Friday, August 31, 2007

Come On, Man!!!!

So apparently Tony Snow is resigning now too. Who cares??? I was excited to see the door hit Ari Fleischer (Bad Jew!! Bad, bad Jew! Elephants are NOT kosher, dude!) and Scott McClellan's respective tushes, but Tony Snow is really not so bad. I mean, in the grand scheme of things. He seems about as a nice a guy as he possibly could, given that he's a) Fox goods and b) part of the Bush II administration. I think I have a slightly less hard than diamonds spot for him because he went to Rock n'Roll Fantasy Camp, like Russ Senior.

The only thing that could put a bigger smile on my face than the demise of Ashcroft (shockingly looking not so bad after Gonzalez, which is a testament to the scariness of Gonzalez), Rummy, and Gonzalez would, of course, be No More Cheney. As if. He'll probably figure out some way to be VP next time. Hey, maybe he'll run with Thompson! You know Thomspon is going to win, right?! He's on the tv!!! He drives a truck! He thinks he's people!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Footsie Flirt

Larry Craig says he's not gay or lewd; he only pleaded guilty when he shouldn't have. Whatever, mister! You get arrested, you keep your lips sealed and call a lawyer. Have you never watched an episode of Law & Order? Though judging by his age, Craig might be more of a Quincy-viewing man which would explain the bumbling manner in which he handled things.

Check out the police report on the Smoking Gun to see how Craig defended himself upon arrest. Can a man help it if he's got a "wide stance" when it comes to urination? Is that a crime?

I like how he keeps his cruising style old school. Aside from airport bathrooms, he's allegedly done the deed at Union Station in DC. Seedy! No internet chat rooms for him.

And, just because I've got to, allow me to rehash this oldie but goodie from the days when Craig was eviscerating Sick Willy during the Lewinsky to-do. Who's a naught boy now? Tee hee!

MR. RUSSERT: Larry Craig, would you want the last word from the Senate be an acquittal of the president and no censure?

SEN. CRAIG: Well, I don’t know where the Senate’s going to be on that issue of an up or down vote on impeachment, but I will tell you that the Senate certainly can bring about a censure reslution and it’s a slap on the wrist. It’s a, “Bad boy, Bill Clinton. You’re a naughty boy.”

The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy.

I’m going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Driving all the way to Stupid Town

Yesterday's NYT printed a story about adwraps, a phenomenon that I've been blissfully unaware of up until now. Basically, you get paid—either with a free car or monthly check of up to $800—to have a gigantic ad pasted over the entire surface of your car. If you have no scruples, this might seem an easy way to make a few bucks, but there are guidelines to be followed, some of which require real work, or at least some behavior modification. For instance, you're not allowed to smoke, swear, or litter near your car! You have to send in reports, with photos of your car parked in different locations, to prove that you've been driving around. Some companies even require you to drive your car to "influencer" events, to hand out samples or coupons.

As if sitting in traffic wasn't torture enough... Maybe I should develop some kind of humanwrap for public transportation commuters?

Check out this hilarious copy and photos from a company called Adwraps.

Adwraps began in traffic. The company's business concept exploits and capitalizes on one of societies most counterproductive inventions, personal transportation. Today, the personal vehicle dominates the outdoor landscape more than any other time in history. Vehicles can be seen on every street, in every driveway, every school, every religious institution, every mall and any other location imaginable. The car is king of the outdoors. The sheer physical dominance of the car coupled with the worst traffic congestion levels in history make the personal vehicle a natural medium for outdoor advertising. Currently, the average person spends two hours a day in their vehicle, drives more than 40 miles per day, takes four plus trips per day and travels more than forty-eight miles a day on weekends. Translated, these statistics reveal that people are outside in their vehicles looking at other vehicles, which make them perfect mobile billboards. Moreover, recent Federal Highway Administration studies forecasts a sharp increase in the amount of time spent in personal vehicles and the number of trips per household in the future. This data suggests that the personal vehicle will become even more prevalent and will been seen by more people with greater exposure and frequency.

Adwraps "wraps" private vehicles in a high quality vinyl adhesive with graphic images promoting and maintaining products and brands. These "wraps" are visually stimulating, unique and cannot be avoided due to their conspicuous location. The wraps educate, entertain and inform motorists and pedestrians while they are commuting and outside on social and family business. They can reach consumers in conditions that radio, television and print are ineffective and they are appreciated for their ability to humor motorists and pedestrians as well as alleviate boredom when stuck in traffic. Most important is that "wraps" are one of the only forms of advertising that cannot be switched off, tuned out or lost in a quicksand of other advertisements.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Brain divide

Are people in LA really stupid as everyone says? Maybe it's not a matter of being stupid so much as shallow and vapid? This story in the LA Times Food section on paletas is pretty awesome. I don't mean to digress, but I can't help but point out that corn and popsicles sound like a match made in heaven.

Anyway, have you ever noticed that the LA Time's most-emailed stories don't at all resemble those of the NYT? I'm not going to pass judgement on whether I think Angelenos are stupid (even though a close friend who lives out there says they are not very "sophisticated.") I'm sure that a large percentage of NYT readers are egg heady but non-NYC based, which serves to make us look less dumb than we are. There is plenty of vapid and annoying stuff being discussed on NY mag's site, that's for sure. But still, these LA Times stories seem like the perfect little tidbit for that itty bitty little slot of time between the sports and credits on the 11 o'clock news.

