Friday, February 27, 2004

Here's to you, Mrs. Sadowski: Jesus loves you more than you will know
I'm pasting here Anne's telling of her discovery of her girlhood dreams. I love it! It's in the same vein as the Dictator (Fill in the Blank). Thanks for sharing, Ms. Anne!

When I was 9 I had a Ramona Quimby diary. It was elaborate, with spaces for "what I did today" "my best friends" (a spot left frequently, curiously blank...hmm) etc. It also had a "where do you see yourself in 10 years?" space for both writing and artwork. So one night in a flurry of twitterpation over a certain someone, I wrote the following:

"Today was great! Jon and I are very happy. We're working in Montana on a dig, and had pizza for dinner. I love being married, and being a paleontologist. I have lots of friends, too."

Next to the entry was a drawing of me clutching an Allosaurus bone (how do I know it was an Allosaurus? I provided handy and useful labels in my chef d'oeuvre) in my right hand. Why my right? Because my left was incapacitated by the ENORMOUS diamond ring I had drawn onto it. Really it was more of a ring-stand than a useful appendage anymore.

The capstone to the entry was how I ended it:

"Good night Diary! Love, Anne D. Sadowski"

So apparently I've been paying boys excessive amounts of attention ever since my life was measured in SINGLE DIGITS. Oy.

PS--Jon Sadowski, if you're reading this, call me!

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Flawless Tactic
Apparently Mel Gibson is calling critics of his movie "the dupes of Satan."
I love that shtick: anytime anyone dares to criticize anything in my life from now on, I will call them out as part of Satan's army.
Dictator ____________
Grace suggested that I keep track of my weekly imaginary husbands (the site does need to live up to his name), so I'll start doing so. A little background for those who don't know it:

Last month I was telling her about this article that I had read in the Atlantic Monthly about Saddam Hussein (great article, btw) and his little idiosyncracies as a dictator. For instance, he would write these melodramatic love story plays and make people perform them on the one Iraqi television station. Don't quote me on that, but it was something of that ilk. That kind of amused me. Anyway, as I was talking to Grace I concluded that if I were a dictator, I would do something up that alley. I wouldn't be interested in conquering other countries, or building up my wealth or other dictator hoohah, but I would be interested in all the fantasies of a typical 13 year old girl. I would hold concerts and force people come to see me sing and dance. I would force all of the weekly entertainment magazines focus their stories on me every week. And, most importantly, I would force the pinup boy of the moment to betroth me.

Ah, but my fancy is fickle and fleeting, so you would know who I'm currently taken with by what my last name has become. This week, I am Dictator Gyllenhaal.

The people of my land would probably be poor and suffering from extraordinarily bad infrastructures, but they would be the most pop culturally educated in all of the world.

Actually, it would only be a matter of time before I would be overthrown in a coup, so I better hurry up and marry and divorce all of these guys while I have the power. Stay tuned for next week's pick. Hint: Dirty Dancing Havanna Nights.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

From Today's The Onion

Transformer Refuses To Change Back
Into Volkswagen

CYBOTRON—Following an intense battle with Megatron and his evil Decepticons Monday, former robot-in-disguise Bumblebee refused to revert to his natural state as a yellow Volkswagen Beetle. "I hid my existence in this world by taking the form of a vehicle! I revealed my true nature when I was called upon to protect earth!" said Bumblebee, a member of Optimus Prime's heroic Autobots force. "I refuse to change back into a humiliating bubble-shaped compact car!" Bumblebee added that Megatron arrived on earth with one goal: Destruction!
Oddly Addictive
Check out this site that Steve sent me (maybe because his kids watch?). They're like teletubbies, only odder. Play around and see if you can get them to dance. I find their shapes pleasing.

Steve's description of the teletubbies is the best:

Yes, I've watched more than a few 'tubbies episodes, more than a few times each. They're always losing stuff or eating burnt pancakes ("Tubby Toast") or slurping pink goo ("Tubby Custard," pronounced more like "Tubby Tussah").
Justly Married
Have you guys seen these photos of people who recently got married in San Francisco? It's a neat site/sight, and totally gives you chills seeing people so genuinely happy to finally get hitched.
Follow that blouse!
This is an interesting story about the journey of a donated shirt from the back of someone's closet in England to its final destination in Chipata, Zambia. I suppose I especially like this story since it involves Zambia. (from tmn)'s Word of the Day -
Perhaps this should have been the name of the blog

flibbertigibbet \FLIB-ur-tee-jib-it\, noun:
A silly, flighty, or scatterbrained person, especially a pert
young woman with such qualities.

Flibbertigibbet is from Middle English flipergebet, which is
probably an imitation of the sound of meaningless chatter.

Trivia: Flibbertigibbet originally meant a gossip or
chatterbox, but it soon took on the idea of a light-minded or
frivolous person. Flibbertigibbet was also the name of a
demon; it appears in a list of 40 fiends in a book by Samuel
Harsnet and also in Shakespeare:

This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at
curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and
the pin, squints the eye, and makes the hare-lip; mildews
the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of earth.
--King Lear, iii. 4.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

ANTM Update
So the models have to learn choreography, now they have to dance in the video of Tyra's DEBUT video. Oh man, so great. I love that this show is like a finishing school. The winner of the dance contest went out to dinner with ODB. The absurdity never ends!

