Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Human Evolution Disproven

First Ashlee Simpson, now this. Could there be any more compelling argument against the theory of evolution than this story? Clearly, the human race is devolving.

--'Intelligent design' taught in Pennsylvania [AP via CNN]

Saturday, November 20, 2004

This Just In
Condoleeza Rice has uterus.
'Rice Returns Home Following Surgery' [Yahoo! News]

Howdy, Kurt
To my fan(s):
An explanation for my return (if not for my absence):
This column, by Kurt Andersen, from this week’s New York mag. By the time you’re done reading it and telling your friend(s) about it, there just may be a few new posts on this creaky old thing. (I’m easing into to this . . .)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Snore Pie with Yawn Sauce

In addition to the butt-scratching, war-making and obession with all things iPod, get ready to add a new item to the ever-expanding list of human-chimp similarities: yawning.
-- Study finds behavior just as contagious as in humans (MSNBC.com)
PLUS: Bush or Chimp?
STILL FUNNY: That chimp video you watched fifteen times in 1997 (MPEG)

Plucked this catty little gem, courtesy of ABC anchor Peter Jennings, from the Times's breathless Dem convention coverage yesterday: "I heard Brokaw the other day reminisce about what a wonderful opportunity it is to see old friends, and so perhaps for Tom it's as much a social occasion as it is for some of the delegates. I think of it more as a target of opportunity."
-- New York Times sidebar: Anchors on the convention, and each other

Monday, July 26, 2004

Guys, Get 'Em While They're Hot!

Hey fellas, did stubborn yellow pit-stains ruin your beloved "Don't Forget the Clit" T-shirt? Well, help is on the way, thanks again to our friends at Planned Parenthood. Trust me, you'll be blown away at the deep connection you'll feel when you run into another dude wearing one of these babies, uh, fetuses, uh... shirts.
-- Yahoo! Shopping

Friday, July 23, 2004

U2: We'll Go to iTunes
If the person who (yoink!) swiped a rough mix of their upcoming record, Vertigo, from a boombox releases a single track on a P2P network, the boys from Dublin announce they'll put the whole damn thing on iTunes for legal download. Smart.
Story from 'Wired'
PLUS: U2 Official Site

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Happens Only Twice a Year

And you'll have to wait to next May 28th for the next one (or the following July 12th). On those dates, the earth and NYC are aligned so the sun sets directly down the center of each New York street. How cool is that? The answer, of course, is 8.
-- NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day [Via Cool Hunting]
Nice Job, Dad!

Presidential daughter Jenna Bush helps her pops restore honor and dignity to the White House.

Some folks might call it grossly unfair to judge a parent by his kids. In case those people are wrong, consider this pic Exhibit B.
PLUS: Iraq death toll hits 900 (Fox News)
AND: Don Knotts turns 80

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Anti-Freeze, the New Apple-tini?
Today's must-read bit of news comes from Slate's Explainer section, and it grapples with a question you'd never think to ask but are nonetheless oddly grateful for its having been answered. Namely, Why Is Antifreeze So Delicious? Apparently, the stuff is as tasty as it is poisonous.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Karaoke Bar : 2004 :: Crack House : 1988
Like swing dancing in the 90's and crack smoking in the 80s, the white-hot karaoke craze currently sweeping the city, says today's Times, is "a form of urban group expression that satisfies a longing for community."
-- 'Sweet Caroline' Never Seemed So Good
-- Screw community, try it at home: Ronan's Online Karaoke

L.A.T.I.F.ah #1

Click the image. I challenge you to spend less than 60 seconds staring at the full size map.

As any Cargo or Lucky reader knows, too many pesky words can get in the way of that wonderfully zen experience of zoning out to a well laid-out page of trendy products. (When the aliens decide it's time to alert the chosen that an attack is imminent, is it so unreasonable to believe that they will do so via hidden patterns in a three-page spread of must-have handbags? No, it is not.)

Reading, it's been said, is fundamental. But so it looking at things. Therefore I have decided to start an irregular series of posts dedicated solely to directing your eyes toward diverting, even transporting images. The series has been named L.A.T.I.F.ah, for Looking At Things Is Fundamental (the "ah" not only makes it slightly more pronounceable, it also stands for the noise these images will bring forth). [Mention hip-hop/acting sensation Queen Latifah here?-- Ed.]

For L.A.T.I.F.ah #1, I've elected to go with the Washington, DC subway map (get it, elected? DC?) which I think you'll find particularly, um, transporting! YES! But in all seriousness (by which I mean more seriousness--sorry been watching too much David Brent lately) have a look. New Yorkers especially will likely agree that, compared to our overly-vertical, inelegantly asymmetrical grid, the DC Metro map is a thing of well proportioned beauty. Ah.
-- MAP: DC Metro
PLUS: Maps from around the globe on The Subway Page

Friday, July 09, 2004

Not less than 10% Iraqi civilian blood [Sorry, I just couldn't resist, cuz, you know, it's red.]

New Freedom Fry Sauce Introduced
Sick of giving money to the stupid Democrats every time you douse those freedom fries, the ones that you drunkenly scarf every night before you pass out in a puddle of last night's puke, with Heinz brand real tomato ketchup? Do you even remember the question? You've got two options. One, you could order Dominos, whose owner reportedly personally spits in the pizza of anyone on the Planned Parenthood mailing list (plus he drinks Coors!), or, you could order some W Ketchup.

Senator Feelgood
As John "Vishnu" Kerry’s shameless grope-fest of poor shit-eatin’-grinnin' John Edwards continues into Day 4, I have decided to provide some historical context. But first, a few recent pics of Grabby McGee in action...

