'm really not looking forward to voting for McCain, and was hoping someone would make a compelling case not to -- most of my current-events reading has been by progressive pundits, most notably by those writing for, and quoted by, the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post.

As a result, I've seen countless accusations of wrongdoing and non-specific fugg-headedness leveled at Republicans in general and McCain, Palin and Bush in particular over the course of this very long election season. I started to say I've seen all of them, but of course I have no way of knowing that I have. I'm only human, I've doubtless missed something.

One thing I've missed, for example, is any proof or confirmation that any of it is actually true. The news cycle on each incident starts with an accusation and, despite progressively (no joke intended) more intense name-calling, never really moves beyond it.

But then, the progressive intelligencia never really responds to accusations from the conservative side, either. They ignore the question, dismiss it as irrelevant, or question the motives of the accuser. Sometimes all three.

The so-called debates were no help. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the issues facing America today are far too complex to be boiled down to a 90-second answer. So, of course, that's what both major-party presidential candidates were asked to do. The Lincoln-Douglas debates took all day.

I should add that conservates are not innocent of the disinformative failings I've observed in progressives. But, in general, conservatives address issues, while progressives talk about feelings.

More importantly, conservatives speak of winning the war, whereas the most progressives will commit to is ending it, consequences to Iraq, Afghanistan and America's international standing be damned.

Okay, that's not quite true. Progressives are gearing up to fight a war that is much more important to them: The one that is going to engender riots in America and make the streets run red with blood.

I'm speaking, of course, of the impending doom and second American Civil War that will ensue if Barack Obama does not win next Tuesday.

I'm so weary.

But, of course, remember how disoriented progressives were four years ago? They cannot be counted upon to do the rational thing if they again succumb to that state of despair.

A key plank in the Democratic platform is gun control. If it were to come to a left-right civil war, who has all the weapons?

Is it "hate speech" for me to point that out?

Are Obama and McCain the best we can do?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shock and Sadness: Hearing The Unspeakable

I listened to a woman in her early 50s across the table mock Obama as "The One" and "The Messiah" and scorn his policy for spreading the wealth. Then she dropped this bomb: "You know if I ever opened the newspaper and read headlines that something tragic had befallen Barack Obama, I tell you I wouldn't shed a tear."

My spoon froze on its way to my mouth. I heard our host, a Republican, shout at the woman, his sister. "How can you say that? That is beyond the pale. That is simply beyond the pale!"

There was much more screeching and protesting, but the woman repeated her explosive comment once again, justifying her horrid thought with: "I'm just being honest."
I must sadly assure you that I have heard as bad, or worse, from casual acquaintances as well as from people I am otherwise proud to consider friends.

However, as a semi-conservative-libertarian in an overwhelmingly majority Democrat area (Atlanta), I usually hear such hatefulness expressed in the other political direction.

In your situation, I would draw some hope from the fact that the host took his sister to task for her comment. And, if I understand you correctly, several others at the table, conservatives all, spoke up in objection. I can't deny that her like exists, just as I have experienced her opposite number on the left, but let us be aware, and thankful, that they occupy the fringe, not the mainstream of their respective points of view.

About Barack Obama
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Obama and McCain - Dance Off!

Spotted at Dark Roasted Blend.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I’m deeply ashamed right now to be called a “journalist”

Editing Their Way to Oblivion:
Journalism Sacrificed For Power and Pensions

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Gov. Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the Big Leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play...

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side - or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for Senators Obama and Biden. If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as President of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography. That isn’t Sen. Obama’s fault: his job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media’s fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote McCain’s lawyer, haven’t we seen an interview with Sen. Obama’s grad school drug dealer - when we know all about Mrs. McCain’s addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Senator Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If only...

There is only one debate scheduled for the "third-party candidates" and it's tonight at 9pm at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington.

I wish I had a handful of worthwhile prizes I could give away. I would walk the street asking people to name four people running for president in 2008, and watch their eyes go blank. I'm guessing a lot of people would misunderstand the question and say "Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin."

There are, in fact, six people running for president, and four of them were invited to tonight's debate. Two of them, Ralph Nader (independent) and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party), have agreed to appear. Bob Barr (Libertarian Party) has a scheduling conflict, and Cynthia McKinney (Green Party) hasn't replied.

The debate will be carried on C-SPAN. If they were all there, for sure I'd watch it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Neal Hefti, R.I.P.