Further update - Sarah got kicked out. That sucks! She was one of my favorites. Luckily, I will be consoled by the world premiere of Tyra's new video.
Did anyone else sign up for that up for payment from CD companies over a trust lawsuit way back in 2001? I signed up, and wasn't certain what were the specifics of the lawsuit (as is apparent), and I am happy to report that I for paid today! I got a check for $13.86 and a letter from the Attorney General of Virginia. Thank you, Jerry Kilgore.
Psycho Killer
Oh man, Grace wrote this morning, and told a story of something that happened over the weekend that tickles me to no end. With her permission, I'm posting it to the blog. A little background...Grace was back in DC this weekend to visit her dad's newly acquired puppy. Here's the story:

Yeah, I saw the puppy on Sunday, and my dad's giving him to some lady this week. The shady thing about her is that her last dog ran away...isn't that a bad sign? On a side note, my dad said the strangest thing to me as he drove me to the station: "You really like that puppy. You know, serial killers don't like animals, they're cruel." Perplexed, I asked him where that came from. He then said he was concerned about me because when I was home over Christmas I was looking at websites on serial killers and shared my fascination with them to him. He was relieved to see that I took to the puppy and assured me (himself), "People who like animals are good people." ...Dude, my dad thought that I had the potential to be a serial killer?

This reminds me of the time that my mom told me that she was concerned that I would be recruited by a cult. Awesome.
Top 100 Sports Moments on the Simpsons
I'm going to forego my aversion to sports, and include this link (from, no less!) because it's pretty amusing. This is apparently only the first 25, counting down to number one.

75. Not the Yankees? With the town caught in a rabid anti-immigration movement, Apu feels obliged to prove his love for America by wearing a cowboy hat and a baseball jersey. "What do you say we take a relaxed attitude toward work and watch the baseball match? The N.Y. Mets are my favorite squadron," he says to a customer, pronouncing N.Y. as "nye."

(From Pop Culture Junk Mail)
General Weirdness
Thanks Dad for this link to a website full of odd, short films. Kind of Lynchian, maybe.
He's still not in on the joke, but at least he's getting paid.
William Hung got offered a $25,000 record contract. He plans to title it "White Dragon."
Congratulations... Zack who got matched at Harvard! You da man.
Andy Rooney Cracking Me Up
You DC folks may have seen this, but there was a little tidbit in this morning's Washington Post Express that made me chuckle out loud on the metro (for you non-DC folks, the Express is the free ad-laden, news-lite daily distributed outside metro stations in the's a decent diversion and comes with a crossword).

The phone lines and email lines at CBS were set aflame after an Andy Rooney commentary on "60 Minutes" Sunday night. Referring to an earlier statement by Pat Robertson that God told him President Bush would be re-elected in a "blowout," Rooney said God had spoken to him as well. "I wish you'd tell your viewers that both Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson strike me as wackos," Rooney said God said.


Monday, February 23, 2004

Wishful Thinking
Here's an editorial in The Nation pleading with Nader not to run back in late January.
For a small girl, Barbara sure has got a big crush...
Last night I went to see Fountains of Wayne for the third time at the 9:30 club. As usual, they put on a tight, flawless concert that offered a nice selection of their catalog. This band puts together such perfect power pop confections that I have difficulty articulating my love for them. I'm happy that they got some recognition to be nominated as Best New Band from the Grammies, but they've been around since at least 1996, and the Grammies are sort of bobo anyway. Anyway, their concerts are so high energy that I bounce around and sing and am generally annoying and then look all around me to see people standing there, stoic and not moving. How is that possible at a concert, especially one where you're surrounded by such delicious beats?

I was alarmed to see so many little kids there last night, though, but I guess that's what happens when a single gets so much radio play and it's a little gimmicky like "Stacy's Mom" is. I need to adjust to the fact that this band has moved from being my beloved indie little secret to being America's teenage population's Flava of the Moment.

It was a big music weekend in that Saturday night we went to the State Theater to see Cindy's band play. Very much fun, although now I am convinced that the State Theater bartender shortchanged me. I thought I had given him a $20 and he told me that I gave him a $10. Later I backtracked my expenditures, and there is no way I gave that dude a $10. Jerk.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Au Bon Pain - One of Dante's Layers of Hell?
To the cranky Au Bon Pain manager who snapped at me for volunteering too late that my co-worker who was behind me was also ordering at least one latte - There really is no need to be rude, I was only trying to help after I realized that noone else was going to come and help you work the coffee counter, and I saw that after ten minutes you were halfway through your task, and I thought that it might make it easier for you. Granted, I probably should have minded my own business, but after working customer service at a busy ice cream place for over three years in college, I know how it sometimes helps to double up orders, even if you're halfway through a task. Your dirty look and rude response was not necessary. I'm sure under normal, non-coffee special, not-having-to-work-behind-the-coffee-counter-that's-usually-empty circumstances you have your moments of kindness, but right then, sir, you were an asshole.