TOP 5 from the LA TIMES
1. Take notes: websites for students
What did students ever do without the Web? Maybe learn less about topics their parents would prefer remain under wraps.

2. The power of produce
Whether it fights cancer depends on which you eat, how you eat it -- and your genes.

3. A teenage girl, a terrible injury and a will to recover
Samantha Palumbo, 16, had her future mapped out. Then came the car crash -- and damage to her brain that doctors said was 'not compatible with life.' But they didn't know Sami.

4. Dangers of drug patches overlooked
The FDA has cautioned about delivering painkiller fentanyl through the skin, but healthcare providers don't seem to be getting the message. Other drugs pose problems too.

5. Dancing all the way to the bank in Vegas
The city's popular nightclubs, which have mushroomed from a handful to about 30 today, are producing the next generation of moguls.

TOP 5 from the NYT
1. With Turnover High, Schools Fight for Teachers

2. As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes

3. Your Ad Here, on My SUV? And You'll Pay

4. Drop Foreseen in Median Price of US Homes

5. Kibbutz Yasur Journal: The Kibbutz Sheds Socialism and Gains Popularity

Whatever Happened to No Snitchin'?

I know I am walking straight into a heated racial debate here, but this Michael Vick situation is riddled with hypocrisy. On the one hand we have Vick's (mostly black) defenders working from two angles: a) dogfighting is a part of black culture, so to decry it while saying nothing of white sports that involve animal cruelty (eg hunting) is racist (this is a good point, if you ask me), and b) the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" is being trampled all over here, in a way one would not see if the defendant was white (again, I basically agree - people have lost all sense of procedure in this case, but it's clearly due more to the fact that Vick is accused of murdering man's best friends with his bare hands than with his race. I mean, really, if white people flipped out and joined in every time the legal system rushed to judgement of a black man, none of us would have time for anything else).

On the other hand, we have the whole No Snitchin' thing. For those of you who don't know, No Snitchin' is the hottest issue right now in black cultural politics and law enforcement. Black leaders feel that the endemic culture of intimidation of witnesses by gangs and whatnot is a major cause of the ongoing destruction of the black community - crime cannot be effectively fought because witnesses are threatened and hence no one comes forward to testify against anyone and the cycle of crime, violence, and poverty continues, unabated. As usual, rappers are being blamed for glorifying No Snitchin' in their music (my personal favorite No Snitchin song is "Oh Boy" by Cam'ron). Meanwhile, what is Vick doing?? He's snitchin'! He's twistin! He's bitchin' Oh damn! If Feds was listenin'! (Cam'ron reference, people). I don't see any of Vick's defenders coming down on his ass for snitchin. This wouldn't be so egregious if dogfighting wasn't a part of the same culture that gave us the No Snitchin' movement, but it is.

All I'm asking for is a little consistency here, folks. I want to see all those dogfighting apologists on the news tonight threatening to put a hole in Vick's sweater with their Beretta (that's Biggie Smalls) for being a squealin'-ass bitch. Is that too much to ask???


Dare we believe this??? I nearly had a wreck on the way to work when I heard this shit so it better be for true!!! Como se dice ECFUCKINGSTATIC?????

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cool Artists of the Day: Leon Golub & Nancy Spero

Coolest artists EVER, in fact. Nancy is now 81 and Leon died in 2004 at the age of 82. They were married for 54 years. Both of them stayed true to figurative art and, more importantly, their passion for progressive political engagement and social activism throughout their careers, which meant that they were both basically contrarian and unpopular for first 20-odd years of their careers as the art world embraced minimalism, abstraction, earth art, and pretty much every genre that rareified art and shunned poltics in keeping with the Modernist ethos (the feminist art movement was clearly heavily politicized but never based in traditional figurative painting, while pop art has been interpreted as political, most notably by Ken Silver, whose queer theory reading of Warhol in the Hand-Painted Pop catalogue is one of the most brilliant pieces of art criticism I have ever read). Thier work is some of the most fantastic and powerful stuff around, and although they stand alone wonderfully, I prefer to look at their work as a collaboration, the product of a life together. It's too simple to say that Nancy represents the female and Leon the male. They are both universal, compassionate, brilliant artists who demonstrate that art can be political and formally stunning at the same time.

A highlight of my charmed existence was meeting these two. I worked at the Whitney Museum bookstore and ticket booth for a couple of years, and virtually every celebrity you can name - actors, authors, artists, musicians - came in and bought tickets and/or books from me. It was certainly cool to see all these famous people (Harrison Ford is a dick and his children are filthy; Woody lets Soon-Yi do all the talking; Keanu Reeves is shockingly hot; Brad Pitt is shockingly tall; Gianni Versace was one of the coolest, most down to earth people ever; Denzel Washington triggered a mass abandoning of posts by all the female security guards and was totally charming; David Bowie had three credit cards declined but I called in sick that day and have never forgiven myself; Faye Dunaway and Sharon Stone are both crazier than bags of angel dust), but I was rarely over-excited by any of them and only once truly overwhelmed, and that was when Leon and Nancy came in. I was selling tickets and, all of a sudden, there they were, these two tiny smiling awesome people. I completely flipped and abanodoned my post, Denzel-style, rushing around the little booth-thing and accosting them. This was the only time I ever said anything to anyone about how much I loved them, and I really let it rip. They were gracious and friendly and just the coolest people ever. I cried when Leon died.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Greatest Halloween Costume Idea Ever

Ooh, I just thought of the greatest Halloween costume: BA Barucha. Basically it's a Jewish Mr. T. A yarmulke and phylacteries on top of the Mohawk, tons of big gold Stars of David, and a tallis instead of whatever the fuck that was that Mr. T. wore. Carry a shofar and say you pity the fool who doesn't observe the Sabbath.

