Sunday, April 30, 2006

Instead of mourning a genocide, stop one.

Today is the big rally in D.C. to bring attention to the genocide in Darfur.

Timely, considering that due to a shortage of money coming in earmarked for aid to the refugees, their food rations will be cut in half. Every man woman and child, all 6.1 million of them, will now have to survive on a ration of roughly 1,000 calories a day. Just after aid workers have managed to get a handle on the malnutrition rates, the rates are expected to rise again.

I think the whole point of the rally is to say that we have a choice right now. We can either look the problem in the face now and take action to help, or we can sit back, ignore it, and ten years down the road we can watch some movies about it and self-righteously tut-tut the lack of response.

Here in the U.S. we spent over $23 million on tickets to the movie Hotel Rwanda. I can't find the DVD sales total, but I'm sure there's even more money there. I'd propose that every movie-goer take the amount of money that they will likely spend on a ticket to the movie that will no doubt be made about this genocide, and donate it to buy food and shelter for these people, before the fact. I'm even throwing in the $8 I'm not spending on the 9/11 movie, just for good measure.

It's Sunday. You're probably not doing anything THAT important today anyway. So, DO SOMETHING about this. I'll even give you some recommendations here, from the Human Rights Watch:
Contact Your Elected Representatives: Write and call your representatives in Congress and the State Department, asking them to support U.S. and international efforts to reverse ethnic cleansing and stop attacks against civilians in Darfur. Ask President Bush, members of Congress, and the State Department to do the following:
  • Visit and speak out on Darfur;
  • Support a Chapter VII resolution in the U.N. Security Council that will reverse ethnic cleansing, protect civilians, permit the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes in safety and dignity, and ensure full humanitarian access;
  • Substantially fund the humanitarian, peacekeeping and other costs of Darfur, including the African Union Mission in Sudan; and
  • Demand that the government of Sudan cooperate with the International Criminal Court and effectively address accountability for human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in Sudan.

You may find the contact information for your Representative or Senator at:

You may also contact the State Department by writing to the Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, at U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520; head of African affairs at the State Department, Jendayi Frazer, at; or the U.S. mission to the United Nations at
You may write to President George W. Bush at the White House, Washington, D.C. or email:

Donate to Humanitarian Agencies: A number of nongovernmental humanitarian agencies are providing help to Sudanese refugees in Chad and to Darfurians inside Sudan. Contact the following agencies for more information on their work in Chad and Darfur:

151 Ellis Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303-2440
United States
Phone: 1-800-521-CARE ext. 999
Online at:

Doctors Without Borders-Holland (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF-H)
Doctors Without Borders-France (MSF-F):
Please contact MSF’s New York office at 1-888-392-0392 or online at

International Committee of the Red Cross
19 avenue de la Paix
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Online at:

International Rescue Committee
122 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10168
United States
Phone: 212-551-3000
Online at:

Oxfam America
1100 15th St., NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
Online at:

Save the Children-US
Attn: Donor Services
54 Wilton Road
Westport, CT 06880
Phone: 1-800-728-3843
Online at:

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
c/o USA for UNHCR
1775 K Street, NW Suite 290
Washington, DC 20006
United States
Phone: 1-800-770-1100
Online at:

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)
c/o U.S. Fund for UNICEF
333 East 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
United States
Online at:

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday Feminist Anecdote

Instead of the Friday Random Ten, which I'm getting bored with, maybe my new Friday mainstay should be bitter feminist diatribes.

This one is called:

Fuck Owen.

I was a Philosophy minor in school, as many of you know. As part of that, a course in Logic was required. You could take either Mathematical Reasoning from the Math Department, or Logical Reasoning from the Philosophy Department. Everyone I talked to said Logical Reasoning was much more difficult. So I took that one. I loved it, because I was AWESOME at it. Unstoppable. I didn't lose one point. NOT ONE single point on any essays, tests or assignments. I was like a logically reasoning machine. My professor even divulged to me that no one else was doing nearly as well.

Toward the end of the semester, the prof had us do a group project during class one day. He assigned our groups and we all clustered off. I was in a group of all guys. They kept looking longingly over to a different group. One of them said "Aww. They're so lucky. They've got Owen!" Now, Owen was another philosophy minor. He was smart, I'm not denying that. But, he wasn't smarter than me.

I tried to tell them that I had the assignment under control, not to worry. But they literally ignored every thing I said. They went on for TEN minutes talking about how brilliant Owen is, and how easy this assignment would be if he were in the group.

So, I did the assignment on my own. I handed it in and explained to the professor that I tried to work with the group, but they were busy talking about other things. He smiled and said "Well, that's unfortunate for them, isn't it?"

I got an A. 100%. The dopes in my group got C's. Owen got an A-.

Fuck Owen. Metaphorically speaking.

And goddamn there are a lot of Owens out there.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oh happy day.

I was helping my mother with some gardening/landscaping projects today. At one point, she dug up something, and called me over to have a look.

"Is this something of yours, maybe?"

I looked at the tiny plastic object in her hand. Its barrel body and shiny, metallic, dome-shaped head were unmistakable. In a candid fit of unchecked exuberance I shouted:


Yes, my mother was holding in her hand actual physical evidence of pre-adolescent Flamingo geekiness. My R2-D2 action figure had come home to me, after 20 years.

I kinda felt like Obi-Wan. I won't lie.

He was full of dirt, but completely intact:

I decided I had to take care of the little guy, and clean him up.

So I gave R2 a bubble bath in the sink:

When I had him all scrubbed up, he looked a little better, even though all of his front control panel is missing, because it was printed on a decal, and the dirt kind of ruined that.

But I don't care. And neither does he. We're a family again.

My mom asked me if I remember how he might have gotten buried in the garden in the first place. I think that it probably happened when I was pretending that the garden dirt was the unforgiving sands of Tatooine. I remember finding C-3PO in roughly the same area about 10 years ago. I would venture a guess that I was playing Deserts of Tatooine, got called away for dinner, and the droids got left behind. I feel kind of bad about it, now.

But it's all good now. Funny how stuff like that happens.