To the cranky Au Bon Pain clerk who I told I had two lattes TWICE (the second time after you mumbled something to me) who then charged me for a coffee and a latte and then got all huffy because you had to void the order and then put it in right in order to give me the deal - normally you are perfectly nice. I don't know what happened to you today, but you definitely weren't perfectly nice.

To the man behind me in line who sighed loudly and shifted restlessly when we had to wait 30 seconds for someone to fetch the VOID card in order to fix the order - I hope waiting that extra 30 seconds to purchase your shortbread cookie wasn't too big a bother for you. To quote Dido, I just want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life.

To the Au Bon Pain corporation - perhaps you should rethink this two-for-one special coffee deal you have through the month of February? While I'm enjoying this $1.50 latte greatly, your employees' tempers seem to be suffering the worse for it.
Great Articles
I remember when I read this article last year on the a couple of women in a low income neighborhood in Oklahoma and the concept of marriage in their lives. The older woman has a son named Fella who totally captures your heart. I stayed up will 1 in the morning reading this article and was hook, line, and sinker pulled into the these women's stories. I hope that one of the wealthy New Yorker readers made it their job to fund Fella's education after this article came out.
Candy Hearts
We have a bowl of candy hearts sitting in our kitchen at work. Since there are so few of us on this floor, and no real non-chocolate candy eaters, I predict that these hearts will be sitting there for a long, long time so that they eventually congeal into one sugary, love-lorn mess.

And since it's been a week since Valentine's day, now is the time to launch into one of my favorite all time stories that does not involve a three hundred pound tumor. My friends, you have all been coerced into listening to me attempt to hack my way through this story probably numerous times, and here I go again. This time, though, you have the ability to skip it. Usually, I can't make it through a telling of this without laughing and ruining its effect, but now I have the advantage of just typing it.

Here goes:

My freshman year in high school, I had one girl in my dorm named Beth, who was a very nice girl from Florida. She was kind, all rounded edges, and pretty much as gentle as you can get. Anyway, back in 1991, it was Valentine's Day time and I had gone with Beth to check our mail in the student mailbox area (remember, it's boarding school). Anyway, Beth pulled a large red card out of her mailbox, slit it open, glanced at it, and immediately shoved it between her books. The rash treatment of what must have been a Valentine's Day card sparked my interest, and I inquired about it. Perhaps there was a 14 year old back home in Florida that none of us knew about? Beth pooh-poohed it, and tried to direct my attention to something else--should we get sherbet from upstairs?--but my nose for gossip had been whetted and I was like a hunting dog to the duck.

Finally, after much nagging, Beth sighed and relented. Holding the card just out of reach, she explained that her Russian grandfather couldn't read English, but he insisted on sending his grandkids cards for every holiday. He got pleasure of sorting through the card racks in the local drugstore and picking a card that looked just right.

She gave me the envelope, I snatched the card out, to see two smiling hearts on the cover. Pretty innocuous, right? But inside the card (and this is where I lose it in my verbal delivery) it read:

Violets are blue
Roses are thorny
When I think of you
It makes me horny.

Blah! The poor misguided grandfather, who just wanted to give his beloved granddaughter a sweet card of Valentine's Day.

After further questioning, though, it turned out that her grandfather had a running theme of sending wildly inappropriate cards. Apparently, he liked to send Beth's older 17-year old brother beefcake cards. The one for his birthday featured a lone shirtless man on the cover, and inside it only read: "Thinking of you." Now, I know that the guy couldn't read English, but how did he think a shirtless man would be appropriate on a card for his teenage grandson? Maybe he thought the guy was a superhero type or something.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

A Moment of Truth
I caught myself singing under my breath that Jessica Simpson song that includes something about t-shirts. The fact that I don't even know the words and had heard the song a total of one time did not stop me from singing it and subtlely dancing to it while I stood on the metro platform waiting for my train this morning. We all know that my self-respect is out the door anyway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Never Be Lonely Again
Ladies, there are options. This man is looking someone to bear his children. You can even live with him! (via tmn)
I Need some Pitt, ASAP
How can I thank Grace enough? She mailed me the Michael Pitt Time Out New York magazine via USPS priority mail. Priority indeed. The cover picture is quite impressive, as he is shirtless in his plump-lipped glory. Grace urged me to read the article to see just how dense the guy is, but I'm holding off for the moment.
Ball-less Nation
Big thanks to Suzi who sent this most excellent article about former Taiwanese President, Lee Teng-hui, and his feelings on Japan's treatment of China:

The former president said the country's moves to placate Beijing go against traditional samurai values and highlight its weakness.

Addendum: I just found out that Suzi's boyfriend, Tom, was the man who tracked down this fabulous article. Major shout out to him!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Mo Kin Sings
Website of the Year
For the love of all that is good and holy, please visit this web site to see Mo Kin, the three year old North Korean xylophone prodigy in action.
For Old Times Sake
This has still got to be one of my favorite online articles that ribs the Axis of Evil.

