Before he won the Pulitzer Prize a couple years ago, Washington Post writer extraordinaire Henry Allen used to participate at Poynter Institute writing seminars. I was lucky to go to one.
At that session, he started out by talking about "power writing."
"When you do it right, it should hit you down there,'' he said, indicating toward his naughty, bulbous parts.
"When you write something good, it should make you go, "Ohhhhhhhhh, yeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh.''
Then we all stepped out for a cigarette.
That said, I imagine Mark Morford gets that moist, tingly feeling a lot. He's so good of a writer that about half of what he writes pisses me off - and I still can't resist his writing.
Anyway, it's good to see Mark get a little love from the brainiacs at Poynter. This analysis/Q&A is a fun read.
My favorite part:
The world is full of dry facts that lie on your spiritual plate like a slab of old ham. Very simply, I write in a style I want to read, that turns me on. In short, writing that is (hopefully) wry and sexy and fun and incendiary and thoughtful and winking and open-thighed and highly literate and well-informed and self-deprecating and well-lubricated and happy to buy you a drink. I aim to be a writer first and journalist, well, about 27th, right after idea-monger and trickster and contrarian and satirist and pro-sex advocate and wine enthusiast and dog lover and book fan and clothes junkie and yoga teacher and tattoo advocate and spiritual deviant and did I mention the part about the sex? Boring writing makes my soul curdle.
In other words, "Ohhhhhhhhh, yeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh.''
"To be honest, I don't think 7 inches is all that long," he said.
"Yes, it's big, but it may not be a record breaker. ''
A woman at work told me about six months ago I looked like this guy.
That's right, someone said I resembled a wrestler who's 7-feet-tall and weighs 500 pounds.
I couldn't have been more proud.
But at least I'm not a big enough dork to post my photo here.
Which inspires a side question: Why would 8 people want to tell the world that they looked like that big-foreheaded skank Christina Ricci? The Britney Spears fembots are alone worth a visit to this site.
Note to the kids who look like N'Sync's Chris Kirkpatrick and Backstreet Boy A. J. McLean: Consider plastic surgery. Or suicide. Or one good shave. Anything. Just move on with your lives.
Is there anything more beautiful than a hostile, angry music critic? Then again, is there any other kind?
Someone has bottled that essence and refined it into I Despise You, And Your So-Called Taste.
Tread at your own risk.
I could go for a nice, frothy Meat Shake.
That noise you just thought you heard was the sound of my one vegetarian friend throwing up.
This site helps you recreate all of McDonald's recipes at home.
Yeah, but where exactly does one obtain horse meat on a Sunday night when all the groceries are closed? I don't even want to know what's in a McFlurry.
ESPN's Page 2 poses "10 Burning Questions" to the new Monday Night Football sideline "reporter" Lisa Guererro.
Q: You've gotten guys to open up to you. Do you have an advantage with male athletes as a female reporter?
Burning question, indeed.
Mr. Doodle's Dog has a cute new list.
Come to think of it, there are a few people I'd like to gnaw on.
Part of what amazes me about the whole blog thing is that you can consider people friends whom you have yet to speak to, much less meet.
That they bestow unsolicited kindness and compliments beyond that point is even more remarkable.
For that, Margi Lowry, I say thanks.
Good to have you back broadcasting into the blogsphere.
Whew. That feels better.
Sorry about the week-long absence, folks. Apparently Blogger has a limit to the capacity it lets you upload.
I mean, you know, other than the good folks at Blogger, who gave me a choice of deleting some of the photos on my site to make room, or... BUY BLOGGER 1,000,000, which gives you a gazillion more jigobytes of space and...
So, if you like the photos, enjoy them while you can. Drink them in with your eyes. Savor their rich aroma. Because they won't be making in an appearance in the archives.
The best part: I now have the personal e-mail of the Blogger God (also known as the last remaining co-founder of the Blogger Universe). I have badgered that sumbitch nearly to the point of a TRO. (That's Temporary Restraining Order, for all you straights out there.)
Anyway, we now return you to your salad, already in progress.
