Three names you go by (that won't give away your identity): Big Show, Daddy-O, Rev. Joe Kendall
Three screen names you've had: SaladMan, HEKJeff, Jeff6ft7
Three physical things you like about yourself: My height, ability to sleep at a moment's notice, only one or two grey hairs - so far.
Three physical things you don't like about yourself: astigmatism, ankles that feel like they belong to a 1,000-year-old horse, feet the size of New Hampshire.
Three parts of your heritage: Italian, German, Irish, which makes me an angry, megalomaniacal drunk.
Three things you are wearing right now: Hobbit Hoagies hat, Casio Sea-Pathfinder watch, University of Florida class ring.
Three favorite bands/musical artists: Lyle Lovett, Nikka Costa, Foo Fighters.
Three favorite songs: "Cute As A Bug," "Like A Feather," "Times Like These"
Three things you want in a relationship: Love, laughter, endlessly interesting things to talk about (I can't improve on what Scorpio said, either).
Three physical things about the preferred sex that appeals to you: hair, eyes, opposable thumbs.
Three of your favorite hobbies: Kayaking, bicycling, blogging.
Three things you want to do really badly right now: Smoke a Cohiba, move to Alaska, fly to Hawaii.
Three things that scare you: Lightning, heights, carnies. (Circus folk. Nomads, you know. Smell like cabbage. Small hands.)
Three of your everyday essentials: Hot tea, magazines in the john, a bed long enough to fit me.
Three careers you have considered/are considering: The priesthood, Air Force pilot, standup comedian
Three places you want to go on vacation: Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Homer, Alaska.
Three kids' names you like: Brian, Jeffrey, Oscar
Three things you want to do before you die: Cover a war, ride into space, finish this endless meme.
Three ways you are stereotypically a boy: I drive a pickup truck. I smoke cigars. I scratch at inappropriate moments.
Three ways you are stereotypically a girl: I like to cook. I pierced my ear once. I love to hold a baby.
No blog is worth losing your job over:
DALLAS - For most of the past two semesters, nobody knew the identity of "The Phantom Professor."
The educator's anonymous Web log, set at an unnamed university "in the South," spun tales of spoiled-rich "Ashleys" with their $500 sandals and $1,500 handbags, eating disorders, plagiarism and drug use, legal and illegal.
"At this school it seems like every kid is on multiple medications," the professor wrote, describing her charges as "barely literate," prone to emotional problems and "terrified of displeasing Mommy and Daddy."
Surrounded by students sporting French manicures and plans for spring break in Cabo, the blog's author told stories like the one about "a certain member of a Middle Eastern royal family who got a new Mercedes by convincing a frat buddy to crash his one-year-old model into a wall" or how one stall in a certain ladies room was known as "the purge-atory."
No names were used, but this spring at Southern Methodist University, students and faculty began recognizing themselves in the phantom's prose. A student in SMU's corporate communications and public affairs department discovered the blog had quoted the content of e-mail she had sent to one of her teachers. It called her "clueless."
An assistant professor had no trouble identifying herself in another short posting about a faculty member who was "fresh from a mediocre Midwestern University with a Ph.D. in something no one cares about."
Earlier this month, Elaine Liner, an adjunct professor who taught writing and ethics classes in SMU's public relations department since 2001, revealed in an online publication that the blog was hers. Liner, who writes freelance theater reviews for a Dallas weekly, also let it be known that in late March she was told her contract to teach at the school would not be renewed.
"One of the ironies of this is that I worked in a building that had the First Amendment carved in stone across its front," Liner said in an interview last week. She said she is certain she was let go because of her blog.
"I can't arrive at any other conclusion," said Liner, who was paid $18,000 a year, no benefits, to teach two classes for three semesters.
To paraphrase "Bull Durham": She's got a million-dollar education and a five-cent head.
The first day of summer is always special in New York's Hudson Valley and a former resident plans to return to celebrate the Summer Solstice in the ultimate way – by cycling 160 miles in one day from the George Washington Bridge to the New York state capitol lawn in Albany.
Alan Snel, a writer who covers sports business for the Tampa Tribune, plans to leave the George Washington Bridge on the New York side and pedal until he reaches Albany on June 21. Snel will leave around 4:45 a.m. that Tuesday and follow the family of Route 9 roads -- 9W, 9D and 9J – to Albany, which he hopes to reach by sunset.
Snel, 43, is a veteran long-distance bicyclist who grew up in Rockland County and lived in Orange and Ulster counties while working for the Journal-News in West Nyack and the Times Herald-Record, based in Middletown. Among his annual menu of long-distance rides is a 125-mile, one-day circumnavigation of Florida's Lake Okeechobee.
Snel will dedicate the bike ride to the memory of Bill Fox, a bicyclist from Middletown who died in a bike crash in Dutchess County in 2002. Snel met Fox at a Stewart’s ice cream convenience store one year earlier when both were on different long-distance bike rides that day.
Friends might not be able to go with Snel on the trip. But they can follow him along the way. Rosemary Evans, a second grade teacher at Gardnertown Elementary School in the Newburgh School District, will use the bike ride as a class tool to teach her students about Hudson Valley geography, math and social studies. Snel plans to call the class along the way to give the students a first-hand report from the road that morning.
I'm excited to announce that Side Salad has been chosen to participate in a joint media venture with Hudsonian.com for a live blogcast of the memorial ride.
Here's how Alan sums it up:
SAN ANTONIO, Fla. -- God, I can't believe I'm doing this. It's 1 p.m. here in Pasco County, about 30 miles north of Tampa, and it's 90 degrees and 60 percent humidity two days before Memorial Day.
My lungs suck in blasts of muggy air as I'm pedaling my Trek 1200 bike, kind of the Ford pick-up of road bikes in the Trek bicycle series. It's called hill work. And it's serious heavy lifting.
Yes, you read that right -- hills right here in Florida.
I'm a training masochist these days, getting ready for a bicycle journey of a lifetime -- a one-day, 160-mile Hudson Valley ride from the George Washington Bridge in New York to the state capitol in Albany to mark the first day of summer and remember a friend on June 21.
So here in the Tampa Bay area where I live, I'm trying to replicate conditions. I drive to San Antonio, about four miles east of Interstate 75, and park at a local park surrounded by Little League fields. I remove the bike from the car and bike to Lake Iola Road outside of this small town, which is tucked in by orange groves and new homes sprouting on the rolling hills. They remind me of the undulating terrain along Route 32 from Newburgh in Orange County to New Paltz in Ulster County.
I'm out on the hills now. Did I tell you it's feaken hot as I rise out of my saddle to slay another hill? I gently rock the bike from side to side and concentrate on pedaling circles with my feet.
I'm climbing hills here in Florida because there's no easy way to propel a bike 160 miles in one day -- which I plan to do on the summer solstice. In a world of glib, fast-talking salesmen, there's no convincing a bike to move forward with sweet words unless there's raw leg muscle behind the flip commentary.
That's why bicycling is the truth. And hauling ass up a hill as pure an athletic pursuit as you have out there.
So I figure what doesn't defeat me along Lake Iola Road as I head for Florida's State Road 50 will ultimately make me stronger to handle those hills along Route 9W and 9J in the Hudson Valley.
Up and down the road I go. Hammering up the hills in the heat, cresting the terrain, then flying down on the other side along this roller-coaster route. Down one stretch I nearly hit 40 mph. That's cool stuff, folks, for Florida.
This is physicality in action. But there's a lot of emotion riding with me, too.
Only a few days earlier, a letter arrived at my job.
The return address was "M. Fox" and it was from Middletown, N.Y.
Margaret Fox! She had received me letter and was writing back.
I had written Margaret about a month ago explaining that I was going to ride from the George Washington Bridge to Albany to celebrate the summer solstice in the Hudson Valley and pay tribute to the memory of her husband, Bill, an amazing bicyclist who died in a crash three years ago in Dutchess County. He used a bicycle to turn his life around and shared his love for cycling with anyone who would listen. I wrote about Bill and his tragic death for the Middletown Times Herald-Record in 2002. That's when I met Margaret. Bill, like me, had turned into a long-distance cyclist and two-wheeling evangelist spreading the gospel of bicycle life.
Her letter was uplifting. Consider some of her words -- they apply to a bike ride, or any pursuit, really: "Everything is an adventure -- an opportunity to be out in the midst of nature, seeing and experiencing what is often otherwise missed, and to be part of the colorful swirl of humanity."
Amen. Words to live by.
More emotion: other people are joining in on the ride.
My dear friend from Newburgh, Rosemary Evans (who just happens to be the best second-grade teacher in the world), is using the bike ride as a teaching tool. Rosemary has crafted a map for her classroom showing the route to teach geography and has arranged a chart of 160 books for the kids to read -- one book for every mile.
When I told my sister, Debbie, about Rosemary's book-for-every-mile assignment, she said, "Now, there's a teacher."
And I concur.
Then, there's my bicycling pal Chris O'Connell from Goshen. Chris will be catching up with me at a point along the trek and will bike with me for a healthy chunk of the route. Talk about hammering -- the dude's legs are tree trunks and he massacres hills with some of the most powerful cycling this side of Lance Armatrong .
So, even though it's hot as a furnace as I'm pumping up another hill, I think of all these folks connected to the ride -- and I smile. It sounds crazy. I'm laboring now and sweat is collecting on my forehead. God, it's hot.
And I am smiling. I'm thinking about some of the best friends a guy can have.
It's why I'm gonna be ready for June 21.
You'll be able to come along for the ride, too. Throughout the day on June 21, Snel will be calling in reports, which will then be posted to Side Salad.
One of the great hidden joys of running a blog includes the time spent stripping out spam that gets through your software and lodge their products like goiters in your comments and trackback sections. It's always good stuff, too, stuff that people really need to sustain their spiritual natures, stuff that fills our emotional chasms, gives life to the places that are dead inside us and renews our faith in humanity. You know, stuff like circus porn and South African investment opportunities.
Before I recently upgraded to the latest Movable Type software, (Thank you Sekimori), I used to have to rip them out like weeds, one at a time. Now I can wipe them all away at one time Agent Orange-style, but it's still a pisser to do and takes time from more valuable tasks like, you know, posting photos of female race car drivers in skimpy outfits.
I sometimes try to imagine who might be pumping out such huge amounts of toxic, harmful, invasive garbage into the universe. This is the best I could come up with:
Anyway, a couple I had to extract this morning had some interesting terms attached to them. I have no idea what they are referring to, but they have a Mr. Greenjeans-during-a-lost-weekend-on-Bourbon-Street air to them:
super horny goat weed
horny goat weed with maca
horny goat weed information
horny goat weed pill
horny goat weed warning
horny goat weed tea
herb horny goat weed
horny goat weed use
horny goat weed for woman
So I have this little poll column that I do on Fridays now. It's called The Big Question. Each week, I peg a question to a bizarre item in the previous week's news and offer some odd choices in a poll.