Old news by now. Hefti was one of those musicians who, through luck or sheer talent (most likely the latter), created the soundtrack of life itself. The obits all mention "The Odd Couple" and "Batman", but here's a clip of Lionel Hampton performing Hefti's "Cute". I've heard the song a hundred times but never knew the name, nor knew that it has lyrics at all.

Saw it at Mark Evanier's News From Me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

This campaign needs some intentional humor

Senator McCain and Senator Obama both appeared at last night's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner in New York. They took the opportunity to let their metaphorical hair down.

Senator McCain, part 1:
"It's gonna be a long, long night at MSNBC if I manage to pull this thing off. I understand that Keith Olbermann has ordered up his very own 'Mission Accomplished' banner."

Senator McCain, part 2:
"Seriously, Chris, if they need any decorating advice on that banner, ask Keith to call me so I can tell him right where to put it."

Senator Obama, part 1:
"What you may not know is that 'Barack' is actually Swahili for 'That One'..."

Senator Obama, part 2:
"...and I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for President."

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I could wish that the explanation were as loud as the music, and the music were as soft as the explanation, but otherwise this is darned hypnotic.

Saw it at Random Good Stuff.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tilt-shift time-lapse video

If you're not familiar with it, tilt-shift is a selective-focus photographic technique whereby a real city / beach / landscape can be made to look like an incredibly-detailed miniature.

Beached from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Found at Iheartchaos.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hard-hitting news

Because it must be said:

Sarah Palin's eyeglasses will not make you look as good as Sarah Palin.

Our analyst adds:

As long as people are going to call it a presidential beauty contest, why not get someone in there with some experience?

That concludes this special report.

And now, this, from Cincinnati WKRC. C, i said. C. Not P. C.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Does Editorial Talk to Marketing?

I'm thinking, "no". These are the front and back covers of the new issue of Nature magazine.
The journal swears it is horrified by the coincidence.
"We didn't know until the issue landed on our desks," Nature pleaded to the media.
"It just goes to show that editorial and advertising aren't working in cahoots."
A-yep. (From the Daily Mail.)

Transgender toilets?

This, as so many Fark entries say, can't end well. Transgendered students at Manchester University don't feel comfortable or safe in either of the rest rooms at the student union.

So the women's officer there has had this brainstorm: Change the signs. Instead of "women" and "men", they now read "toilets" and "toilets with urinals".

Well, that should solve the problem, don't you think? I mean, so long as nobody actually has to change their attitudes, proper signage fixes everything.

(Story from the Manchester Evening News.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Originally uploaded by K's Photo's
Georgia just opened the voting offices. We don't have to wait until Nov 2: I could vote today.

I might as well. The election is, in fact, over. Those of you who say you're going to leave the country if McCain wins may as well start packing. McCain WILL win, and the reason why is simply explained.

As always, the election is in the hands of the so-called "undecided voters". If you'll forgive a baseball analogy: A season consists of 162 games. The losingest team of all time still won 60 of them. The winningest team of all time still lost 60 of them. It's what happens to the other 42 games that determines the season.

Similarly, it's the "swing votes" that will decide the election. That's why we hear so much about the "battleground states." The Republican and Democratic cores are owned votes. (Some might say "bought and paid for".)

That said, which seems more likely: "Republicans for Obama" or "Democrats for McCain"? Which candidate is more likely to convince voters from the other party that he's electable?

Oh, changing the subject: Am I allowed to be amused by NOW's endorsement? Woman on the ticket for the Republicans: You have got to be kidding. Women in both positions on the Green Party ticket: Yeah, there's an association we want the public to make, NOW and Cynthia McKinney. A black man and an old white guy, the demographics that have historically had the least respect for women: There's our men.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dam this traffic jam

Here we find typical Atlantans in their accustomed habitat: Imprisoned in their cars on I-75/I-85 through the center of the city. Oh, isn't that cute: The lady in the back of the bus just mooned me for making fun of her. YOU TOO, LADY!


One lane this side of the bus, you might see the double white line that marks the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane. The idea was, of course, that by reserving one lane for buses and carpoolers, it would encourage more commuters to ride the bus or carpool. Whether this has worked depends on who you ask. As I look at this photograph, the HOV lane looks pretty much full to capacity. The DOT thinks it hasn't worked. Who are you going to believe, the DOT or your lying eyes?

"If we can't convince people to earn the privilege of using these lanes," they must have said to themselves, "maybe we can make them pay to use them." They want to convert the HOV lanes to TOLL lanes: I'm guessing they'll use the same CruiseCard technology that works so well at north Georgia's only (to date) toll booth, on Ga. 400 between Lenox Square and Northside Hospital.

