Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Don't get me started on those Greeks. There's the ongoing row over Macedonia, of course. And then some Greek lawyers threatened to sue the producers of "Alexander" because it depicted him as bisexual (which most historians think was pretty likely). The lawyers have now suspended their suit until they see the film.
What happened you, Greece? You used to be cool and hip. Now look at you. All you've given us in the last thousand years is Nana Mouskouri (planning her farewell tour next year).

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Advertising: AOL Voiceover

Yes, that is Julia Roberts doing the voiceover on AOL's commercials.

Peeves: "Not In My House"

Another abhorrent sports cliche: "Not in my house!"
First off, it's not your house. It's a sports stadium. Your house is that building where you sleep at night and where your children keep their toys.
And secondly, are you implying that it would be okay for your opponents to score against you on their home turf?
Now get out of here before I throw a beer at you.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Sports: Roger Clemens

As Kevin Costner says in "Bull Durham", "Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they're fascist."

Does anyone embody this dictum more than Roger Clemens? He named his four sons Koby, Kory, Kasy and Kody, because "K" is the symbol for Strikeout. You never caught Nolan Ryan pulling that sort of rubbish. (Why does the White House web site have a bio of Ryan?) So, yes, Clemens is annoying.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

TV: "The Amazing Race 6"

The best looking woman on TV at the moment? (Ignore any other names I might have suggested for this title in the past.) Kristy on The Amazing Race. (Her sister Lena ain't bad either.) I read on the CBS site that Kristy has moved to Denmark. Well, here's her modelling page. The photos really don't do justice to her. Oh look, she has a personal web site. Oh-oh, she's shilling her own protein powder. And the site has unnecessary Flash animation. But better photos of her in the Gallery. Love the wedding dress photo.
I listened to the new U2 album today, and was going to post what I see as their biggest flaw: Bono's bloody rhyming couplets. Then I came across this quote at U2EXIT:

"Looking back, I see a lot of unfinished songs. It annoys me sometimes that I look back and see a sort of inane couplet. I have to live with it."

-- Bono, 2001, on his lyrics

Among the gems on the new record:

"Don't look before you laugh/Look ugly in a photograph"

"You don't have to put up a fight/You don't have to always be right."

"I like the sound of my own voice/I didn't give anyone else a choice/An intellectual tortoise."

Okay, that last one's a rhyming triplet. But it begs the question: if Bono knows he's prone to "inane couplets", why doesn't he apply a little Quality Control? At least there's no "Miami, my Mammy" on this one.
Parody of Pitchfork.com by those jokers at SomethingAwful.com. They have other fakes to enjoy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

TV: "The Munsters"

Flipping through the channels last night, caught some of a Munsters episode where Herman tries out for the Dodgers. Click the link to read Leo Durocher's line.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Lyrics Quiz: Birds 2

Eric prefers a lyrics quiz to have the theme in the title (Shell agrees with him, even though they don't know each other.) Over to Eric:

Songs with Bird in the title:

1) Take these broken wings, and learn to fly.
2) Late at night, when the wind is still, I'll come flying through your door, and you'll know what love is for.
3) If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? (love using the same one twice)
4) Feed the babies, who don't have enough to eat. Shoe the children, with no shoes on their feet. House the people, living in the street.

Songs with titles about flying (famous bands, but somewhat obscure songs)

5) Sammy was low, just watching the show, over and over again.
6) Daddy says I'm lazy, he don't understand, never saw inside my head. People think I'm crazy, but I'm in demand, never heard a thing I said.
7) Moon rise, thoughtful eyes, staring back at me from the window beside. No fright or hindsight,
leaving behind that empty feeling inside.

Bonus - Record label that references a bird - only 2 groups used it. Bad Company, and a super famous group.

(Back to me. I only know 1 and 3.)

Sports: Appropriate Names

More appropriate athlete names. The Patriots have a player called Patrick Pass - but sadly he's a Running Back.

The Indiana Pacers have a player called Jonathan Bender, which is only appropriate because he injured his knee. (He missed the brawl.)

Wonderfully sarky review of music magazines. Here's Part 2.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Optical illusions, ahoy! Watch the dragon video here. Funny how something so low-tech can be so amazing.

Media: "Private Eye"

Private Eye is online with some of their content. Colemanballs is always good for a laugh. And the Lookalikes. (Spy Magazine stole their "Separated At Birth" from this.) They also have a very rude Cryptic Crossword. (Hint for 28 Across in Crossword #274: "Brenda" is their nickname for the Queen, also known as "E.R.".)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Lyrics Quiz: Birds

The next lyrics quiz - lyrics that reference birds.