For comparison’s sake, selected recent pairings:

Wow, this caption writes itself

Monday, June 28, 2004

Make Up Your Mind
Mobiles Phones May Damage Sperm?
Sprem Reaches Wimbledon Quarterfinals

U.S. to Iraq: You're It (No Tagbacks)!
"In a surprise, secret ceremony that was hastily convened to decrease the chances of more violence, United States officials today handed over sovereignty to Iraqi leaders, formally ending the American occupation two days earlier than scheduled." More from the NY Times

Friday, June 25, 2004

Canadian Killer Lacks Follow-Through

'They're sending me to Fallujah'

Reuters reports that one James Paul Stanson, "driving a car packed with weapons and ammunition, was intent on killing as many people as possible in a Toronto neighborhood but gave up the plan at the last minute when he encountered a friendly dog."
The lesson here? All killers go by three names.
-- Friendly Dog Prevents Killing Spree?
Hey You Cave-Dwellers
Unless you've been living in a cave (and if you're reading this instead of some other blog, you probably have been), you've heard about DMX the G-man, sexy Andy Rooney and of course the oiling, shaving and pumping that takes place beneath the black robes. If those mean nothing to you, here's a little ammo for tomorrow night's dinner party over at the Rischecks' cave:
-- DMX's bizarrely weak attempt at car-jacking (AP)
-- Oklahoma Judge accused of using a penis pump, pleasuring self on the bench (Smoking Gun)
-- Playgirl sez Andy Rooney may be sexy (do they mean Mickey?) (AP)
PLUS: Dick Cheney, also sexy, but only when he's angry
Naked Chick to NYers: Your Lives Suck

"For breakfast I had vomit."

For Martynka Wawrzyniak, the Polish-born babe featured on the non-Ethan Hawke cover of New York Magazine this week, walking along Park Avenue naked was no big dealski. In fact, she tells Thursday's Times, it was kinda fun: "It made me totally laugh. You don't realize how great it is, thrilling it is, to make people shocked whose lives are mundane and boring." Um, excuse me, but since when is masturbating to weekly newsmagazine covers considered boring?

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Trent Lott’s Sunday School Secret

No flapjacks for you, naughty boy!
In a Q&A with the New York Times Magazine from last Sunday, former Senate majority leader Trent Lott was quick to defend American’s treatment of Iraqi prioners: “Interrogation is not a Sunday-school class. You don't get information that will save American lives by withholding pancakes.” Man, do I love pancakes.

Here's a theory: might Lott’s regrettable behavior choices over the years—kind words for Strom Thurmond’s segregationism, that case of Aqua-Net that recently went missing from the Senate barbershop—actually be the result of a hotcake-related trauma one Sunday long ago?

Friday, June 18, 2004

Pic of the Day

The family-friendly alternative to that weekend-ruining photo of Rasputin's preserved member.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Farce Juggernaut-Brand Jugs O' Naught
Brand extensions, baby. Brand. Ex. Tensions.
Someone may have something new and intelligent to say about this phenomenon, but I certainly don't.

That said, I find it odd that both Vibe and Maxim are planning on producing branded linens. I hate to admit it, but if I were in the market for a hair coloring product I just might fall for the Maxim brand--at least there'd be a known entity to bitch about if things went horribly wrong--and I can certainly see how Vibe's name could give cred to a CD sampler. But I'm not getting the decision to shill sheets and towels. Anyone?
-- Read Our Article, and Purchase Our Hair Color While You're at It (NY Times)
The Forgotten Reagan Legacy: Trendy Sneakers

In all the coverage, coverage of the coverage, overcoverage, and overcoverage of the... okay you get the point, I haven't seen one mention of Ronald Reagan's well known weak spot for sassy footwear. Until now. So, retro-sneaker fans, how does it feel to be walking in Ronald Reagan's trendy footsteps? [Click the pic for a better view.]
Nagging Question No. 13
Perhaps in your travels you've encountered the "Zero to Bitch" suite of products, which includes bumper stickers, T-shirts, needlepoint pillows, and other such items. What I wonder is how do they determine exactly how many seconds this process actually takes? For instance, this T-Shirt proclaims a zero-to-bitch acceleration time of 4.1 seconds, while this lovely 11x11 print with a stated zero-to-bitch time of 4.5 seconds, is evidently aimed at a more level-headed class of woman. Finally, any Paparazzo knows that the bumper sticker on Leo DiCaprio's Prius claims a mere 2.5 seconds. Until this discrepancy is widely acknowledged and properly dealt with, one is tempted to offer the following words of advice: Caveat emptor, bitch.
Ben Settles into Post-Puke Serenity
"It's the sort of vague calm you get after vomiting where the vomit itself is rather unpleasant, but when it's over it does bring you a kind of strange peace." That's Ben Affleck, who's no doubt done his share of porcelain bus driving, describing to the BBC's Radio 1 the relief he feels post J.Lo.
-- Happy Days for Ben Affleck? (People.com)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Shah's Revenge
To the already long list of things not to do when visiting Iran, you can now add drinking the locally-made booze.
-- Death Toll from Toxic Iranian Homebrew Reaches 22 (Reuters)
Note to all my blind readers: Turns out it wasn't the home-distilled booze that robbed you of your sight (not to mention sobriety!), but the methanol Lubetzky added to the punch to spice things up. More info here.
McSweeney's--Still Around
And still making us all, by which I mean me, laugh out loud.
-- Five Rejected Opening Lines for the CBS Evening News
PREVIOUSLY: Today's Most Funniest Movie Bloopers

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Media vs. Message
News that Wall Street Journal writers were conducting a byline strike this week reminded me of a similar stunt pulled by Washington Post staffers a while back. At that time the New Yorker ran an exceptionally lively and well crafted Talk of the Town item which cast doubt on the significance of bylines in the first place, and lampooned the self-importance of what I can't help but think of as a hunger strike for the attention starved.

What cracked me up at the time, and still does, is that I came across the piece as I was flipping through that issue in reverse--it wasn't the topic, but rather the byline of the great Louis Menand, that led me to read it. Had I come across the item in a more traditional fashion, I honestly doubt I'd have gone to the trouble.

