December 31, 2009

Andrew's Things To Eat And Drink While In Edinburgh List, Winter 09

Pizza from Mamma's Pizzeria [√]
Bacon roll [√]
Deuchars IPA [√]
Fish and chips [√]
Caramel shortbread [√]
Cheddar and pickle sandwich [√]
Caledonian 80/- [√]

Now to get myself some vegetables and exercise before my heart stops altogether.

God bless Scotland, and happy new year!

December 30, 2009

Clip Show

As I was saving my screen grab from Monday's post into the blog folder on my server, I was shocked to discover (well... not that shocked) that I have approximately 250 other screen grabs and assorted visual gags from the last eight years (oh God) of my blog. And — partly to prepare you for the egregious recycling of content that I'm planning for January 1st — I thought I'd share with you a couple of my favourites, especially since many of them are from before my most devoted readers' time (ahem... Malloryclairepatrickmom). Enjoy, after the jump.











December 29, 2009

FFS

You may recall that in September I trashed a website called DailyFinance for providing what was possibly the most imbecilic review of a Dan Brown book, ever (and that's saying something). Well, today I am officially upgrading DailyFinance to 0-for-2 and on my shit list, for another piece of brainless, poorly researched, PLAGIARISED "journalism". So...

From DailyFinance: Speak No Evil: The Decade's Worst New Business Terms
Perhaps we were doomed from the start. In a decade that we never knew how to name -- the aughts? the naughts? the zeros? -- tortured words and phrases in business communication blossomed. The list of jargon is long and lackluster: jump the shark, it is what it is,meta, there's no there there, [blank] is the new [blank], no worries, verticals, the new normal.
Okay, first of all: jump the shark? Really? REALLY? For a start — and admittedly I ain't as well acquainted with the business world as I used to be — as far as I know "jump the shark" isn't a particularly common phrase in corporate boardrooms. But even if it is, it isn't primarily a business term, isn't JARGON (definition, OED: "words or expressions used by a particular profession or group"), and isn't an expression new to the fucking DECADE. I'm sure I don't need to explain to any of you hardened internetistas that "jump the shark" refers to a Happy Days episode from 1977 and has been around as an expression since at least the late nineties if not, according to (unverified) Wikipedia, the mid eighties.

Now, let's see — what else is on the list?

•"It is what it is." A cliché, maybe, but again, not jargon (I'm reminded of my unofficial motto: doesn't anyone know how to use a fucking dictionary anymore?).

•"Meta". Meta?!?! First used on its own as an adjective in 1979 (doesn't anyone know to use fucking Google anymore?).

•"There's no there there". I will give them a pass on this one because (a) I initially had no idea what it meant and (b) it turns out it's a Gertrude sodding Stein quote and hence jargon for insufferable modernist literature snobs — but it still isn't a fucking business term and, hello?, Gertrude Stein died in 19-effing-46 so it's not exactly current, eh?

•"[Blank] is the new [blank]"/"the new normal" (apparently they're too thick over at DailyFinance to hold more than two list items in memory at the same time). Language Log to the rescue: "X is the new neutral" in the late seventies, "X is the new black" in the mid eighties, and not a huge jump from that to assume that "X is the new Y" (as Pullum et al. have it) is a lot older than this decade. (Bonus example, from elsewhere in the realm of exceptionally boneheaded internet writers: Is Yemen the new Afghanistan? Jesus, I fucking hope not.)

Etc.

What's particularly heinous about this inane introductory list of non-00s, non-business, non-jargon phrases is that it actually has about zero to do with the actual 00's business jargon that the rest of the article quite rightly complains about — so I am doubly bewildered as to why it's there. Or at least, I was, until I listened to the "Audio Extra" that author David Schepp links to at the bottom of the page: an interview with They Might Be Giants about... annoyingly overused phrases! Turns out Schepp apparently confused "annoyingly overused phrases" with "contemporary business jargon" and lifted the entire list, without proper attribution, from the Giants interview! It's fucking PLAGIARISM! Can you believe it?!

So, yes, you're on notice, DailyFinance: I am watching you and your team of alleged journalists like a fucking hawk; try to grow some brains, and buy a fucking dictionary.

December 28, 2009

Mildly Insensitive Headline of the Day



"Harm"? "Affect"? "Hurt"? "Slam"? "Lower"? Etc.

I think there should be a general principle in the AP style guide that headlines not contain the words "airplane"/"airline" and "crash" unless the corresponding stories are actually about plane crashes.

December 27, 2009

In Which Andrew Rants Further On Official Reactions To The Recent Aviation Incident

From BBC News: US flight delays from British airports after terror bid

First of all, as an extension of my harping on the news media yesterday: what's with the lack of snappy Event Title for this story? I mean, they had "9/11" pretty well cemented after a day or two, and "The Shoe-Bomber" was practically instantaneous — it seems like they should have had this one all wrapped up by now.

Since they're obviously having trouble, though, here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:

"The Knickerbomber"
"The Undiebomber/Ted Skivvinski"
"Firecrotch"
"25/12"
"Warmed And Dangerous" (because he was under a blanket, yes?)

By the way, I'm fully aware that I'm now just deteriorating into random underwear puns — but there are so many good ones! Did the FBI debrief him afterwards? Has he been urged to repant or be damned? Is this a new Y-front in the War on Terror™?

Of course, what bothers me most are the new efforts to tighty-whiten airport security in the wake of the Knickerbomber (I'm telling you, that one's going to stick). Passengers aren't allowed to stand up or have any items on their lap (laptops, books, magazines, etc.) for the last hour of flights into the U.S.? What's the plan, to bore the terrorists to death? I mean, the whole liquid restriction thing is inconvenient enough, but now I can't even read an effing book? Why don't we just cut straight to the chase, Department of Homeland Security, and require everybody to board naked and entirely depilated and then pass the flight in a medically induced coma? That would surely be safest, no?

Look, I'm all for not getting blown up on a plane, but as I believe I have said many times before, in various different ways: why don't we focus on not letting known terrorists on the plane in the first place, rather than curtailing my right to read SkyMall?

--

PS. Dear Universe,

Please accept this post as what it is, i.e. an attempt to defuse with humour my renewed and not insignificant fear of dying in a plane crash, and not as an invitation for a horrific karmic mishap involving being seated next to some lunatic trying to light his balls on fire when I fly back to Boston next week.

Warmest regards,
Andrew

December 26, 2009

And Don't Get Me Started On The Moon Landing...

I have to admit, without wanting to sound too much like a conspiracy theorist, that I'm slightly troubled by how swiftly almost every news outlet seems to have fallen into the official line on this Detroit plane brouhaha.

So, the plane lands around noon EST, and as late as almost five p.m. EST the story is still that some fool set off firecrackers on the plane:



Then all of a sudden the story changes, to a terrorist with alleged al Qaeda links trying to set off a bomb made from an unidentified powder and liquid combination. This seems fair enough — get new information, update articles — but what strikes me as weird is how thoroughly that change seeped through the web. Now even the pages in my browser history from when the story was still about firecrackers redirect to the story about terrorism; the above was one of only two news sources I could find that even mentioned firecrackers.

Anyway, again, I don't want to come off like a conspiracy nut. But why the monolithic terrorism narrative, all of a sudden? Why so decisively wipe the firecracker story from memory? After all, it still happened. So why do none of the updated stories contain even a sentence along the lines of: "It was initially thought that the incident involved firecrackers"; why do none of them attempt to explain why firecrackers was the initial story when the guy clearly had third-degree burns; why do none of them attempt to explain why and what point the story changed? Why, ultimately, is it so important to present this seamless story about terrorism?

I know I'm being a little incoherent, here, and that's because I can't really put my finger on anything that is clearly wrong with any of this. And yet it seems troublesome to me that five full hours of coverage have been effectively erased; it's a particularly vivid example of the news media effortlessly dictating the "reality" of events. After all, people only seeing the story this morning might never know that anybody ever thought it was firecrackers. And maybe they don't really need to, and I can understand that line of reasoning, but still — slightly disturbing, no?

December 25, 2009

December 21, 2009

Shaping Young Minds

Today I taught my last class of the semester; it ended like this:

ME: Okay, guys, that's it. Now go forth and do good in the world.

STUDENT: Oh my God! That's exactly what Mr Feeny said in the last episode of Boy Meets World!

ME: Oh dear.

December 19, 2009

Oh, BBC, How Fickle Be Thy Memory!

From BBC News (18 December 2009):



From BBC News (27 February 2001):

December 18, 2009

December 17, 2009

Take It Or Lieb It

I must admit, I share with every liberal-minded, pro–healthcare reform person out there right now an intense frustration with Joe Lieberman's incessant bullshit. It remains unclear to me why he finds it impossible to vote for a public option — with or without an opt-out, opt-in, or trigger — other than that he likes being fucking stubborn and has an awful lot of insurance companies to answer to back in Connecticut. That, or he just likes feeling important.

However, I must also admit that my frustration is connected entirely to my own despair at the ridiculous healthcare system in America, and my own upbringing in a socialist dystopia where you can go to the doctor if you get sick, and get your medicine for free without ever having to think about it. Indeed, the main reason I am pro–healthcare reform is precisely because I grew up without ever having to think about it, and so even the relatively minor hoops I now have to jump through to see a doctor in the States (as an insured person who can afford my co-pays) seem as unconscionable to me as healthcare reform apparently does to Joe Lieberman.