Anyway, this week's question is online:
If you could call 911 for something trivial that annoyed the heck out of you, what would it be?
Be sure to vote early and often, if you please.
This week's question was bourne from an incident in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in which 86-year-old Dorothy Densmore was arrested for calling 911 more than 20 times in less than a half hour to complain that a pizza shop wouldn't deliver to her home and that they had called her a "crazy old coot." And when cops finally went to her house to tell her to stop calling, she allegedly went all batshit on the officer.
Anyway, the Smoking Gun has all the pertinent details, including the mug shot:
I puzzled for the longest time as to whom she reminded me of.
Then it hit me:
If you haven't heard of Danica Patrick, you'll likely be hearing a great deal about her in the near future.
Patrick on Sunday became the first woman to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500. She also became the first to finish in the top 4 - not to mention the first to finish on the lead lap - and she damn near came close to winning the whole shootin' match until she was passed with about 13 laps left. St. Petersburg's own Dan Wheldon took the coveted trophy at The Brickyard.
And, uh, she's only 23.
Patrick led three times for a total of 19 laps, including two stints at the point in the final 28 laps. So, she effectively answered the critics who questioned her ability and stamina to run with the guys on a superspeedway - and run up front.
She follows in the path of Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Desire Wilson and Sarah Fisher, open-wheel racers who competed for years at Indianapolis in the '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s.
But unlike Patrick, Guthrie and St. James had no open wheel experience. Guthrie and St. James were in their 40s when they raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And Fisher showed promise but lacked experience and never got a bigtime ride in the Indy Racing League.
If a woman is to ever have a shot at being a serious competitor in Indy-car racing and a contender at the Indy 500, then Danica Patrick is the prototype. As the third driver in the Rahal/Letterman Racing stable, she's more than prepared.
At 16, she went to Europe to run Formula Vuxhall and Formula Ford. At 19, she was back in America contesting the Barber Dodge series before moving on to the ultra-competitive Toyota Atlantic series -- where she finished third in 2004.
At 5-2 and 100 pounds, Patrick might seem too frail to wring out an Indy car or rubs wheels at 200 mph. But she compensates with confidence.
Consider how she made up for some glaring rookie miscues.
First, after starting fourth and becoming the first woman to lead a lap at Indy, Patrick stalled her car in the pits, knocking her from fourth to 16th.
She worked her way back to seventh, then had another embarrassing mistake during a caution with 45 laps to go. Patrick was revving her engine to take green when her No. 16 car suddenly swerved to the right between the third and fourth turns, colliding with Tomas Enge and sending Tomas Scheckter spinning into the wall.
As it turned out, the crash helped her get to the front.
Patrick managed to get the car straightened out and limped back to the pits -- her left wing and nose cone sheared off by the crash. The Rahal Letterman crew quickly repaired the damage, getting her back out while still on the lead lap. She returned to the pits a second time under yellow, getting a full tank of fuel and four new tires. Then she tested her nerves - and fuel supply - by staying out on the track when leaders went in for gas and tires. If she hadn't had to drive conservatively to maxmize her mileage, she might have been drinking from the milk bottle in victory lane.
Still, you're going to have ridiculous naysayers whenever a woman makes a mark in a sport dominated by men. People like Robbie Gordon, the former open-wheel racer who now (allegedly) competes in NASCAR.
Gordon bitched this week that Patrick has an advantage because she only weighs 100 pounds:
Gordon, a former open-wheel driver now in NASCAR, contends that Patrick is at an advantage over the rest of the competitors because her weight. Because all the cars weigh the same, Patrick's is lighter on the race track.
Gordon says he won't race against Patrick until the Indy Racing League does something to take her advantage away.
The Indy Racing League does not consider the driver's weight in its race specifications. The car has to weigh at least 15-hundred-and-25 pounds before the fuel and driver are added.
Teams in Indy have estimated that Patrick will gain close to 1 mph in speed because of her small, light stature.
What's Gordon bitching about? I mean, it isn't like he has a big set of testicles to lug around the track. Or talent, for that matter.
The Indianapolis Star had a nice feature from the pits, including her mother's point of view during the race:
Toward the end of the race, team co-owner David Letterman stood next to Bev Patrick in the pit stand.
With three laps left, Letterman squatted to get a view of the scoring pylon. Patrick was in fourth.
Letterman's face crinkled.
About an hour before the start of the race, seven shirtless men lined up against a fence near Patrick's garage.
Six of them had a letter of her name written on their bodies. The last one had a heart with the number 16 inside.
When a door to her garage opened, someone, thinking it might be Patrick, yelled, "Uh, uh, uh . . ."
A woman -- not Patrick -- emerged.
"Ohhhhhhhhhhhh," the disappointed men groaned.
"Sorry," the woman said. "I always wanted to look like that."
The Indy 500 might never be the same.
After the race, in the pits, Bev Patrick talked to the reporter from Glamour magazine.
"I tell her to be a lady, always be a lady," Bev said. "And don't be ashamed of it, right?"
"Absolutely," said the reporter.
And as expected, many are focusing on her appearance:
Just six weeks ago, Danica Patrick was little known beyond the world of auto racing.
But after an appearance this week on David Letterman's show, countless media interviews and some sexy ads, the Wisconsin native is becoming a media phenomenon as tomorrow's Indianapolis 500 approaches.
Her quick ascension is no coincidence. While she's only 23, Patrick has packaged her driving skills and good looks like a seasoned veteran, according to people who market sports stars for a living.
"I saw her on David Letterman. She is bright, attractive, and, for her age, she did very well," said sports marketing expert Max Muhleman, Charlotte, N.C., who has worked with racing stars for 30 years, most notably as the manager of Coca-Cola's NASCAR involvement.
"Danica just cries out for major product opportunities."
Patrick successfully used her talents and her looks to snag a sponsorship from Argent Mortgage Co., a national mortgage firm based in Irvine, Calif. Her racing uniform prominently displays the company name.
On Argent's Web site this week, a photo of Patrick -- her long, black hair blowing across her face -- appears at the top of the home page.
"I don't deny the fact that I like to be made up to be pretty," said Patrick, who is comfortable posing for so-called glamour photos.
The Indy Racing League has also tried to cash in on the buzz. Earlier this year, the league used a photo of a leather-clad Patrick -- which is part of her official media kit -- to promote the racing series in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue and other magazines geared toward men ages 18-34.
She's clearly comfortable in front of the camera - to the delight and dismay of fans who saw her FHM photo layout.
And since I know many who will find this site through searching for Danica will be looking for the photos, here they are. They make Anna Kournikova's photo spreads look demure by comparison. We certainly live in interesting times.
(Be prepared, folks. Some of these get a little, um, racy. Don't click if you're easily offended.):
By the looks of these pics, I think Drew is still a little miffed about the time I filled the memory card of his camera with 62 photos of my since-deceased dog's magnificent starburst-shaped anus.
Some people are so touchy that way.
PREVIOUS REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER
LEAVE YOUR CAMERA UNATTENDED
DURING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
The project had a bit of an update Friday night. Didn't help that alcohol, chocolate chip cookies and a ritual initiation were involved. You see, we have a new guy in the neighborhood, Patrick, and we had to test him to see which side of The Crazy Fence he was on.
If the above photo is any indication, Patrick is going to fit right in. (Unbeknownst to him, he iced the deal when he let loose an unprompted, "It puts the lotion on its skin" quote from "Silence of the Lambs." Mullet + Pro-sombrero + Movie Quoting Ability = Good Neighbor.)
In addition to his photo, the project now has a home online to make it all official. You can see the online gallery by clicking here.
I can remember the first time I saw "Cape Fear" and how offended I was when Robert DeNiro as Max Cady pushed his thumb into the mouth of the pubescent Juliette Lewis, who played the daughter of the the man who served as Cady's ineffective public defender. I remember thinking, "This is wrong. This is over the line."
Then I saw Jolie's posting. Now I think it may have been laser-accurate casting.
I've written several times about the addictive little game that features a yeti smacking a penguin Home Run Derby-style. It morphed eventually, as things on the Web tend to do, into a steroid-choked version (Think Barry Bonds) and a blood-soaked Passion of The Penguin. There's also a version in which an orca smacks penguins with his tail, but that one was too complex. Simplicity was this game concept's strongest virtue.
Now there's a new favorite of the Salad Bowl: The Kitty Cannon.
Good thing there's a three-day weekend coming up.
So after blowing two hours of my life the other night watching "Nick and Jessica's Tour of Duty" on ABC, I came to this question: Aren't America's military sons and daughters in enough peril without forcing them to withstand a frontal assault of schmaltz?
The show was so monumentally bad-yet-irresistable it nearly brought me to tears. Somewhere in the cosmic universe, Bob Hope is rising from the dead just so he can strangle himself with his 9 iron.
* A clearly baked Willie Nelson singing backup as Jessica Simpson writhed in a fringed miniskirt while overvocalizing on "These Boots Are Made For Walking." Willie, full of the lasting effects of hippie lettuce, looked at her like she was the most delicious snack he'd ever seen.
* A reunion of husband and wife soldiers separated by deployments in Germany and South Korea. Upon being reunited onstage, they hugged and kissed while Jessica exclaimed for the crowd, "She's gonna get some tonight."
* A sequence in which Nick and Jessica were helicoptered into Tikrit, only to be trapped on base by mortar fire and a sandstorm. The lasting image is one of them jumping out of the Huey, dressed head-to-toe in body armor, surrounded by guards toting M16s and one sergeant toting Simpson's Louis Vuitton bag into the barracks.
* "R&B favorite" Brian McKnight essentially making a song up while tinkling on a Korg synthesizer to the stunned silence of the audience.
* Nick and Jessica making "a special visit" to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, visiting injured men and women to thank them for their sacrifice and service. All the while Lachey was dressed in a Von Dutch trucker hat and an undershirt.
* Jessica needing a verbal spotter to get through the pronounciation of Fallujah.
* An homage to homage to Bob Hope's years of service to the troops with "a special rendition" of "Thanks for the Memories."
* A stream of celebrity shoutouts to the troops, including Paris Hilton, who needed the assistance of her former abductee/teacup chihuahua Tinkerbell to urge them to come home soon. The punctuated this with a wink and an air-kiss.
The ratings apparently matched the quality of the show:
The season finale of CBS' "Two and a Half Men" scored a 9.0/14 -- well off its season average -- at 9 p.m., and a repeat at 9:30 actually did better, averaging 9.6/14. The conclusion of "24" averaged 7.6/11 for FOX, while NBC stayed in third with "Las Vegas.". Not many people joined "Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty," 4.5/7, on ABC.