Friday, June 11, 2004

With Friends Like These...
Either Drudge's ear is even tinnier than usual today, or he's secretly working for the Kerry campaign. I guess we're supposed to frown on the new JFK for calling the Gipper's Presidency a "moral darkness," but the 1988 Kerry quotes Drudge dredged up have the opposite effect:
"A Republican president once reminded us, 'There is absolutely nothing to be said for a government of powerful men with the ideals of pawnbrokers'... That president's name was Theodore Roosevelt. And today Theodore Roosevelt would be ashamed to be a Republican." Sounds to me like a fair criticism in light of that whole Iran-Contra thingy.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Former basketball great Magic Johnson has fired a shot across the bow of America's fleet in the war on obesity, and just as it was picking up a sort of lumbering, jiggly momentum. The Laker Hall of Famer announced Monday that he will open 30 Burger King franchises in various urban communities, thereby ensuring that no citizen, regardless of economic background, will be denied such fare as the Double Whopper with Cheese. Charles Barkley was unavailable for comment.
Full story

Friday, May 28, 2004

It wasn't all that long ago that some really annoyed and, let's face it, probably really annoying, people were lamenting the "verbing of America." Standing in the shower today, I looked down at a jar of something that my fiancee's sister, who works in a swank spa in Woodstock, which we all know is the new Hamptons, had made for her. It contained oatmeal and various other household staples which, when brought together to form a paste, are believed by some to posess magically curative powers. It's called a "scrub." So here's my theory: All those New Economy types who grew rich using words like "impact" and, I shudder, "Zeitgeist" as verbs are now blowing money on such things as "scrubs" and "washes."

And while I'm at it, when exactly did it become cool to put an article before words like soup, beer, or wine? Mmmmm, that's a good soup. Ech!

[Full disclosure: Scroll down a bit and you'll see the name Shinseki as a verb, denoting being forced into retirement for speaking inconvenient truths.]
My Other Blog
Okay, everyone, I've decided to come clean: I am Rance; Rance is I. The speculation as to my identity contained in this Reuters story was so preposterous, so downright silly--Clooney wishes!--I have no choice but to emerge from my undisclosed location and come clean, fess up, face the music, facts, nation.
-- I Am Rance

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

News Flash: Hollywood Movie Not Realistic
I'd just like to take a moment to thank the Cato Institute's Patrick J. Michaels for enlightening me and my fellow USA Today "readers" on the true nature of Roland Emmerich's latest sci-fi thriller, "The Day After Tomorrow." He makes a lot of other great points too (Apparently, there's an island called Three Mile--I wonder, does Eminem know this?), but overall his main point seems to be that the movie is just totally not realistic. So where you in prior to the release of "Independence Day," Patrick J. Michales, where were you?!?!!
-- 'Day After Tomorrow': A lot of hot air (USA Today)
Killing Time
George Saunders has checked the slot and for once it's not goatless. (You Saunders fans will know what I mean.) Here's his simple, three-step Iraq exit strategy.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Casting Call: Arab Male TV Viewers Needed
We are: A major international news agency seeking subjects and locale for exciting current events-themed photo shoot.
You are: Preferably mustachioed, non-white, and familiar with all television watching poses sanctioned under International Law. Must be willing to follow (polite) orders of photo director, also must be able to feign look of intense interest for long periods of time while videotaped Bush interview is on Pause. Non-arabs welcome, including Africans, however those deemed insufficiently "Muslim" in appearance (i.e., those fair of complection, or exhibiting traditional evidence of femininity) must be willing to don traditional Arab headdress to disguise ethnicity. Note: For the last time, people, paste your freaking resume in the BODY of the email. Do NOT attach it!

Mark-Kate and Ashley do their part for the war effort

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Phrase of the Day
"Disproportionately focused on military objectives." That's Jordan's Queen Noor (nee Lisa Najeeb Halaby) discussing the U.S.'s approach to the Middle East, on 'Hardball' tonight.
-- 'Hardball' Front Page (MSNBC.com)
An American Hero

Hey, cabron, don't mess with the Meximullet

Isidro Mejia, a Texas construction worker in Los Angeles, recently had six three-and-a-half-inch nails driven into his head by a nail gun. Bizarrely, he is expected to make a full recovery.
-- Man recovering
after nails driven into skull
(Click for story--and x-ray image)

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Objective Criticism
Could things be going any worse over in Iraq? Insurgencies, widespread discontent, outrage over beatings of prisoners. Scan the latest coverage of the U.S.'s extravagant Pottery Barn purchase disguised as a country. Given how abhorrent--and damaging to U.S. interests in the Middle East--this prisoner abuse is, it's tough to call it over-reported. But you have to admit that that the story gives media types (who are overwhelmingly against this war) a way to express their disapproval under the cover of journalistic objectivity. As with most media bias--including media bias I happen to agree with--it comes down not to how something is covered but what gets coverage in the first place.
-- Iraqi Recounts Hours of Abuse by U.S. Troops (NY Times)
-- Full Iraq Coverage from MSNBC.com

Monday, April 26, 2004

Bush-Kerry in 2004
What if Bush and Kerry's wives ran the country? I can't help thinking we'd be better off. (Plus I'm scoring a lot of points with my chick friends.)
-- Check out Newsweek's profile of Teresa Kerry

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Meet me at The Pottery Barn, and Bring a Two-by-Four!
Turns out that what's true for Iraq may not be true for The Pottery Barn after all. Lloyd Grove reports that the upscale home retailer -- unofficial motto: "We have taste so you don't have to" -- actually has no "you break it, you buy it policy." So, who's up for a little vase-smashing?
-- Powell's Potterygate slip (NY Daily News)

Monday, April 19, 2004

London Confidential
What was Kevin Spacey doing in a London park at 4:30 a.m.? Walking his dog, he says. Funny, I don't recall George Michael ever using that euphemism... But I digress. The point here is that Spacey, who recently put his white-hot Hollywood career on hold to serve as artistic director of London's Old Vic theater, first told British cops (no guns! how cute is that?) that he'd been attacked by muggers. Then, he evidently reconsidered and came cleanly, oops--came clean. Turns out Spacey wasn't hurt in an attack, but when he fell chasing the kid who'd conned him out of his cell phone.
-- Spacey 'comes clean' over 'attack' (CNN)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Celebrity Sighting of the Week
I've got absolutely no idea what Malcolm Jamal Warner is doing with himself these days, but based on his appearance on the C train this afternoon, it seems that his sustenance needs are being amply met.
Ouch, Cognitive Dissonance!
Is it possible to agree with both David Brooks and Paul Krugman on Iraq? If you're me it is. Try it for yourself.
-- Brooks: 'The Uncertainty Factor' (NY Times)
-- Krugman: 'Snares and Delusions' (NY Times)
PLUS: Michael Chabon writes brilliantly on the indispensable pain of adolescence (NY Times)

