Thursday, May 31, 2007

Longer hiatus needed

Maybe it's the impending summer, or something, but I think I need a longer hiatus from the blog. I've been posting five days a week for about a year and a half now, and I love doing it, but I think now I need to figure out how I want to continue with this, and what, specifically, I'm looking to get out of it.

Plus, posting something new every morning is starting to feel like a bit of a grind. Like something off my to-do list at work. And hey. That's not why I got into the blogging business. Speaking of business, when do I start making money off this thing? Where are my big checks? Where's the return? It doesn't necessarily need to be monetary...ah, I don't know.

Anyway, consider me on hiatus until further notice. I want to come back...hopefully not all of my readers will have deserted me. Keep me on your RSS, huh? That's a good way to monitor it. As for this guy, I've got some serious thinking to do. I'm gonna be walking in the woods. Stroking the chin. Climbing up the mountain. Drinking from the bottle. Et cetera. Take care then, until next time. -MSH

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This just in: Bush Defends ______, Calls Critics ______

Back from my little hiatus, I somehow feel even less rested than before I left. But such is life. So it goes. I can't complain because who would listen. Nothing is certain but death and taxes. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Speaking of certainties and Bush, I notice that not much changes anymore in terms of presidential headlines. There's really not much in the way of news access down at the seashore, but I feel as if I've missed nothing. I think there's a good chance we'll be stuck in the same news cycle until early 2009.

And that news cycle is as follows: Bush staunchly defends his policy on Iraq/immigration/global warming/political appointees/surveillance programs/various mishandling of various situations, and calls out any dissenters as stupid/unpatriotic/gay/godless/haters/jealous of how hot he is. Today, the issue just happened to be

Those who dislike the bill "haven't read" it Bush said. Yes, yes. That's the ONLY explanation that comes to my mind as well. No need to argue...Congress just don't understand! They don't get the depth of his policies, or they just don't bother. And that's all. Next question. Oh, wait. I'm not taking any more freaking questions. Smithers, release the hounds.

Now, that's better. Maybe now we can get on to the next news cycle, when I will defend X. That will be a refreshing change. Can't wait!!!

Bush Blasts GOP Immigration Critics [Washington Post]

Monday, May 21, 2007

On Hiatus

I'm going to take a break from the bloggery as part of my Memorial Day decompression proceedings. I look forward to resuming said bloggery next Wednesday, May 30. Until then, feel free to plumb the archives. Good day then.

P.S. Got a new layout! But it's still not in finished form. We're taking it to the next level, baby.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Recap of The Office: The Job, parts 1 and 2

Well, it was the two-part season finale last night. Lots of interesting stuff happened, but I feel like they wrote this using the old detective pulp mystery method -- that is, coming up with the big surprises first and working backwards through the beginning. There were some funny moments, but overall these episodes -- as most season finales are -- were simply a dual engine designed to drive the story toward the obligatory cliffhanger.

So here's what happened in a nutshell: a big job opens up in Dunder Mifflin's New York corporate office. Michael, Karen, and Jim all head up to interview for the position. Michael is so certain he's a lock to get the job that he sells his condo (on Ebay) and names Dwight as his successor at Scranton. Meanwhile, Jan comes back to ask if Michael will get back together with her. Michael wants to say no, but then he realizes that Jan got a boob job. So he takes her back.

There is fallout from Pam confessing to Jim in front of everyone that she missed him. The worst was probably Kelly calling her "patheticville." Ouch.

Overall, there weren't a whole lot of laughs. Of course, Michael flames out in his job interview, but it became less humorous because the bossman interviewing him doesn't get put off by the antics. That happens with Michael all the time.

So we're just meandering through the episode -- Jim and Karen galavanting through Manhattan, Dwight messing up the Scranton office, Michael acting a fool, Pam pining for Jim, yadda yadda -- and then in the last five minutes, all the plot revelations get dropped on us. It reminded me a little of that novel
The Picture of Dorian Gray, because the story just languidly kicks along, and then comes together in this huge way in the last half page or so.

For starters, Jan is confirmed to be legitimately disturbed. Her work has been erratic lately, and it is -- dunh dunh duuuuunh -- HER job that Michael et al are interviewing for. That's right -- Jan is being fired! Michael finds out, tells Jan, Jan makes scene, Michael doesn't get corporate job, they leave, Michael offers to let Jan stay at his condo (he'll withdraw the sale, despite the risk of negative Ebay feedback) and Jan proclaims that she can "wear stretch pants and wait for you to come home at 5:15." Oof.

