Monday, July 31, 2006

Eleanor Holmes Norton on The Colbert Report

As part of Stephen Colbert's ongoing "get to know all the Congressional districts" series, Eleanor Holmes Norton was a guest the other day. DCist has the YouTube hook-up. Just thought I'd share. Incidentally, I don't care what anybody says...I think Eleanor Holmes Norton comes off pretty bad here. But either way, it's pretty darn funny.

- DCist
Colbert post, with YouTube clip
- Washington Post

Mel, you so craaazy!

Hollywood is abuzz this morning. And the news is big, I tells ya. Big news. It involves one of Hollywood's biggest Hollywood superstars: Mel Gibson. Allegedly, after being pulled over for drunk driving, Mel Gibson told a police officer that "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I like your beard, Mel.

Now. Before I go any further, I want to ask you one question. I'm going to ask it one time and one time only, so listen up. My question to you is, what would we do without Hollywood celebrities to set our national political agenda? It's not a fucking rhetorical question, you fuckin tree hugger. FUCKING ANSWER ME! FUCK!

Seriously. Only intoxicated celebrities have the courage and power to speak this level of truth. Think about it. Think about all the wars and all the difficult situations in the world right now. Hell, think about all the wars and conflicts going back 100 years. Then think about the Jews. Take Vietnam, for example. Helloooo! Where were the Jews during that crisis? See what I'm saying? Or what about World War II? Where the Jews were all like, "we think you should kill us all so that we're better able to, like, oppress everybody and shit." And notice the name of the author of the story hyperlinked below. Sandy Cohen. Sandy COHEN? Eh? Eh? Conspiracy, anyone? See, once you have all the facts, the evidence becomes overwhelming.

Still not convinced? A bit thick-headed over there? Well, as my final stroke, here's a bunch of people who are Jewish:

- Kim Jong-Il
- Osama Bin Laden
- Charles Taylor
- Krusty the Clown
- George W. Bush
- Saddam Hussein
- that Hezbollah guy
- the Israel guy

I'm not going to say anything else. Just look at that list, and decide for yourself. Know what I mean? YOU be the judge. I rest my case.

- Washington Post

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Fergie is just not attractive, there I said it

So my wife got a trial subscription of Cosmopolitan magazine. The first issue she received, this month's issue, is dubbed The Hot Issue and includes features such as 10 Ways To Drive Him Wild in Bed, The Sexiest Ways To Have Sexy Sex, and so forth. (Verrrrrrrrry different thematically from other Cosmo issues, by the way.) Who graces the cover of The Hot Issue, you ask? Eva Longoria? Jessica Alba? The wildly underrated Maria Menounos?


It's Fergie. You know, from the Black-Eyed Peas? Er, yeah.

Oh, excuse me, sir. I didn't see you there.

Can you see that cover? I defy you to look at her and tell me she's attractive. Yeah, I know she has a flat stomach, but is that what you're basing your entire decision on? The rest of her body isn't even that great. Overall, though, she's taking the phrase
"butter face" to a new level. Look at her! Is that a pretty face? Or does it look like The Dog took her around back to the shed and kicked her in the grille a few times? Answer me! This is one of those girls people think is hot because she's popular right now, but in 10 years people are going to rag you for it. Trust me. Hell, I'm doing it right now! I'm hatin' on you, playa!

So let's remove our blinders about Fergie and her alleged hotness. The emperor wears no clothes! Plus, the fact that she performed
one of the worst songs ever, and once peed her pants onstage ain't exactly sweetening the deal. I say we make a clean break and move on.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

A very special guest blog featuring Bob Ross

Hi, welcome back. Certainly glad you could join us today! Are you ready for another fantastic show today? Good! So get out your old easy chair, big glass of iced tea, and let's get to it!

Now usually on our show, we create a full painting from start to finish, just a happy sort of painting that just makes you feel good inside. But today, I thought we'd do something a little different! Sometimes, doing something different can really make you happy.

And on that note, I'd like to go ahead and sort of make a little announcement to all my television friends. You know, I have so many television friends out there, who send me cards and letters to let me know how much they enjoy the show, and how much they enjoy painting along with me each week. And they send along photographs of paintings they've created -- just some of the most gorgeous little scenes and paintings you could ever hope to imagine.