Sexy Person of the Day: Allen Iverson

It's been a while since I did the sexy person thing, but for some reason I keep thinking about Allen Iverson today. I've always thought he is very pretty. I still do. I used to have a link to a great website with all his different hairstyles on it, but no more. Too bad he's a Bad Attitude Baracus.

Bad Georgia: Beware of Baggy Pants and Bra Straps

Once again, the Great State of Georgia is excelling in making itself look stoo-pid and racist and classist. Yes, again! Recently we have had another string of sneaky attempts at black voter disenfranchisement, with Secretary of State Karen Handel (as in “Can you Handel the fact that your Secretary of State is a flaming jackass?”) embarking on a mass mailing campaign to helpfully notify people of the new state requirements for voter ID cards – you can use one of four state-issued forms of identification or get a free (that makes it all okay!!) new type of ID specifically for voting. Only problem is, Georgia’s voter ID law was struck down by the courts last year and the appeal is still pending, which any good Secretary of State can tell you means we HAVE NO VOTER ID LAW. So all these people - the rural and urban poor who already have low voter turnout due to lack of transportation, childcare, and voter education - are getting mail telling them that there is yet another step they have to take to vote, and it isn’t even true. There is a reason why Georgia is trying to restrict access to voting with what would be the nation’s strictest voting laws, and that reason has everything to do with the traditional (Democratic) voting habits of poor and/or black Georgians.

Meanwhile, in the We Hate Spics (But Love Taco Bell!) Department (now Georgia’s largest branch of government), various counties are currently working to pass laws banning “boarding houses”, aka houses with multiple unrelated adult residents, aka the houses of Latinos. Supposedly this has nothing at all, heavens no, to do with race or the rabid brown immigrant hatred that seethes from the pores of most red-blooded Georgians.

Then, today, news of a truly brilliant new entry into this litany of idiocy: Atlanta councilman C.T. Martin, a Bill Cosby-esque mess of a self-hating black man, has introduced a ban of baggy pants. Thank god! Why, just the other day I was accosted by several pairs of baggy pants and was lucky to escape with my wallet. And don’t get m started on that overcrowded house down the street – I swear I have seen at least 14 different pairs of clearly unrelated baggy pants coming and going, and several of the baggy pants park their cars RIGHT ON THE LAWN!!!!

Fortunately for the baggy pants, they will not be spending the night alone in jail when martin gets his mitts on them. They will be kept company by equally offensive exposed thongs, boxer shorts, and bra straps. Okay, let’s break this down:

1. Visible Thongs: The only people who should be arresting a girl (or guy; this is the gay Mecca of the South, you know) whose thong is showing are the fashion police. I mean, really, whale tails are so 2002!!!

2. Visible Boxer Shorts: Hmm, Councilman Martin better get his butt down to every majority white high school with relatively wealthy students at final exam time, because everyone knows that well-to-do preppy girls wear college sweatshirts (the grey kind with the always-SEC college letters appliqu├ęd in plaid) and BOXER SHORTS during finals week. It’s a look that says “I studied so hard, I could barely find a Scrunchi in the same plaid as the letters ‘SMU’ on my sweatshirt, let alone wear PANTS!!! Geez!”

3. Visible Bra Straps: I may have to stop typing this at any second as the fuzz are about to do a raid on my office. And every other office in my building and in all of Georgia. And anywhere else where bra-wearing women congregate. Shit, if you have worn a bra with straps, you have flashed a bra strap. It’s what they call a tautology, Councilman. Here, try this bra on with this tank top and I will show you.

4. Baggy Pants: Oh, Baggy Pants. How long is it now that you have been de rigueur for black people and Kevin Federline? What’s that, going on 20 years, you say? Clearly this baggy pants thing is just a fly-by-night fad, like hip hop and naming your kids after luxury cars, that can easily be stamped out by an appropriately outraged black politician. Well, sorry Councilman, but if Bill Cosby couldn’t get his peeps to change, neither can you. Just be thankful that the rolling up one leg look went by-the-by. But in a world where fro pics are still jauntily shoved into fros and the airbrush nail business is still booming, baggy pants are here to stay.

Some choice quotes from Councilman Martin:

"Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it's the in thing," Martin said Wednesday. "I don't want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future."

Sorry, buddy, but baggy pants are the “in thing” for many, many people. And “half-dressing”? Shit, that’s as old as rolling your eyes when your parents are talking, as far as young people go. And I don’t hear too many complaints about one-quarter-dressed cheerleaders.

