October 2006 Archives

Some of you may have noticed that the people behind Cranium have recently put out a game, and they are counting on riding the long coattails of our website's success by calling that game Pop 5. This is supposed to be a game about pop culture, which means that unless it has a direct RSS feed from Defamer, it was probably outdated before it even hit the shelves. Even though our Pop 5 has grown beyond the original 5, and is now more like "Pop 8," maybe we should still protect our little corner of the internet with a well-timed, American-as-apple-pie copyright infringement lawsuit.

Also, while I am never able to come up with cool costume ideas for myself, I think Evan and Laura should be the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend for Halloween. Do you think Laura can do the voice??


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Lots of things. Like BOB DYLAN THE MUSICAL:

But here we have some nice commentary:

I guess the only thing scarier than the musical 'interpretation' of 'Like a Rolling Stone' that features dog people and pilates balls is seeing Rosie O'Donnell and a gargoyle before it starts. Wait, that's not a gargoyle? That's a person? Holy fucking shit.

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I just saw a commercial for an insurance company with Maya Angelou reading a poem she'd written. I don't think I need to say anything else.

Yes I do. I realize poetry don't pay the bills--or even buy a cup of coffee in most parts of this country--but I gotta think Maya Fucking Angelou is making rent. Reading at a president's inauguration is bad enough (Robert Frost did it, too, at JFK's, and he's one of my favorites). But that can be interpreted as an expression of optimism and hope, as opposed to one of political partisanship or pandering as it is to cynics like me.

Poetry as corporate shilling has to be a new low. What's next? Bob Dylan singing for Victoria's Secret? Oh, wait...

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Just a warning, this could be labeled an offensive post.

So the other day I was walking around on Temple's wonderful campus with my friend and fellow cynic liberal Dana and outside the student center a lanky dude who looked a bit asymmetrical was leaning against a handmade sign that read: "God will punish the wicked." I did a double-take, but kept walking and we both commented on how weird it is that people can just make signs and stand around with them. I wonder if people like this have jobs? I imagine grocery stores rely on people like this to unload trucks late at night.

Whatever the case, we were a block away when we crossed the street in front of a truck that was slowly coming down one of the 2 one-way streets that cuts across campus. I glanced at the truck and I thought I saw images of red fruit. It looked quickly like watermelon and pomegranate and smashed strawberries and a baby head. And then I realized. It was a baby head.

It was a fucking abortion truck.

Now, it wasn't like an ice-cream truck, although later I wondered what the driver would have said if Dana and I had walked up and asked how much an abortion and a chocolate-vanilla twist cone with chocolate sprinkles would cost.

No, it was simply a billboard with fetuses that were obviously from late-term abortions. Either that or someone went digging through a dumpster at a high school prom to snap photos (did I just cross a line there?).

Yes, this was a protest truck. A guy was driving around campus with a huge, huge image of aborted babies on his truck. I felt that this was not appropriate. particularly since most abortions are done in the first trimester, before the fetus has a well-defined skull and fingers and looks like a kewpi doll covered in various red fruits.

Anyway, we were disgusted but not surprised that the use of such imagery would not be below the religious fanatics that seem to LOVE Temple University. Earlier in the semester I got into a pointless debate with a guy who was outside the library trying to argue that evolution was a myth (which is fine, if you want to bother) and that the Bible was a literal document. Yeah. the earth really is 6000 years old. which is why evolution is a myth -- it's not enough time to evolve from monkeys to humans. plus, as he said, a cow isn't gonna just give birth to a horse. that's crazy. yeah. they're everywhere.

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I also loved The Prestige, and I was counting down until the release date. We also saw this year's other magician movie, The Illusionist, and I for one liked Prestige much better. I have a thing for Ed Norton, and I like Paul Giamatti (without having a thing for him), but I hate that stupid Jessica Biel person, and the story was very thin. I think it was adapted from a short story, and you could definitely tell.

Fortunately, I also have things for Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale (but only when scruffy, like the beginning of Batman Begins. For some reason I don't like him clean-shaven), so my interest in The Prestige was heightened to begin with. I also like Christopher Nolan. I read that David Bowie was in the movie, but I didn't recognize him as Tesla, or remember that when I saw it. Mike and Buddy had to tell me it was him afterwards, so he must have done a hell of a job. Like Evan, I liked pretty much everything about this movie. I did figure out Hugh Jackman's half of the ending in advance, but I was surprised by Christian Bale's. After you find it out, though, so much of the rest of the movie makes sense.

