March 31, 2010

Breaking News From The WTF Department

From The Boston Herald: Sarah Palin plans Boston rally with grassroots Tea Party
Former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is gearing up to ride the Tea Party Express into the bluest state in the nation . . . when the Tea Party Express descends on Boston April 14. . . .

[Tea Party Express Chairman Mark] Williams said Palin will “resonate” in communities such as Lowell, Lawrence, Fall River, Attleboro and Taunton, “where people work real, old-fashioned job jobs” and in parts of western Massachusetts where “there hasn’t been a job since the 19th century.”
I'm guessing, though, that one place she won't resonate is on the Boston Commons (sic), which is surrounded by one of the most consistently Democratic counties in the state, not to mention by two pretty liberal colleges — one of which is made up almost entirely of media-savvy troublemakers who have no compunctions about blowing off their (startlingly few) academic responsibilities to swarm, en masse and in their skinny jeans and keffiyehs, to any event that will make good Facebook banter later in the day. (I'm referring, of course, to Suffolk, and certainly not to any other college on the Common of which I may or may not be an alum.)

Also, speaking of counties in Massachusetts that consistently go Democrat, let's look at western Massachusetts (where, even though the unemployment rate is below the state average in some places, the Tea Party folks claim "there hasn't been a job since the 19th century"). In fact, a lot of western Massachusetts voted against Scott Brown in January's supposedly historic Tea Party victory, and even more decisively than the socialist lizard-people here in Boston. For God's sake, they even voted for Kerry in 2004! Home state prejudice notwithstanding, you had to be a pretty huge leftie to want that cardboard cutout for president. (Though I guess if they've been chronically unemployed for two hundred years, they're probably in favour of a social safety net.)

In summary, I'm not quite sure what the Tea Party Express hopes to accomplish by coming to Boston, but I am going to be there in my skinny jeans and keffiyeh to find out.

March 29, 2010

We Have Officially Run Out Of News

From DailyFinance: Study Says Junk Food as Addictive as Heroin or Cigarettes

Dear Internet,

It is hard to come up with new and interesting things to blog about when you are rehashing stories you already covered SIX YEARS AGO.


A. Ladd

March 26, 2010

March 25, 2010

And The Recipient Of Another "Loved It, But Sorry" Rejection Is...

Excerpts From The Notebook of an NBC Screenwriter Developing a Friends Revival

Ross’s iPhone begins to drop calls due to 3G oversaturation in Manhattan, and he spends several hours on hold trying to complain to successively higher executives at Apple. (Bonus: Steve Jobs to guest star... as a customer service rep!) Meanwhile, Joey returns from L.A. to pursue a blossoming internet relationship with a woman in New York whom he’s never met — and who hilariously turns out to be Chandler’s long-running-recurring-guest-star ex, Janice!


Phoebe discovers that married life is more difficult than she imagined, when she and Mike clash over whether to buy a hybrid car or a conventional one. (Phoebe is anti-hybrid “for the same reasons she won’t get a mule” (ha-ha!)) Meanwhile, Chandler, on his way home from work in an expensive new suit, is mistaken for a Wall Street banker and pelted with garbage, prompting him to try and return the suit with Rachel’s help — and hilarious consequences!


Reshoot dancing-in-the-fountain footage at the Freedom Tower site? (Probably too edgy. Maybe if it were HBO.)


Monica and Chandler’s son, now seven, is sent home from school with headlice, causing Monica to fly into an OCD clean-freak frenzy, with hilarious repercussions (inc. several sarcastic remarks from Chandler, TBD). The lice spread to Joey, whose subsequent scratching costs him an audition.


Fucking Schwimmer says he won’t do it. Replace with Jason Bateman? Jerry Seinfeld? Or do a drastic reboot instead, with the characters as teenagers? Those episodes that flashed back to their youth were always hilarious. (Fat jokes!)