So today, for all my friends who paint along with me, I'm announcing a very special -- a very, very special --
Bob Ross art contest! And we're so very excited about it. But I've had people ask me, Bob, what is this contest for? I thought we weren't interested in that happy buck. I thought painting was for your own enjoyment, to satisfy your inner creative self. Well, this contest is for the new Bob Ross video game! That's right. It's going to be a wonderful little painting game for the Nintendo system. What's the point of the game? Painting. It's a painting game! It's a video game in which you create paintings.

Now I know what you're thinking. And I agree. This is going to be just the most beautiful, most exciting little happy video game that - I think - has ever been made. Because painting makes you happy. And when you get up into that canvas - even if it's a video canvas - that canvas is your world. And you have absolute power over that world. You can change the course of rivers, you can literally move mountains. It's a beautiful thing, and does wonderful things to you.

So I hope all of you turn in some of your very best paintings for our little contest. And don't worry if you're not Michaelangelo Da Vinci. Because we don't make mistakes in our world. We only have happy accidents.

So that's our show for today! I hope you get going soon on your contest entries, and I look forward to seeing them. And from all of us here, I'd like to wish you happy painting, and God bless, my friend! :)

Contest announcement and guidelines
Video game announcement
- This is
my happy little Web site!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hey Nats: does the phrase "shit or get off the pot" mean anything to you guys?

Well, here we are in Day 612 of the Alfonso Soriano Trade Watch. Want to hear some breaking news? General Manager Jim Bowden is working the phones in the hopes of pulling something off. That's a No One Appreciates Me Exclusive, now. Of course, as the Nats attempt to overhaul their roster, pretty much anything not nailed down is for sale, including washed-up pitcher Livan Hernandez. Hopefully the Nats can extricate themselves from his dead arm and deadly contract. It's situations like this when you really wish Isiah Thomas had been a two-sport athlete.

But seriously, this is all very exciting for the Nationals and their fans. But apparently, it is most exciting for Bowden. In
Boswell's column today:

"The fire department is in my office right now hosing down my phone because all it does is burn."
Hey, that's great, Jim. You're an American bad-ass! But in the coming days (Major League Baseball's trade deadline is Monday), instead of talking about it, how about, you know, accomplishing something? Bowden's a great sound byte, I'll give him that, but I am willing to bet money that he won't pull off a major trade this season.

I sure can talk a good game, I know that much...

Some of that isn't his fault. The Chicago White Sox wanting Soriano but refusing to part with young pitching phenom Brandon McCarthy is like that guy in your fantasy football league who keeps trying to trade you Lee Evans for Antonio Gates ("Evans is a wide receiver, man! Gates is just a tight end!"). But still, I bet it won't happen. Watch him pull off some quarter-for-five-nickels trade involving Ramon Ortiz at the 11th hour just to justify his own non-stop gush of cowboy rhetoric.

For my part, I hope they keep Soriano. He said he wanted to be here (at least, before they started auctioning him off like some prize-winning beef steer) and he's freaky good and fun to watch and not even that old. Why not hold onto him? But in any case, these last few days of the trade season are put-up-or-shut-up time for the Nats. Either pull off a trade, or quit yer yappin.

- Washington Post
Boswell's column
- Remember when Bowden
got a DUI a few months back?

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This war needs a name

News continues to pour in from the Middle East. And sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but as I read I can't help noticing the absence of such words as "cease fire," "negotiations," "withdraw," and "peace is really taking root here."

Rather, there are mentions of "civil war," "escalating violence," and "ground troop occupations." In
an analysis piece this morning, the Post's Robin Wright wrote:

The real issues, U.S. officials say, are not simply the hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah but far wider questions of Lebanon's sovereignty and what the administration sees as an existential battle between forces aligned for and against democracy in the region.

Existential battle? That sounds a lot like "reckoning" to me. So on that note, I think this war needs a name. A real name. Not some mealy-mouthed catch-all like "the Second Gulf War," or "Crisis in the Middle East" or "The War on Terror." With so many nations involved and so many cross-streams of hatred, it should now be The Middle East War, or The Culture War (kinda like that one) or, dare I say, World War III. It's out of control out there. It is total, utter bedlam. And I think the way we define (and, thus, the way we think about) what's happening needs to change to reflect that.

