Friday, September 30, 2005

Music: "White Lines"

George W. Bush performing updated version of "White Lines".

TV: Singers In Series

Name these singers who played recurring characters on TV dramas or sitcoms.

  1. This head of a musical dynasty played Capt. Calvin Spalding on "M*A*S*H".
  2. This chap appears as the town troubadour on "Gilmore Girls". (I think he only sings, so this doesn't really count.)
  3. This rock chick was Leather Tuscadero on "Happy Days".
  4. This '80s singer thought it was hip to be seen on "One Tree Hill". That's news to me.
  5. This '80s Scottish singer says she could be happy appearing on "EastEnders".
  6. Nickelodeon's "The Adventures Of Pete & Pete" had a lot of rock & roll guest stars (Debbie Harry, Gordon Gano, Juliana Hatfield, Kate Pierson, Michael Stipe), and this punk godfather played someone's father in two episodes.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Cryptic Football Players

Can you guess these American Football players from the cryptic clues?

  1. Sketched a light wind.
  2. Sticky liquid from a rabbit hole.
  3. Chauffeur for Trump.
  4. One who conceals a deceased talk show host in his hand.
  5. Big room for Italian poet.
  6. Arrow-maker from English city.
  7. German dark beer.

And one very cryptic player:

  • July through November starters meet male Running Back.

Sports: Appropriate Names

Raiders' Defensive Back Stanford Routt. Pity he went to college in Houston instead of Stanford. And he doesn't run routes. But I'm sure he's been involved in some one-sided games.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Movies: William Fichtner

Pity poor William Fichtner. Usually cast as the creepy cop, the sleazy husband or the violent co-worker. Now he's the (probably) evil Sheriff on ABC's "Invasion". (Show seems okay - could do with more main characters.) How does it feel when your agent tells you, "Sorry, Bill, but they don't want you for the hero. They think you'd make the perfect baddie."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

TV: Pot Pourri

  • Is there any better feeling than when "The Daily Show" begins with today's date, so you know it's not a repeat?
  • What's up with the sound of the theme music when "The Daily Show" comes back from a commercial break? Is it "phasing" or "flanging"? I'm not the only one who noticed this.
  • "The Amazing Race: Family Edition" looks pretty good so far. Amish buggy accident! Woman who said Pennsylvania "might be a state"! Little girl calling her older brother a dork! Edith Bunker dropping the clue, then having a meltdown!
  • Norm Chad is supposed to be the funny one on ESPN's World Series Of Poker, but Lon McEachern had the best line tonight. When the camera showed Chris Grigorian's girlfriend cheering him on, Lon said she was "leading the Grigorian chant".

Monday, September 26, 2005

TV: Dylan On PBS

  • I watched the first part of the Dylan documentary on PBS. Favourite quote: "Bob Dylan was a bastard in the second half." (Unhappy English fan, talking about the "electric" part of Dylan's concert.)
  • For commercial-free TV, there sure are a lot of commercials on PBS.
  • Worth it for the clips of Odetta and John Jacob Niles. Go to his page to hear his "bone chilling soprano voice". Freaky!
  • Part 2 tomorrow unfortunately coincides with the season premiere of "The Amazing Race". I'll be pulling for the Bransen girls.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Movie Quiz: Names

In which movies do you find these names? They're not necessarily the names of characters. (The year the movie was released is given in parentheses.)

  1. Keyser Soze (1995)
  2. Dapper Dan (2000)
  3. Bingo Crepuscule (2004)
  4. Trudy Kockenlocker (1944)
  5. Citizen Dick (1992)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cookies: Morelianas

Is there a more delicious bilingual cookie than Nabisco's Morelianas? The box says "Sandwich Cookies - Galletas Sandwich" and "Orange Flavor - Sabor Naranja". They're made in Mexico, then shipped to the US. Part of a trend of foods targeted at the Hispanic market. Named after a town in Mexico, they seem to be quite different from the original Morelianas - "flat caramel-like disks of burnt milk and sugar"

Words: Fr-

Words that start with "fr-".