Monday, April 12, 2004

Line of the Week
Today on 'The O'Franken Factor,' eponymous Al was talking about how, when flying in the months after the 9/11 attacks, he would pack a few baseballs in his carry-on. If his flight was highjacked, he said, his intention was to bean the highjackers with "more balls in the face than Elton John." Made me laugh.
-- Air America Radio

Saturday, April 10, 2004

History of the Iraq War, Draft Two
If journalism is the first draft of history, then, a year after the fall of Baghdad, a second draft of the Iraq War is just about ready for publication. And it goes something like this. . . While the 9/11 highjackers were living the U.S. or in friendly countries like Germany as they plotted their attack on our power, our weath and our perceived decadence, the Bush Administration was preoccupied with an outdated, state-centric view of threats against the West.

After the attacks that should've changed. It didn't, and we invaded Iraq, which was then Number 6 on any rational person's list of our top 5 threats and a country that and did far less to support terrorism than non-state networks like al Qaeda. Bush and his team of rigid Cold Warriors failed to recognize this sea change in 2001. With Iraq turning out so badly, let's hope they don't also pass up the latest opportunity to match the response to the threat. Robert Wright sums up this case nicely in an essay from Friday's Times Op-Ed page. His juxtaposition of Condoleeza Rice's testimony with the bad news from Iraq contained in CNN's "crawl" is especially powerful.
-- One Hearing, Two Worlds (NY Times)

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

It's Tuesday Morning, Where Is Richard Clarke?
It's been two days since I've seen or heard from the author of 'Against All Enemies'--and come to think of it, that was a replay of a previous interview. Has he gone underground?

Ever since his March 19 appearance on '60 Minutes' the author of 'Against All Enemies' has spent a lot of time in my living room, and I've grown accustomed to that indignant baritone of his. I think I'm starting to show symptoms of withdrawl. Richard, I know my country has failed me, but must you also fail me?!
Maybe Bill Kristol can help me kick this jones.
-- The Sorry Mr. Clarke (Weekly Standard)
What's Wrong With This Country?
Okay I promise to quit asking that largely superfluous question. After, that is, I publish this photo from the Netherlands:

According to Reuters, "The 'Jewel Eye' piece is latest trend in body fashion and is implanted underneath the cornea of the eye. "

Look on the bright side--at least it's a heart and not a swastika. I can really see this thing catching on in fundamentalist Muslim societies. The pitch: Attention Ladies: Buy two burqas and we'll throw in a free Jewel Eye!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Rummy to Generals: Want More Troops? Just Ask
(Note: Those generals actually requesting additional troops will be marginalized, made fun of, and ultimately Shinseki-ed into early retirement.)
-- Rumsfeld Leaves Door Open to More U.S. Troops for Iraq (NY Times)
You Are So Freaking Lucky You Fat Losers
This from today's Times, in a story about colleges' desire to help their perfectionist students "lighten up." My how things change. Though it was only 10 years ago, when I was in school, "lighten up" was something you said to the schlub who spent his freshman fall packing on 40 pounds of beer and pizza fat.

Now, on the other hand (allow me to reiterate my desire, at 31, not to sound crotchety), "Private and public colleges alike have begun offering a wide range of services and activities intended to help students negotiate what used to be considered the ordinary rites of passage: homesickness, sophomore existential angst, romantic relationships. There are now free massages and dogs to cuddle in exam seasons, biofeedback workshops and therapists available to help students work through their first C." What the hell is wrong with this country?

-- New Lesson for College Students: Lighten Up (NY Times)

Monday, April 05, 2004

The Bee in Franken's Bonnet
Listeners of "The O'Franken Factor" have heard Al Franken mention James Fallows' story in the January Atlantic Monthly detailing the Bush Administration's planning (or lack thereof) for a postwar Iraq. The bottom line: there was plenty of evidence that the post-invasion situation would turn out just as it did. That information was explicitly ignored.
-- Blind Into Baghdad (The Atlantic Monthly)
-- ALSO: Is Air America Any Good? (Slate)

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Reality TV
What do corpse-mutilators in Falluja have in common with those wacky sports fans with afro wigs, placards and painted faces that you see every time they cut to commercial?

They both serve the same master--that intoxicating red light situated on top of a TV camera.

Welcome to the new age of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal. In case you forgot, that' the phenomenon whereby the light used to measure subatomic particles disrupts those very same particles. The act of observing changes the thing being observed.

It's a slim reward, but apparently a second or two on national TV is enough to motivate certain types to paint their torsos blue. I have to wonder if the same force is in effect with our insurgent friends in Iraq--would they really bother to interrupt their looting and foraging to mutilate a corpse if it weren't for the presence of TV cameras? I doubt it.
-- 'To Portray the Horror, News Media Agonize' (NY Times)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Why Reading Is Fun
Because of well-crafted sentences like this:
"As the war in Iraq enters its second year, Americans find themselves trapped in an epistemological black hole: the war’s end recedes into an indefinite future while its beginning grows daily more contentious and obscure." Do you support the Iraq war? Read Mark Danner's commentary in this week's New Yorker and get back to me.
-- Campaigns (New Yorker)
Take That, Krugman!
David Brooks abandons affairs of state to deliver a message to high school seniors: chill out.
-- Stressed for Success (NY Times)
Earlier: Brooks's generalizations about red- and blue-state America don't hold up to scrutiny (Philly Magazine)
The Hipster's Latest Dilemma
That 6-inch-tall trucker hat was out of style by the time your credit card cleared. Then, you were devastated to learn that Adrian Brody drives an SUV. And now, muggers are apparently targeting iPod-carriers by their telltale white earphones. These are indeed trying times for the urban hipster.