I think he looks more like the construction worker who found Michigan J. Frog, the dancing and singing from in the Warner Bros. cartoon "One Froggy Evening."
Then again, I share too much.
Do not attempt to attend this convention without a full supply of Advil.
I want to tell you about my day.
Not all of it. Just the 10 seconds of my day that I got to wear the 2003 Super Bowl ring won by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Seems that the team is rewarding it's major "Pewter Partners" (read: major financial sponsors) with championship rings this year.
My employer is one of those partners.
Today, word got around that our ring had arrived. All $16,000 of it.
A co-worker cajoled a colleague to bring it by for a look-see.
And a few of us tucked it into a darkened conference room to take a private gander.
And then we took turns trying it on.
And then I tried it on. And it fit like Cinderella's slipper.
It was insanely huge and gaudy. Diamonds all over that mutha. It had inscriptions on the side that I didn't have the coherence to read, much less remember.
Did I mention that it fit? And that my finger was the only one in the room that it fit?
Sure makes it tough to take off when it fits, let me tell you.
Word spread through the building. What started as a secret became public knowledge fairly quickly.
And after about 30 minutes of gasping and giggling and photo taking, it was put back inside the chestnut box in which it came and smuggled back out to its secret hiding place.
And that was my day.
This weekend in history:
** In 1977, Elvis Presley performed his last live concert in Indianapolis. He died in August at his home in Memphis, Tenn.
** In 1990, Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block fell through an unlocked stage trapdoor during a concert in Saratoga, N.Y. He had to have nine stitches, but otherwise suffered only cuts and bruises.
Know how you can tell if your mobile home is haunted?
The eyes on the velvet Elvis painting move.
Ah, if only Picasso had the Post-It medium with which to work.
Scott's a hottie?
"(Scott Peterson) is a young, attractive man who has yet to be found guilty. If you don't see him as responsible for the (slayings), he's a very sympathetic young man, someone the whole world is against. People out there have a need to come to the rescue of someone beleaguered."
-- Jeanette Sereno, an attorney and criminal justice professor at California State University, commenting on the stacks of letters from female admirers received by Peterson while in jail awaiting trial for his wife and baby's murder. One of the letters was written by a female inmate who had murdered her husband.
You may hate where you live. You may think it's only a shade above a shack on Sugarloaf Mountain.
But at least you don't live in this San Francisco neighborhood.
One of the residents there has done a "Day In The Life" pictorial to show what it's like to live downtown.
Brace yourself. It's not a pretty click.
Two words I never want to hear again: bargain whore.
Please join me in welcoming my friend Pat into the blogosphere with her entry Mr. Doodle's Dog.
Pat has a great eye for kitsch. And her dogs are adoreable.
I was having a bad day with Blogger yesterday. I entered some code that didn't belong and it made ...
Nevermind. Too boring to talk about.
Suffice to say that I found a Blogger exec who responded directly to my problem.
Miracle, I know.
Anyway, sorry about the unintended weirdness.
We now return you to your intentional weirdness.
It would be disingenous of me to say that I was a fan of former anchor David Brinkley. But I was an admirer. I think there's a difference.
Brinkley was really the first person I could remember who was a smart-ass on TV in an official capapcity. I remember watching him and John Chancellor on the NBC Nightly News and just waiting for Brinkley to rotate his chair to an off-angle while reading news copy with his head slightly tilted and his chin elevated in mock haughtiness. He'd hunch a little, look up occasionally at the camera as if he was saying with his eyes, "Isn't the world a crock of shit?" and deliver some of his beautifully unique prose in his signature halting cadence.
I liked Chancellor's earnestness, but I admired Brinkley's "fuck you" delivery and no-bullshit demeanor. He came off smart and edgy and I thought that for a news man, it was incredibly cool. Chancellor was Paul McCartney to Brinkley's Lennon.