- Washington Post story on
adding troops
- Washington Post story on
heavy Israeli casualties
- N.Y. Times story on
Israel occupying Lebanon
- Washington Post story on
killed U.N. peacekeepers

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Metro: Slouching toward respectability?

Just realized how long it's been since I posted about Metro, which is weird, because that's one of the things I was most excited to kvetch about when I started this blog. Because when you're like me, and you ride the train 30 minutes each way, twice a day, five days a week, fifty weeks a year, and the system is slowly growing outmoded and overmatched before your eyes, there's plenty to say. But now, Ima show some love. There seem to be fewer delays lately, more capital improvements (as opposed to the simple entropy of continuous upkeep), and a stronger feeling of common sense and responsiveness. (More federal money could be on the way, too, even though detractors say it's pork.)

It's no coincidence that this happened just after a monstrous string of bad publicity, the subsequent ouster of chairman
Richard White (who apparently didn't even ride Metro regularly), and the appointment of interim head Dan Tangherlini, who is only 38 and headed the DC Department of Transportation before this. I encountered him once or twice back in my reporter days. The guy really cares, and has charisma. How many other transportation officials - at any level, anywhere - can you say that about?

Anyway, they're now searching for a permanent head - Tangherlini applied, but
regional politicians are bickering about him. Can you believe it? Maryland and Northern Virginia bickering? I swear, if Maryland passed a resolution saying the sky was blue, within hours Virginia would be demanding more evidence. And vice versa. In any case, here's hoping they think clearly for a change and do the right thing. I think the future of Metro - and of the region - is "riding" on it. Yes!

- Washington Post

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Tiger Woods finally gets his heart, oil can

After a long and arduous journey involving enchanted poppy fields, debilitating joint stiffness, an Emerald City, and a grove of dastardly talking trees, Tiger Woods finally received his heart yesterday on the beautiful brown “greens” of Royal Liverpool, breaking down in tears after winning his third British Open title just months after his father passed away.

Happy day!

As Woods – who has often appeared frigid or even vaguely robotic in public – hoisted the championship trophy, he took a moment to thank several members of the adoring throng that surrounded him.

“Sergio Garcia! You were there!” he cried. “You were you, but you weren’t you. You were this lion, but you were all, like, cowardly and, frankly, a little fruity (literally). And Phil Mickelson. I think I’ll miss you most of all. Hang in there, Lefty! You’re gonna get that brain some day, I just know it!

“But perhaps more than anyone else, I’d like to thank my model-nanny wife, Elin. You led me along the yellow brick road of myriad pleasures and delights. You know those ruby undergarments I bought for you? Yeah, those are hot.”

Just then, Nike CEO Phil Knight descended from the sky in a giant Nike hot air balloon.

“Why, Tiger, this is splendid, just splendid! But you know something? You’ve had the power inside you all along! Remember all those poignant ads you've made for us? Like the one of the montage of you and your dad during your youth? Well, all you had to do was pretend your life was one of your commercials! Then you need only rub two hundred dollar bills together three times, and just like that, why, my dear boy, you’re on your way!”

And with that, Tiger boarded the Nike brand hot air balloon, vigorously rubbing handfuls of cash together. And he and Knight soared high up into the sky, through the wispy British clouds, and out over the rainbow. And they aaalllllllllllllllllllllllll lived happily ever after. The end.

- Washington Post
story link
- Another Washington Post story,
on Tiger and his father

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(Woods photo credit: John Bazemore/AP)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Beach Music

I don't understand the phrase "blow this popsicle stand." I don't know about you, but I tend to associate popsicle stands with positive things - like popsicles - so why would I want to blow it? Yer, I mean, why would I want to blow out of there? Shouldn't the phrase be "go to this popsicle stand?" I vote yes. So in that spirit, in only two hours, I get to go to this popsicle stand. In my case, that means the beach.

Yeeeeeaaaaaaahhhh....beach music!

Things move a little slower down by the seaside. Tropical drink melting in my hand. I can hear the beach music right now. It's like a combination of steel drums, jaunty guitar, and 80s covers. Seriously, when you're down at the beach, why is it so completely impossible (and undesirable) to hear any song that was written after 1987? Example - I was down there for Memorial Day, and the local radio station played The Golden Girls theme song. Where else could you possibly hear that but at the beach? And what's more, me and my friend sat in the car and belted out the lyrics like it was the greatest song we had ever heard. What's that about? And when you go to the bar, it's all Def Leppard and Foreigner covers. I swear, if I walk into a beach bar or a beach club and hear "Tainted Love" one more time, well, I don't know what I'll do. But I can promise you this - it will be rash.