And, apparently, ratings for their marriage are flushing down the toilet like so many Qurans.
Jessica Simpson Goes Solo
By Sarah Hall
Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have gone from newlyweds to newly over.
E! has confirmed that Simpson filed for divorce Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the end of her two-and-a-half-year marriage to Lachey.
The allegedly rocky state of the camera-friendly twosome's union has consumed tabloids for months, with both parties rumored to have been stepping out with others.
However, up until now, the couple had steadfastly denied the existence of any marital troubles.
The duo even appeared together Monday night in their latest ABC variety special, Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty, in which they performed for troops stationed in Germany. But it seems the viewing public is as through with Nick and Jessica as the pair is with each other--only 6.2 million tuned in to watch the couple's TV swan song, per Nielsen overnight estimates.
Then again, maybe not:
E! deeply regrets that a draft report from E! Online, which contained some false information regarding the Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson marriage, was accidentally disseminated. The couple has not filed for divorce. E! apologizes to Nick, Jessica, their families and their fans for any distress this may have caused.
E!'s groveling notwithstanding, what evidence is there for the breakup? AZCentral's Suzanne Condie Lambert supplies the roundup:
From MSN's the Scoop: Lachey was seen recently squiring Swedish singer Sofia KŠllgren in her homeland.
From Life & Style Weekly: The couple are visiting a marriage counselor. But it doesn't sound like things are going well. "Nick accused Jess of making a big deal out of everything," a source tells the magazine. "Jess said he's more concerned about hitting the town than keeping the home fires burning."
From the New York Daily News: Simpson showed up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute gala this week sans spouse. Spies noted that she was followed closely out the door by her Dukes of Hazzard co-star, Johnny Knoxville. Days earlier, she was "suspiciously cozy" with Limp Bizkit frontman/accidental porn star Fred Durst at the Hard Rock Hotel's 10th-anniversary party.
Simpson's rep, however, denies the ticking of the doomsday clock, saying Lachey is recording an album in Sweden. The rep also denies the Durst/Knoxville rumors, thereby giving us an excuse not to ram a sharpened stick into the part of our brain that produces imaginary images.
And now it can be proven: you can cross the media streams of the Daily News, the Scoop and Life & Style Weekly (whatever the hell that is) and still retain the ability to form a complete sentence. Or at least the control necessary to keep from ramming a sharpened stick into the brain.
Your Deadly Sins
Chance You'll Go to Hell: 60%
You'll die from food poisoning - and then the natives will feast on your fatty limbs.
Hat tip to the Cheese Mistress, who has Wrath locked down but could use a little work on her Lust and Gluttony.
Wonder if this thing works on the dishes?
Very cool. I am humbled by your interest in all things amusing and stupid and by your infinite patience.
Here's a sample of some browser search terms that have recently brought readers to the Salad Bowl in record numbers (You must click the link to see the terms.):
We love to fly, and it shows.
Pantaloons de la prostitute?
Who knew an atlas needed an assistant?
Loosely interpreted, it means, "The Enchiladas."
Somewhere, someone is in need of a salad action figure.
Three mutually exclusive terms that have no basis in reality.
This assumes, of course, that this skank actually wears some.
In a perfect world, my friends. In a perfect world.
You mean, they can get dirty.
I prefer the "French cut salad," myself.
As seen over at Gawker:
Isn't this comparison inherently unfair to the retards?
I'll admit it; I've lost most of my enthusiasm for continuing the Your Moment of Britney series.
After all, how much fun can it be to throw darts at a target the size of New Hampshire? She and her K-Fed matrmonial appendix commit so many acts of stupidity bourne of overfed ego and deficient brain cell capacity that it's difficult to keep up with and alternately care about them as well.
But occasionally you become Rob Petrie, tripping over a living room ottoman of a choice nugget. At that point, you merely do a Van Dyke: you barrel roll, you rise to your feet and you accept the loving adoration of your wife, your bratty son, your neighbors and co-workers who just happen to be in your home.
Ottoman No. 1: This entry by The Chortler, in which Britney and K-Fed's new reality show is assigned a definition by Roget's Thesaurus.
Pop sensation Britney Spears and her husband Kevin Federline are now starring in their own reality show entitled “Britney and Kevin: Chaotic.” Here is how it was perceived by Roget's Thesaurus:
"Abominable, amiss, atrocious, awful, bad news, beastly, blah, bottom out, bummer, careless, cheap, cheesy, crappy, cruddy, crummy, defective, deficient, diddly, dissatisfactory, downer, dreadful, erroneous, fallacious, faulty, garbage, god-awful, gross, grungy, icky, imperfect, inadequate, incorrect, inferior, junky, not good, off, poor, raunchy, rough, sad, scuzzy, sleazeball, sleazy, slipshod, stinking, substandard, synthetic, the pits, unacceptable, unsatisfactory.
"Brainless, dazed, deficient, dense, dim, dodo, doltish, dopy, dull, dumb, foolish, half-witted, idiotic, ill-advised, imbecilic, inane, indiscreet, insensate, irrelevant, irresponsible, laughable, loser, ludicrous, meaningless, mindless, moronic, naive, nonsensical, obtuse, pointless, puerile, senseless, short-sighted, simple, simple-minded, sluggish, stolid, stupefied, thick, thickheaded, unintelligent, unthinking, witless.
"Abhorrent, atrocious, awful, base, beastly, contemptible, cursed, deplorable, despicable, detestable, disgusting, execrable, foul, grim, hairy, hateful, hellish, horrible, loathsome, lousy, nasty, nauseating, obnoxious, odious, offensive, putrid, repellent, reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, rotten, sleazeball, stinking, terrible, vile, wretched."
Ottoman No. 2: This review of Britney and K-Fed's show. The review is so brilliantly written, I'll only post an excerpt. You need to bask in it's glow by going to the site and reading it all.
My favorite part, among many:
There are so many intersecting things wrong on this show and with Britney that I can't possibly prioritize them. I can't say that the sheer narcissism is the main problem, since that may be a byproduct of the overwhelming stupidity showcased here. Which came first, the chicken or the moron?
Let's take the moment when she focused the camera on her knees and said, ''They look just like boobs. But they're not. They're my knees!'' and then shrieked with laughter. One wonders, what about this intensely banal moment made her tell her editors to include it in the show? You could start by blaming an askew perspective conditioned by a short lifetime spent surrounded by parasitic giggling hairstylists and publicists to whom she only has to say, ''Milk, milk, lemonade, round the corner, fudge is made,'' and they'll crap their pants laughing.
And yet, Tom Hanks probably gets his ass kissed wherever he goes, but you don't see him making a TV show where he plays the game ''Earlobes or testicles?'' So, one wonders, does the inherent unfunniness of the joke itself (if it is a joke) reveal the true problem: that she's a halfwit? It makes my head hurt to think about it, which is patently unfair because Britney never has to think about anything. (Oh, except art: Were I not too busy throwing bricks at my TV, I would have clapped with delight as she attempted to interpret a painting but ended up making it — just as she had everything else — about her. If you showed her a painting of Dali's melting clocks, she would say, ''This one makes me cry. Time is getting all gooey because I'm late and the world is sad.'')
Ottoman No. 3: This bit of tasty goodness from the "news" desk at MTV.com.
Britney Spears might be more of a practicing Baptist or sometime Kabbalist, but she also gives props to the pope in a new video tribute. She joins 'NSYNC, Monica, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry in reading inspirational prayers, stories and poems from the late Pope John Paul II in a clip available for download at popejpII.navio.com.
I don't even know where to begin with a morsel like that.
Perhaps by pointing to a juxtaposition, a place where behavior and posing contrast with inspirational prayer... Yes. That's what I'll do.
Ottoman No. 4: Consider this breaking news from the Hindustan Times.
Singer Britney Spears has put her private life on show, boasting about her 'in-bed' sexual skills with her current husband, Kevin, in the first part of the documentary "Britney And Kevin: Chaotic" broadcasted on Tuesday.
The show raised the curtain on the pop star's daily life, including her love story with Kevin.
According to reports, the 23-year-old singer shared the details of her love life and her lewd bedroom antics with viewers. She did not seem to hold back anything and also talked about her favourite sexual positions while they were vacationing in a hotel at London.
"Let's not go (out), let's just f*** all day," The Sun quoted Britney as telling her hubby.
After spending the entire day inside the hotel room, she reportedly bragged to a make-up artist, "I've had sex three times today."
PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS OF
YOUR MOMENT OF BRITNEY
Lights, camera, Britney.
Britney wears the glamorous life.
Britney takes a palimony suit.
Something old, something new.
Britney takes a groom. Again.
Britney defends her latest love.
Britney marries a childhood friend. For 50 hours.
Britney swaps spit with the Rosetta Stone of Skank.
Britney poses for photos that make her look even more plastic and lifeless than she already is.
Britney, as she would look if she hit the all-you-can-eat Seafood Lovers Special at Red Lobster every night for six months.
Britney runs a restaurant into the ground.
Britney has an evil twin available for parties.
Britney and George cut a rug.
Britney proves the axiom: Beer affects the way males respond to females.
An anonymous Internet blogger who calls himself "Assistant Atlas" is running a contest to "Poop on Ryan Seacrest's Star." On his website, "Assistant Atlas" urges contestants to defecate on Seacrest's star for a prize of about $50.
"Assistant Atlas" phoned in to Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM on Monday, to promote the contest and explain the rules. "Homeless people, dogs, cats, not allowed," he said. "It's gotta be you. This is cosmic justice, people."
I can't match that kind of creativity, but I can copy it.
If I had to poop on a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I think it would have to be this guy's:
LOS ANGELES - Adam Sandler wrote "Hi to everyone" and left his handprints and prints of his shoes in cement at the fabled Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.
The ceremony Tuesday coincided with the upcoming release of his latest film, "The Longest Yard," set to open May 27.
"Today's one of the first times when I'm just sitting back and doing what my father told me and enjoying the moment and enjoying the fact that this is a terrific feeling," the 38-year-old actor-comedian told an audience that included Jack Nicholson, Rob Schneider and Kathy Bates.
Sandler said that when he told his family he was pursuing an acting career, his relatives told him that he would follow in the footsteps of some big stars.
"I didn't become any of those people," said Sandler, a former cast member of NBC's "Saturday Night Live." "But today I can officially say I am now the legendary Adam Sandler."
As Cajun Man would say: "De-fe-cay-SHAWN."
Hat tip to Lawren at Martinis, Persistence, and a Smile for the inspiration.
Oh. My. Goodness.
If you liked that - and even if you didn't - other photos can be found here.
Other tidbits of Jedi goodness:
*Speaking of the walking carpet, Chewie threw down some Jesus Juice behind the bar during a taping of MTV's Total Request Live from Skywalker Ranch.