Things that make you go barf.

First off, I had a random and totally nauseating thought upon waking this morning, and I decided to share it with the class. Misery loves company.

Also, Britney Spears is pregnant by K-Fed again.

So, with her in the market for another baby name, Angelina Jolie ready to pop any day now, and God knows how many other celebrity babymamas cranking out kids, there's going to be a big need for a lot of crazy whacked out names for celebrity babies.

Lucky for them, I've been keeping a list of names that will look awesome on a future mugshot, or on the Child Protective Services paperwork.

Grab 'em quick before Gwyneth Paltrow and Katie Holmes snag all of them.

  • Snapple (OK, I was actually saving this one for Gwyneth herself, until she brought forth a boy child from her womb.)
  • Twizzler
  • Hoboken (nickname Hobo)
  • Aspartame
  • Porridge
  • Rickets
  • Charlie Brown
  • Five
  • Gong Show
  • Berlin
  • Hokey and Pokey (in case of twins)
  • Sucrose
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Lexmark
  • Flava
  • Lizard Breath (a rockstar's kid, obviously)
  • Florescent
  • PG
  • Analog
  • Bait
  • Taupe
  • Belgium
  • Spoon
  • Median
  • Punky Brewster
  • Stamp
  • Gorp (for the faux-granola celebs)
  • Diamond
  • Zirconium (for the B-listers)
  • Candle
  • Cherubim
  • Thrombosis
  • Granule
  • Lorax
  • Blog
You get the picture. I got a billion of 'em. Do you think I could get a job just naming celebrity babies? I'd be awesome at it.

P.S. Incidentally, when I did a spell-check, the spell-checker couldn't recognize half of the words. I think that's how you tell a celebrity baby name is REALLY good.

P.P.S. I'm now adding "Spell-Checker" to my list of celebrity baby names.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Movies I won't see for $500, Alex.

Sometimes I brag about how I get paid to go to movies for work. It is kind of a nice bonus. Occasionally, someone will ask me if there are any movies they couldn't even PAY me to go see. I haven't had any concrete examples until now.

This weekend, I absolutely refused to get paid to watch Scary Movie 4. I actually chose watching NO movie over getting in free and being paid to watch it. I think that says something either about me, or about the Scary Movie Franchise. I just couldn't imagine anything more painful than having to suffer through 2 hours of gross, tired, schtick.

I'm not a comedy snob. I'm really not. I like stupid humor as much as 75% of the next guys. This stuff just gets TOO stupid. It's gross and it's dumb. I don't like things that bring everything down to the lowest common denominator. Wait...maybe that does make me a comedy snob.....oh well.

So, now that I know there IS a theatrical line, across which I will not tread, here are some other upcoming movies that people couldn't pay me to watch.

United 93
I'm not sure why this movie was made. I dislike disaster movies in general. I don't enjoy reliving mass tragedy in a movie theater for entertainment purposes. But 9/11 disaster movies appeal to me even less. Contrary to what genuine ass-hat country singer Darryl Worley believes, I have NOT forgotten what happened on 9/11. I don't need to see it on the big screen. I feel about this kind of the same way I felt about the Passion of the Christ. I don't need to see a 2 hour Jesus-beating to make me understand the Bible. And I don't need to watch flight 93 go down on screen in order to be a good American. I know I'm alone in that. I have no doubt that I'll be alone in that sentiment. I predict that we will flock to this movie in droves. Everyone I know will see it, and they will most likely tell me how fantastic it is, and try to convince me to go to it. But I will resist, so don't even bother, y'all.

I didn't really like the original Poseidon Adventure. And I didn't like Titanic. (See above notation re: disaster flicks). So, I can't imagine I would like this.

Mission Impossible III
No. Way. In. Hell.
Tom Cruise being a creepy, manic, asshole has managed to turn me off this project single-handedly.

Miami Vice
Just looking at Colin Farrell in the previews makes my skin crawl. I can't imagine 2 hours of this.
Monster House
In the past four months, I would guess that I've seen the preview for this movie roughly 25 times. That's about all the time of my life I'm willing to spend on it.

World Trade Center
The Oliver Stone 9/11 offering coming up in August. In spite of Stone, Nic Cage, and Maria Bello, I will be forced to pass on this one as well.

The Omen
The original movie scared the bejeezus out of me, and I'm just not going through that again.

I think those are the only films that I'm absolutely going to refuse to watch.

In an entirely different vein, there are a few movies that I don't WANT to see/like, but probably will:

The Da Vinci Code
I think I was the only person in the world who thought the book, while sort of entertaining, was wildly over-rated. And Tom Hank's hair scares me almost as much as The Omen. But I'll go see it anyway. Because I like non-disaster related controversy and Audrey Tautou.

A Prairie Home Companion
I cannot believe that Lindsay Lohan was cast in this film. That alone nearly ruined the anticipation for me. But my love for Robert Altman, Garrison Keillor and the real PHC will win out.

The Break-Up
I don't really like Jennifer Aniston. Especially after being completely grossed out and disturbed by the ickiness of Rumor Has It. And I'm not sure how I feel about the whole Aniston/Vince Vaughn thing. So, I'm not that excited about this movie. But if the Old 97's are performing in the movie, I'll be there. Probably 3 or 4 times. At least.

Lady in the Water
I'm not sure I trust M. Night Shyamalon anymore. And Paul Giamatti irritates me, I'm sorry. But I'm sure I'll see this one anyway.

Most of the other summer releases I'd be willing to see for free. Hell, I'll even pay good money to see most of them.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Male Gaze

I found this nifty photo essay via Bitch Ph.D. It's definitely worth clicking through, whether you're a man or a woman. It's fascinating look at gender and advertising.

Friday Night Rhett-Sweat

I went to see Rhett Miller in Minneapolis on Friday.

I almost didn't make it there, due to me being a huge idiot. It's a long story, and one I considered telling here in an audioblog Friday, until I realized how stupid it would make me look. Let's just say it involved sitting in the local DMV at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon, 20 minutes before I was supposed to be meeting a friend 90 minutes away. And a mere 3 hours before the doors opened at the club. In almost-tears. It wasn't good.