Anyway — though I'm feeling very anti-Lieberman as regards the healthcare debacle, in principle I'm not sure I can really find much to fault with his behaviour. I mean, my biggest problem with U.S. politics in general is the ridiculous two-party system where vacuous, psittacine, party-line bullshit stops anything constructive from being done with any expediency (let's be honest: the only reason Lieberman has this much sway at all is because not a single Republican will break ranks on the healthcare issue). So politicians who "call 'em as they see 'em" are exactly what I think Congress needs; to a certain extent, I think they're the sort of thing that anybody who claims to want "bipartisanship" must also, at the end of the day, think Congress needs. After all, if you're not sticking to the party line, you must be voting for what you think is right — right? If only everybody could be like Lieberman. (Ptooey.)

That's the problem, though: intelligent, considered voting only works if there's more than one person doing it, and only in an environment where the few "independent" votes aren't the sole arbiter of successful legislation (i.e. where the ayes and nays are not otherwise deadlocked) — and that's why Lieberman is being such a thorn in everyone's side right now. But, again, let's be honest: the real problem is that there are so many other people who are just voting against (or for) the healthcare bill out of principle; Lieberman may be the most obvious symptom of the fucked up two-party system in the U.S. (and boy, what a festering, pus-filled symptom he is), but he's hardly the disease.

So, in conclusion: public healthcare = good. Two-party system = bad. And Joe, if you're reading, just let the fucking bill pass, okay?

December 15, 2009

Not Out Of The Woods Yet



Um... Poorly?

Other things I love about this story:

Quoth Jamiee Grubbs (alleged mistress #2):
He gave me a huge hug and said, "I've missed you. You look amazing." … We cuddled, watched Angels and Demons, then had sex. It was very romantic.
•"He had such a big sex drive and wanted it fulfilled," [alleged mistress #4 Mindy] Lawton told News of the World. The secret to his big sex drive? He always follows through! SPLABANGO!

•From Tiger Woods's official website:
Did you know that Tiger's biggest challenge is to become a better person…
…comic pause before finishing sentence…
…tomorrow?
His website also informs me that Lee Trevino describes him as "a dedicated player". I'll say!

December 14, 2009

Bauerlusconi

Has anybody else noticed the uncanny similarity between recently attacked Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and long-suffering counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer?



Other things I love about this story:

•Berlusconi is being treated by the reincarnated spirit of Italo Calvino, if this report on the premier's condition is anything to go by:
"I found him shaken, embittered, as if he had been woken from a bad dream really disheartened."
•The weapon used in the attack was a model cathedral. Talk about a rift with the Catholic church!

•One of Berlusconi's aides has alleged that the premier had a "premonition" about the attack:
"On the way to Milan's cathedral square [Berlusconi said] that he feared "something might happen" because of the "climate of hate" against him."
Which I think is impressive less as a piece of clairvoyance and more as an example that Berlusconi is occasionally somewhat cognizant of what is occurring in the real world.

Italy: the Homer Simpson of global politics.

December 11, 2009

December 09, 2009

Merry Freakin' Christmas

From Emerson College's December calendar of campus events:
Home for the Holidays
We will enjoy some non-alcoholic eggnog and watch clips from holiday movies which feature characters abusing alcohol during the holiday season.
WOO-HOO! How could this night get any funner?!
Using this [sic] fictional characters as examples we will discuss the tensions that arise when going home for an extended period of time and healthy ways to deal with those situations rather than abusing drugs or alcohol.
It's violence, right? The solution is violence?
Movies might include National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, It's a Wonderful Life, etc.
So bring your friends and loved ones, and get ready for the most mildly depressing Christmas celebration of the year!

The More You Know
=================*

December 07, 2009

In Which Andrew Loses Faith In Humanity, Pt. 2

From AOL News: Natasha Bedingfield to perform at Nobel concert
OSLO -British pop star Natasha Bedingfield will perform at the Dec. 11 Nobel Peace Prize Concert honoring this year's winner, U.S. President Barack Obama, organizers said Wednesday.
Well, Jesus, I guess if there's one audience who can sit through a Natasha Bedingfield concert without murdering someone, it's a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates…
Bedingfield, a chart-topper in the U.S. and Europe, will join Wyclef Jean, Toby Keith, and Chinese pianist Lang Lang, organizers said.…

American actor and rap artist Will Smith and his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, will host the concert.
WTF? When did MTV start sponsoring the Nobel Peace Prize? Will Smith?! I mean, I suppose there's no good reason why the Nobel Peace Prize Concert has to be as highfalutin as the award it complements, but I feel like they could have done better than a guy whose best-selling album was called Big Willie Style.

December 06, 2009

In Which Andrew Loses Faith In Humanity, Pt. 1

Extremely dedicated readers may remember that, while I was living in London, I went on a rant (shocking, I know) about a "Twenty Common Writing Mistakes" article I'd found that was quite hilariously full of writing mistakes itself.

Anyway, that was coming up on three years ago, now, so you can imagine my surprise when yesterday, out of the blue, I received the following angry, anonymous comment on the post:
I really hope you've failed in your objective [to become an English teacher] because I'd hate you to be involved with teaching my children English.

Prat.
Well, I say the comment was "anonymous", but considering the original post took aim at one person in particular — a man named David B. Wildgoose — and considering that yesterday was also the first day in the history of my blog that I got a Google hit from somebody searching for "David Wildgoose", I'm going to speculate wildly for a moment and say that my angry commenter was, in fact, David B. Wildgoose himself. (Even if it wasn't, I like the irony inherent in my wrongly assuming something about somebody named Wildgoose.)

Anyway, David, if it really is you: I'm sorry if I offended you, and I've removed the most egregious insults from the original post, but I hope that next time, rather than leave an anonymous comment, you'll do the civilised thing and take responsibility for your reply.

December 04, 2009

December 02, 2009

A Writer And Two Directors Go To The White House

A little late, I know — I liked it enough that I thought I'd try and get someone else to take it first (no dice… sigh).

Also, CWG will probably be a day late this week. Sorry.

--
The guest list [at President Obama’s first state dinner] included… the directors Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan, the writer Jhumpa Lahiri, former secretary of state Colin Powell and Indra Nooyi, the chief executive of PepsiCo.
—The New York Times
Shyamalan: Ms Lahiri! Hey, Ms Lahiri!

Lahiri [turning]: Oh. Good evening, Mr Shyamalan.

Shyamalan: Please, please — call me M. Night.

Lahiri: Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you… M. Night. I, uh, very much enjoyed The Sixth Sense.

Shyamalan: What, that old thing? [chuckles] Thanks — I’m a big admirer of your work, too. I thought Interpreter of Maladies was excellent. Especially the title story.

Lahiri: It’s nice of you to say so.

Shyamalan: How would you feel about having it adapted for the screen? I’d love to work on it with you — though I must confess I think the ending could use some tweaking. When the monkeys attack the little boy?

Lahiri [shifting uncomfortably]: Oh?

Shyamalan: I mean, you have such a fantastic opportunity, there — because earlier in the story the interpreter has his photo taken with the family, remember? And he writes down his address on a piece of paper so they can send him a copy?

Lahiri: Yes…

Shyamalan: And then after the monkeys attack, the mother roots through her purse to find something to help clean up the little boy, and the paper flies out and flutters away?

Lahiri: Right. It’s a haunting image.

Shyamalan: Okay, but picture this [holds up his index fingers and thumbs to make a frame]. Just for a moment, as the piece of paper floats away, we see what’s written on it: [dramatic pause] your son will be attacked by monkeys. [Lets his hands drop] Did I just blow your mind, or what? It was right in front of our noses the whole time!

Lahiri: I — well… That wasn’t really the effect I was aiming for. It’s meant to be a story about how our interpretation of events has a profound impact on the way we live our lives.

Shyamalan: Okay, okay, fine. What about that other one from the collection, then? You know, the one with the guy who’s always coming over for dinner?

Lahiri: “When Mr Pirzada Came To Dine”?

Shyamalan: No, I don’t think that’s it. Come on, you know, the guy’s from Pakistan but he’s living in New England and working at a university or something?

Lahiri: I’m pretty sure you mean “When Mr Pirzada Came To Dine”.

Shyamalan: Nooooo… It’s definitely something snappier. You know, and the guy’s family are still in Pakistan and there’s a war going on and he watches the news every night because it’s the only way to find out anything about them? I think it was… “The War”? No, no. “The War Watcher”. “Little Johnny War Watcher”!

Lahiri: I can assure you, it’s “When Mr Pirzada Came To Dine.” It’s a Baurdrillardian commentary on how our lives are increasingly defined by the simulacra that claim only to describe them.

Shyamalan: Right! “Little Johnny Simulacra”! Anyway, the title’s not important — you’ve got to hear my idea for the ending.

Lahiri: I —

Shyamalan: So he’s coming over for dinner every night, right? And the narrator, the little girl, is really fascinated with him — and at the end he returns to Pakistan. Except then, we tack on a little extra scene at the end, and — picture this — it turns out Pakistan never really existed. And the guy was really a gas station attendant who was killed in a robbery the year before. Little Johnny Simulacra! It’ll be the darling of the Academy.

Lahiri [waving to catch someone else’s attention]: I — Mr Spielgberg! Mr Spielberg!

Spielberg [stopping, as he passes on his way to the men’s room]: Yes? Can I help you, Miss…?

Lahiri: Lahiri. Jhumpa Lahiri. I’m an author.

Spielberg: Oh, yes, of course. The Namesake. Great book — good movie, too.

Lahiri: Thank you.

Shyamalan: Pfft.