* Two turntables and a microphone. And an old TV with clips.
* The lyrics to Gretchen Wilson's song "Redneck Woman," changed a bit for the Jedi crowd.
* Star Wars tattoos.
* A PG-13 Darth and Leia coloring book page.
* Star Wars meets Office Space. Riiiiight.
* Star Wars meets Rocky Horror Picture Show. You know, if they were all dancing to "Hot, Hot, Hot" by Buster Poindexter.
* Star Wars meets Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. You know, if they were all on the Island of Misfit Toys. Oh. My. God.
* Geeks who saw the Sith premiere at Skywalker Ranch having a duel with forks, pretending that they are lightsabers.
* A $70,000 R2-D2 someone made in Italy.
* Resurrected Usenet discussions circa-1983 about Return of the Jedi. My favorite was this little nugget of Star Wars CSI: Based on careful observation and an interview on NPR, we believe that the person in the Darth costume (when Luke removes his helmet just before he dies) is James Earl Jones. Note the
voice and check out the eyes.
* Limited edition Pez dispensers. Ooooooh. I always get goosebumps when "limited edition" is used.
* Star Wars origami. Wait, wasn't that one of the character's names?
* Funniest Defamer post. Ever.
* A group of geeks who found endless enjoyment at the expense of the Star Wars Kid video somehow locate the conscience, ganging up to buy him an iPod. His dignity remains MIA. (To see remixes of his video, click here.)
“Jennifer Lopez shocked fans … this weekend when she wore a T-shirt bearing the words "F*** It!". The diva stunned concert organizers with the crass slogan on a black cropped-top at the eighth annual Wango Tango pop festival in California on Saturday.”
But The Superficial, who has more photos of the offending shirt, has an even better take:
...there’s a homeless woman down the street from me who has an artificial eye that’s actually just a ping-pong ball that she drew on with a sharpie, and I’ve seen her eat a cigarette off the ground and chase a cat - probably for dinner - but I’ve never seen her go out with her hair looking as bad as that mystery on top of J.Los head. Never hire a beaver as a hairstylist, I don't care how charming he is during the interview.
So I guess I could qualify as somewhat obsessed with the hoopla surrounding the final Star Wars episode.
Not necessarily with the actual episode - I'm convinced after having read a thousand reviews that, yes, indeed, it is the best one in a while. I've read some that say it was the best in the series - I doubt it - and others that say it was merely good. After the previous two, merely good sounds outstanding to me.
No, I'm obsessed with the cultural reaction to this movie - albeit one which only a precious few have seen. There seems to be some emotional tidal wave breaking on the psychological beach more about the event than the film.
I keep reading blog postings by people who were about 12 when the first one hit theaters in 1977. People, um, like me. And they're all having this visceral reaction to what is being perceived as the end of the series.
I especially enjoyed LJ's missive over at Moo Alex. She put her mania in haiku form. (The Official Poetic Form Of The Salad Bowl.)
We got to talking yesterday in the office about the Star Wars Christmas special CBS aired in 1978. It was scary how many of us remembered that special, which focussed on Chewbacca's family in their tree forest home and featured Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher and all the major characters - even James Earl Jones. Rommie even remembered the names of Chewie's family members: Itchy and Lumpy. (A side note: Paul Gale, who played Itchy, also played Slurp on Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.) For some reason, three members of Jefferson Starship were featured singing, and co-stars included Bea Arthur, Art Carney and Diahann Carroll. Rommie even found a version of the special up for bids on eBay. It has since been taken down.
That discussion led to someone finding an online version of the Star Wars Christmas Album.
This was truly breathtaking in its total and complete badness. My favorite was the ditty What Can You Get A Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb). (Click here to listen.) A close second is R2D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas, featuring a choir with a very young solo artist: Jon Bongiovi. Yes, Jon Bon Jovi. [Link]
Which, you know, looked to me a lot like this:
Then I found this little raft of Photoshop goodness over at Worth 1000, which included this poster:
Michelle over at A Small Victory became so obsessed that she created the Carnival of the Force, a daily roundup of the latest links.
I especially enjoyed this bit of self-analysis:
I'd say there's three levels of Star Wars fans. There's Level 1: the person who really enjoys the movies and can name all the main characters, but stops short of engaging in a discussion of whether or not Han shot first. A Level 2 fan (of which I would be one) has a more in-depth knowledge of the movie series; recognizes the Star Wars world as one of fantasy but often discusses aspects of it as if it were real; owns action figures, but realizes that Peter Mayhew is not really a Wookiee and wouldn't ask him to do a Wookiee yell if they ever met him. Then there's Level 3. That's the guy who will wait on line months in advance of the premeire of a new SW movie. At the wrong theater. And demand that Lucas show the film in the theater he's on line at. A Level 3 lives in a world inhabited by people who are one light saber duel away from never coming back to this side of reality. He or she is the person who dresses their dog in a Vader costume or names their son Luke Skywalker.
I admit that I have at some points I have flaunted my Level 2 credentials with reckless abandon and come very, very close to a beginner stage Level 3. Yes, I stood outside Toys R Us waiting for a new shipment of figures to come in. Yes, I had a life size cut-out of Boba Fett in my house for way too long. Yes, I've had discussions that make me seem a bit out there. And so what if tasted Yoda cereal or sent away for a glow-in-the-dark Kenobi or cried tears of joy when, in 1997, I found a Darth Vader action figure carrying case at a garage sale for two dollars? I'll tell you what I've never done. I never ate Lava Berry Explosion Pop Tarts just because they have Vader's face on the box. Ok, I bought them. And I opened them. And I was actually going to take a bite until I realized they look like they are filled with the blood of rebel peasants and coated with actual lava. So while I purchased them and looked at them and even smelled them, I never actually ate them, which I think saves me from crossing over into Level 3-dom. Because that's the difference between a 2 and 3. A Level 3 fan would eat the Pop Tarts anyhow, no matter how bad they looked or smelled or tasted, because they are compelled by the voices in their heads (most of which sound just like James Earl Jones) to do such things.
I have no such voices. I draw the line at certain places. I will not subject myself to ridicule in the name of a movie franchise. I will not (even though I said I would) make a stormtrooper costume for myself. I will not attempt to try a Darth Dew Slurpee (I leave that to the experts). And I will stop having those dreams about Boba Fett. I don't know the dimensions of Tatooine or how much fuel it takes to fly an X-Wing and sometimes the entire Star Wars family tree confuses me so, even if I aspired to be one, I could never be a Level 3. My mind automatically rejects any further knowledge of the Star Wars universe because it knows. It has a warning system that tries to keep me in check. That's the difference between a 2 and 3 - a working mind. Sanity!
Ever leave your cellphone on your desk, only to return to hear your co-workers complain that it had been going off?
Mine did yesterday. I was gone all of 20 minutes. Of course, it had been going off the entire time. Then someone banished it to the Elba of cellphones: the drawer of my desk.
What was it playing? A rap ringtone I'd downloaded as a joke, a snippet from Sugar (Gimme Some) by Trick Daddy.
Think of it... an endless loop of this:
Gimme gimme some
She put it right there on my tongue (Sweet Sweet, Lover Lover)
Right there on my tongue (She turns me on, like no other)
I was so proud. Unintended office terrorism can be so much fun.
What was the all-important call pertaining to? It was a text message from my buddy Drew. The message:
I'd explain, but I fear it would only sound more stupid than it already does.
Anyway, it looks like there's another bad ring on the rise for me, a ringtone I can't resist:
Warner Bros. Records Mobile & Martin Short Release Jiminy Glick Ringtones
BURBANK, CA … 05/16/05 … Emmy Award-winning comedian Martin Short recently recorded unique mobile content based on characters he's developed throughout his career. The first ringtones and ringback tones being released are of Short in the character of ""Jiminy Glick.'' The mobile content is being used to cross-promote the feature film ""Jiminy Glick in Lalawood,'' which is in theatres now. In the coming weeks, WarnerBros. Records Mobile will release more ringtones and ringback tones by Martin Short, including impressions of several different celebrities, as well as original favorites like Ed Grimley.
For more info - and to hear samples - click here.
My Uncle Pete, (yes, the one who was in the paper posing with a potato he grew that was shaped like a moose), sent me a photo today with the following notation:
After 11 and the sun is just setting. It's 40 degrees (note the fog forming). 34 is the low tonight.
(Photo after the jump)
PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM ALASKA
Uh-oh. Looks like someone has a new blog. Here's a typical entry:
We're a hit!!
So, Todd Adair, our FOX PR expert, master, .... guy has filled me in on some great news. Our show has taken over number one in the (:30 time slot. This is such awesome news for us and for FOX. American Idon, which come on before us always wins the 9pm slot so FOX is leading all the networks from 9pm to 10pm on Wednesdays. I don't want to jinx us so I'll leave it at that...;-)
If it's "American Idon," it must be Pamela Anderson's blog for the (alleged) show "Stacked."
If someone's ghostwriting this blog, they should get an award. With all the misspellings and inanity, this is the most authentic thing Pam has done since she discovered silicone.
A friend e-mailed me this press release sent from country singer LeeAnn Womack's publicist.
As he put it: "You gotta love it when you get a press release heads-up to check out the cleavage."
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 5:39 PM
Subject: LAW arrives at ACMs
What's she wearing? Country Queen Lee Ann Womack may "Hate Myself In The Morning"...but she looks GOOD tonight!
LAW will arrive on the red carpet at the Academy of Country Music Awards this evening wearing a sweet summer dress in white by MEGAN.
Nominated for Top Female Vocalist, she'll showcase her considerable...pipes...on stage when she performs her newest classic, "I May Hate Myself In The Morning," in a retro-inspired gown from OSCAR DE LA RENTA and GIUSEPPE ZANNOTI heels.
LeeAnn of course followed that with this subtle little number during the show:
To paraphrase Dennis Miller during one of his Weekend Update reports about another famous Nashville duo: "Nice Judds."
PREVIOUS PRESS RELEASES FROM HELL
Looks like someone set up a cool site called Google Sightseeing to take advantage of Google's new satellite mapping imagery. Very cool.
Hmmm, that idea sounds familiar... where did I hear about that...
They say there's a culture war going on today. You'd never know it by driving the nation's roadways.
Favorite new minor league baseball team name: San Diego Surf Dogs.
Rollercoaster Dreaming; a 2004 travel journal of visits to 69 amusement parks in 112 days.
16 Million Reserve, hot sauce so hot it could kill. Allegedly.
Runaway bride toast apparition. Or not.
Obi Wan Canolli?
Grocery Store Wars?!?!?!?
Dear God. I've lost my blogging soul.