Baggy pants are going nowhere, fool, face it. And get yourself some Cornel West or Henry Louis Gates or bell hooks and brush up on your black cultural politics, yo.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Don't trust the hump

I always thought there was something creepy about camels. Suspicions confirmed by a BBC story!

Pet camel kills Australian woman

A woman in Australia has been killed by her pet camel after the animal may have tried to have sex with her.

The woman was found dead at the family's sheep and cattle ranch near the town of Mitchell in Queensland.

The woman had been given the camel as a 60th birthday present earlier this year because of her love of exotic pets.

The camel was just 10 months old but already weighed 152kg (336lbs) and had come close to suffocating the family's pet goat on a number of occasions.

On Saturday, the woman apparently became the object of the male camel's desire.

It knocked her to the ground, lay on top of her and displayed what the police delicately described as possible mating behaviour.

"I'd say it's probably been playing, or it may be even a sexual sort of thing," the Associated Press news agency quoted Queensland police Detective Senior Constable Craig Gregory as saying.

Young camels are not normally aggressive but can become more threatening if treated and raised as pets.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

R2B2 WILL Submit to the Rolling Stones

R2B2 and I are such good friends largely due to the fact that we agree on pretty much everything. We spend hours sharing our mutual enraged indignation about various issues, people, foods, trends, movies - in other words, we spend a lot of time engaging in the satisfying art of preaching to the converted. So it is a rare occasion when we truly disagree about something and one of us must take on the difficult task of convincing the other that they are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, SNOOP WRONGY-WRONG, WRONG MCWRONG, SIR WRONG OF WRONGHAM, THE WRONGIEST WRONG THAT EVER WRONGED, THE WRONG BARON, COUNT VON WRONGENSTEIN, AN ASTRONAUT WITH THE WRONG STUFF, TAKING A WRONG AT THE LIGHT INSTEAD OF A RIGHT, and so on. Case in point: R2B2 claims to HATE, yes, HATE, The Rolling Stones. I know!!!! Crazy!!!! Nuts!!!! And above all else, WRONG!!!!! Further questioning revealed that R2's hatred for the Stones is basically all about Honky-Tonk Woman. To which I say: Fair enough. It's an annoying song. But therein lies the true beauty of the Stones. They can, and often do, kind of bite. They are hands-down my absolute favorite band of all time, and yes I like the Beatles, but don't even be asking me that "Beatles or Stones?" shit. STONES, every time. It will always be that way. But I am the first to admit that they do suck sometimes.

Here's the thing about the Stones: They are a) the world's greatest rock band ever (case in point, Gimme Shelter), b) the world's greatest pop band ever (case in point: Emotional Rescue), c) the world's greatest blues band ever (case in point: Parachute Woman), and d) the world's greatest country band ever (case in point: Sweet Virginia). In their ability to suck, they are also the Martin Amis of music. Like the Stones, Amis is capable of truly sucking, and unabashedly does so on many an occasion. Personally, I find this reassuring. I love the humanity of someone who is so genius yet so flawed. It's comforting. I started reading Martin Amis with Money, London Fields, and The Information, back to back, and thought I might actually kill myself because I felt so fucking inferior as a human being because I could and would never write anything so perfect. I hated Martin! He was so relentlessly brilliant. Then I read Night Train. Ouch! It sucked! Suddenly, I felt spiritually renewed. If Martin Amis could suck AND be genius (and Yellow Dog sucked even worse than Night Train), I could also potenially be genius, but only have sucked up until that point. Maybe there was a great novel or something inside of me and I would stop sucking! I knew I felt something inside of me just waiting to be unleashed on the world (turns out it was poo, but whatever).

It's the same with the Stones. The fact that I can barely watch the Mick Jagger of the last 15 years for even a milisecond as he struts around huge arena stages, with his silk shirt billowing, singing Brown Sugar and looking fucking RIDICULOUS, makes it all the more of an earth-moving experience to lose myself for the 1,000th time in Mick singing No Expectations in 1968 . Shit, even the actual band themselves has always contained extremes of genius and lameness. In the same band, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman. The coolest man ever and the biggest putz ever. Yeah, Bill's a putz. The rest of the Stones all think so too, and often made fun of him in barely coded messages in their songs, casting aspersions on his masculinity and deriding his small hands. Hee hee! Loser!

I digress. This isn't about Bill Wyman's hands. And I don't want to give R2 any more reason to "hate" the Stones, so let's not dwell on Bill at all. My other theory about the Stones is that they are victims of the Chumbawamba syndrome. That is, the songs they are best known for are not their best. Chumbawamba is an extreme example of this, and I plan to blog at some point about the unjust legacy that is Tubthumping (I can barely even type that song's name). Think about it - many of the best-known Stones songs are not the best Stones songs. I reference the aforementioned Honky-Tonk Woman and Brown Sugar. I am also no fan of Jumping Jack Flash, Dead Flowers, most of Exile on Main Street (which is most people's favorite Stones album), a lot of Sticky Fingers (a lot of other people's favorite Stones album), some of Let it Bleed (probably the 2nd or 3rd most often referenced as a favorite Stones album), most of Tattoo You and pretty much everything since. BUT! Beggars Banquet is hands-down the greatest album ever recorded. No question. None! And there are many genius moments among the canon of hits: Angie, Paint it Black, Shattered, Gimme Shelter, Monkey Man, Midnight Rambler, Time is on my Side, Let's Spend the Night Together, Satsfaction, Mother's Little Helper, 19th Nervous Breakdown, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Street Fightin' Man, Sympathy for the Devil, Missin You, Beast of Burden, Wild Horses, Emotional Rescue. I could go on but I won't.