Large car pools will be exempt from the toll, but small car pools will still have to pay. How big is a small car pool?

And why did I find this story on the web site of a Chattanooga radio station? I mean, sometimes I joke about Chattanooga being Atlanta's northernmost suburb, but I had no idea they believed it too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

City Pawn Shop

Oh, yes, again. The city of Buffalo has decided that the most effective way to get weapons "off the streets" is to offer to buy them.

Well, no, that's not quite right.
Buffalo’s police commissioner wryly stated that he doesn’t expect many criminals to be lining up outside seven local churches Sept. 27 to turn in their weapons for prepaid cash cards.

“But it’s a beginning,” [Maura] Evans [mother of a teenager killed by a stray gunshot] said of the buyback. “We have to start somewhere, so why not start here. If even one gun is taken of the street, it’s worth it.”
Really? The city has budgeted $50,000 for this program. $50,000 for one gun is worth it? Must be a hell of a gun.

But it's all right, it's not costing the city $50,000. That money comes from assets forfeited through seizures from drug investigations and other crimes. And we all know that never goes wrong.
“If you see a weapon that a loved one has that you know is illegal, Sept. 27 is the day to bring these guns in,” [Mayor Byron W.] Brown said.
So, if your son killed his ho's pimp, turn in his gun. Get a little walking-around money for yourself and ensure the weapon will never show up as evidence in a trial. It's a win-win!

Am I exaggerating? Overreacting? This is a "no questions asked" buyback. None of the 878 weapons they got the last time they did this were ever checked. They might be stolen property. They might be murder weapons. Who knows? You couldn't ask for a better way to dispose of evidence: Sell it back to the police and let them destroy it.

Gun buybacks fail logic in every way conceivable.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

That was fast

And frankly, the new Sarah Palin action figures look like a rush job. But what the hell, it's not like they're licensed, after all.

This promises to be the most entertaining presidential election in, well, ever. It would be even more entertaining if there were an opportunity for Palin and Obama to debate, but I don't see it happening.

"She's not qualified."
"And he is?"
"Alaska's not a real state anyway."
"What state has he managed?"
TampaBay.com | Sarah Palin action figures now on sale (what, no Joe Biden with the kung fu grip?)
It seems that people can't get enough of Sarah Palin. Since the announcement that she was joining the Republican ticket as the vice presidential nominee, there have been magazine covers and appearances with running mate John McCain. Now Hero Builders toymakers are selling a Sarah Palin action figure.

The three dolls, which cost from $27.95-$29.95, feature Palin as an executive in a dark suit; as an action hero a la Lara Croft, in a trench coat, mini skirt and what looks like a gun strapped to her leg; and as a faux-Britney Spears school girl in a low-cut blouse, peekaboo red bra and a plaid mini skirt. Not sure what kind of action they are going for there.
Me neither. I think they had some leftover clothes from High School Slut Skipper to recycle.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shoot! Shoot! That octopus is strangling that man

The further you read, the better this story gets.
Bagpipes provoked Olympic alarm
A bagpipe player sparked a security alert at the Olympics - after Chinese police mistook his musical instrument for "some kind of weapon".

The Borders piper was in China to carry out a sponsored walk along the Great Wall to raise funds for the National Deaf Children's Society.

Mr Aitken said: "I'm not all that good on the pipes [how can you tell?] so I thought I'd go off on my own and have a practice before I had to play in front of the people I was doing the walk with.

"I had a silly soldier's hat on and my kilt and a few locals gathered round and seemed to be enjoying me playing, but just as I finished a police car pulled up with four officers.

"They weren't happy and it emerged that it was heightened security all over China because of the opening ceremony."

It took the intervention of a passer-by to explain to police what the bagpipes were.

"It was pure luck that a tourist guide was passing and stopped them from arresting me by explaining what bagpipes were - they thought the pipes were some kind of weapon," said Mr Aitken. [BBC]
They sure aren't a stealth kind of weapon.

You know what "perfect pitch" is to a bagpipe player? Being able to hit the middle of the lake.

Makes = Rewrites

So, who is it that doesn't know the difference between "making history" and "rewriting history", the Democrats or NPR?
Obama Rewrites History, Clinches Nomination
History was made last night when the Democratic Party nominated Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as its candidate for president of the United States. He's the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party. [NPR]
Glad they put that second sentence in there. Might have missed that point. Wonder why the media have been so reticent about that?