But, I DID make it to the show. Thank you sweet Jesus, I made it to the show.

As many of you may be aware, I have a huge band-crush on Rhett's other band, The Old 97's. It's actually a full-blown case of obsession, I think. This then translates to a full-blown case of obsession for Rhett himself when he's doing the whole "solo" thing. And really, can anybody blame me? I'm not entirely alone, as there are a lot of Old 97's/Rhett Miller fans around the world. And there's no such thing as "sort of" liking the Old 97's. If you know them, you either don't like them, or you secretly worship them in your basement when no one is looking. There really is no middle ground here, as far as I can tell.

Mostly though, I think the majority of the populace just doesn't know them. Which, I've decided, is A-OK with me. The club was pretty full, but not so packed that it was uncomfortable, or translated into impossible lines for the bar or bathrooms. You can't beat that. Between the Old 97's and Rhett Miller, I think I can safely say that no one keeps me company better, or more often, in my car. And there is absolutely no one I would rather watch live. The shows are long, and high energy. I'm not quite sure how they do it. The crowd usually wears out before they do. It's insane. However they manage it, you definitely get your money's worth.
And I'm worried that if everyone suddenly grows some good taste and catches on, the magic will go away. I'll have to pay a lot more than $13 to see them, and I will probably end up farther than 6 feet away. And if I'm not close enough to actually see individual beads of sweat dripping off of Rhett's hair, then forget it.

I think I'm going to start going to Old 97's/Rhett Miller shows alone, though. Officially making me the kind of lonely, sad bastard that gets referred to in craigslist ads. But twice in a row now, I've gone with people who claim to want to be there, but they don't really know what they're getting into, I think. Even though I DO try to make it clear to them beforehand. Then I feel guilty, because the shows ARE really long. And I guess if you're not that into it, that's NOT such a good thing. Plus, if I stop telling people about them, they can remain relatively obscure, and I can still get close enough to have Rhett-sweat flung on me.

I like this review of his NYC concert from the Hollywood Reporter:
Somehow, major stardom has eluded Rhett Miller, despite having everything it takes: video-friendly good looks, a strong voice and superb songwriting skills that incorporate influences ranging from country to pop to rock. Playing on Thursday at Webster Hall with his new band the Believers (his former group, the Old 97s, is on hiatus) in support of his second solo release, "The Believer," Miller seemed determined to make his bid by delivering a high-energy two-hour set that featured more than two dozen numbers.
And this one from Boston:
Sometimes it's just so right. By the time the show was over Wednesday night, it was one happy-looking rock 'n' roll band onstage at the Paradise. Rhett Miller and his new road troupe, the Believers, performed a near-perfect set of melodic rockers that, despite the band's cool-handed musicianship, were delivered with raw intensity.

With mop-top bobbing and hips swiveling, Miller etched out stunning pop, topped by the blistering encore ''Singular Girl." But for all the seductive physicality on display, it was Miller's tunesmithery and wry one liners that were most memorable.
Is it wrong of me to love them so much I hope they never make it to "major stardom"?

Friday, April 21, 2006


I've pin-pointed exactly what is wrong with the world. Sort of.

I thought that task would be a little more difficult than it was, but it was pretty simple, really. It only took me about 20 minutes.

I was recently at work, and after all the little hellions were asleep in bed, I started channel surfing. For some reason, when I'm getting paid to watch TV, I wind up watching things out of curiosity that I would never in a million years have on my OWN television.

This time it was The Simple Life: Interns. I've seen maybe two episodes of The Simple Life total. I've never watched an episode of the "Interns" season at all, so I'm not quite sure what the premise is. I assume that Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie travel the country (apparently by Greyhound Bus?) and take jobs as interns at various companies, where they work alongside actual hard-working, legitimately talented, interns and proceed to show them up.

The episode didn't start TOO bad. The girls found the family they'd be staying with. The family happened to have two baby orangutans, so a musical montage of shots with the girls and monkeys ensued, only vaguely hinting at beastiality.

But then the girls went to work. From what I could gather, they were supposed to create an ad for a new Burger King burger. They tormented their fellow interns, calling them bitches, and being cruelly derogatory in general. Then they came up with an idea for a tv commercial that was so horribly stupid, it was obviously intentional. Then they got shipped off to a nearby Burger King to do some "market research."

They don Burger King uniforms and commence acting like asses at the drive-thru window. They feign disappointment when no one takes them seriously, citing the fact that it's because they're so recognizable. So, to compensate, they put brown wigs and false teeth on, and begin shrieking into the mirror about how hideous they look.

It was at this point that my shift was over, so I didn't see the rest. I can only assume, based on the fact that Nicole and Paris are the producers of their own show, that they came up with an ad campaign everyone liked better than the REAL interns, and they were once again rewarded and fawned over for being stupid and mean. TA-DA!

I was so disturbed by the whole thing, that it bothered me the entire drive home. Forget nipples and teen sex parties....the FCC should be handing out major fines for THIS type of programming.

Now, I'm not NEW to the "Paris Hilton is pure evil" bandwagon. But I try to avoid this sort of pop culture, so I guess I've been somewhat sheltered. I didn't realize how BAD it was.

WHY would anyone WATCH this?

But we do watch it. We watch and we worship. It really just confirms so many of my suspicions.

Everyone can talk 'til they're blue in the face about how they like and respect nice, intelligent, sane women. But, in reality, what everyone REALLY wants are crazy little bitches.

That's right. I said it:

Crazy. Little. Bitches.

Crazy little bitches who act dumb. Please note that I did not say "crazy little bitches who ARE dumb," because I do not believe for one second that Paris, Jessica/Ashley Simpson, Lindsey Lohan, etc. are actually stupid. They're just smart enough to know that's the way to make the money and get the attention.

Smart women are intimidating. I get that. I don't know why it is, but for some reason "smart women" are a terror akin to poisonous snakes, suicide bombers and Adam Carrolla in a Speedo.

