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John's Blog

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day....Teach him to use the internet and he won't bother you for weeks!

Friday, December 29, 2006

2006: The Year In Stupidity

I guess I've been consumed with real life events recently, and I've been spending more time reading than surfing. Since I've had nothing new to share, I haven't updated in awhile. But the little bit of poking around the web I've done has exposed me to far too many of the traditional year in review or those overdone "best of" lists that everyone seems to love. If that's what you seek; please bail out now!

No, as much as I'd like to offer up a hopeful and optimistic piece about the coming year that's just not where my head is at these days. I continue to read too many news stories about "the decider" and his search for a new course in Iraq that causes me a great deal of trepidation about what lies ahead. It's pretty damn sad that we have to read "spin" in the news that tells us that "The Shrub" actually reads newspapers and worked for almost three hours the other day; quick where's the MENSA application?

What's sadder still is that we are given increasingly frequent signals that the new strategy will be more of the same. The biggest difference being the flawed "surge" concept, which adds additional (and at this point, nonexistent troops). He conveniently ignores the findings of a bipartisan panel of well respected experts, and the recommendations of many of the military leaders who have opposed additional forces. Unfortunately Gates seems to have performed some sort of Vulcan mind control during his recent tour, and now many have done an about face and now welcome the additional forces. Too bad he couldn't have used those powers on his boss to accept reality.

One of the few strengths that most of us critical of Dubya have been willing to concede is that he has been an astute politician. But as any first year political science student will tell you, politics is defined as the art of the possible. Given the probability of a legislature that may actually view "legislative oversight" seriously combined with the rather overwhelming public sentiment from the people of both the US and Iraq that we should leave, why does he resist?

Is this an attempt to salvage his (and the neo-con) legacy? Or is he in some way attempting a do-over of the ending to the Vietnam war? Perhaps it's just a cynical way to set up Democratic opposition to 'the folks who lost the war" in an attempt to engineer a backlash which would benefit a future neo-con campaign effort? I'm not sure which one of these cynical scenarios I'd pick as an excuse for our current situation.

Then again, there is an even more cynical explanation. Has our post 9-11 enabalement of government without limits emboldened Dubya to the point where he thinks he can still do anything he wants? After the illegal (or at least questionable) activities of the last several years, including surveillance, interrogation, imprisonment, torture, and limiting civil liberties has he become so addicted to having his own way that the possibility of a participatory democracy is foreign to him?

Please, let me be wrong on this and let this dark vision be off base. The start of the year should be a time of optimism and hope. The closest I can come to that is to order an Edwards-Obama bumper sticker.
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Quote-A-'Da-Day:

"The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots."
H. L. Mencken
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Post Christmas Shopping

Even in the midst of a busy holiday season, I've been able to take care of my shopping needs thanks to the internet. But sadly, when I finally found a new wallet that I really liked, they were sold out! Forgive me if this reminds me of an old joke...

There are two guys who have been lost in the desert for weeks, and they're at death's door. As they stumble on, hoping for salvation in the form of an oasis or something similar, they suddenly spy, through the heat haze, a small tree off in the distance.
As they get closer, they can see that the tree is draped with rasher upon rasher of bacon. There's smoked bacon, crispy bacon, life-giving juicy nearly-raw bacon, all sorts. And the smell... oh, the glorious smell!"
"Look Pepe," says the first man. "It's a bacon tree!"
"You're right!" says Pepe, "We're saved!"
Pepe doesn't wait another second. He runs up to the tree salivating at the prospect of food. But just as he gets to within five feet of the tree, there's the sound of machine gun fire, and he is shot down in a hail of bullets.
His friend quickly drops down on the sand, and calls across to the dying Pepe.
"Pepe!! Pepe!! What on earth happened?"
And with his dying breath Pepe calls back: "Ugh, run, run!! It's not a Bacon Tree after all..."

"...its a ham bush!"
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Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays

I hadn't planned to post for a while, due to the holiday and all that stuff that goes with it. But after reading today's Op-Ed page, two pieces that are too good not to share caused me to change my mind and do a quick link dump. A look at How We Say Christmas, and something from Paul Krugman on helping the poor:
It’s the season for charitable giving. And far too many Americans, particularly children, need that charity.