Spielberg: No, honestly — it was a touching coming of age tale. The quest for identity; personal discovery. Really powerful stuff.

Lahiri [blushing]: Well, it’s very kind of you to say so.

Shyamalan: Pfft.

Spielberg: And the way Gogol’s name resonates through so many generations, on all those different levels. It’s just fantastic.

Lahiri: Oh, you must stop! My head will start to get too big.

Spielberg: Mind you, it could have used some aliens.

Lahiri: I — aliens?

Spielberg: Yes. Or maybe robots.

Lahiri [face reddening]: Robots.

Spielberg: Sure! Like, okay, picture this: [making a frame with his thumbs and index fingers] the train crash, the one that Gogol’s father is in, the one that creates so many ripples throughout his family’s future? Let’s say it was caused by a crashed UFO! [hands coming apart now, drawing a giant, invisible arch in the air above his head] And then much later in life, towards the end of the movie, Gogol is out for a walk, and those very same aliens appear to him, and help him fix his disintegrating marriage! [Lets his arms drop to his side, and shrugs] That’s how I would have done it, anyway.

Shyamalan [nodding vigorously]: Yes, yes! And then it turns out that they’re actually all living in a government simulation to see how people would respond to an alien encounter!

Lahiri [exploding, in a figurative sense]: That’s it! I’ve had it, with both of you! I don’t want to hear another word about how you’d “fix” my stories!

Spielberg: Hey, calm down. We’re only spitballing.

Lahiri: Spitballing! Spitballing! Fine! While we’re on the topic, then: I thought Jaws needed a tortured, loveless marriage, I thought Unbreakable needed an immigrant character struggling to reconcile the culture of her parents with that of her new home, I thought Jurassic Park needed an anguished Other figure, and I thought The Happening was just fucking terrible! [stops, wild-eyed and breathing heavily]

Shyamalan: You didn’t need to be so mean about it.

Indra Nooyi [approaching the group]: Say! You folks look like you could use a Pepsi!

[Fin.]

November 29, 2009

Yes We Canton

From AOL News: Swiss Vote to Ban New Minarets
GENEVA (Nov. 27) — Swiss voters approved a move to ban the construction of minarets in a Sunday vote on a right-wing initiative that labeled the mosque towers as symbols of militant Islam, projections by a widely respected polling institute showed. . . .

The nationalist Swiss People's Party describes minarets, the distinctive spires used in most countries for calls to prayer, as symbols of rising Muslim political and religious power that could eventually turn Switzerland into an Islamic nation. . . .

"Forced marriages and other things like cemeteries separating the pure and impure — we don't have that in Switzerland, and we do not want to introduce it" said Ulrich Schlueer, co-president of the Initiative Committee to ban minarets.
I would just like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that, even if this might seem like a pretty crazy election result, it's about par for the course in Switzerland; apparently the reason they have such good clocks there is so that they can precisely measure how much time has elapsed since their last horrific referendum.

Item: In 1958 they voted overwhelmingly against giving women the vote. Not until 1971 were women enfranchised on a federal level, and in one particularly ass-backwards canton the law wasn't enforced until a supreme court ruling in 1990. 1990!

Item: In 1986 they voted overwhelmingly against joining the United Nations, afraid that doing so would compromise their "neutrality". (They eventually joined in 2002 by a margin of about 10%.)

Item: They voted to decriminalise abortion… In 2002.

Item: In 2003 they voted against making public buildings fully accessible; that same referendum, rejected by 63% of voters, also included a provision to give the disabled equal rights under the constitution.

Great chocolate, though.

November 27, 2009

November 24, 2009

No Sign Of The Times

I have tried, on days when my newspaper has mysteriously failed to appear, over the past few months, to give my neighbours the benefit of the doubt. But today, seeing as the blue delivery baggie is still sitting, empty and incriminating, on my building's front steps, and also seeing as today I have finished my thesis and was actually quite looking forward to sitting down and reading the newspaper, I would just like to say, to whoever is responsible:

STOP STEALING MY FUCKING NEWSPAPER, ASSHOLE!

Ahem. That is all.

November 22, 2009

Heard It On The Irvine

From BBC News: Minimum alcohol pricing backed by author Irvine Welsh
Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has urged politicians to tackle Scotland's "cheap bevvy" culture. . . .

Mr Welsh [said]: "In Scotland, our cultural relationship with alcohol interfaces negatively with resilient poverty to maintain the long-running embarrassment of this weeping sore on our social fabric. Cheap bevvy is part of that culture."
"Our cultural relationship interfaces negatively with resilient poverty?" Man, no wonder people had so much trouble understanding Trainspotting! Zing!

Also, I'm fairly sure that fabric can't develop weeping sores.

I'm just kidding, Irvine — you're all right.

November 20, 2009

November 18, 2009

Check

As my thesis-writing winds down this week, fellowship application–writing winds up (sigh), and in preparation I've been doing a bit of light Googling to try and get a handle on the form (Trimburphiles, read: "rhetorical situation"). I particularly enjoyed this tip from a document I found on Stanford's website:
Avoid excessive, unreasonable enthusiasm. Extreme effusion backfires. For example, statements such as "I love 19th century British literature so much that I feel that I live in the 19th century" or "I AM Nietzsche" or “I live and breathe sea urchins” suggest possible psychosis, not reasonable enthusiasm.
...which I think casts doubt on the deservedness of Stanford's reputation — at least if "I live and breathe sea urchins" is something an undergrad there actually wrote, once.

November 17, 2009

You Bring The Molehills, I'll Make The Mountains!

The blogosphere — and the print media, and Facebook, and fucking everybody, apparently — is currently up in arms about the RACIST MOVIE POSTER SCANDAL surrounding Vince Vaughan's latest snoozefest, Couples' Retreat. As you can see from this article in the Huffington Post, the UK version of the film's poster is missing a black couple that's in the US one, definitively proving that Britain is racist — or something.

In a statement, Universal Pictures claimed they were just trying to simplify the poster by including only stars who would be recognisable to an "international market" (NB. I live in the States and still have no fucking idea who Faizon Love is), but the bloodthirsty public won't fall for such brazen misdirection. No, this is an OUTRAGE! — A DISCRACE! AN ATROCITY!! — even though ALL studios alter their posters between the US and Britain for ALL movies, ALL the time.

Well, we here at plethoric pundigrions pride ourselves on our investigative journalism, and can therefore exclusively reveal that, in fact, AMERICA is far more racist than Britain. Consider the movie posters for the 2007 hit Ocean's Thirteen:



As you can plainly see, 25% of the people depicted on the UK poster are black, compared to a paltry 17% on the US poster. Furthermore, the UK poster includes one woman whereas the US poster has none. WHAT'S THE MATTER, AMERICA? CAN'T TAKE THE SIGHT OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN?

Oh, but the discrimination doesn't end there. Maybe one of my American readers can explain why the fuck they hate dinosaurs so much:



Yeah, that's right — look at it. It's disgusting. The British DVD art contains THREE TIMES as many Tyrannosauruses as the US DVD art — not to mention twice as many squirrels.

So I say it's time we demand answers from the film studios. I won't rest until I have the severed head of a Warner brother in front of me.

November 13, 2009

November 09, 2009

...and Charlie's Still Bitter About the Mekong Delta

So, today, of course, is the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a heady day, back in November of 1989, when the Wall first came down: people put on their best pastel-coloured suits for it, and set the VCR to record The Cosby Show, and left their Walkmans at home as they flocked to the streets to celebrate the reunification between East and West.

Obviously, then, the Boston Metro's front page headline today takes a sombre tone, one of self-reflection and gravitas, and above all one that is conciliatory, imbued with a deep sense of respect for how much we've achieved as civilizat — oh.



Commies, Metro? Seriously? I'm curious as to what exactly went on at the editorial meeting where it was decided that this was an okay headline. "Let's stick it to those commies, eh, chaps? They might be pushing their healthcare reforms through, but at least we still got 'em with the Wall! They'll never get over that!" (NB — pun intended.)

November 06, 2009

November 05, 2009

Had To Be Done

From AOL News: Swine Flu Virus Confirmed in Iowa Cat


(Original courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/hurokitty/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

November 02, 2009

November Is Sophomoric Humour Month (Apparently)

From BBC NEWS | Health: Women not getting bone treatment

You heard the BBC, fellows! Make sure your wives and girlfriends are getting the bone treatment they so desperately need!

*giggle*

October 31, 2009

Vidal Statistics

In an interview with the Atlantic this month, author Gore Vidal passionately defends fellow creepy old dude Roman Polanski, who is currently in Swiss prison awaiting extradition procedures for his 1977 rape conviction.

With characteristic calm and objectivity, Vidal said:
I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?
You could at least put down your cocktail for a second.

Vidal goes on to claim that Polanski was skewered by the "anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing going on with the press" at the time, and disputes "the idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him." Mr Vidal then adds that the version of the story being peddled by the press today differs substantially from the vituperative gay-and-Jew-hating that pervaded coverage back in the 1970s: "There was a totally different story at the time that doesn’t resemble anything that we’re now being told," he said.

Well, Gore, I took the liberty of looking up exactly what the press said about the case at the time, and gosh!, are you right! What a witch hunt!
A lawyer representing the family read a letter before Judge Laurence J Rittenband, saying . . . the family was "not seeking incarceration" of Mr Polanski, only an admission of wrongdoing and a rehabilitation program. . . .