So my self-appointed project is to make R2 at least tolerate and have a modicum of respect for the Stones. Love or even like would be nice, but R2 is a tough crowd. Hence I have made R2 a CD of my favorite Stones songs. I have tried to avoid any popular ones that R2 has probably heard, like all of the above, which I think R2 could at least recognize. I'm going deeper with this. Here is the playlist (with song, album, year) - any input, comments, suggestions are welcome:

1. I'm a King Bee, The Rolling Stones, 1964
2. Play With Fire, Out of Our Heads, 1965
3. Mercy, Mercy, Out of Our Heads, 1965
4. I'm Alright, Out of Our Heads, 1965
5. Complicated, Between the Buttons, 1967
6. She Smiled Sweetly, Between the Buttons, 1967
7. She's a Rainbow, Their Satanic Majesties Request, 1967
8. Stray Cat Blues, Beggars Banquet, 1968
9. Factory Girl, Beggars Banquet, 1968
10. No Expectations, Beggars Banquet, 1968
11. Jigsaw Puzzle, Beggars Banquet, 1968
12. Dear Doctor, Beggars Banquet, 1968
13. Prodigal Son, Beggars Banquet, 1968
14. Parachute Woman, Beggars Banquet, 1968
15. Salt of the Earth, Beggars Banquet, 1968 (Keith sings!!)
16. Love in Vain, Let it Bleed, 1969
17. Moonlight Mile, Sticky Fingers, 1971
18. Sweet Black Angel, Exile on Main Street, 1972
19. Sweet Virgina, Exile on Main Street, 1972
20. Angie, Goat's Head Soup, 1973
21. Fool to Cry, Black & Blue, 1976

I put most of Beggars Banquet on there. And okay, yeah, I put Angie on there. I had to. I love that fucking song, man. It plays a part in a fond memory for me. August 1, 1991. My 16th birthday. I got my driver's license and an awesome red Jetta with balloons tied to the mirrors. The next morning, I got up really early and snuck out and went for a drive all by myself for the first time ever. It was dawn, one of those beautiful Atlanta summer mornings where it's nice until about 9:00 A.M. I drove probably a mile or two, just around the neighborhood, and as I drove, I listened to the classic rock station, which was playing Angie. It was perfect. The beauty of that morning, my feeling of absolute freedom for the first time in my life, combined with the witsful awareness that this day, this freedom, also meant the end of something great. Angie is such a wistful song, and I don't think I would have realized the mixed emotions I had about that moment if that song hadn't been playing. I remember sitting at a stop sign, listening to Mick whispering "Where will it lead us from her?", and I was crying. Appropritae that next line is "Oh Angie don't you weep," which of course only made me cry more.

The shit of the whole thing is that I cued up Angie just as I started typing out this memory, and when I thought about tearing up at the stop sign in my little red car and how happy I was and what a great childhood I had, I teared up, and wouldn't you know that the song was lined up exactly same as it was that day so that the next line was "Angie don't you weep." So yeah, I'm a fucking dork sitting here crying.

R2, to quote Bernie Birnbaum, look into your heart. Look into your heart when you listen to this cd I'm sending you. You may well hate every song on this list but I hope at least you will get something out of Angie, even if it's just the image of 16 year old Russ sitting at a stop sign in her new red Jetta in the neighborhood of Princeton Lakes in Marietta Georgia at 6 A.M. on August 2, 1991, being a huge fucking dork with tears rolling down her unlined 16 year old cheeks and balloons tied to her side mirrors.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Internet robot declares R2B2 "Asshat"

Slate posted an interesting story yesterday called "How to hack Starbucks," not just about America's obsession with the rotten hell hole that panders $6 blended drinks made from powder, but specifically weird sites devoted to dissecting the Starbucks experience. Check it out.

Anyway, the story links to the Oracle of Starbucks, a funny site that tells you your personality based on your drink of choice. The Slate writer (tall house) was declared "Lame;" Vin Diesel (decaf triple nonfat espresso), "Freak." No argument there.

I'm an Asshat (double espresso)!
You carry around philosophy books you haven't read and wear trendy wire-rimmed glasses even though you have perfect vision. You've probably added an accent to your name or changed the pronunciation to seem sophisticated. You hang out in coffee shops because you don't have a job because you got your degree in French Poetry. People who drink grande espresso are notorious for spouting off angry, liberal opinions about issues they don't understand.

Also drinks: Any drink with a foreign name
Can also be found at: The other, locally owned coffee shop you claim to like better.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lincoln officially declared funny looking

Abe Lincoln may be long dead, but that doesn't stop experts from attempting to diagnose him with a variety of ailments. Small pox, Marfan's Syndrome, clinical depression, and, the scariest contagious disease of them all, homosexuality. Most recently, laser scans of two of Lincoln's "life masks" reveal cranial facial microsomia. In layman's terms, that means he was crooked and funny looking around the face, not that we don't already think that every time we pull out a $5 bill. I've always had a weird soft spot for Abe. I tend to trust people with oversized ears, for one. And he seemed so ungainly and emotional— so unlikely to be successful. He'd never be elected today. Ditto Taft (too fat), Van Buren (too short), and Buchanan (too single). What bit of Abe trivia will be revealed next? That he wasn't honest? That he didn't really wear top hats?!