Scenes of a devastated New Orleans reminded us that many of our fellow citizens remain poor, four decades after L.B.J. declared war on poverty. But I’m not sure whether people understand how little progress we’ve made. In 1969, fewer than one in every seven American children lived below the poverty line. Last year, although the country was far wealthier, more than one in every six American children were poor.

And there’s no excuse for our lack of progress. Just look at what the British government has accomplished over the last decade.

Although Tony Blair has been President Bush’s obedient manservant when it comes to Iraq, Mr. Blair’s domestic policies are nothing like Mr. Bush’s. Where Mr. Bush has sought to privatize the social safety net, Mr. Blair’s Labor government has defended and strengthened it. Where Mr. Bush and his allies accuse anyone who mentions income distribution of “class warfare,” the Blair government has made a major effort to reverse the surge in inequality and poverty that took place during the Thatcher years.

And Britain’s poverty rate, if measured American-style — that is, in terms of a fixed poverty line, not a moving target that rises as the nation grows richer — has been cut in half since Labor came to power in 1997.

Britain’s war on poverty has been led by Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer and Mr. Blair’s heir apparent. There’s nothing exotic about his policies, many of which are inspired by American models. But in Britain, these policies are carried out with much more determination.

For example, Britain didn’t have a minimum wage until 1999 — but at current exchange rates Britain’s minimum wage rate is now about twice as high as ours. Britain’s child benefit is more generous than America’s child tax credit, and it’s available to everyone, even those too poor to pay income taxes. Britain’s tax credit for low-wage workers is similar to the U.S. earned-income tax credit, but substantially larger.

And don’t forget that Britain’s universal health care system ensures that no one has to fear going without medical care or being bankrupted by doctors’ bills.

The Blair government hasn’t achieved all its domestic goals. Income inequality has been stabilized but not substantially reduced: as in America, the richest 1 percent have pulled away from everyone else, though not to the same extent. The decline in child poverty, though impressive, has fallen short of the government’s ambitious goals. And the government’s policies don’t seem to have helped a persistent underclass of the very poor.

But there’s no denying that the Blair government has done a lot for Britain’s have-nots. Modern Britain isn’t paradise on earth, but the Blair government has ensured that substantially fewer people are living in economic hell. Providing a strong social safety net requires a higher overall rate of taxation than Americans are accustomed to, but Britain’s tax burden hasn’t undermined the economy’s growth.

What are the lessons to be learned from across the pond?

First, government truly can be a force for good. Decades of propaganda have conditioned many Americans to assume that government is always incompetent — and the current administration has done its best to turn that into a self-fulfilling prophecy. But the Blair years have shown that a government that seriously tries to reduce poverty can achieve a lot.

Second, it really helps to have politicians who are serious about governing, rather than devoting themselves entirely to amassing power and rewarding cronies.

While researching this article, I was startled by the sheer rationality of British policy discussion, as compared with the cynical posturing that passes for policy discourse in George Bush’s America. Instead of making grandiose promises that are quickly forgotten — like Mr. Bush’s promise of “bold action” to confront poverty after Hurricane Katrina — British Labor politicians propose specific policies with well-defined goals. And when actual results fall short of those goals, they face the facts rather than trying to suppress them and sliming the critics.

The moral of my Christmas story is that fighting poverty isn’t easy, but it can be done. Giving in to cynicism and accepting the persistence of widespread poverty even as the rich get ever richer is a choice that our politicians have made. And we should be ashamed of that choice.
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Quote-A-'Da-Day:

"I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves."
Alexander Humboldt
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Pinko Propaganda?

Proving yet again that there's more than one way to look at anything, Wisebread brings us a look at how the FBI Considered "It's A Wonderful Life" Communist Propaganda (VIA linkfilter). Apparently in 1947 they "thought Life smeared American values such as wealth and free enterprise while glorifying anti-American values such as the triumph of the common man." And we thought Swiftboating was an original idea?
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Holiday Specials



Order now, and you just might receive the Family Survival Kit in time for your holiday functions. Although I'm no big Dr. Phil fan, but for some reason the "Dr. Phil In A Can" was strangely appealing.

And no Christmas season would be complete without just one viewing of the "oh so NSFW" (as are most of the rest of these links) Mr. Garrison's Merry F#@king Christmas from South Park.