The assistant district attorney also said the judge could recommend that Mr Polanski, a French citizen, not be deported. (Grace Lichtenstein, The New York Times, Aug 9, 1977.)
I guess Polanski was also feeding Gore Vidal Quaaludes at the time.

October 30, 2009

Conversations With Greatness CCLIII



THREE communism jokes in a row! I'm on a roll!

October 29, 2009

Seriously, Emerson?

So, under Emerson College's frankly RIDICULOUS new swine flu "prevention" policy, ANY person with any "influenza like illness (ILI)" — because saying "fever" or "cough" would be too simple for a COMMUNICATION SCHOOL — is requested by the Centre for Health and Wellness to self-quarantine for a minimum of four days.

That is, you don't have to HAVE swine flu. Indeed, as I understand it, they don't even bother testing for it, and instead assume that anybody with an "ILI" — that's a fever or a cough, remember — is infected, despite public health evidence that Boston is one of several U.S. cities that has a nationwide low of swine flu infections right now.

Anyway, having established that anyone with a fever or a cough is a deadly killing machine, Emerson requires such individuals, as I said, to self-quarantine for a minimum of four days. That means (I'm paraphrasing from the official Emerson H1N1 policy here):

1. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR ROOM. If you have to leave your room, in order to, say, eat, or go to the bathroom, WEAR A BANDANA OR FACE MASK TO PROTECT OTHERS, both from your germs and from the sight of your pimply adolescent skin.

2. If possible, LEAVE CAMPUS and recuperate at a friend or relative's house. Because although H1N1 is highly infectious to other Emerson students, there is nothing wrong with taking your germs onto public transit systems. (Anybody not actively involved in bringing innovation to communication and the arts is not worth saving, anyway.)

3. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ATTEMPT TO LEARN ANYTHING. You may not go to class, extra-curricular activities, the library, the Writing and Academic Resource Centre, or, indeed, anywhere that might involve taking advantage of the $20,000 tuition bill you paid for the year.

It's this last rule that particularly irks me, because I have a student with "ILI" who has been barred from attending my class for this entire week by the college health centre. That means missing three class meetings, which is enough, according to several other official Emerson policies, to lower a student's final grade. So I'm required to reduce this student's final grade per one official policy, because the health centre doesn't issue "sick notes" to excuse a student's absences (as per another official policy), even though they can simultaneously require that same student to miss enough classes to lower their grade per ANOTHER official policy! It is fucking ABSURD.

In conclusion, our dean of students is the boss from Dilbert. Apparently.

October 28, 2009

Babelfish Poetry, Part III

One in a continuing series of poems written by me, A. Ladd, but mostly by the Babelfish translation engine.
BERLUSCONI MEETS THE POPE

Berlusconi has met the Pope.

It has been a short talk,
On the track to the Roman airport;
Witnesses tell of cordial expressions
And an affable talk.

After the encounter,
Berlusconi has accompanied the Pope
To the ladder of the airplane
That has carried him to Praga;

And to the festivity of the Pardon.
Look for it in the Spring 2010 issue of Broken Coffeepot Review.

October 27, 2009

Maybe It's Time To Check Out That Gift Horse's Teeth

Received the following in the mail yesterday:



WOW! A gift for me!1 What generosity! What largesse! And it's not even THANKSGIVING yet! Tell me more!



"Lemme give you a liddle friendly advice, pal: I really tink dis is a gift you should not refuse, you understand what I'm saying? Udderwise, you know, who knows what hawrrible accidents might happen to you in de next year. Capiche?"

October 26, 2009

Non-metaphorical Metaphor of the Day

From The New York Times: A Nation Battling Flu, and Short Vaccine Supplies
Earlier this month, the government was forced to announce that only about 28 million doses [of the swine flu vaccine] would be available by the end of this month, about 30 percent below the 40 million it had previously predicted. . . .

Some companies hit bottlenecks in putting the vaccine into vials.
Companies producing the nasal version of the vaccine also experienced some congestion.

October 23, 2009

Conversations With Greatness CCLII



I can't remember the last time I actually did communism jokes two weeks in a row.

October 19, 2009

Brown Stain

From BBC NEWS | UK: PM warns of climate 'catastrophe'
Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the "impasse" [in current climate change talks].
Or what? The bus will explode?

So, apparently, tired of being the most boring and ineffective prime minister in British history (sorry, Pitt the Younger), Gordon Brown is now taking a page out of the Bond villain school of politics. Any other wild and completely baseless threats you'd like to make, Gordie?
"Once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can ever undo that choice."

. . . The costs of failing to tackle the issue would be greater than the impact of both world wars and the Great Depression combined, the prime minister said.
HOOOOOOLY CRAP! Someone is going to nuke the ozone layer?! And then NO future action, EVER, will be able to undo ANYTHING?

To prove he was serious about his claims, Mr Brown then globally warmed a small section of the English countryside — though he was careful to emphasise that the destruction wrought by that tiny demonstration was nothing compared to the global catastrophe the world faced if they didn't give into his demands.

Look, Gordon, I have tried to give you a chance, and God knows I love the Labour party — but at this point I will happily take Cameron over your incompetent fuckwittery. Please hold an election and go away.

October 18, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Media-Obsessed Society Scorned

From BBC NEWS | Americas: US balloon boy case 'was a hoax'

The latest shocking news in the ongoing Balloongate saga is that authorities have decided to charge Colorado parents Richard and Mayumi Heene with a number of different crimes, including conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, all based on the accusation that the entire incident was a deliberately staged hoax.

So, let me get this straight.

This family released a weather balloon, then told the authorities their son might be inside said weather balloon, and now the police are threatening them with jail because everybody so thoroughly bought it? Sorry, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this whole "hoax" would have been fairly innocuous if the media hadn't made such a retarded circus about it.

Okay, so I'm being a little facetious, but it seems to me that it's pretty disingenuous to blame the family for trying to create a publicity stunt when the only reason such a stunt is even possible is that we're all living in a culture that gets so unreasonably excited about stuff like this; if all the TV news outlets weren't so ecstatically shitting themselves immediately about the prospect of filling two hours of airtime, then what reason would the Heenes have had for doing anything in the first place?

I mean, even supposing that the entire thing was deliberately planned by the Heenes, just try and imagine it happening without the existence of CNN et al. TRY IT. Do you really think the Heenes would be getting charged with anything if a couple of cops had wasted their time with absolutely no media attention? Of course not! They'd probably get a slap on the wrists and a withering look and an admonition to check the attic first, next time. "Contributing to the delinquency of a minor", though? Give me a break.

And what about this supposedly damning piece of evidence that the kid thought he was "putting on a show"? A show for whom, huh? The cops? The neighbourhood? No! For the same freakin' people who already paid them oodles of money to make a spectacle of themselves on FOX; give them attention for doing stupid shit, and OF COURSE they'll go and do some even stupider shit to try and hold it for a little longer. THE MEDIA IS MAKING TODDLERS OF US ALL.

I hate to get all academic on you, but can we just talk for a moment about how on the money Jean Baudrillard was? (Sorry, but it cost $100,000 for me to learn this stuff — I'm not going to pass up a perfect opportunity to show it off.)

October 16, 2009

October 14, 2009

The Following Is A Pained Advertisement

Today I saw an internet ad for Coke Zero — the product so-called, by the way, because of the amount of personality you'd have to possess to give a shit about the one-calorie difference with Diet Coke — and I was eventually redirected to a relatively new marketing campaign that describes itself as The Facial Profiler, a "social experiment" to connect people around the globe.

Now, before I get into the nitty-gritty, I'd like to make it clear, since most of the "bloggers" covering this so far seem to be thinly-disguised corporate shills, that this is one of the stupidest and most vacuous marketing campaigns on the planet right now, and if you fall for it you deserve to — well — drink a fucking Coke Zero, for a start.

Anyway, The Facial Profiler begins with a simple premise ("simple" not as in "easily understood", but as in "of abnormally low intelligence"): "If Coke Zero has Coke's taste… Is it possible that someone out there has your face?" Oh my God, this Shockwave file is right! Logically unconnected statements DO go together! (Backup slogan: "If Coke Zero has Coke's taste… Is it possible that someone out there is named Simon?")

Then, after stunning us with its Sherlock Holmes–like deductive reasoning, The Facial Profiler goes on to explain that, using the same state-of-the-art technology developed by "governments and international security agencies", it will — are you ready for this? — find someone else in the world WHO KIND OF LOOKS LIKE YOU.

You just blew my fucking mind, Facial Profiler.

But proprietary government technology inexplicably on loan to a soft drink manufacturer isn't the only weapon in The Facial Profiler's arsenal. Oh, no. It also uses Facebook; with Coke Zero's "one-of-a-kind app", Facial Profiler will connect you to whoever else looks like you on the social networking site, and then you can trade recipes, or Ritalin dealers, or something.

So, what do you need to do to sign up for this life-altering "social experiment"? Simple! Just give the Coca-Cola corporation unrestricted access to all the personal information and photographs that you have on Facebook, and it will do the rest — whatever horrifying invasion of privacy "the rest" means.

Brave new world.

--

Speaking of advertising, and of being an old fuddy-duddy prescriptivist or whatever, no matter how many times I listen to the voiceover in this commercial, I can't hear anything except "Dominatrix do it on command" — which is so HORRENDOUSLY WRONG I can't quite believe my ears. Hello, pistachio guys? Dominatrices? Dominatrixes? Or did you just think to yourselves, "Hey, it's a foreign-sounding word, it probably follows some weird pluralisation rule"? Jesus. I think my new slogan is going to be Doesn't anyone own a fucking dictionary anymore?.