I think one of the reasons no one watches the political conventions anymore - beyond the fact that they are merely choreographed political masturbation, complete with confetti and balloons - is that we don't have Brinkley to pierce them in the side with a spear to deflate their distorted sense of import and relevence. Brinkley was like "Mystery Science Theater 3000" for political junkies. He'd watch it, see it, digest it and then skewer it with verbal flair and dead-on wit. All in the span of a few seconds.
So when I read the following passage in this story in the Washington Post by Tom Shales, I recognized the Brinkley I knew as a viewer while I was growing up. I wish that as a newsman I was as bold and forthright sometimes as he was:
Even when he was at his peak, Brinkley would occasionally be picked on by network brass for being too laid-back and casual on the air. Brinkley remembered once interviewing Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House when producer Fred W. Friendly, who didn't like what he was seeing, interrupted him.
"He came over and said to me, 'I want you to be more lively,' " Brinkley recalled. "And I said, 'Shut up.' That was the end of the discussion."
We got a sample of Hulk Hands in the mail two weeks ago. Which, of course, spawned an idea to do a sequel of The Sombrero Project, The Sombrero Project, Part Dos and The Sombrero Project, Part Tres.
But how, we wondered amid discussion of fast food uniforms, would we build a metaphorical bridge between the two projects?
Then Joseph walked up.
He is the bridge.
Hats off to today's Web find: The Unh! Project.
The site includes a catalog of gutteral moans, emissions and sound effects made by characters in comic strip panels.
Attended the grand opening of the new Shrek 4-D attraction at Universal Studios. Hadn't ever been to one of those kinds of rollouts before. It was quite the spectacle.
They had a world-record 22-foot-tall, 5,000 pound cake. Lots of fireworks and smoke and mirrors. Dancing. Frolicking. A general level of merriment was had by all.
The best part: there was plenty of pokes at the cross-town rival, Disney.
But the big difference between the opening in Florida and those in L.A. and Tokyo: celebrities.
They had everyone from Dustin Hoffman to Samuel L. Jackson at Universal Studios Hollywood.
We had Brittany Snow, star of the lackluster NBC TV show "American Dreams."
She seemed like a very nice girl, but...
(cue the yawning)
Anyway, I'm writing a story about the whole thing. I'll post a link to it when the article runs.
In the meantime, here's a link to a review I wrote about "Rugrats Go Wild." It was quite the scintillating cinematic experience. And here's a little story I wrote about a girl from Tampa who lobbied Congress this week.
Picked up a couple points today in the Reaper's Delight dead pool.
Which answers the question: How do you kill a mockingbird?
One Peck at a time.
... a picture of me from four years ago dressed in a nun's habit.
Remember the time Dennis Miller did Weekend Update on "Saturday Night Live" with Dana Carvey and Tom Hanks imitating him as they all sang "Jingle Bells?"
This is only slightly less narcissistic.
Quote of the day courtesy of this story.
"We didn't mean to upset Mr. Reynolds as much as we did. The fact that he tried to rip up a puppet's head, well, all I can say is -- when Burt Reynolds attacks you, that has to go on the résumé."
Fametracker has some ideas for names of subsequent sequels of "The Matrix" and "The Matrix: Reloaded.". I like: "The Matrix Re: My Memo of Last Week."
On a related note, The Neo who smelled it dealt it.
Here are more signs you don't want to see.
One of the coolest finds on the Web I've had the pleasure of making the past month or so is The Humbug Journal: Blog of the Score Bard.
It's a place that goes beyond the normal realm of brainless baseball banter or sports talk schlock.
These people still talk about the events of the day on the baseball field. They just use verse to do so. There's everything from Haiku to Free Verse to Limericks.
Take this bit of poetry by a recent contributor, who talks about the corking of Sammy Sosa's bat:
Let us go then, you and I
and follow this tedious argument
Of insidious intent
And lead you to an overwhelming question . . .
Oh, do not ask, "Were they all cork?"
It makes you sound just like a dork.
On the web, the people come to chat
Talking of Sammy Sosa's bat.
Pretty cool, eh?
We're well over 55 poses now. The latest can be found here.
We might have to start going around the office if we want our numbers to increase.
My taste in cartoons tends to be a tad ... dark. That's probably why I like Callahan.
