Friday, April 28, 2006

Before He Gets All Dixie-Chicked by the Right

Go listen to Neil.

Nigel Yodels His Vote

For Dog Blog Friday: if you're going to sing, you might as well put your whole body into it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

He Ain't Heavy, He's Our Speaker

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert explains the rise in gas prices--it seems the price is now indexed to his weight. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Stand to Be Insulted and Pay for the Privilege

You might have seen this the other day in The New York Times--airlines want to get more moolah by fitting more of us in planes so came up with this brilliant idea:

Which is no problem, since you don't get food anymore so therefore don't have to worry about eating while standing. But, I figure they should just go whole hog with this idea and charge extra for the true thrill-seekers in the jet-set world. So I offer them this idea:

Just the thing for that non-stop flight to Sandusky!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Be-Blogger

If Steve Martin remade The Jerk (and somewhere in Hollywood someone just ooohhed over that idea, and Adam Sandler's agent is getting a call), instead of running through town excited that the new phone books were in town, he'd instead go, "People's most beautiful people issue hit the newstands!"

This year, the the AP's story about the colossal event is headlined "Angelina Jolie Tops Most Beautiful List," which finally also explains why Brad and Jen had to break up--you can't have a couple with two bottoms. The story also refers to Jolie as "pillow-lipped," but I don't know about you, none of my pillows contain collagen.

All that aside, we also learn that this year we have 100 most beautiful people, not the usual 50. Which either means that we are living in an age of previously unprecedented pulchritude or the ad sales team at People had one great week and they had to fill the pages with something (to distract us from our country wanting to nuke another country so we can show them how bad it would be for them to have nukes).

The AP story also says: "All 26 spokesmodels of the NBC game show Deal or No Deal were also chosen." It's unclear if they are beautiful people 51-77, say, or if they must share one position in the 100 person ranking, sort of an alphabet of gorgeosity. If that's the case, you sort of have to feel for the people who are the equivalent of Scrabble tiles J, Q, X and Z. Sure they can pretend that makes them exotic, but it really means they'll just get fingered a lot and never be used properly.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

33% Approval Rating in the U.S., in the Rest of the World, Not So Much

(photo REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis) This silly Greek protester has it all wrong. It's Cheney who drinks blood.

30,000 Dead Iraqis Can't Be Wrong

From the "There's no fighting in here, gentlemen, this is the War Room!" file we have this quote by Assistant U.S. Atty. David Novak, the prosecutor of Zacarias Moussaoui : "This is the United States of America. We are not going to put up with a bunch of thugs who invoke God's name and kill thousands of innocent people."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Apocalypse Service

Two very different moments on the drive back from Amy's folks' place in Escondido this afternoon in the world of $3 a gallon gas. First, cruising on the 73 toll road through Orange County, because everyone should have to pay for an Orange County existing. At one point all you see is the snake of the highway up and down the San Joaquin Hills, and since the traffic is so much lighter than on the 5, it's easy to imagine the day there will be no traffic at all. What a monument to late-capitalist pay-for-play this ribbon of road will be when the oil runs out, or just gets too expensive to buy. What of all these housing tracts that bloom like mushrooms, when they become frontier outposts in this nowhere carlessness (and that's not a typo) will make them.

Then, much closer to home in that stretch between Ventura and Santa Barbara when your mind says you're driving north up California, but the compass says you're driving west, and the setting sun ahead of you makes only you a liar. I have just bought the re-release of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and Byrne and Eno and company are pulsing their way through "America Is Waiting," its herky-jerk rhythm soundtracking the sun shimmering into the Pacific. "God it's beautiful here" is all I can think and absentmindedly accelerate as if to keep the sun up, the song playing.

Friday, April 21, 2006

If You Were Getting $60 mil for the Next Three Years Life Would Look Rosy to You, Too

At a press conference yesterday deconstructing the New York Knicks dreadful 05-06 season (it was rumored they were an NBA team) in which they finished 23-59 despite the league's highest payroll, shooting guard (hey, they don't call him a scoring guard, ok?) Stephon Marbury said, "This is a really good team."