So, what has Senator Obama rewritten, exactly?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gitmo on the Platte

Denver is going to regret hosting the Democratic National Convention--if they don't already, then certainly by the time the convention actually starts.

The owners of Sly's Salon thought it was Just Wrong that local homeless were being given free passes to movies and the local zoo. "It was like, 'What are we going to do with them,' trying to sweep them under the rug." So they organized a cut-a-thon, donating more than a hundred 'cuts and 'dos to folks identified by local homeless-support agencies. Nor did it end there: State Beauty Supply donated bag lunches; other supply houses donated hair-care products.

"It's the heart-felt reward to give to the community and give back," said one recipient. You'll have to explain to me just what the hell that means.

Local hospitals are staffed at large-scale medical crisis levels, to cope with vast numbers of out-of-towners who will most likely be suffering from dehydration and altitude sickness. Most of these people have never been in Denver in August. It's a mile above sea level, and although most healthy people seem to survive it just fine, it does take some getting used to--and if you already suffer from asthma or similar health conditions, it could hit you pretty hard.

And then there's that "secret jail", actually a vacant warehouse temporarily converted to a holding / processing facility by the city department of corrections, in anticipation of the necessity of mass arrests during the convention. They estimate it should allow them to process arrests in one-third of the time it would otherwise require. This seems perfectly logical to me, and I'd be surprised if most cities hosting really large, really public events don't do something similar.

Are they really anticipating mass arrests at the Denver DNC? They'd better be. Recreate 68 is aiming for exactly that. "When things blow up because the police have to enforce a permit that the Democrats got, don’t blame us for that,” said Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer for the Recreate 68 Alliance. "Blame the Democrats for trying to silence dissent in the city of Denver." Michelle Malkin quotes liberally (you should excuse the expression) from the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post.

But surely they deserve the benefit of the doubt. They may have some valid points to... Oh, look, they endorse Cynthia McKinney for President. Never mind. They don't know her like we know her.

All in all, it may be a good week to be on the other end of the continent.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings Week 290

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Signature :: legal name
  2. Olympics :: amateur
  3. 100% :: complete
  4. Damn! :: broke
  5. Gold :: wealth
  6. Fresh and natural :: feminine hygiene
  7. Fraction :: partial
  8. Hurry :: up
  9. Summer :: Winter
  10. 29th :: day of February

Whatever happened to...

...that guy who was on Jeopardy! like 74 days in a row and won $2.52 million dollars? Huh?

Well, he wrote a book (duh), wrote another book (hm), co-invented a couple of trivia games and (like everyone else) has a blog. It was on that blog that he recently noted he'd stumbled upon the perfect summation of public radio in a single sentence. Go, read and be amazed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Humor impaired

Okay, here's another thing I don't get.

Just yesterday, Mark Evanier linked to a YouTube video--well, seven linked videos, actually, comprising an entire episode of The David Letterman Show from 1980. This is the NBC daytime program that predated his tenure on NBC's Late Night and CBS' The Late Show.

This program usually described, by those few who have seen it, as (at best) the wrong show in the wrong time slot. Some commentaries make that sound like a compliment. Evanier says:
You get the feeling that he doesn't even take his own show seriously so why should you? Plus, he feels all alone out there...no sidekick, no bandleader with whom he has any rapport, etc. Doesn't it feel like half the staff didn't show up for work that day but they made Dave go out and do his show anyway? Add to this the largely non-responsive studio audience...
I admit it. I did not watch this video all the way through. I think Mark would agree that this version of the show really underscores just what Paul Schaffer brings to the show.

Other than Paul, though, this looks like the same show Letterman has been doing all along. It's really amazing how little his essential Dave-ness has changed. A lot of it wasn't all that funny then, and still isn't, really.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yes, we promised to provide free access to the Internet - except...

The Beijing Olympic Games, I hear, were to be the occasion for China to stride boldly onto the global stage and proclaim themselves to be a major player.

There's a problem with being on the stage: The lights are pretty damn bright. Even an audience who wants to see you succeed can see the theatrical makeup.
China's communist government routinely filters its citizens' access to the Internet, but in the runup to the Olympics Chinese officials and officials with the International Olympic Committee vowed there would be no censorship of the Internet for accredited journalists covering the games.

Some sites were unblocked 10 days ago after reporters arriving to cover the games found them blocked and complained to the IOC, but others remain inaccessible, including sites related to the Tiananmen Square protests, Tibet, Taiwan and the Dalai Lama.

...A statement by Chinese officials indicated they had gone as far as they intend to go.