And an inspiring tale where A Monster Killer Christmas saves the holiday from the forces of evil Christmas trees.

In its' typical "day late & a dollar short" coverage of cutting edge and blogosphere related topics, The New York Times discovered Censored ‘SNL’ Sketch Jumps Bleepless Onto the Internet. Just in case you might have missed it, the new You Tube sensation A Special Christmas Box: Uncensored Version from last weeks' SNL. And you can pre-order your Dick in a Box T-Shirt now.

But for a more traditional musical celebration, you can check David Bowie visits Bing Crosby where they do a duet of Little Drummer Boy. And the background on how this came to pass.
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Poetic Twist

The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form

These limericks are carefully drafted;
No rhyme has been cobbled or grafted.
Each poem defines
A new word in five lines.
They're amusingly, lovingly crafted.


An on-line dictionary with over thirty-five thousand limericks, organized by topic and author, with a goal of writing at least one limerick for each and every word in the English language!

However, I got the following questionable search results to the query "Limericks on Nantucket": "None found. No matching limericks found for nantucket. Did you mean: Ananke anklet antinuke antiquate antiquity antiulcer auklet bandicoot banket benedict bucket Canuck?" No I really DID meant Nantucket. In the spirit of the holiday season, I'll stick to a clean one (although you can find some NSFW ones here):

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
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Ready To Roll

Useless Information: Eveready Batteries

A good article about the story of Joshua L. Cowen, a man smart enough to devise a variety of inventions, none of which were really big commercial successes. One of them was a scheme to make illuminated flower pots, but he became bored with the idea and gave the project to a subordinate who worked for him as a salesman.

The whole flowerpot thing didn't really work out, but the technology used to light the pot was reworked, and developed into what we now call "the flashlight". The company (American Eveready) that made these earned six million dollars over two decades, a nice chunk of money even now, but it was a huge amount at the turn of the century.

Most people might be upset that they gave away this kind of gravy train, but Cohen had other ideas coming down the track. He used the battery technology to power a toy train set, originally sold as display units for store windows. But demand for home use of these sets quickly followed, and by 1907 they were a common sight under the Christmas tree. Joshua "Lionel" Cowen ultimately made more money from this, than the business he gave away, as well as becoming an almost iconic part of the holiday season.
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Quote-A-'Da-Day:

"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
Mark Twain
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Joke-A-'Da-Day:

Italian Bread
Two old guys, one 80 and one 87, were sitting on their usual park bench one morning.

The 87-year-old had just finished his morning jog and wasn't even short of breath.

The 80-year-old was amazed at his friend's stamina and asked him what he did to have so much energy.

The 87-year-old said; "Well, I eat Italian bread every day. It keeps your energy level high and you'll have great stamina with the ladies."

So, on the way home, the 80-year-old stops at the bakery. As he was looking around, the lady asked if he needed any help. He said, "Do you have any Italian bread?"

She said, "Yes, there's a whole shelf of it. Would you like some?" He said, "I want 5 loaves."

She said, "My goodness, 5 loaves...by the time you get to the 5th loaf, it ll be hard!"

He replied, "I can't believe it, everybody in the world knows about this Italian bread thing but me.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yo-De-Lay-Hee-Yo-De-Lay-Hee...

This Saturday night the annual broadcast of the heartwarming Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music will occur. Since most of us know the songs and lyrics by heart, why not spice up this years' viewing by inviting over a few friends and playing The Sound Of Music Drinking Game?

A little groundwork is involved; printing out the rules and purchasing enough booze for example. And make sure that you tell your guests that the dress code is strictly "curtains only". The game will end if the alcohol runs out, but with proper preparation, this shouldn't occur. If it does; everybody loses!
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Science Project

What is the Ultimate Jell-O Shot? was a little experiment to boost the alcohol content in a Jell-O shot, while maintaining the structural integrity of the shot. Seems like a practical and responsible utilization of science to me.