With the weather so beautiful, I might head out today to the Ruskin Flea Market. Ruskin's a little town on the southeast shore of Tampa Bay that's been mostly a farming and immigrant community but which is slowly becoming a bedroom suburb for Tampa commuters. It's also Florida's tomato capital, producing juicy, red, ripe tomatoes.
Anyway, they have a flea market that gets a good amount of traffic on the weekends. People drive up from Manatee County and down from the retirement community of Sun City Center, all in search of a deal.
I went down a while ago. And like all flea markets, this one had it's requisite amount of crap.
PREVIOUS CRAP SAFARIS
I just found Big Empty, a photo gallery by an artist named Tim Gasperak. Great stuff.
Equally enticing is Stray Matter, put together by my friend Scott Lacy. Great pics taken around the Washington D.C. area and great writing can be found there, too. (The above shot is a crop of a big beautiful pic he made in centerfield at a Washington Nationals game.)
As Scotty writes:
There is no position quite like baseball centerfielder to yield images of yawning isolation. Well, other than a soccer goalkeeper perhaps. But even the goalkeeper, with his fortress of twine, is not completely alone. The centerfielder has nothing but an acre of green grass and a few dwindling rays of afternoon sunlight.
It's funny what you find when you scan your blog traffic.
Got a hit today from a reference at FindAnIsp.com, whatever the hell that is.
Oh, wait, here's their self-description:
This is a general purpose search engine. The goal is to produce the highest quality search results based on concensus of other web sites.
The database behind this search engine was developed starting in 1996 in order to develop the FindAnISP database, but the techiques we used have broader usefulness.
The way in which this database is different from the big guys is that our objective is NOT to index every page on the WWW - only the best ones. We don't need 1000s of servers and huge amounts of bandwidth, phd's and complex algorithms. Our belief is that most of what most people want to find is contained on a relatively small number of web sites.
Okay, Elroy. Whatever you say. It's not exactly Google, is it?
Anyway, it showed under the header of Hard To Describe Top 100 that Side Salad was No. 31. With a bullet.
What entry does it display? The Calendar of Disturbing Santas with the leather Santa, of course:
It's this kind of recognition a boy dreams of when he starts a blog.
If there is a yin and yang to this cosmic soup, it is that Willie thinks about purile topics at a time when others are considering meteorological mayhem. And vice versa.
Seems Willie is now captivated by the story about the NFL football player who was found to be in possession of a "Whizzinator," a life-like prosthetic penis that promises to help illegal drug users pass urine tests.
All of which has provoked U.S. lawmakers this week to consider taking legal action with subpoenas of manufacturers.
Heh-heh, I said subpoenas.
Is this a great country, or what? If there's a demand out there, no matter how obscure or esoteric -- or illegal -- American entrepreneurship will find a way to deliver it to your doorstep.
Let's say you're very, very fond of, um, poppyseed bagels, and one day you're suddenly facing a random urine test on you at your place of employment. Think of how embarrased you'd be trying to explain why you tested positive for an opium product! What a misunderstanding!
No problem. You've got ... the Whizzinator, a fake schlong that produces a steady flow of clean urine on demand "again and again, anytime." Read on. It gets better.
What a country.
Lawmakers launch probe into 'Whizzinator' and other products
WASHINGTON - A life-like prosthetic penis called the Whizzinator and other products promising to help illegal drug users pass urine tests provoked U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday to take legal action with subpoenas of manufacturers.
Lawmakers objected to attempts to circumvent drug tests with products such as The Whizzinator, a fake penis that can provide a flow of clean urine “again and again, anytime, anywhere you need it!” according to the Web site www.whizzinator.com
A congressional subcommittee voted to subpoena the owner of Puck Technology of Signal Hill, Calif, the company that makes the Whizzinator. The panel also voted to subpoena the owners of Health Choice of New York City and Spectrum Labs of Cincinnati, two companies that lawmakers said also were suspected of selling products aimed at circumventing workplace drug tests.
The owners were required to provide financial and operational records by Monday and to appear at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.
“These companies seek through deception to make a buck by violating our trust and compromising our security,” said Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight and investigations panel.
“It is a risk we simply cannot tolerate. This panel will uncover how widespread these products are and recommend the necessary steps to end their use,” Whitfield said in a statement.
Actor Tom Sizemore, who played a sergeant in the war movie “Saving Private Ryan,” was caught using the Whizzinator to try and pass drug tests, California prosecutors said in February. He was put in jail after using a similar device and failing a drug test, prosecutors said.
I don't know about you, but all this talk makes me have to go potty.
But then, I share too much.
PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM WILLIE:
Santa smokes dope.
Shopping for love.
Mack the knife.
You say N'awlins. I say New Orleans.
Go to hell, Ivan.
Flirtin' with disaster.
How low can it go?
Anyone for an storm surge?
Look at me when I'm talkin' to you, tiny eyes.
Anyone care for a blindfold and a cigarette?
A healthy serving of "drunken Swede."
Rankled by rankings.
Remembering Buddy Hackett.
Under the heading of "Things That No One Else Would Care About That I Meant To Write For The Blog But I Was Too Busy Eating Easter Chocolate And TiVo-ing "MXC":
While everyone was out catterwalling and kvetching about the Pope and Terri Schiavo, standup comedian Mitch Hedberg's obituary slipped quietly into the papers. Hedberg died suddenly at age 37 on March 30. He takes his place in the pantheon of legendary prematurely dead greats now occupied by Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce.
Hedberg was a true throwback to the comics of the '60s and '70s who were there to do comedy, not audition for a sitcom. With a distinctive style that was half-hippie, half-Steven Wright, Hedberg had been drawing big crowds and doing frequent shots on the late-night TV circuit. (You can see clips by clicking here, here, here, and here. A couple short clips of him doing "Clerks"-style scenes in a movie called "Los Enchiladas" can be found here and here.
Mitch had trouble getting his drink refilled during his set, so he finally asked for a whole bottle. When the waiter brought one up that was about 2/3 of the way full, he invited anyone in the audience that wanted to do a shot with him up to the stage. If it had been anything but whiskey, I'd have been there in a heartbeat -- but mostly just guys were up to the challenge (photos here). He kept running out, and eventually a waiter brought up a stack of plastic cups and two other full bottles. He told jokes throughout all of this, so it was like a huge frat party. Mitch was trashed himself by the end of it, after turning the bottle upside down and chugging to our chants.
I had yet to hear what the ultimate cause of death was. There were all kinds of rumors, but nothing officially given.
Instead, I found this story on Slate about how Hedberg was poised to be the next Seinfeld sitcom king:
In Hedberg's prime in the late 1990s, however (which is best captured on his first CD, the charmingly amateur Strategic Grill Locations), the Seinfeld comparison seemed plausible. Like Seinfeld, he was an apolitical white guy who defamiliarized everyday life in a way that seemed to transcend comedy. But, unlike Seinfeld, he was easy to like. While Seinfeld's humor always had an edge of social superiority, Hedberg's radiated pure affection: He loved his audience, his jokes, and almost everything in the world—waffles, doughnuts, roommates, electric fans, bananas, animals:My apartment is infested with koala bears. It's the cutest infestation ever. Way better than cockroaches. When I turn on the light a bunch of koala bears scatter. But I don't want 'em to, you know, I'm like "Hey, hold on, fellas. Let me hold one of you. And feed you a leaf."
But it proved not to be. Pilots fell through and Hedberg had his own personal troubles, not the least of which was a heroin arrest and a bunch of canceled standup shows. As Slate puts it:
Before his rapid decline, Hedberg was arguably the best club comic of the last decade—an achievement that sounds, in our era of cross-promotion, something like "the best backup shortstop on my mom's slow-pitch softball team." But that was his real ambition. In interviews and in his act, he always insisted that stand-up was a self-sufficient art—he joked that the industry's drive to convert comics into actors and talk-show hosts was like saying to a chef: "Alright you're a cook. Can you farm?" Even at the height of his success he toured relentlessly, headlining four nights a week at smallish clubs and college campuses. He died, in fact, in a hotel room between shows.
The Onion A.V. Club did an interview in September that had some nice insights as well:
O: Did you admire other comedians who've had that kind of style? Henny Youngman? Steven Wright?
MH: Actually, when I first read my act described as "He does one-liners," I was like "No, no, I'm so much more than that." I guess the one-liner kind of comic sounds like a guy who can talk and talk and whatever the subject is, he can pull out a one-liner, but I couldn't do that. I didn't like the association. I mean, I love Steven Wright, but so many people started saying "Steven Wright" to me, and I would get mad, because I never wanted to be thought of as copying anybody.
O: What comedians do you like?
MH: You know, I like the Triumph The Insult Comic Dog man [Robert Smigel]. He really makes me laugh. I know he's just a comedian with a puppet, but I've just grown to love him. When it comes to someone who's like a little bit real to me, I like Marc Maron. I also think Dave Attell is so funny, even offstage. Basically, it's just a constant show, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some people say, "I saw Dave Attell's show." I say, "Ah, you saw, you know, one hour of it," you know? The first comic I ever saw was Gallagher, and I thought he was funny, I won't lie to you. At the time, I wasn't doing stand-up, so I had no idea he was so hated. Once I became a stand-up, I had to hate him, but I still remember the day I liked him. I just saw Andrew "Dice" Clay again, and I have to tell you, man, I think all it took for me was 20 years to settle down and see how funny he is. I'm glad he's still on the road. When he was at his peak, I didn't check it out, but now I see what the hype was about, man. Now I see. And I also love my wife. I married a comedian, Lynn Shawcroft, and she's blown me away ever since I first saw her.
If you want to read some of his best lines click to the jump:
I got an ant farm. Them fellas didn't grow shit.
I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.
Last week I helped my friend stay put. It's a lot easier than helping someone move. I just went over to his house and made sure that he did not start to load shit into a truck.
I got my hair highlighted, because I felt some strands were more important than others.
I had a stick of Carefree gum, but it didn't work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality.
I want to be a race car passenger: just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Boy, you really like Tide."
I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That's a bad place for an argument, because I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap.
I type a 101 words a minute. But it's in my own language.
I think Bigfoot is blurry, that's the problem. It's not the photographer's fault. Bigfoot is blurry. And that's extra scary to me, because there's a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside. Run. He's fuzzy. Get outta here.
I don't have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who'd be mad at me for saying that.
My sister wanted to be an actress, but she never made it. She does live in a trailer. She made it half way. She's an actress, she just never gets called to the set.
I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.
If carrots got you drunk, rabbits would be fucked up.
I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall.
Pickles are cucumbers that sold out.
I was walking down the street with my friend and he said "I hear music." As if there's any other way to take it in.
2-in-1 is a bullshit term, because 1 is not big enough to hold 2. That's why 2 was created.