Beijing ( — Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil," Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil," which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of his State of the Union address.

Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new axis as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are Just as Evil... in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "Everybody knows we're the best evils... best at being evil... we're the best."

Triumph the Insult Dog pissed off Canada recently.
William Hung Returns!
I haven't been watching "American Idol" this season, but apparently William Hung, of the "She Bangs" fame, will be making a return. I'm still not sure if this guy is in on the joke. Marv told me that he saw an interview with him, and someone asked him if he was now being asked to perform places. Dead seriously, William said something about how he's only been asked to do small venues at this point, clearly hoping that his options will open up with time. I'm going to be responding the same way, after I flex my pipes at Des and Bryan's weddings (still practicing "I'll Make Love to You," don't worry). Des mentioned that they'll basically have to pry the microphone out of my hands during the ceremony and reception. She said it jokingly, but little does she now that is so going to be the case.

Monday, February 16, 2004

"The Littlest Groom" - On FOX!
I can't turn away from the total traffic accident that is The Littlest Groom. WHO in the hell came up with this idea, and who agreed to participate. All I can say is that I hope that they are paid well. You know, in a very twisted way, this show may actually be a good thing in that it might take away the alien quality of little people for the reality television viewing American. Maybe people will learn that little people can be as self-involved as anyone else. What kills me is that this guy is 23 and he's offering up his hand in marriage...on FOX.
Stupid College Republicans.
By the way, I tried to meet Annie for coffee at this place in Clarendon (same place outside of which I slipped on ice a few weeks back, actually), and the place was completely chaotic. I appreciate that people are patronizing an independent place like that with their business, but I was astounded. This particular place has four huge rooms with sofas, tables, and other trappings for sitting down with your coffee and a friend, and everything was overrun. The doors kept on opening with people coming in, and I didn't see a soul leaving the entire time that I was there. I got there before Annie did, and I ran across a couple of seats that were empty and immediately squatted. Unfortunately, I was sitting next to a group of teenagers. I couldn't help but listen to them drone a bit. These weren't the preps of their school, but I would guess maybe they were part of their drama department, or fancied themselves as the "alternative" kids in their schools. They had sketch books, and used overly precocious 50 cent words. Their self-consciousness was palpable. They also had like one drink each, that they had obviously been nursing since the morning as their cups were dried and caked. Man, teenagers are annoying.
Manly Vehicles
Oh man, there are so many possibilities with these plastic testicles for one's truck. I wish that I could have gotten some of my two-toned hoopty back when it was still in my possession. It would have been a nice balance for the gold bumper!

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Valentine's Day Weekend
Well, after a roller coaster of a week, I'm feeling muuuch better and back to normal. Valentine's Day yesterday was not tough to handle in the least. Rather, it offered a lot of activities and fun. Last night, though, I drank one too many vodka tonics (let's just say that this is not a South Beach weekend). I got myself together at about 2 to head home on the metro. My trip involves one transfer, which is always a bummer when you're traveling on the off, off hours. Since the last trains leave their stations at about three, I thought that I would catch the second to last train or something. I didn't have to wait for the first train too long (only 6 minutes, awesome!), but as soon as we all loaded on there, the train sat on the platform for something like 25 minutes. Brutal.

I was sitting close to a lonesome, harmless, probably drunk guy who cornered me into a conversation. He wore a bright red shirt, suspenders, and a ski cap. Yeah, I don't know. He was nice enough, though. Luckily, he got off before I did, so there was no awkward evasion that had to be done.

(As an aside, this guy was telling me that he had a first date with a woman tonight. You have to be crazy to be setting up your first date with someone on Valentine's day, dude. I'm guessing that his date didn't go so great if he was sitting on the train at 2 in the morning, drunk and all alone.)

The trains kept on stopping at various stations for long amounts of time. So, a trip that would usually take me somewhere around 40 minutes if the trains are running at a reasonable pace took me 1 hour and 45 minutes. I got home at 3:45. what is that about?

Needless to say, I'm feeling kind of fuzzy today and hydrating myself as much as possible.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Student Wisdom in time for Valentine's Day
I was cleaning out my files and found a document of one of my Chinese student's essays. I know that I resent it to some lucky people relatively recently, but thought I would post it just for kicks. I love how courtly it is. Ladies and Gentleman, please pay careful attention to #4:

To win over the opposite sex, it means to be the only one in his or her
heart. So, it is important to attain attraction and a good impression of the
opposite sex.

Now, assuming you as a young boy, I will give you several approaches to gain
the graces of some girl. But I would claim that they are just a suggestion,
which means they cannot assure that you will win over a girl even if you
perform them quite well.

1. EXPRESS CARE. All girls need another's care and consideration. Especially
on some trifles, it is easier to make her feel good. For example, it is
plumb good to lend her a scarf in winter.

2. STRIVE FOR BEING WITH HER ALONE. Whatever the time, you had better strive
for the opportunity to live with her alone. In that situation, you can give
her a special impression directly and effectively.