Secondly, under as-yet-unexplained circumstances, Jim drives back to Scranton sans Karen and -- dunh dunh duuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnh -- asks Pam out on a date. Whoa, dude! What gives there? What the deal? What end is up right now? I think this means it's the end of Karen's regular appearances on the show, thus essentially closing the loop on the Stamford branch storyline (with the exception of Crazy Andy, who of course at this point is completely integrated into Scranton).

But so who got the job at the corporate office? As the episode wraps up, we see the big wig congratulating the recipient of the phone. And we see that the new job goes to -- DUNH DUNH DUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -- Ryan the former intern (played by show executive producer B.J. Novak). And I've got news for you, my friend. This spells trouble. With a capital T, that rhymes with C, and that stand for, er, Corporate Office Guy. There have been hints that Ryan was a jerk for a while now, and now he will exact revenge on Michael, Jim, and anyone else he sees fit to do it to. Of course, he never made a sale there, but I guess corporate didn't care about that? Anyway, look for Ryan to become the serious black hat on the show. Now that Roy is gone and Andy is more mellow (for now), there really weren't any prominent jerks on the show. Until now. Prepare to see a serious villain next season. Villain, thy name is Ryan. Dunh dun duuuuuunh.

The Office [NBC]
Previous recap of The Office [No One Appreciates Me]
The Picture of Dorian Gray [Amazon]

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

I think I might hate the San Antonio Spurs

I was talking with some people the other day about this guy we all knew. A painfully quiet guy, to the point that if you walked up to him and said "hello," chances were 50-50 that he would make any kind of verbal response. And since he sat there in front of the television like your proverbial bump on a log, we all found him to be fairly boring. However, at the same time, we assumed that he was this great guy with a lot to offer once you got to know him. But as time went on, we found that to not be the case. At all. His hair-trigger temper emerged. He was a poor sport, both as a loser and a winner. He pouted all the time. He picked on his girlfriend. He literally laughed at the misfortunes of others. Needless to say, we don't see much of him anymore.

All of this is to prove the point that, just because someone is quiet, it doesn't automatically mean they are nice. And if they are not nice, you feel even worse about it in retrospect because you feel duped. This metaphor extends to the San Antonio Spurs.

I have previously equated the Spurs to a team of robots, just emotionlessly executing their game plan. But after the dirty play of the last few days, and the really jerky way they've handled themselves, I am concluding that the Spurs are not robots. They are evil robots.

The San Antonio Spurs execute yet another flawless evil game plan.

Of course, last night, Tim Duncan more or less had his way with Kurt Thomas in the Spurs close win over Phoenix. Thomas was standing in for Amare Stoudemire, who along with teammate Boris Diaw was suspended for leaving the bench to defend his teammate, Steve Nash, who had just been shoulder-blocked to the floor by Robert Horry. Horry was suspended two games, but the Suns lost two of their best players for one game. Can you believe these athletes today, leaving their benches all the time and what not? I'm telling you...our society is crumbling. In a world where bench-leaving is so rampant, what else is far behind? Religious war? Some kind of global disaster in which the planet experiences massive flooding and famine? Amid all the bench-leaving, anything is possible.

Of course, there is video evidence that Spurs guards Bruce Bowen and Manu Ginobili play dirty. Observe:

But of course, nothing happens to them. Such is the insidious evil robot network. Anyway, I really have nothing witty to say. I just dislike the Spurs.

Short-Handed Suns Falter Late [Washington Post]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Update: Baby drop box stumbles a teensy bit out of the gate

Remember two days ago? I know, it's kind of hazy for me, too, but I wrote a post about a new baby drop box set up at a Japanese hospital. Well, guess what? It's follow-up time! Just days after its inception, and just days after a hospital official hoped their service "would never be used," the drop box had its first customer...HUZZAH!

But wait, wait. Hold your huzzahs, people! That may have been a premature huzzah. Because that's not the whole story. And I get the whole story, dammit. That's right -- I read to the bottom of every Internet article I click on, and I don't care whose feathers I ruffle. So are you ready for the twist? Ready? Here it comes: the unwanted baby was not a baby at all. It was a pre-schooler!

Two words. Okay? And those words are naughty, and naughty. That's all I got to say. A rather inauspicious launch for the unwanted baby drop-off program, one suspects. After all, who would have thought a baby drop box would be -- *gasp* -- MISUSED?!?!?! Certainly not this dewy-eyed Pollyanna. I am sitting here as I type, just beside myself with surprise that the first user of the baby drop box would do so in a -- *gasp again* -- IRRESPONSIBLE FASHION!!!! Oh my gosh...I think I'm swooning, judge! Someone catch me! Quick! Run along and fetch a damp cloth for my forehead!

A nurse demonstrates -- one more time --
the kind of unwanted human you are
supposed to drop in the baby drop box.