The recession hits Rachel’s job at Ralph Lauren, where she is forced to perform copier maintenance herself after the office boy is fired. Meanwhile, Monica’s career as a chef takes an unexpected turn when Matt Damon becomes a regular at her restaurant — though her increasingly elaborate (and hilarious) attempts to impress him eventually drive him away. (Bonus: Matt Damon to guest star as Matt Damon.)


How about a group of six NEW friends who hang out in Central Perk all the time? Like Saved By The Bell: The New Class, only even more hilarious. (Note to self: is Dennis Haskins available for a guest spot?)


Ross’s son Ben, now seventeen, cheats on his high school girlfriend, prompting a hilarious return to Ross and Rachel’s perennial “we were on a break” dispute. Meanwhile, Joey lands a spot on a new series of The Apprentice. (Bonus: Darrell Hammond to guest star as Donald Trump. Triple synergy!!!)


Rachel’s cousin comes to stay with Rachel and Ross while her own apartment is treated for bedbugs; Ross accidentally sees the cousin naked, which is hilarious. (Bonus: that Twilight chick to guest star as Rachel’s cousin??) Meanwhile, Chandler hilariously finds his first grey hair. (“It’s not even sexy George Clooney grey. It’s like... lame George Washington grey”; “could my hair be any greyer?”; etc.)


Possible marketing campaign: I [heart] Friends, but with the NBC peacock instead of a heart? (Also, just Googled Dennis Haskins. He’s really let himself go! Maybe guest spot not such a great idea.)


Phoebe gets a hilarious new job with a hilariously annoying co-worker. (Bonus: Conan O’Brien Jimmy Fallon to guest star as annoying co-worker.) Joey does something stupid — and hilarious!


Success! Scwhimmer’s back on board! (Note to self: get Marcie to break it to Seinfeld.)

March 22, 2010

Some Thoughts On The Passage Of The Healthcare Bill

Well, folks: we made it. We hung in there. We have been living in a totalitarian socialist dictatorship nightmare for almost twenty-four hours, now, and they haven't death-panelled us into oblivion yet.



There's already talk, of course, of Republicans trying to block the reconciliation bill, and filing lawsuits against the federal government when the mandated insurance kicks in four years from now, and sweeping to victory in the midterm elections on a wave of populist discontent, after which a repeal vote will be all but inevitable. But I don't buy any of it: blocking the reconciliation bill is numerically pretty impossible unless a Democratic bus crashes somewhere in the next day or two, and filing lawsuits isn't going to have much of an effect, even if they're successful, until years and years from now.

But mostly I don't think that, by November, there will be much of a wave of populist discontent. There's a great Simpsons quote from a few years ago, from the episode where Sideshow Bob runs for mayor of Springfield on the Republican ticket. He says: "Your guilty conscience may move you to vote Democratic, but deep down you long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king."

I think that quote is even more instructive, though, if you turn it on its head: Americans' emotional gut reactions might move them to vote Republican from time to time, but deep down they long for a socially-conscious Democrat to take what they they know is the morally right course. And while I know there are a lot of rabid anti-reform nuts out there (even if there are far fewer, I suspect, than the Republicans would have you believe), I bet that secretly a lot of them are relieved they can worry a little less about their insurance, now — and I bet a lot of them will actually be pretty resistant to a Republican midterm campaign based on the promise of allowing insurance companies to fuck you over again.

So here's hoping. In the meantime, stay away from your doctor; I hear they can only afford to operate with rusty nails, now.

March 21, 2010

Random Thought For The Day

Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to an anti-histamine? (Follow-up: if so, what the hell do you do about it?)

March 20, 2010

Still Trying To Work Out If "Britches" Is A Typo

Okay, so I know that screengrabbing odd Facebook ads is like shooting fish in a barrel these days, but I think this is at least a contender for the top five oddest ever:

I guess I'm still trying to work out if "bit" is a typo, too.