Immediately after the press conference, Marbury was flown to Washington D.C. where during the off-season his great talent for seeing things they way they are will be put to work. Marbury has been named as the replacement for the departed Scott McClellan.

Mouth Wrestlers Anonymous

For Dog Blog Friday: "This is my week, so quit trying to work into my frame," Nigel says.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And then We Won't Have to Worry about Them Damn Liberal College Professors, Neither

In an effort today to one-up Massachusetts Governor "Not Glove, Not Love but" Mitt Romney, who today, according to Reuters, "unveiled an expansion of teenage sexual-abstinence programs in the heavily Democratic state, polishing his conservative credentials ahead of a possible White House run," Senator John McCain offered up a new national plan that he hopes goes down big with his new best friend Jerry Falwell and other people who confuse Christ for an insane, bitter, mean person. McCain pointed out that Romney today said, "If we want our kids to wait to become sexually active until after they've graduated from high school, we're going to have to tell them that, rather than have them try to read our minds." To which McCain replied, "That just means there's going to be a huge birth spike 9 months after everyone's high school graduation party."

No, McCain decided to one-up not just Romney but President Bush himself, who has more than doubled funding for programs that teach that abstinence from sexual activity until marriage is the only sure way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other health problems. McCain said, "I am offering a new in-school program that will teach high schoolers the only true and sure way to avoid teen pregnancy and STDs. If my bill passes, all high schoolers will soon know the exact best way to commit suicide."

Sitting Targets in the Car

Just one reason I love our government is we pay them taxes so they can conduct studies that tell us crucial and otherwise impossible to know information like, "When drivers took long glances away from the road at the wrong moment, they were twice as likely to get into a crash."

What's most important, though, is that the AP senses what's truly newsworthy and covers the story like a tailgating speeder on the highway of knowledge grill-to-bumper with the brainaics at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

At least the writer had a sense to include this choice nugget:

John Simpson of Christiansburg, Va., said his "personal favorite" is once seeing a woman in traffic "with her knees up on the steering wheel, sheet music in her lap and she was playing the flute."

After all, there's nothing like a flute being played in a car, right gentlemen?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Me and Scotty McC

So Scotty's been beamed up to the starship Liarprise. I was most amazed to learn he's just 38. So I'm five years older, a few chins younger and at least two degrees less pasty-faced.

Then there's that part about not being a lying sack of shit for a living for three years of my life....

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

When It Rains, He Snores

According to Wired magazine, the #1 most likely and truly disastrous natural disaster to befall the U.S. will be:

Levee Failure in the Sacramento Delta
Next to New Orleans, the capital of California is more dependent on levees than any other US city. Built on the banks of a river, most of Sacramento is 15 to 20 feet below water level. According to UC Davis geologist Jeffrey Mount, there's a better-than-even chance that the levees will fail by midcentury, jeopardizing the water supply of 22 million Americans.
Likelihood: High. 66 percent in the next 50 years.
People affected: 22 million

It seems Gov. Schwarzenegger and Pres. Bush will meet in California to discuss things before Bush has down time in Napa Valley (a perfect place for an ex-drunk to relax, if you ask me, but that's a different post). According to the AP:

White House and Schwarzenegger administration officials said they did not expect Bush to bring an answer to the governor's February request for an unusual federal disaster declaration for the California levees.

The request is still actively being considered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said one White House official, speaking Tuesday on condition of anonymity because he did not want to publicly step out ahead of the negotiations.

President Bush said, "Besides, I haven't seen any tv news footage of things bad in Sacramento yet. No one's told me the levees could be a problem. Why should we do anything yet?"

People in New Orleans said, "Yet?"