1. "I don't mean to suggest that I loved you the best, I can't keep track of each fallen robin."
2. "You wave your hand and they scatter like crows. They have nothing that will ever capture your heart."
3. "Back to the howling old owl in the woods."
4. "There's a rose in a fisted glove, and the eagle flies with the dove."
5. "When your rooster crows at the break of dawn, look out your window and I'll be gone."

Lyrics Quiz: Free 3

In case you missed it, Shell posted some more "Free" lyrics in the comments section:

1. Home
Home and dry
Like a homing bird I fly,
As a bird on wing

2. Calling on in transit, calling on in transit.

Christmas: Early Lights

Glad to see the Dallas Morning News give a "Thumbs Down" today to people who have turned on their Christmas lights already. I have some neighbours who fall into that category.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Stupidest invention of all time? The cone-shaped water cup, dispensed beside water coolers. (It can't stand up!) The best invention of all time? USB Mince Pies.
I can't tell - is this photo of a Chilean protester comical or sad?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Music: Morrissey

I haven't heard it yet, but Morrissey has a b-side with the funniest title I've seen in a long time: "Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice". You can read the lyrics here. I see he sings some lines in Spanish, appealing to his huge Latino fanbase. Sadly, Morrissey is engaging in that despicable record industry sport of re-releasing a recent album with bonus material. As my friend Lori said after a very short Morrissey concert in Dallas some years back, "Not even a kiss before he screwed me."

Media: Unflattering Descriptions

Another gratuitous attack on someone's physical appearance. The Associated Press reviews an album by a renowned flat-chested singer under the headline "Gwen Stefani's Solo Debut a Bust". Disgraceful. Here's a small breast support group with the slogan "I need it even if they don't".

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Lyrics Quiz: Free 2

Another lyrics quiz, this time from Eric, related to yesterday's. All of these songs have the word "Free" in the title.

  1. Each of us, a cell of awareness, imperfect and incomplete.
  2. So I come here to give you a hand, and lead you into the promised land.
  3. Well I've been lying in this dungeon, since I was 18; ten lonely years of my life taken.
  4. If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?
  5. And freedom tastes of reality.

Thanks, Eric, for giving back to the community.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

In this Reuters story about Richard Armitage resigning, there occurs this bizarre and completely unnecessary description:
"Armitage, a barrel-chested former Navy officer who closely managed the day-to-day operations..."

What next? "Rice, a buck-toothed former pianist.." ? "Cheney, known for his heart two sizes too small.." ? "Barbara Bush, the President's pert daughter.." ?

Lyrics Quiz: Free 1

Lyrics quiz. The subject is Freedom.

  1. And I'm free to be who I choose, to get my booze any old time.
  2. And freedom, oh freedom, well, that's just some people talkin'.
  3. Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.
  4. Now that you've got your freedom, you wanna still hold on to me.
  5. I can see it in your eyes. How proud you were to fight for freedom in this land.
  6. Then you discover... what you thought was freedom was just greed.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Words: Neologisms

An amusing list of neologisms from Daily Candy. They also have a guide to Dallas. I guess it's some kind of fashion web site.
Did you see Pat Robertson's "Bushism" last week? Asked who he'd like to see on the Supreme Court, he said:
"I tell you, I think the most wonderful, delicious irony would be if Erik Estrada, who has been abused so badly by the Democrats on the Judiciary Commission--Committee, was picked and went onto the court. He's a superb candidate, brilliant guy. An immigrant from down in Central America, a Hispanic, I mean, it'd be marvelous to see him on the Court."

Apparently, he meant Miguel Estrada.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Observer interview with the White Stripes.

Movies: "Alexander"

Has there ever been a dumber quote in a movie trailer than this one? (I'll let you guess the name of the film.)
"Never will there be an Alexander like you, Alexander the Great!"

If you know of a dumber quote, let me know.

Beauty: Sabine Ehrenfeld

Here's another beauty - the model/actress in the Overstock.com commercial. ("It's all about the O.") Here's a photo gallery of Sabine Ehrenfeld. There's even a "naughty librarian" look for those who like that sort of thing. But no shot of her inner thigh, as seen in the commercial when she's in her tennis outfit. Wait, here are some stills from the ad, along with some completely unrelated screenshots.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Music: U2

On their forthcoming album, U2 pay tribute to Britvic Orange with a song called "Original Of The Species".