March 19, 2010

March 16, 2010

The Perils of Visiting the Middle East

From Netanyahu Offers an Apology, but No Shift in Policy
WASHINGTON — An ill-timed municipal housing announcement in Jerusalem has mutated into one of the most serious conflicts between the United States and Israel in two decades, leaving a politically embarrassed Israeli government scrambling to respond to a tough list of demands by the Obama administration. . . .

The prospects for peace in the Middle East seemed murkier than ever, as a year’s worth of frustration on the part of President Obama and his aides seemed to boil over in its furious response to the housing announcement, which spoiled a visit to Israel by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Mr Biden was said to be inconsolable following his trip, struggling to retain his composure as tears brimmed at the corners of his eyes and he told reporters that "this was supposed to be the experience of a lifetime."

"You know," continued Mr Biden, "you wait and wait and wait for an opportunity like this. I had such high expectations. We were going to go swimming in the Dead Sea, and visit the Wailing Wall, and have dinner with some friends of grandpa — and then they have to go and announce more Israeli development in East Jerusalem." Mr Biden then sniffed. "They might as well have given me food poisoning."

After arriving in Israel, Mr Biden's hotel room smelled of cigarettes, despite his specifically requesting a non-smoking room, and the TV only picked up two channels. His luggage was also held up in transit and arrived a day late.

Although some photographs of Mr Biden meeting with Mr Netanyahu seemed to show the vice president in high spirits, he later claimed he had only been smiling because the pictures "might be the only positive memory I have from this stupid visit," which he described as "a disaster from start to finish."

"Anyway," he added, tears once again welling in his eyes. "Most of my best pictures got ruined by the x-ray machine at the airport."

March 15, 2010


I don't know if I like what it says about my texting habits that my phone predicts "ogle" and "milf" before "mile". Though I do like that "ogle" and "milf" are the same key combinations.

March 14, 2010

Design Features of the Damned

Dear Samsung,

I respectfully submit to you a receipt for $22.20, for the cab I was forced to take to work this morning because your "Sway" mobile phone handset is fucking useless.

This morning, the first of Eastern Daylight Time, I had set my phone's alarm for 7:30, so that I'd have ample time to get ready and get to work by 9 a.m. (I'm the manager on duty on Sundays, so it's kind of important that I'm there on time).

Actually, I had set two alarms for this morning, both the aforementioned 7:30 on my phone and one for 7:25 on my iPod, because I wanted to make sure I'd get woken up somehow, and was wary of your ridiculous product to begin with. (Instead of having a way to manually set the clock the Sway is locked to network time, which would be fine if the phone's sync with network time didn't occasionally lag by several hours. I remember this vividly from the last time the clocks moved forward.)

Anyway, when 7:25 rolled around and my iPod went off, I saw that the clock on my phone had updated itself, so I happily shut off the first alarm and decided to snooze for the five minutes until the second.

Except it turns out — and this is why I feel you owe me $22.20 — that when the Samsung Sway's clock moves forward an hour, it automatically moves all its set alarms forward by one hour as well, which, quite aside from COMPLETELY DEFEATING THE FUCKING PURPOSE OF DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, is an idiotic feature at best and an inexcusable glitch at worst, and when the damn thing eventually went off at 8:30 it was all I could do not to run it through the garbage disposal.

So thanks a fucking lot. You can either make the cheque out to me, or send the money directly to Apple towards my purchase of an iPhone to replace your hunk of shit.

A. Ladd

March 12, 2010

Conversations With Greatness CCLXXII

Ugh. Two masturbation jokes in one week. Sorry.

March 11, 2010

In Which Andrew Waxes Brazilian

It occurred to me at my capoeira class last night that, although I've been doing the martial art for four years now, on and off, I've never really talked about it on my blog. So here are a few fun facts about capoeira.

•Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art developed in the 17th century. The first capoeira masters were middle-aged slaves recovering from open heart surgery who wanted to make twenty-six-year-olds feel inadequate — a tradition that continues to this day.