And let's face it....if you had to choose between an intelligent, challenging debate, or the equivalent of Paris Hilton looking you up and down and uttering a breathy "That's hot," I can predict with near certainty what everyone would choose.

And I'm not just talking about the men here (although y'all, in general, ARE a big part of the problem...sorry). Everyone seems to play an important role in the dumbing down of the American female. Men just plain old want them. As women, we want to be them. Or we at least want them to approve of us and be our friends. It's sick, and pervasive. The first time a girl tries playing a dumb, giggling, helpless sycophant, and is positively rewarded with attention for it, she's most likely lost. It's addictive, I guess.

Back in college, for one of my honors courses, we had a guest lecturer on feminist politics and the women's suffrage and women's rights movements. She was fascinating, and brilliant. (Is it any surprise then that she was also one of the most hated faculty members on campus?) At the end of her lecture, she had a Q & A, and I asked her if she thought there would be a woman President in my lifetime. She looked me square in the eye, with a chillingly pained expression, and answered simply "No, I don't. I'm sorry."

I'm beginning to believe her. Any woman who is intelligent, bold and articulate enough for the job, will be so demonized and vilified by the time she gets around to it, that it will be pointless for her to run. We'd probably have a better shot at seeing a Speedo-ed Adam Carolla in the West Wing.

Before everyone starts rationalizing with a chorus of "But,I'm not like that," remember that actions speak louder than words. As I often tell the boys at work when I'm chewing them out for something as a group: "If you aren't doing it, then you know I'm not talking to you." But I think we all need to be diligent in this regard. I, for one, vow to make my life a crazy little bitch free zone. I refuse to be one, I refuse to befriend one, I refuse to reward one, I refuse to give any attention to one, and I definitely refuse to spend any more valuable time allowing them into my home via the magic of television.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I see where you're going with this, Mr. President.

You can't fool me.

First you named John Bolton the UN Ambassador.

Now you've made Joshua Bolten your new Chief of Staff.

Now, one of three things is happening here.

A. Your memory is really bad (duh), and you're pulling a George Foreman by trying to eventually create an entire staff with the same name, so you don't have to remember anything else.

B. You have a backlog of "clever" nicknames already made up for guys named Bolton/Bolten, and you're itching to be able to use them.

And, most frightening:

C. You're trying to wear us down, so that when you eventually name Michael Bolton to the cabinet, you can sneak it by us. We'll be so used to dudes named Bolton, you think we won't notice an extra one.

But I'm on to you. So, you can just forget about THAT.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here!

(Alternately titled "The post I'm going to hell for writing.")

First off....take a look at my new Nalgene:

I have a bigger, normal looking one, but lately I've been feeling the need for a smaller one for short trips, activities, whatnot. So, this made sense. It's the right size, PLUS by buying it, I helped support breast cancer research. Can't beat that.

OK, but now look at it again.

Is it just me, or is this Nalgene vaguely reminiscent of a baby bottle? The shape, the baby pink color scheme, the rounded and notched plastic cap on top.

I can't stop thinking about it. It LOOKS like a baby bottle to me.

Therefore, when I look at it, it seems like there should be a nipple there on top. But there isn't one.

(This next bit is obviously the part I'm going to hell for. I know.) makes me think that this is not the best mental parallel the manufacturers should be drawing for a product that has anything to do with breast cancer treatment. It's an unfortunate metaphor, I think.

Maybe it's just me. I DO have a pretty twisted mind.

Anyway. On to more news in my world of beverage choices.

I tried Coca Cola Blak this week. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar, Blak is the new "Carbonated Fusion Beverage" that Coca Cola is currently marketing. It's like Coke and coffee mixed together. Now, THAT just sounds so gross to me, that I swore I wasn't going to try it.

But there was a 2 for 1 sale on the stuff, and I figured "what harm could it possibly do? It's JUST a beverage." Plus, it came in a nifty little glass bottle that I thought was ADORABLE.

I was thirsty, so I cracked one of the bottles open in the parking lot. When I lifted the cap, a cloud of vapor rose out of the bottle, as if there was dry ice inside. It was like something out of a commercial. I even briefly looked around to see if Adrian Brody was walking around nearby. The whole atmosphere inspired me to have the courage to take a sip.

For a split second, I recall thinking "Hmm. This isn't quite as bad as I thought it would..."

And before my brain could form the word "BE," the whole taste shone through.

At that point I was torn between wanting to throw up on the pavement and wanting to throw myself in front of the first vehicle to come my way.

It is the foulest tasting drink I have ever had. This even beats out the chocolate martini I had in Seattle that made me wish I had never been born.

If you're thinking of buying a bottle of the stuff, save yourself the money. I have a recipe here that will recreate the exact flavor precisely.

  • First, open a can of Coke. Leave it out in a warm place, overnight
  • After you make your morning coffee, save the grounds
  • Pour the grounds on the floor, and stomp on them. The dirtier your shoes are, the better
  • Melt a couple of those cheap nasty caramel candies in the microwave
  • Mix the old warm Coke, the dirty coffee grounds, and the cheap nasty caramel in a glass
  • Stir
  • Enjoy
I couldn't believe how bad it was, so I took it to my mom. I only had her SMELL it, and her judgment was "Oh my god, that's like death in a bottle!"

And, in non-beverage news, I cut the top of my foot on a raspberry branch the other day.

It's not a particularly bad, or deep, scratch. But I think it may have damaged a nerve. I suspect that the nerve in question is the one responsible for telling my brain "there's a spider crawling up your middle toe!" Because now, for some reason, it feels like there's a spider crawling up my middle toe ALL THE TIME. I'm learning to ignore it, but now I worry that when and if the time comes that there is an actual spider crawling up my middle toe, it will be like the boy who cried wolf.

Except that it will be the nerve who cried spider.

There goes the neighborhood.

Well, the Neo-Cons and the pseudo-Christian Right finally have their way.

We're officially back in the dark ages.

How do I know this?

Because I read the following sentence in a real news story today:
LOS ANGELES - A woman is in stable condition with bubonic plague.
Yes. Bubonic plague.