But if you are just looking to whip up the basic version as a treat for your holiday party, you can try this recipe:
3 oz. Jell-O (one 4-serving package)
8 oz. boiling water
3 oz. cold water
5 oz. vodka
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Quote-A-'Da-Day:

"A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."
William Shakespeare

Research at the University of Liverpool has found that Shakespearean language excites positive brain activity...
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A Holiday Special



One of the best parts of the holidays (hopefully) is that you get to catch up with friends and loved ones. While not really falling into one of the last two categories, the newest installment of Chad Vader Episode 5 may provide a bit of holiday glee.
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Free Is Good!

John Hodgman's (I'm a PC & The Daily Show) latest book The Areas of My Expertise is currently available as a free audiobook download at the iTunes store!
In the great tradition of the American almanac, The Areas of My Expertise is a brillant and hilarious compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom on all topics large and small...Here is a different kind of handy desk reference, one in which all of the historical oddities and amazing true facts are sifted through the singular, illuminating imagination of John Hodgman, which is the nice way of saying: He made it all up.
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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Seasons Greetings

One of the tacky and overdone things that you commonly see at Christmas are those people who insist on putting a wreath on the grill of their car. But now, you can "deck the car with reindeer antlers" with these Revved Up Reindeer Antlers. Fa la la la la. Also, includes a giant plush nose, just to make sure you make the point and the mood is set properly.

And speaking of putting a new twist on an old classic, here is a wonderful Christmas tale as influenced by Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Xmas (VIA BoingBoing)... obviously NSFW!

But, in the event that these don't do the trick to get you in the proper holiday frame of mind, perhaps this recent McSweeney's feature After Drinking Too Many Martinis at Lunch, Old Man Potter, Unwisely Acting as His Own Attorney, Delivers His Closing Remarks to a Bedford Falls Jury might do the trick.
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Haiku Corner

Return to normal?
Too much to ask for right now...
But, real life beckons.


Having received a reluctant OK from my doctor to return to work on a "limited basis" my long break from reality ends tomorrow. As much as I desire a return to normalcy, I'm sure there will be a few surprises and challenges along the way. It feels like I've just been hanging out here for the last month, although it hasn't been quite that long. Who would have guessed that I'd actually be looking forward to returning to dealing with the daily frustrations that usually drive me mad? I suppose we crave what we can't or don't have. I'm fully prepared to be disappointed and I'll probably feel like I've been run over by a truck, despite daily sessions on the treadmill to increase my stamina.

Given my need to play catch up at work, the proximity of the holidays, and my growing ambivalence towards blogging in general, don't be surprised if updates are few and far between over the next few weeks. So in the event I don't otherwise say this...Happy Holidays!
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From The Mailbag

One of the many funny things found at Funny Emails. And a particularly timely series of Holiday Eating Tips as well:

A little something to keep in mind for Christmas. You’ve probably all seen this before, but it’s time for a reminder …..

  1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.
  2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it’s rare. In fact, it’s even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can’t find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!
  3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy . Eat the volcano. Repeat.
  4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
  5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
  6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
  7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.
  8. Same for pies. Apple Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
  9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
  10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
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Quote-A-'Da-Day:

"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes."
Oscar Wilde
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Going Solo

SoloDining.com (VIA BuzzFeed) is a new site that focuses on eating alone in restaurants. Covering the subject from a variety of angles, it's sure to have some helpful information so that your foray into solo dining doesn't make you feel like a big loser.

I really had never done this until recently, since most times when I have to dine alone I just opt out and head for a fast food joint. But recently, when I had to travel for work, I found myself in areas with no appealing fast food options. Wanting to take full advantage of my expense allowance, it forced the issue and I took my tentative first steps. I almost blew it when I started things off on the wrong foot, when the hostess ask "how many?" and I blurted out the giant loser response "just one". But the hostess handled this situation with good humor and grace, and I got over my awkward first attempt. As with many new ventures, it's that first step that's the worst. Perhaps you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
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Will He Make It? Betty Won't

A Conspiracy of Dunces: Will John Kennedy Toole's comic masterpiece ever reach the big screen?