3. BE AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE. In general, a girl will pay attention to the boy
beside her. Therefore, you must sit as close to her as possible as you can
at every party, which would give you a better opportunity to show yourself

4. ALLURE WITH FOOD. Girls are always interested in some food with excellent
and exceptional appearance. So it is a good way to prepare a little of this
kind of food usually.

5. MAKE A FORTUNE-TELLING. All girls are curious to anything like
divination. So, it is easier for you to approach her if you are good at one
or two things about that.

6. BORROW SOMETHING MUTUALLY. The proverb is to say: "Look at the thing and
think of the person." She must think of you if she has something from you.
Therefore, it can strengthen the impression by borrowing something mutually,
such as book, pen, rubber. [he means eraser here, for any of you not
familiar with british english..ed.]

7. STAND BY HER SIDE. It is easy to see that people are divided into two
groups: men and women, just as pupils. She must like you more if you perform
that you stand back from women.

8. GIVE A SMILE. Give her a cordial smile when you see her. If she feels
good when with you, she will get a memory worthy of an aftertaste.

9. DRAW A PROFILE OF HER. It is the simplest way to curry favor with her.
The more lovable the figure, the better the effect. So, take some measures
to learn some skills about this from now on.

10. PERFORM INTIMATELY. You can express your care about her by some little
actions, like to whisk the dust off her clothes or to deliver a handkerchief
timely. But be careful, never be blatant, untimely, or she may refuse you
and feel disgusted.

Can You Spot the Phoney?
Take this BBC test to see if you can distinguish fake smiles from real smiles. The test has 20 questions, so takes a little bit of time. I got 16/20--80%. Not too shabby; it was a challenging test. (via tmn)
Josh Won!
I went to bed early last night, but found out this morning that Josh, the lovable Newfoundland won Best in Show! I am overcome with my love and admiration for the canine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Why I Love "America's Next Top Model"
It's the first 15 minutes and the women are meeting with a "personality coach." He's coaching them on charisma. That is so hilarious. The women had to tell a story about themselves to the group. one girl had to tell everyone else about how her father would disown her if he knew that she was on the show, and started sobbing. The coach was then like: "that's where charisma comes from."

This show is on UPN on Tuesdays. You must check it out.
Apparently the dude who set his brother's pants on fire three times (see link from before) goes by the nickname "Smurf." Awesome! Steve tried to send me the link to the WI court records, but I couldn't get in. I'll update if I can get in there.

In other news, I got my porcelain crown and it fits like dream. I keep on feeling it with my tongue, and I can't even tell that it isn't a toof. I am going to get hit with the bill later on, so we'll see how much that sucks.

In even more news, I had dinner with Bronwyn tonight at my favorite restaurant--Afghan restaurant! I could not be strong, surrounded by the fresh nan and the glorious Quabili pulau. I fell off the wagon tonight and had my share of carbs. It was great, and I'm back again tomorrow, but I feel guilty and had to confess.

I went and voted today at a very empty gymnasium. I just saw the results and Kerry cleaned up VA by 51%. Dean didn't even show up! He got grouped with the "Others." Maybe it's because he's focusing his attentions on WI right now. I wonder if Smurf will vote for him?

But the most important thing right now is that "America's Top Model" is about the begin. My favorite time of the week.
Quotes from either the President of the United States, George W. Bush, or Senator/Chancellor/Emporer Palpatine from the Star Wars movies. (via tmn)

It's Dog Show Time!
Last night the Westminster Dog Show was on, and I was treated to the working dog category as the very first one! I was pleased to see that my favorite contestant from last year--Josh, the Newfoundland--was back and won the best in his group! (Go, Josh.)

I tortured Marv, and made him watch the toy group, which just cracks me up. All of those little dogs whose eyes are all googly and rest almost below their mouths. They look like little gargoyles. The one that slayed me the most was the Japanese chin--they look like ugly little mops. Marv was particularly horrified by the Chinese Crested, which they shave down so it looks like an anorexic My Little Pony. I threatened to put together a collage for him of the Chinese Crested, the Japanese Chin, and the Standard Poodle.

Besides the Newfie, my hands down favorite dog has got to be the French Bulldog. The Westminster site has this to say about the breed:

The French Bulldog is a small, compact, heavy-boned and short-haired dog. Its most distinctive features are the 'bat' ears and a short face with undershot jaw giving it a sweet but pugnacious expression...Though some love to hunt down small prey, some retrieve, some are vocal watchdogs, the breed is known mainly as a friendly, loving clown whose raison d'ĂȘtre is to be adored.

Watch the dog show tonight (Tuesday), as the uncle of Des and Bryan's future golden retreiver puppy will be competing!

Monday, February 09, 2004

Howard Kurtz's media notes in today's Washington Post discusses how the Pentagon's news clip service is dropping any stories that criticize Rumsfeld or the military. That's nice:

Senior Pentagon managers have repeatedly ordered the department's widely read clipping service to exclude articles critical of the military and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to officials familiar with the practice.