October 13, 2009

Armageddon A Bit Worked Up About All This...

One of my students the other day submitted a paper to me about how the end of the world was fast approaching [editorial comment redacted], in which he liberally used the word Armageddon to refer to said catastrophic event.

In fact, since Armageddon means, according to both OED and MW, a dramatic/catastrophic/decisive conflict, it is, strictly speaking, incorrect to use the word to refer solely to the end of the world via other means — even though the end of the world is often presumed to be a by-product of Armageddon. But when I brought up this particular example with a few other people in the writing department here, they were relatively sanguine about its more generic usage. ("It'll be in the dictionary soon," said one of them.)

Now, as near as I can tell, the only reason for the widespread acceptance of this MISTAKE is the Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer/Bruce Willis box office crapfest of the same name that was released in 1998, presumably without anyone involved consulting a dictionary, in which the world (nearly) comes to an end because of an enormous asteroid impact. And while normally I, too, am relatively sanguine about pop culture affecting the lexicon (I can't get through a day without saying D'oh), this is different: this is pop culture corrupting a very specific existing item in the lexicon, and to me that seems like something over which knickers should be got in a twist. Besides, are we really okay with new generations of children learning to speak English from Jerry freakin' Bruckheimer? Because, let me tell you, I am, on principle, not okay with children learning anything from Jerry Bruckheimer, and I don't see why vocabulary should be any different. What's next? U.S. History according to National Treasure?

So please, next time you happen to be in charge of a group of young minds, make sure you impress upon them the real meaning of Armageddon. Preferably without practical demonstration.

October 09, 2009

October 08, 2009

Conversations With Greatness: The Deleted Scenes

I loved the Swine Flu character and wrote a bunch of strips in one go back in May. This one was due to go up around the time of the Iranian elections/Michael Jackson's death/etc. and so I ended up pulling it to make way for more topical stuff. But still — what an epic pun, right?

October 07, 2009

Conversations With Greatness: The Deleted Scenes

CWG CCXXX turned into a Leno zing, for some reason; this was a slightly different version of that strip. I personally liked this one better at the time, and still do — but I thought the reference was maybe a little TOO obscure, which is why I canned it.

October 06, 2009

Conversations With Greatness: The Deleted Scenes

...and this is the second Iran joke I decided not to publish at the time.

October 05, 2009

Conversations With Greatness: The Deleted Scenes

I couldn't really gauge how appropriate it was to joke about Iran's election debacle earlier this year, so I ended up doing a bunch of strips with varying levels of seriousness. This is one of two more irreverent ones that never made the cut.

October 04, 2009

Conversations With Greatness: The Deleted Scenes

"Canada" turned out to be a great recurring character during the presidential primaries in 2008, but even before I came up with that, I knew I wanted the country to feature in the strip somehow. This was my first attempt.

October 03, 2009

Conversations With Greatness: The Deleted Scenes

Way back towards the end of CWG's second year, I did a series over the summer of strips "guest edited" by other famous cartoonists. XCIII was allegedly guest edited by Bill Watterson (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) — and though I ended up going with the more straightforward joke, I remained particularly fond of the one below, because I felt like it was a much better sendup of an actual Calvin and Hobbes strip.

October 02, 2009

Conversations With Greatness CCXLIX



NEXT FRIDAY will mark the 250TH INSTALLMENT of Conversations With Greatness, so this week we're having a SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE EVENT. Every day for the next six days, come on back to see a new "blooper" or "deleted scene" — all the spare strips and back-up jokes I put together and then never used, from the last five years — leading up to the fantastic, star-studded 250th strip next Friday, October 9.

My thesis is going really well.

October 01, 2009

Roman Holiday

You know, I made a conscious decision not to blog about the Roman Polanski story when it broke last week because I didn't think I had much else to add to the debate. But it's been so stubbornly refusing to die — and grating on my nerves a little more acutely each day that it doesn't — that I'm just going to come out and say it:

Send the guy to fucking jail already.

Now, look, I'm not being a complete Neanderthal here: I understand that The Pianist was a very good movie (sorry, film). And I get that maybe the LAPD didn't handle the case as well as they could have — and, gosh, I know we all hold the LAPD to such high standards of efficiency in every other situation — but the man drugged a thirteen-year-old and then took her to bed. I don't care how many great films he's directed, I don't care how upstanding a citizen he is these days, I don't care what a great father he is. I even don't care if he had a cameo in a Jackie-fucking-Chan movie (and he did): the man committed a crime, pled guilty to that crime, was convicted of that crime, and now he needs to go to jail for it — and everyone needs to stop getting their ascots in such a twist.

Among Polanski's defenders is philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who dismissed the rape as "a youthful error" — presumably meaning "youthful error" as in, "an error involving a youth", because R-Po himself was in his forties at the time, and I think French philosophers are probably the only demographic to whom "forties" counts as "young".

Also on Polanski's side is a group of one hundred or so film industry leaders, who released a petition this week expressing "stupefaction" with his arrest. Among them — and this is so ridiculous it kills me — is WOODY FUCKING ALLEN. Don't get me wrong, here, I love Small Time Crooks as much as the next guy, but when did we start taking advice from Woody Allen on appropriate behaviour towards minors? Who's next? Gary Glitter? R. Kelly? JUST SEND HIM TO FUCKING JAIL ALREADY! It'll take a few measly months out of his already richly-lived — clearly — life, and then he can probably direct an Oscar-winning film about the experience and all these ridiculous film industry leaders will have something to be happy about again.

And in the meantime, I can stop reading every day about how paedophilia should be fine if you're an artist, and get back to having faith in society.

September 30, 2009

Tiramigiu

The bag of Italian Roast coffee that Mallory got me at Starbucks today advises that I should enjoy it with "tiramisu and a slideshow of Rome".

Thanks, Starbucks.

In other news, next time I go out for a beer, I plan to enjoy it with pretzels and an episode of Booze Britain.

--

Also, after banning clove cigarettes last week, the government is now going after American Apparel; why does the Obama administration hate Emerson students?

September 28, 2009

Tongue-In-Cheek Headline of the Week



At least, I hope it's tongue-in-cheek.

September 25, 2009

September 24, 2009

Bewildering Spam of the Day

Today I got a message in my spam folder that said, simply:
We do not promise to give free golden mountains.
...and then there was a link (which, naturally, I did not click).

What does that mean? Is a golden mountain some kind of sex move? Is spam chastising me for wanting something for nothing? Is this just a particularly coherent piece of randomly generated text? WHAT IS GOING ON?!!

September 23, 2009

What's Next? Skinny Jeans?

The deeply ironic community of Emerson College was thrown into apathetic chaos today, as a new Food and Drug Administration regulation came into effect banning the sale of clove cigarettes nationwide.

The ban is a result of wide-ranging new powers granted to the FDA by President Obama, who signed the legislation in June. The agency is now able to regulate the sale and marketing of tobacco products — other than normal cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco — in the same way that it would with other products.

"I just… I just… I don't know what to do with myself anymore," said Emerson sophomore Panama Perkins-Smyth. "Now those fifteen minutes between 'Fundamentals of Gendered Communication' and 'Editing Animated Shorts' seem to stretch on and on into a giant, painful void." Perkins-Smyth added that she may have to take up writing poetry again.

The new regulations are intended to prevent youths from becoming smokers, as clove cigarettes (along with the other flavoured cigarettes subject to the ban) are generally more appealing to young smokers. According to the New York Times 17-year-olds are three times more likely to smoke flavoured cigarettes than smokers aged 25 or older.

It is a risky move by President Obama, whose catchy campaign slogans, media savvy, and overwhelmingly liberal stance on issues like gay marriage and the environment make clove-smoking hipster college students one of his prime demographics. In passing the law, Obama is taking a gamble that by the next election cycle those same students will have adopted new vices — such as root beer bongs and iPhone sex — and will therefore not hold the ban against him.

If the views of Emerson junior Florida Jones are anything to go by, however, the President may face an uphill battle. "I totally voted for Obama last year," said Jones, "and now he turns around and does this? I don't care how awesome his Twitter feed is — this is so completely uncool. Like, no we can't, man. Know what I'm saying?"

Others in the Emerson community, however, are pleased with the new law. "Now I can walk to work every day without having to pass through clouds of foul-smelling smoke," said an employee of a campus coffee shop. And a worker at a nearby Dunkin' Donuts seconded that feeling: "I said milk no sugar, you said YEAH! Now take your damn coffee, fool."

September 21, 2009

Plethoric Pew-digrions

The Project for Excellence in Journalism over at the Pew Research Center has an interesting article up from earlier in the summer, comparing the responses from the blogosphere and the (American) traditional media to two major news stories back in June.

I'd like, at this point, to reiterate a key point from that last sentence: The Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Now, the gist of the article is that, while the U.S. media led mostly with moderate coverage of the recession and the Holocaust Museum shooting in Washington (followed by — what else? — healthcare reform), the blogosphere was dominated far more markedly by coverage of the Holocaust shooting, and by another story that the U.S. media barely touched: the election of two BNP members to the European Parliament.