Is the sublimely with-it feeling you get from sporting those white iPod earbuds worth the risk of being mugged? Hey, if you have to ask...
-- 'Earbuds' are a beacon for iPod thieves (London Evening Standard)
Earlier: CBS 2's Brendan Keefe trolls for theft victims to interview (Ipodlounge.com)

Monday, March 29, 2004

Why Is This Story So Underreported?
The evidence continues to mount that the U.N.'s 1990's oil-for-food program was horribly corrupt. William Safire has been on the trail of the story for a couple weeks now. Why hasn't more media might been dedicated to this story?

One plausible answer: Richard Clarke.

Fair enough. Perhaps, as Richard Clarke charges, the our misadventures in Iraq have drained essential resources from the fight on al Qaeda. But it may also be the case that the huge attention paid to Clarke's claims have diverted media resources from this story. Hearings are coming next month. Trust me, this will be major.
--Follow-Up to Kofigate (NY Times)
Guns Don't Kill People...
... processed fish products do.
Reading this story I find myself asking, When will Americans wise up and stop utilizing gun-containing ovens to heat up their fish sticks?
-- Oven Gets Hot, Woman Gets Shot (Reuters)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Too Little, Too Late for Nick Lachey
Ha-ha, Nick! You sucker! Jessica said she was saving herself, and you actually believed her! Who's the stupid one now?
-- "Study Finds That Teenage Virginity Pledges Are Rarely Kept" (NYTimes)

Monday, March 08, 2004

Texas Native's Liver-Size Record Shattered by N.J. Woman

NOT David Blend

Well, folks, it looks like David Blend's career as cocktail-party novelty is over. Blend, who for years has regaled unsuspecting strangers with Maker's Mark-fueled recitations of his rise to the title of Person With the World's Largest Liver, was recently unseated by a 52-year-old woman. "I looked about 15 months pregnant," Debora Colombo told the Daily News. However, it bears noting that while Colombo's bloated organ is ensconced in lucite and bathed in museum-quality halogen incandescence, Blend's liver is still chugging along intact. For now...
-- "Docs go the extra bile & remove 46-lb. liver"

Friday, March 05, 2004

The Drought Is Over
Huzzah! A new post! The optimism you expressed in returning to this blog is not in vain!
-- Click here for more

Thursday, February 05, 2004

A Cold Season for Bare Breasts on TV
The fallout over Janet Jackson's exposed right breast continues, threatening to cleave a nation into two opposing camps--the moralists ever-ready to perk up at the slightest opportunity for outrage, and the jaded sophisticates, whose hope for a more enlightened, European-style response sags every time the former gang get shaking.

For those of us culture war non-participants, we who simply want to see a little tit now and again, it is now time to hit the video store. The following titles were important to me as an adolescent. May they help see you through these bleak times:
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh)
- Trading Places (Jamie Lee Curtis)
- Black Widow (Barbara Hershey)
- Tequila Sunrise (Michelle Pfieiffer)
- Kentucky Fried Movie (the ever-so-tasteful shower scene)

PLUS: Silver lining alert!
1. NBC has announced is will mercifully cut a scene from tonight's 'E.R.' which would have shown the bare breast of an 80-year-old woman. (Note to Zucker: Time to fire the guy who thought that was sexy!)
2. A nifty new term: "wardrobe malfunction"!

-- "Flags Keep Dropping on Super Bowl Stunt" (Washington Post)
-- Also: Secret CBC Memo Expresses Outrage (The Kicker)

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Gibson to Delete Controversial Price-Gouging Scene from 'Passion'
A bemused Mel Gibson continues to feel the heat from Jewish groups concerned over perceived anti-Semitism in his new film. In the latest development, the 'Passion of the Christ' director threw his hands up and agreed to cut a scene in which a guileless savior is brazenly overcharged on a new pair of sandals by a pair of conniving Jewish merchants.

The scene hasn't been deleted permanently, however. Gibson reportedly vows it will reappear, along with scenes "Jews Eat Babies" and the musical number "The Christ-Killer Samba" as DVD extras on a special version to be available next fall in Bavaria and certain parts of Wyoming.
-- Get full details. (NY Times)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Hollywood Casting 101
From Slate's synopsis of Joe Eszterhas's memoir, "Hollywood Animal":
Pick back up on Page 172, in the chapter called "Michael Eisner Pimps the Teamsters." During preproduction on the movie Flashdance, Paramount chose three candidates for the lead role: Leslie Wing, Demi Moore, and Jennifer Beals. Eisner, then head of the studio, gathers more than 200 union members in a screening room and shows them footage of all three. "I want to know one thing from you guys after you've seen it," he shrieks. "I want to know which of these three young women you'd most want to fuck." Beals gets the part.
-- Read the full synopsis (Slate)

Friday, January 30, 2004

Edible Undies Not Sexy Enough for German Man
This has to be one of my favorite stories of all time. To recap: Looking to "satisfy a sexual impulse," Armin Meiwes used the Internet to line up a person willing to let himself be killed and eaten. You read that right. Willing. To be killed. And eaten. (Not that being cremated is a... picnic?)

Meiwes apparently knows from foreplay, too. To get things going, he first cut off his victim's dick (at the victim's request!), and fried it up in a pan (no carbs!). Now, this part is totally unsubstantiated, but I hear that the victim was so turned by on watching Meiwes bite into his penis that he got a massive hard-on, which in turn nearly caused Meiwes to choke to death.
-- "Prosecutors plan cannibal appeal" (CNN.com)
Exploding Whale Pic of the Day!