"As in any other country, there are some kinds of limitations," Wang [Wang Wei, executive vice president of BOCOG, the Olympic organizing committee] added. "However, I think we are going to provide sufficient access for the media to cover the games."
[From AP: Some Web sites remain blocked at Beijing Olympics]

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"Wait, that doesn't come out"

Not new, but entertaining: "James Randi exposes Uri Geller and Peter Popoff".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

They paid good money for this

I don't know what's worse: The sloppy photo edit or the fact that the art director let it go.

You're invited to check Photoshop Disasters, where a similarly wretched example of what untrained or sloppy people can do with state-of-the-art software is posted approximately daily.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What is this "due process" thing all about

Originally uploaded by kdborden86
The Motion Picture Association of America said Friday intellectual-property holders should have the right to collect damages, perhaps as much as $150,000 per copyright violation, without having to prove infringement.

"It is often very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to provide such direct proof when confronting modern forms of copyright infringement, whether over P2P networks or otherwise; understandably, copyright infringers typically do not keep records of infringement," MPAA attorney Marie L. van Uitert wrote Friday to the federal judge overseeing the Jammie Thomas trial. [Wired]
The theory almost makes sense.
The MPAA... told Judge Davis that peer-to-peer users automatically should be liable for infringement. "The only purpose for placing copyrighted works in the shared folder is, of course, to 'share,' by making those works available to countless other P2P networks," the MPAA wrote.
Saw it at the Consumerist.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I have a theory...

A story has been rolling around the media this week about a University of Colorado research study linking bumper stickers (and window signs and bobbleheads and other decorative gewgaws, collectively called "territory markers") to dangerous driving behavior.

Drivers who put stickers on their cars, the study says, are more likely to drive aggressively, lose their temper, and/or succumb to "road rage". The more stickers they put on their cars, the more likely they are to behave badly, and the worse they behave when they do lose it.

And it does not matter what the stickers actually say. Left or right, secular or religious, "honor student" or "I spayed my dog" all indicate that the drivers feel more possessive of the "personal space" surrounding their vehicles.

My own theory is that the more bumper stickers the driver puts on his car, the more likely the aggregate message will be politically liberal. Here in the city of Atlanta, of course, most voters are Democrats, therefore most bumper stickers are for liberal causes, so anecdotal evidence would seem to confirm the theory--

But it would be unwise to take that as anything resembling proof.

Copy of fav_0004Still, when I see this car--

Well, I drive cautiously until he's out of sight.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I dreamt of something bigger

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a six-foot-tall, anatomically correct sock monkey.

No trick photography was involved, and no actual sock monkeys were harmed in the production of this masterpiece.

See Verkstad, via Erin O'Brien.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

How to fill time on the news

From WSJ.com's Best of the Web:
  • Many Hollywood Celebrities Rally Behind Obama (Reuters)
  • Actors' Strike Could Hurt Mass. Movie Biz (Boston Herald)
  • PETA Slams Jessica Simpson for 'Real Girls Eat Meat' T-Shirt (FoxNews.com)
  • Menus With Fancy Font Can Mean Fancy Prices: Study (Reuters)
  • Locked Door Thwarts Robber (Mobile Press-Register)
Recently flagged as "Obvious" by readers of FARK.com
I'll take "The Flippin' Obvious" for $100, Alex...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The consummate professional

What does it mean to be a professional actor?

It means that you give it everything you've got, even when you're giving it to a felt-tip pen.

Can you imagine any other actor (that is, any other actor who didn't really need the money) throwing himself into this with such gusto?

The gayness of Charles Nelson Reilly was perhaps the worst-kept secret in Hollywood. He was told it would keep him from getting work. Some weeks you could spin the dial and Reilly was on every channel at the same time. Thank God he was gay, or it would have been All Charles Nelson Reilly, All The Time.

(Saw the clip at Mark Evanier's News From Me.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Degrees of unhappiness

In the news business, and especially in the newspaper business, each season brings a collection of evergreen story topics. January sees polar-bear swims and Martin Luther King day. In February, it's valentines and groundhogs. And so on.

We seem to be seeing a new summertime theme: College graduates utterly unprepared for the Real World, astounded that their sparkling new degrees, acquired through undeniable hard work and at appalling expense, have not translated into fulfilling yet lucrative positions.
Chronic financial instability weighs on philosophy major
[Scranton Times Tribune]

“I’ve been working since I was 15 and I still have nothing,” said Ms. Pollack, 28. “It seems like that’s always the situation, even when I have a job. I have no money because I’m giving it to everybody else.”