Staffers at the Early Bird, whose service is devoured by Pentagon brass, lawmakers, journalists and military personnel around the world, were told to eliminate all newsmagazine articles last October -- four days after the publication of a Newsweek cover story on Iraq that included "Rummy's New Headaches" and a Time piece titled "Is Rumsfeld Losing His Mojo?"

"It comes down to the fact that they don't like these magazine articles," said a Pentagon official who declined to be identified and believes the Early Bird should not "censor" what is reported by major news organizations. The argument made against the offending articles, the official said, is that they are dated or inaccurate.

But the Pentagon press office, which oversees the Early Bird, has waived the magazine ban for some articles that senior managers deem positive. These have included the Time package on the American soldier as Person of the Year (which included a Rumsfeld interview) and two U.S. News & World Report pieces last week -- one on civilian efforts in Iraq and an officer's column defending the ban on coverage of deceased soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base.

I stumbled upon this article about a college student who wears pajamas to class most days, and thought of two things.

1.) During my high school years, I attended a boarding school in Conneticut, and we had a dress code for all class days and meals. Mostly, the administration hammered this out but not allowing blue jeans in class. We were allowed to wear any other color jean (as was the style at the time), but nothing too casual. Basically, we were a walking student body of "business casual." Anyway, the rules did NOT specifically disallow pajamas, so many students, including myself, would wear pajamas to class in the mornings. These were not light cotton jobbies that might be taken for palazzo pants: these were the real-deal-LLbean-red-flannel-plaid pajama pants that you might match with the always dependable J.Crew rollneck sweater (it was a prep school, after all). I would probably wear my pajama pants at least a couple days out of five. So many people wore them that I didn't think anything of it. I bet it drove the administration crazy.

2.) When we visited Shanghai, back in my time in China, it was the fashion for people to traipse around during the day in their light cotton pajamas. People would wear them lounging in tea shops, standing outside chatting with friends, or while they ran errands during the day. I think it may have been more among the older set, as my impression is that the younger-Shanghaiese are pretty fashion forward. I love the light-cotton pj style, though, because you really can't come up with a better outfit to wear in sweltering humidity. Yay for practicality!
I finished Alan Moore's From Hell last night. I had a hard time sticking to it because it was such an intense downer, and also so detailed that it put too much pressure on my feeble, little mind. I actually spent most of the behemoth tome only having a vague idea as to what was going on, since all of the drawings were in black and white and frankly, everyone looked like everyone else. I only discovered the Appendixes at the end of it all, which is too bad. Moore went page by page, explaining everything. It's incredible how much he researched for this book! I actually ended up skipping a lot of his explanations because he started going into the ins and outs of Masonry and all of that hoo-ha, and it bores me. Whenever I glanced at the picture of Alan Moore that they used for the back of the book, it cracked me up. He looks like a sleepy Charles Manson.

I'm kind of puzzled as to how the movie, "From Hell" came to be. The basic storyline is the same, but I would say 40% of the story is different. Also, I can't imagine someone reading the graphic novel and thinking: "This would make an *awesome* movie. Get someone on the phone."

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Small Favors
It seems to be the month of car accidents. Last week, James and his wife, Nathalie, were in a car accident that totaled their car but left them okay, albeit shaken, and last night my roommate, Matt, and his girlfriend, Lindsay, had the same thing happen to them.

Apparently, they were driving on Route 50, waiting to make a left turn when a drunk driver plowed right into them. They were both okay, but Lindsay's car started leaking gas, so they managed to get out as soon as they could. Lindsay's car was a SUV, and the back end was totaled. They said that if they had been driving Matt's car, which is a smaller sporty car, they would have been screwed. The guy came over and was smoking a cigarette, and they tried to shew him away since there were gas fumes all over the place. To sum up, the guy was arrested for DUI and Matt and Lindsay are fine. Still, it's an incredibly scary, lucky thing. If one thing was different (they had taken Matt's car, the traffic in the opposite direction was still thick), things could have been alot worse. Thankfully, everything is okay.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Perhaps I shouldn't be so proud of this...
The other night, Anne asked me if I had heard about the two-headed baby born in Puerto Rico. I was flummoxed, because how in the world had I not heard about this? This is me, who revels in television programming such as FOX's "Top 100 Things Removed from the Human Body," and relishes retelling all of the dripping details to whomever is so unfortunate to cross my path! Anne was kind of surprised as well. The next day, she righted that error and sent me a CNN article link about it. Today, I received a link to a Yahoo article about this from my brother, complete with a slide show (although, it was a sad thing because the operation on the baby was not successful).