A film version of the classic novel is scheduled for release in 2007. Will this 26 year journey come to fruition in a film featuring Lily Tomlin, Drew Barrymore, Olympia Dukakis, and Will Ferrell as cast members? Let's hope not. Given some of the more prestigious (and ultimately cursed) names that have been cast in the lead role in the prior adaptation attempts (John Belushi and John Candy), Will Ferrell in a fat suit seems like a pretty uninspired choice. But larger issues loom...
Yet, despite the book's comic prowess and cultish street cred, nobody has succeeded in bringing it to the big screen. It may be too good for its own good. Bubblegum genre pieces and formulaic spy thrillers tend to do best in Hollywood, sometimes resulting in movies that exceed their progenitors (e.g., the Bourne series). Conversely, richly crafted novels with complex storylines often die painful deaths, losing too much in the translation (take your pick). This is especially true of comedic works.
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Friday, December 15, 2006

A Toy Story

RADAR brings us The most dangerous toys of all time which is an interesting look at some of the toys we grew up with. Unfortunately meddlesome government regulations have removed these from the marketplace. Don't get me wrong, I'm usually in favor of the guiding hand of government when it concerns matters of the environment and safety, even if this is something we haven't seen much of the last few years.

But on some level there is a part of me that yearns for these toys and the risk and uncertainty that they represent. It's a dangerous world out there, and what better way to teach the lesson to kids than by factoring a bit of that into their toys? My generation seems to have survived the challenge, and it could be argued is better off for it, if you are willing to ignore those kids impaled by the lawn darts, but I blame that on irresponsible parents and bad supervision.

Today's children get a whimped out version of "The Thingmaker" which I'm sure produces an inferior version of the classic Creepy Crawlers. They will never know the joy of smelling the bubbling, smoking plastigoop searing itself into a gross-out bug creation over the open-face hot plate. Or the rewarding pain of prying the bugs out before they had fully cooled, which is when they were at their best!

It could be said that I may lack objectivity, and find my point of view overly influenced by boomer memories which like many recollections are far better than the reality. But apparently I'm hardly alone in this prejudice, since I recently saw a survey asking adults if given a choice between today's toys and those they grew us with, which did they prefer? The survey gave an overwhelming victory to the old toys! Danger and pain wins out over PS3? Go figure.
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Quote-A-'Da-Day:

"Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren't distracted by the total lack of content in your writing."
Randy K. Milholland
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Dubya Fiddles While Rome Burns

Bush Dawdles for a Reason:
With every day a wasting, with the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq now standing at 2,920 and climbing, Bush is dawdling.

The decider can’t seem to decide what to do about Iraq.

He is too prideful, too headstrong, too macho, too ignorant, and too foolish to do the sensible thing, which happens to be what a majority of the American people want, and that’s to set a timetable for withdrawal and get out of there...

Bush is crazy enough to still think he can wrest victory from the jaws of defeat, when he’s just going to end up throwing more bodies into those bloody jaws.

My bet is that he’s postponed his big speech till after the holidays because he doesn’t want to dampen this season of cheer by announcing that he’s planning on upping the troop levels.
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Wrong Number

Just a word of advice to those of you using those new fangled telephone devises that are all the rage. "Hey, who's this?" probably isn't the best way to begin a phone call that you've made to me. Getting a "wrong number" call which interrupts my peace and tranquility is annoying enough, without the person calling being stupid and not realizing their mistake. Worse yet is when they choose to argue about it which just pisses me off worse than about anything. A close 2nd is when these same nudnicks leave a long and rambling message on my answering machine, which if there's not life or death issues being discussed (seldom happens) gets quickly deleted.

For the most part, caller ID allows me to ignore calls from numbers I don't recognize, but on occasion I find myself in a room where I've got an old phone, without a caller ID window. I sometimes throw caution to the winds and pick up, since the "do-not call registry" has largely eliminated telemarketing calls, so odd are that it's a call I will want to take. Unfortunately, the big loophole in this law allows groups that you have an existing relationship with to still call you.

And recently, I've been lucky enough to have my cable company take full advantage of this rule. Apparently, they don't think my monthly purchase of premium digital cable TV and internet service is giving them a large enough share of my disposable income, so they keep calling to offer me the opportunity for internet phone service. But the twenty times I've told them "no thanks" didn't seem to convey the message with the conviction and clarity that I was looking for. No, it was only when I went ballistic and told them to "never ever call here again, or I will begin to cancel the services that I have now" that I seemed to get my point across. Remarkably, I haven't heard from them since that tirade. Now, I've just got to get rid of Mr. Wrong Number.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

MST3K Film Festival



In my unending quest for silly time-wasting fun, I stumbled upon this Mystery Science Theater 3000 clip, Aquatic Wizards featuring an old short filmed at Cypress Gardens, which I thought went out of business years ago until I poked around on Wikipedia and found out otherwise. Behold the awesome power of teh intranets.