A student of philosophy, she is frustrated by the domineering hold the greenback has, but resigned to the task at hand — to find a way to make a livable income and one day rise above the stacks of bills to enjoy an existence free from worry over the smallest everyday expenses.
I've commented on this phenomenon before, of course. Instead of making fun of this newest example (I really don't have the heart), I'll just say what I've said before:

The blame lies with the student herself, and with her advisors. My own journalism school advisor told me that my intended minor subject (art) would not help me find a job, and all but made me change it to political science, a subject I hated then and hate now. (I didn't really want to be a reporter: I wanted to work in production. I wanted to make the newspaper look better.)

I would suggest that philosophy advisors, distateful as it may be (not to mention running counter to your self-interest), ask your students how they expect to make money with a degree in philosophy. You can't make 'em act on it, but you can at least put the question in their heads. They trust you, and they don't deserve to be rudely surprised the day after commencement.

Sometimes it's too easy

In Corio, Victoria AU, a man texted a video of himself masturbating to a woman while she was at the police station in the process of filing a complaint against him.

I know, "stupid criminal" stories are all too common, and often untrue, but this one is so far over the top I had to pass it along. In addition, it appealed to me because it's a form of self-incrimination that wasn't possible, say, five years ago.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Not what you're picturing

closet girl 01 Originally uploaded by eley88
I thought of this image when I saw this story. I mean, any healthy red-blooded man who thinks about finding a Japanese woman in his closet is naturally going to think of a woman who looks like this. "Please don't turn me in," she'll say breathily, as if this is The X-Rated Diary of Anne Frank. "I'll do anything..."
Japan man discovers woman living in his closet
[Reuters / Yahoo]

A Japanese man who was mystified when food kept disappearing from his kitchen, set up a hidden camera and found an unknown woman living secretly in his closet, Japanese media said Friday.

The 57-year-old unemployed man of Fukuoka in southern Japan called police Wednesday when the camera sent pictures to his mobile phone of an intruder in his home while he was out on Wednesday, the Asahi newspaper said on its Website.

Officers rushed to the house and found a 58-year-old unemployed woman hiding in an unused closet, where she had secreted a mattress and plastic drink bottles, the Asahi said. Police suspect she may have been there for several months, the paper said.
An unused closet? What kind of home has one of those?

(I hope she won't mind me using her picture this way...)

Friday, May 30, 2008

What else is she qualified to do?

A monthly talk show.

The young Austrian lady who managed to escape from the windowless basement cell in which she'd been imprisoned for eight years since her abduction at age 10...will premiere on Vienna's Puls4 Sunday night.

I can't decide if this is a triumph of the can-do human spirit or an obscene exploitation of fame.
Young woman held in underground cell gets talk show
[AP / Cnews]

VIENNA, Austria - Television was once her only window on the world. Now Natascha Kampusch - still adjusting to life after spending 8 1/2 years in an underground cell - is starting an improbable new career as a TV talk show host.

Less than two years after staging a dramatic escape while her captor was distracted with a phone call, the young Austrian woman whose ordeal stunned people worldwide is going prime time.

"Natascha Kampusch Meets ...," a chat show featuring local celebrities, debuts Sunday evening on Puls4, a new private cable channel.

A Puls4 trailer shows Kampusch typing on a laptop computer, pouring herself a glass of mineral water and grinning as makeup artists give her a final touchup on the set. She wears her long blond hair down and sports a sweater and a floral-patterned skirt - both in purple, her favorite color.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is This an Ex-Candidate?

Okay, how many ways are there to say "the Clinton campaign is dead" with Monty Python jokes?

Dana Milbank at the Washington Post likes the "dead parrot" sketch.
Customer: "That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not half an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it being tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk."

Pet-shop owner: "Well, he's, he's, ah, probably pining for the fiords."
He can't spell fjords, but that's okay, who can? And who can resist describing the Clinton campaign as a "prolonged squawk"? (I really like the caption for the accompanying picture of the candidate boarding a plane: "Hillary Clinton, pining for the Rose Garden.")