I think I may have actually written that exact sentence once. Maybe in middle school, when history teachers look for new and exciting ways to make you remember things you'd rather forget. Sometimes we had to write newspaper articles about historical events, as if we were actually there witnessing it.

"A woman is in stable condition with bubonic plague" totally sounds like something I would have written.

On the Street again...

The American Street team is having a Spring re-birth. Everybody should check it out.

I'm posting there on Wednesdays now, so everybody should especially check THAT out.

I spent a good chunk of my day today "researching" my post.

Now I feel dirty.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Apocalypse NOW?


LOS ANGELES - The Tomkitten* has arrived.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the high-profile pair dubbed TomKat by the media, had a baby girl Tuesday, said Cruise spokesman Arnold Robinson.

The baby, named Suri, weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 20 inches long, he said.

You KNOW all of those sevens mean something creepy crazy religious-wise. I'll have to consult my copy of "Battlefield Earth" for the answer**.

May God have mercy on all of our souls.

* I sincerely apologize for the use of the phrase "Tomkitten" on this blog, as it will probably induce dry-heaves in much of the population I respect.
** This is obviously a joke. I do not now, nor have I ever, owned a copy of Battlefield Earth.

Funniest Scariest Quote of the Day

"I hear the voices, and I read the front page and I know the speculation," the president said. "But I'm the decider, and I decide what's best."

-George Walker Bush, 43rd President of the United States of America

And what are the voices saying, Mr. President?

Are they telling you to harm yourself or others?

Because there ARE pills for that, nowadays. Knocks 'em right out.

But that's up to you.

You are the decider.

Funny Trades

Once the AP grabbed this story about the blogger with a paper clip and a dream, it's been big news. So you probably already know the story.

Yesterday I was bored and MacDonald's story inspired me to check out my local craigslist barter ads for cheap and easy entertainment. I was not disappointed. (oddly enough, when you have low expectations and you're easily amused, you're NEVER disappointed.)

Advertising for your ??

I can market your business to 7,000-10,000 Minnesota Men every month. This is no bull. Looking to barter for newer computers, guns, boats, fishing electronics, 4 wheelers, etc. Tell me what ya got, and I can tell you more what I can do for you.

I think that this is probably a highly successful prostitute, who is uncharacteristically "outdoors-y." Think Pretty Woman meets the Rod and Gun Club.

This next one is just sad. Poor bastard:

Wedding rings for ???

Hello. I have a set of rings from when we first got married in 1995. Solitare Diamond engagement ring less than a carat (.79?)size 6.5, woman's' comfort fit wedding band with lief jou carved inside (Afrikaans for love you)size 6.5, Mans' comfort fit wedding band size 9. All yellow gold. Paid $1700 in 1995 at Zales (so not top of the line goods...we were rich in love but cash poor). What is worth today and used? I have no idea. Willing to trade for gift cards, cash, or sectional (delivered!). Send your ideas, pictures, etc.
Now, just take a minute to reflect on the headline for this next ad. I think this is particularly poorly worded for an ad in a barter listing. I'll let you follow the link to the ad itself, because I think the headline is a lot funnier all by itself.

1 siameese kitten for my son please....

Then, when I got bored with Minneapolis trades, I branched out into other cities where I thought loads of entertaining crazy people might be lurking.

From NYC:

Barter math tutoring for massage

Professional tutor interested in exchanging math tutoring for massage from female certified massage therapist.
Sounds like the perfect set-up for a bad porn, to me.

I can DJ your exchange for massage

Male looking for female massage Also, looking for some keyboards...controller..
I'm sensing a pattern here....

Photoshoot for Massage

You get pictures. I get a massage. Professional photographer with 14 years experience. I come to you or you come to my studio. I am a mid-30's male, will do whatever kind of photoshoot you need. Let's both save money!
It be super funny if the following guy was willing to trade his massage skills:

cialis wanted - about 10

From New Orleans:

This one is long and weird. So, I'll just post a little of it:

You Need a Real Friend?

I have NO FEES; I make my living BARTERING (or trading). FOR EXAMPLE: For 1 hour of my time I may ask you to bring me a bottle of shampoo --- OR a gallon of milk --- OR to wash my car.

At first, I thought it might be a prostitute too. But it's not. I don't think. Probably. I don't really know what it is, so you'll have to click the above link to read the whole ad.

From Atlanta:

This one is probably my personal favorite:

Beer Fund jar

I recently stopped drinking and have no need for a "Beer Fund" jar. Too many nights of blacking out and finding myself in compromising situations. Like the time I starting drinking in my apartment on Friday and woke up naked in Tijuana with no pants on Tuesday. Will consider trades for anything really. Make me an offer. Anything considered.

From Chicago:

one Rhett Miller concert ticket (4/20) for a lonely dude/dudette

So, my friend bailed on me after I got him a ticket to go see Rhett with me and now I have one extra ticket I need to get rid of. I'd rather trade it than sell, although I know it's kind of an awkward bargain since it's just one ticket and most people don't like going to shows alone. But... I'm hoping that the fact that alt. country usually attracts lonely, sad bastards that maybe this ticket will find a home before the show on Thursday. Offer me anything. You'll never know what I might like.
I think this one's especially funny because I'm going to see Rhett on Friday in Minneapolis. However, I don't consider myself to be a lonely, sad bastard. Plus, Rhett's solo stuff isn't really so alt-country. I think he's considered alt-pop or some other such nonsense.

Basically, what I've learned from this experience is that I should probably become a licensed massage therapist. Because then you can get a whole boatload (or a real boat) of free things that way, in every city imaginable.

Also, I may or may not be a lonely, sad bastard. Jury's still out.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Taxation without representation, indeed.

I mailed my taxes out today. At the last possible minute, for very good reason. I had to mail out checks totaling $2,000, so I put it off as long as I could.

To say that I'm not a happy camper would be putting it lightly.

It wouldn't feel so bad, if I knew that the money would be used for things I believed in or used. But I know that the bulk of the federal money will probably go to fund a war (or warS) that I'm morally opposed to. As for my state money, I'm sure that will go to make sure the roads in southern Wisconsin are flawless, while those of us in the northern part of the state will continue to be largely ignored, and have to make do with what we have. "Well, our potholes aren't too big. Yet."