I've posted a few of my MST3K favorites in the past, but this seems like a good time for a giant link-dump of some more classic films and their MST3K commentary. Although a ton of the full length features are available on YouTube (split up of course), my ADD tendencies make me favor the old shorts, which in many cases almost don't even need the smart-assed wisecrack remarks to be considered funny. Join us now on the Satellite of Love and be prepared to laugh, groan, and chuckle:

"Why Study Industrial Arts?"
Gumby Robot Rumpus
Werewolf Ending Credits
Johnny at the Fair
Design for Dreaming
Keeping Clean and Neat
Posture Pals
Speech
Using Your Voice
They Just Didn't Care
Excerpt from "Future War"
A Day At The Fair
Hired!
X Marks the Spot: Driving In New Jersey
Circus On Ice
Catching Trouble
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Oh What A Relief It Is...

The PoopTent (VIA Everlasting Blort)
Anybody else have a pampered pooch who doesn't want to go outside and "take care of business" whenever bad weather strikes? Now, inclement weather isn't a problem with the advent of "The Poop Tent". This portable/temporary dogie shelter allows you to protect your dogs' favorite spot so they can relieve themselves free from the discomfort and distraction of the elements. A stylish and practical port-a-potty that will allow your pooch to stay dry and comfortable! With my luck, I'd buy it and then our dog would avoid it just to make me look silly.
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Quote-A-'Da-Day:

"If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire--then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience."
Robert Fulghum
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A Look Back

Nuckin' Futs - A Jibjab Year in Review

Yet another of the obligatory reviews of events of the last year. Not as good as some of what they've done in the past, but still somewhat amuzing. Brace yourself for the onslaught of the "best of" lists sure to follow.
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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ralphie’s Packin’ !!



A Christmas Story Trailer Re-cut shows us a different view of “A disturbed young boy… On the edge of sanity…". He'll put an eye out for sure!

One of the many reworked Christmas specials as found by 10 Zen Monkeys: Christmas 2.0: Subverting the Holidays With Re-dubbing. (VIA Boing Boing)
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The Singing Dictionary

Dictionaraoke (Pronunciation: 'dik-sh&-"ner-A-O-ke dOt-Org) is an oldie but goodie featuring popular songs redone using karaoke music featuring vocals from online dictionary pronunciation samples. A few of my favorite examples:

Talking Heads "Burning Down The House"
The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated"
Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody"
The Police "Roxanne"
Nine Inch Nails "Closer" (radio edit)
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Quote-A-'Da-Day:

"Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything."
Kurt Vonnegut
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Milking The Franchise



The upcoming flick Rocky Balboa proves that it's possible to go to the well long after it's dry. Everything after the 2nd one has seemed like it was just going through the motions. I hope I'm wrong, but my expectations are pretty low. Knowing that Stallone is also making another Rambo sequel doesn't encourage me to think this is going to be anything but crap.

For my money, if I'm gonna watch a boxing sequel I'll stick to this NSFW version of Raging Bullwinkle, instead.
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The Year In Review

Tom Tomorrow: This Modern World
Part One of a look back at a year best left forgotten.
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Monday, December 11, 2006

A Christmas Tale

Somehow, as a result of my hothouse flower existence of the last few weeks, I've escaped the seasonal ambiance that one usually has by this time of year. However, there's nothing that can infuse me with the spirit of the season quicker than a shot of the Jean Shepherd classic tale A Christmas Story.

And in the event that this isn't enough to do the trick, for a mere $139.99 you can now order the classic Red Rider Leg Lamp from the guy who bought and restored The Christmas Story House that was used in the filming of the movie. If I ever find myself in the neighborhood of Cleveland, I'll be sure to stop in and visit.