The boy, who was reportedly in perfect health, was questioned about the incident. Son, why did your dad abandon you in this baby drop box when you are clearly not a baby? What within his soul, in your opinion, allows him to flout clearly stated instructions in such a blatant manner!?!?! The instructions are conspicuously posted right beside the drop box, and they clearly state, if you will indulge me: "Please only put unwanted babies in the baby drop box. Unwanted toddlers are NOT permitted, under penalty of ardent tongue-clucking."

What is your response to this, my young friend?

The boy's response? "I came with Daddy."

But Daddy! I don't want to go in the box! It's
for babies! I'm a big boy. Right, Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?

As a result of this incident, many a chin is being stroked. Many a hand wrung. Said one national newspaper editorial: "We must rethink the meaning of the baby drop-off."


I'm no Henry McHasty. I'm no Harry Shoot-From-The-Hip-Shooter. But I might go out on a limb here -- just this once -- and agree. This whole dropping-unwanted-babies-in-a-box dealy bob may require a little tweaking. A little retooling, if you will. Because if people are going to flout the rules and use the baby drop box for, you know, selfish reasons, then that violates the whole idea of the baby drop box! So wake me up when you get a real, honest-to-goodness baby in there. Okay? Then, and only then, will I celebrate.

Think of all the money they'll save on trash bags [No One Appreciates Me]
Dad dumps preschooler in box for unwanted newborns [CNN]

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Melinda Doolittle? Your journey ends here tonight.

Interesting final three performance last night. Each contestant sang three songs, and there was nary a clunker in the bunch. Everyone's a talented singer at this point, but each one of these people seems particularly poised. I especially have to give it up to Blake Lewis, who has grown on me over the weeks and gave some great performances last night. In fact, he might be throwing a wrench in the works of the presumed Melinda-Jordin finale. But more on that in a second.

First, back to Jordin. Last night -- and next week -- will have decidedly less tension than a lot of previous Idol culminations. Because Jordin is winning this competition. Throw your retirement fund in the back seat of your car, drive the whole thing to Vegas, and double your money. It's happening. That said, last night was an off night for her. For starters, she had some weird songs. Simon's pick for her -- "Wishing on a Star" by Rose Royce -- was good. But then her other songs -- "She Works Hard For the Money" and "I Who Have Nothing," an absolute funeral dirge of a song that I have no idea why she insists on singing -- were not so good. But on the bright side, she got a star on the walkway of her local shopping mall, oh my gosh! I have ALWAYS wanted, like, some kind of mall recognition. And oh my gosh, it was right in front of the escalator! Right in between the Baby Gap and the Things Remembered! That is prime real estate.

But here's the real downside to Jordin's night: That pink dress she was wearing for part of the evening. Last week, you may remember that
I was vacillating on whether I found Jordin attractive. Well, in that dress, she was not. Now I admit it -- I'm no fashionista. Which is all the more reason to wonder why someone (or a group of someones) whose presumably sole source of income is to make a group of young people look stylish could march Jordin out in that pink grocery bag of a discount-rack Easter dress. It appeared to be cinched just below the breasts, for minimum cleavage and maximum burlap-sack effect. And the frizzy hair doesn't help anything either. The stylists should be accentuating Jordin's pretty face and Amazonian figure, not concealing it. I couldn't find a full photo of it, but if you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. Just an awful, awful piece of clothing. But maybe they can get five bucks for it from a high school student somewhere in North Dakota, who may not have a date for the prom, but dammit, she's gonna go anyway. For ten minutes. Body issues be damned.

This doesn't even begin to paint the picture.

Melinda was good, too, but her best quality -- consistency -- is maybe her worst at this point as well. Which is why I predict that Melinda gets the boot tonight, with Blake losing to a hopefully better-dressed Jordin in the final. Not only because people might take her for granted, but because Blake has come on in these later rounds, and now has a growing and dedicated army of fans, especially girls. People who are voting for Blake are voting for Blake. But the people who vote for Melinda are probably in the same (or at least a more similar) pool as those voting for Jordin. So I could see people with short attention spans -- and do you think any of those people watch American Idol? -- getting bored with Melinda and hitching their wagons to the clear favorite.

And at this point, Blake is becoming more interesting. When he's on, his beat-boxing is actually really tight. (Sir Mix-A-Lot crowned him "The New King of Sea-Town" last night. I wouldn't go that far -- or anywhere near that far -- but still.) And that sweet rendition of "How Deep is Your Love" that he did with Chris Sligh and (I think) Phil Stacey in the Hollywood round was still, for me, the musical highlight of the season.