Friday, November 12, 2004


Check out the back page of the Dallas Morning News Northeast Tarrant section for Friday, November 12. Now find the photo in the top left, taken at the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering in the Stockyards. The caption reads "Mary Lou Najera" but it should really say, "The Most Beautiful Woman In The World". An internet search only finds a Mary Lou Najera who wrote to Salon saying that Elian Gonzalez should be returned to Cuba.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Words: Euphemisms

Lovely euphemism in this news story:
A spokesman for the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said on Thursday that her plane suffered "a loss of separation" over Morecambe Bay -- meaning that it came too close to another jet.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Words: "LOL" alternatives

Eric suggests an alternative to "LOL", based on the type of food/drink that one would spit, if one were to be consuming that substance while laughing. "Coke-spitter", "Yogurt-spitter", "Manwich-spitter" etc. That's okay so long as your computer screen is really pebble-dashed by the foodstuff.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Feeble Attempt At Humour

So there I was, walking down Euless Main Street, minding no one's business, not even my own.

I heard a clip-clop approaching. I looked around and saw a pony trotting in the same direction, pulling a simple two-wheeled open carriage behind it. The carriage was empty. "That's odd," I thought, and carried on walking.

The pony caught up with me, and stopped slightly ahead. He turned his head, as if to invite me aboard. No, I imagined that. I started walking again. The pony pulled ahead, stopped again. I wasn't imagining it. He whinnied and gestured again with his head for me to climb on the carriage.

I stood there and thought about it. The pony gave me a threatening look. "Begod, I'd better do it," I thought.

Just as I was about to step up onto the carriage, a man came running from the other side of the road.

"Don't do it!" he cried. "It's a trap!"

Monday, November 08, 2004

Cliches: That's What I'm Talkin' About!

Can you please stop saying, "That's what I'm talkin' about!" - unless you really were, honest to God, right there and then, talking about it? It's okay to say "That's what I'm talkin' about!" when your team scores a touchdown if you have just concluded a lengthy discourse about your team's need to put more points on the board. But if you have been eating Cheetos and trying to remember the name of the kid everyone hated in the 4th Grade, then please refrain from saying it.

And while we're at it, don't type "LOL" unless you really did laugh out loud. Please include contact details for someone who can confirm your audible laughter.

Let's have a contest to find the lamest use of "LOL" on the internet. Here's my submission:

I think Bush will win my homestate of KY but my homestate don't really matter much in the election! lol. Overall I think Kerry is going pull it off by a slim margin. I can't wait to watch it all unfold tomorrow, very exciting stuff. Just hope the best man wins, whoever that is! lol.
Lip for Prez in 08 baby! lol.


Sunday, November 07, 2004

Words: David Shulman

New York Times obituary for lexicographer David Shulman contains this line:
Mr. Shulman avoided excessive modesty, letting it drop that he was at least temporarily the last word on words that included "The Great White Way," "Big Apple," "doozy," "hoochie-coochie."

Some other good stories in the obit, including one about an eccentric at the New York Public Library.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Punk Rock For Pussies - nice mix of post-punk and golden oldies. I'm listening to the July 22nd show.

Music: Flying Lizards

Controversy over the Flying Lizards cover of "Money (That's What I Want)". We all agreed it's an excellent cover. The disagreement arises over the lead "vocalist". Is she Asian? Trying to sound Asian? I never heard her accent as being anything other than English. But an internet search finds this: Some people thought they were a new wave band lead by a Japanese lady who "...sang poorly.". And this: "Money" is a classic New Wave Dance from The Flying Lizards circa 1979 that sounds as though Yoko Ono is on vocals..

Must be a cultural thing - Yanks can't identify accents for shit.

Guardian article about One Hit Wonders (including the Flying Lizards).

Song List: Covers

Robb the Troglodyte writes:

I guess you can't put comments in without signing up.
I didn't want to sign up.

Great ones:
Jeff Buckley doing Hallelujah by Cohen
Cowboy junkies doing Sweet Jane by The Velvet
Take Me to the River Talking Heads by Al Green
Walk This Way Run DMC
Love and Rockets Ball of Confusion

Not so Great:
Bauhaus doing Ziggy Stardust
Guns 'n Roses Live or Let Die and Knocking on Heaven's
Door (anything covered by GNR)
I have No Doubt that It's My Life shouldn't be covered
Johnny Cash doing Nine Inch Nails - puleez

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Jesus and Mary Chain rip-off. (Turn your speakers down before playing their MP3s.)