It's frustrating.

And, though I haven't lived in the state of Louisiana since June of 2004, I'm still going to owe them $37 on my 2005 return. I'm beginning to think that the state of Louisiana will never stop fucking me over.

I'm so irritated, that I briefly considered taking what's left of my box of Vanilla Chai Latte mix, walking to the nearby creek and dumping it in, ceremoniously.

But I'm sure nobody would get it.

Then I'd just be poor AND thirsty.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

More about baseball...

And the blatantly hypocritical nature of media nowadays. Always a fun combination.
A Pennsylvania television station in Wilkes-Barre declined to broadcast a minor league baseball game because it was being played on Good Friday.

WNEP-TV, which traditionally televises the home opener of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, said it wouldn't air Friday night's game against Norfolk at Lackawanna County Stadium.

"Good Friday is not an appropriate day for us to do that," C. Lou Kirchen, the station's president and general manager, said on a recent broadcast.

Instead, the station was to air local news, followed by the tabloid show "Inside Edition," an episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and then "Primetime," featuring an interview with Tom Cruise.

Good Friday is one of the most solemn days on the Christian calendar, when believers mark the crucifixion of Jesus.

Because what couldn't be MORE appropriate for the most solemn day on the Christian calendar than a tabloid show and Tom "I worship a science fiction author, and in my spare time I brainwash young actresses into bearing my children in the creepiest way possible" Cruise?

So, to review:

Wholesome All-American pastimes=BAD.
Pointless celebrity gossip and Scientology propaganda=GOOD.

So sayeth the Lord.

This will do nothing to help my addiction to Twins baseball, I'm afraid.

Yesterday I went to the best baseball game I have EVER seen.

The Twins' second game of a three-game series at home against the Yankees.

This was a perfect set-up for me, because I have an unhealthy kind of love for the Minnesota Twins, an intense hatred for Steinbrenner and the Yankees, and the Metrodome was packed with over 40,000 people just like me.

Thanks to a poor decision to change pitchers, the game was unneccesarily dramatic. Once the Yankees had a 5-4 lead in the 8th, lots of people started leaving the Dome, trying to beat traffic. Those poor folks missed out on the most amazing 9th inning save. I just keep watching it over and over. I can't believe I was lucky enough to be there to witness it.

Nothing I can say about the game is better than this Mike Bauman piece from
MINNEAPOLIS -- There are individual baseball games that are so rich in detail and unexpected twists and turns, not to mention tension and drama, that they serve to remind you all by themselves why so many of us care about the sport in the first place.

One of those games was played at the Metrodome on Saturday night between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. The Twins won, 6-5, with a ninth-inning comeback against Mariano Rivera. This in itself would set the game well apart from the norm, but here it was just one part of what made this game special.

Every reasonable expectation was defeated in this game. The Twins were certain to win. No, the Yanks were certain to win. Finally, it was the Twins again.

But you have to set the scene. It's Saturday night and there are 42,316 people in the Dome, or more than three times what the Twins drew Thursday against Oakland. These people are here for the Twins, but they are also here to see the Yankees.

"It's always fun to play the Yankees," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They bring a certain aura to the ballpark." ...

...So the place is an indoor madhouse, anyway. The Twins have won four straight coming in, they look like contenders once more, and the local population is ready to see its Davids put a hurting on the Bronx Goliaths...

...Santana does not have full command of his changeup or his breaking pitch, and he is, after all, in against the Yankees. The Yanks get two runs back in the fifth, and when Santana allows two baserunners in the seventh, he is pulled for Jesse Crain. The normally reliable Crain gives up three straight hits to the relentless Yankees offense, and by the time this inning is over, New York is up, 5-4....

..."Taking Santana out, that's not one of the favorite things a manager likes to do," Gardenhire said. "But he's basically pitching with a fastball, coming up to the middle of their lineup. And then we come in and give up boom, boom, boom. And then his runs are in and we're behind, and that's a miserable feeling.

"There are ups and downs during the course of any game, but playing those guys over there, it's non-stop from the first inning on, because they're that good of a baseball team and they have that many great players."

And one of the great players is Rivera, the premier closer of this generation. He gets the Yankees out of the eighth with a double-play ball. And then he takes the ball for the ninth. This will be, of course, his 381st save, and he will be just nine away from Dennis Eckersley and fourth place on the all-time list.

But Luis Castillo pounds the ball into the artificial surface just a few feet up the third-base line and legs out an infield single. Joe Mauer follows with a hit-and-run single to left. Castillo beats Hideki Matsui's throw to third, and Mauer moves to second on the throw.

But Rivera takes matters into his own hands again, striking out Rondell White and Torii Hunter. What a save this will be after runners were on second and third with nobody out.

And then on the next offering, first baseman Justin Morneau, his bat broken on the pitch, hits a ball that just barely gets over the outstretched glove of Robinson Cano and into right field. The Twins win. It is not a line drive. It is not a rope. But it is a game-winning hit off Rivera and it beats the Yankees.

"I broke a bat and found a hole," Morneau says with due modesty.

It is not in him to boast about a broken-bat looper, but he understands what this means.

"It's big," Morneau says. "To come back on him, he's one of the best closers in the history of the game, not just right now. He's been in that situation a lot of times and he's usually the one who wins. It was nice to see us shaking hands instead of them shaking hands. I broke a bat and found a hole. Sometimes, that's what you have to do against a guy like that."

It was just a completely unbelievable game to watch. I like the feeling of knowing that a team filled with the best players money can buy can go down to the team from Minnesota once in a while.

And it was nice to see Kirby Puckett's number on the field again too...even posthumously.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Monkeys and Flamingos: Let's just get this over with.

I've been getting an insane number of random visitors to this blog lately. They find themselves here after googling something about monkeys and flamingos. The keyword searches are all along the lines of "why do monkeys hide in flamingos?" or "why do monkeys hide in flamingos legs?"