But as you can see from the cartoon, there are other possibilities. But then you probably read Fark, too.
"But I'm not dead yet!"
"Yes you are. You'll be stone cold dead in a moment."
What I can't figure is why we didn't see this prolonged deathmatch coming. The Democrats are a party of loosely-allied minorities, and here we have two of them set at each other's throats. This could not possibly end well.
"You're black. Republicans will never vote for you."
"You're a woman. Republicans will never vote for you."
"You're too young."
"You're a Clinton."
"I've had the superdelegates locked up from day one."
"Only because they're afraid of your husband."
"Everyone thinks you're a closet Muslim."
"Everyone thinks I'm Tiger Woods."
"Nobody really knows you."
"Everybody knows you, and nobody likes you."
The first candidate to eat a wafer-thin mint will explode. All over the nightly news.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stuff I Almost Bought

From: T-Shirt Hell

Why not: Well, it's eighteen dollars! That's an awful lot to spend on a tee shirt, especially for a running joke that is about to outrun its sell-by date.

On the other hand, who expected this race to still be undecided by now?

EXTRA: Last week's thing I almost bought:

From: Dirt Cheap Shirt

Why not: Cost wasn't the issue, since it was one of their one-day specials for $1 (plus shipping). Partly it was the fact that it is, after all, a white tee shirt, and people built like me look like slobs wearing white tees. Mostly, though, it's because it's only funny once a year, and it probably wouldn't have arrived by May 5.

But I admit I did laugh out loud when I saw it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The same generation again

Again, from Balls and Walnuts. I meant to run it last Thursday, but preparations for an out-of-town trip distracted me...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Smells like theme week

Can't think of anything more appropriate to our National Day of Mourning, April 15.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hey, wait a minute

I knew something was wrong with yesterday's clip. I thought Costello was the short one.

I was actually hoping to find the Harry Shearer bit about the concert featuring (I believe) the Who, the Guess Who, Yes, and the Band.

All right, no fooling, I really mean it, this time for sure. From the film "The Gay Nineties" (hey, this bit probably is that old), Abbott and Costello's pick for the definitive performance of "Who's on First".

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sure, here you go

Yesterday's video looks wrong, too. The style is too archaic. Here's a somewhat more modern version of Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on First">

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Say, mister, you got two tens for a five?

Sorry, yesterday's recording doesn't seem to be complete. Here, again, is Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on First", all the way to the shortstop joke...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I don't believe anything I see in the papers today

So rather than risk it, in honor of the first week of baseball season, enjoy Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on First".

Monday, March 31, 2008

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #797
Originally uploaded by Ape Lad
Take photographic LOLCats, Mutts, and Krazy Kat, put 'em in a blender, add huge dollops of talent, and you get Laugh-Out-Loud Cats, now appearing at Hobotopia.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Follow up

Atlanta EF2 tornado
Originally uploaded by PerryW
The accompanying photo is, as you see, a screen capture from WXIA-TV that someone posted to flickr, enabling me to blog it from there. Photographer credit is Shane Durrance.

Meanwhile, from Atlanta Metblogs, I found a Google Map of the path of the tornado's touchdown through downtown Atlanta. Those of you who know where I live can see that the closest approach was about a half-mile. The old Fulton Cotton Bag Mill (now Stax Lofts) got most of the initial press, but a quick flickr search for "atlanta tornado cabbage town" will show you what they're dealing with there.

This news, fortunately, had nothing to do with me personally. Although there is a connection: One of my wife's coworkers lived at Stax. She's OK, but she got out with little more than her pajamas and a mismatched pair of flip flops.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


time spiral
Originally uploaded by strange_wax
International Association of Time Travelers: Members' Forum Subforum: Europe – Twentieth Century – Second World War
Page 263

At 14:52:28, FreedomFighter69 wrote:
Reporting my first temporal excursion since joining IATT: have just returned from 1936 Berlin, having taken the place of one of Leni Riefenstahl's cameramen and assassinated Adolf Hitler during the opening of the Olympic Games. Let a free world rejoice!

Read the rest of this clever short by Desmond Warzel.

I've long had a theory that the Titanic sank when 542 time machines materialized on board at the same subjective moment, causing its cargo hold to burst. Sadly for Amelia Earhart and Roanoke, future historians did not learn their lesson immediately.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stormy weather

UPDATE: What do you mean, a tornado? We don't get tornadoes in downtown Atlanta, we never have, get seri--*

Holy crap.

(Picture from a reader of the AJC.)
First, the spoiler: Everybody's fine, no damage done here at casa del purpure.

At some point, if you haven't already, you'll probably see or hear a newscast or newspaper that speaks of the TORNADO that touched down in downtown Atlanta last night, causing significant damage to the CNN Center, Georgia Dome and Ga World Congress Center.

Then it headed east and TOOK OFF portions of the top floor of a building variously known as The Old Fulton Bag Mill and Stax Lofts, on Boulevard at Decatur Street / Dekalb Avenue / the MARTA overpass. It also damaged about 20 homes in Cabbagetown, the residential area behind the lofts, at the corner of Boulevard and Memorial Drive.