But in a way, you want the beach music. You want the 80s junk. It's all part of the getting away, the suspended reality -- the quintessential otherness -- of being at the beach. It's not just the waves and the sand people go for. It's the music. The beach music. THAT is the ultimate popsicle stand.

Wal-Mart wins Maryland court victory, has really f-in cheap party

A few months ago, the Maryland state legislature made a law that basically required all Wal-Mart stores in the state to provide a certain amount of health care for their employees. Yesterday, that law was struck down in federal court.

Thereby touching off the WILDEST, WACKIEST WAL-MART-ABRATION seen since they realized that bladderless children could sew shirt buttons for twenty extra minutes each day!

Welcome to party central, playa. What up Bentonviiiiiilllllle!!!!!

You've heard about the lavish extravaganzas thrown by Diddy, and some of those corporate types? Well, those parties have nothing - NOTHING - on a party thrown by the largest company on the planet. Everyone gathers at headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. They take down the movable walls between conference rooms A and B. And that's when the Simply Soda begins to flow like wine. Immigrant girls - who were "sequestered" in the conference rooms the previous night for set-up - circulate through the room with bulk cans of fancy mixed nuts (no more than 80 percent peanuts - THAT'S your Wal-Mart guarantee).

Now it's a Wal-Mart party...

And after exactly 19 minutes of pure revelry, it's back to work for Wal-Mart. But hey, court judge? Don't think you were forgotten. Expect eight silk carnations in the mail any day. You know, the ones that smell like Band-Aids and come with a little plastic bird on a stick? Vase not included, though. We're not made of money here at Wal-Mart, buddy.

- Washington Post

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

DC Council: Technology not only fail-proof, but also nifty!

Crime rates in D.C., just like the mercury, have risen sharply as of late. (You like that opening sentence? Thank you, yeah. I crafted it myself.)

And I'm not afraid to say it, people -- this is bad. So in response to the D.C. killings and robberies -- which, remember, I am on record as saying are bad -- the city council decided to set a curfew for teens and install video cameras in certain neighborhoods. And I, for one, applaud this new arena for Lady Technology. In fact, I say, Huzzah!

Forget those pie-in-the-sky liberals who talk of "improving education" and "creating opportunities and incentives" for kids. I say forget people who call today's parents "woefully overmatched." Our governments can try to help with those things, but when do we see tangible results? One year? Ten years? In contrast, if I vote for cameras, I get cameras in mere weeks, hanging from the phone poles. Teens can't throw rocks at "opportunities," my friend. I want change I can see with my eyes and touch with my hands. Or could if I, you know, went into those neighborhoods.

And here's what else I'm saying: why stop at surveillance cameras? Let's throw MORE technology at the problem. How about laser matrices around every liquor store? How about cars that make really loud noises if someone is breaking into them? (How could THAT not work?) And finally -- and this is a little pet project of mine -- how about a squadron of intelligent robots that resemble humans, but are really killing machines? Or at least, arresting machines. Or why bother arresting people or imposing curfews at all? Why not take a bunch of bricks and mortar, a few miles of razor wire, maybe some of those dog shock collar things, and use those to keep the neighborhoods in line? Know what I mean? We'll bring the jail to the neighborhoods! Instead of the other way around! Save time. And gasoline. I like where my head is at.

- Washington Post

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My wish is that SportsCenter was still a decent television show

Well, in a post a few days ago I joked that it was about time for SportsCenter to start its summer time-killing feature series. This is something they started doing a few years ago, if I recall correctly, as baseball entered the dog days and the other major sports remained on hiatus. Remember last summer's grueling 50 States in 50 Days where it talked about each different state's various sports traditions? Invariably, it was footage of the sun rising over a farm, with Chris Connelly intoning things like "Iowa's corn cob races are a time-honored rite of passage here in the Hawkeye State." Ugh.

Not to be outdone, this year's feature is "My Wish," a 10-part series featuring 10 dying kids getting to meet their sports idols. Now don't get me wrong - I am all for the Make-A-Wish Foundation (the organization co-creating the series). It's just that the series feels, well, a little skeevy.