  • Frass: (noun) Insect excrement.
  • Fribbler: (noun) A trifler. "One who professes rapture for the woman, and dreads her consent."
  • Froward: (adjective) Stubbornly contrary, obstinate.
  • Fraktur: A Germanic typeface.
  • Frist: (verb) to sell stock from a "blind" trust before it takes a nose-dive (stock from your family's company).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Appropriate Names: Movies

Stunt man Stuart Fell - as mentioned by Michael Palin on the commentary track for "Ripping Yarns". There is also a stunt man called Chester Tripp

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Facial Hair

You know who'd look good with a chin puff (like the Chef Sauce chef)? Joe Lieberman.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Lyrics Quiz: Mystery Theme

  • 'Steada treated - We get tricked! 'Steada kisses - We get kicked!
  • Like the mountains in springtime. Like a walk in the rain. Like a storm in the desert. Like a sleepy blue ocean.
  • She goes for her medical. She’s passed, it’s a miracle. She’s up over the moon. She whistles nonsense tunes.
  • Heading out this morning into the sun, riding on the diamond waves, little darlin' one.
  • They say that all is fair in love and war, and child, believe it. When mama stayed in Saint Tropez, she had a fall or two.
  • Annie, are you okay? Are you okay, Annie?
  • I tell myself too many times, Why don't you ever learn to keep your big mouth shut? That's why it hurts so bad to hear the words tThat keep on falling from your mouth.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Advertising: Budweiser

That August Busch IV - what a stiff. Is he really the best person for their TV commercials?

He "has a reputation as a party boy" - could have fooled me. Maybe they should show him whooping it up like a drunken frat boy. (Other choice quote: ""Wall Street doesn't know how bright he is.")

Apparently, the Busch family has supported the Demmy-crats ever since FDR repealed Prohibition.

That still doesn't change the fact that so many people compare Bud unfavourably to urine.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Song List: Borrowed Lyrics

Songs that borrow from other songs. It can be a straight quote, with proper attribution, like Prince in "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker":
"Oh, my favorite song" she said.
And it was Joni singing "Help me I think I'm falling".

It can be the ironic use of pop lyrics, like The Brunettes quoting the Spice Girls in "Leonard Says":

Please don't scare me like that ever again.
I won't be an audience for your self-aggression.
And if you wanna be my lover,
You've gotta get with my friends.

It can be a slight variation on the original, like The Silent League borrowing a melody from George Michael in "The Catbird Seat":

You're never gonna wanna dance again.

It can be hero-worship that crosses over into spooky "SWF" territory, as when Ian McNabb of The Icicle Works tries to become Neil Young in "A Factory In The Desert":

Dream up, dream up,
Let me fill your cup.

If you count psalms as songs, there's U2 in (Psalm) "40":

I waited patiently for the Lord.
He inclined and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit,
Out of the miry clay.

And finally, there's the full-blown appropriation of someone else's lyrics, put to a different tune, like Spiritualized using JJ Cale's words in "Run":

They call me the breeze.
I keep rollin’ down the road.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sudoku: Software

For Sudoku solvers, I recommend Simple Sudoku, a freeware Sudoku generator/solver. The website also contains a page of Hints, with some advanced techniques. (While I was running Simple Sudoku for the first time, I heard my hard drive grinding away big time. Turns out the program generates a respository of puzzles in the background the first time it's run, so don't panic.)

More Sudoku techniques.

Evolution: Darwin Not A Racist

The Dallas Morning News' Religion section has a letter today from a Wylie creationist. He writes:
That full title of Darwin's book is: The Origin Of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
For anyone who has read Darwin, there can be no doubt that he was an outspoken racist. Anyone with black skin, according to him, represented a lower, less advanced form of civilization.

The writer goes on to infer that Evolutionists must welcome Hurricane Katrina as "a good and natural thing".

Talk.Origins debunks that canard, pointing out that Darwin used "Races" in his title to refer to varieties within a species. It also links to Darwin's writings, where it is clear that Darwin held advanced views for his time. He describes convicts from India as "noble-looking figures", and compares them favourably ("from their outward conduct, their cleanliness and faithful observance of their strange religious rites") to British convicts sent to Australia. (Although he does make reference to "the disagreeable expression of a mulatto".)

Darwin also writes of the only time on his trip when he encountered "a want of politeness":

I feel glad that this happened in the land of the Brazilians, for I bear them no good will — a land also of slavery, and therefore of moral debasement.

There is more, if you're interested, at the EvoWiki.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Feeble Attempt At Humour

Apple has announced its latest winner: the iPod nana. Measuring just 4" x 2.5" and weighing less than an ounce, it smells of cat pee, squeezes your cheeks and tells you that you look just like her cousin who died in 1928 when he fell through the ice on a frozen lake.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Music: Country

Country Music Round-up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sports: Appropriate Names

More sports people with names appropriate to their sport.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Office Pools: Emmys

Enterpool has added a pool for the primetime Emmy awards, being held next Sunday. There's a public group anyone can join, "A Lifetime Achievement Award For Screech".

Having "Desperate Housewives" in the comedy category makes it difficult to pick, especially when it's up against the last season of "Everybody Loves Raymond". In the Reality category, look for "The Amazing Race" to repeat. And you'd expect "The Daily Show" to win again in the oddly named "Variety, Music Or Comedy Series" category.