Sorry, in case I hadn't made this clear: the article was published by the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

What's interesting about the article is that, while it might not seem overly surprising that the Europe story got more coverage in the blogosphere (which, naturally, encompasses people all over the world, unlike the U.S. media), the blogosphere coverage actually included a number of U.S. bloggers as well. The reasons why are fairly clear: first, bloggers are more likely to be nutbag extremists, and a good deal of the U.S. response to the election was "Way to go to Europe! Death to liberals!". But second — and the article doesn't really touch on this — bloggers are under more pressure to find "niche" stories that the traditional media doesn't cover. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love a good blog every now and then, but let's be honest: why would you choose to get your news from blogs when four 24-hour news networks and a handful of mainstream news websites, newspapers, etc., are reporting on the same story? No, the role of blogs, it seems to me, is to draw attention to the news stories that the mainstream simply aren't covering.

Of course, that also begs the question: why didn't the U.S. news media cover one of the most controversial European election results since 1933? But I'm not even going to begin to try to answer that right now, because I have a stack of papers to grade and an improv rehearsal to get to.

What I would like to do, though, is draw your attention, once more, to the fact that this article was published by the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, and also to the following excerpt:
But most of the attention to the EU results came from British bloggers who focused on the election of two members of the anti-immigrant British National Party. . . .

"The BNP winning seats in the European parliament is a bit like the Nazi Party winning a Grammy; nobody quite knows how it happened, no reasonable person thinks it's warranted, and everybody is filled with a sort of horrified curiosity to see what they're going to do with it," analyzed Andrew at Plethoric Pundigrions.
Booyah. Can somebody start paying me to do this now, please?

September 20, 2009

Assault and Battery

Dedicated readers may remember that last year I was tickled a delighted shade of pink to discover that Boston had finally acquired a good, authentic fish and chips place.

Well, I've been considering another trip there sometime soon, so today I Googled it to double-check the address, and came across this review:
Being of Irish and English background myself...and having recently returned from a trip to Europe, I was eager to once again sit down and dive into a plate of fish and chips. My lasting impression is that today was my first and last time going to The Battery. . . .

I ordered the pollack portion, onion rings, and a soda. . . . The batter used, while nice and crisp, had no distinct or special flavor...at least not to a degree where it would separate this restaurant out from any other. It was quite greasy. . . . The tartar sauce was bland and did little to add flavor to the fried fish. . . . I had to actually ask for tartar sauce . . . .

The prefried slabs of haddock just sit out on the counter waiting for someone to order them. Not very appealing...nor is seeing all of the deep fat fryers directly behind the cashier's counter. . . .

The Irishman inside of me hopes and prays that things get worked out for this restaurant in its early phase and that changes are made.
Well, ScottyD, considering that:

1. You find it surprising that fish and chips are greasy

2. You find it surprising that there were prefried pieces of haddock sitting out for people to order

3. You find it surprising that the deep fat fryers were in plain sight

and

4. You asked for fucking TARTAR SAUCE to put on fish and chips

I would submit to you that you have never been to an actual fish and chip shop in your life, and that you in fact have absolutely no fucking idea what you are talking about.

Additionally, considering that:

1. You used the words/phrases "soda", "bums me out", and "awesome"

2. You managed to squeeze the fact that you have an Irish background into your 476-word review TWICE

3. You described yourself as having Irish AND English background (which no self-respecting Irishman would ever fucking do)

I further submit that you are merely an American twat whose grandfather read The Dubliners once, and that your claim to Irish heritage is based entirely on that or some other similarly tenuous connection.

I know I'm being a little harsh, but pal, you were asking for it. If The Battery goes under I'm coming for you first.

September 18, 2009

September 17, 2009

Same Ol', Same Ol'

From The New York Times: As Race Debate Grows, Obama Steers Clear of It
[President Obama] woke up on Wednesday to a rapidly intensifying debate about how his race factors into the broader discussion of civility in politics . . .

Mr. Obama’s response to all this, aides say, has been to tell his staff not to be distracted by the charges and to focus on health care and the rest of his policy agenda.

“He could probably give a very powerful speech on race . . .” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “But right now his top domestic priority is health care reform."
There you have it, folks.The Obama administration is now officially blasé about his impressive rhetorical abilities.

Oh, sure, he could probably issue an incisive and eloquent rebuke to the nation over this latest uproar, but to be honest, he'd rather have a hot dog, you know? Being a moving and inspirational public speaker these days is just so... yawn city. And let's be honest, we're clearly not really listening, right? Otherwise the whole Gates thing would have been the last we heard about race. So let's just give him a break for a while, okay? And then the next time there's a Holocaust anniversary or something we can dust off the old autocue for old time's sake.

Deal?

September 16, 2009

More From the Ongoing Pot-Kettle Dispute

From AOL News: George Bush Called Sarah Palin 'Not Remotely Prepared'
In a new memoir . . . Bush staffer Matt Latimer describes his boss's initial reaction to the news that McCain had chosen Palin. . . .

Bush [said]: "This woman is being put into a position she is not even remotely prepared for. She hasn't spent one day on the national level. Neither has her family. Let's wait and see how she looks five days out."
Man, when even George W. Bush thinks you seem unprepared — ouch. Just . . . ouch. What's next, Kanye telling her she's an oaf? Gwyneth Paltrow telling her she gives her kids stupid names? Stephen Hawking making light of her achievements in ice hockey?

September 15, 2009

Ummm...

From Daily Finance: Dan Brown's 'Lost Symbol' reveals his greatest secret

Okay, I'm going to go ahead and have a snotty writer's/thinker's conniption, here. If such things bore/offend you, you may wish to look away, now.
If the past few years are any indication, Dan Brown has mastered the art of giving the American public what they want. The DaVinci [sic] Code, his breakout novel, has sold 40 million copies worldwide.
Yes, WORLDWIDE sales are always a sterling indicator of what the AMERICAN PUBLIC want. You get an A-fucking-plus on that one.
The Lost Symbol, Brown's latest outing into the world of Langdon, is already a bestseller, despite the apparent handicap of not having been released yet. For the last two weeks, it has been number one on Amazon, merely based on advance orders, and it is already on the British best-seller's list.
"BEST-SELLER'S list"?! SERIOUSLY?!? You're going to write an article that is ostensibly lit crit and get a POSSESSIVE FUCKING APOSTROPHE in the wrong place? I think you'll find that best-sellers don't have lists themselves, but rather appear on BEST-SELLERS LISTS. Get it?
Brown's books don't feel like empty calories. With a heady dose of religious history and symbology, he assumes -- correctly, as it turns out -- that his readers are interested in learning a few new things. While he applies a thick lather of poetic license to his tales, his eye for fun details and exciting historical anecdotes gives his stories a patina of intellectual respectability.
I'm sorry, a patina of WHAT? Are we really going to use the words "intellectual" and "Dan Brown" in the same sentence? Look, I understand, he writes popular books — I can get behind that. People enjoy reading him. Great. Bully. Keeps the publishing industry afloat. But INTELLECTUAL? Just because he went to a fucking library a few times doesn't make his book intellectual — in the same way that writing a few words on the internet doesn't make you a FUCKING WRITER.
Beyond that, Brown's stories are plotted exceedingly well, with twists and turns that, if not plausible, at least are sufficiently explained.
There you go, fellow MFAs: forget all about whatever Pam Painter told you. Your plots don't need to be PLAUSIBLE, they just need to be "sufficiently explained", whatever the fuck that means. Also, it's been a while since I've read Da Vinci, but I'm pretty sure there were a couple of plot twists in there that slipped by without much explanation — like, if this mysterious code is so opaque and impossible to crack, how come one balding academic twit and some one-dimensional French police hussy can crack the whole fucking thing in approximately twenty-four hours?

Oh, but wait, maybe I'm not qualified to talk about what good plot is:
Plot has, over the last few decades, become something of a lost art, with navel-gazing "literary" novels squaring off against mechanical mysteries, romances and adventures that often feel like they were churned out by one of Orwell's book-writing machines. In this context, Brown's books sometimes feel like a perfectly prepared fillet mignon slapped down in the middle of the unappetizing buffet of contemporary fiction.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! Oh, I'm sorry that all the "literary" drivel being churned out by contemporary writers is too plotless to keep you interested — perhaps Jonathan Franzen should have inserted a chase scene through the Louvre into The Corrections to better hold your attention. And "unappetizing buffet of contemporary fiction"? Somebody better tell FUCKING OPRAH, so she can stop recommending navel-gazing bullshit to the reading public. LOOK UNDER YOUR SEATS! IT'S YOUR OWN COPY OF ANGELS AND FUCKING DEMONS!
Brown's ultimate flattery lies in the organization of his stories: the Langdon books are structured to allow the reader to discover things a moment ahead of the genius protagonist. Having spent hundreds of pages establishing Langdon's bona fides, Brown's decision to let the reader constantly one-up the professor makes each of the books an ongoing exercise in self-congratulations.
Oh, so the fact that every single puzzle in Da Vinci is embarrassingly obvious is INTENTIONAL! What GENIUS! Give this man the Booker Prize!
To put it bluntly, by the time Brown's readers finish a Langdon book, they feel smart.
That's odd, because when I finish a Langdon book I feel like FORREST FUCKING GUMP.

I suppose this is what I get for reading a website called "Daily Finance" and expecting an intelligent discussion of the state of contemporary fiction.

September 14, 2009

Quote of the Day

From FOX News:

"There is a lot of crotch grabbing and moon walking going on in my house."
—Madonna

September 12, 2009

But If Bachman-Turner Overdrive Are Available...

From Newsvine: Obama says Status Quo no solution on health care

In a searing indictment of the Seventies boogie rock band, Obama told supporters Saturday that he would not stand for their unique brand of danceable pop hits as a solution to the nation's healthcare crisis.
"I will not accept the Status Quo. Not this time. Not now," the president told an estimated 15,000 people during a rally. . . .