First of all, ESPN's parent company - Walt Disney - has
lots of major ties to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. And hey, that's great. But can't you just picture a bunch of Disney suits named Geoff and Rick and Madison telling ESPN that their dead zone of summer programming could provide great opportunity for some cross-pollinational branding synergy? That the Make-A-Wish and Disney ecosystems can be collaboratively optimized using the ESPN brand and its flagship product? It all just smacks of boardroom marketing, and thus feels disingenuous and inorganic - like we're being fooled into watching an infomercial, which is shady no matter how compelling the subject matter. Just get the parents to cry, get a shot of the awestruck kid, and we're done. Of course, the Disney logo is visible during the opening sequence of every "My Wish" segment - tried to find a screen shot but couldn't. (Anyone know any tricks to getting really good TV screen shots, by the way?)

Furthermore, I wonder how sincere these players are. If a kid with a disease came up to one of them on the street and asked for 10 seconds of their time, with no cameras rolling and no legion of lawyers and PR people setting up the meeting and demanding that eight varieties of waivers be signed, would they even break their stride? I also wonder if it's no coincidence that several of the chosen athletes - Kobe Bryant, Derek Jeter, the Philadelphia Eagles, Roger Clemens, Jeff Gordon - have tarnished reputations from doing bad stuff or general unlikeability. Yes! More synergy! We can use this as an opportunity to cull stars in need of marketability enhancement and image rehabilitation!

Sorry if you think this sounds cynical, but, you know, screw you. Cynical times call for cynical mindsets. Some might not even call it cynicism. Some might call it realism. But in any case, that's my take. I remember back in the day when SportsCenter would just show more sports highlights during the summer dead zone. But where's the synergy in that?

My Wish homepage

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Monday, July 17, 2006

You know what? You hippies are all right.

Over the weekend, as yet another tenuous membrane of coexistence ruptured in the Middle East, sending new waves of ichor into the already quite ichorous region, I was blissfully unaware of the mayhem, being ensconced as I was in the pleasant sunny haze of the Allgood Festival high in the mountains of West Virginia.

And despite my generally facetious attitude toward the hippies, I must say that I had a delightful time in their realm, even if I felt in my return to the hippie scene something like Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. I get older...they stay the same age. A bit of a double-edged sword, that. An abundance of young, scantily clad girls? Check. Old Guy at the Club Syndrome? Check again. No one ever wants to be The Old Guy at the Club. So I'm not sure if I'd do this again, but I believe that this year, I was still young enough to pull it off without looking like Mr. Can't Let Go Of His Youth.

You don't ever, EVER want to be this guy.

So yeah. It was just a lot of partying with friends old and new. Smoking things I didn't know could be smoked. (Hey, just kidding. I knew you could smoke that.) As I said in my last post, the people-watching at hippie festivals is second to none. Some guy came up to our campsite Saturday morning and asked if we were interested in any "nugget trades." Because the guy was "into different tastes." He then proceeded to talk about all the exotic kinds of pot that he was into.

"I'm into a lot of bubble-berry strains," he said with all seriousness. "Purple Jack Hehrer white widow. Macedonian Thai hair. Blue alligator tea leaf brain-melter."

After we told him to, you know, go the hell away, we made fun of him. And if any of these kinds of people are reading this, I want to tell you something. Marijuana is not wine. It is not gourmet food. You are not a connoisseur of anything. You are a pothead. Quit trying to turn it into something sophisticated so that you seem smarter than you are, or your life holds more meaning. Let's drop this charade about pot being something for discriminating pallettes. It is a plant-based intoxicant. Period. Hey, I realize there are differences in all the strains, and it's cool to appreciate a superior product. But let's not go overboard here. Let's not make it something it's not. Thank you for your cooperation.

In other news, the actual music at this musical festival was great. Of course, there were some clunkers. The Black Crowes were disappointing (they tried to pretend they were a jam band to blend in or something, and it just failed), and Southern Culture on the Skids was so putrid and outmoded that they embarrassed themselves. But the highs outnumbered the lows. Ween and Robert Randolph were two of the standouts, but as you might have guessed, it was the Animal Liberation Orchestra that delivered the true gold standard performance. Viva the ALO! Viva!