But over and beyond that, Blake is the real underdog here. Not only because he is the least talented on paper, but because he's the only one who either hasn't already made it in music (like Melinda) or was born with a silver spoon in her mouth (like Jordin, who is the daughter of
former NFL player Phillippi Sparks). I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm rooting for Blake -- I'm really not rooting for anyone -- but him advancing at this point would be the most interesting story. For whatever that's worth.

It will be interesting to see how it all pans out tonight. It will be the final vote that is even remotely suspenseful, before Jordin claims her pink bubble gum throne next Wednesday night.

A Melinda-Jordin Final? Not So Fast, Sings Blake [Washington Post]
If I was 12 or retarded, I totally would have voted for Lakisha [No One Appreciates Me]
Glendale teen advances to next round on 'Idol' [AZ Central]

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

News Flash: Twinkies may contain weird ingredients

Did you ever hear that urban legend about how Twinkies are not actually cooked, but are rather created through a strictly chemical reaction? That there is no heat involved in the process of creating a Twinkie? Well, I don't know if that's true or not, but the truth is, most of the ingredients in a Twinkie are petroleum or mineral-based. And when you eat a Twinkie, you are eating five different kinds of rocks.

That's the main hook in this new book called Twinkie Deconstructed. Think Fast Food Nation for processed foods. The book is a look into what, exactly, all those polysorbates and bisulfates and disporidium gum arabics really are. We eat them all the time...makes sense that we should know what the hell they are. And as for the minerals, there are the expected ones like baking soda, but the author of the book says that a lot of the Twinkie's "colors and flavors rely on basic chemicals derived from crude oil or natural gas." Now that's just weird. Just weird enough to be believeable.

Just for the heck of it, a deep-fried Twinkie. Good God!

So yes...I think I'm going to go out and buy some Twinkies now. All this talk of Twinkies is making me really want a Twinkie. Yee-ha. Good day.

Dissecting the Dessert [Washington Post Express]
Twinkie Deconstructed [Amazon]
Fast Food Nation [Amazon]

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Think of all the money they'll save on trash bags

Very, VERRRRRRY exciting news recently out of Japan. Appropos of the Mother's Day season, I thought I would pass it along. And the news is as follows: One Japanese hospital recently set up a new service for the mothers in their community. But not just any mother -- only the mothers who don't actually want the babies they are having. That's right -- it's a drop box for unwanted babies!

Society boldly strides forward with invention
of baby drop-box technology.

This is just an amazing new service. What convenience! Imagine the embarrassing party conversations if you had to keep the baby and, you know, deal with it? But now, the hospital will care for your baby until it's adopted. And noone's the wiser! It's the perfect crime! So to speak!

One hospital official comments: "We started the service but hope it won't be used."

Awesome. That's the same sentiment I expressed when I invented those new bullets that burst and spread the ebola virus once they've entered the body. It's a wicked cool invention, but I would be shocked -- shocked! -- if there were people in the world who would avail themselves of such insidious technology. But hey, that's not for me to judge. I just provide a service, right? I'm just advancing mankind. How mankind chooses to react to said advancement is not my problem. Guns don't kill people, and so forth.

But seriously, I'm sure no one will use it. People who have unwanted babies are a notoriously responsible segment of the population. If they can't go the abortion route and still don't want the pregnancy, I'm sure they'll just shoulder on and adjust their own lives to prepare for this gift they have received. No one will use this drop slot. It just wouldn't be, you know, the right thing to do.

So I share your optimism that no one will use this service, Japanese hospital. Here's hoping. BANG! Ha ha, I just shot you with my ebola bullet. Nah, just kidding. It was just a regular bullet. Might want to put a tourniquet on that. But don't think you'll ever catch me...I'm gonna drop this gun in the anonymous gun drop slot down at the police station. One more gun off the street, right? Boy, is my conscience ever clearer. Have a great day there!

Japan hospital opens drop box for unwanted babies [CNN]

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Recap of The Office: "Beach Games"

Man. Whew. Rough episode last night. No thumbs up for this one. And come to think okf it, there will be no huzzahs either. In fact, I think I'm going to take a page from Comic Book Guy and call this the Worst Episode Ever. Of the season, anyway.

Here's what happened: Michael is interviewing for a job at Dunder Mifflin's New York corporate office. As part of that, he has to find his potential successor at the Scranton branch. So in typical fashion, he comes up with the idea of taking the office to the lake and giving them a bunch of hare-brained tests, including walking over hot coals, a hot dog eating contest, and wrestling in those sumo fatsuits.