-- See it on Yahoo! News
-- Previously: Bothersome rotting whale carcass got you down? Keep those explosives in their approved explosive-storage containers

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Oscar Nominees Announced
It's shaping up as the year of the colon: Rings, Master, Pirates, etc.
-- Full list (Oscar.com)

Friday, January 23, 2004

Return of the King? BK Ditches Ad Agency
Reading that Burger King dropped Y&R and hired Crispin Porter, its fifth ad agency in four years, it suddenly occurred to me that my journey to "adulthood" has been accompanied by a soundtrack of horrible Burger King commercials.
To wit:
- The deep-voiced, bearded King of Burgers, who could make cool shit happen by twisting some sort of magical ring.
- Those light-as-air collectible 'Star Wars' glasses
- My 'Great Muppet Caper' Happiness Hotel collectible glass (actually from McDonalds, but I remembered it as Burger King, so BK gets the credit)
- Vague memories of the phrase: "In a pita, or on a platter!" I think they were talking about salads.
- The vaunted "Where's Herb?" campaign. Even as a kid, you could smell the desperation.
- The word "Croiss'anwich."
And so on...

So, to all you wild and crazy marketing geniuses at Crispin Glover or whatever it's called, if you want to be around longer than 8 months, take my advice. Resist the urge to trot out that brilliantly simple (read: horribly lazy) strategy of focusing on the product. In case you hadn't noticed, you're dealing with carb-heavy whitebread buns and reconstituted cow slurry shaped into patty form, painted with grill stripes and sprayed with “flame broil” flavoring. Not to mention fries coated in a mystery batter which makes them taste hours old even when freshly made.

Let's resurrect that most regal of dead metaphors and bring back the King! Then we're going to Pizza Hut! And Dress Barn! And Banana Republic! And Record Explosion! Heeeee-awwwww!!!!

-- Here's the story in Ad Age
-- And here's how BK saved Modern English

Thursday, January 22, 2004

A New Name for the Nets
If the New Jersey Nets really are coming to Brooklyn, it's time to start thinking about a new name. (Hey, Utah, it’s not too late for you guys either!) After some careful consideration and 4 1/2 Budweiser tallboys I've come up with the perfect namesake for the new Bklyn hoops team:

The Pit Bulls. Actually, the Whatever-They’re-Now-Calling-Pit Bulls.

According to last Sunday's Times Magazine, animal advocates are hoping to rid the pit bull of its violent stigma by renaming it the "New Yorkie." This is just my opinion, but if you’re going to have your scrotum shredded by a raging canine beast, wouldn’t you rather tell your friends it was done by a pit bull than a, a...New Yorkie? Fuhgeddaboudit. Just typing that godawful name makes me embarrassed to be a human being.

So, let's get together and kill two dogs...er, birds with one stone...er, name. If the pit bull must be renamed, let's come up with something a bit less cringe-inducing. And let's take that name and put it on jerseys! After all, the pit bull IS pretty damn common around here—at least as common as the trolley dodgers who purportedly inspired the name of Brooklyn’s former baseball team. You can hardly walk a block without passing some poser gangsta making up for his penile insecurities by accessorizing with a poorly-raised pit bull. Why not take those lemons and make some lemonade! Mmmm... pit bull lemonade...

-- Reinventing Nets, a Letter at a Time (New York Times)
-- Got a suggestion? Email me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Why Bush is No JFK, Reason 357: Taxes
Great item in Slate from Friday Jan. 16 picking apart supply-siders' attempts to link the Bush Administration's tax cuts to the Kennedy cuts 40 years earlier. Like the ideas pushed by today's Democratic presidential candidates, Kennedy's plan, passed after his death in 1964, was to stimulate the economy by stimulating demand. I.e., putting more money back into the pockets of middle-class Americans. Whereas Bush's plan (and Reagan's before him) was to get the promote growth by giving the rich more to invest. A nice primer on the difference between supply- and demand-side economics.
-- 'Tax Cuts in Camelot?' (Slate)

Friday, January 16, 2004

On the Optimism of Indianans
In a world where (ahhh, it feels nice to say that outloud...) threats lurk around every corner -- or so they say -- it's refreshing to see that folks are still eating their beloved deep-fried cow-brain sandwiches, B.S. E. be damned. "I think I'll have hardening of the arteries before I have mad cow disease," says Cecilia Coan.
-- CNN.com
I Hate Your Answering Machine
I may be the last man on earth still trying to like Ryan Adams, and it's getting harder every day. The latest bit of damning evidence: the sad, heartfelt, whiny, petulant, absurdly misguided message he left on the answering machine of Chicago Sun-Times rock critic Jim Derogatis in response to a negative review. (Note to Adams: MP3 files work for more than just songs...)

If Adams was going to use The Replacements' sound as an influence for his last record, he might've also paid a little attention to their lyrics. Has he never heard the last song on 'Let it Be'?

-- Hear Adams' answering machine message (MP3)
-- Read the review that inspired it (Chicago Sun-Times)

Pots to Piss In
Can one judge a business, a city, a country by its public latrines? Not without a visit to Urinal.net. The site, started three years ago by a few Silicon Valley software engineers, features photos of public toilets from around the world. It's uncannily fun to browse, so don't go there unless you've got some time to waste.
-- My Favorite: Rothesay: Isle of Bute

Real Sex
Today’s Page Six leads with an unusual dilemma—whether or not the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has the right to fire radio host Sook-yin Lee for having real sex in John Cameron Mitchell’s upcoming movie, ‘Short Bus.’ If I ran the CBC, I certainly wouldn’t boot Lee from her spot as host of “Definitely Not the Opera” for such a thing.

That said, while boldface names line up to criticize the CBC for imposing its brand of morality on Lee, I’m not sure I want to impose my lack of morality on others. After all, this isn’t really about sex per se. It’s about whether or not producers of a show have any right to penalize off-duty behavior they find damaging to their show. What if she were getting canned for, say, supporting George W. Bush. Then where would Moby be?

At any rate, I’m glad it all worked out and I can’t wait till the DVD comes out—finally a good use for that zoom function!

-- 'Screen Sex and Day Job, Too' (New York Post)

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Shock and Yawn: O'Neill Charges that Bush Admin. Planned Iraq War Long Before 9/11

If the revelations of the inner workings of the Bush Administration featured in an upcoming '60 Minutes' segment are at all surprising, it's only because of their source: Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. Among his claims: cabinet meetings that resembled "a blind man in a roomful of deaf people," and that the administration began plotting Hussein's overthrow not after September 11, 2001, but within days of the Inaguration.