To summarize, I received two separate emails from people close to me telling me that they thought of me when they saw an article about a two-headed baby. This is what I have made of myself.
Whirlwind Richmond
I caught a ride with Des and Bryan to Richmond last night. Des and Bry went to visit Bryan's sister and I went to visit my friend and old roommate, Emily. We got into town at 9 last night, and left this morning at 12 noon. It was a nice little jaunt. While Des and Bryan wrassled with the Richmond nightlife, I hung in with Emily, Dave, and Emily's brother, Matt, to play the most recent version of Trivial Pursuit. The nice thing about this version is that all of the entertainment category questions are from the last five years, and to put it mildly, I cleaned up in that category. Matt and I were a team, and our strategy was to bounce from pink slot to pink slot and make our way across the board. I think we missed one pink question out of 20, and that was because the question was about a book that had to do more with history than with what Britney wore to the Grammies. My subscription to Entertainment Weekly has finally paid off! Blue "People and Places" questions on US geography would leave me slack jawed, and don't even start with the "Sports and Leisure" category, but "Arts and Entertainment" and I had a Zen thing going: I was one with that category. It was an evening to remember.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Eddie Furlong Sings
I had seen this web site a couple of years ago and it still is in my heart. I managed to track it down finally today. Please, please look at the photos and scroll down to listen to "When the Sun Goes Down." This is so, so great.
More Corey
Steve sent me the link to Corey Feldman's official site ( If you press the link for "Messages from Corey," you can see who he supports for president!
Salad of Champions
Through the SBD, I have had daily opportunities to experiment with the making of salads, and I think that I have perfected my recipe.

1 serving of fresh spinach
1 half chopped cucumber
1 tsp parmesan cheese
1/4 fresh avocado
1 chicken breast, grilled and chopped
1 tsp of sunflower seeds
light coating of balsamic vinegar dressing

This is amazing. Maybe too many bad fats to have all the time, but you gotta live! Plus, I'm trying to ignore the pastries sitting in our kitchen at work.
License to Jive
Oh man: check out the clip of Corey Feldman "singing" in 1993. I dig his moves the most!
Addendum to previous Michael Pitt adulation:
Gracie informed me that Mr. Pitt is currently on the cover of TimeOut New York and apparently "not the sharpest knife in the drawer." She also sent me this link, which is awesome and includes one of his deep, deep thoughts. (Thank you, Ms. Grace!)

Thursday, February 05, 2004

My Entertainment Weekly frightened me this morning while I was on the metro. I opened the large inside ad for the upcoming "Sopranos" season, and immediately their theme song came on, loud and clear. Closed it quickly: stopped. Opened it: started again. HOW much money did they spend on those things?
In this week's New Yorker, there's a big old picture of Michael Pitt beside their review of Bertolucci's movie, "The Dreamers." Michael Pitt was also Tommy Gnosis (of the bad hair) in the wonderful "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," and the burnout guy in the scary, pervy "Bully." He definitely rocked those low-slung silver rock star pants at the end of "Hedwig." Anyway, I once would have described him as a poor man's Leonardo DiCaprio (since they look alarmingly alike), but now I would amend that and say that he's a riskier, more interesting Leonardo DiCaprio. He's totally dreamy in that creepy kind of way. You could have a short-lived relationship with the man, but anything beyond that, he would probably get all intense and freak you the hell out. (as an aside, I just IMDBed him, and he was born in 1981. Five years my junior--that must mean he was like 19 when he did "Hedwig.")
I already sent this link to people a few weeks ago, when the story came out, but the tale sticks with me still. I LOVE it. I love the guy set his brother on fire, and was all annoyed when his brother tried to pat out the flames:

According to Racine County Circuit Court records, Carey and his brother, Joshua Cook, were staying with Carey's girlfriend. Carey came home and started yelling at Cook, and accused Cook of sleeping with his girlfriend. The more Cook denied it, the more agitated Carey became.

"Hold on a sec, you think I'm playing with you?" Carey asked Cook just before he grabbed a bottle of lighter fluid, according to court records. "I'll kill you. I done beat three murder trials already, and I'll kill you, too."

Carey squirted the lighter fluid onto Cook's pants.

"Tell me, tell me you think I'm playing," Carey said. He lit Cook's pants on fire.

The first two times, Cook patted out the fire on his pants, according to court records. Carey told him not to "put out my fire," and the third time Cook hesitated. When he did try to pat out the fire, it was too late.

I like Margaret Cho's blog: she slays me, but she is also incredibly astute. In one particular entry about ignorance (or "ignance," as she calls it), she as an aside brings up her theory about relationships of the "dancing candlestick variety":

For example, "We cannot go see the fireworks display there on the Fourth of July because that place is 70% Mexican" and he was not kidding, that it was not an ironic twist on pie charts and race, that it was actually a 100% racist statement. made the relationship one of the dancing candle variety (one earlier discussed as the "Beauty and the Beast" phenomenon, when one partner is outrageously better than the other, so much so it leaves the outside observer to beg the question, "Where the dancing candle at?").
Welcome back to DC, Clarence!
I had dinner at M&S Grill with Clarence and Jonathan last night where I resisted ordering the $1.95 (!!) happy hour burger, but I did abscond with some of Clarence's generous portion of fries and had two glasses of Shiraz. (I did feel kind of terrible later that night, so I paid for it in guilt and a churning stomach.) Clarence and I agreed that we would take beginners Spanish together at USDA this spring or summer. That's going to be perfect, in that when I finally run into Gael Garcia Bernal, I'll be able to speak his language, paving the way to our imminent lifelong, sometime tumultuous, but always exciting, relationship.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