That actually sounds pretty funny, right? wasn't. And I think somewhere along the line, the producers realized that as well, so they stuck in this big ending to salvage things. Pam walks over hot coals, and afterwards she goes over to the group and tells them how she thinks it sucks that they all think she's invisible, and that she feels really great and alive right now, and then as the BIG capper, she tells Jim -- again, in front of the entire group -- that she broke off her wedding for him, and that she really misses him. Whoa. So, apparently, the aforementioned hot coals were made of Ecstasy? Sweet. I didn't know they made coals out of Ecstasy, but hey, this is how you learn things.

So that little Deus Ex Machina revelation was the only thing really noteworthy (on a positive level) about the episode. But on the negative side, I have a major beef with one aspect of the show. I have
previously articulated my concern that Jim may be getting soft. Well, after this episode I think we can drop the "getting" out of that phrase. Ladies and gentlemen, Jim Halpert is a wuss. Jim is what, 6' 4", 210 pounds? And yet he ran away like a girl when freaking heart-attack-waiting-to-happen Stanely came at him in the sumo ring. And he never sticks up for himself. Michael tells him he's not cut out to head the Scranton branch, and Jim just looks into the camera with that same old smirk (and seriously, mix in a new facial expression, buddy) and just says "that's harsh." Wow, don't pull any punches Jim.

When I'm really happy, I make this face.
When I'm full of rage, I make this face.

And it's not only that. Part of the non-funniness of this episode is Jim's fault. Anytime the action swings his way, he makes some clipped little comment ("Nope, that's not right," or "Way to go, Dwight") and the momentum falls like a sack of potatoes. I know he's a quiet, sensitive guy, and I don't expect him to become some big ball of energy, but get a presence, Jim. Stop staring off into space and mix it up a little. He's the heart and soul of the show -- really the central driver of the entire plot. Can we give him a little emotion? Is that too much to ask? And let me ask you another question: Do I have to change my blog icon? Huh? Do I? I don't want to. But I will. Jerks.

So there you have it. Bad episode, Jim's regressing, and who knows. Here's hoping they finish the season strong and John Krasinski retools Jim a little bit on the hiatus. Here's hoping.

The Office [NBC]
Previous recap of The Office [No One Appreciates Me]

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

If I was 12 or retarded, I totally would have voted for Lakisha

Truly, this is a special time of year. The air grows warm, the blooms begin their shy emergence, and everything seems to buzz. Before they all died, the bees caused this buzzing. But nowadays, the buzz is from American Idol. For truly does spring now mean that we must be down to our final three.

this week's episodes, my personal sentimental favorite, Lakisha Jones, was voted off. Sad but true. She was one of those American Idol feel-good stories -- coming from nothing, and with no chance of getting a break any other way. So good for her. But in the meantime, now I'm left with the beat boxer (who has actually grown on me, although his beat-boxing on Tuesday was weak), odds-on betting favorite Jordin Sparks, and Melinda Doolittle. Let's break this down.

First of all, regarding Melinda. I think it's weird that Phylicia Rashad and Michael Ruffin had a child. I thought they were both married. What I want to know is, what did Ahmad have to say about all this?

+ =

Tell me you don't see it. I double dog freaking dare you.

In any case, Melinda is a shoo-in for the final. But part of me kind of wants to see Blake pull the upset and sneak in to face Jordin for the crown. Why? Not because I have anything against Melinda, but because then we would really see if this lil-ol-me routine is for real or not. I can just see Melinda getting the news that she was voted off, and then tearing off her shirt like the Incredible Hulk and stomping around the stage in a sports bra shouting out "Oh no you did NOT!" over and over again. So, you know. That could be fun.

But other than that possibility, this final three is fairly drama-free. Jordin is going to win and it's not gonna be close. The only real question to be resolved is, do I think she's hot or not. I need to think on this. I thought she was a little Amazonian for me at first, but it's a wonder what these stylists and trainers and wardrobe people and nutritionists and posture coaches can do for a contestant. Look at what happened with Katherine McPhee. But it's still too early to think of such matters, as I continue to mourn the passing of Lakisha. So long, Lakisha. If you ever get cast in a Broadway play, I'll seriously think about thinking about going, for a good solid two or three minutes. That is my promise to you.

- Mysterious Bee Killer Could Make Dinner Bland [CNN]
On 'American Idol,' Here Comes the Real Judge [Washington Post]
Jordin Sparks page [American Idol]
Katherine McPhee: Getting Warmer [No One Appreciates Me]

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Survey with Ann Curry reveals that everything is great, just great

According to a recent one-person survey with Today show news anchor Ann Curry, the state of the nation and the world was, is, and always will be just great.

There's plenty to smile about, Curry says.