I have no idea what this means. But at least a dozen people daily are looking for the answer. They come from different countries, and different IP addresses, but they are all in search of the same thing. It's mind boggling.

It just started recently, within the past 2 weeks. Is this some new dirty joke I don't get or something? Does anybody know what's going on here?

It sounds like a dirty joke to me. I mean, I sincerely doubt that this is some sort of scientific question. If a real monkey ran up to a flock of flamingos and tried to hide in their legs, I'm pretty sure they'd fly away.

I don't think monkeys and flamingos even share a habitat, do they?

But now I find myself obsessing over the question, and its cryptic and elusive meaning. And yes, I even find myself googling variations of the question myself. No doubt just adding to the "flamingos and monkeys" googling epidemic. And the fact that I'm writing a post using these keywords isn't going to help matters, I know.

But maybe if one of you random googlers happens to find this, you'll be kind enough to leave me a comment explaining WHY exactly you're googling that phrase. I need answers. It's killing me.

Or maybe someone else can think of a good, and/or funny, answer to the question and post it here.

My friend Amanda and I think the correct answer is "Because monkeys have no sense of self-awareness."

Flamingo legs are really skinny, and monkeys are not. So, it wouldn't make much sense for the monkeys to try to hide behind them. You'd still totally be able to tell there was a monkey there. Duh.

Stupid monkeys.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Signs of Spring

Today I saw an old man golfing, wearing a safari hat and overalls.

How awesome is THAT?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Something about pots and kettles....

I was reading Jeff Gannon's blog. Actually, "reading" isn't quite the right word, as he doesn't technically write anything. Let's just say that my eyes were looking at aggregated links he posts with minimal talent or effort required. Anyhow, my eyes were looking at it because I was bored and felt like posting something before work. So, I googled "Conservative Men Blog" looking for blog-fodder.

Mission Accomplished.

The fact that Gannon's even trying to be a legitimate source of information is amusing to me, beyond belief. Even more amusing is the fact that he thinks people still care. Sorry Jeff, but your scandal is like sooo 2005. We've moved on to bigger and better things. Well....bigger and more terrifyingly awful things, at least.

My very favorite part though, is when Gannon calls Bill Moyers a "Free Press Phony."


Do you think any part of his brain spoke up with a "Um...maybe not the smartest idea you've had today..."?

Jeff Gannon: "Voice of the New Media." Perhaps more true and scarier than anything else you're going to read today.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dear Teach For America Googlers

I get a lot of hits from people randomly searching for the weirdest things. In the past 24-hours, people have been here looking for "why monkeys like to hide between flamingos," "why I hate life," "brokeback mountain dvd wall mart," and "women don't like small penises no matter what.*" But my favorites are the Teach for America Googlers. And it's definitely Teach for America googling season. Young, impressionable idealists all over this country are preparing to join the "illustrious" organization, and are currently googling it to get as much info as possible.

So here's a repost of something that was on the old blog (a cache of which I randomly found again...I thought they were all gone, so that was exciting) specifically for them:

In my previous post, a well-intentioned young man left a comment asking for my opinion about the Teach for America program. He had found a post of mine on Google, and inquired about my offer to prospective TFAers to "kick you in the kidneys to the point of internal bleeding, and poke you with burning sticks," in order to quickly recreate the TFA experience.

I sent him an email, and at the urging of my friend and fellow TFA Survivor, Jen, I shall post the gist of my response here, for future Googlers to find. If I can help even ONE other caring, idealistic soul out there, then my horrible experience will have been worth it.

So, saying that, here it goes:

Dear "Teach for America" Googlers,

I'm writing this in response to questions you may have regarding the reality of the Teach for America experience.

You can probably tell already, but I deeply dislike (one might even say "hate") Teach for America, after my experiences with them. I was assigned to South Louisiana (SLA), and I'm not sure if my experience would have been better had I been placed elsewhere. As it was, I feel that I was misled and out and out lied to by the organization starting immediately with the day of the interview.

To make a long story (and it is a VERY long story) shorter, here's just a short list of my problems with the organization.

  • Throughout the application, acceptance and training process, I was led to believe that the schools TFAers are placed in are aware of and open to the TFA mission and philosophy. For me, this turned out not to be the case. My school administration was openly hostile to me, and my work was quickly relegated to simply fulfilling the status quo.
  • I was also led to believe that TFA would provide continued support, training, and encouragement. I understood that it was my responsibility to seek those things out when I needed to. But each time I did that, I was shut down and my problems were ignored until they were too big for the TFA staffers to deal with.
  • When I joined, I really got the feeling that the TFA staff and administrators truly cared about me as an individual. It didn't take long for me to realize that the corps members are merely a commodity to them, and they will use you up, drain you of everything you have that's of value to them, and then they will leave you hanging.
  • I stayed in TFA for one year. In that time, the other TFAer at my school was forced to resign from her job. I myself was bullied and psychologically abused by my school administration on a daily basis. All of my regional TFA staff were well aware of this situation. I kept them updated almost daily. And they did nothing to help. They did not lift one finger to make the situation better. I have no doubt that I probably sound like bitter, disgruntled failure. I know, because when I researched the program before joining, that's exactly what I thought of every negative account I read. Feel free to discount any of my complaints. I won't say you definitely shouldn't apply...because sometimes I really do wonder if other regional programs do a better job. But, I will offer a few pieces of advice if you do decide to join up. This is the stuff that TFA won't tell you
  • They will offer you a loan for relocation. I'm sure you'll need it, but try your best to be frugal and use as little of it as possible. Owing them that debt forces a lot of corps members to stay in very unpleasant situations.
  • Sign as short of a lease as possible on your housing. You want to be as free as you can be. Don't make too many committments or too many ties you can't break.
  • Never make the mistake of blindly assuming that what the TFA establishment tells you is in your best interest. You have to be diligent about looking out for your own well being, or they will gladly steamroll right over you. By about my 2nd month in, I realized that in any given situation, my Program Director was bullshitting me (pardon the language....TFA insprires a lot of swearing...) about 99% of the time.
  • My staffers were so good at using the techniques of manipulation\ and guilt trips, that I figure they must all be trained in it. Don't let them make you feel bad about yourself. Realize that's a standard game that they play with everyone and forget about it. Every corps member I knew spent a lot of time feeling depressed and even suicidal about the whole process. It's not worth it.
    If you have any more questions, or want to talk more specifics, you can contact me via email.