I first saw his cartoons in the Miami Herald's Sunday magazine, Tropic. His stuff was full of crippled characters you never see in "safe" comics. He attacks stereotypes head-on and plays with them like they were no big deal. The humor is morbid mostly because, you know, he's in a wheelchair due to a car crash at 21 and he tends to see the dark side of life. It's the kind of stuff you might think in the back of your head but you would never say out loud.
I also dig him because he got booted out of Tropic for a tasteless cartoon he drew in 1996. Just so happened to run on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's assasination. Oooooops.
I found that strip offensive - there are a lot of his that bother me - but with so few people out there pushing boundaries, his nauseous stuff is worth stomaching to get to the moments of greatness. There are times that startle you when you laugh at stuff you never thought you'd laugh at.
You can read his hate mail here.
Oh, and while Tropic magazine is no more, Callahan goes on.
Let that be a lesson for you.
Remember it because it will be the first time you've heard about Mark Walker.
He's 3 years old. He can shoot a basketball like nothing you've ever seen.
And he already has a shoe deal.
Does the name Tiger Woods ring a bell?
Pray for this kid.
And remember who told you about him first.
Click here to see him do his stuff.
Do not pass go, and you better give me your $200 or I'll bust a cap in your ass.
This game is a close approximation.
At least be a famous one.
I almost coughed up my pancreas looking at these posters:
Apparently, toilet paper is the fashion trend of the season.
You go, Serena. In a perfect world, she'll decide not to play the French Open next year and see if anyone comes out to watch the tournament. There is no women's tennis other than Serena and Venus Williams. Serena is the most amazing woman's tennis player since Navratilova and the French stand up to boo her in defeat.
Could someone please let me know when the French contribute something valuable to society again, other than their perfection of the art of pissing all over something for the sake of doing so?
Oh. Sorry. I'll be long dead by then.
It's nothing new at Roland Garros. In 1999, they humiliated Martina Hingis after she and her partner Anna Kournikova were defeated in a doubles match. Hingis ran to the locker room amid hoots from the crowd and didn't want to go back out to the court to accept the runner-up trophy because the crowd was booing her so heavily. Her mother eventually coaxed her back out. To her credit, France's Nathalie Tauziat also helped Hingis cope with the loss.
Just for laughs, I ran the words "French" and "boo" through Yahoo. Apparently, booing is some sort of national crisis.
President Chirac of France was so angry at young football fans who jeered at the French national anthem at a France versus Algeria football match recently that he introduced strict new laws to deal with the problem.
Nice to see Jacques crack down on the real problems in this world. Apparently a boo in France counts as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
In other French booing news:
-- In February, the French parliament made it a criminal offense to insult the French flag or national anthem by booing. Booing the Marseillaise now carries the risk of a fine of 7,500 euros and six months in prison.
-- In March, France coach Roger Lemerre expressed his anger with the French fans for booing substitute defender Christian Karembeu during the team's 5-0 trashing of Scotland. "When a part of the French public boos at a player of the French team I consider it like an insult to the team and even an insult to my own country."
On behalf of the United States, I'd like to sincerely invite the French to take off their short pants and grow up so they can join us at the adult table.
What a miserable excuse for a country.
The American Film Institute released its list this week of the top 100 heroes and villains in movie history.
Blogger extraordinaire Paul Katcher has a fun take on the list.
My favorite quote comes from the headline: No Way Hannibal Lecter Kicks Darth Vader's Ass.
Paul offers his list of favorites. I don't really have a list - I have somewhat of a life (not that you don't, Paul) - but I will say my favorite movie villain was Verbal Kint from "The Usual Suspects". Favorite movie hero? Gotta go with John Winger from "Stripes."
That's a fact, Jack.
As a member of the media establishment, I've always considered it a privledge that I get to occasionally interview celebrities.
To paraphrase Uncle Ben in "Spider-man": With great privledge comes great responsibility." And I consider it my responsibility to throw any and all kinds of questions at them. You know, because, uh, you know, uh, they know so much stuff, and junk.