"I am so inspired by all the great stories out there," Curry said. "Why, just yesterday, I was interviewing Reese Witherspoon? And I looked deep into her eyes and asked her 'how are you? Your millions of fans -- of which I am one -- care so much about you. So tell us, how are you, really?' And you know what? She looked me straight in the eyes and said, 'Ann Curry, news anchor of the Today show? I'm great.' Wow. I mean, WOW. What an inspiration!"

Curry did admit that there were some things that were, while still great, somewhat less great than other things that were a greater degree of great.

"Well, is the Iraq war perfect? No, of course not! Only a total sillyhead would think that. But in these circumstances, I'm always reminded of what Jennifer Aniston bravely shared with me and with our viewing audience after her painful breakup with Brad (who is also a good friend of the show, and in no way do I blame him for that situation). She said 'Sometimes, you just can't dwell on the negative.' And I completely agree. She's a true American hero.

Today show news anchor Ann Curry breaks another big news story.

"Also, I do feel that Paris Hilton's unfortunate plight has been less great," Curry continued. "Now, I love Paris, and I think she's just great, but her lifestyle has set -- inadvertently, of course, inadvertently -- a tiny bit of what could maybe be called by some a not-so-great precedent for our inspiringly great young women out there. Girls need to know that they can grow up to be anything. Even serious, big-time news journalists. You know. Like me."

Curry bristled, in a friendly way, at the notion that she was not a hard hitter in the media world.

"Now, what a funny concept! I have to just laugh at that, just because it's so amusing and great! If people had followed my work, they would know that I often take a hard stance. Like in my recent
travels to meet the children of Darfur, for example. I am firmly on record as saying that the slaughter of families and the recruitment of children into hellish shadow armies is maybe not a very nice thing to do. And you can check my record -- I've been very consistent on that point. But you know what message I came away with after my visit? It was a message of hope. That even in these terrible places, great things can happen! Those folks over in the Sudan, I think they're going to be just great."

Ann Curry questions authority: Ms. First Lady, is it
important for children to learn how to read?

"Everything is going to work out beautifully," she concluded. "If you want some negative nelly out there, talk to David Gregory. But as for me, I'm going to be great."

Today show news anchor Ann Curry [MSNBC]
Even in Hell... [MSNBC]

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Satan inches ahead of Bush in approval ratings

News yesterday that the president's composite poll numbers are at a rock-bottom 35 percent. This is due to the Iraq war, a flaccid domestic agenda, and an ongoing spate of scandals involving current and former administration officials including Paul Wolfowitz, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, and Michael Brown. Among others.

In fact, the president's approval ratings have dipped so low that he has now been eclipsed in popularity by Lucifer the Light Bringer, the angel who was cast from heaven and is now known as Satan, or The Devil.

The Dark Lord celebrates the latest approval ratings.

"Don't get me wrong, I hate Satan and all," said Bob Smith, a subcontractor from Muskogee, Oklahoma. "But I see a little more upside with him than I do with Bush. I feel like Satan is a little more responsive. Because you can pray to him, right? Does he answer prayers? Or do you have to, like, burn baby candles or whatever in order to do that?

"Plus, Satan can punish people," Smith continued. "Like this guy who lives next door to me, Wayne? Wayne's always drinking beer and laughing and listening to music. And I really hate him. Plus, he's got this compost pile in his backyard that he uses for his garden or whatever? And that thing stinks. I mean, it stinks to high heaven. Sometimes, late at night, I'll run next door and pee in the compost. Just to annoy him. Sometimes I wonder if the stink I notice is just me smelling my own urine as it evaporates in the hot sun. But hey, if this guy is going to insist on having this stinking pile of compost, then I have to pee in it. See how that logic works? It's frontier justice, man. After all, the thing is on his property, so what can I do? Except for the peeing, of course. Which I already mentioned."

The poll results come on the heels of rumors that Lucifer is considering a 2008 presidential run.

Poll: Bush approval stands at 38% [CNN]
World Bank Panel: Wolfowitz Broke Rules [Washington Post]
Putting the Squeeze On [U.S. News and World Report]
Crossing A Line At Justice [USA Today]
Jury Convicts Libby on Four Charges [MSNBC]
Bush Ousts Embattled Rumsfeld [Washington Post]
'Can I quit now?' FEMA chief wrote as Katrina raged [CNN]

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Monday, May 07, 2007

The tale of Ganjaya

I'm a few days late on this, but there was news recently that Sanjaya's mother -- and best girlfriend, besides her older sister of course -- was busted for growing pot back in 2005. But just days after that news came out, she was photographed taking a bong rip at some party.

She looks just like her daughters.

Her real name is Blyth, but you know what I like to call her? What I like to call her is, I like to call her Ganjaya. Get it? Or how about this about BONGjaya?!?!? Man, that is sweet. Someone pull up a stool and put a bucket down in front of me. Because I'm paying OUT, baby!