"If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen. My door is always open," the president said.
A Serious Set of Proposals is, of course, a lesser-known bootleg album of Lynyrd Skynyrd tracks from 1974, although the president seemed even more enthused by the thought of breaking out some old Machine hits:
"In other words, [losing coverage] can happen to anyone," Obama told the raucous Minneapolis crowd. "There but for the grace of God go I."
Even Republicans joined in the broad condemnation of the ageing British rockers:
Reacting to the president's new campaign, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said: "The Status Quo is unacceptable. But so are the alternatives that the administration and Democrats in Congress have proposed."
Pundits have been surprised by the Republican ire directed towards the Quo, as their 1979 hit "Whatever You Want" is usually taken as an implicit endorsement of the laissez-faire policies that the right tends to favour.

I think I've taken this one far enough.

September 11, 2009

September 07, 2009

Channel Five, 21st Century; 21st Century, Channel Five

While I was in the West over the weekend, I was staying in a dinky little hotel in the dinky little town of Mallaig, which, as far as railways and the west of Scotland go, is literally the end of the line. (You've probably seen the line itself, as sections of it double for the track to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.)

Anyway, said dinky hotel provided me with a dinky little room in which there was a dinky little TV (gosh, this is beginning to sound like a children's book, isn't it?), and that dinky little TV received precisely one channel: Channel Five.

Now, as anyone who lives in Britain will tell you, Channel Five only has a dinky little bit of class, and I've long given up expecting much from it except low quality softcore porn, Neighbours, and atrocious game shows. Case in point was a programme they broadcast in 2001 called Touch The Truck:
Basic rules: There is one truck. There are 20 contestants. You will touch the truck. You will not sleep. You will get a ten minute break every two hours and a fifteen minute break every six hours. Last one touching the truck wins the truck.
...which, in 2001, I expect was the second most horrific thing you might have seen on your TV.

But I have to say, even I was unprepared for the sheer fuckwittedness of their evening news programme, which lumped together in its headlines: a horrific kidnapping/robbery in London, Robbie Williams' new album, and finally, as an afterthought, something to do with Afghanistan or something. And then:

As the (male) anchor introduced each segment, he would, as anchors tend to do, say: "With more on this story, here's [X]," where [X] is the name of a correspondent. Except that, whenever the correspondent was a man, he would be introduced with [first name] [last name], and occasionally a title, like "Senior Political Correspondent" (not a position it's hard to snag at Five News, I wouldn't have thought, as long as you own a tie). Whenever the correspondent was a woman, on the other hand, she would be introduced by her first name only, as if she was some silk-bloused Fifties secretary ("Jane, get me more on this story, will you?").

Um, hello? Channel Five? Have you heard of the fucking women's movement? Or do you think a glass ceiling is just an awesome way to see up girls' skirts? How about you join the rest of us in 2009 and attempt to at least appear as if you give a shit about equality, huh? Thanks.

On the bright side, Robbie Williams apparently wants to rejoin Take That. Hallelujah!

September 06, 2009

Lede Fail

From The Scotsman: Three questioned about dead babies discovered in attic
THE bodies of three newborn babies were found when police were tipped off following a drunken row at a lingerie party, it was claimed last night.
Way to keep it classy, Merseyside.

Sorry for long silence recently — last days of the Fringe and then this weekend I was in the Hebrides, of which more, maybe, later.

September 04, 2009

August 29, 2009

Blood Is Thicker Than Water

From AOL News: Relatives Charged With Stealing From Dying Eveyln Roth, Who Lived

When Evelyn Roth was put in a nursing home following surgery for a cancerous growth on her oesophagus, she signed over power of attorney to two of her relatives: Kathleen Jingling and Virginia Kuehn. Jingling and Kuehn were assured by Roth's doctor that the elderly woman was "guaranteed" to die, so they promptly sold off all her stuff and went on a spree of writing large checks to each other from Roth's bank account.

Then Roth pulled through, and now she's charging her two relatives on 35 counts of felony, including first-degree criminal mistreatment and first-degree theft.

Oops.

Anyway, this is clearly a fascinating and emotional story, so it's no surprise that the folks in Hollywood have already announced plans for a movie adaptation, starring Paul Giamatti as Kathleen Jingling and Wallace Shawn as Virginia Kuehn — which, I think you'll agree, is an inspired piece of casting:

Wah-wah.

Edit: And this guy will be played by Thumb Man.

August 28, 2009

August 27, 2009

Mervyn Stutter, Eat Your Heart Out, Pt. 2

Incidentally, I met Mervyn Stutter last night and found him extremely charming, and sincerely hope that he doesn't attempt to eat his own heart out any time soon.

Anyway, as is my habit going into the final weekend of the Fringe, I thought I'd recommend a few last shows for anyone in town (in addition to my already standing recommendations from a few weeks ago).

1. Controlled Falling Project (Underbelly, 15:50). I just can't tell you how fantastic this dance/acrobatics/physical comedy show was. The performers are great, the set design is great, the music is really great, and even the fairly corny premise was pulled off with charm and consummate professionalism. Totally engrossing, five out of five pundigrions, and definitely my favourite show of this year's Fringe.

2. God: A Play by Woody Allen (Pleasance Dome, 12:35). I read this play way back in high school and loved it, and was so flabbergasted to see it crop up in the Fringe program this year that I shelled out actual MONEY for a ticket. It's Allen at his finest — an hour filled with puns, self-referential jokes, wry observations about well-to-do New Yorkers and academics, and, of course, some light-hearted theological debate. It's a student production and very low-budget, but that, if anything, adds to its not inconsiderable appeal. The performers really go for it to compensate for the total lack of set, and the guy who plays Woody Allen is worth the price of admission alone. Four pundigrions.

3. Axis of Awesome (Gilded Balloon, 21:15). Australian musical trio in a vaguely Tenacious D-ish, rock comedy vein. They're very personable and good musicians to boot, and while I haven't seen their whole show, what material I have seen (both live and on t'internet) has been strong and consistent. Four pundigrions.

And now, to work. Perhaps I can get some more tickets thrown angrily in my face today. The joys of management.

August 26, 2009

Thought For The Day

I am less likely to give money to a panhandler with a "Please help" sign that has been printed on a computer and then laminated.

August 25, 2009

Won't Someone Please Think of the Horses!

Apparently the road safety chaps here in Britain are tired of trying to prevent the several thousand deaths from dr(i/u)*nk driving each year, and have taken some time and money off to tackle the real killer on British roads: HORSES.



Even in 2009, sometimes life in Britain still feels like an episode of the Archers.

*Depending where you live.

August 24, 2009

Speaking of Recycling Jokes...

I propose to turn this post into a list of all the movies/sitcoms that have used variations on the following (bad) joke:
PREGNANT WOMAN: My water broke!

HILARIOUSLY CLUELESS MAN: Don't worry, we'll get you another one.
This endeavour was conceived while watching Fresh Prince over lunch, so we'll go ahead and start with that one. But off the top of my head I can also (I'm ashamed to admit) add the Hugh Grant/Julianne Moore/Jeff Goldblum megahit Nine Months. IMDB also helpfully informs that Tina Fey's 2008 disappointment Baby Mama replaces HILARIOUSLY CLUELESS MAN with HILARIOUSLY CLUELESS WOMAN in what is essentially the same gag:
KATE: Your water broke!

[ANGIE looks at her cup, confused]
I'm sure I've seen it elsewhere, too, though — Friends? Home Improvement? Knocked Up? Help me out! Leave other sightings in the comments and I'll update the list accordingly. I bet we can get up to at least ten in no time at all...
1. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air ("A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum")

2. Nine Months

3. Baby Mama
Don't let me down, internets.

August 21, 2009

Doesn't Anyone Know How To Use A Dictionary Anymore?

From Lemondrop.com: 35 Truisms That Couldn't be Truer

Never mind the triteness of these observations that "just hit the mark" ("What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?"), none of them are $#^^!!! truisms!

Note to internet: a truism ≠ a truth. Grow a brain.

August 20, 2009

...And One More Time

Conversation at the box office yesterday:

SECURITY: There's a woman out here who'd like to make a complaint to the manager.

ME: Can you ask her to approach the window?

SECURITY: She doesn't want to approach the window. She wants you to come outside.

ME: Okay...

[Outside]

ME: Hello, madam. How can I help?

WOMAN: Oh. You're the manager?

ME: I'm the box office manager, yes.

WOMAN: Well, I need to complain to someone else then. It's about you.

ME: Okay...

So at that point I went and found the venue's general manager and left the woman in his capable hands, and returned to the box office to wait, uneasily, for his report. Apparently, the problem was that when I'd served this woman half an hour earlier, my disposition had not been sunny enough for her liking.

Now, look.

I know one of the key tenets of any customer service job is to maintain a sunny disposition no matter what. But lady, try and see things from my point of view: there's a line fifty people long behind you that I have to clear, I haven't had a day off in twenty-nine days straight, and furthermore I have a horrific hangover because when I came into work to see a show yesterday on what was supposed to be my morning off, that show cancelled right as I arrived and I had to spend two hours helping to give refunds to the 200+ angry people who'd bought tickets — so come the end of the day, I had needed a few drinks to unwind.