But for those of us with a dose of ADD, A Christmas Story in 30 seconds re-enacted by bunnies may be a better way to sample this holiday classic. And if you're not bothered by commercial bastardization, this updated Cingular version may suit you just fine!
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Some Brief Information

FROM Amazing Underwear Facts!:
  • 12% of men prefer boxers.
  • 37% of women prefer bikini briefs.
  • 19% of women prefer thongs.
  • 17% of women prefer boyshorts.
  • In 1991, the average bra size in the United States was 34B; today it's 36C.
  • Married men change their underwear twice as often as single men.
  • Italians wear red, Argentineans wear pink, and Brazilians wear brand new underwear on New Years Eve
  • The loincloth is both the simplest and the most popular form of underwear. It was probably the first undergarment worn by human beings.
  • Bras did not exist until 1913 when Mary Phelps Jacob tied two handkerchiefs together with ribbon. In 1928, Maidenform introduced modern cup sizes.
  • In 1935, the first men's briefs appeared. They had a Y-shaped front and overlapping fly on knitted drawers and came in both short and long styles.
  • Panty hose, which combined panties and hose into one garment, made their first appearance in 1959, invented by Glen Raven Mills of North Carolina. The company later introduced seamless panty hose in the 1965, spurred by the popularity of the miniskirt.
  • The thong first gained popularity in Brazil, in the 1980s as a swimsuit style. By the 1990s, thong underwear became popular and today it is one of the fastest selling styles.
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    Quote-A-'Da-Day:

    "If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
    Dorothy Parker
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    Maybe Not

    FROM Things That Are Not What They Seem:
  • A firefly is not a fly - it's a beetle.
  • A prairie dog is not a dog - it's a rodent.
  • India ink is not from India - it's from China and Egypt.
  • A horned toad is not a toad - it's a lizard.
  • A lead pencil contains no lead - it contains graphite.
  • A Douglas fir tree is not a fir - it's a pine.
  • A silkworm is not a worm - it's a caterpillar.
  • A peanut is not a nut - it's a legume.
  • A panda bear is not a bear - it's a raccoon relative.
  • A cor anglais, or English horn, is not English and not a horn - it's an alto oboe from France.
  • A guinea pig is not from Guinea and is not a pig - it's from South America and it's a rodent.
  • Shortbread is not a bread - it's a thick biscuit.
  • A shooting star is not a star - it's a meteor.
  • A bald eagle is not bald - it's got flat white feathers on its head and neck when mature, dark feathers when young.
  • A banana tree is not a tree - it's a herb.
  • A cucumber is not a vegetable - it's a fruit.
  • A jackrabbit is not a rabbit - it's a hare.
  • A Mexican jumping bean is not a bean - it's a seed with a larva inside.
  • A koala bear is not a bear - it's a marsupial.
  • A sweetbread is not bread - it's from a calf's or lamb's pancreas or thymus.
  • A prairie oyster is not an oyster - it's a calf's testicle.
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    At The Movies

    FROM Things That Only Happen in Movies:
  • It is always possible to find a parking spot directly outside or opposite the building you are visiting.
  • When paying for a taxi, don't look at your wallet as you take out a note. Just grab one out at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.
  • Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at the precise moment it's aired.
  • Creepy music (or satanic chanting) coming from a graveyard should always be closely investigated.
  • Any lock can be picked with a credit card or paperclip in seconds. UNLESS it's the door to a burning building with a child inside.
  • All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are going to explode.
  • Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to learn to speak German. Simply speaking English with a German accent will do. Similarly, when they are alone, all German soldiers prefer to speak English to each other.
  • The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris.
  • Any police officer about to retire from the force will more often than not die on their last day (especially if their family have planned a party). (Caveat: Detectives can only solve a case after they have been suspended from duty).
  • If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises wearing their most revealing underwear.
  • If you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts, your opponents will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around you in a threatening manner until you have defeated their predecessor.
  • If a microphone is turned on it will immediately feedback.
  • Cars will explode instantly when struck by a single bullet.
  • The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. Nobody will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building undetected.
  • Prostitutes always look like Julia Roberts or Jamie Lee Curtis. They have expensive clothes and nice apartments but no pimps. They are friendly with the shopkeepers in their neighbourhood who don't mind at all what the girl does for a living.
  • A single match is usually sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.
  • One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at once (this is known as Stallone's Law).
  • Anyone can land a 747 as long as there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.
  • During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
  • In Middle America, all gas station attendants have red handkerchiefs hanging out of their back pockets.
  • All teen house parties have one of every stereotypical subculture present (even people who aren't liked and would never get invited to parties).
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    Friday, December 08, 2006

    I Feel Good...Not!