All that aside, I am starting to wonder if it isn't possible to separate the deceit that went into selling this war from the (possibly) sound reasons for undertaking it? More on that later...

-- Saddam's Ouster Planned In '01? (CBS News)
-- Related: Perle and Frum on Terry Gross (fascinating stuff)

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Juggernauts O' Farce O' The Day
-- Kucinich Displays Pie Chart in Radio Debate (AP)
-- AOL HR Gave Spring '99 Seminars on Dealing with Millionaire Employees (Fast Company)

Changed My Mind re 'Airline'
Turns out that as long as you have the capacity to remain calm as you watch ordinary people act like jerks, idiots and generally humiliate themselves on TV, this show is for you. A laser light pointed at The Human Condition it is not. Rubber necking at the carnage of American lowbrow culture? Indeed.

It seems the real lesson of 'Airline' is less about such lofty (heh) topics as Modern Air Travel than about how similar flying Southwest is to an airborne Mardi Gras. It's not for everyone.

-- Here's a story on the show from a recent USA Today

Monday, January 05, 2004

Is This The Worst Reality Show Yet?
Just when you thought you'd the last, irrefutable bit of proof that they've finally run out of ideas for reality TV shows -- and I starting thinking along those lines before I'd ever heard the words "Darva Conger" -- along comes A&E's "Airline."

But on second thought...

You tell me, what's a better way to learn about the human condition, by sending a couple of blonde brats to Arkansas, or by pointing a camera at the discomfort and tension of modern air travel? It will be interesting to see how the airline, Southwest, comes off.

-- 'Airline' Official Site

Sunday, January 04, 2004

r u using drugs? ;-)
Great story in yesterday's NYTimes on a new trend -- the rising popularity of instant messaging as a means of communication between parents and kids in the same house.

One might reasonably fear that solitary typing in front of a monitor would render real, face-to-face communication obsolete. But, interestingly enough, it turns out that instant messaging is facilitating communication on topics like sex and drugs that can be too touchy for many teens and parents to broach in person. A powerful example of how difficult it is to predict what will happen when human nature and technology mix.
-- New York Times
Pink Seats Causing Red Faces for Bucs
After six years in the Florida sun, the once-red seats at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium have faded to pink, and Buccaneer officials are demanding they be replaced. Here's a cheaper option: Why not change the team's colors to pink and black? Might better match their style of play, too.
-- St. Petersburg Times

Friday, December 26, 2003

Domain Name Goes for Seven Figures
Even by the the irrational logic of the times, $7.5 million for business.com seemed misguided back in 1999. Not to everyone, however. A Florida man has just sold men.com to an undisclosed group buyers for $1.3 Million.
-- CNN.com

Friday, December 19, 2003

Human Pinata Dies Unexpectedly
A 24-year-old Mexico man died after letting himself be used as a human pinata to entertain his younger siblings. Strangely, he choked to death. Reminds me of the story of the human speed bump who died of bone cancer.
-- AP Wire Story
Dustin Hoffman a Hero: 'The Star'
Following in the footsteps of the cops and firefighters who died trying to save trapped New Yorkers on 9/11 and the courageous soldiers who gave their lives on D-Day, Dustin Hoffman proved his own heroic mettle in Hollywood recently.

While lunching with actor Jason Biggs, the diminuitive star of 'Ishtar' and 'Sphere' witnessed a female motorcyclist get hit by a van. Hoffman and Biggs reacted instantly, heroically putting down their utensils and walking several paces to where the woman lay, even dialing '911.' Hoffman reportedly then proceeded to ask the woman if she was okay. She was, thanks no doubt to the heroic actions of the Oscar-winning actor.

Hoffman has appeared in more than 40 major motion pictures, including 1992's 'Hero,' in which one of the main characters is erroneously labeled a hero for basically doing nothing.
-- The Star

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I'm Too Buzzed to Work the Remote...
After a steady decline in ratings, '60 Minutes' is back in the Nielsen Top 10. How'd they do it? By airing segments designed to appeal to guys who spend their Sunday afternoons watching football on CBS. Two recent examples include Mike Wallace's truly heartwrenching interview with Lawrence Taylor and a, well, fascinating two-parter on the porn industry. (So shoot me, I also like football.)

I'm having fun imagining future story topics.... An in-depth expose on the history of bean dip? Maybe something about the movement to ban underwear on NFL cheerleaders?

Those stories, and Andy Rooney's hot niece, tonight on '60 Minutes'...
-- New York Daily News
And You Thought Paper vs. Plastic Was Hard
Now I need to choose between God and Allah? According to the editor of Beliefnet, there's a growing debate on whether Christians and Muslims really do pray to the same god.
-- Slate

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Kingsley Anus
Should you ever find yourself in conversation with Ben Kingsley, he would prefer you didn't call him by his first name. Nor is it acceptible to call him Mr. Kingsley. 'House of Sand and Fog' junketeers were instructed to call the knighted actor Sir Ben.

"Before," the Oscar-winner tells the New York Daily News, "I was acting more for myself. Now, I'm doing it for my country because my country has asked me to."