Karma, Karma, Karma Ka-Snail-ion

This morning out walking the dogs we met up with one of our usual dog-walking friends who is the kind of vegetarian that feels the need to move snails out of the path so they won't get crushed. She picks one up, gets ready to place it in the very high weeds (April showers bring towering April weedy flowers) and Mookie runs up from behind her and in his innocently oblivious way, bumps into her snail-carrying hand. Snail fails to the ground with a crunch. Amy and I both laugh at bitter fate.

And now I'm worried.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Poem Safe at Home

Because I almost went to a poetry reading yesterday; and because it was a reading where you were supposed to bring a favorite funny poem to lighten the mood on what's officially Tax Day; and because I dug through my Bill Knott books looking for the poem with those great lines, "Ancestor-silencing is difficult when you you're the one/who forgot to patent the dodo," just in case I needed something to read; and found this poem instead, which is perfect for the season and so I will share with you....

Mitts and Gloves

for Tom Lux

The catcher holds a kangaroo fetus in his,
the firstbaseman's grips a portable hairblower,

but everyone else just stares into theirs
punching a fist into it, stumped

trying to come up with a proper occupant--
The pitcher for example thinks a good stout padlock would go

right in there, but the leftfielder,
perhaps influenced by his environment,

opts for a beercan. The shortstop
informative about the ratio of power to size,

says, "Transistor. You know, radio." The
secondbaseman however he just stands and

grins and flapjacks his from hand to hand and back again,
secondbase dopey as always. Alas

cries the thirdbaseman, this void
of vacancy, pure-space beyond our defiant emptiness,--

abyss, haunted by the kiss of balls
we have not missed! oh absence

delice...The rightfielder looks dis-
gusted at this, he just snorts, hawks, spits

into his and croaks Hey look: heck,
my chaw of tobac fits it perfeck.

The team goes mum, cowhided by
the rectitude of his position, the logic.

Only the centerfielder, who was going back
while this discussion was going on,

putting jets on his cleats to catch the proverbial
long one,

does he perhaps have a suggestion...?
As for the ball, off in midair it dreamily

scratches its stitches and wonders
what it will look like tomorrow when it wakes up

and the doctor removes its bandages--

Mitts are whitecollar; professionals;--
designed for firstbase, homeplate, unique, elite,--

and therefore moral. The glove on the
other hand is human and can be worn

interchangeably by
all player's, dirty, low-down, dumb. I'm

forced to admire the mitt but
free (in theory) to love gloves.

--Bill Knott, from Becos (Random House, 1983)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Your eyes. It's a day's work just to look in to them.

For Dog Blog Friday: Aaawwww.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Give Me Liberty or Give a Sucker an Even Break

When history gives you lemons, make a blog entry is what I always say, or at least what I've been saying since the beginning of typing this little spiel.* April 14 has more or less rained lemons on history, and that has aided no one fond of wise presidents or unsinkable ships, let alone any tax payer penultimately procrastinating.

You just can't make fun of paying taxes, especially with the rumor that Tom DeLay, currently indicted for money laundering and ripping off people to move legislation, might get a new job in the Office of Management and Budget, an idea funnier and crueler than any I've ever devised. Making fun of the Titanic is passe, too, since there's that joke of a film by James Cameron (three words: Billy In Zane).

So I'm left trying to make fun of Lincoln's assassination. And let me say right off, we're not laughing at the president, we're laughing with him. Sorry about the blood, sir.

As you might know if you're a Sarah Vowell reader or otherwise a devotee of the creepiest parts of history (that is if I can tear you away from the 100th year anniversary coverage of the SF earthquake/fire), Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre watching the play Our American Cousin. The exact line that John Wilkes Booth, an actor who plays an assassin in history, chose to fire at was this: "Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal—you sockdologizing old man-trap."

Seems that was a laugh line in 1865, although today we'd all be sad thinking that Lincoln's last thought before the bullet hit him would have been, "What in the Shari Lewis? Sock-doll-what?" Not the way anyone would choose to go, if better than poor Elvis.