Music: Classical

Dallas Morning News article about a piano concerto by George Tsontakis being premiered by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra next weekend. Pianist Stephen Hough is quoted as saying:
"There's no soft center to this music. It is very muscular, and dare I say masculine? He's a Greek-American. He's got a mustache."

"He's got a mustache"? Several members of the Village People also had mustaches.

In the same article, the composer says:

"Yesterday I went to take a quiet walk, and there was a guy on the other side on a cellphone, just yelling into a cellphone. I couldn't get away from him. There's no contemplation left. That's worse to me than the wars that are happening."

I'm no fan of cellphones but I think I'd rank them below wars in my list of irritants.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lyrics Quiz: Tell

Here's a great songwriting tip. Add an extra dimension to a conversational song by telling the listener to tell someone else.

  1. And you can tell your friend there with you, he'll have to go.
  2. Tell him that you're never gonna leave him.
  3. So say hey Willie, tell Ty Cobb and Joe Dimaggio.
  4. ...And tell Tchaikovsky the news.
  5. Tell my wife I love her very much. She knows.
  6. Tell her I'm sorry, tell her I need my baby. Oh, won't you tell her that I love her?
  7. You better tell that girl I'm gonna beat her up.
  8. Please tell my mother I miss her the most.
  9. Tell those girls with rifles for minds that their jokes don't make me laugh.
  10. So tell my baby I said so long. Tell my mother I did no wrong. Tell my brother to watch his own. And tell my friends to mourn me none.

Words: Antivenin

Memo to Shell: Yes, Antivenom and Antivenin are both correct. I'd never heard of Antivenin before. "Venin" is the French word for "venom".

Movies: Miscasting

Creepy Elijah Wood has been quoted recently as saying about his role in "Green Street Hooligans" that the plot is "pretty far-fetched", and ""I just played the character I was meant to play and make that transition as believable as I possibly could in the context of the story." Sounds like someone is trying to distance himself from his film.

The Daily Telegraph calls it, "a lager-lout melodrama so consummately rubbish it's impossible to take seriously." Zap2It makes fun of the marketing of the film as "The movie Hollywood doesn't want you to see." (Roger Ebert (who has gone soft) gives it a much kinder review.) See summaries of more reviews at Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

The residents of the real Green Street are upset at the portrayal of their neighbourhood. Among those quoted: the owners of a cafe called "Pie, Mash and Eels". Hmmmmm, eels!

Now Ezekiel Wood says he's nervous about playing Iggy Pop. As well he should. He looks nothing like young Iggy and lacks his dangerous charisma. So why doesn't Zephaniah just back out of this project quietly and let a more suitable actor take over?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Music: Swedish

New Cardigans video for their next single, "I need some fine wine and you, you need to be nicer". That's a long title. The new album, "Super Extra Gravity", comes out in the US on October 25th. In the meantime, buy "Long Gone Before Daylight". You won't be sorry.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

TV: Fall 2005 Guide

Your guide to the new shows on Fall TV.
  • "Commander In Chief" (ABC) - Remember how great it was for liberals when Martin Sheen was pretend-President? Well, now Geena Davis is pretend-President! A woman! Can you believe it? (But don't worry - she's not elected President: she's Veep when the real President dies.)
  • "The War At Home" (FOX) - Michael Rapaport has made a career out of playing tough guys. I'm sure he really is a tough guy. Now we're supposed to buy him as a lovable father? The studio audience will laugh for fear he'll come after them with a baseball bat.
  • "Night Stalker" (ABC) - This remake stars Stuart Townsend. Stuart Townsend can't act. His only notable achievement is bagging Charlize Theron. (Why is his character called the Night Stalker? Because he "stalks the night".)
  • "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS) - Doogie Hauser is about as funny as Michael Rapaport (although far less threatening).
  • "Ghost Whisperer" (CBS) - Jennifer Love Hewitt in tight white t-shirts.
  • "Eggz Benedict" (MTV) - The last remnants of the "Jackass" crew travel to the Vatican, where they try to evade the Swiss Guard and pelt the Pope. "You've been Eggz'd, Benedict!"
  • "Whipper & Snapper" (NBC) - A Dominatrix and a tabloid photographer become unlikely roommates after a mix-up by their zany realtor. The two join together to solve crimes, run a Montessori school and play Cupid to the ghosts who live in their basement. Sounds like another winner for NBC!