This, as you may know, is unnervingly close to my house.

Yes, we heard the tornado from here, and yes, it makes ONE HELL of a racket, and yes, it does indeed sound JUST LIKE a train, if a train were moving without actually touching the tracks.

And yes, LIKE AN IDIOT, I went out on the front porch to see what I could see, which was nothing. Just dumb luck I didn't end up on the roof of the Cyclorama.

But the Fulton Bag Mill is as close as it got to here.
Everybody's fine, no damage done.

Friday, March 14, 2008

He's gonna stick his head out the window anyway

If you can't quite see (I certainly can't), and you're too lazy to hit the link for a larger image (and, really, how lazy is that?), it's a canvas bag meant to sit on your running board (your car has a running board, right?) so your dog can ride safely and comfortably and not stink up the car. Photo Basement thinks this is Quite Possibly The Worst Invention Ever.

I'm not sure I'd go that far. I can think of plenty of worse ideas than this. You probably can too. Cordless jump rope. Weed-cutting golf club. New Coke. Cell phones.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vinyl and dust

Vinyl and dust
Originally uploaded by T1ger
AJC | Forget MP3s, some teens turning to vinyl records
On a recent afternoon 15-year-old Graham Saylor popped into Decatur CD to check out new releases. But he sprinted right past the CDs, stopping, instead, at the six bins of vinyl records.

Saylor prefers to listen to his favorite new acts, such as TV on the Radio and the Black Keys, on the black 12-inch platters. Some classmates at Decatur High School have become vinyl fans as well.

So what attracts the teens to a musical format that was proclaimed landfill fodder years before they were born?

"I just dig vinyls more. The tone is warmer. I'm not much of a digital guy," explains Saylor.
See also Wired.com: Vinyl May Be Final Nail in CD's Coffin.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Spring Forward

A Moment In Time
Originally uploaded by rainbow11
Who benefits from Daylight Saving Time?
Quad-City Times | Get groggy when the clock changes? So do cows
"When you move it back, those cows are holding that milk for an extra hour, so you can run into some health problems," he said.

... Michael Downing, who detailed the history of daylight-saving time in a 2005 book [Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time], says the U.S. government has misled Americans on the economic benefits of the time switch. The biggest beneficiaries of the spring clock change aren’t consumers but retailers. People shop more when there’s more light at night.

Tonight's the night...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Where Should I Plug This In?

If "Simon Says" ever becomes an Olympic event, it'll be because someone watched Lou Goldstein run a game and thought, "You know, that's really hard." This session is from Battle of the Network Stars.

Here's something else that's really hard: How do you train a dog to do absolutely nothing? You may think you've mastered it, but it's harder than it sounds. You'll remember Bob Williams and his dog Louie as soon as you hear the phrase, "He's...thinking about it." (Starts about a minute in.)

Both clips found at Mark Evanier's News From Me. If you saw something on TV decades ago and remember it fondly, chances are Mark has talked about it.

Monday, March 03, 2008

"No significant energy savings"

Sun Dial, Kew Gardens
Originally uploaded by bluedwarf.

Wall Street Journal | Daylight Saving Wastes Energy, Study Says
Indiana's change of heart gave University of California-Santa Barbara economics professor Matthew Kotchen and Ph.D. student Laura Grant a unique way to see how the time shift affects energy use. Using more than seven million monthly meter readings from Duke Energy Corp., covering nearly all the households in southern Indiana for three years, they were able to compare energy consumption before and after counties began observing daylight-saving time. Readings from counties that had already adopted daylight-saving time provided a control group that helped them to adjust for changes in weather from one year to the next.

Their finding: Having the entire state switch to daylight-saving time each year, rather than stay on standard time, costs Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity bills. They conclude that the reduced cost of lighting in afternoons during daylight-saving time is more than offset by the higher air-conditioning costs on hot afternoons and increased heating costs on cool mornings.

"I've never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this," says Mr. Kotchen, who presented the paper at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference this month.
Can we now please leave the effing clocks alone?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Dad, what's a 'DVD'?"

Blu-ray Disc Originally uploaded by piesto
Business Wire | Toshiba Announces Discontinuation of HD DVD Businesses
Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has undertaken a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD and has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders.
The long national nightmare is over: The next-generation home video format will be blu-ray.

As one of the Gizmodo commenters said, when was the last time Sony won a format war?