Wonderful, old chum! Now, if I may be so brazen as to ask for my money back for that phoned-in performance in "Waiting for Godot" at the Old Vic back in '97. Not sure who you were acting for then, but it clearly wasn't me or anyone else in the audience, British or otherwise.
-- "England's other big Ben"
Worst Album Covers Ever
[No commentary needed. Thanks, Carrie.]
-- Marc Cenedella's Blog

Headline of the Century:

Maid Frenched

-- The Onion

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Texas Is for Lovers
Is Texas the safest place on earth? It must be, because police in Brisbane found enough free time in their schedules to mount a sting operation designed to snare illicit vibrator dealers. A former schoolteacher is facing a year in jail and a $4000 fine.
- San Francisco Chronicle
Hit 'Return'
In addition to having spent six hours of the past few days watching "Fellowship" and "Two Towers" in preparation for "The Return of the King," I've been reading a bit as well. I recommend the New York Times' special Spotlight on 'The Lord of the Rings,' which includes:
- Elvis Mitchell's (third-consecutive) rave review
- W.H. Auden's 1956 review of the book 'Return of the King'

Finally, a little blasphemy, if I may be so brazen. Is anyone else out there beginning to wonder if Viggo Mortensen is putting us on with his absurd ultra-thoughtul ecclectic reluctant-hero shtick. Case in point: "The Man Who Would Just As Soon Not Be King." (NYT)

Friday, December 12, 2003

Guards Gone Wild
Young men across the nation joined in a collective cheer at the news that "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis recently got the crap beat out of him. The incident, officially designated a "mistake," occurred at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where Francis was staying. Evidently, security gurards thought the annoying softcore entrepreneur was taking part in a publicity stunt and began to pummel him. To which the rich prick replied, "What are you doing? I'm Joe Francis! Help me!"
-- New York Post
Ralph Nader to join Bush campaign
All but ensuring an easy victory for George W. Bush in 2004, Ralph Nader tells a CNN interviewer that another run for the White House is a "high probability."
-- CNN.com
New York Times opinion roundup
Two notable pieces on Iraq in the past two days, one from plodding ol' Thomas Friedman and one from Paul Krugman, who we all know has either not been taking his medication or has been taking too much.

Friedman details the effects the removal of Saddam is having on the Israeli political landscape, and in doing so he puts forth as accurate an explanation of why we really invaded as I've yet seen. I.e., the war wasn't about WMD, oil or even some mo' of that gravy for Halliburton. This war is a grand (or grandiose) attempt to create a friendly Arab democracy, thereby giving us an alternative to knee-jerk, divisive support of Israel, and in doing so to utterly remake a troubled region. I don't necessarily agree that the invasion/occupation is necessarily worth all the lost lives, money and credibility, nor do I believe democracy can be created from the top down. However, it's nice to see a growing understanding of the real reasoning behind this war.
-- Friedman: "Breaking and Entering"

Krugman, for his part, takes on Paul Wolfowitz's memo limiting rebuilding contracts to Coalition partners, and bascially calls it a baldfaced attempt to sabotage a potential reconciliation with France, Germany and their ilk. Could be. But I would like to raise another possibility. What if the memo is nothing but a bargaining tactic, an unrealistically harsh position designed to be rescinded at the negotiating table? Imagine James Baker telling the French, with a crooked saleman's best phony agony, "You're killing me here, fellas, and my boss isn't gonna like this, but...but...bu...Aw hell I tell you what: You folks forgive Saddam's debts, throw in a few fresh troops and dammit if I won't see if I can get you gentlemen in on a few sweetheart roadbuilding deals." Well?
-- Krugman: "A Deliberate Debacle"

What do YOU think? Email me

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Gwyneth and Chris's phony frolic

Boy, do I feel used!!! The NY Daily News is reporting that in an effort to control media coverage of their wedding/pregnancy (?pregnancy/wedding?) Gwyneth Paltrow orchestrated the recent photos of Chris Martin playing around as they left her OBGYN's office.

The President has a personal photographer, why shouldn't top celebs have one too?
-- NY Daily News (2nd item)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Hang out with that a) lowlife b) preppy c) person of color d) etc.??? I'd rather bowl alone!
Just read an interesting piece from Sept. Atlantic by, again, David Brooks. (He's everywhere.) Before you dismiss him as the lead apologist for the generification of American suburbia, know that he comes to the table armed with some compelling statistics.
-- "People Like Us," Sept. 2003 Atlantic
Is Dean poster boy for the the Internet's eternal present?
Gotta hand it to David Brooks. I don't think there's a columnist out there I like better. And I don't even agree with him half the time. In this piece, from yesterday, he makes one of the most elegant arguments I've come across in a while. No time to sum it up, so I'll just link...
-- NY Times Op-Ed
I have the best boss ever and this link proves it!
From Blogger.com comes this helpful tutorial, How Not to Get Fired Because of Your Blog. Includes this helpful tip: "change the time of your posts."
(As if Mr. Your Work Needs Immediate Improvement really believes I posted this at 2:52 in the morning...)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

We're here, we're queer! No more bears!!!
Finally, a "Simpsons" reference that actually fits the circumstances!

As of Tuesday afternoon, New Jersey's ursine population had dropped by 70. Regrettably, this decrease was more than made up for by an explosion of loudly whining vegans with too much free time.
Aging Rocker Injures Self in Quest for Pain Pills
Doddering droner Ozzy Osbourne has injured himself in an ATV crash, fracturing several bones, in what can only be described as a pathetic attempt to get his quaking hands on a few more Vicodins.
-- Associated Press
Old News
You could be forgiven for thinking that yesterday's New York Post cover story was a blockbuster. (And not just because the paper uses the same gargantuan font whether the story is 9/11 or embezzlement of No. 2 pencils in a Brooklyn high school.) The central claim, that Saddam's army had chemical weapons "that could be launched against coalition forces within 45 minutes," is not new. In fact, it's the same contention made by Tony Blair back in the fall of 2002.

The new development? MI6's source has now been named. Great. Unfortunately, the Post's editors are doing to this "news" what Blair's press team did to it a year ago -- they're sexing it up to justify an unjustifiable invasion. The fact that we now know the name of MI6's source -- he's a former Iraqi lieutenant colenal named al-Dabbagh -- is beside the point.

What's at issue was and is the actual content of his assertion. And that content, as has been widely reported, most recently by John Cassidy in last week's New Yorker, is this: Saddam did indeed have chemical weapons ready to be used within 45 minutes.

But, according to the very intelligence now being trumpeted by supporters of the war, he did not have the capability to use those weapons regionally. And it was that capability that Blair and Bush used as a pillar in their case for invasion. The intelligence community knew back in 2002 that the range of those weapons was very limited, and everyone who cares to know knows now.

The only thing new here is a new low. A new low in the sad, belated quest to make Bush's justification for war ring true.
-- NY Post

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