I once asked Garth Brooks if he considered spurring sales of his live CD by giving away a bag of Wal-Mart orange circus peanuts with every disc. (He did not.) I asked Charlie Daniels what his favorite rap song was. (He lacked a coherent answer to that one.) I asked a Miss America whether she really just wanted to represent "the good states." ("They're all good states," she dutifully answered.) I asked the last man on the moon, Eugene Cernan, if he pooted in his moon suit. (He laughed and said he didn't recall.)
So I always like it when I see examples of such questioning exhibited by reporters in an effort to puncture their mental oxygen tent, as it were. The Onion A.V. Club's interview with game show host Bob Barker has some lovely lines of questioning, such as:
O: Do you ever get to a point with a contestant where you just want to say, "Well, obviously the breath mints are cheaper than the cleanser, dumbass"?
O: What are some of the worst injuries you've ever sustained on the show?
and this great exchange:
O: Tell me about your dark side.
BB: My dark side?
O: We all see lovable Bob Barker on the television set. [BB laughs.] There's got to be the anti-Bob Barker who gets up in the morning and says, "You know, I don't want people to win on my show, and these people are idiots, and I don't want them to win some jukebox that's just going to be a big tax burden anyway." Do you ever wake up and feel like that?
Here are some other Bob Barker-related links to chew on:
A photo of Bob Barker wearing a sombrero during his "Truth of Consequences" days.
Bob's CBS bio.
A conspiracy theorist who claims Barker is forming an army of Price Is Right Youth to take over the world. (Cue evil "Mwwaaaahhhhahahaha" laugh.)
The WWWF Grudge Match, featuring Bob Barker vs. Richard Dawson.
I've been fascinated with sombreros ever since my friend Alan and I heard baseball announcer Harry Carray notice a fan wearing one in the stands at Wrigley Field and observe, "Now, there's a good lookin' fella!"
I've since developed two theories:
1. Everyone looks great in a sombrero.
2. Everyone looks happier than they were before they put the sombrero on.
I've decided to pursue these unproven theorems by photographing people at my work to show if, in fact, this is the case.
You can see the early research by looking at The Sombrero Project, and the resulting Sombrero Project, Part Dos.
So far, the data looks promising.
I got bored and wanted a new look.
Please be patient while I figure out how to tweak the new template.
This one made me laugh until I spit up blood.
June is known to many as "potty training month." With the advent of warmer weather, this is traditionally the time most parents begin the difficult chore of potty training their children.
1. Please define the word "many."
2. Other than those people who have to worry about shitting in a shed out back of the barn in February, what does warm weather have to do with potty training?
Now, if they had said pottymouth training, then I might have been interested.
Take the THE Pottymouth Quiz.
As I always guessed, I've got a mouth that is about as foul as a gorgonzola salad in the sewer of a slaughterhouse filled with smoke from burning tires.
It's always cool to find another interesting blog to read.
Meet Randall, who lives with his wife Mabel in the Ma On Shan section of Hong Kong.
Randall reports that people there refer to him as Gwi Lo [gw-eye l-oe] What does it mean? In English, gwi means ghost, and lo is a colloquial term for a common man.
""Gwi Lo is a frequently used Chinese expression referring to men like me. 100 years ago it was considered an offensive term. Nowadays, it's not really all that bad.''
He has some interesting insights into the SARS virus and how mainland China is reacting to it.
Here's an excerpt:
Think you're immune from getting ticketed in Hong Kong for spitting or littering because there are no officers around?
Think again. A group of 45 undercover officers of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department began patrolling areas such as MTR entrances, wet markets and bus stops yesterday, nabbing 25 offenders in the process. The new plainclothes agents operate concurrently with 4,000 uniformed officers to enforce public hygiene laws.
In addition, the department also sent out 18,000 warning notices to wet-market vendors, restaurants, food factories and canteens, ordering them to clean up or face the consequences. Daily inspections and "blitz operations" will begin later next week to ensure full compliance with all regulations. Particularly outlawed practices include:
Working in dirty surroundings.