Music: Covers

Follow-up to Shell's thoughts on cover versions. Yes, definitely has to be very different from the original. The one that comes to mind is John Cale's slowed-down, intense version of "Heartbreak Hotel". On the lighter side, Aztec Camera's version of Van Halen's "Jump".

Men covering a song previously sung by a woman is usually campy fun (like Travis doing "Baby One More Time"). An exception is Danny Wilson singing "Knowing Me, Knowing You" - but that's because it's such a great song.

Eric speaks up for "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", preferring CCR to Marvin Gaye. Also done by Joe Cocker, Average White Band, the Dead Milkmen and the Slits.

Law: Funny Names

Do lawyers have funnier names than the general population? Some of the people who just passed the Texas Bar Examination: Matthew Acock, Bobby Bui (Baba booey?), Keisha Dicks, Elizabeth Justice, Nora Law, Chase Laws, Liberty Lay, Margaret Lecocke, Carnegie Harvard Mims III, Griselda Ponce, Melissa Schwaller, Tan My Tang, Hugo Teste and Equator Turner.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Music: Covers

Shell writes:

Music Remakes
1. Cover Band Bad
These unfortunately-too-faithful note-by-note, karaoke winner remakes don't make one say "What or Who is That?" The actual question is "Why bother?"
Examples: Lemonheads cover of "Mrs Robinson" or ??? cover of "Boys of Summer."
2. Vocal Gender Change
What keeps these covers from falling into category number 1 is the vocal gender change,
usually when a woman vocalist covers a song originally crooned by a male.
Examples: Bangles cover of "Hazy Shade of Winter", Bananarama cover of "Venus",
Can't think of a man covers woman song at this moment.
3. Reinvented Greatness
These covers are different enough from the original they aren't immediately recognizeable. Even a bad result is better than the awful category 1 clunker.
Examples: The Cure's wonderful cover of Hendrix' "Purple Haze"
Manfred Mann cover of Springsteen's "Blinded By the Light"

Politics: Democratic Party

Whither the Democratic Party? Will it move to the center to attract an increasingly conservative electorate? Will it move to the left to energise its more radical base?

Here's my suggestion, free of charge. Split into two separate (but affiliated) parties: Vanilla Democrats and Xtreme Democrats.

The Vanilla (moderate) Democrats would run in rural or suburban areas.

The Xtreme (activist) party would run in the cities.

The moderates would be free of the "Liberal" tag that is used so effectively against them in the South. The radicals wouldn't have to watch what they say.

The two parties would field a joint "United Democrat" candidate for the Presidential election (a moderate, of course). Xtremists would be rewarded with cabinet posts in areas like the Environment and Health and Social Services.

Ideally, the Republicans would do something similar, and before too long, the moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats could form a new centrist party that would force the extremists on both sides into the margins of history. Or something like that.

Media: Peter Jennings

Why I hate Peter Jennings. Last night, George Will mentioned that Abraham Lincoln rushed Nevada to statehood to get extra Electoral College votes. Jennings nodded smugly, "I remember that incident well." No, he wasn't claiming that he was alive in 1864 - he wanted us to know that his knowledge of U.S. history is just as deep as George's.

I enjoyed his testy exchange with their reporter with the Kerry campaign, who offhandedly referred to the belief in the Kerry camp that Bush had won Ohio. At that stage, I believe only NBC had called Ohio for Bush. I forget the exact words, but Jennings sharply squelched any suggestion that Ohio was decided.

Dan Ratherisms from last night (and 2002 and 2000).

Monday, November 01, 2004

Music: The Boss

Caught a bit of Bruce Springsteen performing on behalf of Kerry on C-SPAN. Saw the end of one murky dirge - a song where Bruce plays the common man and addresses someone as "Mister". Then he started another identical dirge that turned out to be "Thunder Road". Sad, very sad. He had the words written out in a booklet but the wind turned the pages. This can't be helping.

Politics: Sideshow Bob

Savvy political analysis from Sideshow Bob, when asked why he rigged the mayoral election:
Because you need me, Springfield. Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king. That's why I did this: to protect you from yourselves. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a city to run.

Sundance is running some anti-Bush programs tonight. I'll be tuning in for "Bush's Brain" tonight at 9:10pm, all about Karl Rove.
In non-political viewing, I recommend "The Young Visiters" on BBC America on Wednesday night. It's based on a story written by a 9-year-old girl in 1890 (hence the misspelling). Very charming.