As the quartet launched salvo after salvo, their very being, their very existence a grand irritant to Big Animal Killing, you could literally see hundreds upon hundreds of pets and woodland creatures spilling over the hills of Marvin's Mountaintop, frolicking giddily with the news of their own freedom, secure in the knowledge that they would never come to harm, because the Animal Liberation Orchestra was there for them with their Songs Of Protest. And I wept, my friends. Right there on the hillside. When I saw those saved, frolicking animals, I wept in happiness for them. And in gratitude. For the gift the ALO had given me - given all of us - that afternoon on the mountain.

But of course, all good things must come to an end, and so after a seemingly endless run of Magic Hat, falafel, bluegrass-infused guitar solos, campground toilet paper and orange Gatorade, we returned home to Washington. But a piece of me...just a piece...will forever remain on that mountaintop. You hippies are all right. Many of you are quite stupid, and some of you are rude and greedy, or depressing, strung-out husks of children, but still. I love you guys. Now excuse me. I have something in my eye. Good day.

- Allgood Festival
home page

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Let's get crunchy!

So I'm leaving tonight for a weekend of hippie rock. That's right, in the mountains of West Virginia, it's the Allgood Festival! Yes, that's what it's really called. I love how they merged the words "all" and "good" like they wanted to make you believe it was someone's last name or something, but - gotcha! - it's really code for "it is all good," like it's a laidback vibe, man. Ah, hippies. Their global reputation for cleverness does not appear likely to wane anytime soon.

Wow, sister! Did you make that shirt yourself? No way!
It's too beautiful! Just like you, sister. Just like you.

This is the tenth annual renewal of Allgood, and this year's docket features more than 30 of the headiest, crunchiest hippie stoner jam rock bands this nation - nay, THE WORLD - has to offer. I am interested in seeing approximately three of these bands. No wait, strike that - make it four acts that have my interest. It probably goes without saying, but topping my list is the Animal Liberation Orchestra. That's ALO to insiders. It's not really an orchestra if you can believe that. It's just four guys, but they're rocking out....for a cause. And that cause is that all of God's creatures - two legs or four, killed for vittles or for fur - be rescued and safe from consumption, firecrackers, and the like. And the ALO isn't going to stop until everyone has heard this message, and the world is thereby changed. Through music. Hippie music. And hey, if some drugs happen to find their way into the equation, well, so much the better! Don't forget - it's "Allgood," brothers and sisters!

I can see the music!

So personally, seriously, I can't wait. There's no people watching like hippie festival people watching. I can hear the veggie burritos calling me already. And by "veggie burritos," I mean "heavy intoxicants." Hey, just kidding, Mom. I just hope I don't get busted by the pigs. Buzzkill!

Allgood Festival home page
- The official Web page of the
Animal Liberation Orchestra

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(Photo credits: Allgood Festival 2006)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Woody Guthrie on the TV tonight

Well, this day - the day after the baseball All-Star Game - is officially the slowest day on the sports calendar. Not one game on today, in any sport of significance. Not one. Check the listings if you don't believe me. Tonight, SportsCenter will debut the running "special feature" that will carry it through to football season - something like "Kenny Mayne's salute to hot dogs," or an NFL training camp preview preview.

But luckily, thankfully, I'm saved! Tonight at 10 on PBS is "Ain't Got No Home," another in the terrific "American Masters" series, this one focusing on the life and career of the singular Woody Guthrie. This is not to be confused with "No Direction Home," the American Masters Dylan documentary from last year. Next year, it will be "I Am Homeless: the Donovan story." Can't wait for that one.

That's a pretty sweet machine, Woody. Mine just makes toast.

The Post write-up says the Guthrie documentary doesn't have any Dylan interviews in it, which is unfortunate but unsurprising, as Dylan (who was directly and overwhelmingly influenced by Guthrie) is awfully media reticent (unless
he's the media in question). But I think Guthrie's life -- his roots in the Dust Bowl, his involvement with the Communist party, his massive talent, his simultaneous love and hatred for his country that is all too understandable nowadays -- is enough in and of itself to carry a special. A Woody Guthrie documentary would be hard to mess up. But hey, it's TV. You could give TV a shotgun and a barrell of fish, and they'd just end up hitting themselves in the groin with a football. So we'll see. But I'm optimistic.