Anyway, check out AP's take on it:
Artists, sculptors and photographers knew Abraham Lincoln's face had a good side. Now it's confirmed by science.

Laser scans of two life masks, made from plaster casts of Lincoln's face, reveal the 16th president's unusual degree of facial asymmetry, according to a new study.

The left side of Lincoln's face was much smaller than the right, an aberration called cranial facial microsomia. The defect joins a long list of ailments - including smallpox, heart illness and depression - that modern doctors have diagnosed in Lincoln.

Lincoln's contemporaries noted his left eye at times drifted upward independently of his right eye, a condition now termed strabismus. Lincoln's smaller left eye socket may have displaced a muscle controlling vertical movement, said Dr. Ronald Fishman, who led the study published in the August issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Severe strabismus leads to double vision and can be treated today by surgery.

"Lincoln noticed double vision only occasionally and it did not bother him a great deal," said Fishman, a retired Washington, D.C., ophthalmologist and history buff.

Most people's faces are asymmetrical, Fishman said, but Lincoln's case was extreme, with the bony ridge over his left eye rounder and thinner than the right side, and set backward.

Lincoln's appearance was mocked by his political enemies, historians say. The author Nathaniel Hawthorne, a Lincoln fan, wrote of the president's "homely sagacity" and his "sallow, queer, sagacious visage." Hawthorne's description was deemed disrespectful and deleted by a magazine editor, said Daniel Weinberg, owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago.

Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum described the left side of Lincoln's face as primitive, immature and unfinished.

When Lincoln was a boy, he was kicked in the head by a horse. Laser scans can't settle whether the kick or a developmental defect - or neither - contributed to Lincoln's lopsided face, Fishman said.

The scanning technique is usually used to create 3-D images of children with cleft lip and palate before and after surgery. Fishman teamed up with Dr. Adriana Da Silveira, an Austin, Texas, orthodontist who specializes in children with facial defects, to scan a bronze and a plaster copy of two life masks, owned by the Chicago History Museum.

Life masks were in vogue in the 1860s, said James Cornelius, curator at the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill.

Lincoln cooperated with sculptors to make them twice, in 1860 before his first presidential nomination, and in 1865, two months before his assassination. Lincoln probably did it for political purposes more than posterity, Cornelius said.

"It's the equivalent of TV face time now," Cornelius said.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Poo Skink

This weekend I went to see an exhibition called Lizards & Snakes at the natural history museum here in Atlanta. It was really, really cool - there were a ton of amazing snakes, geckos, iguanas, chameleons, etc. My favorites are the pretty green snakes that look like they are smiling, but I was fascinated with this one seriosuly disgusting creature called a Shingleback Skink. I am hereby changing the name of this dude to the Poo Skink. I think it's much more descriptive.

Would you like a side of egg foo yung with that?

Proceedings from an actual conversation that took place this past weekend in front of my apartment building. At 1:00 am no less.

R2B2: Pulling up to my apartment on my bicycle.

Neighborhood dude: Looking over at me.
Hey, you got my Chinese food?

R2B2: Ha ha.

NB: Pretending to look at his watch.
I put my order in a long time ago. You don't have my chicken chow mein? Ha ha ha ha.

R2B2: That's really fucking funny. Every Chinese girl living in this neighborhood gets that comment.

NB: Oh, I'm sorry! I'm just fooling wit' choo.

R2B2: Ok, whatever.

NB: It's the basket! It's the basket!

Neighborhood dude's lady friend: Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Two Pregnant Women Tussled: Excerpts from the Atlanta Blotter

"Two pregnant women tussled while waiting for their scheduled appointments at Crawford Long Hospital. A police officer deduced: A 24-year-old pregnant woman was pushing her baby stroller and walking by, when she gave an 18-year-old pregnant woman a "mean look" in the hospital waiting room. The 18-year-old rushed toward her and started arguing. "Both suspects were reported to having been directly in each other's face, yelling at each other," the officer noted. A witness tried to separate the pregnant women -- no luck. Then the pregnant women punched and kicked each other. Both pregnant women got tickets for disorderly conduct. Turns out the 24-year-old pregnant woman had fought in the past with the 18-year-old pregnant woman's sister, the officer noted. No injuries reported."

"One Sunday around 5 p.m., a man said he left four 24-packs of Budweiser beer in his Lexus on Vedado Way in Midtown. He said when he returned about two hours later, the window was smashed and his beer was gone. He called police. (Some advice from the Blotter Diva: Never forget that Sunday beer sales are prohibited in our fine state of Georgia. Therefore, it's probably best not to tempt the "hair of the dog" crowd by leaving 96 beers in your car on a Sunday afternoon.)"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ingmar Bergman's Dukes of Hazzard Episode

This is too clever and hilarious not to post.