Also, NJ opens the door to gay marriage. Looks like Rob won't have to travel to Canada after all.

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I saw on another blog that Wired magazine enlisted 38 writers and designers to write short-short-short stories...like in six words. A friend had me pulling my hair out a few years ago with this exercise, since, as you all are very aware, I can go on and on and on. Still, it's kinda cool, and helps me hone my skills as a headline writer.

Hemingway's briefest is a famous one: For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
Another good one, by William Shatner of all people: Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.
Margaret Atwood's contribution: Starlet sex scandal. Giant squid involved.

Here are a few I came up with, some good, some, well, not so much:
I loved him. Now I don't.
Cat's gone. Should've shut the window.
Writer's block. Brain hurts. Need drink.
Fame? Prestige? Wealth? Nope: Newspaper career.

I know you guys are way funnier (and more imaginative) than me. So HAVE AT IT!

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This is easily the best movie i have seen this year. But I haven't seen that many movies this year, so that probably doesn't help you. In fact, I can't even recall any movies I saw this year. Did Lord of the Rings come out sometime recently? Probably not.

Anyway. I should also mention that this is the first movie in a long time that I have been really excited to see. I used to get a yearning feeling in my stomach when really good movies were still weeks away. That hasn't happened to me in a while. (Again, LOTR comes to mind. So does The Thin Red Line. And so do a number of other films that ended up SUCKING.)

All I will say about this film is that the acting is good, the cinematography is good, and the story is intriguing. Two magicians try to fuck each other up. but not in the way that Clive Barker's crapfest Lord of Illusions tried to do where the magicians battle each other with magic. this is grounded in reality and just shows two dickheads battling for the prestige (ha!) of being crowned king dickhead. It's fun to watch even if the ending is sorta obvious (i'll say no more than that).

Another fine aspect of the film is the use of that underrated genius Nikoli Tesla (played by none other than David Freakin Bowie. Laura kept telling me it was him and I refused to believe it.) I saw a documentary about Tesla and how he and Edison had a PR battle to win the hearts and minds of Americans. Each man was promoting his electrical system, claiming that the other's was unsafe. Seems that Tesla's really was safer, but Edison did shit like electrocuting a live elephant to 'prove' that Tesla's was not safe. Of course, Edison was also a good, clean American and Tesla had a dirty and untrustworthy accent, so Edison ended up winning in the end.

Why this tangent? Well, the Tesla v. Edison stuff is touched upon throughout the film as a parallel to the Hugh Jackman v. Christian Bale rivalry. They might have made the connections stronger, but as it stands it's a really cool way to tell 2 stories, even if it does rely on the audience knowing the historical battles between Edison & Tesla.

So, go see this fine film rather than stay at home to masturbate to the bra section of the Sears catalog. You sicko.

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I started reading Buddy's post below and when I saw that bit about the horses, I decided to check the accuracy of the rest of the list (or at least some of the list, until i got tired). See, that whole bit about the horse's legs in the air telling you how they died is false. How false? Well, the fine folks at my favorite Urban Myth debunking site have done the work.

I guess I didn't need to go thru and debunk the whole list. But I was bored. Then I realized that if I simply put this in the comments section, people may not read it.

Seriously, though, I felt that these corrections were interesting. My dad is always sending me these kinds of emails and I always ruin his day by sending emails back that are this snotty.

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In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb"
Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled"Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.
The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.
Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.
Coca-Cola was originally green.
It is impossible to lick your elbow.
The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska
The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this...)
The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%
The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400
The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.
The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar
111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?
A. Their birthplace
Q. What is the most popular boat name requested?
A. Obsession
If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"? One thousand
Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?
A. All were invented by women.
Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey
Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day
In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes.
When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... "Goodnight, sleep tight."
It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a hone y beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.
In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts.. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down."It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's"
Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.
At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!
Don't delete this just because it looks weird. Believe it or not, you can read it.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is! taht t he frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that
they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.
8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.
11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile :- )
12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.
AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

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I left the Rite-Aid today, and as I was about to get into my car, another car pulled up beside it with handicap tags, and an oldish nun got out the passenger side, keeping me from getting into my car. I waited for her, she smiled and thanked me, apologizing for being so slow, as the nun who was driving got out her side and waited.