- Washington Post
American Masters

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Depends Undergarments to shoulder on...somehow

Sad news today that actress June Allyson has died at 88. To those of her generation, she is perhaps best remembered for her role in Little Women opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh. But for those of my generation, she will be forever known as the lady who made it okay - virtuous even - to wear adult diapers. And for that, we owe this lady a debt.

We'll always have the diapers.

As the longtime spokeswoman for Depends undergarments, Allyson was truly a trailblazer. Her comforting manner said "hey, we all wee ourselves sometimes! But that doesn't mean we stop living!" She even teamed up with the American Urogynecologic Society to form the June Allyson Foundation, dedicated to researching "pelvic floor disorders," as they put it. Because it wasn't about the endorsement check for June Allyson. No, sir. It was about people! Loose-bowelled people.

So June, as you pass along to a better place, a place where incontinence is presumably not a major issue, I salute you. Good lookin out, baby. Rest in peace.

- Washington Post
Allyson obit
The June Allyson Foundation - together, we WILL find a cure for wee-wee problems

Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup over, U.S. team no longer looking so bad

Hey, we tied Italy, the eventual World Cup champs. Not too shabby, eh? And congratulations, by the way, to the Italians! Your stoic brand of soccer was an extension of your subdued, laidback nation and people. And for that, you are to be commended.

The Italians are such cold fishes. But their
breasts are real, so, you know. That's something.

By the way, I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard Joe Sports Fan comment over the last two weeks that Bruce Arena was toast. And they're all so cynical about it, like they've been soccer fans this whole time and know the entire backstory. But really, they're just faking cynicism so they don't have to explain what they don't know. I was chatting with someone about it, and he was like "yeah, dude, the U.S. coach is totally gone." And I was like, "why?" And the guy - who couldn't even remember Arena's name - basically had to back off and say something like "because the TV told me so." Way to go, man. We may not have mastered soccer, but when it comes to acting like an expert when you really don't have any idea what you're talking about, Americans have cornered the market. You basically just have to repeat a lot of phrases like "please understand something" and "listen," and "let me put it to you this way." Too bad there's no World Cup of Delusional Self-Righteousness. But then again, some may argue, every day in America is the World Cup of Delusional Self-Righteousness. So....huzzah!

Bizarre postscript: Superstar Zinedine Zidane, who got kicked out of the final for head-butting somebody and basically killing his team's chances, got the Golden Ball Award for World Cup MVP. WHAT???

- Washington Post
story on World Cup
- Washington Post story on Arena
- Random, brilliant link of
World Cup model cards. Let me direct your attention to Croatia.
- Story on
Zidane getting Golden Ball

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Cristal will never get one thin dime from this guy

Regarding Jay-Z's recent decision to boycott Cristal champagne. In case you missed it, a suit at the company that makes Cristal, when asked about its popularity in hip-hop culture, said:

"That's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.''

So. This guy is a racist, then. Boycott on.

Looks like a new drink of choice is forthcoming
for the No One Appreciates Me krew...

But now, certain members of the media are saying that it's silly for millionaire rappers to "raise their black fists" over $300-a-bottle champagne, and meanwhile do nothing about (if not encourage) violence, misogyny, poverty, AIDS, and so forth in their hometown black communities.

You know what I like to call these media members and those of a like mind? What I like to call them is, Haters.

But I'm still with you, Jigga man. Add another soldier to your anti-Cris army. The army has to be millions strong now! I'm getting my whole neighborhood to scratch the Cris from their shopping lists. Let me assure you, sir - Cristal will surely feel the sting of THIS guy.

Why, I used to end every night with the same ritual. Back at my townhouse. I'd take a single pink diamond and drop it in a glass of Cris. Then I would serve a glass to each of the bitches around my kitchen table. And the one who found the diamond in her mouth that night would--well, a player never tells. I'll never forget the night Trina almost choked on it. But I wasn't worried. Her gag control is excellent. I'm pretty sure it was Trina. It was either Trina, or some kind of figment of my imagination. Either way, feel my wrath, Cristal! You'll be singing the Chapter 11 blues in short order.

- Robin Givhan
Post story
- Akron Beacon Journal
op-ed from some guy named Malcolm X Abram

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sports pundits hyperbolize more than any other being in the history of the universe

While flipping through channels on an unusually quiet July 4 but a particularly interesting day of sports, I caught the tail end of the 2006 Nathan's hot dog eating contest. This year saw another win for Japanese juggernaut Takeru Kobayashi, who is being hailed as the Babe Ruth of competitive eating for dominating, popularizing, and legitimizing it as a "sport." As Kobayashi lofted the coveted Mustard Belt, one of the enraptured commentators proclaimed Kobayashi "the greatest athlete on the planet right now in any sport."