At least Our American Cousin left us Lord Dundreary. Beyond his own brand of muttonchops (and who wouldn't want to be immortalized as a bad coiffure choice?) there are Dundrearyisms, his mangling of aphorisms into things like "birds of a feather gather no moss." So let's decide if a stitch in time saves one in the bush or whether we have met the enemy and he is bigger than your stomach.

Not that I want to sockdologize you into anything.

*This postmodern moment brought to you by the People for Self-reflexitivity People, Barth & Barthelme Co-Chairs

So O'Reilly Doesn't Accuse INOTBB of Being Anti-Easter

(Hat tip to Amy for fiding the picture.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Shades of Night Were Falling Fast but I Got a Pretty Good Look Anyway

Don't have the time or the ability to keep my rapidly drooping eyelids from falling to spin you all anything new, and besides, how many times can a poor blogger try to come up with a new way to joke about BushCo lying? If only they would tell the truth for once, and I could make fun of that. Or pass out with surprise and not need to blog.

So, here are excerpts of emails I sent out tonight. All apologies to those getting the emails, who now have to share. Although learning to share is a good thing, so I'm actually helping you grow as a person. You're welcome.

On the fledgling baseball season, both real and fantasy, I wrote:

Baseball is much cheerier, at least so far. Mets winning, beating the Nats, but winning. That's what good teams do--crush shitty teams and make Jose Guillen cry. My fantasy team is in second, and, although just like with poker it's better to be lucky late than early, it still feels good.

It's hard to like the current Mets management, or at least their decision making. It is nice that GM Oscar Minaya realizes "we need" and then he writes the big check. But some deals just don't make sense. Trading starting pitching, even someone married to one of the most obnoxious women on the planet, for middle relief just doesn't make sense. And I don't even know what Jae Seo's wife is like. As for Manager Willie Randolph, batting Reyes first is just stupidity, loyalty to an idea of a leadoff hitter that's as old as Omar Moreno is, wherever he is. Oh well.

On my fledgling new job I wrote:

So far the job has been great, but there's a steep learning curve, too. It hit me the great advantage of staying in a bad job is you know exactly what to do. This new job wants me to be all of marketing, so there's lots of graphics stuff (DreamWeaver, PhotoShop, etc.) I need to learn a whole lot about. But then when I do, I will the most brilliant person on the planet.

The best part is I've impressed them already 8 days into the job and they let me know that and I'm a sucker for people saying, "Good job." It doesn't take much to please me.

On my old job I wrote:

After the person who ran ---- & -------, named ------- ------- but who we renamed -------- --------, it's a huge relief.

Heck, why burn your bitches, I mean bridges, if you don't have to? It's best to let sleeping dogs lie.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Look Out Below!

Blog's got potty mouth--a rat's ass and a turd blossom and a bush dead ahead!

Assuming He Gave a Rat's Ass

Let's run a news math problem, shall we?

"The housing market will likely level out in 2006, as sales of existing and new homes are expected to cool in the coming quarters, according to the National Association of Realtors." (AP 4/11/06)


"Gasoline prices are surging again with summer on the horizon, pushing or even passing $3 a gallon in some places. Meanwhile, drivers aren't expected to ease off on their mileage, sending demand higher than last year — but they are grumbling." (AP 4/11/06)


(AP/Gerald Herbert)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Don't Stop Believing, or Journey to the Center of the Turd Blossom

The saddest part is I don't put anything past them. (The ugly BushCo them.) When Seymour Hersh says they already have plans for Iran, including nuclear bunker-busters, I think, "Of course they do. This group doesn't have a contingency plan it doesn't intend to use--they're too lazy from the Prez on down to make plans just in case."

When it comes out that James Tobin, deep in a mess for phone jamming scams during the 2002 election in New Hampshire, was often on the phone to the White House, it seems as much as a surprise as Capt. Renault discovering there's gambling at Rick's. "Gee," I wonder in my yokel-y wondering to myself way, "Could Ken Mehlman and Turd Blossom be behind something vaguely nefarious?"