Now, far be it from me to give someone a hard time for smoking pot. Pot is not heroin. There are many worse things a person can do than smoke a little pot on their own time. However. If you are the mother of a celebrity, and you just wrapped up your pot-growing court case, don't go to a party and get photographed hitting the bong. Aren't you in your 40s anyway, meaning you are waaay too old to be smoking out of a bong regardless? Either way, Ganjaya, let me know when you're going to be in my neck of the woods. I'll be sure to break out the black light and rent a copy of The Wall for us. And I've got this awesome bong where the bottom part is, like, this jester's head? It's sooo trippy. You'll love it.

Sanjaya's Mom Popped for Growing Piles of Pot [TMZ]
Momjaya Starring in the Bong Show [TMZ]

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Recap of The Office: "Women's Appreciation"

Why does NBC have such uneven start and run times for its shows sometimes? It's like some disgruntled prankster broke into the scheduling computers and just messed with them to undermine the network. The Office started at 8:36 this time. Huh? It's just like the story about the angry guy who masturbated in the big vat of Oreo cream when he worked at the Nabisco factory, because he wanted revenge against everyone. Or maybe that's just an urban legend. Nevertheless, I find the story to be appropo.

But what was I saying, oh yeah, it's sweeps month, baby! And that means new episodes for a whole month! That's like four new episodes, in a row! Considering that this season of Lost seemed to have four new episodes total, this is no small thing. But it's cool when a season is about to end, and you see the storm clouds gathering for the final, apocalyptic cliff hangers. Michael actually broke up with Jan in this episode, which foreshadows some kind of huge confrontation. They seem to be building toward Jim and Karen split as well.

But as for this episode, a flasher gives Phyllis the bidness in the parking lot (again, I invoke the Oreo guy), and Michael holds some sort of sensitivity training, followed by Michael taking the girls out to the mall and spilling his guts to them about how he's not happy with Jan and that she makes him wear school girl outfits. Er, I don't know, but they may have taken this Jan-is-a-freak thing too far. It may be just a shade beyond believable now. Maybe not.

Back at the ranch, the guys are hanging out in the ladies' bathroom at Kevin's behest, with Kevin proclaiming that "we should do this A LOT more often," followed by Toby responding that "I think we spend an appropriate amount of time together" in that hilarious mumbling deadpan of his. Probably the funniest moment of the episode was when Jim mentioned his six-month anniversary with Karen, with Ryan commenting that "I thought you guys were just hookin up." Jim says, no, they're dating, to which Ryan replies that "you might hear something about an e-mail." Jim says "yeah, Karen mentioned that. She said she told you she didn't want an office relationship right now, but liked you as a friend." Ooh, busted, Ryan. Take that, asshole! I'm totally telling Kelly.

But overall, a lot of this episode was actually kind of sweet, with Michael showing his vulnerable side and so on. So generally a nice episode, but I'm not freaking out about it. I'll give it a Huzzah, but no exclamation points.

The Office [NBC]
- Previous recap of The Office [No One Appreciates Me]

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why must homeless people drink Alize?

On my walk from the train station to the office, I pass through a couple of, shall we say, high-traffic areas. No place truly dangerous, but situated such that there is no shortage of bums in the general neighborhood. As such, these bums often help decorate the tree planters and gutters along the streets with empty alcohol bottles. And hey, that's all right. I've decorated tree planters and gutters with far worse in my day. What's interesting about this is how often I see Alize bottles among the general bum detritus. So often, in fact, that it seems to be a full-blown phenomenon. And one I fail to understand, at that.

I never really feel like the bugs are
completely off of me until the smooth fruit
taste of Alize hits my toothless gums.

By way of background,
Alize is a blend of cognac and various fruit juices. It has been glorified in hip-hop culture since the early 90s. A pint of it costs around $7 - $10 and it is 16 percent alcohol. Just as a data point, let's compare that to, say, Georgi Vodka. A pint of that stuff -- containing more than twice the alcohol -- costs less than a pint of Alize.

So I just don't get it. It's frustrating! Some people want to intervene and help the homeless find housing or employment or health care services. I want to help them with their choice of booze. If they just went for the wood varnish remover they sell in the liquor stores as "gin," they could get so much more bang for their buck. Sure, it's not as stylish, but until the ladies get here, maybe we just stick with the cheap stuff, huh? I mean, Diddy's new year's eve party is still several months away. And the contractor still hasn't shown up with that hot tub you ordered installed in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. So until all that happens, why not just take it easy? When they're hungry, are they saving up to buy truffles? Fuck no. They're going to McDonald's. At least if the McDonald's near me is any indication. Why does the same not hold true for alcohol? It's a mystery to me.