I know a lot about cars. I can look at a car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.
This shirt is dry clean only. Which means...it's dirty.
At my hotel room, my friend came over and asked to use the phone. I said "Certainly." He said "Do I need to dial 9?" I say "Yeah. Especially if it's in the number. You can try four and five back to back real quick."
My lucky number is four billion. That doesn't come in real handy when you're gambling. "Come on, four billion! Fuck. Seven. I need more dice."
I love blackjack. But I'm not addicted to gambling. I'm addicted to sitting in a semi circle.
I don't own a cell phone or a pager. I just hang around everyone I know, all the time.
I think foosball is a combination of soccer and shish kabobs.
I used to do drugs. I still do drugs. But I used to, too.
The thing about tennis is: no matter how much I play, I'll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They're fucking relentless.
I think Pringles initial intention was to make tennis balls. But on the day that the rubber was supposed to show up, a big truckload of potatoes arrived. But Pringles is a laid back company. They said "Fuck it. Cut em up."
A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.
An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You would never see an "Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order" sign, just "Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience."
Because of Acid, I now know that butter is way better than margarine.
So, I sit at the hotel at night and I think of something that's funny. Or, If the pen is too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of wasn't funny.
You know that Pepperidge Farm bread, that stuff is fancy. That stuff is wrapped twice. You open it, and then still ain't open. That's why I don't buy it, I don't need another step between me and toast.
This product that was on TV was available for four easy payments of $19.95. I would like a product that was available for three easy payments and one complicated payment. We can't tell you which payment it is, but one of these payments is going to hard.
You know when they have a fishing show on TV? They catch the fish and then let it go. They don't want to eat the fish, they just want to make it late for something.
I would imagine if you could understand Morse Code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.
I don't wear a watch because I want my arms to weigh the same. So if somebody asks me what time it is, I have to tell them something that is going on. "What time is it, Mitch?" "Uh, that guy is eating a hamburger." "Shit, I had to be somewhere..."
I went to the park and saw this kid flying a kite. The kid was really excited. I don't know why, that's what they're supposed to do. Now if he had had a chair on the other end of that string, I would have been impressed.
At my hotel room, my friend came over and asked to use the phone. I said "Certainly." He said "Do I need to dial 9?" I say "Yeah. Especially if it's in the number. You can try four and five back to back real quick."
I played golf... I did not get a hole in one, but I did hit a guy. That's way more satisfying...
I saw a human pyramid once. It was totally unnecessary.
This shirt is dry clean only. Which means... It's dirty.
I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut... I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. To some skeptical friend, Don't even act like I didn't buy a doughnut, I've got the documentation right here... It's in my file at home. ...Under "D".
My friend was walking down the street and he said, "I hear music." As if there is any other way of taking it in. I tried to taste it, but it did not work.
I snake bite emergency kit is a body bag.
Sometimes I wake up and I think I should start wearing a beret, but I don't do it though. One day I'm gonna though. You bet your ass, I will have a beret on. That's ridiculous, but it's true. I always fight with wearing a beret.
A minibar is a machine that makes everything expensive. When I take something out of the minibar, I always fathom that I'll go and replace it before they check it off, but they make that stuff impossible to replace. I go to the store and ask, "Do you have coke in a glass harmonica? ...Do you have individually wrapped cashews?"
I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.
It's hard to dance if you just your lost wallet. "Whoa! Where's my wallet? But, hey this song is funky..."
It's very dangerous to wave to people you don't know because what if they don't have hands? They'll think you're cocky.
Someone handed me a picture and said, "This is a picture of me when I was younger." Every picture of you is when you were younger. "...Here's a picture of me when I'm older." Where'd you get that camera man?
If I was a locksmith, I'd be pimping that out man. I'll trade you a free key duplication for... That joke made me laugh before I could finish it, which is good, because it had no ending.
I want to be a race car passenger: just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Man, you really like Tide..."
I wrote a letter to my dad - I wrote, "I really enjoy being here," but I accidentally wrote rarely instead of really. But I still wanted to use it so i crossed it out and wrote, "I rarely drive steamboats, dad - there's a lot of shit you don't know about me. Quit trying to act like I'm a steamboat operator." This letter took a harsh turn right away...
I don't own a cell phone or a pager. I just hang around everyone I know, all the time. If someone needs to get ahold of me they just say, "Mitch," and I say, "what" and turn my head slightly...
Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.
I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammible and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.
I like cinnimon rolls, but I don't always have time to make a pan. That's why I wish they would sell cinnimon roll incense. After all I'd rather light a stick and have my roommate wake up with false hopes.
People teach their dogs to sit, it's a trick. I've been sitting my whole life, and a dog has never looked at me as though he thought I was tricky.
My friend said to me, "You know what I like? Mashed potatoes." I was like, "Dude, you have to give me time to guess. If you're going to quiz me you have to insert a pause."
I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.
An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an "Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order" sign, just "Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience."
I used to be a hot-tar roofer. Yeah, I remember that day...
A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.
I think foosball is a combination of soccer and shishkabobs.
That would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food and the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like you could eat a carrot with an onion ring and they would travel down to your stomach, then they would get there, and the carrot would say, "It's cool, he's with me."
The Numark iPod DJ mixer is going for street cred. An iPod is so not street.
Cut it out.
Love The Daily Show with Jon Stewart?
Now you can get paid for watching. Better hurry. Limited time offer.
How out of whack is airport security these days? Apparently even possessing a miniature camera that only resembles a Zippo lighter is a threat. [Link]:
Coming through Philadelphia Airport on Thursday afternoon, I made no attempt to hide the camera, but I did show the first screener (before the X-ray machine) that it was, in fact, a camera.
I was told by the TSA decisionmaker that the camera could come on board *but the empty steel case couldn't.* This seemed so mindless I politely asked for clarification, but got nothing further than "the camera can go, but the case can't." Asked for a supervisor and was told "you got 'em." I got out of line, walked a couple terminals away, and fedexed the camera to myself.
The irony here: That camera will be transported on FedEx on an airplane. How sad that the device is called a "James Bond Stealth Camera.'' Isn't this like hanging a Playboy air freshener on your rear-view mirror?
It was more disturbing when I clicked through the Boing Boing Link to see what the specs were on the mini-camera at Think Geek. [Link] There's a link to action shots that makes me think there's a perv-in-training.
Have I mentioned lately how proud I am to be a man? Good lord, dude. Going on photo safari at Hooters is pathetic.
Uh oh. Bad news for the Rantmeister:
CNBC Expanding Biz Day Programming Into Primetime; 'Dennis Miller' Cancelled
CNBC's 9pm talk show Dennis Miller will cease to exist on Friday, May 13. A repeat of Mad Money will air in its place.
CNBC is expanding its Business Day programming: A new business program -- details TBA -- will premiere at 7pm sometime in Q3.
Business-related programming will air on CNBC up until 10pm ET/7pm PT, so people across the country will have access to business news during their business day -- a significant shift from the "work hard, play hard" philosophy of airing Conan repeats at 7pm ET.
This wasn't exactly a shock. Drudge has been running some pathetic viewing numbers. But hey, that's more than CNBC had before Dennis.
As CNBC president Mark Hoffman wrote:
"I wanted to let you all know that we will be expanding our signature Business Day programming up to Primetime on the East Coast and will be adding an additional airing of "Mad Money with Jim Cramer" at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
We will be introducing a new Business Day program at 7 p.m. ET sometime in the Third Quarter. I will share additional details about this program in the coming weeks.
As the Business News Leader, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that our influential, out-of-home audience has access to our signature Business Day programming throughout their business day from coast to coast.
I have spoken with Dennis Miller about these plans and he has let me know that his strong preference is to leave his program immediately. Therefore, the final episode of "Dennis Miller" will air this Friday, May 13.
Dennis is an exceptionally talented comedian with an unmatched wit and he and his team consistently delivered a very entertaining program. I want to personally thank Dennis, Eddie Feldmann and their entire group. We are all very proud of their accomplishments and wish them nothing but the best for the future.
Miller's show wasn't anywhere near the quality of what it was when he was at HBO, but then, when you kill the expletives and the adult humor, you diminish the man before he can start. He did his best to hybrid a news segment with a roundtable segment with a one-on-one segment with a comedy buddy circuit. He toned down the obscure sub-references of sub-references (oddly, he could have amplified this signature, since this was one audience who probably got most of them). And he did it with guests who were wonks and talking heads, not A-list celebs. Pretty gutsy move.
Still, you can't support the kind of operation Miller had with a microscopic slice of the viewing public. (Hey, wait, that sounds too much like my blog.) My guess, though, is that it had more to do with CNBC trying to mix its cocktail with a little non-business news than it did with Miller's schtick. Putting it on for an hour a night was ridiculous as well.
Much will be made of his political affiliation of late, but closer inspection of the show on a nightly basis would have revealed an attempt at balance by bringing on experts who didn't match his perspective. I often was stunned by the rational discourse on opposing viewpoints that failed to descend to banshee-level screeching. Ah, the old give-and-take. I remember it well.
The other night, he nailed Bush on something during the opening monologue and then turned to the camera and said, "See... after two years, I ring Bushie up a little.''
Maybe too little too late. Any time a comedian backs either party, the audience diminishes by half. But he at least was aiming at the viewers of that party who like to watch a channel devoted to making money. If he had done it on the Sundance channel, I would have feared he had some sort of anyeurism.
I'm throwing down a little haiku thang pegged to the annual arrival of lovebugs to the Sunshine State.
It inspired a co-worker to forward me this e-mail from a friend who found some redneck haiku:
Damn, in that tube-top
You make me almost forget
That you are my cousin
Naked in repose
Silvery silhouette girls
Adorn my mudflaps
A painful sadness
Can't fit big screen TV through
Double-wide's front door
In Wal-Mart toy aisle
Wailing boy wants wrestling doll
Mama whups his ass
Hey, maybe I can get on
Distant siren screams
Dumb-ass Verne's been playing with
A NEW MOON
Flashlights pierce darkness
No nightcrawlers to be found
Guess we'll gig some frogs
Joyous, playful, bright
Trailer park girl rolls in puddle
Of old motor oil
Carl's ex-wife Tammy files for
I curse the rainbow
Emblazoned upon his hood
God damn Jeff Gordon
Tonight we hunger
Grandma sent grocery money
To Jimmy Swaggart
Set the VCR
Dukes of Hazard Marathon
At 9 O'Clock
White noise, buzzing static
Call Earl; satellite dish
needs new descrambler
And cyclone fence keeps me from
My El Camino
In early morning mist
Mama searches Circle K for
Moon Pies and Red Man
My friend Carrie from college writes to say she's moving to Park City, Utah from Sarasota. In the moving process, she says she' stumbled over some photos. Including this one:
I only wish I had [Name withheld for privacy and dignity reasons]'s e-mail address.