    I also am in contact with few others who will give you the real deal. Two of them are just finishing up their second year, and are considered "successful" by TFA standards. And you can trust them to tell you the truth about their experiences. I'll be happy to help get you in touch with them.

    Thank you for your interest,
    Flamingo Jones

Please note that I strictly refuse to link to the Teach for America website, for moral reasons. If you don't know what TFA is, you'll have to Google it for your own damn self.
*I'm not touching this topic with a ten-foot pole. Or a two-foot pole, as it were.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'm with you in Rockland, where you're madder than I am...

It's National Poetry month. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but here it is, nevertheless.

There was a book published recently celebrating the 50th anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. It's a lot of reflection on the poem and its social impact. So, I thought I'd offer up my own reflection on the poem here. Because it's my blog, and it's April, and I can.

I can remember specific circumstances surrounding my discovery of lots of literature. I remember stealing a copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy from my father. I don't recall where I was when I started reading Catcher in the Rye, but I remember the classroom I was sitting in when I finished it. For some reason, every Vonnegut book has a particular smell my brain has associated with the first time I read them. Whenever I re-read Slaughterhouse Five, I smell oatmeal. Cat's Cradle is sunscreen. There are others, but I won't bore you.

However, I don't have any particular recollection of the first time I read Howl. I wish I did, but it's not to be. I don't even remember what prompted me to pick it up in the first place. It was probably my father talking about the poem. Or talking about Ginsberg himself. They ran in some of the same circles in San Francisco back in the day. No doubt that was the initial inspiration. I also can't remember when I first read it. It was before I turned 16 certainly, but it could have been any time before that. I was always a precocious reader. I do remember the first time I went to City Lights in San Francisco and spoke to Lawrence Ferlinghetti. To commemorate that, I bought a t-shirt there that had an image of the classic cover of Howl on the front, and the words "starving hysterical naked" on the back. Later that year, I wore the shirt to school and was nearly forced to turn it inside-out when someone narked on me for having a shirt that said "naked" on it. Thankfully, I was able to make the math teacher in question feel stupid for not knowing the poem, and she let it go. Another time, I was wearing the shirt in a music store, and an artsy looking guitar player saw it and quoted the first two lines to me. I fell instantly and completely in love with him. And stayed there for nearly a whole ten minutes.

But, as a result of not remembering when or why I first read the poem, it feels like it's just always been a part of me. I can recite the first 4 or 5 paragraphs as easily as breathing. It's been a while, but I can probably still pull out the first 2 or 3 pages with just a little more effort. It's comforting. It hits me every once in a while, and my inner voice rattles away with I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters....

Then I stop at angelheaded hipsters for a while. I love that phrase. I love to say it, I love to hear it, I love to read it, I love to write it. Angelheaded hipsters. It's perfect. There's no other way to describe the way those words make me feel, other than to say they thrill me. I get an actual physical reaction to it. Once that wears off it's back to angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz...

Contemplating jazz is another phrase that makes me indescribably happy to be alive and literate and capable of hearing and seeing and smelling and tasting and feeling and speaking.

And the whole damn poem is full of treasures like that for me. What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!

Reading or hearing Howl (if you haven't heard a recording of Ginsberg reading Howl himself, you're not a complete person yet) makes me feel the same way you might feel when you see human chromosomes under a serious microscope, or look at a masterpiece up close, or when you watch someone or something take their first breath, or their last. Like it's not all just a coincidence. I'm sure that makes me sound flaky. But I don't much care. Some things are more important to me than looking flaky.

It also makes me wonder what the poem would be like if Ginsberg were in my generation. Madness has gone severely out of style. We're way more into over-medicating.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by apathy, britney, cougars, depilatories, ego, flame, greed, hurricanes, Intel, jenga, kegs, listerine, magazines, nite clubs, Ohio, players, QVC, righteousness, salvation, tranquilizers, uniforms, velcro, worry, X, Yanni,* take your pick. I'd give my left arm for a little bit of madness.

*zoos and zippers have done no wrong here. move along.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Damn Lies

I hate fortune cookies sometimes. They're always so painfully optimistic and vague.

You are very wealthy, but you don't know it.

Or they're not even really fortunes at all....just awkwardly phrased less familiar proverbs.

No real excellence can be separated from right living.

They piss me off. Seriously.

I'd like helpful fortune for once. Something like:

You're going to spill Diet Coke all over yourself at dinner tonight. Don't wear white.

Or at least something specific that confirms my suspicions about life:

Yeah, you do kind of suck. Sorry.

Is that so much to ask?

Stupid fortune cookies. Grrr.

Happy Moz Day, Everyone.

I had a different post planned, but it's going to wait until tomorrow. Or something.

Instead, I'm just going to shamelessly admit how incredibly excited I am that the new Morrissey cd is being released today. Mine is pre-ordered from Amazon, so I am anxiously awaiting the package's arrival tomorrow.

I'm not like a crazy I-love-you-so-much-I-cut-myself kind of Moz fan. I swear. But I do love him. And I might be just the teeniest bit obsessed sometimes. It comes in waves.

Apparently the new cd has a little bit of raunchiness. And as someone who has had any number of pre-pubescent, pubescent and post-pubescent fantasies about the man, this makes me happy. (Trust me. The metaphor of myself yearning for a probably-gay AND celibate man is not lost on me.) Also, according to the SPIN magazine I got today, Morrissey is not so much celibate anymore. He has, admittedly, rediscovered the pleasures of the flesh.

Shouldn't that be news, or something? I mean, if CNN and MSNBC can report the results of American Idol as news without batting an eye, shouldn't THIS make the top story? FAMOUS LONG-TIME CELIBATE GETS ASS.

They should really put me in charge of something important, I think.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

You know what?

I hate Daylight Savings.

The End.