When Bush flat-out admits, again, he's broken the law (there's still that NSA wire-tapping thing, remember?) when he says, "Sure, I declassified information, and oh, that just happened to be wrong information, and I'm president, heh heh, I can do what I want," I just figure he figures after the third or fourth lie, heaping on one or two more whoppers really won't make the eternal fires of hell any hotter when he finally goes, er, home.

So depending upon how you look at it, these are either utterly sad times or one's that are intriguing with their mind-widening capacities. Yes, I am entirely gullible when it comes to what our president might do. And that is what we want in a president, that wild card je nais se quoi (oops, is that still that "freedom I'd not know what"?), that makes us believe he is capable of anything.

OK, if you told me he had a threesome with the twins, I wouldn't believe that. I'd probably fall for some story about him and Barbara, though.

Give Him Hell, Harry

You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food.

What I want to say to you is that I, in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by, my leadership in Washington. I feel like, despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration.

--Harry Taylor, American Hero last Thursday

Sunday, April 09, 2006

As Cheesy Rock Show Intros Go, This One is Limburger

I really heard someone say this tonight, at a benefit for MoveOn no less, "This one goes out to all the beautiful women in the crowd, including my own."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Mouth Almighty

For Dog Blog Friday: And some weeks the greyhound eats you. Not to mention the Belle and Sebastian CD you borrowed from Tessitura (sorry).

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Never Can Say Goodbye

On this day in 1963, Tito was made president for life.

Formery known as “one of the kindest, more pleasant people in show business,” Tito was born to a large peasant family in Gary, Indiana. Tito joined the Motown Party of Detroit with his brothers in arms where he gained the nickname Marshall Stacks Tito. Later, for the Victory album Tito produced, wrote, used his secret police to purge political opponents, and sang on “We Can Change the World,” while forging his own, non-Stalinist R&B style. Sadly, the Nation of Jackson could not last, and fractured into its component parts of Marlonsonia, Jermaniny, Titogo and Jackiestan that were all terrorized by the odd leader Jackodan Michaelevic for many years, a man who toyed with his people as if he were dangling them from a balcony.

One Argument Against Cubicle Office Space

Being able to just hear, which is worse than hearing it loudly, "Don't Stop Believing."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What's the Matter with Kids Today?

Or, Ladies leave the room, I need to introduce the Gentlemen to my fantasy baseball team. I was good at this for 3 straight years, then last year things went south. I wisely didn't freeze my longtime mainstay Bonds, as there are no cryogenic steroids and not so wisely did freeze Gagne, who pitched all of 14 innings, and the team also had lots of guys with good half years like Bobby Abreu and Jeremy Bonderman and the peanut tossing salesman in Section 114. The White Sox won the real World Series, btw. Some things just don't make sense.

This year our league had to move from Stats Inc., which didn't want to pay MLB's ridiculous new licensing fees, to Yahoo. It seems MLB is treating its sport like a Cheney treats oil--milk all out of it as you can right now for it won't be long for the world. That's a way to market. Of course on draft night my computer threw a fit and I lost access to the draft for 5 rounds or so, just enough to be really pissed while it happened while secretly realizing, "Hey, if I lose, I can always blame it on the computer snafu."

Wheh I finished, I realized I have a team that would be truly imposing...come about the 2008 season. So, for your enjoyment so you, too, can play along at home, here are your Oberkfellows!

Brian McCann
Josh Willinghman
Brad Wilkerson
Justin Mourneau
Dan Johnson
Rickie Weeks
Orlando Hudson
JJ Hardy
Ian Kinsler
David Wright
Morgan Ensberg
Miguel Cabrera
Jason Michaels
Carlos Beltran
Bobby Abreu
Delmon Young
Jason Kubel
Johan Santana
Felix Hernandez
Dan Haren
Scott Kazmir
Justin Verlander
Jeremy Bonderman
Jonathan Papelbon
Derrick turnbow
Mike MacDougal
Rafael Soriano
Scott Williamson

At least my team saves a lot of money on the road as they're mostly too young to grow facial hair, so I don't have to buy fantasy razors.