This whole WSJ article is about how the term 'like' is becoming part of the lexicon. My dad would especially love this, since this is his pet peeve.
These Deaniebaby products slay me. I love that they have onesies!
It's finally warming up outside, thankfully. I trudged to the post office today, and it was so nice outside with the sun shining and the black ice melting. Last night when I walked through a parking lot to meet Bronwyn for coffee, I made the mistake of choosing to walk on the sidewalk. I totally fell ass over teakettle in about 0.2 seconds. This reminds me of when I went on this trek through the hills of Chiang Mai with Suzi and our friend, Carrie. Throughout this whole thing/ordeal, we had to pick our way over the rocks of several running streams or (what seemed to me to be) small rivers. Most people slipped maybe once or twice, but I managed to fall in EVERY SINGLE TIME. This was slightly funny at the time, and definitely funny in retrospect, but it was totally unfun to slog along in the wet shoes and socks. Some people were born with a natural grace, I guess, and then there's me.

Thinking back to that, what a humility-inducing experience. It was three days of walking through the hills, which were admittedly gorgeous, but by the end of it I was dead to the world. The craziest part was that the three people who led the pack and zoomed on ahead were the smokers. We would catch up to where they were, and as we gasped for breath and kneaded our howling calves, they would be taking in their last nicotine puff and immediately setting off again. Bastards.

Now, it's the running joke between Suzi and I. When we were in different towns, and would visit eachother, we would assure one another that we signed us up for another trek...this time for a week.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Go to the Quiznos subs web site and check out their whacked out new commercials. I love that they ran with this (muuuuch better than the raised-by-wolves one). The deal sounds pretty good too. (Thanks to Steve for this link).
The one day I decide to splurge off of my SBD, I'm going straight to Gordon Biersch Brewing Company and getting a heaping helping of their garlic fries. Don and Carol both had some last night and I was really jealous. My lame ceasar salad looked positively anemic in comparison.
Yesterday I went with my boss and Don to listen to this speaker at the Spy Museum. We went as guests of my boss's friend who works there and to fill seats: the opportunity comes up sometimes, and I usually try to take advantage of it since this is something I would normally never think to do.

Last night's speaker was a fellow who had written a book about spy shows on American television. He began with the likes of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and ended with "24" and "Alias," (he likes both very much, btw). The speaker himself was a really interesting guy since he had been diagnosed with some sort of eye disorder when he was a young man that has now rendered him completely blind. So, while he was presenting, when the clips would go on, he would rely on audience reaction and sounds to figure out what was on the screen.

The audience was filled with spy-show honchos (besides yours truly, of course), which really came out in the Question and Answer section at the end.

Audience Member #1: Can you think of *anyone* worse than Robert Goulet in "Blue Moon Agency?"

Audience Member #2: Um, are you forgetting the "Seventh Level" of 1962 that ran four episodes?

Audience Member #1: Touche, mon frere!

Of course, this is just the general idea since I didn't catch any of the actual names people threw around. I am pretty ignorant of spy shows in general, but what I came out with from this whole session was this:

1.) "The Avengers" (of the 1960s) and "The Prisoner" = Good.
2.) The 1980s as a decade for spy shows = Bad.
3.) The audience will boo you if you besmirch "Hogan's Heroes." (One dude did this, and everyone started protesting. One man behind me was so moved in his anger, he blurted out "IDIOT!!")

I wish that someone had given me the mike, I would have asked if people had been watching UPN's 'America's Next Top Model," season deux. Now that's a show!

Monday, February 02, 2004

Cheers to Charles, who tracked down this erstwhile comic strip for me. I had come across it about a year ago, and liked it a lot, and got a sudden yen to reread it. I googled it, to no avail, but apparently I don't have the magic touch. Enjoy!
I'm going to steal one of your stories for this, just you wait. I stumbled across this fantastic submission that I love beyond articulation.
Fat babies. They finally get the accolades they deserve. The fatter the better, as far as I'm concerned.
She bangs! She bangs!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Tonight I went to Des and Bryan's most excellent Super Bowl gathering. I wasn't too interested in the game itself, but I hung in their basement with the other not-as-interested-in-football people where we chatted and kept the game on mute in wait of the much bally-hooed commercials. The commercials themselves weren't so great, save for a couple that included the Simpsons Mastercard commercial. The Simpsons could do no wrong, though, even if they were to shill for something like cigarettes, it's always a little tongue in cheek.

I fell of the wagon a bit on the South Beach thing tonight, as I was surrounded by copious amounts of finger party food. I held myself in check for half of the party, but then slipped and had a couple of cookies, a mini Spanikopita, three bites of this divine cookie/cheesecake sandwich (I know), and a Miller Lite. It was well worth it, but I was full till I hurt afterward. Tomorrow, I get back in the game with renewed vigor.

As an aside, after a couple of weeks I definitely can't hold my alcohol as well. After last night's wine experience, I woke up this morning in the wee hours massively dehydrated and antsy, as if I had drunk a lot more.