So I'm sorry I wasn't as smiling or communicative as you think I should have been. I really am. I wish I had the mental fortitude and emotional patience to be able to maintain a minimum level of friendliness to every customer, even when (as was the case with you) the first thing they say to me upon approaching the counter is that the queuing system is poorly organised. I would also like to point out that I've had thirty-seven-minute arguments with other customers without once raising my voice, and every day this month I've dealt with blowhard, egotistical journalists with kindness and courtesy even when, really, I've wanted to tell them to fuck off and die. I even had a customer buy me a drink the other night because I'd done them such a good turn. So hey, on balance, my customer service really ain't all that bad.

But, okay, I still won't try to pretend I'm perfect, and I'll even admit I could have been a little friendlier with you, and once again I'll apologise for that. However, I would also like to suggest that if you started treating service employees with the same amount of respect and decency you give your friends, instead of telling on us to our superiors and making us feel like tiny, inadequate failures — if you had a little compassion, for God's sake! — then you'd probably get that smile that's so important to you, ten times out of ten. We're people, too.

Just a thought, you know?

August 19, 2009

So, One For "Show"?

Conversation at the box office yesterday:

CUSTOMER: What time is The Late Show on?

STAFF: It's at quarter to one in the morning.

CUSTOMER: Oh, gosh. That's quite late. Is there an earlier showing?

STAFF: Um...

August 15, 2009

Doing It By The Book

I hereby pronounce 2009 the year of baffling and unnecessary book-to-film adaptations.

Exhibit A, of course, is this month's The Time Travel(l)er's Wife, a juggernaut of schmaltzery, if the trailer is anything to go by, adapted from Audrey Niffenegger's 2003 best seller. The book's charm (and don't get me wrong, it is charming) lay in its taking a premise that, if we're being honest, is a little hokey — and then developing that premise into a hefty doorstop of a novel with intelligence, restraint, and emotional complexity. Somehow I doubt that much more than the hokiness made it into the 107-minute movie — though I suppose stranger things starring Rachel McAdams have happened.

Speaking of Rachel McAdams, let's talk about Exhibit B: Sherlock Holmes. As near as I can tell from the trailer, McAdams's role in this movie is a corset-wearing assassin of some sort (from the well-known Conan Doyle story Sherlock Holmes and the Corset-Wearing Assassin), while Holmes and Watson are given "dynamic" new life by Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, respectively. In all fairness, this ain't exactly an adaptation of any particular Holmes story — it's more like a slapstick buddy action comedy that has had Holmes shoehorned into it. Indeed, if I were the cynical type, I'd suggest that this most recent Holmes film started life as a draft of Lethal Weapon 5, which the studio then decided to re-work after Mel Gibson went completely fucking nuts.

In Exhibit C we see another kooky premise that was pulled off in prose but can surely only suffer in its Hollywoodisation: The Lovely Bones, in which our narrator is a fourteen-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered and now, in ghost form, watches over her family. In this movie, relative newcomer Saoirse Ronan reprises the role of Patrick Swayze while Demi Moore is played by Mark Wahlberg, and in between all that director Peter Jackson shows us a heaven that looks suspiciously like Middle Earth.

Then there are exhibits D, E and F — The Road, Alice In Wonderland, and Where The Wild Things Are — of which only the latter I can even begin to get excited about. But what really got me started on this rant to begin with is Exhibit G: Dorian Gray.

I'm not altogether convinced that adapting The Picture of Dorian Gray for the screen is an awful idea (though I do wonder how they've handled that thirty page chapter in the middle that describes in great detail all the nice fabrics he owns) — but certainly it didn't need the same treatment that poor Conan Doyle got and, alas!, this is not your grandmother's Dorian Gray: this is Dorian Gray the action-horror movie. Admittedly the horror comes mostly from Colin Firth's facial hair, but still, I'm fairly sure the phrase "I could tell you but I'd have to kill you" isn't a Wilde original. Oh well.

Yeah, Saturday night!

August 14, 2009

Conversations With Greatness . . .

. . . is taking its annual two weeks off, and will return on August 28th.

In the meantime, if you need a fix of socialism, I suggest you consult Obama's healthcare plan. Apparently.

August 13, 2009

More from the Annals of Spam

Spam is sickened by linguistics!
vomitory Want to get huge for girls? linguistics
Spam wishes to be very clear!
You'll function well: as a man!
Also, while we're on the topic of sex...

One of the shows at Underbelly this year stars U.K. "porn legend" Ben Dover (that's his porn name, though his real name, "S. Lindsey Honey", doesn't sound any less made up). Mr Dover has his own range of branded merchandise which we're selling in the box office, and his producer has been pretty persistent about trying to get it prominently displayed.

Anyway, the other day he brought in a particularly huge wall rack that he wanted to hang behind our counter, which I flatly refused to let him do, and after trying a variety of tactics to persuade me, he rounded off with a wink and a nudge and a promise that if I relented he would, quote, see about getting me a day on set.

*shudder*

So, needless to say, the upshot is that you should all expect a detailed account of pundigrions goes porno later this month. Sorry Mallory.

August 11, 2009

David vs Goliath

...or, "Why Major League Soccer Is The Saddest Sport In The World"

From Newsvine: Real Madrid pulls away in 2nd, tops DC United 3-0
The inevitable breakdown occurred in the second half, when Gonzalo Higuain shredded United's defense for two goals in a two-minute span, leading the Spanish powerhouse to a 3-0 victory . . .

Real defeated Toronto FC 5-1 on Friday. . . .
So, I mean, 3-0 isn't too bad, right?
Had it not been for Wicks, the final score would have been much uglier. Real outshot United 19-4, including 10-2 in shots on goal.
Oh.
"You never know when you're going play them again, so make sure you have your best game," said [D.C. United keeper Josh] Wicks, whose $42,000 MLS salary would be pocket change for Real.
Okay, so they're hopelessly outclassed and very much below the professional soccer poverty line, but at least they have their fans, right?
United's usual home, RFK Stadium, couldn't hold all the U.S.-based Real fans who wanted to come . . .

"The crowd actually gave me more confidence," Wicks said. "You sure don't want to mess up in front of 70,000. One or two hundred is OK to mess up on, but 70,000 — you don't want to do that."
For the love of God, please just stop talking now.
"We tried our best. Sometimes you're just a little outmatched," United midfielder Ben Olsen said. "It was hot. They were a little sluggish in the first half."
Why do the MLS keep setting up these games? It's like watching an injured kitten try to knock down Magic Johnson.

August 10, 2009

Are We Going Too Quickly For You?

From The Annals of Pointless Research (aka AOL Personals): Female Body Type Men Most Prefer

Get ready to be shocked.
Who's hot and who's not? Men find thin, seductive women to be the most attractive, according to a study from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
That's right, folks: men are more likely to want to have sex with seductive women.

A pretty groundbreaking finding, I think we can all agree — but what does it MEAN?
What it means: If the majority of men prefer thin women, then this may explain why so many women feel pressured to conform to a certain look.
For instance, most women will probably try to avoid looking as circular as this article's reasoning. Seductive women are more seductive so women feel pressured to look more seductive. What?

Sigh.

August 08, 2009

Mervyn Stutter, Eat Your Heart Out

Now that the Fringe has officially started, here are a few of my picks to get you on your way:

1. Barry & Stuart: Powered By Demons. Sell-out darlings of last year's Underbelly line-up, this duo of affable, impish Scottish magicians are back again this year with twice as many seats to sell — and that will be the least impressive thing you see them do, trust me. I missed their show last time round but caught one of their previews this year, and it was really just astonishingly good: there's a nice mixture of playful humour and gruesome spectacle, a great rapport between both the performers and the audience, and a hypnotism bit that completely blew me away. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Five pundigrions.

2. Woody Sez. I saw this mixture of dramatic monologue and folk music at the company's last Edinburgh date two years ago, and had this to say:
Superb. The action is well-paced; "Woody" has that warm, affable charm that only baby boomer Southerners can really pull off; and the music — all performed live by four musicians on about twelve different instruments — is pure jubilance.
...to that, I have nothing else to add. Five pundigrions.

3. Silent Disco. Even as someone who hates clubbing and dancing in all their forms (except the Brazilian fighting kind, obviously), I hold a special place in my heart for the experience of Silent Disco. If you haven't heard of it before, the deal is that you go to a "club", but instead of giant speakers the DJs feed music into wireless headphones, so the room itself is silent but for the shuffling of feet against the floor. It's fantastically atmospheric, and this year is being held in the grand, frescoed interior of Macewan Hall, which is worth seeing all by itself. Five pundigrions.

August 07, 2009

August 05, 2009

Obscure Metaphor of the Week

From Newsvine: How did Meryl Streep become Will Smith?

(Not going to even attempt to tackle that headline.)
Streep’s rise to box office dominion is unlikely, to say the least: For one thing, she’s a woman over 35, a class of people for whom Hollywood shows all the respect that the Tennessee Valley Authority has for the snail darter.
Um... I agree?

August 04, 2009

Hit Parade

From Newsvine: Sources: Michael Douglas' son in NYC drug arrest

Wait, wasn't that Traffic?

From Newsvine: Craig Ferguson says flying makes him an honest man
The host of CBS' "Late Late Show" says that getting ahead in entertainment means claiming to be able to do anything that's asked.
e.g. Can you make Kilborn look relatively competent?

Finally, from Newsvine: Judge won't order Brawny to stop using pattern
COLUMBUS — A federal judge has refused a request from the maker of Bounty paper towels to order rival Brawny to stop using a so-called "bowtie" embossing pattern.
The judge told the plaintiffs to stop crying over how to wipe up spilt milk.

Wah-wah.

August 01, 2009

File This One Under "Timeless Questions"

Seen on asylum.com:



I'll take door number three.