Fun fact about Georgia: Ben Jones, aka Cooter, was a Georgia Congressman from 1989-92. He was a Democrat.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Good Georgia: Whirlyball Concerts

Ok, this is a little weird. Last night we went to see Ted Leo & the Pharmacists at a whirlyball place. I had never heard of whirlyball until I moved down here, and I remained unsure as to exactly what it is until last night. Basically, it's a combination of bumper cars, lacrosse, and basketball. There are (I think; I only watched it all damn night so don't expect too accurate of details) 10 cars, 5 on each team, and each player has a lacrosse type thing, and there's a ball (whiffle, I believe), and basketabll things without nets at either end, and the object is to get the ball with your lacrosse thing and hit the target on the net-less basketball thing while people are bumping into you and trying to steal the ball. There is even a referee. Whirlyball is all over the place down here - there is one across the street from our house, even, which seems to be an extremely popular destination for those Latino 15th birthday parties. Seems like there is one there every day, in fact.

So, bizarrely enough, a whirlyball place in Roswell, GA (home of Mr. & Mrs. Russ, Sr.) has started to have really good indie bands play in their bar area. It's pretty cool beacause the venue is tiny, like maybe 300 people max and a very small stage, so it's very intimate.

Speaking of intimate, Ted Leo is smokin'.

I had no idea. He's a little too earnest for me (vegan and straight-edge), but seriously super cute and just an amazing guitarist, singer, and performer. He gives off this amazing energy and bis band are hilarious. The drummer looks like a muppet-version of Mick Fleetwood and, as my friend Matt put it, looks completely surprised all the time. The bassist has the craziest hair and beard since the original Sabbath lineup. They seriously rocked and seemed to be having the best time. When we got there, they were playing whirlyball with the guys from Chunklet magazine, who were wearing Team Chunklet coveralls. It looked like fun so Bunches played, then Bunces and Matt both played. I have to say, they both SUCKED. Bunches has informed us all via e-mail that he is HOOKED and we shall be playing again soon (despite what he claims was an attempt by the referee to steal his wallet, a claim which sounds paranoid, but I may agree with him).

So today's lesson: Play whirlyball. See Ted Leo if he comes to your town. And watch your wallet when the referee with the mohawak from Roswell whirlyball is around.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Mass hysteria ends in uncomfortable butt rubbing

The MTA was crippled by a severe early morning thunderstorm, which meant that everyone was freaking out. There's nothing like a horde of New Yorkers freaking out, especially in the summer when there are already lots of disturbing odors in the air.

I, ever practical, listened to three radio programs and watched my ghetto cable news channel (where all of the anchors have lisps and unusually large ear lobes), to try to get a sense of which trains were out of commission, but to no avail. There were conflicting reports all around. Instead, I had to hit the streets for my news, and that didn't get me very far. There were about 50 people standing in front of my building, gawking at a woman being carted away by paramedics (connection to the subway disaster unclear). I heard snippets of "a tree fell on the track," "no trains," "buses slow," more often than not modified with descriptors like "fuck" and "bullshit." Eventually I was approached by my unsavory neighbor (who I generally avoid since he creeped me out with a long story about having to buy midnight milkshakes for his girlfriend "at that time of the month," wink wink). He said the trains were now running slow, but running nonetheless.

What the fuck MTA? Can we get some communication up in here? I understand that this is an abnormal situation, that workers are stressed, that you're doing the best they can. But if this is acceptable, what's going to happen when a tsunami hits us and the streets freeze over? Or when a Godzilla-like monster crawls out of the sea and starts eating people? Or how about when a blackout hits the entire city and disables trains, trapping riders underground, forcing people to walk miles to get home, or even sleep out on the streets. Or, hmmm... terrorists fly a plane into some buildings? (BTW, figure out which of the above scenarios are real vs movie plots and you'll win a prize.)

MTA, if you can't give people timely information about service changes after a three hour rainstorm, what can you do?

Anyway, I ended up making it into Manhattan on the train, but I had to ride butt to butt with a fat guy, then walk the last 20 minutes. Let's hope my day improves from there.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Killing 'em (or at least embarrassing them to death) with cuteness

The brass over at Bangkok PD are resorting to extreme measures to keep their coppers in line. Cops that commit minor infractions will be simultaneously infantilized and emasculated by being forced to wear a Hello Kitty armband. With hearts on it! What do you think they get for bribery and graft?

Check out the BBC's account:

Thai cops punished by Hello Kitty

Police chiefs in the Thai capital, Bangkok, have come up with a new way of punishing officers who break the rules - an eye-catching Hello Kitty armband.

The armband is large, bright pink and has a Hello Kitty motif with two hearts embroidered on it.

From today, officers who are late, park in the wrong place or commit other minor transgressions will have to wear it for several days.

The armband is designed to shame the wearer, police officials said.

"This is to help build discipline. We should not let small offences go unnoticed," Police Colonel Pongpat Chayapan told Reuters news agency.

"Guilty officers will be made to wear the armbands in the office for a few days, with instructions not to disclose their offences. Let people guess what they have done," he said.

Further offences would be dealt with using a more traditional disciplinary panel, he said.

The cartoon character Hello Kitty was first introduced by Japanese company Sanrio in 1974.