Update: I had to fix mistakes in this entry, as I was falling asleep at the computer trying to post. New job means lots of work and it's tiring. Plus three freelance jobs going at the same time, too.

And yes, the fantasy team name has changed. It used to be the Hanover Heir to the Throneberries, but that was too long even at Stats and the name character limit is yet smaller at Yahoo. So I opted to honor one of the great mediocre players of my teens, one a group of us also honored with our very middle-aged English Dept. softball team once upon a time.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Say What?

So there's this study from Texas (why, sure they can study things in Texas)(OK, probably not at SMU), and it ran Bush's, Cheney's, Kerry's and Edwards' speeches through a computer because clearly humans weren't smart enough to choose the right folks just by listening. Mostly the study seems just silly, at least as it's presented in the Washington Post. But that article ends with the following particular oddness:

"Voters are most favorable toward those candidates who are the most optimistic," lead author Richard B. Slatcher, a doctoral candidate in psychology, said. "The depressive language that Kerry and Edwards used during the campaign may have contributed negatively to the way in which they were perceived by the public."

So, if you get all Pollyannish and Mission Accomplised-ish, then that's good. The truth is bad.

Sad thing is, it's only going to get worse.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Don't DeLay

In the first bit of evidence there might be a god, Tom DeLay has opted to drop out of the race to defend his Congressional seat after what Reuters calls "months of prayer and contemplation," which just by chance ended at the same time that "a second former DeLay aide, Tony Rudy, pleaded guilty in a federal corruption investigation that has reached into DeLay's office," according to the AP. So either there's a god, or lots of good prosecutors. Or a god who likes prosecutors. Or prosecutors who have no fear of those who act like they're god's buddy but are really corrupt contemptible hypocritical scumbags.

The AP also reports that "House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called his predecessor 'one of the most effective and gifted leaders the Republican Party has ever known.'" Boehner went on to say, "My name's not pronounced THAT way...what are you Beavis and Butt-head? But seriously, DeLay was one of the most gift-ed Republicans--trips, expensive things for his wife, money laundered through charities that made him seem generous but merely made him rich--hard to beat the gifts he got."

Flying Non-Stop

The AP reports:

Ask for a pillow and blanket to help get through a long flight and you may be out of luck. Or you may be able to buy a "comfort package" from Air Canada for $2. Like to check your luggage curbside? That could cost up to $3 a bag.

Airlines are starting to charge for many services that once were free — such as assigned seating, paper tickets and blankets. Air travelers who don't fly often may be in for some unpleasant surprises when they reach the airport this summer.

United Airlines, in fact, is rumored to be planning to take this "charge for a service" approach a step or two further. United spokesperson Rick Arus said, "We're working on a system where passengers have to pay extra if the flight is on time, say about $50. Then again, some people in the company are arguing we should make people pay an extra $100 any time the plane lands safely. We could set it up the door won't even open until we can collect from everyone in the plane."

It Couldn't Happen to a Pastier Guy

CNN reports that "Presidential press secretary Scott McClellan and Treasury Secretary John Snow could be next in a shake-up in the Bush administration, according to White House and GOP sources."

Sources says McClellan wants to spend more time looking for his first chin and hoping he can extract most of his lips from George W. Bush's butt.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Do You Dream in Color?

I asked for a sign, and I got a new job. Here's hoping I have time to tell you all about it. And that there are good things to tell.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Cleanliness Is Next to Frankenish

This morning I had the opportunity to be pee shy with Al Franken.

And in case you're wondering, the answer is yes. He does wash his hands before talking to the U.S. on his show.

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