•"Capoeira" is a Portuguese word meaning "this is going to fucking hurt in the morning".

•All capoeira moves feed into the basic stance known as the "ginga" (jeen-ga), so-called because it involves balancing a stack of wooden bricks on your head.

•Seasoned capoeira experts can do mad crazy shit, yo.

•Capoeiristas never "fight" — they only "play". It's just a game that involves a lot of fighting.

•Capoeira is always done to music, which is performed by a band called a "bateria" consisting mainly of percussion instruments. The word is the antecedent of the English "bacteria", because bacteria were initially thought to infect larger organisms with jungle rhythm.

March 10, 2010

Depressing Quote Of The Day

From AOL Switched: Facebook Ups the Stalker Quotient, Adding Location-Based Updates

In this blog post comparing a proposed new mobile feature for Facebook to other social networking platforms, author Terrence O'Brien says:
Twitter and Buzz were built from the ground up to be used on the go, but Facebook lends itself to deeper interaction.
There you have it, folks: Facebook now counts as "deeper interaction". Didn't take long, did it? Presumably a few years from now Twitter will seem like "deeper interaction", while most people move onto the 2016 hit phenomenon "Judging people based entirely on their name and picture".

(By 2030 we will just be masturbating lumps in front of a computer screen.)

March 09, 2010

Rush, Rush

From CBS News: Rush Limbaugh now campaigning for passage of health bill

Ahem. I'm sorry. That should read:

From CBS News: Rush Limbaugh: I'll Leave Country Over Health Bill
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show that he will eventually leave the country if the health care bill passes and its provisions are implemented. . . .

Limbaugh [said]: "I'll just tell you this, if this passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented -- I am leaving the country. I'll go to Costa Rica."
The only downside I can see is that, under the Costa Rican healthcare system, he might actually live longer.

March 06, 2010

Globalization WIN!

March 05, 2010

March 04, 2010

Tremble, Before The Power Of The Linguists!

Yesterday, I got linked on Language Log (for the Microsoft Word Fail post below), thanks to a certain proud parent who may or may not have had a lifelong interest in linguistics. As a result, I got 422 hits yesterday, the single highest number of hits for any day on my blog since it started, six-and-a-half years ago.

So, in the hope of snaring some new regular readers from this deluge, allow me to share a Steven Pinker joke:

There's plenty more where that came from, folks! Come on back soon!

March 03, 2010

Zuma Zuma Zuma

From BBC News: Queen welcomes South African President Jacob Zuma
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will formally greet South African President Jacob Zuma at the start of his three-day state visit to the UK.
Oh my GOD. The Duke of Edinburgh, the man who occasionally makes Nick Griffin seem tolerant, is going to meet Jacob Zuma, the man who occasionally makes Bill Clinton seem chaste? Is there anything that could give this situation more comic potential?
The monarch will be joined by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
YES! The man who occasionally makes David Paterson look charismatic!

SCENARIO A: The Duke of Edinburgh will unleash some horrifically racist comment ("I suppose you have to that many wives with that enormous jungle willy of yours, eh?"), prompting Zuma to impregnate the Queen with his twenty-first child (because, after all, he never uses a condom), while Brown stands there trying to tell a joke about fishing and being generally fucking ineffectual.

SCENARIO B: Brown flies into a rage after the Queen makes an innocuous comment about the state of the British economy, and while he pummels her with a damning Iraq war dossier he keeps in his coat pocket, Prince Philip challenges Zuma to see who can piss farther up Nelson's Column.

SCENARIO C: Zuma disappears from the meeting for almost an hour while he tries to see how many of Buckingham Palace's rooms he can have sex in before being caught, and in the meantime Prince Philip fills the awkward silences by making fun of Brown for being partially blind.

SCENARIO D: [Whatever actually happens tomorrow]

I can't wait!