The cute round-faced cat has become an Asia-wide marketing phenomenon, with Hello Kitty products such as stationery, hair accessories and kitchen appliances available across the region.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Kid Nation

This fall, the geniuses at CBS bring the American people a terrific new concept in television viewing: Kid Nation - the first reality show with a cast comprised entirely of children. 40 children, to be exact, between the ages of 8 and 15, who will spend one month trying to survive life in an abandoned New Mexico mining town without adults (except for the director, crew, production assistants, craft services people, best boys, grips, medics, child psycholgists, and what have you lurking off-camera). Not shockinlgy, this show has already stirred up a good bit of media-generating controversy, with Lord of the Flies references abounding and people lamenting the irreparable harm that could be done to a child's psyche should said child have the humiliating awkwardness of his or her prepuscence broadcast for all the world to see. For me, this sounds like a total nightmare - I was utterly miserable from about 11-13 and remain unable to walk across a cafeteria floor unaccompanied to this day following the unfortunate slipping-on-a-squashed-french-fry incident of 1989. Whatever, most kids are made of tougher, less angst-ridden (read: Jewish and about to enter a prolonged flirtation with the Goth scene) stuff and I'm sure most of them will be fine. Some may even get laid!

So this morning the gentleman responsible for this brilliant example of modern program development was on Morning Edition to promote I mean explain the show and try to allay some of the fears of the "won't somebody please think of the children" crowd (somebody did - they thought about them enough to pack 40 of them off to Ponderosa for a month with a bunch of gaffers and teamsters who are supposed to act like they aren't there). So this chucklehead is all sincerity and sweetness and good intentions, shrugging of mentions of Piggy and his smashed glasses and talking about what a wonderful growing experience the show has been for the kids and how they have learned so much (good thing, since they missed a month of school). He then went on to get all emotional about how incredible it was to see these young kids get up early every day and fetch water, hand wash their clothes, grow and harvest their own food, scrape together their own meals, and take care of the younger kids.

The basic concept of this show is really not troubling to me at all. I am not a big fan of sticky little people and sullen/excitable tweens and really, I could care less if every child in America between 8 and 15 was packed off to an abandoned mining town in New Mexico. It would make going to the movies, restaurants - hell, just about everywhere - more pleasant. What pisses me off royally is this fucking moron marvelling at and having his cold black fake-assed heart warmed by the sight of a bunch of healthy, well-fed chilkdren with acual prospects for an auspicious future not ruined by the threat of childhood disease, famine, genocide, or war doing exactly what millions of children around the world have no choice but to do every day of their lives: to become adults at the age of 8. To walk miles for water. To care for their younger siblings. To never go to school. To work long, hard hours of grueling labor. To be forced to work in the sex industry or marry someone they have never even met. To get sick and not have any medicine. And never, ever to get to tell a camera crew how they feel about the whole expereince, and never, ever get to be awarded a gold star worth $20,000 like the kids of Kid Nation.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I Have a Wu Tangover

Man that was some birthday. I am really feeling it this morning. I give my hangover a five out of ten - not a classic but definitely enough to fuck with my morning and necessitate some worshipping at the Golden Arches. What is it about McDonald's coke that makes it better than the coke anywhere else in the world? An egg mcmuffin, hashbrown, and a coke will seriously knowck a hangover down at least two points. I would say I was a seven out of ten when I woke up and am now a five and it's all thanks to Mayor McCheese and Co.

Anyway, the hangover is nothing compared to the true source of pain in my life right now. Wu Tang are here. In Atlanta. Playing live. This afternoon. And I am not going to be there. There are few things in this world that I love more than the Wu. The lyrical complexity, the humor, the politics, the astonishing production. The huge clouds of pot smoke. The surprise of it all coming from a bunch of guys from a Staten Island housing project who just happen to be straight up genius stoned poet laureates.

If you have not been Wu'd by the Wu, I suggest you fix that problem immediately. The history and reach of the Wu is too complex to ever truly be completely comprehended. Reading their war & peace-length wikipedia entry makes my head spin. I suggest you listen to this and this. They are my two favorites.

These lyics just make me so happy:

Aiyyo, camoflouge chameleon, ninjas scalin your buildin
No time to grab the gun they already got your wife and children
A hit was sent, from the President, to rage your residence
Because you had secret evidence, and documents
On how they raped the continents, and it's the prominent
dominant Islamic, Asiatic black hebrew
The year two thousand and two, the battle's filled with the Wu
Six million devils just died from the Bubonic Flu
Or the Ebola Virus, under the reign of King Cyrus
You can see the weakness of a man right through his iris
Un-loyal snakes get thrown in boilin lakes
of hot oil, it boils your skin, chickenheads gettin slim
like Olive Oyl, only plant the seed deep inside fertile soil
Fortified with essential, vitamin and mineral
use the sky for a blanket, stuffin clouds inside my pillow
Rollin with the Lands, the tribe's a hundred and forty four thousand chosen
Protons Electrons Always Cause Explosions

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me! (and Chuck D, Yves Saint Laurent, Jerry Garcia, Frances Scott Key, and Dom DeLuise

Anyone who knows me knows that I am most excited about sharing a birthday with Dom DeLuise. C'mon, Cannonball Run!! And his name has my name in it, sort of!