Once the older nun was out, I got into my car and the two walked away. Before I shut my door, I saw the driver turn, point to the car, and I heard the familiar "chirp-chirp."

Why would nuns have car alarms?

This brings up serious questions for me, an admittedly severely lapsed Catholic who was, after all, at the Rite Aid to buy birth control pills to keep me from getting preggers by my live-in boyfriend. (There are at least three things in that sentence which should offend these nuns.)

What happened to trusting God? What about trusting one's fellow man? We're talking about a Rite-Aid in Haddon Township, for Christ's sake, not a drug corner in North Philly.

What do women who have taken a vow of poverty have to protect, anyway? How about compassion? If someone steals, isn't there at least the chance they're moved to do so out of desperation?

Were they afraid the car might be stolen? It was a four-door, late-90s Oldsmobile. I don't think the skate punks of Cuthbert Boulevard are too interested in joyriding in it.

I guess I probably could have lingered and asked them all these questions. They seemed like friendly enough nuns, though I believe they taught at Paul VI, which is nearby, and they had the same habits (garb) as PVI's nuns.

But, I have to admit...after 12 years of Catholic education, nuns still scare me.

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Since Mike has been silent for over a week on the quiz front, I thought I'd throw one up. ew.

"You gonna open it or sit there with your thumb up yer but?"
"Thumb up my butt sounds better."

First correct answer wins my temporary bemused interest!

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I'm pretty skeptical about the afterlife, but I have to believe this guy gets his own little ring in hell. Maybe Brett Myers can join him there.

(from the Associated Press)

Date: 10/12/2006 04:52 PM

Youth coach sentenced to prison in autistic player's beaning

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A youth baseball coach accused of offering an 8-year-old money to bean an autistic teammate so he couldn't play was sentenced Thursday to one to six years in prison.

Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman sentenced 29-year-old Mark R. Downs Jr. of Dunbar, Pa. to consecutive six-to-36-month sentences for corruption of minors and criminal solicitation to commit simple assault. A jury convicted Downs in September.

Warman revoked Downs' bond and sent him to prison.

Downs didn't speak at the sentencing but told reporters ''I didn't do nothing'' as he was led out of the courtroom. (sounds like a real Rhodes scholar, eh?)

His attorney, Thomas Shaffer, said Downs was upset and looked forward to appealing the verdict. Downs was ordered Thursday to undergo a mental health evaluation and barred from coaching any youth league sport while on parole.

Authorities said Downs offered to pay one of his players $25 to hit Harry Bowers, a mildly autistic teammate, with a ball while warming up before a June 2005 playoff game. Prosecutors said Downs wanted the 9-year-old out of the game, because the boy didn't play as well as his teammates.

Player Keith Reese Jr. said he purposely threw a ball that hit Bowers in the groin and another that hit Bowers in the ear, on Downs' instructions. Downs denied offering to pay Reese to hurt Bowers.

''These acts are extremely outrageous and extremely reprehensible since the defendant was involved in the coaching of a youth league,'' Warman said.

Bowers' mother, Jennifer Bowers, said Thursday that since her son was hit, she has struggled to get him to try new activities. She said the boy fears that he would get hurt again.

Downs was acquitted on a more serious charge of criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault. Jurors deadlocked on a charge of reckless endangerment. The judge declared a mistrial on the endangerment charge, and prosecutors said they wouldn't retry him.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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This is so awesome. I wanted it to go on forever. It's the battle of album cover art.


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The Black Keys, Beck, Under the Influence of Giants, The Killers

Despite a boatload of music by the Black Keys bestowed on me by Mike this sunday, I bought a bunch of music on Tuesday.

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As a compliment to my 'favorite cartoon characters' here's my list of favorite non-cartoon characters. The really sad part about this list is that there are no woman or minorities. i apparantly really like funny white men. Does this make me a hateful bastard? I guess so. I could blame Hollywood. But they get blamed for everything.

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The Food Network is looking for its next STAR!

From their website -

"This is what we are looking for:

• Cooking know-how: You can be self-taught or professionally trained or somewhere in between, but you should know the basics.

• Personality that pops: Let yourself shine and show us who you really are. Don't be shy. We are all about personality-show us yours!

• Teaching skills: Bring the world of food and cooking to life in your very own passionate and unique way.

The search for The Next Food Network Star will be documented on a series of specials slated to air this June. From a pool of eight finalists, one winner will receive their own six-episode show."

Click here to apply

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!