    Not a health related comment, but just my reaction to discovering that Type Brighter has added the latest update to their continuing series Really Bad Tattoos. Somehow, after viewing this it makes every bad decision I've ever made seems just a little bit more sane.
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    My AIM Is True



    An IM Exchange From The Titanic via Robot Chicken.

    And in a bit of a stretch, but in a semi-related creepy vein, a look at how IRC chatrooms might look if they were real.

    But in the event this doesn't satisfy your daily creepy/weird requirement, be sure to check out Horny Manatee.com for plenty of amateur horny manatee pictures as well as their Live Webcam!
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    Quote-A-'Da-Day:

    "Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new."
    Henry David Thoreau
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    Quiz Time

    As a nice follow-up to the previously featured Orgasm or Excellent Marinara? quiz from awhile back now comes (no pun intended) a new brain teaser: Guitar Face or O-Face? (VIA Fleshbot).
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    Gift Ideas

    Kids love the classic toys, so here's a little update of a classic, John Candy Land as brought to us by Bad Santa. Also a helpful chart to determine if you've been Naughty or Nice?
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    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Follow-Up From My Last Note

    Usually, I'm guilty of exaggeration and hyperbole as I spin the occasional tale but on occasion I can engage in understatement as well. When we last spoke, I said that I was a bit "under the weather". This was accurate to the degree that the Titanic was taking on a little water or that the levees in New Orleans had a bit of trouble during Katrina. As it turns out my little bout of sickness turned out to be pneumonia which resulted in a visit to the hospital for the last week, probably NOT my favorite place to hang out. A few of the highlights/lowlights of that journey:

  • If you've never had the opportunity to just hang out on a gurney in the ER hallway for 12 to 14 hours while they find you a room, make sure you pass on this experience if you have the chance, since it's hardly what I'd consider a good time.
  • The only good part was that I was completely delusional, and although I knew it was just a clump of wires coming off a wi-fi box mounted on the wall, somehow I kept seeing a gorgeous woman, with a vague resemblance to Katherine Zeta Jones. Wishful thinking, probably.
  • Finally, late at night they whisk me off to a room. But it was a strange anomaly of a hospital room, which was probably bigger than the first apartment that I had after college. The room looked like it was big enough to hold four people, but it was just 'lil 'ol me that was there. This oversight was corrected within a day, and I was soon shifted to a "normal" room with a roommate.
  • Unfortunately, my roommate was about 85, and was apparently the model for the role played by Burt Lancaster in the 80's classic flick "Atlantic City". He spent much time recalling the good 'ol days. The rest of the time he spent listening to the TV without his hearing aid. I've never craved silence more so than I do now.
  • Amazingly, once they started to pump me full of antibiotics I started to bounce back rather quickly. Strangely, I really didn't appreciate just how bad I had been feeling until I started to feel better.
  • I take back any suggestive comments I might have done in the past on "naughty nurses". I have a newfound respect and appreciation for what nurses do. Working long hours in what has to be very trying circumstances, they endure a ton of demands from up and down the food chain, with very little recognition. I was lucky enough to have had a series of very attentive and caring nurses, which made my stay a bit more bearable.
  • Another moment when I started to realize I was getting better, was when the hospital food began to taste good. Much maligned, hospital food really wasn't all that bad. When I started to look forward to mealtime, that's about the time I realized it was time to get the heck out of there.
  • Luckily, I got sprung and although I'm a long way from a clean bill of health, I feel twenty times better than I did a week ago. I can look forward to (?) another ten days of recovery, before I step back of the 'ol merry-go-round of the normal life and activity levels. But, it's good to be back, even on a restricted level. And thanks for all the nice comments and concerns while I was gone.
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    A Three Hour Tour...



    The Professor's Story confirms the long suspected "dark side" of Gilligan's Island!
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    Quote-A-'Da-Day:

    "Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?"
    Edgar Bergen
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    Recess Over

    The good folks at The Onion ask their "person on the street" crew the question "John Bolton, the American delegate to the UN, will step down when the current term runs out. What do you think?"
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