Ever been inside the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant? I have. Shudder.
Placing cooked food on display without cover.
This is specifically aimed at Hong Kong snack vendors that sell things such as fish balls and squid right at street level.
Preparing food in back alleys.
I've seen it happen. And don't even get me started on the condition of the back alleys.
Allowing infestation of pests.
Tolerating filthy toilets.
If at all possible I rarely use the washrooms in restaurants unless they happen to be a higher class establishment. That's because the toilets in small restaurants are so frightening that if you ever were to go in there you'd probably not feel like eating for quite a while afterward.
As for the undercover officers, they are armed with a zero-tolerance policy against spitters and litterbugs. Personally, I am very happy to hear that. I can't wait for the day when I actually get to see someone being handed a ticket for hawking a loogie on the sidewalk. When it happens, I hope to God I have my camera with me. So be advised: whether you're in Hong Kong for a visit or to make it your home, just because other people spit and litter doesn't mean you should too.
Remember, you're being watched.
I've held out long enough without falling into the extremely geeky blog tendency to tell you 100 things about myself or answer five questions on a particular day of the week.
But since I am severely lacking in material to share without digging into my personal life (believe me, no one wants that), here's my Friday Five. (Yes, I know it's Tuesday.) Consider it my one concession to the dark side of the blog world:
1. What do you most want to be remembered for?
Would it be dropping a shopping cart on my head in college? Making a Johnny Commando run on the Whataburger flagpole? Maybe a little borrowing of the state senate president's desk ornaments and giving them to my best friend to honor his recent designation as a Florida resident. Or the time I wore a bear head to work? How about when I sent two seeping cantaloupes in interoffice mail to demonstrate to my bosses the actual size of a dog's back tumor? The night I broke out of a bar in Nome? The night I posed with an oversized loaf of bread at a baseball game? Or the Christmas party when I hung dried apricots on a hook at someone's house and tried to foist them off as tropical mistletoe. Or the celebrity Super Bowl party I crashed in Miami so I could shake Mary Hart's hand. Then there was the road trip to Atlanta during which I subsisted on nothing but Moon Pies, pork rinds and Lite beer. Nah. I'll have to go with fathering a wonderful son. Albeit a wonderful son who has yet to hear about his father doing any of the above.
2. What quotation best fits your outlook on life?
If the shoes are too small, wear a bigger pair.
3. What single achievement are you most proud of in the past year?
Printing a page upside down in a major metropolitan newspaper.
4. What about the past 10 years?
Gotta go with the offspring on this one.
5. If you were asked to give a child a single piece of advice to guide them through life, what would you say?
Life is too short and too stupid to be taken seriously. Then again, that might be the shopping cart talking.
Michael Pittman, your career dissipation light just went into overdrive.
It's funny (that's funny sad, not funny ha-ha); we were at the Devil Rays game the other night when Rays shortstop Julio Lugo came to the plate.
Someone yelled, "HOW ABOUT HITTING THE BALL AS HARD AS YOU HIT YOUR WIFE!?!?!?!"
It was cruel. And true.
That's the way I feel about Pittman. I had plenty of issues with the man's running skills last season for the Bucs.
But running into your wife's Mercedes while it contains your spouse, your 2-year-old son and his babysitter??? This on top of arrests in 2001 and 1997 for domestic violence incidents.
Innocent until proven guilty? Sure. All for it.
But is there any reason for a man to attack a woman? I've said it before and I'll say it again; It's an abuse of power.
So the question remains:
Mike, why can't you hit the gap in the line like you hit your wife's Mercedes?
Oh, right. Forgot.
Because you don't have your Hummer around you.
Get lost, Pittman. You're only 16 games overdue for that train out of town.
If you run real fast, you might catch up.
Oh, right. Forgot.
Sorry for the lack of posts this weekend. Been busy going to beachfront photo shoots and Devil Rays games and birthday parties and bike riding and going to the pool.
It's a tough life here in Florida, but someone has to live it.
We'll be back on the air again tonight or early Monday.