Ahhhhh... what a great memory. Fuzzy memory, but great nonetheless.
Seriously, looking at this, I'm laughing as hard as I did last night when I found it.
Hmmm. I have no idea where that photo was taken, what the context was, or why I have scads of little ceramic drinking mugs around my neck.
This is not good. Makes one wonder what other photos of me are floating around that I have no recollection of posing for.
So I wrote her back:
Subject: RE: This makes me so ... proud.
[Expletive deleted], what the [expletive deleted] was that?!?!?!?
Your memory might be fuzzy. Mine is non existent.
Did you Photoshop this?
I have to put this on my blog, you understand. So I need the back story.
Let me know when you remember the details of this photo – when where why, etc. – so I can debase myself further.
To which she replied:
Subject: Re: This makes me so ... proud.
Think "Olympic theme song."
DUM DUM DA-DUM DUM DUM DUM ...
CJs. Jacksonville. Rumplemints. You and [Name withheld for privacy and dignity reasons]tried to "gold" in the event. Me, you, [Name withheld for privacy and dignity reasons], [Name withheld for privacy and dignity reasons] and [Name withheld for privacy and dignity reasons].
Thing is: I only sent one of the 2 shots I have of this. In the other one, you have also covered both your eyes.
I should send the photos from my apartment that I found. I think they're from the beer-in-a-box night.
Ooof. That one hurt. I remember the Coors Party Ball night. Lots of party. We tapped the ball, if I believe correctly. Too many ranch Fritos. Woke up the next morning feeling like I'd fallen asleep on the salad bar at TGI Friday's.
So I wrote the unnamed cohort in the photo above to ask what he recalled. His reply:
That happened at CJs in Jacksonville during a Florida-Georgia weekend. I drank so many that every time I had one, the whole bar sang the olympic theme song as the new cup was placed around my neck. I think we walked out on our tab that day too.
Damn. Still don't remember a thing. Methinks perhaps the Rumplemints had a hand in the misting of my memory.
It's been a very long while since I've partied with college pals. I miss the pals and the party, just not college.
So I wrote her back:
Just so you would know things haven’t changed (yes, I know you realize that) I’m attaching a photo of myself trying on a pair of thong panties while my wife checks out at the JC Penney's cashier.
College may be a distant memory, but aberrant, deviant and childish behavior is still achievable. Without alcohol. Even at age 40.
I am living proof.
Tripped over this little item at Gizmodo:
BodySound Home Theatre Chair Preview
This chair, according to the press release, is a “fusion of sound and feeling.” I think I experienced that in college once, but it was chemically induced.
The BodySound vibrates in time with on-screen action and even has a volume adjust feature to improve hard-to-hear sections of dialogue. No MSRP, yet, but rest assured it won’t be a $99.99 item. It will be unveiled at Home Entertainment 2005 show.
Hmmm. Where have I heard of something like that...?
Oh, I know:
"Scientists estimate that by the end of this century, via the means of virtual reality, a man will be able to simulate making love to any woman he wants through his television set. You know folks, the day an unemployed ironworker can lie in his BarcaLounger with a Foster's in one hand and a channel-flicker in the other and f*** Claudia Schiffer for $19.95, it's gonna make crack look like Sanka."
- Dennis Miller, The Rants
Great story on the pop-culturization of poker in yesterday's Washington Post:
Daniel Negreanu won $4 million in poker tournaments in 2004, and Card Player magazine named him Player of the Year. Another poker magazine, All In, said Negreanu "might just be the hottest poker player in the world." Recently, Negreanu consented to share his wisdom in an interview with Bluff, yet another poker mag.
Negreanu, 30, talked about his blog. He touted a line of "poker vitamins." He revealed what he listens to on his iPod during tournaments -- "the sounds of the ocean and birds chirping." And he talked about his newfound devotion to Jesus.
"Has it improved your game?" the interviewer asked.
"100 percent," Negreanu said. "If you look at the timeline of my results, finding my faith and my big wins coincide."
iPod? Blog? Bird calls? Poker vitamins? Jesus?
Gee, high-stakes poker sure has changed since the days when it was played in smoky backrooms by guys called Doc and Slim and Fats -- guys who would no doubt greet chatter about vitamins and Jesus with that ancient poker mantra: Shut up and deal.
These days, poker is big business. In the last decade, the rise of televised poker and online poker has spawned a poker craze. Poker is a spectator sport now, seen on countless TV shows -- "Poker Royale" and "Poker Superstars International" and "Celebrity Poker Showdown" and the "World Poker Tour." If you're a truly hard-core fan, you can buy a handcrafted, custom-made, limited-edition bobblehead doll of your favorite poker champ for $29.99.
And naturally this poker craze has spawned a slew of magazines. In addition to the aforementioned Bluff and All In and Card Player, there's Player, "the gambling lifestyle magazine," and Casino Player, which is probably the only magazine in the world whose masthead lists not only a "Video Poker Editor" but a "Fulfillment Director."
The New York Times is breathlessly reporting today that:
Tut Was Not Such a Handsome Golden Youth, After All
Artists and scientists drawing on a detailed examination of King Tut's mummy have reconstructed the face of the young ruler as he might have looked in life: an unusually elongated skull, a narrow face, pronounced lips and possibly a receding chin.
Based on this approximation, we can determine what he looked like:
Delmar from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
"Them syreens did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad."
My Uncle Pete, (yes, the one who was in the paper posing with a potato he grew that was shaped like a moose), sent me this photo today. He's back up at his homestead in Alaska, enjoying gobs of daylight and getting ready for the salmon runs.
Caught this moose running between the house and Bears Den.
Wish I would have had time to bring him up a little closer but he was moving too fast. Guess he was looking for Momma.
PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM ALASKA
Friends who saw the media screening of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" say it's all it's cracked up to be. Rommie says, and I quote, "It's the third-best Star Wars."
High praise, indeed.
All of which only whetted my appetite for seeing the segment from Late Night With Conan O'Brien in which Triumph the Insult Comic Dog heckles Star Wars geeks standing outside a theater waiting for the opening of "Attack of the Clones." [Link]
Big day in Kentucky. It's the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby.
Here's a link to a package of stuff I worked on for the last two weeks. It's the brainchild of graphic artist David Williams. Online producer Vidisha Priyanka did a great job of presenting Williams' graphics and information.
I was born in Balitimore, home of Pimlico Race Course and The Preakness. The horses have always been a big part of my family on my mother's side. I can remember going to Pimlico as a teenager and being amazed at the size of the race horses and their sinewy muscles. As each leg and chest and neck muscle flexed, it sometimes seemed their skin could barely contain all that strength.
As my mom recalls:
I have a special place in my heart for the Kentucky Derby. For your Nanny, it was as if it were a holy day!
We always had to leave 4:30 mass even earlier on Kentucky Derby Day, so that we would not miss the Post Parade or 6:04 start. Even if her Jeff was serving!
It's been 10 years since Nanny left us. She would have loved to have been here to watch the race with her great-grandson.
And it would have appalled her, I think, to see the way some politicians are playing with things in Maryland, as track owners threaten to pull out of the area unless they get permission to put more gambling outlets at their facilities: [Link]
AT THE GLORIOUS Walters Art Museum yesterday, you knew why thoroughbred horse racing is sometimes called the sport of kings. On the eve of Preakness Week, they showed off the George Stubbs collection of 18th-century horse paintings. The animals appeared ready to spring to life, snorting and whinnying, and strut their magnificent stuff.
The mayor of Baltimore stood before one of the paintings, of a great beast called Whistlejacket, and said lovely things about "the Super Bowl of racing." Business leaders boasted of the Preakness' bountiful economic impact, and TV lights and cameras lent the proceedings an aura of glamour.
The problem is this: Behind the glitter was an uneasy sense of watching a once-lovely lady trying to smear on enough rouge to cover up wrinkles and lines because company's coming any moment.
Yesterday's gathering came a day after executives at Magna Entertainment sent a Canadian cold front through Maryland's political corridors and its racing industry. Three years after buying the Pimlico and Laurel race tracks and vowing a "solemn commitment" to breathe new life into the operations come hell or high-rolling slot machines, the company threatened to cut off its financial pipeline unless "other sources of revenue" are developed.
Nobody around needs translation: not the governor who has staked his entire legacy on slot machines, nor the legislature that has cast them aside three winters in a row, nor the estimated 18,000 people in Maryland's horse racing industry who wonder whether their livelihoods can survive without slots.
So yesterday at the Walters, there was this procession of boosters reminding us of the glories of Maryland racing - and slipping into the conversation, not quite as an afterthought, the shadow of catastrophe.
Mayor Martin O'Malley linked horse racing to the city's renaissance. He said millions will turn on their TV sets on Preakness Day "and see us, and talk of the tremendous comeback the city's making." But, before leaving, he added, "Those who warn about the morality of gambling - where's the morality of doing away with 18,000 racing jobs?"
Aris Melissaratos, state secretary of business and economic development, sounded a similar theme. The Preakness, he said, was like "an annual Super Bowl between the Ravens and the Redskins, or a World Series between the Orioles and the Nationals." It is a national celebration, and Maryland must hold onto it.
C'mon, folks. What are a few slot machines among friends?
Last night, Martin Short hosted "Larry King Live" as the character Jiminy Glick. I love Glick because he totally nails everything fake and phony about TV. Which is to say, all of it.
During one point in the show, he interviewed Larry King. It was like watching an Escher drawing:
GLICK: I'm Jiminy Glick and this is my first guest of the show, and he's so excited because he claims to be someone of international renown, and his name is Larry King.
Larry, how are you?
L. KING: I am so glad to be here. What do you mean by "claims"?
GLICK: Well, because no one -- there some people who question really who you are and what you've done.
L. KING: Really?
GLICK: Not people I know, because I think you're wonderful, I really do.
L. KING: I didn't know that people did question that.
GLICK: People who have been interviewed by you, on the way out, they say, what just happened? Did I just -- did a sandbag hit me in the head? Don't tell that that's going to air. But I think that your gifts of an interviewer is that very much likely you don't listen and do no research. And in a way, that's your strength. What do you think of that, what I just said to you, Larry.
L. KING: You're wrong! Because I do listen.
GLICK: You do listen.
L. KING: I don't do a lot of research. I'm too busy writing books.
GLICK: Just discuss this. There are over -- look at this. There are over -- how many books here?
L. KING: Thirteen I've written, but you have doubles of some.
GLICK: And the secret to your writing, I believe, is that no one reads them, is that true? But, what exactly -- so again, you do what?
L. KING: I try to ask the best questions I can...
GLICK: And then when that doesn't happen, what do you then?