I'm with you, man. Wait. No I'm not!

Let us gaze upon his visage.

You're telling me that if an alien race came down to planet Earth right now and said that one athlete must represent humanity in a mystery sporting contest with the fate of the world in the balance, you would choose the Japanese hot dog guy? Well, pardon me for saying so, and I don't know quite how to put this, but I think you're a crazy fucktard. Kobayashi is an eating machine - I've never seen anything quite like it. (Did you see his turn on True Life where he ate like 100 Sushi rolls in one sitting as he BEGAN training for the Nathan's contest?) But would I even put him in the same ballpark - the same league, the same fuckin sport - with LeBron James, Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones? No way. Screw Marion Jones, not even Damon Jones. But maybe Velvet Jones. But not Dwight Stones. Not Dwight Evans. Not Evander Holyfield. Not Holly McPeak. Not Picabo Street. Not Road Warrior Hawk. Okay, maybe. MAYBE I would choose Kobayashi over Road Warrior Hawk. You know, since the guy's been dead for ten years.

But Hyperbolooza doesn't end here. Oh no. On last night's SportsCenter -- the stronghold of sports hyperbole, where every winning coach is a "genius," every underdog story "shocks the world," and every great play is "a miracle" -- Sean Salisbury called Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger "the Derek Jeter of the NFL."

Lemme tell ya somethin. I am The Michael Jordan of stuffed-suit hyperbole.

Okay. Let's take a nice deep breath and move back from the brink, Sean.
Derek Jeter has won four championships with the Yankees. Big Ben has been in the NFL two years. Yes, his team won the Super Bowl last year, but he was was not exactly a prime contributor. Other than the Super Bowl, he's best known for coming up lame in the 2004 AFC title game and breaking his face in a reckless motorcycle crash. I like Big Ben just fine, but one coattail ride to an NFL title does not a Derek Jeter create.

It's just annoying to follow something for whom the so-called experts are so often morons. Thank goodness for The Big Redhead, man. That genius is the next Howard Cosell.

- Washington Post
story on Nathan's contest
- Official NFL recap of
Big Ben's Jeteresque Super Bowl
- CBS Sportsline recap of
Big Ben's Jeteresque playoff egg-laying
- Deadspin recap of
Big Ben's Jeteresque face-breaking
- The Big Redhead is
a columnist here
- Bill Walton's
personal home page

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

So what I'm hearing is...we're all screwed?

Washington Post Columnist Robert Samuelson -- Bob, or Bobbo, to his familiars like me -- today says that all the talk about combating global warming is just political PR, and that even if we get really aggressive with cutting back, studies say levels will still continue to rise because of population growth, and that the only hope is Eureka-level radical technology advances.

"The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it's really an engineering problem," Bobbo writes. "The [real] inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're helpless."

So. Anyone want to throw themselves off a bridge with me?

- Bobbo Samuelson's

Kim Taepodongs that ass

When discussing North Korea, a common analogy is that of a maladjusted manchild, clamoring for attention over his stronger, more accomplished or more polished peers. But I think there's another, more fitting comparison - a bacteria strain. One that can make you sick - might even seriously damage parts of you - but one that can be treated. However, if the treatment is too strong (like, say, chemotherapy) you risk collateral damage. But if the approach is too weak, you risk the bacteria developing a resistance to your preferred method of treatment.

Which is all a roundabout way of saying that President Bush and his various advisors have a VERRRY delicate call to make in the very near future now that North Korea has test-fired (with, er, mixed success) a series of missiles. With the entire Middle East, China, Russia, Europe, and Bush's political allies, opponents, and electorate looking on, the White House has a razor-thin margin of error, and will have to summon all their powers to make a decision relying heavily on finesse, collaboration, and nuance. In other words, diplomacy. In other words, stuff Bush ain't been too good at. But here's hoping he makes a good decision. North Korea and Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il are a thorn in the global side that must be extricated. I'm pulling for us to pull it out.

Washington Post
- Slate op-ed piece from 2002
on Kim Jong-Il

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