Music: Indie

Some crazy Italians have made a list of the top 100 "indiepop" albums. They write: "Many of enclosed discs are collections of single: it is not strange, in a kind that has been above all issue of seven inches and 45 turns, to find therefore many late collections or esumazioni posthumous; the riscoperta one is in the game of the indiepop." There are many artists here that I have never heard of (Biff Bang Pow?). Note that the list is in alphabetical order. (Found via Indie MP3.)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cryptic Crossword: 7x5

The whales are starting to learn new tricks - but they still can't solve Cryptic Crosswords. That's what separates us from the animals. If you don't solve these clues, it means the filthy beasts have won.

1  2 3  4


1. American car for esteemed French lady, we hear. (5,2)
5. Gold found by FBI agents. Treasury starts to increase. (7)
6. Football player wrapped in sheet makes frozen dessert. (7)


1. Aquatic bird rises against gravity and bites. (5)
2. Debate Republican caught in fever. (5)
3. Database shelters itty-bitty nerd. (5)
4. Salute to music includes sacred choral work, played backwards. (5)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Automobiles: Safety

Toyota is introducing a safety system to ensure that drivers keep their eyes on the road. Three cheers for Toyota! Jeers to those drivers who think that they have to maintain eye contact with their passengers while they chat, even if the passenger is in the back seat or strapped to the roof rack.

The Simpsons: Curse

The Curse Of The Simpsons strikes again - Bob Denver i dead. He played himself on the episode where Homer joined the Naval Reserve. Guess we'll never be able to say "Hey, little buddy!" and hit him over the head with a hat ever again.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Office Pools: Supreme Court

The following anecdote appeared in an article about judges' instructions to juries.
The case was a murder trial in which jurors had to decide whether the defendant killed his victim with "malice," which has a complex definition involving an intentional act performed with conscious disregard for human life. After a couple of days of deliberations, Corrigan said, the jurors approached the judge in bewilderment, pointed out that the trial involved a fatal shooting, and asked, "What's this mallet you keep talking about?"

Speaking of judicial matters, those crazy cats over at Enterpool have set up a pool to pick President Bush's next Supreme Court nominee. It's a public contest, so just sign up, join the group and make your pick. They have helpfully provided links to Wikipedia articles on all the likely nominees. The deadline to make your pick is Midnight on Sunday, September 11. My prediction: it's going to be a woman.

Words: Furphy

A headline at Google News caught my eye: Fling 'a furphy'. The brief excerpt at Google began: "HOLLYWOOD beauty Kirsten Dunst has denied she and Orlando Bloom had a fling..."

So what is a "furphy"? I clicked on the story at this Australian website (part of Rupert Murdoch's (spit) News Corp) but the word is never used in the body.

The word turns out to be Australian slang for a false rumour, deriving from the water-carts made by J. Furphy which were used in World War I. (Soldiers would gather by these tanks and gossip - or perhaps the drivers of the carts brought rumours with them. The article points out that scuttlebutt has a similar origin.) J. Furphy & Sons are still in business.

Feeble Attempt At Humour

Tinactin may act tough, but it's really a pussy-cat.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Office Pools: American Football

(American) Football season starts on Thursday. Enterpool has upgraded its site to help manage your office Football pool. You can now create your own group and invite friends to play - automatically. Best of all, it's free. Sign up today.

Music: Opera

From the New York Times, Garry Marshall is directing an opera in L.A.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Poor old King Carl Gustaf of Sweden. Yes, he has a lovely wife (Abba sang "Dancing Queen" the night before the wedding), but some religious nutjob in Topeka, Kansas has included Sweden and its monarch in his anti-"fag" railings. Unsurprisingly, this "church" thanks God for Hurricane Katrina.

Good old King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great of Thailand, the world's longest-reigning head of state. Not only did he help shepherd Thailand to democracy, he translated "A Man Called Intrepid" to Thai and holds several patents for rainmaking.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Pot Pourri

  • If Nancy Grace is not the most despised woman on TV, she's certainly the most despicable.
  • Quite frankly, I think there's not enough monkey business.
  • Most delicious apple: Royal Gala. Good old 4174.
  • And who assigns those 4-digit produce numbers? The International Federation for Produce Coding.
  • The DVD release of "Leonard, Part 6" has 4 stars from Amazon customers. "Overlooked gem", "stroke of genius", "Best Movie Ever!"
  • A lovely photo of a wrecked Hummer H2.
  • What do Gary Glitter and Stevie Wonder have in common? (There's a hint in one of the items above.)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Poem: Nigel Mansell


You can't make plans for Nigel Mansell.
At the last minute, he'll call to cancel.

Current Events: Hurricane Katrina

This BBC report has a good cross-section diagram of New Orleans at the bottom of the page.