Basicaly, it's just unfortunate to see the homeless people throwing away their hard-begged cash like that. It's almost like bums don't have a strong sense of money. Huh. Well, until I see some changes, consider this a personal crusade. I want to see more empty Kentucky Gentleman bottles in the tree planters, and fewer Alize bottles. To all the homeless blog readers out there: what do you think? We can do this together, right? If you can't make sensible decisions about your intoxicants, then what CAN you be sensible about?

Alize [Wikipedia]
Georgi Vodka [Garnet Wines and Liquors]

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Jon Bon Jovi shows Idol contestants how to rock...for the first time

With the Wizards mercifully out of their misery and the Mavs-Warriors game not on until later that night, it was time for me to get re-acquainted with a little Tuesday night program with which you may be familiar. Here we go, baby. American Idol. Da nannananananaaaaaa! Silver singing guy! Da nanananananaaaaa! Let's get it on. I know -- my verbal description is just like being there.

The bookend theme for
last night's episode was that the show raised $70 million for kids around the world, including Katrina victims. In a magnanimous gesture at the end of the show, President Bush appeared via video to thank Idol viewers for picking up his slack. Very nice, George. Now off to bed with you. With the American Idol address, plus the war bill veto, you've had a big, big day!

Time to rock...with that dude from the Goo Goo Dolls' dad!

Anyhoo, on to the music. With Haley, Sanjaya, and all the other chaff now separated from the general wheatiness of the remaining contestants, last night's episode was probably the best one of the season. Your guest mentor for the evening? Jon Bon Jovi. Or, as I like to call him, JBJ. While I enjoy JBJ just as much as anyone, I think Idol missed the mark a little bit. A few years ago, Bon Jovi enjoyed a little resurgence as Gen Xers discovered the pleasure of screeching out the lyrics to "Livin on a Prayer" on the karaoke stage or just before last call at the local alehouse. But unfortunately, 20- and 30-somethings have moved on in their search for retro acts that they can enjoy ironically while insisting they are not enjoying them ironically. Christopher Cross, anyone?

But as for the actual songs last night, they really were top shelf as far as American Idol goes. Jordin Sparks was, for the first time, the exception, as she completely shat the bed with her faux-rocker-girl take on the aforementioned "Prayer." Earlier, Phil treated us to a good (if strangely heartfelt) rendition of "Blaze of Glory." He said he grew up singing that song in the mirror. That's great.

I have to say that the highlight of the evening, however, was Lakisha Jones absolutely owning "This Ain't a Love Song." It was especially impressive considering that she has been forced to sing stuff she isn't familiar with week after week. JBJ, Gwen Stefani, Tony Bennett, the guy from Hermann's Hermits...not exactly an overly, er, soulful bunch there. Would it kill American Idol to work a little Jill Scott into the mix? A little Alicia Keys? Something? Throw Lakisha a bone here, guys. You bunch of filthy racists.

Following Lakisha was Blake, who I don't normally like, but last night he blew the roof off with a sweet beat-box rendition of "You Give Love A Bad Name." It really was fantastic. Seriously. Maybe you had to be there.

Anyone who followed those two acts was going to look pretty bad. And never one to break from the expected, Chris Richardson stepped up to the plate and did just that. During rehearsal, JBJ told Chris to sing "Wanted Dead or Alive" in a sad way. Chris proceeded to heed JBJ's advice, insomuch as he totally and completely ignored it. He opted instead for smoldering. You can tell that the fame and
the dating of fellow reality stars is going to his head a little bit. When he got to the "I'm wanted...dead or alive" line, I thought he was going to stop the song and say "sexually...know what I mean? I am wanted sexually."

But luckily that didn't happen, and Melinda closed things out with a JBJ rocker("Have A Nice Day") that the judges said sounded like Tina Turner, but I thought just sounded awkward, albeit well sung. And speaking of awkward, how about JBJ trying to relate to black people?!?! JBJ seemed nice, but Jesus, JBJ, could you be any whiter? With him calling Lakisha "girlfriend" and telling Melinda she had to "take it to church" as a way to feel comfortable singing his rock song...well, it was pretty embarrassing. Stick to the owner's box, JBJ.

Overall, I think Chris Richardson and Phil (despite a nice performance) might be going down this week, with Jordin as a potential shocker. However, since last week's votes are also factoring in, pretty much anything can happen. I'm on the edge of my seat. Just livin on a prayer. And thanks to JBJ, for showing us all how to rock again. I love you, man!

The President's Thanks, and Other Forms of Kissing Up [Washington Post]
'Idol 6' finalist Chris Richardson dating 'The Hills' star Lauren Conrad? [Reality World]

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