L. KING: I make good eye contact, I try to look right at them. And I just listen to their answers and then follow up off the answer. Of course, if I preplan, then I don't know what they're going to say.
GLICK: Because you're too busy looking at notes.
L. KING: I don't look at notes.
GLICK: Exactly. When people criticize you...
L. KING: I don't care.
GLICK: You don't care.
L. KING: Well, first, I'm 71 years old.
GLICK: But you look fantastic.
L. KING: Thank you. And what are they going to do to me?
GLICK: Some people like to take pot shots because they're bitter and they're jealous. And they don't like that we're on top of what we do. You're a multibillionaire. You don't -- do you give anything to charity? That's not important.
L. KING: No. I do. I give a lot and I'm not a multibillionaire.
GLICK: Oh, but you're loaded there.
L. KING: I make good money but I give a lot away. And I have my own cardiac foundation. I help people. I write books about taking on heart disease.
GLICK: And you live in a trailer or a big mansion?
L. KING: I live in a nice house.
GLICK: A big nice house?
L. KING: My wife doesn't think it's big enough.
GLICK: Wal-Mart furniture or antique?
L. KING: It's -- you'll talk to her later.
GLICK: More than one home?
L. KING: Yes.
GLICK: Well, we're really worried for you. Now your father was Don King...
L. KING: No!
GLICK: And how did you -- to grow up with all that lack of hygiene going on, what was that like?
L. KING: You're confused, again, Jiminy. My father was a man named Eddie. He passed away when I was...
GLICK: Eddie King.
L. KING: No, Eddie Zeiger was his name.
GLICK: Eddie Zeiger. You changed your name.
L. KING: I changed my name.
GLICK: Because you were ashamed.
L. KING: No! I wasn't ashamed. They...
GLICK: Why did you change your name? You didn't like Zeiger.
L. KING: No.
GLICK: Because it sounded too Presbyterian.
L. KING: The old -- Presbyterian?
GLICK: What are you?
L. KING: Jewish!
GLICK: You're a Jew? You should be proud.
L. KING: I am!
GLICK: Well, then, why did you change your name?
L. KING: Because the owner of the radio station said Zeiger is not going -- people won't remember it, they won't know how to spell it. It might be a little too ethnic. And he had an ad, ultimately...
GLICK: Aha! The ethnic thing, you see, now we're getting to the truth. This is what I do, Larry King or Zeiger or whatever the name is today. I go to the key, you said you weren't ashamed and yet it said too ethnic.
See what I did! I trapped you, trapped you in your own -- you're caught!
L. KING: That's what the owner of the station said.
GLICK: Oh, so if the owner of the station says, put on a ball gown, you put on a ball gown?
L. KING: No!
GLICK: Then when he said change your name...
L. KING: That was first year on the air. I was scared, I was nervous. And he had an ad open in "The Miami Herald," and it was for King's Wholesale Liquors, and he said, how about Larry King? And that became my name.
GLICK: Now so you were born on the same day as Mama Cass. Are you a California dreamer?
L. KING: I love California. I did not know I was...
GLICK: And are you a dreamer? Do you hope and dream, or don't you?
L. KING: I don't dream much.
GLICK: You don't.
L. KING: No.
GLICK: Because you're sedated. You were also born on the same day as Twiggy, who Mama Cass tried to eat at the Monterey Pop Festival, which I think is very interesting. It's an interesting combination of facts.
GLICK: Now, you love Garlique.
L. KING: Garlique, yes, is the healthiest food in the world. Two of the healthiest foods in the world are Garlique, garlic, and blueberries.
L. KING: And so I eat -- I consume -- I take my Garlique pill every night and I consumer a lot of blueberries every day at breakfast.
GLICK: I take Garlique too, but I've always wondered, can you ever take it orally?
L. KING: It's the only way to take it.
GLICK: No! Oh my, I've got to read that bottle again because I'm telling you, I've made a fool of myself, made a total fool of myself.
There's a new crouton in the Salad Bowl:
* The first 7.1 Megapixel Digital ELPH with 3x Optical Zoom and new elegantly curved design in a metallic body
* Large 2.0 inch LCD screen for easy on-camera viewing
* DIGIC II Image Processor for even faster processing speed, crisp vibrant colors and excellent image quality
* USB 2.0 Hi-Speed support for faster downloads and file transfers
* Enhanced Movie Mode with new Fast Frame Rate Movie recording at 60 fps (320 x 240) plus 9 Special Scene Modes and Digital Macro Mode
* New My Colors feature for color customization while shooting
* Print/Share Button for easy direct printing and downloading plus ID
* Photo Print and Movie Print with Canon CP Printers
Just ordered it online from Costco. It's my fifth camera in less than three years. (I wore out the others and took them back to the Great Warehouse Barn of Orgiastic Retail Spending, which gave me full refunds every time.)
Man. If I was a pest with my other cameras, can you imagine the level of obnoxiousness I'll descend to with the hearty wind of 7.1 megapixes blowing at my back?
The mind boggles.
Behold, the Google Web Accelerator.
What does it do? It helps your Web browser load quicker. Massively quicker. Insanely quicker. Like-we-might-reverse-time-the-way-Superman-did-by-flying-backwards-around-the-equator-to-save-Lois-Lane quicker.
I am so Google's bitch. If it lit my cigars, rubbed my shoulders or got me a beer, it would be all over.
In February, we visited the spring training home of the New York Yankees. On that day, we witnessed a convergence of the arts and athletic worlds when alleged composer Marvin Hamlisch visited the Bronx Bombers and turned into The Crazy, Pasty Faced Uncle Who Wouldn't Leave.
On that day, we observed:
If (when?) the New York Yankees lose to the Red Sox this year because of an inattention to pitching, you can blame Marvin "The Way We Were" Hamlisch.
ROSEVILLE - A woman identified by authorities as Denise Coke was arrested after a drug-sniffing dog discovered 33 pounds of cocaine in her vehicle.
Courtesy of Gawker.
La Madre de la Ensalada fired this one over the transom:
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 1:18 PM
WHAT! No mention of Cinco De Mayo today?
I was trying to be sly about it by posting the sombrero banner above. Clearly, my stealthy tactics proved too indecipherable for even my own mother.
So, on that note:
Happy Cinco de Mayo. Or what's left of it.
Ethel was a bit of a demon in her wheelchair, and loved to charge around the nursing home, taking corners on one wheel and getting up to maximum speed on the long corridors.
Because the poor woman was one sandwich short of a picnic, the other residents tolerated her and some of the males actually joined in.
One day Ethel was speeding up one corridor when a door opened and Kooky Clarence stepped out with his arm outstretched. "STOP!" he shouted in a firm voice, "Have you got a license for that thing?"
Ethel fished around in her handbag and pulled out a Kit Kat wrapper and held it up to him. "OK" he said and away Ethel sped down the hall.
As she took the corner near the TV lounge on one wheel, Weird Harold popped out in front of her and shouted, "STOP! Have you proof of insurance?" Ethel dug into her handbag, pulled out a drink coaster and held it up to him. Harold nodded and said, "Carry on, ma'am."
As Ethel neared the final corridor before the front door, Crazy Craig stepped out in front of her, stark naked.
"Oh, Good grief," said Ethel, "not the breathalizer test again!"
I'd 'splain it, but then I'd have to understand it. And I don't. So I won't try.
But it's funny nonetheless.
Always on the lookout for another merchandising opportunity, KISS is now selling bowling shirts for a tidy $59.95.
How do I know this?
I'm on the fan club mailing list.
I am a sad, pathetic man.
Jesus, Drudge, why don't you just drag out the flashing siren icon for the headline?
Nice to see the full force of ABC News' investigative power is being brought to bear on a legitimate news topic. What, they get tired of hassling a bride about 'cold feet?'
Have I mentioned how proud I am to be in the news business?
Recognize the medley these cats are singing? They're Redefined, an a cappella group from the University of Wisconsin.
If you do recognize what these songs are, raise your carpal tunnel-swollen thumbs.
And if you can name each one, good luck on, you know, finding a girl who won't take out a restraining order.
Once again merging work and pleasure points in my life: It's the TV News Drinking Game. Like I need a game to help me drink after a day on the job...
This game can be played during any program produced by a network, cable, or local news operation. The term “anchor” refers to any person involved in the live on-camera, in-studio presentation of a newscast, (ie. news, weather and sports people, on-set reporters, etc.) Of course, know when to say "when." Don't drink and drive. As always, no wagering.
Among the many triggers, forced drinks can be incurred whenever:
*An anchor mentions the name of his/her network/station. TWICE if an anchor mentions the name of another network/station.
*A microphone flag from another station appears on the air.
TWICE if a reporter or anchor from another station appears on the air.
*An anchor pretends to sort through papers on the desk.
* A news anchor is chroma-keyed in front of anything.
* An anchor laughs.
* A generic network liveshot is attempted. TWICE if it takes more than five seconds for the network reporter to start talking.
* The anchor thanks the network reporter after the liveshot.
* Video of fat people shot only from the neck down is shown.
* An anchor or reporter says, medical breakthrough, high tech, fighting for/clinging to life, a family left homeless, or a parent’s worst nightmare.
* You hear someone who is not normally on-camera. (ie. floor directors, camera people, station guests) TWICE if you see someone who is not normally on-camera. (bump shots count)
* Anyone appearing on-camera is not fully clothed. (not necessarily talent. people behind liveshots count)
* An on-air person is refered to only as a letter or series of letters. (ie. Mr. G, A.J.)
* You hear the words Live, Big Board Sports, AccuWeather, Team Coverage, or Exclusive.
* An anchor or reporter says the name of a body part that normally is not discussed in polite mixed company.
* An interview or standup is conducted in front of a bookcase.
If it's late spring, it must be time to start worrying about hurricanes. And it must be time for Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, to start postulating on the doom that may or may not befall us this summer.
Willie reports that there may be a new way to measure what the back half of a hurricane season might be like:
Researchers at England's University College London have devised a computer model that uses data from midsummer winds to predict the likelihood of hurricanes striking the United States later in the season.
The model was created by scientists at the college's Benfield Hazard Research Centre. The center is sponsored by Benfield, a London-based reinsurance company that is one of the world's largest.
The new model could get a real workout right from the start. Forecasters think a ten-year trend of active hurricane seasons will continue this summer.
William Gray, a pioneer in long-range hurricane forecasting who is based at Colorado State University, thinks seven hurricanes will form in the Atlantic Basin this year. (The region includes the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.) The professor of atmospheric science predicts that three of those storms will be major ones, with winds exceeding 111 miles an hour (179 kilometers an hour).
Gray believes there's a better-than-even chance that one of those intense hurricanes will make landfall somewhere on the U.S. east coast.
Oh great. Time to buy a generator.